Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dell Customer Care Sucks - Do Not Buy From Dell Outlet!

Wow, the Consumerist picked up my story!  Thanks!
Update Down Below - Just heard from Dell!

Do Not Buy from the Dell Outlet! 

I am going to share with you some of the worst customer "service" I have every experienced as a CORPORATE ACCOUNT holder.

I used to happily recommend to friends/family and businesses to purchase their computer equipment and laptops from the Dell outlet. I would use the same reasoning that Dell uses to sell their products in the Dell outlet - that the warranty is the same as a new piece of equipment.

Well, I just found that out to be untrue. As a matter of fact, I am so unhappy with Dell at this point that our business may in fact stop using them as a vendor at all moving forward.

Here is where it started. Three weeks ago, I ordered a Dell Latitude E6410 from the outlet. It costs around $1,200 - so even as a "refurb" it still was not a cheap machine. I usually only purchase new equipment for my business, but in this instance, Dell recently discountinued the E6410 series to replace with the E6420, and I still need some of the E6410s to keep my staff all using the same equipment. I received the laptop, and after a couple of days went to configure it, along with the other 4 similar E6410 machines I purchased at the same time.

Low and behold, this particular laptop was completely dead on arrival. No big deal, or so I thought.

And just so everyone knows that I am not embelishing, I actually have a call accounting system installed on my phone so was able to log every single call (and the length of each call). This is to the 800-456-3355 phone number as well as the 800-www-dell number.

So Let's Go Through It All:

Wed May 18th - 1 Hour 15 Minutes (Computer troubleshooting)
Tried to troubleshoot battery, powercords, monitor, hard drive, etc to get the laptop to turn on.

Thursday, May 19th - 36 Minutes (Call #1)
Total hold time 32 minutes
Total time speaking with person 4 minutes
I call into Dell "Small and Medium Business" support. After a very long wait, I am greeted by "Mr.Tom" (from India) I am told that their systems are down due to an upgrade and that they cannot help me. Please call back later today. ..... This is just sad, a COMPUTER COMPANY that is doing an upgrade in the middle of the day!

Thursday, May 19th - 52 Minutes (Call #2)
Total hold time 28 minutes round one
Total time speaking with person 14 minutes
Total hold time round 2, 10 minutes
I am told by "Mike" (from India) that the systems are still down, but he will attempt to help me anyhow. He then attempts to find my system's "service tag" - which is a Dell unique identifier for each system" However, he comes back on the phone and says that because my system is so new (it had shipped over a week before), that it still was not in their tech support system. He could see it in his sales system, and validate that I purchased it, but was unable to help me until his system was updated. He then told me that the only immediate course of action would be to contact customer care and ask them to send it back. He then transfers me into another queue. I sit in this queue for another 10 minutes and decide to hang up for the day, since it is now almost 6:30 PM.

Friday, May 20th - 24 Minutes (Call #1)
Total hold time 8 minutes
Total talking time 16 Minutes
I call in again. Don't remember this Indian's name, but I think it was "Rachel" in tech support. I ask immediately to speak with a manager and she tells me that she cannot do that. I go through the process of giving her a service tag, and am again told to call back later as their systems were still down.

Friday, May 20th - 18 Minutes (Call #2)
Total hold time 11 minutes
Total talking time 7 Minutes
I wait till the afternoon and call customer care small and medium business directly. I am greeted by another Indian, don't remember which American sounding name he game himself. I attempt to explain to him the situation, and he literally starts to raise his voice and tells me that I have to call tech support. I explain that I called them and they told me that I had to call customer care. I then ask to speak to a manager. He says "NO". Then he says, he has to follow procedure, I have to talk to tech support. I say again, "I want to speak to a manager immediately". He screams "NO" and hangs up the call.

Friday, May 20th - 13 Minutes (Call #3)
Total hold time 13 minutes
Was on hold the entire time and decided to hang up.

Friday, May 20th - 16 Minutes (Web and Email)
I stumbled around Dell's horribly unorganized support site for a while and finally found an email address to send my issue to. I drafted an email with my issues, and received an auto-receipt telling me they would call me back within 24 - 48 business hours.

Monday, May 23rd - 18 Minutes (Call)
Total Hold Time 7 Minutes
Was on hold, then finally reached a representative. They told me the system was still down. I hung up.

Tuesday, May 24th - 6 Minutes Call
Total Hold Time 4 Minutes
Finally got through to India! Systems are up! - But, they inform me that since I submitted a request for resolution via email that there was nothing they could do, and someone would be in touch for instructions to return the system.

Wed, May 25th - 1 Minute (Email)
I get a phone call prompty at 12:10 PM EDT - while I am at lunch. Good thing I wrote in that email the best times to call, since they just ignored it anyhow. So, they don't leave a message and then call my cell, which I did not answer either - and they left no message again.

Then they send me an email telling me they tried to call, and they tell me to call back to Joy-Anne or "Jat" in customer care.

Wed, May 25th - 3 Minutes (Call #1)
I call "Jat" and leave a message.

Wed, May 25th - 7 Minutes (Call #2 & an Email)
After an hour and a half I call again and send an email. I also send an email to "Karen" who is listed as Jat's manager.

Wed, May 25th - 20 Minutes (Call #3)
Jat finally calls me back. She really doesn't even want to hear the story, she just processes the claim as a return, and never offers me a replacement laptop. She sends me an email with an RMA number in it and explains to me on the phone that I have to follow the instructions she will send and print out a shipping label. I have 10 days to return the laptop and then it can take up to 30 days for them to refund my money. Even though I am not happy about it, I agree to give her my email address.

Wed, May 25th - 2 Minutes (Shipping Label Email)
After the call is complete, I get an label via email from Jat. It does not have much information on it, other than a ship to address with the name "Spore" and the phone number "999-999-9999" and Dell Nashville. as well as an RMA number and my senders address.

Wed, May 25th - 2 Minutes (Issue Resolved Email)
Four minutes, yes FOUR MINUTES after she sent the shipping label, she sent another email asking if I got the shipping label. Additionally, the email said the case was closed and "I am glad to know that you were satisfied with the level of service I provided to you." -funny, I don't remember saying that...

Wed, May 25th - 2 Minutes (I emailed Jat's boss Karen)
As a matter of principle, I emailed Karen and said that I was NOT satisfied with the service and would like to speak to someone about the incident. I never heard anything back..

Tuesday, May 31st - 10 Minutes (Packaging)
I package up the laptop, print off the labels, and write the RMA number on the box. - Oh, I also took a photo of it for good measure.

Tuesday, May 31st - 25 Minutes (Shipping)
I send my assistant to the FedEx store to drop off the box. FedEx looks up the RMA number in the system, and says that Dell has not authorized the payment, and my assistant has to pay $35 with his own credit card.

Tuesday, May 31st - 10 Minutes
I email Jat and Karen and ask about a refund. 1 hour goes by and I have no response from either of them.

Tuesday, May 31st - (1 Hour and 4 Minutes)
I call customer care to get a refund for the FedEx expense. I get through after 5 minutes, and immediately ask for a manager. I have to spend 3 more minutes explaining why. I sit on hold for 5 minutes. I then get "Maria Mercel". Where these Indians come up with their names from, I will never know. I explain to her the whole situation and she frantically types away. She comes back and says that I need to dispute the charges with FedEx. At this point, I had F*$king had it! I told her that I would absolutely not be dealing with FedEx, they needed to resolve the issue immediately.

More pounding on a keyboard and then dead silence for a couple minutes until I ask if she is still there; "our procedure 'Mr. William' is that...bla bla bla" Then she tries to offer me a case number. I refuse another case number and demand that she resolve my issue.

She then says it is my fault because I did not follow instructions. When I tell her I have proof she asks me to email it to her, which I do. After another 15 minutes or so, she is dead silent again. I again have to ask if she is still there. I firmly believe that she was just hoping I would hang up. Anyhow, after asking, she comes back on the line and says that she is refunding my Fedex charges but it could take up to 10 days. She then tries to say the issue is resolved and indicates that I am lucky that they could make an exception since I was the one that made a mistake - THIS IS AFTER I SENT HER PROOF OF DELL's MISTAKE!

I tell her I want to speak to a manager, about the whole incident, not this particular issue. She then puts me "on hold" for five minutes of silence. I finally speak up and say "I am not hanging up". She then comes back on the line immediately and says, "Oh, can you hear me now?" I said, I am still waiting for a transfer. She says, oh yes, this is now "Karen", I am a manager.-- yet I am 99% positive that it is the same woman as before! Either way, I go through the entire process with her again, explain my frustation and point out that I am a very large account spender. Her response was that everyone followed procedure, and I should be happy with that, thank you for being a Dell customer. I explain to her that people did not follow procedure. I point out to her that I was hung up on, and the only thing she kept saying was that she would investigate it. When I asked how she would do that, she said that she had every call in the system, and asked what day I was calling about. When I told her the day(s), she had ZERO record of calls, but kept insisting that she would look into it. I pointed out that on the day I was hung up on, I never even provided my account number, and she said "no problem, we can look up your account number" or something to that affect.
Needless to say, it was clear that she either was not listening to me, or she did not understand me. I ran through my problem one more time and explained my frustration with being accused of not following instructions. Then, she asked me to send the proof again. I asked for her email address and she just said "oh, ah, um, please just send it to Maria's email since you have that alread" - yet another indication that I was not speaking to a manager.

At this point, I asked to speak to another supervisor. She told me that she was the top supervisor. I then asked if she worked for Dell or for the call center company. She answered "Customer Care". I asked again, "Dell or a Call Center Company", and after a long pause, she said a call center. So, I ask to speak with a Dell employee in the U.S. She said that no Dell managers were available.

So, here I am. I have a minimum of 404 Minutes - just shy of 7 hours trying to get my issue resolved adequately. Worse yet, I am still missing a laptop and was not ONCE offered a replacement or asked if I wanted to purchase a new laptop.

Dell, you really screwed up on this one. Not only is my company a decent spender, I make recommendations to Fortune 500 companies on a regular basis on the best way to allocate their I.T. expenditures. You cannot possibly expect me to recommend you to anyone in the future -this mistake may in fact cost you millions.

I will update this blog if/when the refunds get processed, as well as any updates on if anyone ever properly addresses this issue.

By the way, I did attempt to contact Dell via various Twitter accounts; such as "@DellListens" and "DellCares"  But guess what, they don't listen to them either.

  1. Having read about executive email carpet bombs in the past, I decided to give it a shot this morning.  I am not interested in making money, nor gaining publicity.  My main interest was to make Dell aware of a serious problem that they had and that they should be addressing.
  2. picked up my story of woe.  Thank you,..... but now I wish I had been a bit more attentive to punctuation and political correctness!
  3. A representative from Dell just called (2:45 PM, Wed Jun 1st).  She seemed genuinely concerned about the incident and assured me that they would be looking into it.  They also offered 20% off of my next purchase.   She also expressed that the call center is made up of Dell employees, it is not outsourced.  We spent a couple of short minutes discussing the fact that it would be difficult for them to even track the event, but I did provide multiple phone numbers that they could use to attempt to track the inbound and outbound to and from their center, and explained that they had a serious problem in their ability to keep accurate records without immediately capturing service tag or account numbers.  She did express that their was a management committee that would be briefed on the situation and they are always looking for was to improve.
  4. Was it enough for me to forgive and forget.  Absolutely not.  I want to see something actionable come out of this before I can preface every mention of "Dell" to be my clients with "Let me tell you about the last experience I had".   When I say actionable, let me elaborate.... I want to see a new method from Dell to escalate issues into a competent response team, not some call center manager who is only interested in if their employees filled the documented paper procedure.
  5. 5:10PM EDT - Another update.  Another U.S. Based Dell Rep (from their Social Media department) called me up and apologized again, ensuring me they are working to correct the issue to my satisfaction.  They also offered an increased discount.

Understandably, several readers of the consumerist doubt that I really do have any buying recommendation authority, nor do they think I am a corporate buyer, because "someone of his level would not waste his time on the phone".
I already mentioned at the start of this post that I ordered a few refurbs for MY company because Dell had just discontinued the E6410 product line, and I needed just a few more for my business.  Out of practice, no, I would not recommend refurbs to my clients.
Although I do not want to draw attention to my company specifically, I decided to take a few snapshots of the equipment that just arrived last week for my small office alone - just to put to doubt that this one a one time purchase from an irate customer.
Above is about $15,000 worth of switches, accessories and a small r210 server.
 Above are three new PowerEdge R610 Servers, loaded to the gills (About $22,000)
And here is an Equal Logic NAS - Another $35,000

So yes, when you have around $75,000 of new equipment that you just ordered still sitting in the boxes; and you experience something like this, you do get angry, you do take it personal, and you do handle the situation yourself.  Its not about a $1,200 laptop, its about the concern you have with poor customer service when you have issues with a big order!

For Search Engines:
Dell Sucks
Is the Dell Outlet Safe?
Dell Customer Care Problems
Should I Buy from the Dell Outlet?
Dell Support India
Dell tries to resolve issue.
Don't buy Dell


Kevin said...

Great to hear this.
I work for a company that sells Dell products and we "constantly* hear about how horrible the customer service is on the consumer side.
I purchased a new laptop less than a week ago (it is yet to arrive) and chose HP over Dell, even though it was a little more expensive. The customer service is the leading reason for this.
I hope that someday, Dell will realize that the ciost savings of an over seas "customer service" department is not worth the hassle, frustaration and wasted time the end users have to tolerate.
Until changes are made, I will never but a Dell product.
I hope you get a response, but don't hold your breath. said...

Your experience is not that surprising, given dHell's overall treatment of customers in general.

Go here:

That was my mind-boggling experience from a couple years ago.

Eradik said...

Completely unacceptable. I can't believe that they are that incompetent. I hope you get some sort of resolution and (hopefully) someone from Dell USA calls you.

Marc Davis said...

Congrats, you convinced me not to buy a Dell. That is 1 sale Dell lost.

Scott Olsen said...

Not surprising at all. I've owned two Dells and I've learned my lesson. They are certainly a top candidate for WCIA (or is it India)? I don't know how they get away with referring to anything as "Customer Support" because it's neither. The reps are rude, feckless, mind dead morons, lacking even two brain cells to rub together.

Dell lost my business years ago and they certainly never felt the loss. This however is another story altogether. Suck it Dell! May your bottom line be forever impacted.

As a sidebar, let us applaud the following irony. The Word Verification for this post is "CARAP."

Matt said...

So you cheaped out and bought the lowest level of support, what do you expect? Spend the extra $200 to get gold or platinum support and you will never have to deal with India again. You get what you pay for.

Ethan Shapiro said...

What an odyssey! I've noticed recently that several US based companies have started to value US based customer support. Just look at any loyalty program's top tier customer service. There's no way you send the "whale" spender to some "Mike" in India. The business is too valuable. But what about the general public? There is no way to quantify the amount of business Dell just lost because of this incident but it's real easy for the bean counters and "global resourcing" execs to show savings when comparing labor costs between other countries and the US.

It's high time that these companies with outsourced call centers return their call centers to the US. The only way consumers can guarantee better service is to lead with our wallets. I plan on doing so by not purchasing any Dell products in the near future.

Thoughts said...

You are incorrect. I did not "cheap out". In fact, I purchased the highest level of support that was offered from the outlet. If you read my entire post, you will see that I normally only purchase from my corporate account. However, in this one circumstance, Dell had recently canceled the Latitude E6410 series and only sells E6420s. Therefore, to fill an immediate need at my organization, I had to order 3 E6410 from the outlet, which was the only option I had available.

Matt said...

If you had purchased the highest level of support from Dell you would have spoke to soemone in the states and would have had your issues addressed within 20 minutes. I find your statements without any supporting documentation dubious.

The Thrifty Artiste said...

We shouldn't have to PAY for good customer support to begin with!
Would you pay for a tiered customer support system from a retail store...Target, a grocery store, etc.?
You want to return a broken blender but the return counter person says "Sorry, I can't tell you anything because you didn't pay for any customer service."
Yeah, THAT would really work. Why should it be ok for dealing with an invisible customer service center for any other company?

Thoughts said...

I have all the supporting documentation that you could possibly need. I have the shipping labels (direct from Dell), I have a photo of the package. I have call accounting records from my PBX, and I even now have the email address of a corporate employee assigned to investigating this.

You obviously have an axe to grind with someone, not sure who or why though. You probably have never placed an order on the outlet system either.

I am a long-time fan of Dell and the only reason I put the effort into this is that I identified a serious problem that they have, you cannot escalate an issue beyond their call center.

Thoughts said...

Great point, it really is a dumb argument on how much support I paid for anyhow. I got a product that did not work. Simple as that. My complaint was not with tech support, it was with Customer Care.

Ryan H said...

It's sad when a company that puts out a great product would move their finance and tech support department to hell.

I have had to do a corporate email carpet bomb. It was far more successfully than calling their India Support. Got assigned to a Gold Team and after a year I have regained full commitment to Dell. I don't know what I would do if we couldn't resolve that issue. We'll never use Dell Finance still, but we can live without that.

US Citizen said...

Dell Hell does not exist soley withing Dell Outlet. I swore I would never buy another unit from them after the hours spent on the phone with India trying to find out why my new OS kept crashing. Nope, never again.

ned4spd8874 said...

THIS is why I gave up on Dell over 10 years ago! They still haven't changed. When will people learn?

Ronald Pottol said...

You bought Dell switches? Good luck with that.

The only really good support I get these days is for RISC Unix with Sun and HP.

Whitebox, at least you are not paying for support you are not getting.

Chad said...

Very interesting experience you had with Dell. I work for a company out of Minnesota. We just hit recently the Billion Dollar I don't know if we are technically a "Corporation" or not now. But I have been in "Computer Support" for over a decade now. And I do have to say I notice a difference when I call for "Support" on hardware. With Apple you usually get a person who doesn't want you off the phone right away. They want to resolve your issue. And with the PC makers I notice a difference between Dell and HP. With HP I called once and their database had tanked but I really needed to get the desktop replaced. I had a nice hour long phone call with a gentleman from Hidrabad India about his city and country and what he does for fun and when their database came up we got my system set to be sent back. This was in 2004/2005. Now with the almost Great Depression we are having, in my current job I'm working alot more and have to get things done and the people on the other end of the line when I have to call them I sense that they are even more slammed then me. This doesn't excuse Dell or the workers from getting agitated on the phone, but I even notice when I am working with customers (we are internal company support) I am letting attitude slip in my voice or even my instant messaging when I am helping because of my workload. What I found to be the best is to go to and choose "Live Chat". Now I have always had the extended/corporate warranties on the systems I have worked on, but the "Live Chat" support is alot better than phone. First, everything they type and you type is recorded and at the end emailed to you and you get the email address of their Manager (don't know if real). Second, they seem to just let things slide a little more. Meaning you don't have to give a 40 minute dialog (or type that much) to get an issue resolved. Things just seem to move quicker. It doesn't forgive the mistakes on the phone support and the multi-leveling of support...but everyone is just overworked because Companies use the bad economy to justify fewer people...and probably more so on overseas workers.

SC Islander said...

I agree that there is no excuse for bad customer service. However, this insident is not the "norm" for Dell.

Over the last 11 years I have been purchasing $300 - $500 Thousand dollars worth of Dell equipment, per year, every year. Never once have I, my staff, or the 100's of clients I re-sold the new Dell equipment to, ever witnessed bad customer service from Dell.

Yes, 2-3 times a week we call Dell on a warranty issue, and the whole process from start to finish including the hold time has never taken but an average of 15 - 30 minutes. Believe me, we do not have any special phone number or contact person with Dell. Despite our spending power, we get no special prevliges, nor have we needed any.

Replacment parts and even whole systems arrived within 24 - 48 hours.

I believe this is an isolated insident!

The Commissioner said...

Keep charging Bill! I had a similar nightmare with Dell when my laptop crashed and would not boot (it was using the old Vista OS). Even though it was still under the initial warranty, they refused to upgrade my system to Windows 7 (which, by the way they were offering for free to purchasers of Dells using Vista). After I went out and shelled out the $200 bucks for Windows 7, everything was fine.

The best part of the experience was that the Indian CSRs kept trying to sell me an extended warranty for my computer. I kept pointing out that why would I purchase a new warranty when they wouldn't fix my current problem under the existing warranty. Anyway, my favorite moment came when the CSR spent 10 minutes telling me why they couldn't upgrade me to Windows 7 -- I summarized his 10 minute speech more succinctly: "So, the next time I buy a computer it should be a Mac."

Derpington said...

Vista to Windows 7 Upgrades were offered from June 26, 2009 to December 31, 2009. Unless the system was purchased in that window, you didn't get an upgrade. If you didn't apply for the upgrade in that window and I think a couple months after, it was no longer offered.

When you purchase a Dell system, you also purchase an OEM license for the specific operating system that came with your computer. The operating system purchased with your computer is tied to the hardware; in other words, the license is for you to put that operating system on that hardware. Dell does not upgrade your operating system because it would break the license.

Depending on the issue, an upgrade of your existing warranty may have increased the scope of support provided by Dell. That increased scope may have included your issue. If he was just offering an extension to the warranty, well, there you go. It's a good idea to extend the warranty, but that was probably not the best time to bring it up.


Home Support Options -->

Business Support Options -->

Windows 7 Upgrade Program -->

OEM Licenses -->

tz said...

There is an old book called "the professional thief". In it, they have a section explaining how they would find a "fixer" and even give back all the loot and a little bit more if they were caught and ended up in jail. Of course if this happened only once in a while, it would still be very profitable.

Dell wants to satisfy YOU, but you are just one of the thousands that get the same abysmal treatment. It happened to go viral.

Their offer is to "take the money (discount) and shut up". Most would. Then the other 999 that don't have a prominent blog, never descend below the gold-standard, or otherwise have no way of having their voices heard would still be in the same situation.

It would be cheaper for them to give you $10k in equipment for free than to correct their call centers (they could do a "secret shopper" type deal with dell employees auditing the quality of the response).

You could return the tens of thousands of dollars of other equipment there (how many days is their return policy?).

But this is the strangest thing. The laptop was DOA. They should have had an easy way of just doing the return label (with them paying for it) and arranging a refund or swap. It shouldn't have taken more than a half hour to arrange it.

Anonymous said...

Full disclosure, I work for Dell, and my comments in no way reflect the company I work for, and are my own opinion.

I find the statement that you help fortune 500 companies make multi-millon dollar purchasing decisions to be highly suspect.

Why is this? If you are a consultant of the grade you proclaim, you would know that this experience has no bearing on how a company with an IT spend of 10s of millions per year would have to deal with their own support issues with Dell. They simply don't compute.

A corporate account will be assigned a TAM. In fact that TAM is likely to be located at the customer headquarter, with a full dedicated team of support behind them. That team would deal with Dell's internal support structure. You would not have someone calling into 1-800-whatever to get support on a laptop.

For smaller companies that fall out of that, but still have >1M in annual IT spending, they would have a TAM, and an Account Executive that they can escalate to.

I understand that your experience is inexcusable, and that often personal support is perceived as very poor. For those that say buy an Apple, I might remind them, that when they buy Apple, they pay a premium not only on the system, but on the only support option they have. If you buy the 300.00 TV advertised Dell, and the lowest level of support, you are going to get the lowest level of support. It's as simple as that. In your case, you bought refurb, paid for a decent support plan, but you still weren't covered in the same way as large corporate account would be.

Even smaller corporation in the <1M IT spend still have options to purchase differing levels of support which can include ad-hoc call in support, to customized dedicated technical account managers. It's a buffet of support options based on what you are willing to spend and how much it is worth to you to have it.

What you went through does suck, but there is simply no comparison to Apple's support model, and to Top500 options.

Steve said...

After reading the response from the DELL Employee, it is obvious that Dell spends more time training their employees to justify their low performance, than they do fixing any issues in the customer support process. Thanks for the blog, I will not be recommending or buying Dell anytime soon. Maybe future comments could provide alternatives to Dell as well.

Thoughts said...

Thanks for your comment. You and a lot of people are skeptical, but you are also incorrect. TYPICALLY, the outlet and the Account Team have ZERO interaction. My issue was an example of me trying to follow the proper channels and having a progressively worse and worse experience.
I think there is some general confusion to the people that did not actually read my entire blog entry as well. My issue was not with SUPPORT! My issue was with the customer care center. The problem was that customer care initiated the RMA process and I was not even able to talk to Tech support once their systems were up. From that point on, it spiraled out of control.
If you do work for Dell, you might be able to catch wind of the no less that 5 people that contacted me yesterday to express concern and offer a remedy. That includes my Account team manager who has now provided me with an escalation chart up to a Regional Manager level. They also expressed that I was correct that they normally wouldn't be involved with an outlet purchase, but they would jump in if this were to happen again.

Amy said...

After having my Latitude e5400 for about 2 years I finally had a bunch of things go wrong on it. In fact there were so many service calls done on it in such a short span that they decided to give me an exchange. Bad idea!!!! To make a long story short I am about ready to go on my 7th (!) computer in 7 months!!!! Every single one has come with problems right out of the box. I at least have pro support so I deal with someone who speaks English every time. The first 4 replacements were "refurb" computers (my nickname would be someone else's crap!). So then the sent me a new Latitude e6410 to try and sweeten the deal. That too out of the box had issues including the fact that I myself had to fix by going out and buying a faster hard drive (while my computer is under warranty). In the meantime my experience with the on-site techs is horrible. I understand that Dell hires a 3rd party to repair these systems (part of the reason why I had so many systems in a short time) but, I have been given the run around from the 2 techs I had to deal with. One of the techs gave me so much of a runaround that I never met the guy! Now I am waiting on another new system from Dell a Latitude e6420. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this one works and I won't have any issues for a while (or ever). I am annoyed that Dell did not match the hard drive that I paid for and I will be swapping that out as soon as I get the computer. All I want is for Dell to extend my warranty by 2 years for all of this trouble because setting up 7 computers when its not your job is not fun!

theburningsoul said...

The trip to Hell and Back. Our company uses Lenovo THinkpad and Thinkcenters

micanichi said...

It's wonderful to see an experience like this get some attention because of its pervasiveness in our consumer culture today. You've basically written what millions wish they had after a customer service nightmare. The irony in the comments made by the Dell employee serve only to cement the image of Dell's corporate culture that is the root of the incident you've documented. Unfortunately, the best part of this story will never be told, which would be that of the wholesale renovation of Dell's customer service system. This kind of thing is in the blood of the company and the only way to end it would be to shut down Dell - and give the money back to the stockholders ;-p

thesavvyboomer said...

As someone who has about 5% of my portfolio in Dell stock, I shudder to read a post like this but in the scheme of a $60 bil a year company, this is not going to affect them in the least.

I am no fan of Dell but since I was in the business and met and was impressed with Michael Dell, I bought some of their stock in the early 90's and with all the splits etc I have done well with it. I have started selling some now that I am retired and reading things like this just encourage me to keep doing so. It's a shame that this kind of thing goes on but don't look for it to have any effect on either their sales or their customer service.

I also have Apple and IBM stock bought years ago and while I am no fan of either of their products (I don't own any), they have done OK for me. These companies are only interested in EPS, market caps and meeting quarterly forecasts. If these are acceptable despite poor customer service, don't look for improvement.

And no, this comment is not being written on a Dell computer.

kwic said...

Bought a laptop for my Grandson, and because the billing address was different than the shipping address, Dell verification cancelled the order three times.

Each time they left phone messages saying call back to confirm the order, but they never gave a callback number.

I won't relive the nightmare here, but you have been warned:

Dell is unable to perform its core business.

kwic said...

Bought a laptop for my Grandson, and because the billing address was different than the shipping address, Dell verification cancelled the order three times.

Each time they left phone messages saying call back to confirm the order, but they never gave a callback number.

I won't relive the nightmare here, but you have been warned:

Dell is unable to perform its core business.

kwic said...

Sorry about the double post.

(but Dell deserved it anyway).

BrickBalloon said...

I'm with you. My family purchases a new Dell every year - but no more. Simply because of the poor quality of their customer service. I purchased a new laptop. We paid for one, but Dell shipped us two. Being an honest person I tried to return one of them - but I wasn't going to return it without an RMA because I didn't want a bill for the second one showing up a few months later. This seemed like a simple thing to do. But the phone calls and emails between myself and Dell's customer service in India went on and on. I finally contacted a Dell VP, who passed it back to the "executive level" support in India. I've bought a lot of Dell computers, but I'm done with them. I don't want to go through this again -- and I did it all for their benefit!!

Carol said...

Good for you Bill - you got the word out!! Dell's customer service group in India is doing this company no favors!!! Ordered my Dell laptop 5/29. Had a bit of a run-around on the i5 processor during my order but I ordered it anyway. (I have the thread of my chat room discussion and it's amusing if you want to read it!) Got an email that the laptop was to arrive 6/8. Didn't come. Called customer service to find out when it would arrive. Got an email saying that the laptop was put on a trailer June 4th in Lebanon, TN and the trailer broke down. I'm thinking in this heat for 4 days in Tennessee - hope the trailer is cooled! After several calls to the folks in India on June 9 and 10 (I admit I yelled back when they yelled at me), they told me the trailer story was not true. Never did find out where the trailer was and if it was cooled so I sent the laptop back, unopened, when it arrived. Waiting for a credit to my card.

Marcus Wellington said...

So , i decided to grab a dell Credit card and buy another laptop, was given a service request number with my customer number and was told that if i wanted to buy something else, i could contact sales, give them the numbers and the coupon would still be honored (expired on the 28th). However, when i called, no one knows anything....i was transferred 4 times in 45mins and still havent spoke to anyone that can help.

Sleeveless in Seattle said...

I'm in the middle of something similar. They've failed to call me back the last two times I've talked to them and set up appointments. The guy just said their system is down! How often does their system go down? Is it a Dell?

steve said...

Since when id saying "hey my laptop arrived defective, I need a replacement" considered "support". This is a simple clerical transaction. This is just amazing. Wake up US companies. You are not saving a dime.

Unknown said...

I am now experiencing a similar issue. The support people are IDIOTS. they spent 8 hours yes 8 hours doing online computer take over of my home theater computer. 1 tech service person said nope its software after 2-3 hours. Sent to software he spent 2 hours fiddling with the computer over the internet said nope its not software, and then back to a another person that spent another 2 hours or so doing the same thing. I think they are told to try things 3 times so as to confirm that what they are testing is correct. It was funny hearing the clicking and mouse move back and forth over and over again. T In short they never solved it and dell spent maybe another 4 hours trying to explain that the part that is bad is not covered under there XPS warranty I have. I have all badge numbers and so on. I could go on but I just want to comment that the USA employees are good (used to be great) but the India folks are idiots. They say they are skilled but I know much more than them and I am not a IT guy. so now its been maybe 12 hours and manager says he would call back twice and never has. so its escalated to another person who has copied me and all the badge numbers of this record and said it will be taken care of?

Dr Janardhana Hebbar said...

same is the case here in India. 17 days of work gone into wind, no support yet. daily I spend 2 hours calling dell but can not get into a technical support guy. repenting hard.

Mister-E said...

Absolutely lousy customer service, bought a razer blackwidow keyboard from dell 10 bucks less than other places, but my shipping and billing are different, put down the billing address (correct one, I think). Called customer support, no online option for some retarded reason, then dell wouldn't let me go back through my addresses. Instead they forwarded me through more and more people who "COULD" change my billing address, none of which had a clue, this represented an hour and a half of time, of moronic indians who could barely understand numbers or letters who got frustrated and yelled any time they screwed up. In the end I cancelled the order. Screw Dell, go with companies that actually have customer service.

Amy said...

I actually had great customer service from Dell! I was shopping around for a laptop and the best deal was from Dell. I even downgraded the warranty (from in-home to mail-in 1 yr) to get a cheaper price. I was really reluctant to buy from them because I've always heard about the horrible customer service but was just taking a gamble.

After about 5 months of using the laptop I started having problems, blue screens, freezes etc. I ran many diagnostic tests prior so I already had an error codes at hand. I also didnt like speaking on the phone so I went to ONLINE customer support. I think I waited about 8-15 mins and when someone answered my call I told them about my problem. One of the first things they asked was for a contact number in case there was an interruption. The wait time between each IM response took at least 2-3 mins and I was biased thinking the support sucked so I closed the window. I had a hard drive problem and was going to take it out myself and see if putting it back in would work. I was thinking I'll just call support if I couldnt fix it myself since most online chat support can't actually help.

But within 5-10 mins they called me on the phone to continue with my problem. I gave them one error code but the tech needed a diagnostic test to fully run to track down other problems. Diagnostic test usually take me about 2+ hours to run so I actually didn't want to do that. After 30 mins of him on the line while I did the test, he said he would call me back and called me back several times every half an hour. At around 2 hours the test didnt finish but other errors turned up and tech was getting me a new hard drive. I am getting an in home one time tech coming next week for a small fee and support has been constantly in contact with me.

So all in all, I am extremely satisfied with Dell support. This completely changed my view on their support. Ya they were all Indian sounding but they were extremely patient and helpful. I came online looking for other Dell reviews and its sad hardly anyone else had the good support I had. Maybe the key is online chat!

Alex said...

Dell just lost another loyal business customer with poor consumer customer service. I had no problems working with Dell for 3 years on the business side, but I have had nothing but trouble with my 2 consumer orders.

1st order was delayed by a month. Worst part was that the ETA kept slipping, so every time I thought it would be delivered I got a new email saying it was delayed again.

For the 2nd order, I ordered the first of multiple monitors using a Dell eGift card I received. I got an email saying that my order was on hold as my card issuer declined the purchase. Half an hour on the phone with Dell revealed that my gift card, which states "Available funds do not expire", had expired.

I then spent 2 hours on the phone with Dell, being bounced around from department to department.

One rep asked me to forward my gift card emails then call back in an hour. The email address she gave me bounced.

Another rep told me that, despite it clearly saying "Available funds do not expire." on the gift card page, and there being no mention of expiration dates on the email delivering the gift card or the Terms of Service page linked from the gift card page, in another Terms of Service document which he had to email me it says they do.

After 2 hours on the phone, as I was about to be bounced back to a department I spoke to 3 times already, I finally ask to speak to a supervisor. This left me on hold for 12 minutes before anyone picked up. I guess they hoped I would just hang up?

The supervisor was just as dense as the other reps, saying that it was my fault for trusting what's written on the gift card page, instead of what's written in some hidden T&C document, and that I'm basically screwed. When I refused to accept that, he finally gave me a credit for the value of the gift card.

Having to fight for 2.5 hours to resolve what is clearly a confusing mistake on Dell's part is not acceptable.

Given the terrible service I received, I can no longer recommend Dell to my friends, family, or co-workers, and my company will be looking at HP for our storage solution and desktop refresh. Poor consumer service just lost Dell a loyal business customer.

Shan Liu said...

While I still think highly of dell products, I now think very little of the company. Customer service of Dell is worse than a public bathroom with broken septic tank. Seriously, even though I like their design and price, their reputation suffer so much that I preffer a computer without a logo to the DELL logo.
Thanks to the customer service people they have hired, now I hate DELL, I hate them!

shorty5445 said...

My friend Andrea bought a top of the line Dell inspiron at an obscene price (over $1500). When the factory installed virus protection was about to expire, she called Dell customer service and was sold three years worth of System Mechanic which was installed by Dell customer service. Their are two versions of System Mechanic, one does not have virus protection. Dell customer service charged her for the professional version but installed the version without virus protection or did not download the virus protection (This was later verified by a technician at System Mechanic). Several months later, her computor was infected by a virus. She called Dell customer service and was charged several hundred dollars for the technician to remove the virus. The technician was able to get the computor working again but did not check to see if the anti virus was working. Shortly after, the computor was unusable. On 7/16/2012, I called Dell customer service and asked for them to send me the operating system cd which did not come with the computor. They said they had to diagnose the computor first even though I explained to them, it had been done already. Four hours later, after several technicians, two supervisors, (The last one hung up on me when I asked for a refund on system mechanic and the sevice charge). They agreed to send me the operating system (I am not holding my breath). The manor in which my friend has been treated is inexcusable. I strongly urge anyone looking for a computor to buy an H.P. (Hewlett Packard). I have one and the one time I thought something was wrong, I called H.P. customer service and spoke to someone here in the U.S. who made absoloutely sure I was satisfied (There was nothing wrong with the computor). If you buy a Dell. you had better pray nothing goes wrong with it.
Brian Lorenz

Robert Herry said...

Useful information like this one must be kept and maintained. So I will put this one on my twitter list! Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to see your post soon!

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Sunrise PC Support said...

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Ljames Hentrich said...

I sent a laptop that had a motherboard issue that was covered by warranty into the Repair Depot on Sep 1 and was called on Sep 6 and told that the laptop was physically damaged (in shipment) and that I would be charged $407 for Out-of-Warranty work. I refused to pay for damage caused in shipping and asked Dell to file a claim. They refused, however Shurpi Hauja did offer to repair the laptop for $258.00 if I was willing to pay for repairs. I again refused to pay for damage caused by the shipper and asked her to file a claim, she refused to file a claim. I called Fed-Ex and explained the situation and was told that Dell must file the claim since it was damaged en route to them. I called J.B in Customer Service and was told that the issue was given to the Dell Escalation Team and I should be contacted by the agent assigned to the case within the next 24 hours. I have never been contacted by the Dell Escalation Team; do they really exist? On Sep 10, 2013 13:22EST I received an automated phone call from Dell indicating that the laptop was repaired and was being returned via Fed-Ex and thanking me for using Dell. At approximately 12:00 on Sep 11, 2013 Fed-Ex delivered the laptop to my house. After inspection I call tell you that it is not in the same condition as when I sent it to Dell. It appears to have been crushed. At 12:44 EST I contacted Guacm Sarcar and asked who I need to speak to regarding legal issues and claims agaist Dell. He said he was just repair and they don't have any phone numbers or names for that (sic)purpose. I then called 800-634-9896 and spoke to Rishi who transferred me to Damien Rehel to gave me two Corporate phone numbers, neither of which will allow you to speak to anyone unless you are an employee and enter your Social Security number. I then called sales and explained what I was ding and was told to contact the Arbitration Company to file my complaint. I then called the 800-352-5267 number of the JAMS/ADR Arbitration company and spoke to Linda Griffiths and explained the situation. She indicated that she would send me the required forms to file and that I could either enter into arbitration with them or file a Small Claims suit in the local court.

sham patadia said...


i thought i was the only one with issues but my lord this is amazing!!!!
i has next business day warranty on my dell laptop.
they collect instead to fix return with new hard drive so lost everything on my hard drive but haven't fix problem three different so called engineer visit haven't fix it next day truns in weeks and now 7 months my warranty expired have no choice but to go to ombustment.

if anyone has similar problem in uk this is the no 0800 023 4567

do it for god sake this guys will treat you like idiot the process is slightly long but hope get some result out of it. i dont want to give it up... have you...
their after sale service is crap and cost fortune

cybervigilante said...

No surprise there. I had a problem with an order on their site, contacted customer service from India. They couldn't seem to fathom what I was talking about or help. I mentioned I was a consumer advocate webmaster who had dragged Allstate all over the internet and got national coverage, but it was as if I was mentioning baseball scores. Maybe I'll Website them ;')

Matthew Tomlinson said...

I bought from Dell last month (Feb 2015) expecting a premium service - which is why I didn't go with a cheaper brand. Sadly nearly 4 years after your experience they still have the same processes and call centres in place. There is no consideration for the customer's time or money, and no sense of urgency at all. I ended up venting my frustrations on their twitter feed, which hasn't really helped, see my twitter communication with them here...

Shruti Jalali said...

Heartening to read your blog post. It's really disappointing to see that Dell hasn't improved one bit in these years. I am currently facing the same problem pretty much - I received a Latitude e5450 shipped with a keyboard defect that they have been unable to fix for the past 20 days. I am trying to reach senior management in hopes that they become aware of the terrible service but I am losing hope. I spent a sizeable portion of my income as an investment into my laptop as I have a career in technology but am set back by quite a bit now.

HomeSqueeze Shamalama said...

I just had an experience with them today. I've had several Dell desktops, and one Dell laptop in the past. I will no longer buy Dell products.
In the past I was disappointed that they send 'refurbished' parts to replace problems I've had on my equipment. But now, while trying to purchase a new laptop, I got the bait and switch. A Holiday sales deal that would not show up in the cart at the sale price. After contacting them, they would not honor the online price. I kept screenshots of the advertised price. I've opened a complaint on Consumer Affairs.

Lost another customer Dell.

mark1 said...

I've been shopping today for a laptop and read your post while researching Dell's warranty policy. After hearing about your experience, I've decided to leave my Dell order in my cart, walk away, and shop for an alternative brand. Bad customer service kills companies. Dell has lost another sale today (from me).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. I had a lousy experience with the outlet today as well. Found a system I liked (Inspiron 17" laptop), tried to apply a coupon (which was advertised as being for **any*** model of 17" Inspiron). Coupon wouldn't apply so I contacted support via chat and was informed that the coupon only worked for certain models of the 17" Inspiron. When I pointed out that the coupon said it was good for any model and requested that it be applied to the system in my cart, the rep kept trying to explain that the discount was only for specific models. We went back and forth for a while and I asked for an escalation. Got called back in 30 minutes by a "manager" who explained that the coupon for "any" model was only for specific models. We went back and forth for a while. I asked for another escalation, thinking I would work my way up the chain to someone who could authorize the purchase. End of the day now, and no call back. I'm not expecting one. Bye, Dell.

Adam Jones said...

I wish I'd seen this post earlier. I've been trying to buy an Alienware Laptop and so far it's been the worst experience buying a computer that I've ever had. I missed a call from them (I assume it was them since no message was left). I didn't receive an email from them until the next day telling me that my order was on hold till I rang them to verify my details. I try ringing back immediately. The phone system tells me to enter the seven digit extension number. I enter it in. The phone system tells me to enter the seven digit extension number. Huh? I just did that. I do it again. The system hangs up on me. What?!

I reply back to the email. No response. I try calling another support number and speak to someone else (Indian) - he doesn't seem to care at all that I'm unable to contact the person I've been told to contact. I'm told my order won't be cancelled and to wait for a reply. This doesn't fill me with confidence but I decide that I should try to be patient despite the fact that it's two days later and my order seems to be going nowhere fast.

A few hours later I get a phone call back from the guy (Indian) who says that I need to confirm that I'm a real person. I give him my delivery address details and email address. He has an issue with my hotmail address (which is one that I've had for over 15 years and used to purchase all of my computers in the past). Apparently since everyone can sign up for a hotmail account it isn't good enough to verify that I'm a real person. He wants me to send an email from my work address. I dispute this because I am buying this laptop for personal use. Eventually I give up and tell him that I'll do this in the next five minutes. I get an instant "out of office" reply back from the email address. No indication of whether my order has been moved out of the holding pattern it was presently in.

I'm really angry by this stage and decide to take things public via social media. They reply almost immediately to my initial tweet and I give them my details. This morning I see their replying confirming that my order is STILL on hold. They tell me to ring customer care to get it resolved (why can't they help me?!).

So I pull out my phone and try to ring the original number and extension. I get hung up on by the system again (surprise, surprise). I try the other customer support number I used the afternoon before & get through to another operator (Indian). I tried to maintain my composure while explaining my issues. He told me again that my order was on hold and that I'd need to contact the person who sent me the email. Somehow I refrain from yelling & screaming at this guy because I can tell that he is genuinely trying to help. I reiterate (as calmly as I can muster) that I've tried that and been unable to reach the person via the methods given. I express my frustration at being told repeatedly to contact someone that cannot be reached. I tell them that I don't want to let this slide and then find out a few days later that my order still hasn't progressed because the person handling it has gone on holidays. He is still unable to give me categorical confirmation that my order has been accepted and will progress. I give up.

I start blasting Dell on twitter again. They tell me that they are sorry for the inconvenience but that they don't have access to the verification system to be able to move my order forward (something that has become abundantly clear to me by now). I know it's a cliche but talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

If I'd gone with one of the local retailers, I'd have a laptop by now instead of being jerked around by "customer support" trying to prove that I'm serious about wanting to give them money. I'll never understand why some companies seem so intent on making it hard for you to give them money.

Päivi & Santeri Kannisto said...

Oh crap, should have read your experiences before entering to our little Dell Hell with a Dell Vostro 14 5000 series laptop. Anyway, thanks for sharing your experiences!

Don Stockdale said...

Yep, I commed with tech support on a new 5556 missing a dll and got passed off to a rag head selling fix it soft ware, none spoke english, been Dell since 98 but this is the last one.