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Before buying a Dell computer, read this...

by chafe99 / November 1, 2005 4:02 AM PST

If your thinking of buying a Dell computer you should read this first and think twice. What I've highlighted below is true fact and part of my letter to Mr. Dell. Although I seriously don't think anything will come out of my letter, I strongly feel others should hear my case.

To buy a computer you must have two things - a good product and a good support/service network. You can have the best deal in town on a very good product, but if there is poor support or service to backup the product, would you still buy that product? This is the case with Dell. Read my case and decide for yourself and then reconsider. Do you really want to buy that Dell computer?

When it was time to upgrade my home computer, my first thought was to consider Dell for my systems and software solutions. As a first time Dell customer I placed my order online on September 7.

? On September 7 2005 I placed an order for a DIMENSION XPS GEN 5 computer and flat panel monitor via Dell?s website.

? On September 8 I received an email from Dell confirming my order along with the 3-5 day delivery date.

? On September 15, I received an email indicating that my order was shipped on the 14th and that it would take 3-5 days for delivery. Since I was leaving for vacation on the 21st, I assumed that I would receive my order in time prior to my departure.

? On the morning of the 20th, I called the customer support number to obtain a tracking number and to find out the status of my shipment. The person I spoke with provided a tracking number and they indicated that my shipment should be delivered by noon time that day. They also confirmed my email address and indicated that they would send a survey to track the quality of the call; I never received such email.

By mid-afternoon I had not received my shipment and I was unable to obtain any status form Fedex with the tracking number provided to me. I called the customer support number again and the person I spoke with was also unable to locate my shipment with the tracking number. They indicated that the shipment most likely had not left the shipping department, although a tracking number was issued. The person indicated that they would look into the matter and that they would call me back. I never received a call from that person.

That evening I called the customer support number again and tried to explain my situation. Since I was leaving for vacation the next day and no one would be home to receive the shipment, I was trying to prevent a delivery while I was away. Again, as I understood from my last conversation with the customer support department, my shipment had not left Dell shipping.

Regardless of all my efforts to explain my situation, the person I was speaking to could not understand or comprehend my concern and request regarding the unavailability of someone to receive the shipment at my address. They kept apologizing for the delay and insisted that shipment would be received in 3 to 5 days! Finally after half an hour of trying to explain why they should not send the shipment, I thought I had convinced the person to ship the order one week later than originally promised. Again at the end of our conversation, the person indicated that they would send a survey regarding the transaction and again I received no email from Dell customer service.

? On September 21, while at the airport, I called the customer support number one last time to confirm the arrangement I had made the night before. After explaining my situation, I was shocked when the person I spoke with assured me that the shipment would be received in 3 to 5 days. Frustrated I asked to speak with a manager; however the person kept insisting that they would try to resolve the issue.
Respectfully I told the person I did want to speak with them and told them that I had very little time and that I needed to speak with a manager as soon as possible. Not sensing the gravity of the situation they told me that they would put me on hold until the manager was available. Fifteen minutes later, while still on hole I hung-up in anger and disgust.

? Sure enough upon my return home there were three delivery attempts by Fedex from Dell. I called customer support on October 4th and finally spoke with a case manager. After explain my situation ? yet again ? the manager was able to track the shipment as having been returned to Dell. After all the aggravation and frustration I had gone through, without hesitation the case manager refunded my purchase price and indicated that the full amount would be credited to my Visa account.

? On October 12th I called customer support ? reluctantly - to enquire about the processing time for my refund. This time the person I spoke with discovered that only a portion of the purchase price had been refunded, which I received the next day.

He indicated that he would have to request another credit for the balance of the amount which would be made in two payments. As of today, I am still awaiting for the final balance to be credited to my account.

To this date (November 1) I still have not received my final refund, despite four other calls to Dell's accounting department. During my last call with them, the agent promised he would call back the next day with an answer. Guess what? I never got a call back, what a surprise!

Dell truly sucks!!!!

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Call your...
by jackintucson / November 1, 2005 4:13 AM PST

credit card company and challenge the charge. They will take balance back until it's resolved. No biggy. I ordered a Dell from them and have talked to their support people on a couple of occasions and have always been satisfied. I guess it just depends who you talk to. Sorry you had the trouble.

and life goes on...


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I returned a computer to Dell without problem
by ihop4no1 / November 1, 2005 4:59 AM PST

Sorry to hear your experience was not a good one, however. I, on the other hand, had a very good experience. Of course it took 4 or 5 calls to different departments, but once I reached the correct department I received excellent service. They followed up via e-mails and phone calls and promptly refunded ALL of my money. They even paid to have the PC shipped back. Didn't cost me a dime.

Good luck with that.

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Buying a Dell
by byker49 / November 1, 2005 6:12 AM PST

I bought a Dell in 2003 and had a Dell before that. I ordered them online and never spoke to a Dell person. After nine years of owning a Dell I still haven't spoken to a Dell person. Never had a problem. My computer has always worked,never a blue screen yet and it all just works. I have also never had to do a reinstall. My computer was always delivered BEFORE it was promised.

I just wish some of the other stuff I have were as reliable as my Dell, such as my stereo (Sony) my car,my air conditioning etc.

If all my other stuff were as reliable as my computer I would be one happy camper.

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Yea your experience does suck
by Eddiefromalienware / November 1, 2005 7:30 AM PST

I feel for you man, I really do. You should never buy anything from Dell only because they provide garbage service. They are overrated and make the most crapiest systems ever. That is why I buy products from Alienware, only because they provide true service and customer support. I even have a small time job there (advertising, at least I get free stuff). At least we all know not to get stuff from Dell, overrated and they just want your money.

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by Chip_Leader / November 1, 2005 1:28 PM PST

You have a small job there, no wonder you recommend them. Plus you say you buy all stuff from them

But in another post you wrote that you have a "cheap computer system..." (PC cases, what would I need? post).

I am not trying to be a jerk, but I am trying to undertand if you actually do have an Alienware system, if it works well etc because I am close to getting a new PC myself and am close to going with Dell. Iwould be interested in if you have an Alienware and experience between them and Dell. From your other post you say you have a cheap computer, but in this thread say you get stuff form Alienware. Are they good or cheap?

I have bought a Dell for my Mom and my Father in Law just got a Dell. Both love them, both cam every quickly without problems. Mom has had hers now for 11 months w/out any issue. I am leaning towars them, but want to know if others are better (and if so why)

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Well I don't have one
by Eddiefromalienware / November 2, 2005 5:25 AM PST
In reply to: hmmm

Ok, look I don't have noe, but my friend does, and its from 2001. He has had no complaints. You caught me, but all I say is Dell doesn't provide a good value for their systems. I preferably would get something from Emachines for an all around solid computer. I have one and no complaints so far.

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I just bought an Alienware, should have bought a Dell
by PC Gamer / November 7, 2005 1:58 AM PST
In reply to: Well I don't have one

I just bought an Alienware Aurora 7500 for my wife, have had VERY bad experience with their (gotta be outsourced) customer service organization!

They refused to resolve issue after 4 calls where a supervisor basically said "you got what you ordered". See my topic posted today for details if you are even considering buying from Alienware.

Previous PC was from Dell. In 5 years, only had to call once for some upgrade info. Has been a great PC. Only bought the Alienware this time because the Dell isn't easily upgradable and wanted highest performance gaming machine.

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uhh y didnt u order the system after u came home from
by nerdyboy1234 / November 1, 2005 1:35 PM PST


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by chafe99 / November 1, 2005 1:58 PM PST

I had planed to set up the new machine to start a new contract research job after my return from vacation. Now I've had to wait for over a month to get all my money back so that I can buy another computer.

The bottom line is, you don't treat customers this way, regardless of who you are or what your buying.

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No offense, but
by ikjadoon / November 2, 2005 10:26 AM PST

I have a Dell Laptop and now just recived 3 more desktops, which are all performing perfectly... Sorry for your troubles. Though if I was getting one of those XPSs' I would wait to the end of the world for it.. . Have fun with it.

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follow up
by chafe99 / November 3, 2005 12:15 AM PST
In reply to: No offense, but

Thanks for your thoughts. I like to think of myself as a very fare and patient guy. I know I make mistakes myself and no one is 100%. However, if your a first time buyer and end up making 28 calls for customer support (as of yesterday) with each call averaging 35 minutes (thats over 16 hours on the phone!) to solve what seems to be a simple problem, by the end you will feel exactly as I have - mad.

The bottom line is that as a service provider, if you make your customer mad, you've failed. If you claim to have the best product and service (well, I would't know about the product) and don't deliver on that promise, you've failed.

After all of this I was happy to take back the computer, provided they would have given me something for my trouble - $50 off, free printer, anything. Here's the kicker, they just gave my money back - well part of it! I was left having buy a new computer all over again.

After my 28th call yesterday I got a call back from Dell - amazing! They informed me that my remaining credit will be processed in one week! They must have read my message, because I got my first Dell customer survey email - wow! I feel special.

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Love my old Dell, seriously questioning a new one
by wrcopsey / November 4, 2005 1:31 PM PST
In reply to: follow up

I have an ancient (400MHz PII) Dell XPS that I have upgraded as far as it will go. I love the machine, except that it's a bit slow and issue-laden after seven years. I dealt with Dell's tech support back when it was based in the U.S. and have to say it was fairly good. But even then, I ran into problems that could only be solved by a thinking person (not a tech reading from a script). I have since learned to deal with these and numerous subsequent issues on my own... very few of which were Dell's fault (I point the finger more at Microsoft).

Considering this aging computer and my great experience with it, Dell is automatically high on my list of computers to consider. But I have heard enough complaints like yours to make me *seriously* consider going elsewhere. I'm looking at HP, Acer, etc. The XPS line with Dell is still a possibility, although the new M140 might have really killed their chances -- no discrete video card on an XPS????

Put simply, I feel your pain. I had a similar experience with Sprint, and am a relatively happy Verizon customer now because of it.

This last comment is meant for anyone with troubles with a large company. When it gets to the tenth call or so (or you've run out of lamps and china to throw against your wall), it's time to roll out the big guns. Don't hold anything back. Threaten to do exactly what you have done here (and maybe you did, I don't know) -- it can be very effective. Threaten to tell everyone you know about your experience. Threaten to write to all of the upper management (it doesn't hurt to already have their email addresses at this point--you can find anyone online). And if it comes to writing to all of the upper management, make sure they understand that if it's not resolved to your satisfaction, you will make it known to everyone you possibly can. There's a plethora of things you can do.

These days, you can tell a lot of people, too - and they know that. Heck, mention CNET forums and such things specifically. Let them know you're serious and that you know where to go to get the word out. I've used it, my brother's used it, I have friends who've done it, too... Don't rely on their normal channels once you've been tossed around a few times. They can do that until the world ends. My brother got a $100 AmEx gift certificate from FedEx after a screwup of theirs. He would have preferred the package get where it was supposed to on time, but their resolution of the matter meant that he didn't go onto forums like this and hurt their business.

The basic issue is that a company's name is about the only thing it has. Everything else is tied to that. Threaten their name and you'll get a response. Obviously, one should only do it if he's been wronged, but once that's happened, take off the gloves and punch where they'll feel it.

Your post, and the fact that I've only come to question Dell more, illustrate the power the consumer has now - should it be necessary to use it.

One question: What computer did you finally go with? How's that experience been?

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nothing yet
by chafe99 / November 7, 2005 2:20 AM PST

Thanks for your thoughts. I guess I really did bum out with Dell! Well, I still have not purchased a machine yet. Although, I am looking at laptops - specifically either a Toshiba P35 or Hp Pavilion (vd8000?).

I've also decided to wait for Christmas for a hot deal. This will also allow me to educate myself a bit more on the newer technologies and companies that offer real customer service.

I would appreciate any comments or suggestions you might have.

Regardless, life goes on...

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by Alan Copeland / November 3, 2005 3:07 AM PST

sells more PCs than anyone else, and therefore is likely to have a problem fall through the cracks now and then. You sure had your share of prioblems with them.

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Dell bent over backwards for me.
by ldill / November 3, 2005 11:41 PM PST

I too had problems with my new Dell PC, but Dell bent over backwards to help me. I live a few miles from one of their assembly and shipping points, and our company has an employee purchase plan with Dell, so I placed an order over their web site for a custom designed system. A bright and shiny new PC desktop, printer, and flat panel monitor was at my house in two days, but regretfully the motherboard was fried. After spending a couple hours on the phone with the Dell reps, running multiple tests on the PC and actually disassembling most of it, they agreed that the motherboard was fried. Within four days, Dell had a tech rep at my house with a new motherboard. He replaced the board, reassembled the unit, and tested it. It has been fine since. Later I also had a bit of a problem with a software conflict, but again the Dell telephone support was great and helped me work it out.

In short, I had the beginning of a nightmare story like yours, but Dell came through for me. When it comes time to upgrade, I'll be going back to Dell.

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Dell is dizzy
by 1Chris / November 4, 2005 8:59 AM PST

I got some memory from Dell, as they (a guy in India)looked it up and recommended it. They couldn't get it right. I got transferred all over the world, and they're all telling me a different story. I don't need to bore everyone with the details, but it was one of the most incredible runarounds I've ever experienced. I returned their wrong part and ordered from and got it right the first time. My brother is constantly telling me about his nightmares with Dell.

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No sympathy from me
by glcm1961 / November 5, 2005 12:04 AM PST

Having ordered at least a dozen Dell computers over the past ten years (for myself and others), I have never once had any problems with their shipping department. On the other hand, after reading your post, you seem to think that they are the problem in this case when if fact it is you who messed up. Let me explain.

You ordered a computer two weeks before leaving on vacation. Not smart. The shipping window is clearly stated and that usually falls smack dab in the 2-3 week time frame (in other words the week you were going to be gone). You could have arranged it with Fedex to have it delivered without a signature, had it delivered to your place of employment, or had it delivered to a friend's or relative's house.

You say you received an email on the 15th that it would be delivered in 3-5 days and you assumed it would be there by the 21st. That's 3-5 BUSINESS days my friend. The 17th and 18th were a weekend. The 21st and 22nd fall within the 3-5 day delivery period. Also, calling the day before you leave for vacation and stopping a shipment that was probably in a truck in the middle of who knows where is laughable. What do you think could be done at this point? The computer has shipped and you aren't going to be there to take delivery - end of story. The semi driver hauling your computer across the country isn't going to give a damn if you aren't going to be home for delivery - that's your screwup. Sorry, but it's people like you who make it a pain in the *** for the working people of this world who have to deal with your lack of planning and attention to detail, and when things don't fall into place you post a message like this. What is a customer support person at Dell going to do for you when the computer has already shipped, is on a truck somewhere, and you aren't going to be there during the 3-5 day delivery window? Try the novel concept of taking responsibility for your mistake, not Dells. They built and shipped your computer according to schedule and you call the day before you leave on vacation to hault the delivery? Give me a ****ing break!

As far as your refund situation is concerned, I've never had any experience with that but it does sound like Dell is taking too long to refund your account.

Your last line of "Dell truly sucks" is revealing. Blame someone else for your lack of planning and attention to detail. You aren't from New Orleans by any chance?

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Second follow up - it gets better!
by chafe99 / November 7, 2005 2:03 AM PST
In reply to: No sympathy from me

Well here we are November 7th and despite my last conversation with someone at Dell last week regarding my final refund, I still have not received my money.

It's just amazing how screwed up a company can be given all the cut throat competition. How hard can it be to process a simple $118 credit refund, which should have been credited over a month ago?

Do you really want to be business with such a company?

To reply to the last comment, yes I should take the blame. I guess is is my fault Dell Inc. is so incompetent!!!

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Why is it Dell's fault
by Alan Copeland / November 9, 2005 2:24 AM PST

that you ordered a PC just as you were going on vaction? Dell is the #1 seller at the present time; they must be doing something right. I know too many happy Dell owners.

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by culture_of_one / November 9, 2005 1:40 PM PST
In reply to: Why is it Dell's fault

In the last quarter, Dell was outsold by HP. I guess you don't get to stay number one if you keep dissing your customers, huh?

What would I do? Build my own, buy Emachines, or maybe even check out HP. Buy Dell? Nah, I don't like to gamble.

Of the people I know personally who've bought Dell...I mean people I know and have coffee with (no ''friend-of-a-friend'' stories here)...only one person ever had a ''good'' experience with Dell. (He bought a high-end laptop through his company.) The out of eight to be exact (all individual consumers)...had from ''bad'' to ''terrible'' experiences, and they were all hardware-related. Just the luck of the draw? Sorry, I don't like those odds...and I'm not going to listen to anyone who says otherwise, because of what I know. (I've always been the person my friends call first whenever anything breaks and/or they need legal advice.)

Oh, well...''caveat emptor'', right? Wink


P.S. I can also understand why people who've had nothing but good experiences with Dell (if they really do exist) would feel the way they do.

P.P.S. I used to be a big IBM fan, but now I'll have to wait and see how Lenovo handles things.

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by Alan Copeland / November 9, 2005 8:11 PM PST
In reply to: Well...

I personally have never owned a Dell, although I used one on my last job. My coisin has 6 Dells plus a couple of Dell servers for her insurance business, and a friend has 2 Dells at home. They have all had good expeiences so far.

I heard a few years ago to steer clear of HP because they were building junk. I bought an HP in May nad have had great luck. I have had a couple of problems but HP took care of them. This, by the way, is a better measure of a company that zero defects (which just isn't happening). I can accept problems, as long as they are dealt with to my satisfaction. Apparently this didn't happen for Chaffe99, but his siuation is not a good one for analysis.

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Final update!!!
by chafe99 / November 15, 2005 1:58 AM PST

Well I finally received a reply to the letter I wrote to the VP of Customer Support at Dell HQ in Round Rock TX. The reply was an email from one of Dell's Customer Support Managers from the ''Customer Experience Team''. In the short email, the manager simply apologizes for my experience and she states that what I experienced was not indicative of Dell service. I also recieved my last refund installment.

I still think Dell missed the mark. At the end of the day when it comes to spending my hard earned after-tax dollars to buy a computer, will I consider a Dell product? No. Will this effect Dell, probably not. But if you have hundreds of folks like me...

I've worked in both sale and customer service in the past and the number one rule is, lost customers is lost sales is lost revenues. Obviously no one told Dell that.

Good luck to all and thanks for your comments.

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Same problems
by seeger / December 21, 2005 9:42 AM PST

I also had the same issue with Dell. I bought a desktop this past summer. As soon as I got the computor we had problems with it. I can't tell you the countless hours spent (mainly on hold) trying to resove the problem. Dell has no customer support. I gave up and started calling the sales line because you will get a person. Finaly gave up and returned the computor. Went out and bought an HP because when you call their support you get someone right away.

Here's the scary part-it's now December and I still have not resolved the issue. Dell arranged the shipping for the return. I bought the computor with my Dell card and started getting calls from them that my payment was late (even though I sent a note with the first bill explaining the return). When they would call they wanted the tracking number for the return but I never had it, Fed Ex just came and picked it up. I kept explaing that Dell had arranged the return and all they needed to do was contact their return department. Well apparently they cannot do that because they are seperate divsions. I now have a collection agency calling me even though I have the return confirmation email. I was having dinner with some freinds last Saturday when the collection agency called my cell phone. I agian explained to the guy that the computor was returned, his comment " ya that's what we allways hear from deadbeats like you"

I decided it had to end. I called the sales line and explained the situation. Now this jerk was insulted that I would say bad things about Dells support and just to prove to me that they have great servise he would stay on the line until we could get someone to help. He did say that for a few minutes I would hear music while he got someone, well after about half an hour a recorded message comes on that says that I have to call later as they were now closed and the phone hangs up.

I'm giving you the short version. There where hours on hold and countless phone calls not returned. As a side note when I called Fed Ex to see if I could get the tracking number (only the shipper can get it) the woman told me I would have to call the company that arranged the shipping to get the tracking number, I metioned it was Dell and she was so sorry because she also had a bad experiance with Dell's help line. If you are going to buy Dell forget any hope of getting servise, it simply isn't there. It's to late for me but save yourself.

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