Thursday, July 26, 2007

Letter to Larry

I invite everyone to read Larry's comment on my post of July 22nd.


I want to applaud you for diagnosing the problem with minimal information and from a second-hand e-mail. You are absolutely correct, a simple inexpensive fix, a network card. I only wish you worked in the call center located in India. That is where the real problem began.

You see, I could not connect to the Internet. I called my ISP (Comcast) and set up an appointment ($50) for a technician to come and check out the problem. After troubleshooting it was clear the problem was with the computer. I was able to connect to the Internet using my trusty Dell laptop (I purchased 2 desktops and 2 laptops).

I called Dell's toll free number for assistance. BIG MISTAKE The gentleman who answered was nice enough but after 2 hours of ipconfig, release, renew (I am sure you know what all that means, I was just following step by step as instructed) I ended up with no computer. By that I mean the dreaded "blue screen" telling me about "fatal errors". Well, by the time all was said and done (at least on the first of what would turn out to be 17 phone calls) it came down to this: I had to reinstall Windows, meaning all of the information on my computer would be lost.

Off on a new adventure! I know what you are going to say...I should have backed up my files...stop right see...halfway through the India Tech Support, I wanted to do just that but suddenly, my computer no longer recognized it had a CD drive. When I told this to the tech, he said, "You'll have to go on the Internet and download the drivers" Ain't that a hoot! Go on the Internet! Ha! That is what I was trying to do from the start.

Anyway, I got to square one with my computer. No music files (yes I paid for them), no documents, no software, no photos, zip, nada.

So, ok, I'll deal with it. Guess what, still can't get on the Internet! Of course, we now know why but at the time, the Tech Support was amazed. He told me to call Comcast (my ISP) that the problem was there's. Well, no it is not Because I can get online with my laptop!

Anyway, I called 3 more times that day for help. Over the next few days I was on a mission to get through to someone in the US. I called the local number in Texas. The switchboard operator insisted on sending me back to India. I offered my first born child not to have to go through that mess again, but click, a trip around the world, I'm in India again. Promises of e-mailing me drivers (to my work e-mail address) were never followed through. Oh, they e-mailed me dirvers but to my home e-mail address. I had asked them to send them to my work becuase, well, Larry you are a smart guy, I COULD NOT GET ON THE INTERNET TO GET MY E-MAIL.

I ended up, after several attempts to speak to someone in the US, filing a complaint with the BBB. Someone contacted my quickly, yes they were in the US. They tried to troubleshoot the problem. More time, tic, tock....more wasted time, no go, no one could figure it out. Then another person contacted me and of course I got the whole, "should have purchased the warranty" pitch again. It has to be my fault for not safeguarding my investment. You see, it is not the computer or the cheap parts, it is my fault. I guess it is to be expected that the thing would stop working so how could I even consider buying the computer without the warranty.

I had techs from Panama calling me. It became funny because I had already figured it out and installed a network card but I thought I'd play along. Guess what! Back to the ipconfig, release, renew crap!

My complaint is not with the computer it is was the lack of service. The lack of regard for the customer. I was begging not to be transferred to India but it fell on deaf ears. I have the switchboard operators supervisor's name (he was supposed to call me back). He never did. When I called and asked for him guess what, yep, back to India!

I think the issue is clear, bottom line, I lost so many files, so much time, and so much faith in Dell. I wish I had a better story to share. Up until this time, I was very pleased with Dell and would have recommended them to anyone. Hell, I bought 4 computers from them!

How dare they ignore my request to speak with someone in the US. How dare they hire tech support who do not know what they are doing. How dare they blame the whole problem on me for not buying the warranty! What is this garbage?

Maybe someday the good folks at Dell will understand that in order to be competitive you must not only offer a good product but good service as well. Do not get me wrong, I understand the economics of outsourcing. That is one way to make the price of the computers so attractive. I get that. When an issue becomes as out of control as this did with nothing but transfers to India where all they do is site rehearsed phrases from a script (very obvious by the way there should be some sort of protocol for resolution.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

One of the many contacts that went unanswered from Dell

Here is a transcript after I finally found a person's e-mail address from Dell computers. She never responded to my reply. I will post more of my conversations soon. Heck, since it took so much time for me to find contact people/numbers/e-mail addresses I may just post those as well!

Mr. ******,
Thank you for contacting Dell Inc. I certainly apologize for any inconveniences that this issue has caused. I would like the opportunity to review your account to assist you with your technical issues you are currently having. However in your e-mail you did not provide your account information. If you could provide me your customer number, order number and or service tag number, I will be happy to review your issues and to contact you about them.
Thank you Barbara ******

Dear Barbara,

Thank you so much for your e-mail. My customer number is *******.

Let me start by saying I have been in touch with several people since my e-mail to you and I still feel as though this issue is unresolved. I will get to the bottom line at this point because I have argued and talked this issue to death with so many people. M

My computer was purchased in 2004. I have been informed by several people at Dell that it is old. Well, that in and of it self is insulting. I have shoes older than that! Do your products have a shelf life of less than 3 years? I understand technology moves and changes quickly but the actual computer should last longer don’t you think? Also, I did not purchase the warranty. This is a fact that has been pointed out to me so many times it has become comical. The reason it is funny is that I am actually, thanks to the Dell credit card, still paying for the stupid computer.

From the various conversations I have been able to determine that it is my Ethernet card that has stopped working. This of course is attached to the motherboard. I have been told a replacement is $400. I can go on E-bay (go ahead, check it out for yourself) and get a Dell for about $150.

Why in the world would I ever pay $400 for a mother board? I really think, given the fact that we have purchased 2 desktops and 2 laptops from you folks, an offer of a replacement computer is in order. I do not need the monitor, mouse, keyboard, speakers, etc. I need the tower that includes the motherboard and operating system. I really think hiding behind a warranty (another way to get more money out of me) as opposed to standing beside the quality of your product is sad. I have lost countless hours trouble shooting as well as, under the direction of your tech support, lost all documents, photos, and purchased music files. The loss to me has been so great that telling me the only resolution at this point is for me to spend more money should be the furthest things from anyone’s mind.

I appreciate your taking the time to look into my situation. I think your company’s writing off of 1 system to make a long time and until very recently, loyal and satisfied customer happy is the most customer-centric way to go. I also believe the thought of my future technological purchases and the income they will generate is reason enough. You sell these systems as very affordable prices. You could only do that if they are available to you at very affordable prices so I am sure the cost is minimal when looking at the big picture. I mean, if the darn thing did not die until I at least paid it off, is that too much to ask?

Customer Service Nightmare

I never thought I would be doing this but here is my blog. I have a horror story to share about Dell Computers and wonder how many people have experienced poor customer service. Please tell me your stories