Friday, June 27, 2008

Dell Problems, and Bashing

I've heard uber geeks complain about Dell before. But then they complain about any 'off the shelf' computer that wasn't put together by their own hands. I like Dell. I like that I can open up the boxes and work on them. I like that they are very reasonably priced. I like their warranties and the fact that they are quick to replace problem parts (if you can stand talking to their help desk people until you get one that understands and/or believes you.) But all in all I like Dell. I can live with Dell.

Until recently...

We were in the market for 2 laptops for 2 pastors who have been living with computers that I would have used as a frisbee long ago. I was watching the trade sites for a sale, and lo and behold Dell made me an offer that I couldn't refuse! Six hundred and forty eight dollars for this:

Intel Core 2 Duo T5270, 1.4GHz, 800Mhz, 2M L2 Cache
3GB, DDR2, 667MHz 2 DIMM (? but...)
128MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
250GB Hard Drive, 5400RPM, SA160, for Dell Vostro 1500 Notebook
Windows XP Pro,SP2,Vista Business with Media,Notebook English,Vostro
And more...

Very good price. I ordered two on May 30, 2008. They offered delivery on June 6.

On June 6 I got an email saying that the order had been delayed until July 13, and on the 13th I got an email saying that it was delayed to the 20th. No biggie. I'm patient.

The 20th comes and goes, and on the Monday June 23, 2008 I got an email saying:

  • This email shows a specific Order Number within your purchase that has been impacted by the Federal Mail Order Rule. To view the status of the rest of the orders within your Dell Purchase ID, click here.
  • To obtain further information, please e-mail us at or call 1-877-868-3355.
  • Please include your Customer Number or Order Number with any correspondence you return to Dell.

I had to wonder what the heck the FEDERAL MAIL ORDER RULE was. I called, and was connected to one of their outsourced help centers. I was told that they tried to deliver the Dells, but no one was here, so they took them back and cancelled our order and no we can't have them resent.

I knew this was bogus because I had called Dell the Friday before and was told they were still in production. And we're a Church, we're here all weekend.

I insisted on talking to someone else, and by the grace of God was put through to a not only very efficient help desk employee but a very truthful one as well.

After some investigation, he told me that no, they had not mailed those computers, but there was a problem with getting the video cards that were to be placed in that computer, so someone from Dell had just cancelled them.

I plead my case in a gentle though firm fashion, and he did a work up on the same computers for me. The cost now: 978.00 dollars with Windows Vista, the XP upgrade would be extra. Again I plead my case in a gentle but even more firm fashion, and he put me through to the upper level customer care representive, whom I'm certain is reserved for only the most difficult of cases.

Her name was Venus, and while at first I was a bit worried about that, she made good on the entire deal. We're getting the two computers to spec XP and all, with a coupon for the difference in price.

So yes, it was a nightmare. My blood pressure suffered that day. But they did fix the problem. And that is really all you can ask from any company.

I still like Dell. I do.

1 comment:

Stuart said...

I've never liked Dell and it's not because I'm an 'uber geek' either.

I've been in IT for 24yrs - almost as long as Dell (I think) - and this is obviously from a UK perspective.

I have many, many Dell stories and none of them good. One I will tell is a client whom had one of the first Dell laptops and it had a broken lid hinge - initially we ordered the part and slowly we were dragged downhill by Dell and eventually had to order a whole shell (they don't do parts well).

That then got changed to having to send it in and 5 weeks later it was returned unfixed with a note saying Dell don't change the shells!!!!

All of this before the days of outsourcing made it much worse and from a company taht withdrew from making laptops no less than 4 times.