Computer Tech Support Nightmare – Part II

from the it-sucks dept

Earlier this month we had a story about how badly computer tech support sucks. Here’s another one that tells the story of a Dell Computer owner who couldn’t get them to fix his computer, which sounds amazingly similar to my experience with Dell. In this article, they also talk more about the problems of actually calling in for tech support which I experienced as well. I still have a list of all the names (and occasionally employee numbers) of each of the nine Dell tech support employees I spoke to during a 2.5 hour phone call, where every person told me they were the wrong person to speak to. My two favorite reasons for not being able to help: “Oh, I’m sorry, you purchased your computer through the “home office” division, and I work in the “small business” division” and “Oh, well, you have a laptop, and I only know desktops. I don’t think I could even turn on a laptop if you put it in front of me.” I will never buy another Dell computer.

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Comments on “Computer Tech Support Nightmare – Part II”

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David says:

Re: Re: Dell

Straight from a Delltech’s keyboard:

I’m sorry to hear that, really, and I’m not being
sarcastic. Do you how many times a day I cringe when I hear some idiot tech had a customer reformat his drive over some BSOD that could have been searched in the MS KB to find an answer? I have no confidence in my coworkers in most cases.

I’m a good tech, and I know it. I honestly fix people’s computers and more often than not hang up smiling. Oh well, I guess it’s the same in just about every work environment.

tss says:

Gee, go figure

Lets see, I want the latest/bestest/fastest system and by the way, it’s got to be cheap, really cheap, and Surprise Surprise (do imitation of Gomer Pyle) the tech support is less then steller???? Go figure. It’s very simple, you get what you pay for. And don’t say Dell shouldn’t offer it that low if they can’t support it (it’s called staying in business and/or providing what the market demands – which in todays market is CHEAP).

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Gee, go figure

Man. This is my good week, apparently. You’re the second person to tell me to get a clue. Anyway, what you said makes no sense. First off, I didn’t want a cheap, really cheap machine. I bought a high end, fairly expensive laptop from them. And, no matter what if they offer service then it should be good. If they don’t want to offer good service, then they should make that clear that the machine is “as is”.

You’re also the second person in a week or so to try to explain “business” to me, as if there’s some hard core definition that you know about and the rest of clueless folks don’t know about.

The fact is if they can’t support it, then that’s fine. But, there’s a cost to that. The cost in this case is that despite buying 7 computers from Dell in the past 8 years, my family and I will never buy another one. If not for this experience, we would have continued to buy from Dell. That’s pretty costly. That’s not a good business decision.

Articles like the one I linked to hurt their business. Their practices hurt their business. That, to me, seems like it’s something they should think about – even if you think they shouldn’t care.

So, as clueful as Dell is, and as clueless as I am, Dell’s brilliant (in your opinion) decision is going to cost them money and a loyal customer. At what university do you teach business strategy?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: opposite experience

From 1993 through 2000 every experience I had with Dell was great. Actually, superb. It was only when my new laptop broke in early 2000 that everything went to hell. They told me the only way they could fix it, despite it being under the highest level of warranty was for me to send it in for 4 to 6 weeks. When I told them that was impossible, they said “too bad”. I even told them I would pay to have someone come out and fix it, but they wouldn’t send anyone out.

After enough complaining they finally agreed to send someone out (at their cost), but that person never showed up. During this time they started sending me random (very expensive) bills for no clear reason. Multiple phone calls/emails to Dell and they kept telling me that the person would come “tomorrow”. Each time I scheduled time for the person to come, they didn’t.

Finally, they said they were just going to send me a “shell exchange” and I would move the hard drive over from my old laptop. Three weeks later… nothing. But, then I got a random phone call from a Dell technician who said he was coming to fix it – and he did (though, he did a shoddy job). I told everyone at Dell I had been talking to that everything was fixed and we were all good.

Six weeks later, for no clear reason the “shell exchange” finally showed up – but it wasn’t a “shell” but a completely functional refurbished laptop. Two days after that a bill for $4,000 showed up (much more than the machine was worth).

Overall, I spoke to somewhere between 10 – 12 people at Dell over a period of 3 months, and received bills for over $5,000.

It wasn’t a fun experience, and I never want to deal with their customer service people again. I’ve heard they still do a good job on desktops – but for laptops, I’m looking elsewhere.

Cory (user link) says:

Cheap Tech

A lot of companies, like Dell, also go after the cheap tech fix. They have to have humans there because thats what most customers expect and what the other guys are doing, but the humans are less than stellar which forces you to other means, such as their support site or e-mail bots or user forums or pre-recorded phone message troubleshooters and the like.

I see the situation like this: If I sell 100 computers, I have to assume that at least 80 of those people are going to have some sort of problem and need support. So now I need ways to support them. So lets say 1 tech per 2 callers. Now I need to employee 40 techs to give out some awesome service here. And since tech support is normally entry level or just grunt work, I will only be paying these guys around 8 to 10 bucks an hour. This and people thinking doing tech is beneath them drives off a large junk of the most compitent people. So now I am left with a tech support center who is largely comprised computer users who know a bit more than the average consumer. But I have to train them, and keep all the new updates/patches and fixes at their fingertips which costs more money and time.

So I go looking for easy answers like the Restore CD’s. Got a problem ? Lets just drop that Restore CD in and it will be back to brand new in no time.

Now I only have to train them to walk people thru using the restore CD.

Anyway, I think I am kind of rambling here. My point is that tech is the low end of the ladder and as such doesnt have much money thrown its way to get better, so they try to cut it and crop it and make it as cheap and easy as possible and like the previous guy said you get what you pay for.

Nice top of the line computer that was expensive, but you also “bought” cheap crap ass tech support as part of the deal. Which sucks, but hey thats big business.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Cheap Tech

Except… that Dell has always been known for their good tech support – and they have promoted it in the past.

Look, if they told me at the beginning that I was buying “cheap crap ass tech support” then I would be okay with it. But, they didn’t. They promised top of the line “best in the business” tech support – and that’s not what I got.

David says:

Re: Re: Cheap Tech

I work in HSB (Home and Small Business) which deals with 98% home users and a few Optiplex workstations. If you want top of the line support, there are other options. Want to talk to Advanced OS or Software support, they are fee based. It’s not that bad considering the circumstances. You know what burns me up, when little companies call up and make it a point to say they are losing money. Sure, you may be losing money, but in my segment you are no different than someone’s grandma who got a Dimension to send email to her kids. Anyway, this has been resolved as of Feb 2 where ANY kind of business goes into our Relationship queue which deals strickly with business. You want to take that a step further, contact Microsoft tech support. From my experience they know their stuff and will most of the time call you back in a couple of days to check up. Yeah, that’s service, but it’ll cost you. The way I see it, if you don’t want to spend the extra money to get your software working properly, for crying out loud don’t call the “free” tech support because we only deal with hardware. Sure, we may KNOW how to handle your Word problems but for 1) it may not be correct since we are not trained for it and 2)there is someone ALWAYS on your ass about handling those kinds of calls. I take pity on a few, but it’s few and far between.

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Cheap Tech

And another thing, I get paid 7.75 an hour. It’s hardly an motivator to deal with irate customers. I’ve had people tell me they are going to send the computer back with a bomb in it, seriously. I have the service tag and special flag on his account. For the vast majority, I get good rational people who are satisfied with our service. I dread going to work and listening to irrational people. For Christsakes people, do a little research before calling if at all possible, and remember I DIDN’T break your computer. If you want to send your computer back, I’m usually more than happy to send you the address. I honestly would care not to talk to people like that.

We may be support monkeys, but shit… I just can’t deal with the utter stupidity I get. The lady who thought the monitor support try was a sattelite dish is the epitomy of this.

Anyone that says “your technical support sucks” or a similiar response needs to do it for a month.

David says:

Dell Tech

Well, I’m a full time Dell hardware technician and about the transferring situation to other lines of business… I just don’t see what the problem is. I have a specific set of company numbers I MUST follow. I wasn’t trained to handle laptops or data vaults and what have you. I do Dimensions and a few Optiplexes. If you think I can accurately troubleshoot your Inspirion, you are sadly mistaken. I’ve maybe touched a laptop 3 times in my life and wasn’t trained to handle though. Another thing, I make it a POINT to say “you’ve reached hardware support” but I still get questions about MS Office and the like. Again, I don’t use these products much less trained to use them. The operative word is HARDWARE. Sure, if I were at the computer on site I could probably fix it or implement a workaround but most certainly not over the phone. I’m simply trained in hardware… Extensively, I might add, by Dell trainers. I don’t even understand why this is an issue. Put yourself in our shoes. I do my job very well. I can’t speak for all other Delltechs out there, but I can usually provide a fix for a BSOD or other Windows error generally by running it through the MS Knowledge base.

On a related note, I’ve always been a fan of a required 10 question test to even use the Internet.

Jen Mooney says:

I have been having an AWFUL experience with Dell a

That sounds like many of the other stories I’ve read.. mine is similar

Around July 26th, 2001 I purchased a home computer (Dell Dimension 8100) online. My computer showed up around the beginning of August. First of all when I pulled it out of the box I realized that I didn’t get the colors that I ordered. Which wasn’t a huge deal. But the ink cartridge was bad that they sent, so I had to purchase a new one off the bat. About a week after I pulled it out of the box I tried to get online and I got an error that said I had no modem. I called Dell Technical Support and they had me reformat. They didn’t tell me that I was about to loose everything so there went all the work I had done to that point. I reformatted 2 times in one week. They had me in the CPU, pulling out stuff, putting it back in. Meanwhile I had nothing on my computer. They had me checking everything but my modem. I couldn’t understand why they just wouldn’t send me a new modem. I was told that they have to exhaust every possible problem first. After about 30 hours on the phone in just a couple of days, I got very frustrated and sent a letter to request that I get a new computer, a Tech to come to my house and do the repairs or my full refund. I got a response that they couldn’t do any of that for something that could be fixed over the phone. So the answer was NO… even though I was within my 30 days.

Two more weeks later, conveniently putting me over the 30 days and despite my constant request with the Technicians while on the phone for countless hours for a new computer or my money back… they finally sent me a new modem after (three weeks with no workable computer)which I had to install. I had a Service Tech call me to walk me thru the installation.

Over the next couple months my computer consistently got slower and slower. I couldn’t understand why they refused to refund me or even give me an exchange. I learned early on that the Service Techs. do not care about what you paid for. I reformatted the computer 6 more times. I uninstalled/reinstalled the print and scanner. I uninstalled/reinstalled my programs. I reconfigured. Nothing would help. It would lock up on me every time I’d try to go into a program. I would get error upon errors. I would try to pull up documents that I have produced and try to print and the computer would lock up, or I’d get errors which would close the program, or it would take 45 minutes to print 3/4 of a page. It has been the most aggravating experience.

I finally started feverishly calling the Service Techs again. It has been ridiculous to have a $1400.00 computer that I can’t use.

They had me reformatting AGAIN… keep in mind I’ve had the computer for almost 6 months now and have reformatted it 12 times. When it didn’t work I was told that no one had tried a 32-bit diags test before. They had me run it. The girl told me it takes 4 hours to run. She stayed on the phone during the first part of the test. I got a failed test right off… my screen looked like a bad TV (flipping, lines, colors). She was convinced that it was my motherboard, so she ordered one. She told me she’d call back in the morning to get the results that if I got any more she was going to suggest a system exchange cause she was pretty much convinced that I was also having a hard drive issue. Morning came no call. The test was still running. It took 14 hours and 52 minutes to run and I had 9,999 failed test within my system.

When I got home I left a message with this girl at Service Tech Support to call me that I’d be in all evening so that she could get the results. NO CALL.

11:30 that evening I got a call. She had to call me from her home, which was very long distance. Turns out she had a new Supervisor who wouldn’t let her call me back, he said it had been resolved (first point of contact resolution). I told her about the test results, she informed me that she had the same thing happen a few months back and they exchanged the system. She said she’d call the next evening with what to do. I never heard from her again.

I called Customer Care the next day, demanded to speak to a Supervisor and was told it was against policy. I demanded my money back. Was told that it was over 30 days. I told him I had a letter which they responded to that requested it within the 30 days and was refused cause it could be fixed on the phone? which it wasn?t and that the system was now worse and non operational. I paid for a new functional system and that is not what I got. That the computer has been a lemon from the start. He said that he wasn?t authorized to give me an exchanged. He also said that at the beginning that they only had two calls logged with me. I told him that wasn?t true that I called every night for three weeks. I stayed on the phone half that time from 6 pm till around 1 am. I said I didn?t want an exchange I wanted a refund so that I could purchase a system that would work. He said he wasn?t authorized to do so that I?d have to go thru Technical Support. I told him that Technical Support said that they couldn?t that it was up to Customer Care? Which is it here? He said he?d leave a message for a Supervisor to call me back in about two hours. That was the best he could do. I waited, NO CALL.

The next day I get a call from Customer Care Supervisor. She informed me that she hated I was going thru so much, but her hands were tied and that she couldn?t do anything that I?d have to go thru Technical Support.

I then called Tech Support that evening again. Explained what had been happening to yet another person. They informed me that that 32- bit diags test meant nothing. He had me looking for a few things on my computer. Wanted me to run the 32-bit diags again. But this time couldn’t get it to run. My computer wouldn’t respond to anything he tried to do. His shift ended during our call. So, he said he’d have to call me back on Monday to finish it… this was Friday. He left me hanging all weekend?. Again.. with no working computer. And he said since I remembered how to run the 32-bit diags test to keep trying to run it over the weekend.

Monday rolled around. He called. Amazingly enough. I told him I couldn’t get it to run the 32-bit diags test. He had me doing some stuff then told me to restart and hold the F2, I got nothing… just black screen. Great, now I have nothing. He informed me that I needed to reformat .. Yet again.. I refused! This takes about 3 to 4 hours each time. I demanded to speak with a supervisor. I told the supervisor what had been going on over the last 6 months. I told him I wanted a refund, I needed a working computer and I couldn?t afford to go out a buy another while they were stringing me along. He said that he wasn?t authorized to do so. I told him that Customer Care said they couldn?t that it was up to the Technical Support. He said no it was up to Customer Care. He informed me that he couldn?t even authorize an exchange unless parts had been replaced on my system. So he walked me thru some steps that would keep me from loosing everything on my computer again. But told me I’d have to back up my system once we were done. I have told everyone consistently that I wanted my money back. He told me that he couldn’t do that, it was past my 30 days. That he couldn’t authorize it.. only Customer Care could. He said he couldn?t exchange my system until parts were changed on it. He was going to order a processor, memory, and a motherboard. He said he’d call to insure I got everything by Thursday and that I was up and running. He told me if he didn’t call me for me to call him when the Service Tech left my house to assure that I am up and running. He was going to personally walk me through the reinstall of my software.

Thursday rolled around, the Technician installed my processor, memory, and motherboard and left. I called. They couldn’t transfer me to that Supervisor who ordered everything. They said only Customer Care knew the extension that I’d have to get it from them. While on the phone all this time. I tried to get to some things on my computer and I still got the same errors… even some new ones. My printer wouldn’t do anything now… and my computer kept going to a black screen saying I had decreased memory. I checked the system, I started out with 128 megs of ram and when the service tech left I had 96 megs of ram.. So, he ripped me off. The Tech I was on the phone with told me to restart. When I restarted, I had just a black screen with a cursor in the top left corner. He kept telling me to restart. Still nothing. It kept flipping to a screen saying I had decreasing memory. Then he tells me to get out a screwdriver. I had to go into the CPU. I spent the next two hours pulling out this card plugging the CPU up, restart, Nothing, Unplug, pull this card, put it back in, plug back up, restart, nothing. I ended up with a series of beeps which was a code that they ended up having to look up. It turns out it was a Japan Error. He informs me that I will be from Thursday – Tuesday or Wednesday of the next week without my computer again, he is going to order more ram. We are going on two months without a computer now.

I hung up with him. Called Customer Care, on hold for another hour only to find out they are closed. I was very mad, that Service Tech knew they were closed but didn’t tell me. So, now I had no way of calling the supervisor who ordered the stuff for me to let him know what happened. And he never called me back like he promised. Haven?t heard anything from him since.

I called Customer Service the next day. Told them I wanted to know that Supervisors extension. He said that he didn’t existed. Nor did the Supervisor I had spoke with from Customer Care. Either he was lying or they were when they gave me their badge numbers. I am past the point of upset now. I?ve spent just in the last three weeks alone over 40 hours on the phone. I?ve been running in a viscous circle of everyone passing the buck. They have lied to me, they have been rude to me, and they have hung up on me. I asked to speak with a supervisor. Told him I wanted my money back I was tired of fooling around with this. Since the very beginning I?ve spent well over a 100 hours on this lemon and I was tired. I paid for a new fully functional machine and have yet to receive it. I just wanted what I paid for. It has been going on 6 months now. They never fixed it on the phone and I did ask for a refund or exchange within the 30 days required but they refused. I paid for a new operational computer and that is what I expected…. they said they couldn’t do that. I told them I had the letter as proof.. Not to mention every time I spoke with anyone in regards to this.. I have asked for a refund or an exchange to a new system. Well we can’t authorize that only Technical Support can. I informed him that Technical Support said that they couldn?t that only Customer care could… so which was it? He said he?d have a Supervisor call me back. I got a call about two hours later. I like always asked for the Supervisors name and badge number. He refused to give me his badge number, which identifies him. The supervisor told me they would send me a new tower that they were tired of replacing parts on it. He said the only thing would be that it would be refurbished cause they now didn?t make that model, that?s all he could do. I said that I wanted my money back so that I could purchase a new computer that would work. They have strung me along all this time and now it?s My fault they don?t sell it anymore. How convenient. I told him No I want a new system that is what I paid for and that is what I want. That I have yet to get what I paid for and I?m not going to settle for someone else?s return.

I called Technical Support that evening explained my situation to the supervisor on duty again. He said that he couldn?t do a thing. That they had ordered me a used system and that it would be delivered. I told him I refused that system. I wanted a new replacement. He said that they couldn?t do that. I explained my position and that I have yet to have a working computer. He understood my frustration, but yet he couldn?t do anything. He gave me some people to contact. Told me to contact Customer Priority Care and their legal department.

The next day I contacted Customer Priority Care asked to speak with a supervisor. I asked for his name and badge number. He refused to give me his badge number. So, I have no way of singling him out. Only have his name. He was very rude and told me that I needed to read my service contract. That I can only get a used system, it was over the thirty days and that was that. I told him I had a letter requesting it. He didn?t care. It was NOW over the thirty days. I asked to speak to his supervisor and said it was against policy.

So, here I am. I am out $1,400.00 and no computer that works. I only want what I paid for and if they can?t supply it, I want to be able to take that money and go somewhere that can. I am very tired of fooling around with these people and getting the run around. I only want my money back. I shiver at the thought of getting a replacement and having to deal with this treatment again. I never would have imagined that this would happen.. I thought I was getting the best… Yeah…

Thanks Jen

Roger Cranmer says:

Re: I have been having an AWFUL experience with De

This computer sucks. I cant believe someone has had a worse experience.I just bought it and it has crashed within 1 week.I’m new to computers so its really hard to do anything.I am at a loss as to what to do. I dont know anything about tech support or any of that stuff. What am I supposed to do? This has been a bad time am I am sorry I spent 1,400 dollars on something that doesnt work right. dell and windows xp suck

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