Dell Says Meet Me Half Way On Free Shipping

from the interesting-ideas dept

I bought my first Dell computer in 1993. Over the next eight years, between myself and my family, we ended up buying 7 computers from Dell. In 2000, I swore off Dells after they refused to fix a 3-month old laptop whose screen stopped working (and, yes, I had the extended warranty thing). Even though Techdirt was going strong at the time, I didn't vent my frustrations here at the time, as it didn't seem right. However, over time, apparently, it's become quite acceptable to vent your frustrations on blogs, and Dell has been a leading recipient of it in the last year with the "Jeff Jarvis complaint." That one incident has received so much press that it appears Dell is finally trying to change how they handle service, admitting, basically, that they can't afford to service cheap computers, so they have special phone queues for more expensive machines. Of course, the "more expensive" part was what many of thought we were buying when we bought the extended warranties. However, Dell's new plans to cut costs apparently go even further. The latest plan is to "redefine free shipping" on their cheaper models. Instead of shipping them all the way to your house, they will only ship the machine to your local Post Office and make you go and get it. Considering the size of many computer boxes these days, that can be quite a pain. Instead, they'll end up having a lot of people pay "extra" for home delivery -- while still being able to advertise "free delivery." It's fine if they want to charge people for delivery. It's an expense and there's nothing wrong with that. But, to claim free delivery certainly implies free "home" delivery, so this certainly seems like somewhat misleading advertising.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Jimmy, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 9:28am

    Good Idea!

    That sounds like a brilliant idea to me. Alot better than "half-way" as the original rant stated. I think this is a good way to help keep their costs down. Hopefully they'll use that money to a better end for the customer... it's that which I doubt.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 9:48am

    The Welfare Model

    Dell was built up on the lavish tax incentives offered for "high tech businesses that increase local employment", offered by state governments throughout the USA. Hence they were able to build "savings" that they passed on to consumers -- from whom they took tax money in the first place.

    Dell also reflects a reality of the high-tech business, where the businessmen like to give their tough talk about "free markets" and "competition", but every high-tech business worth anything depends primarily on the government for stable income.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Rikko, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 10:36am

    Low end computers

    Bought a Dell laptop.. Keyboard died TWO DAYS after warranty expired, and the mobo died a few months after that.

    Suffice it to say I'll never buy one again - they AREN'T cheaper.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    thom, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 10:38am

    can we mess with 'em?

    If you didn't like this idea, you could complian. But, let's face it - they won't listen to you. You are a peon. Sorry about that.
    Here's an idea that may, or may not, have merit:
    Call dell and order a pc. Get a big one, the one you'd get if you were sleeping with Paris Hilton. You know the one.... When you get to the VERY END of the order (quit thinking about having sex with Paris Hilton) and the rep gives you the shipping options - act a little confused and make them explain the shipping policy to you a couple of times. Really make them clear. Then cancel the order.
    Would this work? You've wasted their time but, is there a record? Would the rep tell their boss about this? Does anyone here know? Is Paris Hilton seeing anyone?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Griffon, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 10:55am

    Good idea in principal

    I actually like the idea in principal, it's nice to think that somehow some small portion of those savings would come back to the customer but of course they won't. My problem is with the language and the fact that dell is likely to be very tricky about this, if they are totally clear and open about this issue on low end stuff then well, I don't think I have any problem with the model. Though this could start an ugly trend, a good chunk of us probable moved to E-mail and the net to get away from having to go to the post office and deal with lines :).

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Scampo, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 11:18am

    Re: can we mess with 'em?

    Hmmmm... Paris Hilton - did someone say Dell?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Kenny, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 11:45am

    No Subject Given

    I guess we're lucky they don't just leave the PC on their shipping dock. We could just drive down to Austin after the machine's been built and pick it up.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Erik, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Low end computers

    I feel you. I had a Dell laptop, and the processor fired, and I had to get the mobo replaced several times. I finally got so fed up with our Dell Desktop that I rebuilt it, so itused to be a Dell but no longer is; Happily.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Mike, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 12:12pm

    Dell

    I am a systems administrator and the last three companies I have work for have both used Dell. At my last job I supported over 25,000 Dell computers. I like them, I trust them, and I freely endorse them. Computers are going to fail and I like the tech support Dell offers and out of the 25,000 computers I supported the hardware down time could have been much worse. In my opinion only Micron compares.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    jacob, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Low end computers

    just bulid your own damn computer....its wayyyy cheaper, and they will run alot quicker and ull have that "good feeling" about urself when ur done hehe...the only reason u pay so damn much for a new computer at the store from a brand name company is for there support, which sucks anyways. and you dont need support anyways unless your a n00b

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    SM, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 12:18pm

    Re: Dell

    I don't think you can compare the quality of service individuals get with that a large company gets.

     

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  12.  
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    yayo, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Low end computers

    your an idiot if you think its cheaper to build your own computer than to buy a Dell

     

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  13.  
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    Jonesy, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 12:54pm

    How about another idea.

    How about you bring your customer service back to the US of A? That is when things started going downhill for the company.

    I used to recommend Dell to everyone who came to me asking about computers, but I don't anymore because their service sucks. Could they possible be losing money because people aren't buying anymore?

    Jonesy

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    fuzzmanmatt, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Jacob

    Very professional response Jacob, nice. Seeing things like that really encourages those of us who might think about buying a Dell (using a Mac, I can't say that it's me) just jump ship to have you build one for me. Such a wonderful opportunity to help those in the "special" classes at school build real-world experience with tools!

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    n00bmazt3r leetificious, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Low end computers

    omg d00d no ways omg ur 1337 i wish i was u lololol!!!111oneone

    Come on, nobody really uses leetspeek seriously anymore do they? I thought people only used it to make fun of all the pre-teens that wrote in it back in the '90s.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anons Anonymous, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Dell

    "In my opinion only Micron compares."

    Holy Sheepshit! Now that's a blast from the past.
    I haven't thought of Micron in years.

    Damn. We've come a long way, Baby.

    Dell=Micron? Uhhh...

    NO.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Robert Martin, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Low end computers

    Somebody says "build your own" and one guy questions his "professionalism" (are you getting paid for this? I'm not.) and another goes ballistic over a joking use of the word "n00b."

    But worse is claiming that a Dell purchase is cheaper than assembling your own. Maybe it's a near match, if you don't already own your chosen operating system. But since I do own Windows, as does anyone who's ever bought a Windows PC, for 1/2 the price of their 80 gig drive, 256 MB system, I can put together a system with 400 gigs drive space, a gig of memory, and better-rated mobo and processor.

    If you don't build your own PCs, you just wouldn't know. Just go to New Egg (not the cheapest online retailer, but the best in service) and price your dream gear -- then go to dell, and find the equivalent, and price that. Then you'll know.

    The PC I'm running now cost me only a couple of hundred; because I've built my own systems since 1995 (before that I was all-Mac), I already had an excellent case, two perfect 200 gig hard drives a solid, generous power unit and a flat panel monitor.

    You see, when you build your own, you don't need to build in eventual failure to guarantee future sales. You don't need to buy duplicates of things that you already own, and consign the previous generation to landfill.

    Build your own. By the third or fourth one, it's easy.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Aleks Y., Sep 30th, 2005 @ 3:51pm

    Is Dell getting worse and worse?

    Remember when Dell would offen long warranties for the same price? Those were the golden days. Now with shorter warranties and ever-cheaper parts, I think that buying from Dell is a risky deal. Because when buying a premiere computer brands, like for example; Sony, you're essentially paying for a better quality parts; thus, lowering the chances of your machine's malfunction. To hedge against Dell's low quality make sure to buy the extended warranty when buying a Dell PC. And dont forget to factor in the warranty cost into the final price.
    Regards,
    Aleks Y.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 4:04pm

    No Subject Given

    Wouldn't it cost them just as much to ship to your local post office as it would to your home?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    VonSkippy, Sep 30th, 2005 @ 9:47pm

    to summarize

    Dell was good in the good old days.
    Dell now has cheap crap and bad tech support.
    Better (and cheaper) to build your own systems.
    Dell Sucks.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    N8, Oct 1st, 2005 @ 7:46am

    Re: can we mess with 'em?

    Yes, we are peons, but collectively we will be heard. With your attitude, people will never be able to change anything. Search wikipedia for this word: democracy!

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    nonuser, Oct 1st, 2005 @ 8:55am

    Re: to summarize

    Executive VP: Congratulations on 82, that's a great score on that course... hey, umm, some people looking at the numbers were noticing that certain of our long time customers bought their last system from us 3-4 years ago and don't appear to be coming back.

    Rollins: They'll be back. We've got the lowest prices for major vendors.

    Executive VP: That's our advertised flyer price including rebates. You see, a few of our customers have experienced...

    Dell: Our sales are actually up this year. We're getting lots of first time buyers.

    Rollins: Yeah don't need those old geezers we had 10-15 years ago. They like to bitch and moan.

    Dell: They're moving into nursing homes. We're moving into emerging markets.

    *Dell and Rollins exchange high fives*

    Executive VP: Say, what driver were your using?

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Mike, Oct 1st, 2005 @ 9:48am

    Re: to summarize

    Well I do work on computers. I have for 20+ years. All day, Monday through Friday. The very last thing I really want to do when I come home is face parts. Computer parts are very cheap today as compared to a decade or two ago. Parts are so cheap it is almost a toss up between buying them unassembled and buying them assembled. I figure that if I throw my time into the mix it is actually cheaper to buy, plus if something goes wrong I can call Bangalor, er, I mean Customer Service to have it fixed. Anymore there is such a small margin that the manufacturer's really don't make that much on the basic PC. Go ahead, price the parts, add up all the shipping from the different "Deals" you get, add in the wait for each part to come from a different source, then time yourself as you put it together. Now don't forget to pay yourself, after all how many people actually go to work every day just for the companionship? Oh no! You just got the wrong processor for that motherboard! Well let's ship it back and exchange it! Sorry guys, last time I went out on a limb and bought a Dell. Personally, I love it. It has been no trouble at all and I didn't mind paying the price. On top of that if you work some of the special deals you actually can come out ahead.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Jason Lich, Oct 1st, 2005 @ 1:10pm

    I like the idea.

    I like the idea of going to the post office to pick up my packages. I end up calling them anyway to hold it at the station for me to pick it up. I never seem to be home when the come by, and this way I don't have to worry about my neighbor picking up my computer from my door step.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    lars, Oct 1st, 2005 @ 1:32pm

    You're got Astroturf!

    Enough said.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Cheryl, Oct 2nd, 2005 @ 6:09am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Most shipping companies will actually charge extra for delivery to a residential rather than a business address. DHL and FedEx do, and I'm not certain about UPS.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Richard, Oct 2nd, 2005 @ 6:44am

    Re: Dell

    You are EXACTLY right - Mike who supports 25,000 Dells are you reading this. There's two phone numbers you call. One for business customers, where everybody speaks English and is willing to help, and one for peon customers, where everybody speaks some English but has an accent, and everyone is willing to transfer you to someone else to just get you off the phone. I spent 103 minutes, that's an hour and forty three minutes on with Dell while I got transferred from one queue to another to speak to one idiot and then another. Dude! Dell Sucks!

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Chris, Oct 2nd, 2005 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Dell

    Who knew it would be so hard to get someone to sell you a computer? We're a small medical clinic who received a special promotion for laptops in the mail. I tried for _five_days_ to get through to Dell and find someone who knew about the promotion that they mailed to us. It almost made me wonder if it was some sort of bait and switch deal.

    We ultimately bought the machine for a very good price, and the machine works well enough, but it's got to be the heaviest laptop I ever worked on.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Happy user, Oct 2nd, 2005 @ 5:18pm

    Unimpressed with this topic

    The great thing about living in America is that you are given the CHOICE of what to purchase and of whom you choose to purchase those products from.

    For those of you people in this topic who are griping about how bad of an experience you had with Dell, I question your intelligence as far as doing your research before making your purchase. Dell isn’t the only company that sells computers…

    Dell is not the only company with its share of customer complaints. Is there even a computer system company with zero complaints? Why not purchase from them instead?

    And for those who complained about being put on hold for many hours while trying to make your purchase, why not just go some place else after the first 2 minutes of being on hold -- do you actually think that if you purchased from them, that your experience would be improved?

    And for those who complain about how bad Dell was in replacing your defective parts, why hadn’t you just asked for a manager or at least INSIST that you are not transferred... or even at this point, hang up after being on hold for 2 minutes and then call back to a different department, since obviously the last one couldn’t help you in a timely fashion.

    And if you are still not satisfied, a quick report to the Better Business Bureau, along with several requests to Dell to just return your "Defective" ENTIRE product -- your ENTIRE product is still under warranty, right?

    Remember, it was YOUR CHOICE to purchase from Dell -- no one held a gun to your head and said that you had to do it.

    Happy user

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    John, Oct 2nd, 2005 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Unimpressed with this topic

    Hmm. I'm sorry... because we are given a choice, we lose our freedom of speech? Pointing out why a company does a bad job is a good way to inform others out there.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Happy user, Oct 2nd, 2005 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Unimpressed with this topic

    Yes John, freedom of choice does mean that you also have the freedom to educate yourself before purchase. But many choose not to educate themselves before making their purchases (especially the large purchases) – and those are the same people who like to rant about how bad those products are, i.e.; “not as expected to be”.

    I am glad there are those out there such as yourself who choose to help others become educated -- but like the saying says, "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink". Hopefully if more people did research onto comments such as your's, less people would make an incorrect decision and be happier with their purchases.

    John, sorry if I ruined your rant, please continue.

    Signed, Happy user.

    PS, in most cases, the COST difference between UPS Home Delivery and UPS Business Delivery on an item less then 50lbs and the size of a computer box is under $5USD.

    Most new computer purchased online from Dell over $549USD includes free shipping. They write, “Limited time offer”, but this offer has been available for at least the past 10 months already.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Happy user, Oct 2nd, 2005 @ 6:32pm

    Re: Unimpressed with this topic

    Yes John, freedom of choice does mean that you also have the freedom to educate yourself before purchase. But many choose not to educate themselves before making their purchases (especially the large purchases) – and those are the same people who like to rant about how bad those products are, i.e.; "not as expected to be".

    I am glad there are those out there such as yourself who choose to help others become educated -- but like the saying says, "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink". Hopefully if more people did research onto comments such as your's, less people would make an incorrect decision and be happier with their purchases.

    John, sorry if I ruined your rant, please continue.

    Signed, Happy user.

    PS, in most cases, the COST difference between UPS Home Delivery and UPS Business Delivery on an item less then 50lbs and the size of a computer box is under $5USD.

    Most new computer purchased online from Dell over $549USD includes free shipping. They write, "Limited time offer", but this offer has been available for at least the past 10 months already.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2005 @ 4:48am

    Re: Low end computers

    nobody really uses leetspeek anymore do they?

    losers do.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    eeyore, Oct 3rd, 2005 @ 7:36am

    Micron?

    Micron? Are they still in business? I still haven't forgotten the two Micron boxes we bought with Windows 95 preloaded nearly ten years ago. Both of them crashed right out of the box and required complete reinstallation of Windows. They were the biggest dogs in the lab and the day we finally managed to get rid of them was a joyous day indeed. Mircon? Shitty ten years ago.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    David, Oct 3rd, 2005 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Dell

    Yep, that may be true...for Dell's corporate division. Big difference in that and the 3rd. and 4th. generation technology they peddle as current to the clueless consumer.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    KF, Oct 3rd, 2005 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Low end computers

    I beg your pardon. I have a Dell Dimension XPS Gen 2, all the bells and whistles. I actually built a computer for my son recently. It is far superior to my Dimension and it cost about $600 dollars less. So, do your homework, idiot!

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    negster, Oct 6th, 2005 @ 7:13pm

    Re: Micron?

    Hey, don't bash Micron. I still have my trusty micron sitting right next to XP PC and my old WIndows 95 Micron still works, and it has never crashed. Micron dos make a quality product. Their prices are just a little high.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    A Geek@BestBuy, Mar 22nd, 2006 @ 9:51pm

    Dell~#1 in computer sales, has just announced..

    That they are hiring 10,000 new employees. If you want to be one of those 10,000, you will have to move to India! That’s right, Dell, with no forethought to putting more Americans out of work, or better yet, not hiring more Americans, has decided to hire 10,000 more of those Indians to be your "tech support"! We, at Best Buy love it when people bring us their Dell computers to fix. The Geek Squad @ Best Buy see a person walk through the door with a Dell know right away what they are going to say. "I was one the phone for 3 hours with Dell tech support! I can’t understand what they saying!� That’s why the "Geek Squad" is going to make 3 billion dollars in revenue this year(2006)! Dell, keep up the good work!

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    isumi22, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 12:06am

    Dell~#1 in computer sales, has just announced

    its either your gonna talk with tech support from India or from the philippines.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Mike Savoie, Mar 23rd, 2006 @ 4:57am

    Dell treated me fair

    Heh, Dell brings on about as much discussion as which OS is better. I have no complaints about dell, had one for years, any parts I needed were replaced within a couple days. Of course I'm in Canada, so the company might not be as big? here? That could be the difference, either way the PC ran great up until last year when the mobo fried. The power supply & HD & CD-Rom are still in use today though.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Deb Leonard, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 7:48am

    Dell Customer Service Hell

    I purchased an Inspiron 600m laptop from Dell 15 months ago. Hadn't had any problems with it until April when my hard drive crashed and I called them (had to pay $100.00 for their help cause it was a software problem and when I purchased the computer I wasn't told about having to purchase a software warranty). I was on the phone with them a total of 10 hours and got hung up on many times.

    This past Sunday my hard drive crashed yet again. I called Dell and was transfered between software and hardware technical help so many times I felt like a tennis ball! No one could figure out what the problem was. Finally someone led me through how to put my computer back to the original factory settings. When I tried to access my MS Office, I discovered that I hadn't been sent the disks. I was told that I should have purchased them when I bought the computer. I explained (so many times to so many different people) that I hadn't been informed of that. I was hung up on so many times I lost count and no one phoned me back even though I got emails saying they had attempted to call me. My phone never rang! I spent over 9 HOURS on the phone with them on Sunday. On Monday I had to call them a yet again and got hung up on 4 more times! I do not understand people with Indian accents and hoped for someone who understood and spoke English every time (alas, I never got one).

    I will never, ever, EVER purchase a Dell computer ever again. Their customer service is the worst I've ever experienced and I hope that I never have to call them again.

    P.S. I'm still trying to get my MS XP and Office disks from Dell at no charge.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    A unanimous cow herd, Aug 15th, 2006 @ 10:31am

    Re: Dell Customer Service Hell

    Deb - I was shafted by Dell, but a complaint to the Better Business Bureau fixed it. If you really feel like you were taken advantage of and you have documentation, e.g., chat logs and/or case numbers, it may be an option. I finally was able to return my laptop computer, and I got all my money back, though they never were able to refund the 3 hours I spent on the phone trying to get them to abide by the terms of the warranty I purchased.
    In my experience with India-based call centers (this goes beyond Dell), I think the individual reps do not want to escalate the issues, perhaps because there are consequences, whether explicit or implicit. Remeber, this is one of the most prestigious jobs available to them. I read one stat that they accept only 6% of the job applicants.
    The Austin-based Dell rep with whom I dealt on the BBB case indicated that issue escalation was a major concern of theirs.
    The other side of the coins is that my friend bought the exact same laptop two weeks prior to my purchase and he has nothing but great things to say about it. And his battery wasn't recalled, either.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Compucore, Mar 17th, 2007 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: Low end computers

    It is a lot earier than going through Dell or one of the other manufactures that you buy from. For the simple fact you do not know from which manufacter they got the motherboards from as an example. I have seen throughout the 15-20 years many companies like this will go to companies like Asus, Tyan, gigabyte when they source out for their motherboards. When you build a system yourslf at least you know what was put into your computer system. I prefer a clone over a brand name computer any day of the week. Not only that I had to deal with a dell repair at one point for a relative of mine. And it ended up that Dell even outsources their technicians. They'll use companies Like Getronics to send techs down with the replacement parts. I should know I was there when they replaced the part itself.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    andrew racey, Jul 9th, 2009 @ 11:08am

    What technical support????

    I have been trying to contact the technical sopport team by e-mail and phone. They dont answer the e-mails and all I get is music on the phone.I dont think I have ever experienced such poor service.Very pleased to sell you their products BUT as for its service IT STINKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    cheap computers, Aug 31st, 2009 @ 3:11am

    dell service

    It appears Dell is finally trying to change how they handle service, admitting, basically, that they can't afford to service cheap computers, so they have special phone queues for more expensive machines.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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