I’ve been away for a few weeks. Here’s why: I use to build my own personal computers. I have a friend who originally taught me how to do it, and it became both a hobby of passion and a way to save money. It’s usually cheaper to purchase the parts and build them yourself then it is to buy a PC already built.
Over the years I’ve managed to make more money working for my company and with that I decided that I no longer have the passion for building computers and save the money. It isn’t because it doesn’t interest me. I simply need time to devote to other things, like my wife and kids, or my passion for writing. So, six months ago I purchased a Dell. I needed an upgraded computer that would get me through the next 3-5 years. Along with the Dell I bought an extended warranty. My feeling was that if anything went wrong, I was covered for the next 2 years.
About 3 weeks ago my hard drive went out. That alone was pretty frustrating, but what followed made the experience worse and I began to question whether or not the warranty was worth it as well as Dell’s level of customer service. I started by going through Dell’s online chat to work out the details of my warranty. It took nearly 90 minutes. I would type a question, or answer to one of their questions and 7-8 minutes later I would get a response. If you shortened the response time from the Dell online service people the entire discussion would have taken less than 15 minutes. At one point they asked me to update my telephone number to ensure it was accurate. I did. I informed the person online that I updated my number. About 20 minutes later they asked me to do it again. I asked, “Did you just try to call me?” The online service person replied, “No.”
I replied, “Well, I just updated my number 20 minutes ago. It’s up to date. Do I really need to do it again?” The online service person replied, “No.”
About 20 minutes after that I was asked again to update my phone number. At this point I was starting to get frustrated. Not only was this taking a little too long, but it was as if I was dealing with a computer instead of a human being. I simply said I had already updated number and wasn’t going to do it again. No response. After running a test on my computer, which consisted of trying to boot it up, which it wouldn’t, and then telling the Dell online service person that it won’t boot up, I got a phone call. It was the guy I was online chatting with. He wanted me to try and boot it up again. I didn’t understand this right away since he had such a thick accent. I had to ask him to repeat himself a few times. He would slow his speech down and enunciate clearer. He asked, “Did you hit the power button?”
I almost laughed maniacally out of frustration. I responded, “Look. I’m not trying to be obnoxious, but I use to build my own computers. I know where the power button is. Yes, of course I tried that…I know what the problem is. The hard drive is burnt out. It’s been getting louder and louder for 2 weeks now. It’s done. I just need another one.”
Silence. I was hoping he was typing, but he wasn’t. About a minute later he says, “I’m sorry sir. Can you repeat that?”
At this point most folks would lose it. I didn’t, surprisingly. I repeated what I had said verbatim, and he then told me he’d send another hard drive. I didn’t understand that right away, so I had to ask him to repeat that several times. Eventually I was able to piece together the 3-4 times he repeated himself to understand that I was getting the new hard drive. We hung up and I waited.
About a week later I got a message on my cell from a local service repair man who said he had the hard drive and was ready to bring it to the house and install it. I was excited, but wasn’t able to return the call right away. I was in the midst of a quality assurance walk at work and needed to keep my focus on that. A few days had lapsed and the service repair man had called and left a message again. I called back the next day to arrange the appointment, but the local Dell service repair man told me he couldn’t schedule the appointment at that moment and for me to call back Monday. I could tell he was either at a bar or a party because it was loud and he sounded drunk. That’s fine. We’re all entitled to have a life outside of work, but it was early Friday afternoon. It wasn’t late afternoon or evening. It was early afternoon. I guess some people celebrate the weekend off earlier than others.
So, I called back Monday. The Dell service repair man had sobered up, but in his sobriety he had bad news. Because it was past 5 days for setting the appointment to fix my Dell computer the service repair man had to have the repair ticket reopened. The drawback was I had to do reopen the ticket, and I had to do it by calling Dell myself. Of course I asked why he just didn’t set the appointment when I called on Friday. He said he was “Busy.” Yes, you were. He also told me that he didn’t have any openings for 11 days. Heavy, heavy sigh. I told him, “How about this? Why don’t you just bring me the hard drive to where I work? I’ll take it and put it in myself. I can’t wait another 11 days. After I call the service center can you do that? Will you deliver it?”
He replied, “Where do you work?”
I told him where I worked, and luckily he was heading in that direction already. I called Dell. Once again, I got someone who I could barely understand. After several requests to repeat themselves, I finally understood what they wanted to do. The Dell online service person wanted to send me another hard drive and start the process all over again. I told them as calmly as possible, “Listen to me please. The hard drive is already within 10 miles of where I work. If you send me another hard drive it’s just going to delay the repair for another 2 weeks, if not more. Just reopen the ticket so I don’t have to go through this again. I’m tired of waiting. I just want my hard drive.” They complied and I called the Dell service repair man back and told him the ticket was reopened. He told me he was on his way.
Once the hard drive showed up, I asked the service repair man why I had to get the ticket reopened? Why couldn’t he just do it? He frowned and said, “Well, in order for me to get paid the customer has to get the ticket reopened. I can’t just do it myself. If I did it they’d think I was trying to get paid for not doing the work.”
I asked looked at him sternly and said, “You didn’t do any repair work though. Do you still get paid for hand delivering the part?” He replied that he did. You may be able to guess my next question. It goes something like this: “So, couldn’t you have just given me the part anyway? You know, without me reopening the ticket?”
The answer from his lips: Yes. He could have. Simply amazing. I went through reopening the ticket just so he could get paid to hand deliver it. As he left my work I started to open the box. I expected to see a brand new 500 gig Samsung hard drive. That’s what I purchased. That’s what I expected to get. Instead I got a 500 gig Western Digital hard drive that had a large sticker on it that read “Refurbished.”
I could have called Dell to complain. My argument would have been: My computer is 6 months old and you send me a previously used hard drive? I can understand if it was 2 years. I could understand if it was 1 year, but 6 months? That is completely unacceptable. The first hard drive was obviously defective.
Here’s where I’m at though. I’m not going to call and complain. I’m not going to write a letter or send an email. You know why? Throughout this entire experience I learned one thing about Dell Incorporated: They simply do not care about their customers. They don’t have customer service representatives that can help their customers in a timely manner. They don’t have customer service representatives that speak English clearly. Their service repair people are only interested in getting paid, especially if it means never having to work for it, and when something is defective you will get a used part to replace it and not a new part as you should if the defective part is 6 months old or less. If I complain now it will do nothing. I won’t get quick service. I won’t get someone who understands me or who I understand. I won’t get a brand new part that is exactly what I paid for originally and worst of all: Even if I did get all those things it might take 2-3 weeks before it all gets done.
The only thing I’m going to do as a consumer is begin my research now as to who will provide me with that level of service I need when I start shopping for a computer again. Granted, it may be a while. Additionally, I may find that I might just have to build my own computers again because in the end no one will treat me as well as I treat myself.
That is where I’ve been for a few weeks. My advice: Don’t buy Dell Computers.