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September 29, 2005

Inside "Dell Hell"

Rob Hof

My colleague Louise Lee's new story digging into Dell's customer-service challenges won't come as a surprise to the many folks who commented on a post that asked for people's experiences with the PC giant. (Thanks!)

The story points up a lesson to PC buyers that, increasingly, you get what you pay for: Inexpensive PCs mean minimal support. But while cutting support costs is entirely understandable in this cutthroat business, I question whether this is the best place to save money. Even someone who paid $500 for a PC darn well expects the thing to work, period. And if it doesn't, you can't blame them for wanting good, fast fixes. Whether it's providing adequate support or building better products that just work, technology providers need to step up to the plate. Sell stuff that people are delighted with, instead of stuff that they merely endure, and maybe they might be willing to pay a few bucks more.

07:24 PM

Dell, Personal Computers, Tech Spending

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Tracked on September 30, 2005 10:50 AM

For what it's worth here's one more Dell problem. They shipped me a Dell Inspiron 6000 which either has an intermittent hardware error, or a bad driver. I carelessly let the 21 days pass. Their support people are in mostly incompetent, when you ask for a supervisor they lie and dump you back in the phone queue. Emailing Michael Dell used to be effective, but apparently not any more.

Maybe I should recover my money by selling short on Dell stock. There are at least 8 people who have Dells because of me. There will likely be many more now who don't because I will start spreading the word.

Posted by: Robert Fitzgerald at September 29, 2005 09:14 PM

I had a similar problem with Dell's support. A mouse-problem was not resolved after a month of phone calls and speaking with as many as 7 different techs and supervisors. I just gave up and bought myself a new mouse. I?? a computer science mayor, Dell used to be my first choice for friends that were not computer savvy, with this type of tech-support, I??l be turning my people some where else.

Posted by: Richiez at September 30, 2005 10:07 AM

I agree with you,,, Rob hof

Posted by: Ajit at September 30, 2005 02:53 PM

When my son's Dell laptop began unexpectedly "powering down", I called Dell tech support for help. I quickly realized I was speaking to Dell's infamous overseas call center in India. The rep was barely understandable, and what I could decipher from her was to do something to the laptop, then call back another day. When I called back, I could not understand that Indian rep, and with many requests to be transferred to someone I could understand, I was cut off. I decided enough was enough...I had paid for a service contract, and Dell's refusal to provide me with an understandable point-of-contact for support was, to me, tantamount to breach of contract. So I filed online complaint forms with both my state attorney general's consumer complaint division and the Texas Better Business Bureau. In a few short days, I received a call from Dell, clearly an American voice, fervently asking what Dell could do for me to get my problem fixed. It became clear to me that while Dell is corporately giving the American consumer a "take it or leave it" middle-finger, the one outcome they do not want is to have to respond to a governmental agency complaint. I think Dell is a predatory company interested only in aggrandizing Dell executives with great wealth, and they care not one wit for the country which enabled them to become wealthy.

Posted by: Jimmy at September 30, 2005 10:16 PM

My experience with Dell has been hell too. I was impressed with the fast delivery of my new laptop.....at least until I tried to get it to work. Three days of hell getting cut off, switching from one tech type to another, going around in circles, etc. Finally tried the supervisor request only to be told they are all on vacation, but they wouldn't help me anyhow. Customer service said it was a software problem, & I'd have to pay to get it fixed, that Dell doesn't warrant the software; if they send me a new computer with software faults,, it's my problem, not their's. I could either pay over $100 for software fix, or return it. If I returned it, I would have to pay shipping charges, restocking fee & depreciation charges. When I said ok, I'll return the damned thing & file complaints everywhere I can, he agreed to have software technician try a fix. Finally they were able to get it working, but I have zero cofidence in the fix. My advice, don't buy from Dell.

Posted by: Fred Crum at October 1, 2005 03:18 PM

I too agree with what everyone is saying....

I bought my Dell a little over a year ago. I have had to encounters with their tech support. Both were very frustrating but were resolved -- one with the help of Dell, the other without.

The first occurrence was a very short time after receiving the new system. I wanted to convert my home movies into DVDs. But the software that came preloaded had a bug. I contacted the manufacturer and they stated it was a known bug and instructed me to download a patch. However, the patch would not install because I had the OEM version of the software - I had to call Dell. But Dell had cancelled the contract with the OEM and could only give me what I already had, not the patch. After 8 hours of phone frustration I finally had a manager on the line and she was able to help (by sending me another software package).

The second encounter happened just last week. I purchased a game (an older game that by no means taxed my system). It would not play. I contacted the manufacturer. They had me update drivers. After doing that, problem did not go away. They recommended contacting Dell and troubleshoot the video card. I did -- Dell had me back out the up do date drivers to their offically supported ones (over 1 a year old). When I did, the system would not even boot. So then the support person had me update to most current. When the system booted, said "problem solved - have a good day". He didn't even realize that now I was at the point prior to even calling. I had to go thru the whole detailed explanation AGAIN. after many hours, he finally gave up and said -- reinstall. Well, I did my own research.... bought a different video card and now I am having no problems. I just lost about 3 evenings of my time attempting to have Dell assist me. There drivers were out of date, the programs they pointed me too to diagnose the problems did not work, it was a nightmare.

I am in a computer trade and have a deep knowledge of computer systems. I use to build systems rather than buying complete systems, but thought that due to kids and things (time), it would be simpler to buy rather than build --- not my experience. I told my wife -- "Next system, I will build again. That way I won't get frustrated when I have an issue and try to cash in on my investment!!!!"

Posted by: John at October 3, 2005 09:32 AM

What a nightmare company Dell has become. On Friday 9-26-05 I place an order and open a new business account. I am approved for more than enough and placed an order for the inspiron 700m. On monday 10-3-05 I check the status and the order has been cancelled. (I got no email or call)

I spend over an hour and half 4 case numbers and 6 transfers to the "right department" trying to find out why the order was cancelled. First I am told I cancelled then I finally find out that after approving me Dell finance placed the account on hold. (without notifying me)

I have not bought from DELL in almost a year because of negative experience with a top of the line DELL and now I am convinced this company is going downhill fast.

Posted by: Kevin at October 3, 2005 11:33 AM

My Dell from Hell story:

Several years ago I bought a top of the line Inspiron 8000, which came (Ug!) with Windows ME. None of the documentation identified that Norton was installed by default, and not seeing an Icon when I booted, I loaded McAfee (being the responsible person that I am).

Norton + McAfee = System Black Hole

Result- I couldn't load a word file without crashing the system. Not having figured out the cause yet, I contacted Tech support, and was told on several occasions to reinstall the OS.

I eventually reinstalled the OS, but now the Modem/Nic would not work, and the video drivers shipped with the unit were the wrong ones. After further calls to tech support, they shipped me out replacement (and wrong) drivers.

After 50+ hours of calls (I have the cell phone bills to prove it) I drove to Austin (I was in San Antonio at the time) to have it checked out (after getting the address from a tech support person)- only to be told that maintenance was now performed in Saint Louis!

I shipped the unit to Saint Louis for a check up- no results. It was with the help of my local LUG (Thank's Shannon!) that I figured out that the Nic/Modem issue was that the OS (Win ME, remember?) was assinging the same interrupt to both devices AND WOULD NOT LET ME CHANGE. One install of Windows 2K later, I had the NIC working. One Download from NVidia and the screen drivers were correct.

Since that time I have experienced hardware issues, which since the warranty was expired Dell wanted $600 to diagnose (without even promising to fix it for that price). The good people at parts-people.com fixed my problem (the IDE controler had separated from the motherboard, due to my habit of changing out hard drives) and refurbished my unit for less than 1/3 of this. I have now almost completely removed all semblances of Windows from my system, (running either SUSE or Ubuntu, with occasional forays onto my Win2K drive for data) and am much happier for it.

Next time, I'll buy HP- at least they support Linux and offer AMD based laptops. I bought a Dell because I wanted to be able to travel to Austin for support- I'll never buy from them directly again.

Posted by: Pete at October 5, 2005 04:00 PM

I worked with the end of lease business div. & had the chance to meet some business div. sales reps later on in my ventures. I'm going to make this very clear - Every day I worked in the end of lease div. I fielded calls with upset customers whom said they did not want a lease, were unaware of a lease, thought they where paying for computer(s). I needed to tell these customers that it was too late (after 30 days). In short, no matter what the customer says (I needed to tell them the owed the lease [i.e. a $500 computer ends up costing the end user $1200] If they wanted a "buyout" I could only quote them the $1200 figure and "have a nice day"! Come to find out, I know exactly why the customers were getting stuck with an "unknown lease" , The Business div. sales reps in charge of the "paperwork" where/are filing the sale as a lease rather than a simple sale. WHY? , the big huge banners in the lobby... When the sales rep enters the sale as a lease (even though unknow to the customer) they get "airpoints" kind of like cash for expensive gifts. DO I have proof ? NOPE, IS it true ? ? Is your first name what most call you by ? YES - Most Dell employees hate their jobs, because they deal with this daily. And so much more... MOST admirable co to work for awards ? .. Only because employees keep their mouths shut, beacuse at the end of the day.. If you don't rat on Dell - THey will pay you occasional "hush money" in the form of spiffs or "airpoints" or what have you ..... THIS IS the closest you as the outside public will get to the truest description of what's going on in the inside, AND for a price , we all have more we would like to share. MY Truth is free to the pub.ic.

Posted by: ex empl at October 7, 2005 07:17 AM

Who else can you deal with that does a better job?

I have worked with just about every major PC vendor - Dell, HP, IBM (no more), Gateway, Toshiba, etc., in the course of my work. I have had nightmares with all of them. My only comment is that Dell is best of a bad breed. My personal machines are either hand built or Dell.

Rather than anecdotes, I think it is more useful to look at trends and statistics. Anyone have anything useful to show that Dell is bad on the whole? Based on my experience, Dell is one of the best on average.

Customer service is always a problem on PCs. This is more due to the nature of Windows than the hardware vendor. Again, I can't suggest an alternative. Linux is too hard for most end users, and Macs are in general pricier with less software. Also, most people want the same environment they have at home that they have work, making Macs and Linux less attractive.

No company is perfect. If you know of one, please let me know.

Posted by: Chris Weiss at October 11, 2005 11:34 AM

You people have very little to do than to complain about a company who is, after all, the world's number 1 computer company (for a reason, might I add). Don't forget, for every problematic pc dell ships, it ships 25,000 fully functioning systems. Most (92%) of all technical issues are customer-caused.

Posted by: Dee at October 13, 2005 07:01 PM

The "Airpoints" that are being referred to as "hush" money is nothing of the kind. It is simply a way to compensate an employee without having to pay them directly. These airpoints are offered on certain vendor's products that aren't selling as well as they should. Instead of getting a bonus you get a gift certificate, baby stuff, books, etc.

People who don't have the facts, obviously love to make things up, this is how rumors are started. So in order to clear a few up:

"When the sales rep enters the sale as a lease (even though unknown to the customer) they get "airpoints" kind of like cash for expensive gifts."

Not true. Unknowingly entering a sale as a lease without customer consent is unethical and does not happen anywhere in Dell. You don't get airpoints for leasing a system.

"Most Dell employees hate their jobs, because they deal with this daily."

Not true. People in our country do not like to work in general, but seriously people, if you don't like your job you would obviously quit and work somewhere else.

Dell is THE best company I have ever worked for.

Posted by: Angela at October 16, 2005 03:46 PM

I spent 5 hours on a three-way phonecall yesterday with Dell Customer Care and Dell Financial. What a waste! I returned a Dell Laptop that didn't work even after the tech's came to my home to service the machine. On August 9th of this year, I spent a total of 3 hours on another three-way conversation dealing with the exchange of the laptop and crediting charges that were sent to me. The conclusion was Dell Financial would credit me half of the money of a finance charge and Dell Customer care would fill out a Policy Exemption Form and credit my account for the balance. This was a mutual agreement, documented by all three of us. Or so I thought. Dell Financial has lived up to their side of the deal, however Dell Customer Care has "lost" the form, and now they have no idea who the manager was that made this promise. Dell Financial told them who it was, but still there is nothing Dell Customer Care will do. Sound complicated, it is. The right hand does not keep up with the left hand. Additional finance charges are being put on my bill at this time. At the conclusion of the phone call Dell Customer Care representative tells me that yet another manager will call me back. She says this I might add while giggling with her co-workers. Five hours on the phone, five hours of my life wasted, five hours with no conclusion. This is what I learned, Dell Financial is a seperate entity then Dell Customer Care. That's not so bad if they would at least be on the same software so a conclusion could be met. I guess Michael Dell doesn't mind how the small consumer feels. It would benefit him greatly to train his customer service team on how not to talk down to people.

I can't believe how many people are unhappy with this company! It makes me wonder how many people are getting ripped off? How many people have an extra 5 hours in a day to try and settle Dell's in house problems. I'm seriously thinking of sending them a bill for my time. I wish you all luck and I hope we all learn a valuable lesson from this sad experience.

Posted by: Maria at October 18, 2005 09:51 AM

I have had the most trouble getting Dell Financial to tell me up front that there are charges for Check-by-phone, they never tell you that until you have already given them the bank routing # and your account # by this time it is too late. On your next statement there is a $15.00 charge for the service.

Being very busy it is hard to remember everything all the time, so at the last minute they call, which then it is too late to send in your payment. If you send it in late there is a $25.00 late fee, even though my payment is only $58.00. There have been times I have received three calls in one day even though it had been taken care of the first call.

I have told friends and family that the pc has been great but it hasn't been worth the aggrevation, actually it is worse than that it is pure harrassment with tones of deception. They seem so nice, but they just ignore what you tell them, and only programed to get payment anyway they can.

Posted by: James McILvain at October 19, 2005 10:48 PM

I have been less than thrilled with Dell's technical support in the past year. My recommendations helped drive $5M in sales for Dell in the past ten years for my regional area clients.

But no more...besides terrible technical support issues, I see also disturbing trends in pricing. One example: Dell boosts the price for RAM upgrades for their notebook line way out of whack compared to other vendors. Big profit item no doubt.

The reason for the declining technical support is sheer numbers...the success of Dell in shipping millions of PCs has outstripped their technical support capabilities. Reminds me a lot of the success of Symantec and how their technical support is now practically non-existent.

Consider the math... (strictly Karnak guessing below, but humor me with my questimations).

Let's conservatively estimate Dell sold 100 million PCs in the past three years and 50 million are still under warranty. This figure is probably pretty close since Dell shipped 9 million units in the third quarter 2005.

If only 1 in 100 per day needs technical assistance from Dell that's 500,000 requests either by email or phone. The technical requests could be much greater than that on peak days...maybe 1 to 2 million.

So let's say Dell has 5,000 first level support technicians in the USA at decent wages and another 20,000 overseas at pretty low wages. (I could be WAY overestimating the total numbers, but humor me anyway). Throw in another 1,000 second level and supervisory technicians in the USA and maybe 2,000 overseas. OK...so we have nearly 30,000 Dell support technicians of varying skills, many relying on repair scripts, and some very good.

Now the bad news...each technician probably works an 8 to 12 hour shift (maybe 10-12 overseas). So only 9,000 are on duty at any 8 hour shift, maybe a few more in peak times.

500,000 requests on an average day means each technician handles 16 cases a day or about 2 an hour. On heavy days that number rises to 4, 6, or 8 an hour. At the higher volume it's an impossible task as any technician can attest (I am an A+ trainer myself). Since many calls may be not resolved they continue over days and add to the workload.

Enter the big push to free online user support Forums by all the big vendors. Volunteers who own that product (or maybe just good Samaritans) spend their free time helping people who are unable to get warranty help from the vendor. It's a big help, but not enough for the big boys like Dell, Microsoft, Symantec, and all the other first line companies.

At the present time I consider first line companies are unable to provide proper support for my clients (14,000 PCs). Because Microsoft has a monopoly on Windows we have no choice but to continue buying their products. But for PCs there are other choices besides the first line companies with better technical support.

So my clients have dumped Norton AV in favor of a smaller vendor, and are considering other options besides Dell.

I think Dell has tunnel vision for global expansion (China, India, etc..) in their long range game plan and it doesn't include spending money to maintain the user base in America at an acceptable support level. I used to give Dell an A+ for support, but now I give it a failing grade. YMMV

Posted by: Bill Smith at October 27, 2005 09:41 PM

20 hours on the phone with dell. so i gave them as much crap back as they gave me. i just could not take it after a while(this 20 hours was over the course of 4 days) spoke to everyone but the frigging sacred cow !!! tech support sen't me to to "customer care", should be called no care back to tech and so on... when i finally asked for a supervisor, i was told they would call back at 8 pm, it was now 6:30. i made them stay on the phone with me until their supervisor came on. i thought if they can do this all night so can i. i'll admit right now, not my finest moments. but when i asked the tech "how about i fly to india right now and "ring your frigging neck" i was told in a very calm voice, that would not be necessary sir,i was speakind to to manilla. if you can believe it and you probably can , things got worse from here. i have replaced 2 hard drives (inspirion 600) key pad, display, keypad, ac cord all this with a warranty ,i was asked to replace myself. when i asked if i could have the number or email of Tom Calpo who signs himself cheif of cosumer affairs USA i was told there was no way to reach him. the phone numbers next to the texas address is the same old out of country tech numbers. boggles my mind how people can do bussiness like this. tech support even admited they were being recorded and had to make "dell and the customer" happy. i was also told if the computer wen't back to the "depot" wherever that is 3 times or more you would be issued a system exchange. mine wen't 3 times but tech said it only wen't back 2 times, the the third time it must have rode around in the delivery truck for a week and then just come back to me without goig to the "Depot". what shipping company will take any package without a valid shipping sticker, unbelievable. anyway i could go on and on but my bloodpressure is going throught the roof. they stink on ice !!!

Posted by: marshall mclane at October 29, 2005 06:26 PM

My wife and I decided to get a new computer. I've owned a Dell for the past 6 years and have been very pleased with it's performance. On September 25, 2005, I went to Dell's website, found a desktop, made minor upgrades and with a total cost of $970.03 placed the order. After the order was placed, Dell then advised me that e-mails would be sent describing the status of my order. My wife and I decided to call Dell and cancel the order. When we called and canceled, it was less than 24 hours of the order being placed and that's when my Dell experience began.

The last e-mail I received from Dell on Monday, September 26, 2005 at 10:05 PM, the same day we canceled the order, described my order status as "Your order is being processed and will go into production once we authorize your method of payment". The representative I spoke with told me that I would receive a refund for the computer minus the shipping charge. I indicated to the representative that the computer had not been built or shipped according to Dell's last e-mail stating "Your order is being processed and will go into production once we authorize your method of payment". Reluctantly, the representative agreed with me and went ahead and made the arrangements to get a full refund of $970.03. and of course would take 5 to 10 business days. On September 27, 2005 our credit card was charged $970.03 by Dell.

On October 17, 2005 a credit of $702.19 was received by Dell. I called Dell to ask why wasn't a $970.03 credit given. I was told by Dell that the $702.19 was for the CPU and the monitor was separate. The Representative then told me the credit amount for the monitor was unknown because of the taxes still to be added. On October 23, 2005 a credit for $241.76 was received by Dell, this being the credit for the monitor. As of October 23, 2005 the total credit back to me is $943.95, still being $26.08 short of the $970.03 total purchase price.

I had to call Dell once again. Through this whole process I made sure to get reference numbers and case numbers for each phone call and conversation. I gave the representative my last case number and the representative proceed to tell me that I already received full credit . The outstanding balance of $26.08 was for shipping. I then went back to the e-mails sent by Dell, one of which was my "Order Confirmation". This e-mail gave me a break down of the costs associated with this purchase. The line for shipping costs read $24.00. I asked why I was being charged more for shipping. I was then put on hold and unknowingly transferred to a different department. This representative actually agreed with me an put in a "request" for the $26.08 credit and now had to wait 2 to 3 business days for this credit.

As of Wednesday, November 9, 2005, I still have not received the $26.08 credit. You guessed it, I call Dell. Give the representative the case number. The representative told me that the "request" was denied by Dell for the $26.08 credit because it was a shipping charge. I was put on hold and when representative came back she told me that the $26.08 was now being "requested for non-delivery of the computer" and I would now 100% receive this credit. I was now happy and getting my full amount of $970.03 back.

On Thursday November 10, 2005, an e-mail from Dell stating, Dell has processed my credit for the amount of, are you ready for this, $26.07. That's right 1 cent less. I'm furious and immediately call Dell. Once again gave the representative the case number, briefly explained and was put on hold. The representative was in total agreement and apologized. He then told me Dell can not credit 1 cent and would have to credit me $1.00. I said fine and felt confident this will now be a closed issue.

Today, November 11, 2005, at 8:51 Am Est time, I receive a call from Dell to confirm my credit of $26.07 for the shipping charge. The representative explained to me I would see this credit in about 5 business days. He then asked if I was satisfied the way Dell has handle this matter. I replied no. He asked why? I told him the shipping credit was for the amount of $26.08 and not $26.07. Before I could explain that I've already contacted Dell about this 1 cent discrepancy his response was "You really want 1 cent back". Are you kidding me! I then told this gentleman that I've been dealing with this since September and want every single cent back. Out of disgust, he said fine Dell will credit you 1 cent back, hope you have a nice day, thank you for choosing Dell and hung up.

I'm sorry, but why would I not get back my 1 cent. If I simply accepted that the $26.08 as a non refundable shipping charge, when the computer was never built or shipped and you take that amount, multiply it by, say 100,000 people that's over 2 million dollars. If I would have let Dell keep 1 cent it too will add up to huge amounts of money.

This has been an experience I will never forget and will pass along to many others. A friend of ours ended up building my wife and I a computer. We simple went on-line, order all the parts with the help of our friend and built a computer that is beyond what we needed and cost a little over $1000.00.

I recommend this for anyone who wants a new computer and overall you will never have to deal with Dell Computers. Dell tried its hardest to get me to go away and I didn't. I kept all my paper work and would love to learn of other people's problems and maybe pass this experience along to a higher authority. Something has to be illegal with this process and taking advantage of people by putting them in this unforgiving situation until they simple accept defeat and go away.

Thank You,

Chris

Posted by: chris at November 11, 2005 02:21 PM

Dell Hell is the right name for this forum. The motherboard on my still-under-warranty Inspiron failed. Dell wouldn't allow me to mail the computer to them for repair saying that they had to have DHL deliver an empty box to me. I tried to explain to them that they consider the US Virgin islands (where I live) to be International and won't ship here. Two weeks later I still hadn't received the empty box. During various calls I offered/pleaded/begged to be allowed to send the laptop in myself, paying the Express Mail postage myself. They refused. At one point the rep said I should just got get the box at the DHL office. I contacted DHL and found that the box had been shipped to Austin Texas awaiting my pickup. (I actually made the call to DHL while on hold at Dell) When the Dell rep got back on the line I told her that Dell had sent the box to Austin not to St. Croix. She asked if I could pickup the box myself..... HUH? I should fly from the Virgin Islands to Austin Texas to pickup an empty box in which to ship my computer TO Austin? They absolutely refuse to let me ship it myself. I was a fan of Dell up till now but I wouldn't by another laptop from them if it was only $100.

Posted by: Ed at November 15, 2005 09:16 AM

I feel like I have gone through all the stages of grief with Dell: beginning with DENIAL -

I have always used Dell products, always thought their service was great, really no problems...until I entered "Dell Hell", my next step -

ANGER- how can a company keep my $480 AND the Axim PDA I returned to them for credit, following all their rules, within their 21 days, insured, and UPS can even tell me that 'Ines'@ Dell in LaVerne TN signed for it on 9/22/05...but they can't figure out how to issue a credit, they say 'your credit needs to be reinstated, Mrs. A., I will take care of that right now', but of course, we are in Dell Hell, so that doesn't happen, instead I pass into my next stage of grieving, to...

BARGAINING - ok, I will contact their Customer Service following all their rules - check my credit status online - no problem, they will email me within 24 hours - doesn't come - I email them - no response - I use their 'chat' -

always connected promptly - my hopes are up - always get commitments they don't honor....I am hitting the ativan pretty hard right now as I enter into the next to last stage of grief.....

DEPRESSION - I know I shouldn't take this as a personal afront but I do - I always stood up for them for pete's sake! Its been two months, they still have my $480, they have the AXIM PDA, I have empty promises, no one in customer service who ever keeps their promises. Have you checked out their corporate ethics page - it almost makes you weep it is so sanctimonious...so I finally pass into the final stage of grief....

ACCEPTANCE - my husband is telling me I am getting fairly psychotic on the subject, so I am trying to detach myself, since I am so OUT OF CONTROL OF THE SITUATION. I am currently on the look-out for a Dell Hell Support Group..anyone??

Posted by: Kathy Archibald at November 17, 2005 10:03 PM

DELL's Strategic and Spiritual Mistake!

In regard to Dell Financing, look what has happened to Sears, GM and Ford when they turned to financing as a way of increasing company revenues. These companies now realize more revenues via financing and are all suffering declining revenues of the sale of their core retail products. Complaints about shoddy workmanship with some Dell products seem to indicate a similar turning away from the core business(ask any MBA and they'll tell you that professors pounded into their heads, "Stick to your core business if you want to keep succeeding."). Dell seems more focused on soft upsells (warranties versus better screens and better processors)than selling a superior system at a good price. Dell has made a strategic error (not to mention a spiritual one, if you're a Bible believer, because The Bible states the common sense idea that debt is something all people should stay away. Alan Greenspan has told consumers the same thing as well).

With regard to the creation of a new "division" to sell the XPS systems, I predict that the current leadership at Dell is preparing the company for the chopping block -- selling or spinning off the XPS division as well as the entry-level computer division.

It's very sad to see an American company go this route.

One more note. For 4th quarter, Dell has cattle calls for hourly employees to take inbound calls and sell systems. These folks are hired by temp firms like Spherion and then have the golden carrot of "You'll be Dell-Badged" if you meet your sales goals over the next few months. What they don't tell you (lie by omission) is that you have about a 2 -4% chance of making it. Management is part of this lie.

Dell, get real again. Michael, it's time to get back on-board and toss out those money-changers.

David

Nashville, TN

Posted by: David at November 22, 2005 01:30 PM

DON'T BUY DELL PRODUCTS!

I purchased my first defective Dell computer in November 2004. It continued to crash until I could no longer bring it back up in May 2005. Calling Dell to receive service was a nightmare. So I decided to go onto my old computer to see if they would assist via the Internet. Well, that was a disaster too. Finally, out of frustration, I sent back the PC directly to Dell and ordered a replacement. The new PC also continued to crash until I finally was able to drive the drive into two parts which seem to have minimized the crashes. This is after using Dell technical services, both hardware and software. Neither understood the problem and tried to say it was the other. Naturally, I paid an additional $300 in order to try and obtain additional software assistance. (God forbid Dell should back there products sufficiently to halt from the fleecing of it's customers.) With no help from Dell, I was finally able to divide the hard drive into two, and place differing Microsoft products on each part of the drive which appears to have minimized the crashes from daily to around twice a month. Now, of course, Dell is telling me I am responsible for the financial difference between the PC I returned and the one I know one (depreciation as they like to call they're shoddy products). I am, of course, refusing to pay for the "depreciation" ... and when I called to inquire about the old PC, guess what ... I was told it had been "refurbished and resold!!!" No doubt, to some poor person who is trying to get it to work.

I think it's time we start flooding Dell, Consumer Report Sites, and other websites/report sites, with out complaints. Dell sales are dropping and it's our duty to warn other people about the poor quality of their products and services. I'll be glad to be part of anything that helps to drive their sales lower.

Posted by: Jim at November 25, 2005 11:21 PM

I bought upgraded service for an expensive notebook, and I still cannot get service. I am in day 10 of my "next-day on-site" service. I did see a tech on day 2, but the part from India didn't solve the problem. When the tech called for more parts, Dell India hung up on him. No one's come back, although I have a long blog of contacts http://www.livejournal.com/users/ozdachs/41568.html .

Posted by: Ozdachs at December 1, 2005 04:00 AM

The thing is, customer service isn't always provided by Indians alone. As a student, it is very important for me to have resources all the time. I've had frustrations with DELL as well but it went away when i got to a tech from the Philippines...

Customer's like us buy products and services that we think are custom-made for us. DELL continues to make computers of different models with optional specifications to match a customer's needs, and budget.

...and before you start to go down thorugh this post thinking that i am a no DELL HELL person, i hope you can open your mind.

...anyway, how do i get to know this? one indian tech (though very hard to understand, is technical yet polite enough to answer all my questions about my computer problems, by the way, i had a software problem). told me that the service contract that my parents paid for is dedicated only for hardware

...of course, it's very disappointing on our part to find out that if the problem is software, we will be transferred to the Helpdesk thing wherein we get to pay.! yes, pay. trough proper explanations on the service contract (they don't call it warranty) and initiative reading of the service contract (which will be helpful!), DELL laid all its cards the first time.

...of course, i most likely won't buy another DELL computer (but i wont throw away my 5150, but i learned one important thing. READ to LEARN. it's very easy especially for people who can afford to buy another computer to do so, but it'll be better to be cautious before jumping inside a pit.

Posted by: RedUaRamm at December 3, 2005 02:58 AM

I have been in Dell Hell since Nov. 16th when a 1700 dollar system I ordered didn't arrive. Only the monitor arrived. Somehow the tower and all its parts were lost by ups. I started the nightmare of calling uncustomer service to see what they were going to do about it the evening of the 16th. On the afternoon of the 18th UPS had told me the tower was lost and to get Dell to start tracing it (in the contract ups has with Dell, Dell has to put a tracer on the packages and get a new machine going out to you or a refund).

I asked uncustomer service to send me a new computer asap because I needed it for my work and my old one had died and now I was computerless. They said they couldnt' do that until the missing one was located or that UPS paid them for it. WHAAAAAA My contract was with Dell, not UPS. After this unspecified wait time looking for the missing one, I was then to order a new one and wait another 10 days for it to arrive (I am not a rich person and can't be charging all sorts of computers on credit cards). I told Dell to use the 1700 already in their possession to get me out a new machine asap. No dice. I then told them to refund me asap.

Do you know that not one of those Indians ever sent UPS to pick up the monitor. Not one of them ever set up the tracer with UPS. Not one of them did anything. I was sent round and round and round the telephone lines. I even called back sales and asked the guy if he wanted to make a saled and told him the long story. He ordered a new system and gave me a big discount. But the nightmare doesn't end there. He goes and tries to charge this new order to the credit card that already has 1700 on it and I told him it isn't going to fit that he is going to have to credit me for the machine that never arrived first or use that credit for his new machine. He says, ok, I am sending you to the finance dept. They will take care of everything. Don't worry. Well then transfer went into Dell hell oblivion. You know that circle of press 1 for sales, press 2 for tech support yada yada. I kept calling back sales and get getting into the same loop after telling my story to not less than 10 of these guys in 30 minutes. Never got the new computer ordered either. I can go on and on with these service reps that never call back, that transfer you to non existent numbers, that get a dumber than rocks supervisor on the phone, and on and on. The nightmare went on and on for days until the 22nd when I got a long distance number into Texas from one of those stupid service reps. I asked an operator for the ceo office. no dice. I said I want to make a big complaint. Got transferred and left the complaint. Was told I got to the top of the company. This was on the 22nd of Nov. Today is the 4th of Dec. Every day since the 22nd of Nov. this manager has told me she is going to credit my card back. Every day I call her and it hasn't been done. Every day there is a new problem. We must follow the process yada yada. I am still waiting for my refund. I can't get out of this Dell Twilight Zone nightmare. It is never ending. But on Dec. 22nd my credit card company will credit me back and I will be thru with Dell whether their process has ended or not. And I went out yesterday and was able to get credit at a local big electronics company and bought a beautiful HP with a much bigger system and a printer for 1050 bucks. A big savings and a better machine and it is working beautifully. Forget Dell. never again. And thats my story.

Posted by: apersonindellhell at December 3, 2005 12:17 PM

My wife purchased a Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop as a Christmas present. She gave me the phone and made it clear I wanted to play games on it too. No problem. I went from $599 to $1100 in a licity split with the two year warranty and the three years of McAfee coverage.

When I got the computer I loved the look of it (It was loaded down with all kinds of stuff I would never use; AOL/ NetZero / etc and of course thier games meant for children.) I took an old game and tried to load it but it would not take. The computer se


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