Problems with Dell tech support – Part 1

This is going to be a long one…

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that there was a thin dark horizontal line on my Dell Axim x30. Because it was so thin, it wasn’t that much of annoyance, but it was definitely something wrong with the screen. It only was seen when the backlight came on. When the backlight went off, the line disappeared, even though I could still see what was on the screen. Obviously it was something wrong electronically with the screen, so I called up DELL support.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
I called our normal support number, but there was no option for Axims, so I chose the laptop option and was on hold for a couple of minutes. A woman answered and when I explained my problem, she said that I had to call a different number. I did so, and was on hold for over 20 minutes. I finally spoke with someone who was helpful, but also asked some stupid questions. I’m sure it was just a checklist of things she was asking, but it is still annoying. She asked me if I had done a soft reset on the device. Of course I had. She asked if I had done a hard reset. Why would I do that? I’d loose everything, and how would a hard reset resolve a bad screen? Thankfully she didn’t insist that I do it. She arranged for a replacement.

Friday, January 13, 2006
Two days latter I had I had the replacement. I took the replacement home for the weekend, backed up my old one, and restored it to my new one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Everything seemed to be fine, so I packaged up the original one and shipped it back to Dell.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Then the next day at lunch I went out for a lunch and expected to be able to listen to some music. Of course that was the only thing I hadn’t tested on my replacement Axim, and the headphone jack was bad. I tried my headphones, and two different sets of speakers, and it would crackle in and out.

Friday, January 20, 2006
I called back and tried to arrange for my replacement to be replaced. The person acknowledged that they had received the original one, but he said the replacement Axim still hadn’t been switched over to my name, so there was nothing they could do. I complained, and the person said they’d send off an email to that department, but there was still nothing they could do for me at that time.

Monday, January 23, 2006
I called back and spoke to a tech named Janine. She said the same thing to me. She said that it still wasn’t in my name, and until it was there was nothing that she could do to help me. I explained (as politely as I could) that there was a problem with their support system if there wasn’t anything she could do. I asked to speak to a supervisor, and so she put me on hold. A second-level technician named Rob came on the line. I explained that I didn’t need second-level support and that I wanted to give a complaint to a supervisor, and he said the supervisor was busy and that he could help me as much as the supervisor. Well, he was useless. He said that sometimes the switchover can take a day; sometimes it can take 6 days. He said again that there was nothing he could do about it, and that I’d just have to call back again.

Friday, January 27, 2006
I called and spoke to a tech named Barry. I explained the situation. He figured there was a problem, and put me through to Vicky in customer care. She told me what my service tag was supposed to be. They kept saying that I claim to have a different service tag. Hello! I have the thing in front of me. The tag you say I have and the tag I have are not the same!! Deal with it! You messed up! (I didn’t really say that, but I sure did want to scream that at them). Vicky was very helpful, and after 30 minutes or so she said that I should talk to tech support again and they could arrange for a replacement. I explained I wanted a new one, and not a refurbished one, as I didn’t want to go through this again. She agreed, and said the tech could arrange this. This seemed odd to me, but whatever. Unfortunately, I went back into the regular queue on the support line, and so had to be on hold for a while more. I then spoke with a tech named Mark. He kept putting me on hold while he worked with a different person in customer care trying to figure out how to handle my problem. He said that Vicky shouldn’t have said what she said as their policy is to send our refurbished items. At the end of the conversion, Mark said he could arrange to send me out another Axim, but it would most likely be refurbished. If I was insisting on getting a new one, then I’d have to talk to Eric, an escalation specialist. Eric was on another call, but would call me back in 15-20 minutes, tops.
2 hours later Eric called. He wasn’t rude, but he also was not very pleasant. He barely apologized, didn’t acknowledge flaws in their system, and said the terms of the support “contract” were for a refurbished unit. That part really annoyed me. It was as if he was trying to tell me I was breaking a contact. Well, I think they broke the contract by sending me a cruddy product. If I was going to insist on getting a new one, then he’d have to send it to someone else. I said not to bother, and we arranged for a replacement, that I’m supposed to have on Monday. If it doesn’t work, I will not be a happy camper!

I’ll report back when I get the replacement…

So, here are the problems/complaints I have about Dell support:

  • The wrong replacement unit was sent to me
  • Returns take too long to get switched over
  • I had 2 different phone calls that were over an hour. I spent over 3 hours on the phone so far.
  • The tech support people seem intent on dealing with things that only fit their area. They are of no help if you are kind of in limbo like I was
  • I was not able to speak with a supervisor/manager when I requested it
  • No one seemed particularly pleasant. I understand that they deal with complaints all the time, but when he are in the service business, you have to be pleasant. An unpleasant technician only adds to the frustration

Of course I would have loved to have a new Axim. They don’t make the x30 anymore, so I would have received a new model. But ultimately all I want is a model that works. I don’t want to waste 3 hours on the phone again. I don’t want the hassle of moving data from one Axim to another. I want Dell to tell their techs to stop saying, “There’s nothing I can do.” As an end user, I can’t do anything. As the manufacturer, you better believe there is something they can do!

We have probably a dozen Dell servers at work, and 60 workstations, and we’ve never had a problem like this. Generally I think Dell makes fantastic products, has good service, and I’d recommend them to anyone. But after experiences like this, I sure will hesitate a bit more before recommending them to someone else.

Comments 6

  • My experiences with Dell’s tech service left me with less than great feelings also.

    I have a Dell laptop. Not long after purchasing it one of the little rubber stick on “feet” fell off. Wasn’t a real problem it just wobbled a small amount. Then I somehow lost the A/C charging cable. Now it was time to call for support. The time I spent on hold was minimal and the tech was very pleasant and said that they would overnight some new rubber feet to me but that I would neet to talk to someone in sales for a new charger/AC cable. So I went on hold again and soon a rather pleasant lady came on and I told her my problem and she said no problem I can get you one right out. Then she asked if I needed both parts. I said I didn’t know (I thought it WAS one part) and I told her I needed everything that went from the computer to the wall outlet. Ah, no problem she said and she billed me for the part and $10.00 for shipping. I was happy, so far.

    Next day I had the new rubber feet. A week later a box showed up at my door (thank goodness as the battery I’ve been nursing is rapidly going dead) So I opened the box and there was the part, except the piece that plugs into the wall was missing! Now I knew what she meant about two pieces. A quick call to Dell with the attendent wait on hold I talked to a person who apoligized and said they would get the needed cable right out. Sure enough another week went by and another box showed up on my doorstep. Hooray! I opened the box and guess what? Right, the exact same piece they sent the first time with STILL no cord to plug into the wall. My demeanor now was shall we say somewhat dark.

    Call back to Dell, everytime the voice mail came on I hit the 0 key, again and again until someone finally answered. He was someone in sales somewhat baffled at how I got him. I gave it to him with both barrels. He was quite nice and apologetic but said there was nothing he could do. (sound familiar?) I needed to talk to sales. OK, patch me through. After holding forever I hung up and looked up the web site on my desktop. Having found it I got out my digital camera and placed the laptop on my kitchen table and plugged in the part they sent me with a duplicate sitting next to it and the wall plug near by with no cord going into it and took a picture. Now I sent an email to Dell with a picture of my problem (Perhaps the people in India can understand a picture).

    Sure enough someone soon called and said he would send out BOTH parts and that I would be billed for them along with another $10.00 for shipping and handling and since I was spending that much on shipping wouldn’t I rather throw in some extra memory for my computer? NO!!!! Just send the parts!

    Now, finally, an idea struck me. You don’t suppose you can buy those from other places on the I’net do you? On to Google and I searched for my laptop model number and dell and charging cables. BINGO! I found gobs of them! The one site I went to had a picture of BOTH parts. At half of what Dell charged me and shipping of about four bucks! I ordered one. About three days later it was on my doorstep! My new laptop was back in business.

    Three days later the one from Dell finally arrived. Imagine my surprise when it actually contained BOTH parts needed to make up a charging cable!

    What do you think my likelyhood is of EVER buying anythng from Dell again? Slim to none!

    Cameron C. Cook

  • when my dellwindow shows up on my screen it is usually blank and I can not to get it to appear to check dell support

  • January 19th, 2007
    I just received my Dell PC 520. I set it up and checked my specs. I ordered 4 gbs of ram and my pc only registers 3gbs. so I opened up the pc and it has 4 sticks in it and they all say 1gb on them. I also ordered a 320gb harddrive and got a 300gb one instead. I have the print out that even says what I ordered. I also have a buddy who ordered a dell and got the wrong Graphics card. I fought with dell for him for about two weeks before the issue was resolved! Thats another long story in itself! This has all conspired in the last two weeks. I have spent more time on the phone with Dell’s technical support, for my buddy, than he has spent on his computer. Now I get my pc from dell, which I guess I should have learned my lesson, and have problems with mine not having the right parts. I really don’t want to call and deal with those [people] can’t speak english again! They don’t understand anything you try to tell them! This is my second pc from dell and I will never buy one from them [] again!

    They better fix my problem asap when i call the first time!

  • Dell support SUCKS! If you can understand the techs, sometimes a problem, it seems that Dell has trained them not to think. I know they hire college graduate computer engineers from good Indian schools and yet they don’t allow them to use any common sense or initiative.

    The one I love the best it the infinite loop catch-22 with operating system problems. When buying a new machine it come pre-installed with the operating system. If there are problems, and there are you can’t call Microsoft without paying because it is an OEM installation. If you call Dell they won’t help because there are hardware techs and don’t support software. Of course you can call there $99,95 software support line, no guarantee of a resolution, but you can call. Essentially you have no warranty support for the operating system Dell installed.

    Last year I bought a very high end XPS system and had nothing but problems. Ar a few replacement machines and most importantly 8 BIOS updates in 6 months that problem was solved. The initial BIOS was not very compatible with an NVIDIA chipset. They shipped a $3,500 system which was known (the technician told me during my first call)to have BIOS problems. During that same 6 month period they replaced:
    1. A hard drive (the type installed couldn’t use UltraDMA mode with the installed chip set) – of course it was my boot drive and they offered to send a technician to install the drive but the tech couldn’t transfer the files. So I would have a new boot drive with nothing, not even an operating system on it. Of course they no longer send the OS CDs either. Lucky for me I had disk clone software.
    2. A new DVD burner. The one originally installed didn’t burn dual layer even though they said it did. After replacing the drive the new one had other problems, these were solved by flashing the drive with software from the actual manufacturer. Phillips drives are manufactured by BENQ and there firmware is better than what Phillips uses.
    3. A memory chip – one of them died after 3 months.

    I could go on with other issues but I am getting tired of writing. I have a small business and have 10 computers in addition to my 3at home. All used to be Dell. There service sucks and their reliability continues to decline (see Consumer Reports). As I take computers off-line I am replacing them with HP. The two HPs (fingers crossed) seem to be doing quite well and the only service call I have had to make was handled quickly, efficiently and courteously. Right now it is HP for me.

  • Yep dell tech and customer care is full of guarantee garbage rubbish. If they are connacted by a lawer Mike dell would be in double trouble. hey 3 year warranty and it does not cover anything do not get one.

  • Dell support sucks, the audio output on my Dell XPS 420 is not working. I have been on hold for 25 minutes so far and ALL I WISH they had was an “approximate hold time will be” and I would not be going crazy. What’s up with this.

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