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 there...you 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.