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Dell sucks

Why did I order a computer from Dell? I guess I had a good opinion from 6 years ago when I last bought something from them.

Let's count the ways in which their customer service has failed me. (And my computer isn't even here yet.)

  1. As documented, their website couldn't process my credit card without a phone call.

  2. After a week of my computer being "in production", I started getting more phone calls from an unidentified phone number that Google told me was Dell. Fearing another billing problem, I called back. And I was told "Thanks for calling, but our order tracking system is down. And we're all going home. Call back tomorrow morning.".

    If only Dell had some means to acquire reliable computer systems on which to build their order tracking database.

  3. I called the next day and was told my order was fine. I was also told (per script, I'm certain) that I could check my order status on Dell's website. Which of course I knew. I know it costs the company money every time someone calls, and they try to strongly discourage calls for that reason, but their script made it sound like I was an imbecile.

    I found it quite condescending. I dislike these canned scripts pander to the lowest common denominator of customer. They should be happy to take my call. I just spend upwards of a thousand dollars on their crap.

  4. Turns out the phone calls I was getting were from someone trying to give me "free internet from Shaw or Telus for 3 months", and I was eligible because I bought a Dell computer. So I was being telemarketed before my computer even got here.

    I said I already had internet service, and they said "Oh, too bad, it's for new customers only." I do not appreciate this.

  5. I got an email saying my order shipped. Joy! 20 minutes later I got an email saying my order was delayed, and if it didn't ship in 5 days I should call. What?

    It really did ship though, I have a tracking number. Why the contradictory emails?

All of my phone dealings with Dell were via some offshored far-eastern country, judging by the accents of the phone reps. I have nothing against this in principle; I'm not a xenophobe. But the phone connection is always so static-filled and laggy that it really puts a damper on communication.

My computer isn't here yet, and I just hope to God it works and doesn't break in a month. I kind of wish this article had come out a week earlier.

That'll teach me for trying to save time, I guess. Next time I'll build my own system from scratch. Dell goes onto my List of Companies Not to Buy From in the Future (LCNBFF), along with Westinghouse and oh so many others.

July 02, 2010 @ 3:57 AM PDT
Cateogory: Rants
Tags: Hardware, Dell


Quoth James on July 02, 2010 @ 9:29 AM PDT

My girlfriend's laptop charger blew recently, so I had to ring Dell tech support to get a replacement under the warranty.

Using deductive reasoning, I eventually concluded that whenever the second person I spoke to decided to transfer my call to an actual tech support person, I would immediately get cut off. Since this meant wading through the automated phone-answering and initial call-routing people, this was quite frustrating. I concluded that for whatever reason, it was because I was calling from an (Irish) mobile phone.

Following a search of my house to plug a phone into my landline (which I do not want, but my ISP would charge me an extra €5 not to have it), I called Dell again.

Once through to the third level tech, I told him that I kept being cut off - he asked for my phone number, and promised to call me back. He was genial, friendly and (although he had to follow a script - that's his job after all) had a pretty keen insight into dealing with my (admittedly simple) problem.

The only hiccup was that I couldn't read him the model number of the charger (it being far away), but he went off-script to figure it out from the model and order numbers (why this is considered unusual, I have no idea). Rather funnily, he had to ask me what kind of plug sockets we have here.

My favourite bit of the conversation? After telling him about how I couldn't switch the laptop on, and how it wasn't charging, he paused for a brief moment, then in as polite a tone as he could manage asked "How is it that you are typing?"... which made me laugh.

All in all, I was pretty happy with the call (once I got through). No complaints about the call quality - I can't imagine that a little extra internet-distance would affect it that much. Exactly why they couldn't route a mobile call is beyond me, but I was very happy with the tech I finally got through to (maybe my experience is coloured by having worked tech support in the past... )

I've always had good experiences with the instant-messanger style support - I can't wait until every business figures out how fantastic they are and switches.

Quoth Jim on July 02, 2010 @ 9:29 AM PDT

(Can you tell that I'm supposed to be writing a thesis?)

Quoth Brian on July 02, 2010 @ 9:45 AM PDT

I've worked at a call center too. My sympathies. I used to go off-script and try to help people sometimes, and I got yelled at for my calls taking too long.

I wasn't upset with the people I spoke to at Dell, so much as with the overall process, the broken tracking systems, and the company policies and such.

Quoth Andres on July 02, 2010 @ 3:16 PM PDT

I'm typing this from a Dell laptop I bought no more than 4 months ago.

My experience with the process was equally awful, receiving contradictory information from their customer service and the emails I received, as well as many of the things you've mentioned. I even got charged for it twice, leaving me without money in my debit card and making me waste several mornings getting my money back.

I almost canceled the order on moral grounds (they didn't deserve my money), but having suffered so much I just went with it. Fortunately, the laptop has been great so far, if that's any consolation.

Quoth Brian on July 02, 2010 @ 5:01 PM PDT

They still didn't even charge my card once, and it shipped 3 days ago. Maybe I get it for free.

Quoth Dave on July 03, 2010 @ 7:43 AM PDT

You built your last computer, didn't you? Why did you think it'd take that long to build another one, especially since you already have experience with it?

Quoth Bleys on July 04, 2010 @ 1:58 AM PDT

If only Dell had some means to acquire reliable computer systems on which to build their order tracking database.

xD Comments like this one make this blog so much fun to read

(Dammit, forgot to type cows first time)

Quoth Stuart on July 04, 2010 @ 3:23 AM PDT

I bought a laptop from Dell last summer and didn't get charged until it had been shipped. I guess it's standard practice? I didn't have to go through much of a rigamarole to get mine, though. It was surprisingly painless.

Quoth Sue on July 07, 2010 @ 6:27 AM PDT

So does anyone have any suggestions for a good company to buy a desktop Windows PC from? I'll be in the market for one soon, and am reluctant to go back to Dell (which I had good experiences with in the past) after what I've read in this (and many other) articles recently.

Thanks for the useful article!