Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dude, your getting hosed by Dell!

My wonderful wife bought me a Dell Music Jukebox for my 30th birthday. I've been up to about 11 p.m. each night putting songs on the device. Everything from Public Enemy to Tracy Chapman to Weird Al to Delbert McClinton to Metallica. Two nights ago, my cd-rom drive opened, releasing my Best of B.B. King cd, when I heard a snap. The cd-rom door was jammed open and would not close.
I removed the cd-rom (very easy on a Dell) and noticed a sound coming from inside, like a small marble rolling around inside of it. It was the last thing I really needed that late at night.
I got online and started chatting with Dell. The person on the other end stated that the Service Number on the computer was registered to Costco, the store at which I bought the computer. By now it was Midnight, and I was not going to deal with it.
Fast forward to 4:30 in the morning. I decided to end this by phone, and quickly. Wow, that was a mistake. Obviously, I didn't read the BusinessWeek that is sitting in my bathroom magazine rack. You know, the one with the article about Dell's technical support.
My first call reached the tech support person very quickly (about 3 minutes). The problem started immediately as the man's accent was so thick (Indian) that I could hardly understand him. Eventually, we figured out my name and I gave him my computer Service Number.
"I'm sorry sir, but this computer is not registered to you."
Ummm, huh?
"It is registered to Costco Wholesale."
Of course, I bought the computer in November of last year, and I bought through However, it came from the Dell factory. I explained this to the man, who stated that he couldn't do anything until we resolved the issue. He directed me to the website where it asked all kinds of questions about the previous owner of the computer, in this case, Costco. I have no clue about the first and last names of Costco, their e-mail, their corporate address, or the current phone number to reach them at. The tech guy decided that it was time for me to talk to customer service, so he transferred me.
After being on hold for 10 Tone. I was dropped.
Expectedly irritated, I called the customer service line. I waited for nearly 20 minutes before I got a response. This time it was a lady who was a little clearer in speaking English, but was obviously reading a scripted sheet. It was so scripted, that it took 10 minutes before we even got to the problem. Her response was the same, that I didn't own the computer, and therefore, the warrenty didn't hold. To say the least, I was not happy. But wait! She decided that a sales associate could probably help check the order number, and we could resolve this with no problem. She transferred me to the sales department.
After being on hold for 17 Ring. "We're sorry, your call could not go through." I had been dropped again.
Now I was furious. I called customer service again, waiting about 4 minutes to get someone on the line that had to be speaking a totally foreign language. I didn't even let him start his script and basically said that he was to send me a fucking cd-rom right now. I gave him order numbers, recipt numbers, service tags, express name it. Nope, it didn't happen. After nearly two hours on the phone with Dell, I hung up in disgust.
Now I had to go to work.
When I got home I called Costco, who was on the phone in 3 minutes, confirmed the date they sent the order to Dell, resent the order to Dell, and I was off the phone in about 8 minutes. Oh by the way, the Costco lady spoke very clear and perfect English. This morning I contacted Dell by chatting and asked for my cd-rom again. This time, they stated that I actually owned the computer, but took me through a 45 minute "are you sure it is broken" speech. I stated immediately that it was broken and could not be fixed. But noooooooooo, the tech person had to make sure that it was not a software problem. I told him 30 seconds in and I didn't need the 45 minute check. But behold, in 3 business days, I'll have a cd-rom drive that works!
It is amazing that Dell is doing as well as they are, and right now is the perfect time for a low cost competitor to ride onto the scene. This morning I read another article on MSNBC that states that Dell is no longer offering free shipping on home computers. This could mean that HP, Gateway or Apple could start making a serious jump into the market.
One thing is for certain, I am done with Dell.
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