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Dell Chastized Over Customer Service 169

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the dude-i'm-still-not-getting-a-dell dept.
The Register is reporting that Dell recently agreed to give into demands from the UK's Office of Fair Trading and alter the agreements that accompany their hardware. From the article: "The OFT has spent the past few months sparring with Dell over the company's terms and conditions. The two organizations recently agreed to settle their issues with Dell changing contracts and making them "fairer to consumers," the OFT said. The specific changes, however, remain secret as neither the OFT nor Dell will reveal exact terms and conditions alterations and as Dell has kept old contracts online."
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Dell Chastized Over Customer Service

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  • hm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @07:36PM (#15685001) Journal
    how unfair can the agreements be... we get enough statutory rights to make sure that nothing too bad can happen.
    • Re:hm... (Score:5, Informative)

      by joe 155 (937621) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @07:45PM (#15685031) Journal
      figured I might as well expand...

      # limited liability for negligence to the price of the product

      If you agree a price and they accept then they can't later alter this so I fail to see too many problems

      # excluded liability for consequential loss arising out of breach of contract

      This might need looking at although I can't imagine too much which could go wrong, if the product isn't of a merchandisable quality then you can get your money back anyway (because of the statutory rights) - there are also rights to protect you from misleading advertising - if they fail to deliver then you can simply get your money back without too much trouble.

      # excluded liability for oral representations not confirmed in writing, and

      No contract is worth anything if it is not in writing so I can't see how this is a problem

      # required the consumer to notify Dell of any errors in its confirmation of the consumer's order immediately

      You'd expect this anyway, if they refuse to help then cancel because it is within your cooling off period

      - this all seems like it could be solved fairly easily anyway... you can't sign away statutory rights so consumers are safe as far as I can see...
      • excluded liability for oral representations not confirmed in writing,

        No contract is worth anything if it is not in writing so I can't see how this is a problem

        Gah, this simply isn't true, although oft-repeated; "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on" and other witticisms aside, if, in the development of a contractual agreement (which doesn't have to be written in the first place, of course), one party makes representations that are taken and are relied upon by the other party as part of

        • A very good example of a contract thats legally binding in the UK even tho you do not get a signed copy, and you dont physically sign anything yourself, is mobile phone contracts. You can apply for tehse online, agree to the contract period and charges online, and get the phone. With O2 and Orange you get a copy of the terms and conditions, but theres no contract that you have to sign and return.

          Another example is online loans, which many banks are starting to do 'instantly' - again theres no contract
      • Re:hm... (Score:3, Funny)

        by texaport (600120)
        required the consumer to notify Dell of any errors

        In the UK, I believe it is customary to spell the company name as Delle.

        --
        Realtime onscreen spell
        checker provided by RC1
        of Firefox version 2.0

      • Re:hm... (Score:5, Informative)

        by DRJlaw (946416) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:57PM (#15685235)
        # limited liability for negligence to the price of the product
        If you agree a price and they accept then they can't later alter this so I fail to see too many problems


        Your Dell laptop explodes due to a faulty lithium ion battery and burns down your house. Dell's liability is limited to the price of the laptop. I see a problem.

        # excluded liability for consequential loss arising out of breach of contract
        This might need looking at although I can't imagine too much which could go wrong, if the product isn't of a merchandisable quality then you can get your money back anyway (because of the statutory rights) - there are also rights to protect you from misleading advertising - if they fail to deliver then you can simply get your money back without too much trouble.


        Consequential damages may be but are not necessarily related to warranties of merchantability and/or truth in advertising. Dell sells you 50 rack mount servers for a video production project that starts on 8/7/2006 and promises a delivery date of 8/1/2006. Dell fails to deliver the servers until two months after the delivery date. You've lost 7 weeks of production time. Those weeks of delay may be compensable as consequential damages.

        # excluded liability for oral representations not confirmed in writing, and
        No contract is worth anything if it is not in writing so I can't see how this is a problem.


        The Statute of Frauds says otherwise. The common law says otherwise. There are plenty of ways to prove the existence of a contract that do not rely on a signed writing. I find it odd that you believe that Dell can make such representations and simultaneously protect itself from liability for making them.

        # required the consumer to notify Dell of any errors in its confirmation of the consumer's order immediately
        You'd expect this anyway, if they refuse to help then cancel because it is within your cooling off period


        I would not expect this at all. The consumer makes an offer for a specified piece of equipment. Dell purports to accept the offer but specifies different equipment. Under the law of contracts the consumer is not obligated to do anything because Dell has failed to accept the original offer, and in fact made a counteroffer (mirror image rule). The professional sales organization shifts the effort required to catch and correct errors onto the consumer. You believe that this is equitable?

        Four strikes. You're out.
        • The outfit I worked for got a tranche of Dell Servers and Dell desktop PCs. Suffice to say we're not going to use Dell again. Their support was abysmal.

          YMMV but whatever stories get posted here, we got burnt and don't want to associate with that company again. If I were interviewing for a job and they used Dells, I might ask how they find the support service, but I couldn't accept the job if offered. Nightmare! :(
    • Re:hm... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:56PM (#15685232) Journal
      The UK is different from the US. We don't go "oh the market will sort it's self out", we go "oi, you stick to the rules or you fuck off". That way if someone is being a bitch to their customers or using too much bullshit to get the truth out of them, people like Trading standards and other government bodies come in. They check it out and get it sorted.

      We're an odd little place and like everyone to play fair no matter what, not just assume the cheats will get theirs via the customers.
      • Actually, we go, "Oi, you! Noooooo!"
      • Re:hm... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Millenniumman (924859)
        Unfortunately, that is not what happens in the US. Politicians talk about punishing a corporation/organization/group/market that consumers don't like at the moment. They keep passing, or trying to pass, laws persecuting that group until the people start caring about something else. It is vote buying. It is happening with "punish those oil companies for making money", "tax the evil rich", "stop those evil flag burners" etc. right now. It does often end up harming the persecuted group, but it never helps norm

      • Nevertheless, I must warn you that in future you should delete the words 'crunchy frog', and replace them with the legend 'crunchy raw unboned real dead frog', if you want to avoid prosecution.
      • Ahhh! (Score:3, Funny)

        by ImaLamer (260199)
        Now I get it!

        Now I know why I've seen comments posted on the Internet that read:
        This [noun] does [verb]. I wonder if it will ever be sold in the UK?
      • And to ensure everything's on the up and up, we videotape everyone all the time.
        • You do get that 90% of them cameras are privately owned by shop owners correct?

          Also it makes no damn difference to anyone. Only the towns have cameras, where you're already being watched by 20-50 people at a time. In the country side I've never seen a single camera. It's not like we have midgets hanging from trees with cameras going "psst, we're watching".

          I don't doubt the US would be exactly the same if you didn't have to drive every where and they can just film the junctions at roads instead.

          Also just bec
  • Leveling the field (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beuno (740018) <argentina@@@gmail...com> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @07:37PM (#15685003) Homepage
    Finally some stories are kicking in that the balance is being pushed in favour of consumers instead of the other way.
    I think corporations should be punished heavily when they try to get away with abusive practices to trim down the ammount of users that get abused and also to be fair to the corporations who really do make an effort in being fair.
    • by shawb (16347)
      1 step forward for individual rights... followed by 50 steps backwards for same rights. That's the way it seems to go.
    • And as a result of all it's cost cutting and cut-throat business tactics, Dell may eventually implode under itself. I'm not saying it will happen overnight, but like many here on Slashdot, I work "in the industry." I work for a small computer sales/service retailer, and over the past 2-3 years I've experienced a sharp increase in the number of Dell computers coming in for service, relative to the number of other brands. Granted, many were for virus/spyware infections, and the large number may be more becaus
      • after their 6 month old Inspiron 1150's LCD inverter burnt out, and Dell refused to replace it, even though it had a year warranty. Despite numerous calls, all the call center would say is insert the recovery CD and reinstall the operating system.

        How long ago did this happen? I know that for a while I heard Dell support was horrible but I am pretty sure they cleaned back up. I was the network admin for my fraternity about 4 years ago and we had all Dells and whenever we had a problem someone would be ther
        • I forgot to mention the issue with my LCD at my work happened less than a month ago, so it is current.

          I also have one more current experience which happened last year. I ordered an Infocus SP4805 projector (for personal use) through Dell and after hooking it up there was ONE pixel that was always white. I talked again to someone through the online support and within 2 days I had a new projector which worked perfectly and all I had to do was put the old projector in the box and send it back.
          • by Firehed (942385)
            I had a similar experience with a DVD drive that started acting up from a Dell system. I had the new one within a day or two (with an offer to send out a technician to replace it - I opted out, seeing as the drive hadn't been used in the original system for several months, not to mention I can use a screwdriver) with a prepaid return postage for sending back the old busted drive.

            As it turns out though, the way they handle stuff like that is quite sketchy, if not illeal. They charged my (well, my dad's,

            • by pnutjam (523990)
              I RMA'd the HD on my sister's Dell. It was a really good experience. I've dealt with my share of RMA's and it can really be a pain, but not this time.

              I called called from work and explained I didn't have the system in front of me. I explained what I had done to ascertain the drive was the problem. Gave the the smart drive error code and that was it. They sent out a new drive, along with all the CD's for OS and drivers/software (sister lost these).

              My experience has been that even when support is dec
    • by cortana (588495)
      I think corporations should be punished heavily when they try to get away with abusive practices to trim down the ammount of users that get abused and also to be fair to the corporations who really do make an effort in being fair.
      ???

      If you don't like their customer service, don't buy their products. The market will decide whether good customer service is worth the extra cost.
      • Have you read every single EULA you agreed to?
        What if you're the first to be affected by unfair business tactics, will you still say that all is well since the market will punish the company?
      • "If you don't like their customer service, don't buy their products. The market will decide whether good customer service is worth the extra cost."

        Oh yeah, that's working real well right now. Either the problems aren't made public enough or they are the sort of problems that don't bite you until you've handed your money over. Not everybody has the time or the inclination to do hours of research before every product purchase is made. Caveat Emptor? Sure. Okay. That doesn't mean companies should be give
      • by RsG (809189) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @11:19PM (#15685637)
        And when all or most of the competing companies offer equally cruddy customer service? What then? Just "don't buy from any of them", and do without any support at all?

        The market isn't some mystical force. It isn't sentient, and it doesn't make decisions, no matter how we sometimes anthropomorphasize it. It's a semi-rational human construct that behaves predictably - and it cannot magically "correct" itself if the circumstances don't allow it.

        For market correction to occur spontainiously, there have to be a least two different choices facing a customer, and he has to have access to accurate information about what advantages and drawbacks each choice offers. If either the customer has no source of accurate information before making a purchasing decision, or if he doesn't have two different choices (two identical choices or only one choice are both possible reasons), then the market doesn't correct.

        If you're getting bad support, you've already made a purchase, and the company has gotten your cash. You can avoid them in the future, and tell others to do so as well, but it is entirely possible for a company to get by on one time customers alone. You'd have to know that the company had crappy tech support before you bought their product - and where are you going to get that information? Maybe the only people you know who bought from them never used their tech support. Going online doesn't help either - too much whining one the one hand and too much astroturfing on the other.

        And if you do know that company X has crappy support, then you still need a company Y to turn to that is better in this regard. If no such alternative exists (or is feasble for your circumstances), then there is nothing you can do.

        Free market capitalism is not a panacea. It's better than the alternatives, granted, but it does have drawbacks - and one of those drawbacks is the damage lack of accurate information and choice can do to customers.

        Also, the person you replied to said that misbehaving corporations need to be "punished", right? Isn't that exactly what the free market correcting itself is supposed to be about? Ie, people voting with their wallets, and leaving bad companies in favour of better ones.
        • If no one provides decent customer service then build your own PCs. You could even make some money doint it.
          • I repeat:

            What then? Just "don't buy from any of them", and do without any support at all?

            The issue is not about what I, a computer geek (and therefor in the minority of computer users) can do. Why would I want a Dell machine in the first place? The issue is about what the average user will do.

            When Joe Average is depending on call-in support and warranty repair for his prefab box when it breaks, then customer service is an issue. Additionally, customer service is entirely after the fact; you cannot know i

      • "If you don't like their customer service, don't buy their products."

        Kinda hard to tell if the customer service is any good unless you're already a customer. Chicken/egg.
      • In many cases, it's difficult to know the quality of the service until after you bought the product. This is especially true with expensive products which are only purchased infrequently.

        What you're saying may be true, but "market will decide" is something that may take years-- is this effective?

        I bought my car 5 years ago. Back then, I had no idea it was going to develop so many problems. Will I ever buy a Ford again? Probably not-- but it's not a decision I can make until I have enough money to buy a new
      • by wfberg (24378)
        If you don't like their customer service, don't buy their products. The market will decide whether good customer service is worth the extra cost.

        So what you're saying is, contractual law isn't necessary to police breaches of contract? Interesting.

        What Dell is doing is basically breaching EU laws on remote sales, as well as common laws. Customers are entitled to statutory protections and Dell isn't living up to those. This is a problem in a free market, because the playing field is level to everyone, except
      • And how exactly am I to evaluate their customer service without buying a product first?

        Anecdotal evidence is all well and good, but there's more to the buying process than reading blogs. So you do your research and then buy anyway and THEN find out that the customer support is abysmal, at which point the options are somewhat limited. That's the point, and that's what the OFT is for. So good for them.

        I've had mixed experiences with Dell, myself. Support's always been excellent when I finally get it, but on o
  • Wayback machine? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fabu10u$ (839423) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @07:39PM (#15685010)
    After they change the online copies, of course, won't you be able to diff them with the Wayback Machine?
  • OK... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @07:40PM (#15685013)
    "We've changed the contract, but we aren't telling you how..."
    • Re:OK... (Score:5, Funny)

      by joe 155 (937621) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @07:47PM (#15685040) Journal
      thats the old way of doing it; "I changed our deal, pray I don't change it further..."
      • Re:OK... (Score:5, Funny)

        by RsG (809189) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:41PM (#15685192)
        Yeah, except that if Vader used Dell parts, his respirator would crash every half hour. Plus, instead of the neat black colour scheme, his armour would probably have holstein spots. And he'd have to deal with their tech support, which make Sith lords seem charming and helpful by comparison...
        • On the other hand, Vader could simply call down a Star Destroyer and fire a few Turbolaser blasts at Dell's headquarters to remind them of their responsibilities. Actually, I'd rather like to see that ... from a safe distance, of course.
        • Plus, instead of the neat black colour scheme, his armour would probably have holstein spots.

          That was Gateway.
          • by RsG (809189)
            /slaps forehead

            Whoops! My bad - it was indeed gateway who did the whole "cow" thing.

            In my defense, it's hard to remember which crappy computer company is which...
        • If Darth Vader relied on the current computer industry, Luke would have been irrelevant. Evil would have brought itself crashing down.

            Like the poor engineering of the Death Star...

            oh, wait. Damn those rebels!

          SB
          • by RsG (809189)
            Like the poor engineering of the Death Star...

            (Seen on a BSOD)

            Warning: Reactor core dump caused by Torpedo.exe. Program attempted to access Vent.shaft - shaft firewall failed due to firewall absence/deactivation. The system will shutdown in 10 seconds, any unsaved data and undestroyed planets will be lost/saved. Please contact a Dell customer service representative for details. Error number 517H-5p1T.
        • And he'd have to deal with their tech support, which make Sith lords seem charming and helpful by comparison...

          Tech Support: "OK it must be EITHER the heat sink OR the mousepad."
          Customer: "Only the Sith deal in absolutes!"

        • Yeah, except that if Vader used Dell parts, his respirator would crash every half hour. Plus, instead of the neat black colour scheme, his armour would probably have holstein spots.

          Wouldn't that be Gateway, not Dell, if there were holstein spots?
    • Re:OK... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zaphod2016 (971897)
      You said it all.

      I'm sure we all have a "Dell sucks" story, here's mine: financed a refurb laptop as a small business. The machine crapped out. Dell tech support is an oxymoron. I refused to pay for a defective unit only to be informed that the financing company owned the debt (Dell Financial) and they were not responsible for the actual product (Dell proper).

      When a company is keeping secrets, organizing shelter corps and playing other liability games, it just annoys me. When consumer advocates call va
      • Always buy the extended warranty on a laptop especially when you buy a crash victim (refurb).
        • A warranty is only as good as the company supporting it. After my last battle with Dell, I'm fairly confident my "warranty" would have been little more than an expensive piece of paper.
          • Re:OK... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by bcat24 (914105)
            Yep, and it's not just a problem with Dell. My parents bought a Toshiba laptop from CompUSA. They also bought the extended warranty. Less than a year afterwards, the power jack broke. Of course, they took it in for service, and were told that it wasn't covered under the warranty. CompUSA wanted to sell them a new motherboard for $700. All this despite the fact that 1) many other people have had problems like this and 2) there are a ton of places selling replacement power jacks for less than $50.
            • My own experience with laptop warranties has been Powerbooks and AppleCare. I have had to send a couple back for fixes, but each time the extended warranty has covered service and parts. I know someone whose Inspiron 8100 went through several displays, and from what he said, I believe Dell covered each of them and even admitted that there was a bad batch of displays from a supplier. I don't believe that he was financing through Dell, and we (I work in a research lab at a major university) buy the laptops vi
      • Here's mine.

        Bought a couple of 2400s for my kids. One of them had problems with the on-board.

        The Broadcomm diagnostics found the problem, but the stock Dell diagnostics wouldn't. Of course, "Brian" from Bangalore (and yes, he was in India) refused to accept the diagnosis, even when an identically configured second machine worked perfectly. Rather than fight them any more, I went out and bought a D-Link card for $10, and dropped it in a PCI slot.

        Dell support sucks.

  • Another non-story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dave420 (699308) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:00PM (#15685076)
    Nothing important, nothing final, nothing being made public. Pure speculation ensues.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:13PM (#15685106)
    Dell's customer service in Canada has fallen so far in Canada over the last 5-7 years that as an IT consultant, I now include "avoid Dell" in my equipment recommendations to my clients. I have read their legals and there are so many "escape clauses" built in that I doubt that Dell could be forced to service anything no matter the cause if they stuck to the exact letter.

    Worse still is their telephone support. I often run across people whose Dell machines have run into problems, and where a clueless telephone support tech has caused them to lose all their machine's data. One client, a tax accountant, lost an extire tax season. I know, I know, backup data - but I think everyone here knows how likely you are to get most users to reliably do so. This is just one of many horror stories.

    I would just love it if Dell Canada were forced to take on some accountability for its products. Then perhaps the small business people they have actually hurt would find they had more when fighting with Dell to get a machine they thought was under warranty working again. At least for now, some have found that their only remedy is to sue.
    • After my 1 year old HP crapped out, and tech support tells me
      1.) its out of warranty,
      2.) no tech manuals exist so I can figure out how to take the darn thing apart and have a look,
      3.) they will look at it for 300 bucks,
      4.) if its a mobo problem (most likely scenario, it will be 900 bucks to fix it)

      I'm afraid I threw a bit of a fit and smashed the laptop against the wall, then kicked it a few times.
      "Are you ok?" asks the tech (who I did not yell at), "Yes, that was the sound of me kicking the crap out of th
  • by jrumney (197329) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:16PM (#15685113) Homepage

    I wonder if OFT is also looking at Dells practice of advertising incredibly cheap computers then trying to convince people who call up to order that they need to pay an extra £100 to upgrade the RAM from 256Mb to 512Mb if they want to use broadband, because this PC they advertised "will only work with dialup". Or trying to upsell to the next model up, because this PC is end of line stock, and will "not work anymore in six months time".

  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:32PM (#15685171) Homepage
    I help my friends and family with their Dells whenever they need it, and every time I've had to contact Dell for support or drivers they have been very prompt and knowledgeable. Even for systems that are out of warranty or hella old.

    Their chat system and website for drivers have been especially useful and very efficient.

    I've never had to send anything in for warranty repair, so I can't comment on that.
    • You, my friend, have had far better experiences than I.

      I just bought a laptop and other items from Dell (first time buyer from Dell). As is my usual practice, I searched through my computer to verify that it was as ordered.

      I found that I had a question over whether I received the sound card that I thought I had ordered. Very simple problem, right? Think again. Three hours later and a couple of clueless but undoubtedly hard working Indian folks later, I finally spoke to someone with a sufficient skill-base t
    • "I've never had to send anything in for warranty repair, so I can't comment on that."

      My first laptop was a Dell. I remember when I ordered it, it took a whole 2 weeks for it to arrive. I was eager to recieve it. As a joke, I'd call the receptionist and ask if it had arrived yet. (She was in on the joke and found it funny... well not after the 3rd time...) 3 months later the screen went out. I didn't pay extra for a special warranty or anything, so I wasn't expecting a quick turn around on the repair.
  • Clause F1R3 (Score:5, Funny)

    by pookemon (909195) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:34PM (#15685181) Homepage
    "All fires must be extinguished before the return of the product to Dell for servicing."
  • by subxero37 (985222) <[ten.edoctahp] [ta] [orexbus]> on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:36PM (#15685185) Homepage
    that I've worked on were all Dells. Two of them had the same motherboard, both of which were completely dead, and both of which were no older than six months. When I called Dell to request new motherboards (since the machines were under warranty) they promptly told me that they could not replace motherboards. They then offered to send me new heatsinks. Yes, because heatsinks dissipate heat so well when they're placed on a component that can't be turned on. I was never able to coax them to send me new motherboards. I now have two dissatisfied customers. Surely, someone should kick their ass.
    • Two of them had the same motherboard, both of which were completely dead, and both of which were no older than six months. When I called Dell to request new motherboards (since the machines were under warranty) they promptly told me that they could not replace motherboards.

      You got what you paid for. It's a good bet that those Dell boxes were bought because they were cheap (for the listed spec). Dell boxes are cheap because they are made from cheap components and don't last as long as most of the competition

      • But not if he or his customer purchased an extended warranty. Then yes they didn't get what they paid for. Cheap or not they must follow their own warranty. You wouldnt want to pay me 7/hr to relandscape your yard and not show up when you paid me. Sure 7/hr is what most mexicans make and a good landscapper charges 12/hr or more. But I didn't follow jy obligations with the pay and you could take me to court to recoup the cost.

        Also many larger customers have contracts and its harder to switch desktops. For ex
        • Have you been to the Home Depot parking lot lately? They're asking $12/hour and it's hard to get them down below $9. However, the guys I've hired for $10+ have all been worth it while the guys that I bargained down to $8 really didn't save me any money. And there are guys that will take less than $8/hour, but you only have to talk with them for a minute to realize they're pretty sketchy (at least the guys to whom I've talked).

          Maybe you live in a part of the country where the cost of living is cheaper. I'm i
  • Serves 'em right! (Score:5, Informative)

    by epp_b (944299) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:43PM (#15685197)
    Hey, I'd be pretty ticked at them too if they sold me a several-thousand-dollar network cable [theregister.co.uk].
  • by Xest (935314) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:46PM (#15685206)
    Dell carries out extremely deceptive marketing practices in the UK, they often advertise on TV and by mailshot really low price laptops and such, however if you phone up for the offer they wont sell you it and will offer you it at a higher price, even if you give the specific offer code. When I spoke to trading standards they acknowledged it's a problem but that as long as they can prove they've sold a few at that price then it doesn't matter if they then try and screw a few thousand other people on it.

    Dell definitely needs kicking into shape, their customer support is attrocious and some of the tactics they use are borderline, or at least should be outright illegal.

    It's just a shame that trading standards are merely getting them to change license agreement or whatever instead of really doing what needs doing - hitting them where it hurts with fines/legal proceedings as they deserve for their disgusting practices.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:48PM (#15685209)
    I was about to buy a laptop from them and did a little online research. The stories of incredible bad service that I read convinced me that it was too much of a gamble. Most of the stories revolved around people spending weeks and months trying to convince Dell that their hardware was broken so they could return it for repair. I didn't buy a laptop from them.

    This situation is way past ironic. Dell got its start by convincing customers that it was safe to buy computers on line. The service was good. Dell sold good hardware that didn't break but if it did break, there was no problem getting a quick repair or a new machine. Boy, have things ever changed!

    My WAG is that there won't be a Dell in five years.
    • Online horror stories feature every major vendor, whether Dell, HP, eMachines/Gateway, Apple, Sony, or Toshiba. If you avoided every large vendor based on online stories, you'd only be building your own machines.

      My not-so-wild-ass guess is that Dell will still be alive and more or less in its present form in five years.

  • Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cloud K (125581) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @08:48PM (#15685211)
    What I find most interesting about Dell, is that unlike other companies, even their *sales* department is run by a call centre in India.

    The comparison ends there, with Dell. In my experience they are helpful to a fault and bend over backwards to help you out. They are the true model of how Indian Call Centres should be: helpful to the economy but most importantly, helpful to the customer and so incredibly friendly they would do *anything* for you if their English ws good enough. As this article suggests, YMMV.
    • That's funny, because we have a huge Dell call centre here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We're a multicultural country, so who knows, you might have gotten an Indian rep just by the luck of the draw. All the Dell workers I know are fluent in English, though you may have to deal with a few extra "Eh"s when they speak.

      Bork!
      • Guess I'm too late to reply to this, but my Canadian girlfriend has never suffixed a sentence with "eh" in the whole 6 months I've known her =P
  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @09:24PM (#15685296) Homepage
    In other news, Dell has customer support!?! Wow, I had no idea. Where do I get the number for this customer support, instead of the number for the prescripted question answer line?
  • My Dell Hell Story (Score:3, Informative)

    by DellFraud (987729) on Saturday July 08, 2006 @10:29PM (#15685475)
    For anyone out there that thinks Dell has good customer service. Try again. This is the worst company that I have ever dealt with. I am still trying to fight with them so I won't give all the details yet, but if I ever get my money back from them, I will be posting even more details. I have contacted several lawyers and asked them to file a class action lawsuit against them for consumer fraud, but all of the lawyers are afraid of Dell. The biggest reason is because there is a binding arbitration clause buried in the sales contract. If there are any lawyers at there that would be willing to help me out with this case I would be delighted to work with you to hold Dell accountable for their actions.
    • Purchased new computer from Dell on 08/24/03.
    • On 03/23/04 the computer just started overheating and shutting off.
    • They replaced the processor, heatsink and fan unit on 04/04/04 and the problem went away. BTW, I had a next day business warranty with them and they were not able to fix my problem from 3/23/04 until 04/04/04.
    • On 12/29/04 I contacted Dell again because this problem was happening again. After discussing with them explaining to them that this is a product defect and that they can not fix the problem they told me they would replace the parts again, I was told with an updated part, unfortunately I find that hard to believe because it was the exact same part number as the first time.
    • They replaced the parts but because I knew the problem would happen again I made them give me an additional year on the warranty. They told me they would extend the warranty, but I would have to pay for it and then they would reimburse me. I payed the money and then they told me that they couldn't reiimburse me. I fought with them until 04/11/05 to get them to give me my money back.
    • At this point, I thought the problem was fixed because it hadn't overheated or shut off for a very long time. Then I found out when they replaced the parts on 12/29/04 they also replaced the BIOS to A33 on the computer and when the computer started overheating it would only run at 1/2 the speed as what I was sold. Eg. I bought a 3.06GHz and it would only run at 1.56GHz
    • On 05/11/06, I contacted Dell telling them that their "solution" to the problem was not acceptable. I was told that I needed to upgrade my BIOS to A38 and turn Intel SpeedStep off in the BIOS. I did and the problem still existed.
    • I called on 05/16/06, telling them that the solution did not fix the problem and they told me that they had no way to fix this technical support problem. I then told them I wanted a new computer. They agreed to this and I was told that I would be getting a new computer that was equivalent or better in every way.
    • On 05/31/06, I received the new computer and 45 minutes after it was turned on it crashed. There was something wrong with the graphics. I explained to them that there was a problem with the new computer and they said that I would have to go through the normal troubleshooting procedures. I told them that I was sending back the new system and that I wanted my money back on my orginal system.
    • On 06/22/06, I was told that Dell would refund me my original system cost minus 25% depreciation to the original form of payment.
    • On 06/27/06, I informed Dell that the original credit card that I used I know longer had the account and I was told that I had to provide them with written verification that I know longer had an account with the credit card company. I contacted the credit card company and had them fax the requested information to Dell and they said that it was not sufficient to "bypass or circumvent the normal processes".
    • On 07/07/06, I informed Dell that this was not acceptable and they would need to provide me exactly what it is they need from the credit card company and / or find an alternative method of payment even though I closed the credit card account which was the original form of payment on Nov. 4th 2004!!!!
  • ... my friend and I decided to open up our own computer manufacturing/marketing/support corporation with the following guarantees:

    1. When you call for support, your call will be answered by a tech support person in your own country and not by some hard-to-understand person from another country (i.e. your call will never be routed to India).

    2. Your support contracts will be straight forward, to the point, and easy to understand. In addition, they will represent the best value we can offer for your well-spent
  • admin friends have told me about Dell Support.......

    Dell support is going downhill. They have been outsourcing to foreigners reading off cue-cards that know diddly squat....

    I tried to have a conversation with someone from Dell recently, it was very clear to me, that my colleagues were dead accurate about Dell Support.

    More HP is the result.

    What does aggravate me though, is Dell's continual B.S.-ing around when it comes to getting some AMD Opteron systems. I swear, as long as some dipshit company refuses to
  • ... for someone who does not have the skill to build their own PC?
    • If you don't have the skill - acquire it!

      Seriously, what is holding you back? How difficult is it to select some parts, buy a case and power supply, and put it together with some screws? I mean, this isn't the days of an Altair 8800 where you need to know something about soldering (btw - that's a good skill to pick up, too).

      Ok - so maybe you don't have the skill, and are a bit afraid to try your hand with brand new stuff bought for a lot of mullah - I can certainly understand that. So, what to do about gett

  • by Beek (10414) on Sunday July 09, 2006 @07:09PM (#15688230) Homepage
    A salesman (not for Dell obviously) once told me that Dell sometimes uses refurbished parts in new machines, and that it's mentioned in their Terms of Sale. Sure enough, the terms contained this: > Dell will ship products that have the functionality and performance of the products ordered, but changes between what is shipped and what is described in a specification sheet or catalogue are possible. The parts and assemblies used in building Dell products are selected from new and equivalent-to-new parts and assemblies in accordance with industry practices. Spare parts may be new or reconditioned. So how suspect is this? I have a feeling the salesman was blowing smoke because he couldn't match Dell's price. I haven't been able to find many complaints about this clause anywhere on the net.

You can bring any calculator you like to the midterm, as long as it doesn't dim the lights when you turn it on. -- Hepler, Systems Design 182

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