Twelve Months Of Hell With Dell - UPDATE

  Andrew P 19:22 15 May 2003

Hi all,

I have decided to create this topic as a follow up to my original topic ‘Twelve Months of Hell With Dell’ - click here to read it - to save you having to read through it all to find the new replies. The current situation with Dell is as follows:

I was phoned on Wednesday 7th May at 8:51am by Debjani, who said she was dealing with this case and would call back by 9:30am. I was phoned back at the time given by Debjani again, she said that, owing to the severity of the case, she had to get someone else to deal with it, and that they would phone me back by 12:00pm. At 12:05, I was called by Debjani again, who asked if I’d been contacted by the ‘other person’ who she said would deal with my case. I said I’d heard nothing, and she promised they’d call me within 15 minutes! 6 days later (13th May), and I was still waiting! I decided to call Customer Care and asked to speak to Debjani again. After being put on hold for 5 minutes, they said she would phone back before 8PM! Amazingly, I got a call from her at 11:18am. She said that she could offer me a replacement computer – a Dell Dimension 8250. (Mine was an 8200 but they don’t make those anymore). When I said that I wanted a refund she said that they could not and would not under any circumstances refund my money – she said that they never did this as Dell are the best, and no-one should ever ask Dell for a refund in the first place, whatever that meant. She wasn’t giving in, and said that the new computer would be far superior to my current one anyway. So I asked her for a full 3 year on-site warranty with the new one, as I had paid for it on my current computer and there were still 1½ years remaining on it. She said she would check if this was possible and ring back. A phone call from her at around 11:30am confirmed this – should I decide to accept the new computer I would get a 3 year on-site warranty starting from the day it was received. I then asked for a DIGITAL TFT Flat Panel Monitor (my first choice which was unavailable at the time of my original order). This was refused, but I insisted, saying that they had replaced a perfectly good monitor with a faulty one previously – details of this are included in my report which you can read by clicking the link above. Again, she said she would check and phone back. Another call at 12.21pm, and Debjani confirmed the monitor change. She asked for my email address so that she could send me the specifications of the new computer, and asked me to contact her directly be email in future. The email she sent to me is below:


Hello Mr.P******,
This is with regard to the system swap.I have booked a Dimension
8250 system with the following specifications.

Intel Pentium 4 Processor 2.4GHz
3 Year On-Site Next Business Day Service Support
1024MB Rambus RDRAM (Includes 128MB FREE)
120GB IDE Hard Drive (7200 rpm)
64MB nVidia GeForce4 MX420 Graphics Card (TV OUT)
16x DVD Drive with PowerDVD Software and 48x CD-Rewriter Drives
Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition
Dell 56k Data/Fax/Voice Modem
Dell Picture Studio Standard Edition
Microsoft® Office XP Small Business
Dell Standard Keyboard
Microsoft PS/2 Intelli Mouse
Harman Kardon 695 Speakers with Subwoofer
Dell 15" Flat Panel Monitor

The referance number for the swap is ***********.The new system will
be delivered to you within 15 working days.The old system will be collected
back in and around 06/06/2003.
Please mail me back in case of any doubts.

Thanks & Regards,
Debjani Bhattacharya
Customer Issues Management Team
EMEA Voice
Dell International Services


On examining the email, I realised that Debjani had already ordered the new computer without my consent! At no point was I told this, and I had not even said that I actually wanted to go ahead with the system swap. Also, the Graphics card that I was being offered (and apparently had accepted) is right at the bottom end of the GeForce4 series, and the Graphics card in my present computer, a GeForce3 Ti500, is at the very top end of the GeForce3 series. As you can see from this chart: click here (thanks to Rayuk for the link) my current card is far superior to the one in the new computer, not the other way round as Debjani had said.

  Andrew P 19:23 15 May 2003

Also, there was no sound card listed, but there were speakers. Obviously you need a sound card to get sound from the computer to the speakers. I emailed back, asking if I could have a better graphics card instead, for example a GeForce4 Ti4200, Ti4600 or Ti4800, and the reason why, and also what sound card (if any) was included. That was on Tuesday, 13.05.03 at 5:13pm. As yet I have had no reply. I feel that the computer I am being offered is only worth around £1500, whereas I paid £2107.25 for my current one. If I had a refund I would be able to purchase a much better computer. There is also a computer on the Dell website which seems rather good, and I would much prefer that to the one that is being offered if I still cannot get a refund. It costs £1974.52 which is still £133 less than what I paid. It is the same as the one above, except it is an 8300 model with a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 Processor, 128MB ATI Radeon 9800 Graphics card, a Creative Audigy 2 sound card and Altec Lansing 745 speakers with Subwoofer, and a free Lexmark X75 Printer/Scanner/Copier. What do you think about this? I have sent another email to Debjani today (15.05.03) saying that the 8300 above or a full refund of £2107.25 are the only solutions I am prepared to accept. It is also worth noting that, when I wrote my letters of complaint to Dell in Texas USA and Bracknell UK, I gave them 14 days to provide a satisfactory response to my complaints and requests. Those 14 days end today. What do you recommend I do now?

Thanks very much for all your help so far.
Andrew P :o)

  rickf 15:47 16 May 2003

Don't forget that the price of Pcs have come down greatly your original would have depreciated therefore the present offer. It depends on whether you have the stomach to keep wrangling over this. It could take another year. If I were you I would cut my losses and lesson learnt about Dell and accept the offer.n Its a co. ag. you and they have all the time in the world. In the meantime you are the one missing out. I am not being unsympathetic but rather trying to find and end to this nightmare.

  Andrew P 13:45 18 May 2003

Thanks for your opinion, but I think that this has gone on far too long for me to just give up. If I do, then everything that myself and others on this forum have done to try and resolve this matter would have been pointless, and Dell will get away with treating myself and other customers like this, which I certainly do not want to happen. If you haven’t already done so, you might want to read my original thread ‘Twelve Months Of Hell With Dell’ (linked to in my post above). This contains details of everything that happened between Dell and myself from December 2001(the time of my original order) to December 2002, and unfortunately, pretty much all of it is bad.

I would like to ask anyone reading this post to think about the following questions:

Would you expect to have a Graphics Card costing £250 replaced with one costing only £50? (Prices from click here)

Would you expect to have your computer ordered without your consent, and without even knowing the specifications of it?

Would you expect to have a computer with a high quality sound card exchanged for one without any sound card at all?

Would you expect to be told that the computer you are receiving is ‘far superior’ to your current computer, only to find out that only the processor is – everything else is either the same or worse? Yes, I know the CD-RW drive is better, but even the fastest CD-RW drives only cost £30-£60 these days, so it doesn’t really make any difference. Also, I was told I would be receiving a digital monitor, not an analogue one as I currently have. But how can I be sure of this – it doesn’t say what type of monitor I am getting on the order confirmation.

Would you expect all emails sent to the person in charge of your order and complaints to be ignored? Debjani requested that I did this if I had any queries about my order, but I have had no reply to the 2 emails sent to her last week.

Would you expect to be given a reference number for your order which, according to Dell’s website, doesn’t exist?

What would you prefer – A computer costing around £1500 or a refund of £2107.25?

Finally, What would you do if you were in the same situation as me?

Thanks for reading,
Andrew P :o)

  rickf 14:30 18 May 2003

Have you contacted Trading Standards and also your Credit Card co? You can also ask the consumer association to have a look at your case. It seems its a worthy enough case for them to take up on your behalf. Since you have gone this far, it seems to be worth a try. The professionals may carry more weight with Dell.I agree that you have been treated very badly.

  Forum Editor 15:09 18 May 2003

Once you accept a swap you'll be accepting the new machine in lieu of your original one, and you must forget about monetary values.

It's quite possible that the new machine will be equal to, or better than your original specification in terms of performance, and will cost less - that's not unusual, given the rate at which technology prices change. I suggest that you put the matter of the cost to one side and concentrate on what you're getting. If you had been offered the swap machine specification for £2107.25 when you originally placed your order would you have bought it? I suspect that you would.

You mustn't expect to get a new machine to the same value as your original order because that won't happen, and I don't think that Trading Standards or anyone else would support you in that sort of claim. I'm focusing on what will be the best solution for you, and I think you might consider taking the swap - get Dell to confirm on the monitor type before agreeing though.

My answer to your final question would be "Take the swap and get on with my computing life", but there's no need for you to agree - you may decide to pursue the matter with Trading Standards yourself. I wouldn't let my irritation with Dell's customer service inefficiencies cloud my judgment - the important thing is to get yourself a good, working computer and Dell are offering you a brand new one.

  terminus 15:36 18 May 2003

and very well put F.E

  Andrew P 15:48 18 May 2003

Many thanks for your responses. I'll let you know if and when the new system arrives.

Andrew P :o)

  kagan 16:59 18 May 2003

Hi, I am looking to buy a new pc and have looked at dell as well as others....i have read about your continuing problem (I confess i have not read the previous 12 months) but i have found some perfectly happy customers and not so happy customers talking in various forums whilst researching what pc to buy ( my budget is £2500)this includes all!!! of my shortlisted companies..Dell..Evesham..Mesh...Multivision (who seem to have the best package). I now have no idea, who to buy from thanks to these forums and i have also, in the past been sold crap parts for upgrades to my old pc, but thats another story.... i do sympathies with you as other people do but i do not think i could be so consistant as are to be admired..anyway i do believe, it is a lottery out there..and you have to buy what you feel is right at the time..good luck in what you decide to do and wish me luck as, i go round in circles trying to buy the right pc Ps it is the first ever forum i have joined in so i hope i have made sense...

  Forum Editor 18:09 18 May 2003

Don't be deterred from buying from a particular manufacturer, simply because you read about a few bad experiences.

Most companies have problems at some point in their production/delivery/support cycle, and Dell is the world's largest producer of computers - they're bound to get the odd few dissatisfied customers. They undoubtedly have tens of thousands of very happy customers as well, so bear that in mind.

What really does come across in the forum - and we've been running for long enough to get a good idea now - is that some manfacturers and suppliers pay far more attention to aftersales customer service than do others. Regular forum members know who those companies are, which ones are trying to improve, and which ones don't appear to care less. We aren't going to start a list here (or in any other thread), but if you watch the forums for a while you'll start to develop a feel for who the culprits are.

The bee in my personal bonnet is the apathy that some suppliers seem to feel when it comes to dealing with people. Emails aren't answered, calls aren't returned, and delivery/collection promises are broken, almost on a routine basis.
Everyone makes mistakes, and we can all find it in ourselves to forgive that - once the necessary apology has been made, and steps taken to remedy the fault.

This year we're going to major on customer service in the forum, we'll be fair, and there will be no witch hunts, but any manufacturers or suppliers who think they can get away with treating our members shabbily are in for a rough ride.

  Magik™ 18:49 18 May 2003

as the boss man above said, dont be put off, I have the Dell8200 laptop and it is the best thing since sliced bread...

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