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Old 09-18-2009, 07:30 PM
Jason Dunn
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default Dell Customer Service: Yes, It's Really That Awful

I found this video when fired up the YouTube player on my Samsung BD-P1600 - which magically appeared after a firmware update - and was fumbling around the clumsy software client Samsung made for browsing YouTube videos. What didn't magically appear with the last firmware update was better DVD playback; when I put in a regular DVD, even one brand new out of the package, there's a 90% chance at some point during the movie I'll see the playback sputter, pause, or distort in some way. Blu-ray playback is flawless. The BD-1600 is the player that Samsung sent me to replace the disastrous BD-P1500 that I bought last year. They only offered to replace it after I had sent it back in for repairs twice, and called back again about playback problems for the third time. But I digress...let's get back to Dell.

Generally, I'm a fan of Dell - I think my XPS M1330 is a great laptop, and my office has four Dell monitors in it. I believe that Dell makes good products at reasonable prices. But their customer service is, in a word, atrocious.

I'll let the video above speak for itself, but I'll add in my own story: about three months ago, Dell had an external hard drive adaptor on sale. It's the kind that you plug a naked drive into to pull data off, re-format it, etc. Dell was selling it for about $20 less than my local computer store, so with free shipping it seemed like a good plan. On the same day I ordered a Seagate 7200.12 1 TB hard drive. The hard drive arrived the very next day, which is typical for Dell. The drive adaptor was nowhere to be found, so after a week I phoned Dell to see what was up with my order. "We're sorry sir, that product is still on order with the supplier." Why would Dell sell a product they don't have stock on? No idea. Weeks passed...after six weeks I called back again to see what was going on. Each time I called Dell I had to be directed to a different department, which typically took 20-30 minutes. They have the single most inefficient call routing system I've ever seen in my life. I was finally told, again, that the product was on back order. I continued to wait.

Another month passed, and in the meantime I bought the drive adaptor from someone else, and called Dell to cancel my order. In typical Dell fashion, I wasted another 30 minutes just trying to cancel my order. I got more of the same type of responses as in the video - "I'm sorry sir, our system is being upgraded, so I can't pass you to the person you need to talk to yet." I finally get to talk to the person with the ability to cancel my order - it's like there's only one guy in the whole company that can cancel orders - and he tells me that due to their system being down he can't cancel my order...but that he'll cancel my order and send me an email when the system is back up. Fine. Why did I waste 30 minutes only to have to wait for an email later? That's Dell's way of doing business.

True to his word, later that day I received an email from the Dell representative with a cancellation number. Fine, case closed right? Wrong. More than a week later, I get an email from Dell telling me that my order has shipped. What order? Oh, the order that was cancelled! Sure enough, the drive adaptor I ordered two months ago showed up on my doorstep. Two days ago, I emailed the representative that told me my order was canceled, CCing his manager and someone else from Dell who was on the first email from him. I also phoned him that day and left him a voice mail. So far, still no response. This is the Dell I know: a company that makes good products, but has the single most dysfunctional organizational structure and disastrous customer service in the known world. Yet I keep ordering from them because low prices on products I want gives me amnesia - I need to remember the price of my wasted time when I look at something and think "Hey, that's a good deal."

Another priceless video about Dell that I found gave me some good laughs - oh man, the people that Dell hires to man their phone lines are awful to customers sometimes. I've never an experience quite like that though!

Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys photography, mobile devices, blogging, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, and his sometimes obedient dog. He's wishes someone would transform into a company that so many people wouldn't despise.

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