Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dell No More

Dell Mouse + PadImage via Wikipedia
I originally wrote this about six months ago and then shelved it. I'm busy studying for a technical exam right now and decided to dust it off. My opinions on dell haven't changed at all in the intervening time. Once I dropped the matter Dell never got back to me. The case was either automatically closed with zero notice or sitting collecting virtual dust. The text below this paragraph is the previously unpublished post.

I''ll keep this short.  Barring a major change in the way they deal with service calls I'll never buy a Dell nor recommend that anyone else do so again. I've been less than impressed at times in the past when I contacted their support but had always managed to get a satisfactory resolution eventually.  This time I've come to the conclusion that I won't.  Both because they appear to be unwilling and I'm just not willing to invest any more of my time.

I've owned, used or bought in excess of two dozen Dell computers over the past fifteen years.  I've recommended that friends and family buy another half dozen or so in that time.  In the grand scheme of things I'm small potatoes to Dell but I've been a loyal customer for a long time and if they are treating me badly they are likely treating most people badly.

The facts, over the last few months my trusty Dell laptop has been showing increasing signs of trouble. It would crash, and when I rebooted I'd get a screen indicating it had over heated.  When I ran the diagnostics it would power itself off after some random amount of time without identifying the problem.

I dutifully opened a case with Dell and after a bit was able to get their support to dispatch parts to hopefully fix the problem.  This is where the problems began.  After a few days I got a call from one of their repair people; though to be clear, this person wasn't really a Dell employee.  He apparently works for a company that provides support for several different vendors including Dell.  I found this out when I called their support number and got asked for which of a handful of vendors my call was in regards to.  I was out of my office at the time of the call.  I received the voice mail within a couple of hours.  I called back at the number requested and ended up leaving a voice mail of my own.  I never received a call back.

To give a bit more background, I've been by turns either very busy at work with a big high pressure/time critical assignment or on vacation.  The first of those two facts has made it difficult for me to get home on short notice, even though I live very close to where I work.  Another fact is that I own another much smaller laptop, an Alienware M11X first generation that I've been using as a substitute.  Yes, the M11X is essentially a Dell product as well.  Which might explain why it powers itself off randomly while running on battery .  I'm going to have to put in a ticket for that soon.

Two weeks or so went by before I had a chance to get in contact with Dell again.  I was informed that they had tried to contact me numerous times (false) and that the parts had been returned and the incident closed.  After a bit of back and forth where they continued to insist that it was all my fault (great customer service that) they agreed to dispatch the parts again.  A few days later I got a call from a contracted Dell repair person.  We setup a time for the next morning for him to come to my home and do the repair.  Actually we setup a window.  I believe it was three hours.  Halfway through that window he called me to say he couldn't make it until late afternoon.  I'd already missed a couple of hours of work, something I couldn't really afford to do and I had commitments all afternoon.  We scheduled a window for the following afternoon.  I mistakenly heard that the window started at 2:30PM.  The tech thought it started at 2:00PM.  I arrived home at 2:20 and found a message on our answering machine.  The tech had arrived at 2:00, hung around for ten minutes and left.  He had also closed the ticket.  Yes, I was pissed but I'm smart enough to know that this sort of behavior is generally policy driven.  I don't know what Dell's contract with the company that provides repair support looks like but I suspect that there are clauses that encourage this kind of behavior. To be clear, it was the ticket closing part that pissed me off.

The tech and I had a brief conversation in which he suggested that I ask Dell's dispatch to just send a replacement laptop.  This sounded like an excellent idea to me, in part because I had suggested it to Dell after the first failed attempt. After a couple of weeks of arguing with Dell I'm convinced this is not going to happen. Their stance seems to be that it is all my fault that things have gone badly to date.

The laptop in question is nearly four years old.  The extended warranty is about to expire.  I can get a better laptop today for under $1000.   I already have a replacement built into my budget in the March 2011 time frame.   At this point I don't know which laptop I'll be buying then, but I know it won't be a Dell.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment