Dell is a company that had so much promise. It has squandered that good will not only once, but twice. A few years back, with their stock prices in the tank and complaints about bad service at an all-time high, Dell's management made a decision to start listening to bloggers and try to improve their service.
Along the way, they lost their reasoning skills. At least in my situation, they've lost their common sense.
My story is a bit complicated. I bought three new laptop computers from April 2008-May 2008. A slight detour occurred in the Fall of 2009 when two of the three computers were stolen from my home. The replacement computers turned out to be clunkers.
For simplicity's sake, I'll name my computers for easy reference. My computer is #1, my oldest daughter's is #2, and my youngest's is #3.
Computer number one started acting up soon after I bought it. While typing on the keyboard, all of a sudden, the cursor would jump around and go somewhere else. It didn't seem to correlate with touching the mouse keypad on the computer. It was random and maddening. This still happens all the time. Dell has acknowledged this problem and offered to send me a new computer. There are thousands of posts on this site from hundreds of others who have experienced the problem too.
Computers number 2 & 3 were stolen from my home in August. Both of my kids were set to start college in less than two weeks after that. So, I called Dell to try to get some guidance as to how I could replace both machines for less money (I have insurance which covered it, but after a $1000 deductible obviously had less money to work with). I tried to call Dell, but didn't want to talk to someone in India. But I called the customer service line anyway. No one there really understood my problem.
I finally got a hold of a guy named Jubal in Dell's twitter sales team. He was a nice guy,and I ordered two more brand new machines. This is when the problems all started.
I had already purchased Office student and Home for the original stolen computers, but Dell did not send me a disk, they just pre-installed them. So now I was faced with the prospect of buying the software again, or just using my disk. I used mine to install on both of their machines. So Dell, now you know why you should always send the software you sell people!!! BECAUSE I MIGHT NEED IT AGAIN!!!!! Plus, it's MINE. I bought it.
Then, computer #1, still having the annoying jumpy cursor issue, now started having a much more serious problem. When my iPod is plugged in, I cannot access Windows Explorer. However, before I figured that out, I called Dell. I talked to a lovely young lady on Diwali. She had to work that day because so many of her co-workers had the day off. Since I spent six hours on the phone with her that day, we became friends. Turns out, Diwali is one of the most important holidays in India. I almost felt sorry for her because she had to spend six hours on the phone with me, but then I was charged $183.14 for the privilege. Only hours after completing Dell's suggested "fix," my computer started doing the same thing over again.
In early February, computer #2 mysteriously went black. It would not start. It was dead. Then a week later, computer #3 had the famous "blue screen of death" and would not start.I reached out to @teamblackhawk on Twitter and received no response.
Since I had already experienced Dell's inconvenient and inaccurate diagnosis and inability to fix machine #1, I asked a friend who he recommended. That is how I connected with Jason of Iowa PC Services. I left the machines in his care more than two week ago. The diagnosis? Machine #2's hard drive had failed. All data lost. Machine #3 was a software failure. Not a surprise since it has Windows Vista in it. I had ordered a Window 7 upgrade a few weeks before and not had the chance to install it. I had not been send another upgrade for machine #3, and when Jason inquired in February, they told him the offer had expired January 30, 2010. Thanks, Dell, for going the extra mile. How hard would it have been to just send the damn thing out?
I felt my last resort was to start tweeting my displeasure. On February 17, @LionelatDell started following me and got me connected with Brad. I had a very frank conversation with him about how this whole situation had inconvenienced me.
Here is the text of his email to me, with a fairly decent offer. But he ignored my request to be reimbursed for the estimate $650 repair that Jason is making to computers #2 and #3.
Claire, I have looked into this and here are the current solutions we would like to offer.
1. Exchange your system to a new system (same model) with Windows 7 (Please note new exchanges can take 10-15 business days). Please note that the remaining warranty will transfer to the replacement system. (Claire's note: If this is not an admission that my computer is a lemon, I don't know what it is)
2. Credit the Dell on Call charge (call to India) to the original form of payment.
3. Send out the other Windows 7 Upgrade disk that your daughter is entitled to.
4. Send out Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 (this is the version of the software that allows 3 licenses to be used in the same household) located here: http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Business_and_Office/productdetail.aspx?c=us&l=en&cs=19&sku=A0754540 If receiving this software is not going to work, let me know and we can credit your account $140.00 instead.
Please let me know if this is agreeable, and if it is, the shipping address you would like to use. On a side note this is not something we normally offer and a big exception to our normal policy, but after discussing this with you I feel these will be the best solutions for you. If you have any questions please let me know.
Brad Laurich Community Liaison
This last paragraph is very telling. Notice, there is no apology for the time I've wasted trying to get this situation fixed. And for good measure, they've let me know that making something right and trying to make a customer happy is not something they normally offer.
When I emailed back to inquire about the $650 expense I'm incurring for fixing computers #2 and #3, here was Brad's response:Unfortunately this is not something we will be able to do. We can still put through the other items I sent in my previous email, but we cannot pay for charges to a 3rd Party Service Provider.
Brad Laurich, Dell
Ok then, Brad, Lionel, and Michael Dell, that is not acceptable. I will be following up with letters to the Better Business Bureau, the Iowa Attorney General's consumer division and will be filing a claim in court to get my $650 reimbursement. I refuse to be held accountable for the mistakes of a multi-billion dollar company that should know better.
Dude, I'm gettin' a Mac!
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