Dell Problems - Why Did I Do It?

  bfoc 18:18 09 Jan 2004

As anyone who has read any of my posts will know I always recommend Evesham and also that I call myself unlucky.

I needed to order a new laptop and decided, stupidly I now think, to order an Inspiron 8600 from Dell instead. I had an amount to spend, and Dell's offers meant I could get a bit more for that amount of money and of course it does well in PCA's reviews.

Ordering was OK. Got 12 months interest free finance and 2 seperate confirmations of specs. Confirmed delivery date as I needed fully working machine by 12/1/04. They took just under a week to deliver, great.

Unfortunately the screen was not the 1900x1200 I had ordered! I'd paid the extra partly because there is a long running saga on Dell boards about one of their screens being well below published specs. Also the wireless network would go to sleep, take ages to download pages and just was not working right. There was also some background program which wouldn't close properly when shutting down Windows.

Rang tech support on Weds 7th Jan, where I was assured:
1. I had the screen I had ordered.

2. That the resolution I was talking about was not available on an Inspiron 8600, only on an external monitor.

3. That even if it was available (?) the graphics card didn't support it.

4. As long as the screen was fully covered all was fine.

I explained I was sure he was totally wrong and he said he would check and ring me back shortly. No phone call came.

On 8/1/04 I rang Tech Support again and after a long wait whilst the person checked things out he confirmed that I had the wrong screen. He offered to arrange an engineer to come and swap screens. I was willing to consider that but also wanted the wireless connection and rogue program sorted. He said I should speak to Customer Care. At first he tried to put me through, but couldn't. He then promised they would phone back 'shortly, certainly today'. Nobody called.

Phoned Customer Care today and asked to speak to a Supervisor. Gave details and said I wanted a call back in 2 hours. No call came. Phoned back and was told I would be put through to a manager, got an answering machine! Phoned again and was told they would try to sort the matter out, but wouldn't be able to do anything until Monday (when I'll be away). Wanted to put me through to Tech support, again, but eventually promised a call from a Supervisor today. Nothing!

I wanted this to work, I didn't want hassle and I need the machine in a couple of days!

I really feel now that I'll just have to reject the machine, cancel the finance and go back to ordering a new machine. I'm just narked at all the hassle and yes, at myself, for not accepting a marginally lower spec and sticking with Evesham.

I just can't believe that Dell, whom I've used before, can care so little about a £2,000+ order and have 'developed' such dreadful Customer 'Care' systems.

I bet they don't have a presence here!

  bfoc 19:41 09 Jan 2004

Just had a call from a supervisor! Great a step forward.

Unfortunately he started to day that having 'checked the paperwork' I did have the correct screen!. Two steps back.

After some discussion and after I asked him to read what Tech Support said yeterday he agreed he needed to get things checked. Promised a call back Monday, but I said I wouldn't be here then. So promised a call Tuesday.

I think I might fax them saying that if they can get a correctly specified and properly working machine out to me within a short time frame and collect this machine at the same time I'll consider it. But should I just accept the disruption a delay would cause and order a different one?

  Al94 19:53 09 Jan 2004

You are entitled to get exactly what you ordered and working properly as you would expect. Don't cave in as it will lead to heartache in the long term. Give them till Tuesday to see what solution they propose. If you don't like it,reject the machine supplied immediately in writing copied to the finance company and start again.

  bfoc 20:01 09 Jan 2004

That is just what I feel. My only thought is whether to wait until Tuesday to reject it!

It is so frusrating that this will then have taken a week to begin to sort out.

Just before Christmas I got a refurbished digital camera from Morgan auctions. It had a fault and I emailed them. Yhey got a replacement out the same day and picked up the old one at the same time! That for something costing under £300.

Dell will miss out on £2000+ simply because nobody seems able to make a decision, they all follow scripts and want to pass the problem elsewhere.

  Al94 20:06 09 Jan 2004

Well done Morgan, nice to see there are some outstanding firms out there. Nothing is going to happen over the weekend and you're away on Monday, so enjoy the break and start in earnest on Tuesday. Good luck!

  Forum Editor 22:18 09 Jan 2004

that a company can blithely continue to operate a customer service program on this kind of basis.

The one thing that is destined to inflame a customer with a problem is a promise of a call-back that never happens - it's tantamount to saying "My company doesn't care enough about you, our customer, to even bother to stick to its word. We will make you a promise that won't be kept, in the hope that you'll go away and not bother us again". Time and again I've sat here and read threads like this one (often, but not always about Dell) and felt myself getting angry, and I'm not the one on the receiving end of this travesty of a customer service operation. I couldn't blame you if you told Dell what to do with their non-functional computer, and took your custom elsewhere.

Quite a while ago I wrote to Michael Dell about the way that failed delivery promises were cropping up in our forum on a regular basis. The company blamed the courier service they were using, and the couriers blamed Dell - you get the picture. I wrote to the man at the top because Michael prides himself on what he calls "The soul of Dell" - a five point plan that Michael sees as ......well, the soul of Dell I suppose. Point number one, the key element that comes right at the top of Michael's list is:

"We believe in creating loyal customers by providing a superior experience at a great value.We are committed to direct relationships, providing the best products and services based on standards-based technology, and outperforming the competition with value and a superior customer experience."

See that bit that says "We are committed to direct relationships"? That's what prompted me to write directly to Michael. I thought that perhaps, just perhaps, there was a chance that here was a man who believed in living his philosophy, in listening to his customers,having a direct relationship with them in fact. That was over six months ago, and I'm still waiting for an answer.......from anyone in the Dell organisation, never mind Michael himself. Now, once again we see an example of a huge company's staff showing that they haven't got the faintest idea about how to relate to the people who buy their products.

  Sir Radfordin 22:36 09 Jan 2004

What I've never understood about Dell is the difference in service that businesses get to individual customers. I've only ever dealt with them through an account manager/company situation and have had excellent service but so many individuals do seem to have problems.

One thing that did annoy me was that you had to listen to 80 seconds of waffle before you got given the first option in their call handling system. Just thankful I was never paying for those calls!

Hope you get it sorted quickly.

  bfoc 22:48 09 Jan 2004

You express exactly what I feel.

Some 5/6 years ago I bought a Dell machine which had a relatively minor fault, the sound cable was missing from the CD to the sound card. It was dealt with immediately and correctly, they sent me one in 3 days (over New Year), sent out an engineer and gave me some smallish upgrade free of charge as 'it shouldn't have happened'. That machine still works, albeit slowly.

The Dell 'service' is polite, controlled and Kafaesque. Each time you are taken through the same process, virtually word for word, and then the same 'solutions' word for word are gone through. Then if it is Customer Care they suggest you speak to Tech Support and if it is Tech Support they suggest Customer Care. Sometimes, perhaps for variety, they say only the 'team who took your order' can deal with it!

The truth is nobody is dealing with it, they just try to pass you around and around.

In May 2003 Roger Wilson, Dell's communications director said, quoted in the Guardian, the company's problems stemmed from the systems it had in place for handling complaints.

"We are guilty, like lots of big companies, of measuring things that are important to us and not the customer.

One fundamental issue, he adds, centres on the way the company monitors complaints. Like most telephone-based retailers it tapes conversations between staff and customers. But it only measures how well the call has been handled. Each of the 25 or more calls I put in were dealt with politely and the company's procedures were always followed, as far as I could tell. But no one was monitoring how well my case was progressing and that, says Mr Wilson, is where the system fell down.

We are now putting in place a monitoring system that addresses this fault-line in our operations," Mr Wilson says.'

If it's there I haven't seen any sign and the fault line is as big as ever.

Practically, my problem is that I cannot order a new machine until the Dell situation is sorted and the machine was being bought with a grant related to my disabilities. I need it by the end of the week and it isn't going to be there.

Perhaps I'm daft for being 'seduced' away from players like Evesham by good offers, but I was trying to maximise the real value of this once-only grant!

  Kilobyte 00:40 10 Jan 2004

The delltalk forums seem to illustrate these problems even more. Just take a look at the boards:

click here

  bfoc 19:13 10 Jan 2004

I've faxed a letter to Dell Customer Care UK and also emailed one of their 'bigwigs' with a copy.

I have also confirmed, by going into the BIOS, that I do NOT have the screen ordered, confirmed and paid for. So 1 Tech Support person and 1 Supervisor are totally wrong! Though to be fair one was quite right.

Maybe a 1 in 3 ratio of success is OK for Dell? Mind you if I then count in the others who did nothing but pass me around the even partly successful rate becomes about 1:7!

I'll update when I hear anything!

  bfoc 16:53 13 Jan 2004

I received an email from Aongus Hegarty on Monday morning first thing,good, apologising for what had happened and promising someone would be in contact answering my points that day.

As of now I have had no emails, letters, faxes, phone calls, text messages or smoke signals from anyone at Dell, not even the supervisor who promised to get back to me last Friday!

Just phoned Customer 'Care' (do you think they've missed a 'Don't' out somewhere?) to see if I can speak to the Supervisor who was meant to contact me. The 'agent' instead of doing as I asked follwed the 'script' and tried to tell me everything was fine and I had what I had ordered! Made clear I wanted Supervisor who was to have 'investigated' matter to contact me.

Emailed Aongus Hegarty again to inform him of deafening silence.

Am waiting more in hope than expectation.

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