Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Come on Dell, this is wearing a bit thin now!

The ski season is in full swing and I am very busy this season, being at a new resort here in Canada and trying to come to grips with all that entails...

It has been awhile since I payed any attention to this blog and just as long since I bothered with Dell and the train wreck they are.

So what is new? Nothing apparently, and that is glaringly obvious by a quick browse of google news.

Here is just one item making the rounds and it is a case of "same shit different day"... and the comments from Don Tennants' readers are quite telling as well. I like the bit "You were robbed or ripped off, you just got unlucky"...


Don Tennant

Stirring IT Up
February 7, 2008 - 11:14 A.M.
Dear Michael Dell

I heard from a very unhappy Dell customer last night. It's not exactly uncommon for me to hear from very unhappy Dell customers, but I found this case interesting because the customer copied me on a letter she sent to Michael Dell.

At issue is an Inspiron 9300 notebook that developed major problems just a few days after the warranty expired. Here's the letter:

Dear Mr. Dell:

About two years ago, I purchased an Inspiron 9300. At the time of purchase, I invested in a two-year warranty.

I have had no problems with my machine. In fact, I have enjoyed using it. I am an IT Solutions Architect for AT&T and frequently work from home. Our work laptops are also from Dell, and I've had a good experience with your products - until now.

A few days after my warranty expired, my screen developed some ugly vertical lines that are visible when in the desktop mode and online. I have never dropped my machine. I don't travel with it; use my work laptop for that purpose. Naturally, I was surprised and troubled.

So I went to a local Dell repair service and showed my computer screen to them. They told me that there would be a charge because it was out of warranty. I could hardly believe it. I contacted Customer Service at Dell (Case #172854100). I received the same response from them and the case was considered closed (08/23/07). I was an unhappy customer.

Now the vertical line damage has inched across about 1/3 of my machine since August. At first I was so mad that the company would not honor the warranty that I vowed never to buy another Dell. I was just going to wait until this machine crashed completely and purchase a new one from your competitors, but then something happened that changed my mind.

A dear friend of mind came to visit. It just so happens she is from Houston and her daughters attend your alma mater, Memorial High School, where I understand you are their most famous alumnus.

I showed her my computer and told her about my unhappy experience. She said, "What? Just write Mr. Dell a letter, and he'll get someone to help you. He wants to keep his customers."

So, here I am. I thought I would try her advice. On December 10, I spoke to a Cristina, and she reopened a new case (18188127). I hope that you will be able to help me. It doesn't seem right that a machine develops a serious problem scarcely out of warranty and the company doesn't want to take care of its good customers.

Thanks very much. I look forward to hearing from you.


[Name, address, phone number and e-mail address supplied]

cc: Don Tennant, Vice President/Editorial Director, Computerworld & InfoWorld

It will be interesting to see whether Michael Dell responds. In the meantime, what do you think? Clearly, Dell has no legal obligation to honor an expired warranty. But should a reputable company be expected to take care of a customer when serious problems develop just a few days after the expiration date? Does good business sense dictate that you demonstrate you really care by helping the customer out, or that you avoid setting a precedent that could backfire on you when a few days stretch into a few weeks or longer?

What People Are Saying

Man....can we say get a
Submitted by Anonymous on February 8, 2008 - 2:27 P.M.

Man....can we say get a life. The system was out of warranty, get over it. If they had only gotten a one year warranty, would there be a complaint that the system was only a year out of warranty? Whatever warranty you had gotten, the system was going to fail at that point no matter what. It would have been either in warranty, or out of warranty, nothing in the middle. There is also an option to get a 3 year warranty from Dell (and knowing ATT thats is probably what they get). So why wouldnt an IT Solutions whatever at ATT follow the guidelines of their own company if you did put that much faith into Dell? Sounds to me like you are just complaining to complain. You were robbed or ripped off, you just got unlucky. Its life, it happens. Of course, your probably the same person who argues over a ten cent price difference at a grocery store too.

How is Dell going to stay in business?
Submitted by sdevlin on February 8, 2008 - 1:49 P.M.

The frontline financing and customer support people most customers are dealing with are either unreachable or unhelpful.

I was trying to remember how long I have been a Dell customer, and I can only guess at 10 years. I can say I've purchased over 50 Dell computers between my family and small business, and intended to purchase a Latitude XT and another Latitude notebook this year. However, Dell Financial utterly destroyed my customer loyalty in one long phone call Feb. 7th 6pm est.

In January, I contacted Dell immediately after I discovered an $83 charge from late December. I was certain it was just an error, and would be handled quickly. Instead, they set the account on hold until the dispute could be handled and transferred me to the fraud department.

I was informed that I would need to fill out an affidavit and return it. This is more personal effort than I've experienced with other companies, but ok. When I receive the forms in the mail, there was not a postage paid return envelope (how rude), AND the form requires notary! FOR 83 Dollars?

I call 1.800.283.2210 where a service rep I can hardly understands tells me nothing can be done, and by the way they are adding late charges on my account. I ask to speak to his manger. The manager, (Andrew, employee #592647) tells me again nothing can be done unless I pay the money and then they will remove the late fees and correct my credit report. I calmly explain to him there are 2 options, he can take care of this error and I will continue to be a happy and loyal Dell customer, or I will pay the money cancel the account and not buy anything from Dell again. He says, sorry you feel that way, give me your bank account and routing number to pay the $83 and I'll drop the late fess assessed.

I can not express how angry and disappointed I am with Dell.
Greiving Ex-Dell Customer