Saturday, August 25, 2007

News... not really, but dishonest, Yes

Two interesting things crossed my desk today, one was the Saturday edition of the fine Canadian newspaper the National Post. On page FW3 of the Financial Post Weekend section was a header article titled "Buy that shiny, new laptop, but avoid extended warranties, consumer groups caution".

The other was the Dell advertising flyer which came with one of the many papers I like to read on Saturdays.

The first of the two, the article on extended warranties, wasn't news to me, but is worth passing on to less savvy consumers! We don't need extended warranties regarding computers, we need lemon laws similar to those in place in the auto industry!

The second was the flyer out today in the Canadian papers and front and center on the first page is a pitch to students for Dell laptops with 8 color choices prominently displayed... this despite the fact that Dell admits on the company blog Direct2Dell that they are running so far behind on these painted accessories that they cannot predict when you might recieve an order placed today. Never mind "back to school" perhaps they will be ready to ship by "graduation"...

Offering something for sale that you know you can't really deliver on, is dishonest behavior where I come from, not sure how they would treat people like that in most of Texas, but I expect it wouldn't be politely.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Escalating Frustration

Wow, I should get an "abused customer of the month" award from Dell. Acting on behalf of my daughter, I have been a BUSY boy.

After Lionel sent of his query, the calls and emails from Dell are coming fast and furious of late!

Three from the escalation team alone in the past two days, two agents and one manager, so far they have offered to sell me a refurbished motherboard! But they have thrown the 10% discount on the table AGAIN. We already said thanks but no thanks to that one a few months ago... you can buy a NEW motherboard on ebay or from half a dozen companies for LESS than the refurbished unit from DELL.

And why would you replace a faulty part with another faulty part that has been "refurbished"? That is NOT a solution.

I suspect their legal woes, what with Class Action suits underway or pending on several Inspiron laptops, may frighten them away from acknowledging any fault in a model by replacing it out of warranty...although they have done so in some cases.

As it is Dell can hardly afford more bad publicity, Dell shares were down today 3% on news of supply woes at Dell. Coming on top of several other issues clouding the Dell situation, such as the paint fiasco of recent days, a massive battery recall and computers spontaneously combusting last year and most serious of all, the ongoing SEC investigation, things are tough in Texas.

I suspect each of the people from Dell that I have spoken to recently would privately agree that Dell should do something here to correct our problem, no one in their right mind would say it is okay for a top of the line, flagship model to expire after 2.5 years .

I also suspect any competent technician could have (and by reports some did) tell Dell that putting that chip in that board in a laptop was trouble in the first place. I took the trouble to read up on putting 3.2 Pentium 4 chips intended for desktops into notebooks. It was and is trouble and a bit of reading also shows it is not confined to my computer, a quick read of Dell forums, the direct2dell website and many other sites using keywords such as "Dell 9100 motherboard problem" or "9100 overheating" will make the point.

Stay tuned, I always ask them to respond to my last when I am contacted by them so I expect to hear from someone again in the next few days.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dell Hell - By the Numbers 6

I have been trolling the news in the last few days, knowing I should dig up some ammo and these numbers caught my eye...

-5.1% - Percentage Dell is down in Customer Service ratings this year. Similar figures were seen at the height of Dells Customer Service woes in 2005.

$150,000,000 - Dollars spent by Dell this year to turn around Customer Service

$150,000,000 - Money apparently wasted by Dell this year on Customer Service

48.5 million - Dollars owed to ex Dell CEO Rollins by Dell for Stock Options currently being held up by the late filings due at the SEC

7.9 million - Last month's similar, but separate agreement on dollars to be paid to Rollins for a similar reason

3 - Number of years Mr Rollins was at the helm at Dell

3 - Number of months between SEC filings for listed companies. (each quarter or every ninety days)

14 - Number of months since Dell last filed (June 2006)

%11.9 to %15.2 - Jump in share market for HP in Latin America

%8.5 to %6.8 - Decline in share market for Dell in Latin America

and last but no least, my personal favorite...

273,622 - Number of hits on Youtube for My PC is on Fire video

32,041 - Number of views on Youtube for My PC is on Fire video since June 14/07

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hold the Press - Dell Finally Calls!

Great excitement today, Dell calls and speaks with my daughter. She asks them to call me in her stead.

Early this evening PST, I get a call from a Technical Support guy in India, he starts by saying that he has spoken to my daughter and is now phoning me in accordance with that conversation and then his next question is "what can I do for you?" and I replied "I don't know, you called me".

That threw him...

So then he reviews the file with me for a half hour or so, offers to sell me a refurbished hard drive and then to his credit, listens to my side of things.

Well, now he is out of his depth and he says he wants to speak with his manager and would I hold the line? He came back on pretty quick with a solution that still has me laughing... "I will put a note on your file that Dell will not contact you unless they have a solution to the problem".

Can it get any sillier? Stay Tuned....

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lionel Must Hate Me

So, I am back in the Northern Hemisphere! I cut short the season in NZ... not much snow and not much prospect of it either... and just when I was starting to get on a roll with the Kiwis' in regards putting out the word on CS issues at Dell and the problems with computers from the Inspiron Line. There are only 4 million people in NZ so I figured 500 this year would be a good start, but more likely it was only a couple of hundred. I plan to go back next season...

Anyway, poor old Lionel over at Direct2Dell, I had been posting there prior to starting this blog in the hope that the powers that be in the Great State of Texas would be straight shooters, they weren't... And Lionel, due to his job as the go to guy (or whipping post as may be on occasion) at Direct2dell, was getting frustrated towards the end cause I am pig headed, yet articulate and tactful, for the most part.

So my last two posts to Direct2Dell in the previous week have finally gotten a response from Lionel and he too is puzzled by the contact, believing as we did, that the issue was dead between Dell and three customers. I count my daughter and wife in this, as two of three customers BTW , just so we know how the math is working. (Come to think of it, my wife works for a huge multinational as a technical writer and presenter of teaching materials to the workforce, I wonder how many of her colleagues she has spoken to about our problems with Dell? I'll have to ask her one day and add them to the tally of people we are potentially turning away from purchasing Dell products. SCORE!)

Lionel has said he will look into it and hopefully we may move on from all this! I can always find something else to blog about now that I have the basics of blogging down... but tell the truth, I don't think they will do anything other than re-agree to disagree.

It's good to be home!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Real People are Listening? Tommy, the Pinball Wizard Hired by Dell

Well, despite Dell's claim on the direct2dell blog that "Real People are Here and they are Listening" they don't mention they hired the Pinball Wizard himself... although he is Deaf, Dumb and Blind he does play mean pinball.

Sadly, he is unable to respond to even the simplest requests for information. Which seems to suit Dell just fine.

Dell contacted us on July 9th, they wanted to do a follow up because our complaint is listed as "unresolved". The technician wanted to arrange a time to call and see if he could find a solution. Wait a minute, didn't we already do this with technicians months ago? We already know what the problem is, they sold us an Edsel.

The dead motherboard will not be resurrected by a phone call, the refurbished motherboard they offered us for $700 is not a cure either... we know all this already. So why call in the first place you might ask?

Well, there is more! After struggling to find an appropriate time to call, the technician says he will "call back" and we haven't heard from his since!

Way to go Dell!

Well, how does the Pinball Wizard fit in to all this? I posted to dell's website direct2dell and asked Lionel what was going on? Haven't heard from him either so I can only assume he has been fired and replaced by "Tommy".

Perhaps the slogan should be "Real people are here, and we are listening, but we are deaf, dumb and blind and what's more, we don't give a shit!"

How can people screw up so badly? Customer Service is in it's infancy at Dell but this is ridiculous...