I am a repeat Dell customer. I’ve been buying their equipment for years and I have always found that they take care of any problems I have. If something is not working, I call them and get support.

I have had problems in the past but it has always been taken care of by Dell.

So last month I purchased a Dell MINI 9 netbook. The deal I got was the recent $199 Ubuntu special and my new toy arrived yesterday.

The built in wi-fi card is spectacularly dysfunctional.  It is not satisfied to just drop >70% of it’s packets, it has to give it’s all and interferes with my wireless access point.  When it is in wireless mode, no one on my WLAN is safe; it kicks off other PC’s and laptops.

The MINI 9 associates successfully with the wireless router.  My DHCP server logs the request, the server gets the ack, and the MINI 9 gets an IP address.  That’s about as far as it goes and after that the netbook is useless.

So I contacted Dell via their online support chat. They don’t support the Ubuntu version on the chat line and I was given a number to call.

I then dialed that 866 number that they gave me. That did not go so well; they insisted that my wireless router needed updating. I explained that there are many things on that wireless router that work fine and that the MINI 9 was actually interfering with the other devices.

We went back and forth and I finally told them that the Dell MINI 9 I received was defective and I wanted a refund. I received an e-mail with a link to get the shipping label and tomorrow I will drop it off at UPS.

What I was looking for was a way to make my MINI 9 work. Some setting or configuration in Ubuntu to get the wifi card functioning. What I got was “This is not our problem” and the implication was that they might not have granted me a refund.  That was never stated outright but I could not send it back without a return number.

So this all did not exactly go as I intended. The Dell MINI 9 is a cool device and I would have liked to have kept it. But I don’t have time to play games with technical support. Now I’ll probably shop around for another Linux based netbook.