Saturday, July 16, 2005

My Hell With Dell

I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you

Maybe I have finally learned. Over the years, I would have minor problems ordering Dell products or getting the support I needed. Last November should have taught me a lesson. No, instead I purchased yet again from Dell and am experiencing Dell Hell.

Last November I ordered what I thought would be a nice desktop. Took Dell’s advice and ordered online. I was particularly impressed when a Dell sales rep called me about thirty minutes later to confirm my order. That was easy enough.

I was so naive. The next day I checked the Dell website to review my order status. Lo and behold, my order now showed 2 desktops, a camera, and a printer. Plus, the camera and printer had already shipped.

So I tried to contact Dell via telephone and went through the pressing various numbers routine and waiting ad nausea until I finally got to the right department. There I was connected with a friendly woman somewhere in India with a surprising English name but distinct accent. Her English was so poor the most frequent phrase in the conversation coming from me was: “Repeat that please I can’t understand you.”

To cut to the chase, that nightmare resulted in numerous phone calls, online chats, emails, etc. before I finally convinced Dell I intended to order only one computer. Then I discovered the new Dell company motto: I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.

However, Dell finally resolved the issue after I put in over 8 hours in waiting on hold, explaining and re-explaining the problem with each new Customer Care person. It was not until I spoke with someone at Dell who a) lives in the United States and speaks real English, and b) took initiative to solve the problem.

So, stupid, foolish, me thinking it could never get any worse than that, ordered an Axim in March. I even paid the extra bucks for Dell’s “Complete Care” in case the PDA blew up or I dropped it.

I had problems with it from the start. It frequently would not connect to wireless networks (I ordered a more expensive model for this feature) and then I could not get the stylus to make the Axim respond. It was quite frustrating and I made several calls to India always with them chanting the company motto: I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.

Finally I asked Dell to replace it and a Dell support technician who called himself Michael but had an email name of Manikandan (translated: I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you) agreed to send me a replacement.

A few days later DHL delivered my new refurbished Axim. It was great. I promptly charged it and eagerly waited to use an Axim that actually worked.

After many days, I am still waiting.

Apparently, the refurbished models work about 50% of the time. So the next day I phoned Dell technical support and after hearing the official motto (I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you) was told, I needed to upgrade the ROM and directed to the appropriate download that yes, did not solve the problem.

Since then, I have phoned, emailed, and chatted with numerous Dell Customer Care or Technical Support personnel, most who chant the company motto and then direct me to some other Dell department. One employee in Technical Support told me I would need to speak with Customer Care. I went to Customer Care only to be informed quite emphatically that I should have taken care of my problem in Technical Support.

This has gone on and on numerous times. Finally, a wise Dell employee, probably an Indian guru in his spare time, advised me that I would need to speak with someone in the Advanced Customer Care Resolution or Advanced Resolution Care or something to that effect. I agreed and we set a time for the next night after six p.m. Eastern time for one of these advanced people to call me.

No one ever contacted me. This is the “Complete Care” I paid extra for.

I will not take up too much space to say that after every online chat conversation in this matter I checked the Yes box to get a transcript of the conversation. There as been at least six online chats--- yet I never received transcripts.

I hope Dell will understand then when I say I am tired of the Dell twilight zone, this Dell Hell, a company that apparently grills the new motto (I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you) into every employee but fails to show them how to actually resolve problems. Dell, please just refund my money, take both Axims back to your PDA refurbish shop, and let’s part ways peacefully.

Now I have 2 Axims, both of which are defective and useless to me. Dell has not kept its promises, not delivered even marginal customer “support” and, did I mention the many times, the overseas outsourced Dell employees argued with me?

In spite of their low prices, slick marketing, and international work force, I hope Dell will understand that they have lost yet another customer. If it bothers them all I can say to Michael Dell is: I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.