A few days ago, I published a blog post titled Fuck Dell, where I chronicled the beginning of what has been probably the worst experience I’ve EVER had dealing with a company. Since that post was published, I’ve continued my quest for customer satisfaction without any success, so I wanted to take a moment and chronicle the rest of my experience with Dell, in the hopes that someone who is planning to buy from Dell will first hear about my experiences.
After my initial problems with Dell’s customer service, the next day I decided to both try their online customer service, as well as to phone them and speak to a supervisor. My phone call required 2 transfers, one hangup and call back, then 20 minutes of the representative trying to talk me out of talking to a supervisor, but I was finally able to be transferred to a supervisor. In addition to the problems I referenced in my last post, I also was having troubles getting the dual monitors to be extended to both screens. He was eventually able to help me fix this problem, but then transferred me to someone else to discuss returning the defective mouse, the incorrect monitor, etc.
The next representative I was transferred to was trying to sell me a new monitor instead of just letting me exchange the incorrect one for the one I needed. To make it worse, he kept suggesting monitors that weren’t compatible with the setup they built for me!! Finally I decided I would just return the monitor for a refund along with the defective mouse and be done with it. He instructed me that he would need to transfer me to ANOTHER person to handle the return. I ended up “conveniently” being disconnected during this transfer, so I gave up for the day.
That night I began installing software on the new PC (now that the dual monitors were functioning I was planning on at least keeping the hard drive and one monitor) and Vista kept freezing on me. When I rebooted the PC, I could no longer even get logged into the computer! I just kept getting a blank screen each time I rebooted the computer. The only way I could access it was via safe mode. At this point, I decided I was out too much time and wanted to cut my losses, so I decided to just be done with it and return everything for a refund.
The next day, after 3 transfers and a 30 minute hold time, I was finally able to speak to their return department. The representative then informed me that I would be charged a 15% restocking fee for my return despite the defective merchandise and the 21 day return policy which I was supposed to be given with my purchase. They wanted me to go back through their technical support again instead of accepting my return, but the thought of doing that made my head spin, so I declined.
After another 20 minutes I was finally able to get the return authorization information, the merchandise was packaged as best I could, and it was returned for what will hopefully be a full refund. If not, I will have to initiate a chargeback with our credit card company. (I will update this post with these results).
My Final Thoughts on Dell
For the past several years, I’ve been buying both desktop and laptop computers from Dell (2-3 annually as my wife and I wear out and upgrade computers quickly). Now, it will NEVER happen again. In fact, I wouldn’t wish the experience I’ve had with Dell on my worst enemy, which is why I’m publishing these two posts in the hope that someone will read this and know what they are getting into before they buy a Dell computer or other product.
I feel that I’ve been the victim of a bait and switch. When I called to place my order initially, I spoke to someone who was VERY helpful and worked hard to find me a computer to meet my needs at the price I wanted to pay. Once I crossed over from being a potential customer to being an existing customer, things changed quickly.
Their sales team all seems to be very friendly and spoke excellent English, but once I became an existing customer, everyone I spoke with (including supervisors) all spoke very broken English, which I think contributed heavily to my frustrations. In addition to the possible language barrier, over the course of 3 days and numerous calls, I had been transferred a total of 23 times, hung up on 3 times (“inadvertently” of course), and lost an entire weekend that could have been spent working or spending time with my wife and kids (I would estimate about 19 hours has been put into setup, tech support, and return). To make it worse, I was also forced to use a paid day off work to take care of packaging and returning the defective products.
From now on, I think I’m going to mostly be buying Apple products. After all, Apple’s products are so good that their customers advertise and promote their products for FREE because they enjoy them so much. I also like the idea of having an Apple store here locally where I can get face-to-face customer support. For my wife, she is a creature of habit and will be sticking with personal computers; however, these will all be purchased locally with local support. Right now, we are planning to go with DIT computers and I expect we will have a great experience.
Have a Dell customer service nightmare you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments below! My hope is that working together, we can educate as many potential Dell customers as possible about what they are getting into!