Monday, April 29, 2013

Sometimes I wonder whether placing these consumer complaints in my ethics blog is appropriate.  After all, they are sort of self-serving - I am drawing attention to myself instead of to some ethical issue.  But on the other hand, I'm also drawing attention to what I have come to think of as dishonest brokering by gargantuan companies who use their size, a phone barrier, and a bunch of overseas representatives with limited English and limited power to problem-solve overwhelm consumers so that they just go away rather than demanding a working product.  So, here I am back to talk about DELL, again.

Below is the post I wrote to a guy named David Angelo, after posting on Dell's facebook wall.  He asked me to send him a private message.  I somehow missed the private part - probably because I'm feeling pretty public in my anger.  I'm not going to retype it, because I've already wasted over three hours dealing with Dell today.

David, here is the entire story. It's long and ugly. It starts in 2008 with the purchase of an M1330. I am a tiny person, and a "older" returning student, and I needed a small computer to carry back and forth to school. Unfortunately, that computer was a total lemon. If you're interested in checking the number of service calls, here is the express tag from that computer: 96K16H1. I probably logged 80 hours on the phone with Dell. It never worked, and eventually I had to spend another $1200 for a toshiba, which I'm still using, while I sorted out the problems with Dell. 

In April of 2011, I started screaming my head off. The blog above, and help from a Dell person on Fb. Eventually, in late May, I was offered a replacement - finally. Unfortunately, they offered me a very big, refurbished laptop. I protested that I spent money for a small, NEW portable - that Dell had my money but I had yet to have a working computer. But they told me that this xps L502 was the ONLY choice I had. Eventually, hitting a brick wall, I negotiated (or so I thought) that they would put a 3 year warranty on it since it was refurbished - like the original warranty I ordered on the M1330. I also still own additional "accidental damage" warranty that I purchased earlier. But the new DELL basically has been sitting on a shelf at my house. I've watched the occasional movie on it because the screen is bigger than the Toshiba, but that's it. The toshiba is portable. 

About two or three months ago, I decided to put my dissertation work onto the Dell, since I mostly work on it at home. It is the first time I have used the Dell in earnest since I received it. Over the last couple of weeks, the computer screen started doing weird things. This morning it gave me some sort of driver display error message. I called in and got a run-around that I will explain below. It ended with me telling the sixth guy I talked to that I hate dell, and hanging up. I knew it would end with a brick wall. I'm guessing Dell saves a lot of money by letting people hit a wall and give up. Nice.

Anyway, back to today's calls, I gave the assorted representatives the service tag number from the current computer: 7SDZPQ1, the refurbished XPS. I also gave them a lot of information - service tag and tech support reference numbers - from the OLD Dell, hoping they could find a paper trail that would lead to an order number for the current computer. I finally pressed them to transfer me to a supervisor, they suddenly came up with some order number that may or may not be mine: 427227529. But they said this order number is from 2010 and I didn't get this problem resolved until late spring or early summer of 2011

NEXT some other woman gave me an entirely different order number, 795097455. I don't know what's right. Unfortunately, I am in currently Flagstaff Arizona with my daughter who had a premature baby. I cannot get at the box that the computer came in, which may or may not still have an order number attached, is in Phoenix. I will not be able to get anything from that box until the baby is out of the hospital and I can go home. Meanwhile, the display device on my Dell is malfunctioning and if my computer goes down, I will not be able to work. 

Finally, I was transferred me to a FOURTH person who "attached" the second order number to the service tag number, and the call dropped. When I called back in, the FIFTH department informed me that this order number goes to the lemon m1330 I had before. Oy. He transferred me to person # 6. Your company SUCKS.

The last jerk I just spoke with did acknowledge that I owned the xps. But then he said the stupidest things ever. He said, "you were HAPPY when we sent you the replacement Dell, and it's not our fault you didn't use it." He also said nobody would have told me that they would give me a warranty with the refurbished computer. Well, how would he know? He wasn't on the call. Maybe they said it to shut me up - and then did nothing - but they did say it. Since they did not do the work to connect the order number to the express service tag, etc, why should we be surprised that they did not provide the promised service warranty? 

So, to recap, first Dell replaced the lemon with a HUGE HONKING refurbished computer, even though I purchased a tiny little NEW portable one. Second, while Dell has had the use of my money for several years, I actually had to buy a second computer - a Toshiba that is still working - to use while i got the first thing settled out. When DELL finally offered me a replacement, and I objected to it's being both big and used, DELL said this was my ONLY CHOICE, and that i had to take it or nothing. But they DID tell me I would have a 3 year warranty on it. Yes, it's DELL's fault it's been sitting on a shelf for two years. If I had wanted an over-sized computer, I would have purchased one in the first place. I've continued to carry the Toshiba because it's tiny. When I finally found a use for the DELL, and moved my dissertation to it because the screen is bigger, it malfunctions within about two or three months. The display is wigging out, and a simple call for help triggered a six person hell, during which people tried to make it my fault that the service tag number didn't connect to a computer, that I ended up with a refurbished DELL without a warranty, and that I didn't immediately start carrying the monster when I did get it. So once again, DELL takes no responsibility and it's all my fault. THIS REALLY SUCKS. 

So I'm right back where I started in 2011. DELL has my money, I have a bad Dell, nobody in DELL cares, and the whole thing wasted so much time. 

Think you can do anything about this?

I bet nothing improves. David Angelo probably doesn't have the authority to make this right.  But if he does, I'll be sure to let you know.  Moral of this story: buy Toshiba.

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