Well, as if this saga wasn't enough of a drama...
I received a call an hour ago from "UNKNOWN" and like many of you, I
do not answer unknown, not available, blocked or other similar calls.
This one turned out to be DELL india. They left a message with a call
back number and extension. I called, spent 16 minutes on hold before
someone picked up asking What department am I looking for. I said I
wasn't sure, I just have an extension. The line was then abruptly cut off.
I called back, on hold now 22 minutes before I decided to just leave a message. This level of customer service reminds me of the 1980's. DELL should take a look at how giants like GM and Chrysler have fallen all because they concider the consumer an expendable nuisance.
Here is an excerpt taken from an interview with GM CEO Fritz Henderson:
"The automaker is launching a "Tell Fritz" Web site to allow owners and the public to share their concerns with senior management and he planned to go out on the road every month, Henderson said.
We need to listen to the questions, ideas and the concerns of the people who matter the most," Henderson said."
If DELL isn't mindful of its customer base, it will suffer as GM has suffered.
I wanted to get some feedback from other DELL users as well as a broad
opinion base from other consumers in a general sense. I am going to post two "poll" questions for feedback in addition to the comments I hope you will respond with. Don't hold anything back, if you feel I am being unreasonable, please tell me and conversely, if you feel that DELL has not acted in good faith, post that as well.
Here are the events.
December 2008 I purchased a NEW, not refurbished DELL desktop system.
It is used exclusively in a guest bedroom as a media center PC with light internet browsing and occasional MS Office work. I installed VLC for media playback, Firefox for web surfing, Brother proprietary printer software and MS Office for Word and Outlook. Nothing else has been installed. DELL supplied MS Vista Home Premium.
I have a 2TB hard drive connected via USB for movies and such, printing is wireless, the keyboard & mouse and a 32 inch Samsung LCD TV via HDMI.
From day one, the computer would beep 5 times when powered on. I should rephrase, it beeps 3 times then emits a tone longer in duration and higher in pitch followed by the 5th beep that sounds like the first 3. It loaded the OS without incident or error and gave no BIOS warnings. I had no reason to believe anything was wrong. About 4 months into ownership I had to call technical support and while I had their agent on the phone, I asked about the beeps. I was told it should not beep at all. I spent more than an hour with this agent on the "beeps" while we tried different steps before I relinquished control of the computer and DELL tried remotely to correct the issue or at a minimum, diagnose it.
This technician was unable to resolve it so he arranged a home visit for someone to come and replace the motherboard. Three days later I received a call from the on site technician and arranged a time for him to come by the following day. He arrived 10 minutes late (He gave me a 4 hour window and arrived 10 minutes past his own window of time.) and hadn't bothered to call me advising he was running late. He stayed about 2 hours, he had to watch short video clips on his own laptop on how to replace the motherboard. After he was done and he powered the computer, it beeped 8 times with the same
unusual tone/beep in the middle. He called DELL and they instructed him to remove various components and then powering the computer. One of those components was the processor. By now it was past my dinner time and I requested that if he was no closer to a solution, that we reschedule. It was a few days before I contacted DELL again and another hour or more on the phone (since I have to start from scratch despite having a case #) and this person said they would send a new motherboard, cpu and memory to the technician for replacement. By now, it seems like they are parts changers, not technicians that diagnose. Another 4 hour window with the same tech, only this time he shows up in the 3rd hour. He replaces the parts and now I have 4 beeps all of the same pitch and tone. He calls DELL and after some discussion, they agree to send a new replacement. This technician was here for 90 minutes and showed me something I found surprising. Every part he received was refurbished and not new as DELL technical support claimed.
12 days later I called to get an update on my replacement system and was given a tracking number for FedEx. I arranged to be home that day to sign for it and when it arrived, I removed the computer and power supply from the box. Connected the peripherals and turned it on...to my dismay, it beeps 4 times of the same pitch and tone, then gives a BIOS warning about the power supply.
I called DELL yet again, more time on the phone and they want to send a replacement motherboard and hard drive to the technician. At this point, I advised them not to, that I would be seeking a different path to resolve this matter.
I tried calling every "Customer Service" telephone number for DELL but all roads lead to India where they have no concept or concern for customer service and in each instance, tried to transfer me to technical support which is anything but.
I then filed a Better Business Bureau complaint that resulted in someone from India calling me on the 3rd day. This person told me my request for a NEW NEW NEW replacement would not happen as it violated DELL policy. She further informed me that I was not entitled to anything for lost time, or aggravation spent trying to resolve this. I appealed and requested her manager to which she told me that I was already speaking to the highest authority within DELL that I could. I had to do it, I asked if she was Michael Dell. I don't think she got my point.
Yesterday the BBB called me and asked if I would be willing to enter into arbitration with a senior level manager from DELL, someone here in the United States. I said I would be delighted. The BBB rep then advised me there is a $70 charge for this service. I was appalled and said to him, is it not the very purpose of a BBB complaint to put a consumer in touch with a member of management from the business? Someone empowered to listen to the consumer, decide what is fair and reasonable when weighed against the business need of the company and the desire to retain a customer. So far, the BBB failed to put me in touch with anyone at DELL that I could not and have not already reached via the DELL toll free number.
I left it off with the BBB that I was not comfortable paying $70 for what I thought was the very function of the BBB, to ensure someone from DELL that can help contacts me.
This is how DELL responded to the BBB:
*** Web Response ***
Re: Better Business Bureau Case # xxxxxxxxx
Dear Better Business Bureau,
I am writing on behalf of Dell Inc. in response to the inquiry filed with your office by Mr. xxxxxxxx. Thank you for making us aware of his concerns.
After reading Mr. xxxxxxxxx complaint, the following is what I have determined to be the issues.
* Dissatisfied with refurbished system exchange
* Requests new system exchange with upgrades
We apologize for any inconvenience that Mr. xxxxxxxxx has encountered. A Dell representative contacted Mr. xxxxxxxxx to address the issues. Mr. xxxxxxxxx purchased his system in December 2008 and his first call for technical support was in May 2009. He has been provided support and an exchange system in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of the Limited Hardware Warranty. It was explained to him that a new system exchange or upgrades are not an option for him within the terms of the warranty. We remain ready to provide support and assistance within the terms of the warranty agreement entered into with Mr. xxxxxxxxx at the point of sale. We are closing this case as having resolved the issues within the warranty agreement and no further consideration will be given. In the event Mr. xxxxxxxxx requires further assistance we request he contact us directly using the information provided below.
If you have any additional questions regarding this issue, you may contact the agent directly at 1-800-624-9897, Ext 726-9246 or via e-mail at Bobby_Oberoi@Dell.com. He will be happy to assist you.
Consumer Resolution Center
So they "apologize" with empty words but continue to inconvenience me by sending a defective system and then compound
that by asking me to wait around my home another 4-7 hours while a technician replaces more used parts with --- more used parts.
Dude, I should have got a Sony.
My poll questions are as follows:
Would you have agreed to pay that $70 just for the opportunity to speak with someone from DELL.
Am I being unreasonable in requesting a NEW system, not refurbished and that I feel I am entitled to something for the 33+ hours lost in trying to fix this issue.