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Joined: Nov 10, 2003
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2003 3:26 pm    Post subject: Dell Reply with quote

Just to relate my experience....Me and my father are both having problems with Dell after buying 2 X5's with PC2003 and Tom Tom 2. Both PDA's hang, randomly quit the application, struggle to find places and struggle to find routes.

Dell Tech Support and Customer Care seems to have recently transferred to India. Support have told me they have received "hundreds" of similar complaints over the last few days and until a patch is available i will just have to wait. After 7 days, many emails and even more telephone calls i cannot get a SINGLE reply from Dell. Nobody will return emails or reply to calls and Customer Care are now refusing a refund because they have mistakenly classified me as a business user - because the gear was delivered to me at work.

I personally will never buy from Dell again.
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Joined: Dec 28, 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 12:48 am    Post subject: Dell Reply with quote

Dell has indeed moved all of their Technical support and customer services staff to india. It is routine to receive no reply to email and calling by phone is time-consuming and never helpful.

I have yet to complete a simple transaction with Dell begun over 8 months ago, and eventually had to threaten legal action to get _any_ response from their customer services people.

The Axim is cheap, well specified and does the job, but if you want service go somewhere else. I will never buy a Dell again.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and if they have any sense whatsoever, they will move it all back, just like Dell US had to do because they started losing far too much business from it because the Indian outsourced support mainly didn't know what a PC was!

I find it amazing that there's one rule for one part of the company and another rule for another part of the company. If Dell US customers really had such a bad experience with the outsourced support, then surely they should pull the outsource support completely and bring it all back in house ?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without hopefully getting too off-topic, my worst Dell support experience came in 1999, when I had terrible trouble with a Seagate tape drive Dell supplied in my then new Dell Dimension XPS R450.

I have a considerable background in storage products, and produced diagnostics indicating these drives were faulty, together with a series of steps that caused a guaranteed failure. I managed to hook up with another person in the States who had managed to open dialogue directly with Seagate - he and I worked together with Dell US, Dell Ireland (Dell's main centres in Europe are all in the Republic of Ireland) and Seagate US.

Dell replaced my tapes, the drive, then eventually replaced the entire machine with a new one (by this stage a Dimension XPS T450 - the Pentium III had just come out) but the tape drive was still faulty. Eventually I accepted a refund for the tape drive only.

This was an uphill battle, even after I had got through the customer support nonsense and started dealing directly with senior managers at Dell Europe. I remember being an in-patient at the National Hospital for Neurology in London when all this was going on - and was unamused to find that the PC next to my bed that was running the monitoring equipment was a Dell!

Much of the problem is trying to get companies to admit that their products are faulty - they're too scared of admitting liability, probably for very good reasons, as these days too many people are willing to sue instead of working with the company for a fix. When I was working with Jon Crawford on the SD card problems with the Axim X5, I know Jon had far more contact with various companies than he was allowed to admit to publicly, and much of what he found out he can't make public.

I've seen things from the other side so far as tech support goes, having worked in a R&D capacity for a small firm producing computer networking products. Because it was a small company, at times I had to work on the support desk, also I'd sometimes get more technical calls that came into the support desk passed to me directly.

Sometimes, well meaning callers had formed an incorrect opinion of where the problem was, and you struggled to sway them from it. Other times, despite my best efforts, I simply wasn't able to get a full understanding of the problem over the phone (in one case I had to send a colleague to the site, in another I had to go to the site myself).

Highly qualified and technically competent staff cost a lot of money. On mass market consumer products, whether it's PC models sold largely to home users, or items like Axims, the first and even the second line technical support people are little more than following a knowledge tree system. However, that does solve a remarkable number of issues pretty quickly and cheaply.

What is a pain is that when you do find a real issue, it can be very hard to get the issue sufficiently escalated.

My only recent dealings with Dell Technical Support have been with the Precision helpdesk. The Precisions are expensive workstation class PCs, few costing less than 2000 pounds, and many costing 3000 pounds and upwards. I emailed a particularly knotty question to them earlier this year about my Precision 650, and got a detailed technical reply within a couple of days.

Indeed, when I asked about the Gold technical support offering on the Precisions, the salesperson I was dealing with pretty much told me it was a waste of time because the Precisions have a dedicated helpdesk anyway. I was intending to opt out and save the extra cost anyway, as I rarely call technical support, but it was nice to have a reason to.

Obviously this level of support costs - and is only available because the Precisions are a specialist product sold primarily to customers with a high level of technical competence. I'm sure those who have called the support lines for expensive servers will find the same sort of thing - particularly when comparing to the same company's support line for their commodity PCs.

Even so, the quickest and most accurate answers can come from the Precision forums on the Dell peer-to-peer web forums!

I nearly didn't get the Precision ordered. I placed the initial order over the web, and nobody followed it up. The order status went from "processing" to something like "on hold" or "call Sales". Calling Dell got me thrown to India, and whilst the person I dealt with there tried her best and she called me back when she promised, she couldn't get the issue sorted. In the end, I found a sales number which, when I said I wanted to order a Precision, got me put through to a guy at Dell Ireland who not only sorted out the order but followed it through and had the machine with me in about four days. I discovered from him that the original order landed on a salesperson's desk who simply didn't bother to contact me and confirm the specification. His loss - not least because the guy that spent 20 minutes sorting it out for me eventually got the commission.

This little mess got Dell within a whisker of losing an easy order for over 3000 pounds worth of machine.

On the whole, I've found people in Indian call centres just as good as their equivalents in Europe or the States. Language can sometimes be a problem; however good their English they won't always understand the idiom of a native English speaker. The problem is far more getting an issue escalated when it is necessary.

I'm not excusing Dell here. Some people have had nightmares with the Axims; that applies both to UK and US customers.

I have to say that, if anything, that HP are worse; their call centre for most of their products simply won't escalate issues and appears to have no way of escalating issues. Their forums are pretty hopeless too; the Dell ones are much better.

The only reason I got Pocket PC 2003 drivers for my HP/Compaq network card in my iPAQ 3970 was that I found working drivers myself; my formal complaint to HP never got a response beyond one phone call saying that they were still looking at it.

I found a firmware bug in an expensive Color LaserJet and once I'd proved the bug to the guy at HP support I was working with, HP became totally disinterested (it's only cosmetic; it affects the supplies status page on the web server, but it's still annoying as it gives a misleading impression about the usage figures of the magenta toner cartridge).

Most annoyingly, I've got a ScanJet 7450C sat here (which costs more than an iPAQ 5550 - at the time I bought it, the 7400 series was HP's top of the line scanners) that won't work reliably with my Dell Precision over SCSI - I intend to take that up with HP again, as the still-in-warranty scanner doesn't perform to the specification (which says it's SCSI and USB, and that it is Windows XP compatible) and it looks as if there's no further development on this model. The 7400 series doesn't support USB 2.0, so the performance on USB is awful; in many scenarios far worse than many of HP's cheaper models that are now available.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 3:37 am    Post subject: No more Dells for me Reply with quote

I will never, ever buy again from Dell. While I understand that equipment will sometimes fail or need service, there is no excuse for the poor service and quality control exhibited repeatedly over a year and a half ordeal after my Dell purchase. The countless "fixes" caused as many or more problems than the original defective hardware. The computers were even returned non-working from their service department - obviously not even checked before shipping! Buying a Dell cost me many times the price of the computers in lost productivity, and reinforced my ABSOLUTE rule that when dealing with tech support and related "management", you must document every detail. If I hadn't, I would have had an even worse time.

I know others have had great luck with Dell and am happy for them. For those who don't, be very sure to document every single contact. Get the name, badge #, time, contact reason, actions taken during the call, and actions promised for followup after each call or email. Then note whether they fulfilled promises. It could be very important if you continue to have problems (like I did).

No company or product is perfect - but how they deal with blatantly defective hardware and shoddy support says volumes about the company's priorities. I kept hoping to experience a turnaround with Dell, but was disappointed again and again.

I appreciate good service and professional treatment now so much that I try to email positive feedback on good tech support experiences to companies, praising the good job that particular person is doing on their behalf. I always suggest raises for exceptional employees - it may not make a difference but I always hope it somehow gets back to the person and their manager.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting - I've never had a problem with Dell. I recently bought a Dell Axim X5 to test our products on PPC2003 after some customers reported problems. I went for the cheap one (32Mb RAM, 300MHz CPU I think) because I didn't need anything else, and the web site offered the usual delivery within 9 working days. It actually arrived a couple of days earlier, and for no extra cost they sent me the 64Mb/400MHz unit instead. I was very pleased.
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