Dell Does It Again

In sum: Dell mishandled this transaction in almost every way possible: not keeping a record and passing information from one person in the line to the next; creating multiple records for the one transaction; accidentally labeling my machine “lost” which invalidated the warranty; failing to deliver the part when promised; then misinforming me about when the repair would take place. UPDATE 8/6: And now they’re still calling me to tell me that they don’t have the parts, when the repair has been made.  See below.

Oh, and they sent a big box with replacement rubbber feet, apart from the big box with the new screen, and the repair person has to send back the empty box the feet came in.

If you own stock in Dell — sell it!

UPDATE 8/6: Dell called me this morning to say that the parts hadn’t come in yet.  I told them that the parts came on Friday and the machine was repaired on Friday. They said that have no record of this and the case is still open.  Anyone want to make bets on how long Dell will keep trying?  

UPDATE 8/3/1:30 p.m. The end of the story: the good news, laptop is fixed. The almost-bad news, it was only an accident that I was here. Dell told me this morning the part hadn’t arrived and rescheduled me for next week; then the tech called at 12:30 pm, to say he was on his way. He said this happens all the time, that the scheduling gets messed up. I hadn’t planned to be in Berkeley at all, but a series of phone calls had delayed me — fortunately.

UPDATE 8/3 a.m.: Yesterday Dell called twice to schedule a repair call – they had this transaction in their system twice. (Down from 3 case numbers.) Wed. they told me they would overnight the part and scheduled me for a Thursday repair call. However, Thurs a.m. they called to say the part wasn’t in yet, and rescheduled for today, Friday. This morning, same thing – rescheduled for Monday. So — still waiting. And their “scheduling” is for a 4-hour window, so keeping my schedule open for them is a major inconvenience.

UPDATE: After I hung up, after 1.5 hours+ on the phone with them, I got three separate emails with 3 different case numbers for this one event.

Every time I go through this I swear never to buy another Dell product. But this is the last straw. I’ve spent an hour and a half going through 9 people, trying to get warranty service. Every time someone passed me on, someone new would come on the line to ask me all over again what she can do for me and who am I?

What astonishes me most is that Dell seems to keep no records of these transactions– every person I talked to asked for the same info over and over. No one ever knew what had happened before on this call, despite the fact that I was getting referred on because the first person needed the second person to resolve something. I had to tell each of them what the problem was and what had been attempted so far. No one seemed to know when it was flagged as lost (see below) or by whom — that was not in their records, either! I suspect someone in customer care hit the wrong key early on in today’s transaction, and it took several other people and an hour and a half of my time to resolve it.

It mystifies me that companies like Dell don’t seem to realize that poor customer support is almost as deadly as a bad product. I’ve been reading about their financial problems; I suspect that it hasn’t occurred to them that the solution lies at least in part in customer support.

First, I couldn’t even find on their website how to get warranty service. I had to use (and wait for) online chat to give me the phone # with a 7-digit extension #. Customer care said yes I was under warranty etc etc and passed me on to tech service; tech service says customer care flagged my machine as “lost” and they can’t service it. After I demanded to speak to a supervisor, they checked back with customer care. The cc person got me instead of the person in tech support she thought she was talking to — so they can’t run their phone system, either. Eventually I got tossed back to tech support, to someone who had no idea that she was getting an hour and a half-long problem and a truly irate customer.

The last time I had to have a repair, Dell refused to send out the new part until their local repair person sent in the old part. I pointed out that this was not under my control, that the part could roll around in the service person’s trunk for 6 months. The Indian service center (not the Texas one) agreed to send out a part. (The Texas center put me on hold and never came back.) When I had the same failure with the new part, a phone service rep told me how to fix it in safe mode — a 2 minute software adjustment that could have been done at the beginning, saving me 2 weeks without my computer. This last service rep explained that they have a time limit on how long they can spend on the phone with a repair problem, so when they max out their time without having figured it out, they declare something broken and in need of a new part as a way of ending the transaction.

In this case I do need a new part (the screen is cracked) — in theory, they are overnighting it and the local repair person should get it tomorrow. Stay tuned to see if they do.

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