sumo, ergo bloggum (delta)

September 27, 2006

Dell “Support” Sucks!

Filed under: Opinions,Rants,Technology — Rob @ 1:08 am

I’m just a little pissed at Dell. I have a two-year old Dimension 8300 and have lost the use of 6 of 8 USB ports — 2 in the front and 4 in the rear. They just died one day. Only my keyboard is operating on the remaining good port. If I hadn’t been able to borrow an old PS2 mouse from work, I’d be up the proverbial creek.

This happened back in early June and things still aren’t fixed. I got the extended warranty (thinking it meant something) and still have 2 years of coverage but am just not able to get results from Dell’s technical people. I’ve had 3 chat sessions with them, after each of which I had to perform some procedures that they outlined for me. They wanted me to print their instructions but, yes, you guess it, my printer’s not working either. Of course, to perform the procedures, which I copied in longhand from each emailed chat session log, I had to logoff and break my connection with tech support. Needless to say, all the tests I ran (which I think I ran correctly — no one to check with since I had to logoff, duh!) showed everything to be working properly and none of the procedures restored the ports.

My last attempt was via a phone call. I got some guy I could barely understand. I know he was speaking English and doing his best but his accent was so thick I just couldn’t get past it to the content he was trying to impart. It was maddening! I gathered that he wanted to walk me through reformatting my hard drive and then reinstall my OS and other software but that was/is just overwhelming to me. The prospect of reinstalling two year’s worth of security patches, etc., is incredibly off-putting. And everything would have to be backed-up onto CDs or DVDs and that whole Roxio formatting thing just makes me nuts.

So clearly, part of the problem is me. I just haven’t got the heart or stomach or liver for going over all the hurdles that it’s going to take — especially when there’s no guarantee that doing so will produce the desired result. In addition to lack-of-requisite-vital-organs, I haven’t got the time for this either. I have all I can do to just use a computer. I never signed on to be a repair guy.

I wish they’d just send out somebody to troubleshoot and fix the damn thing. Or at least install a menu on the phone support number that allows me to select a native English speaker. Or had a warranty policy that stated, for example: if our suggestions for you to fix the problem yourself are beyond your tolerance or ability, we will come out and fix the problem (because we don’t want you to think you paid good money for a worthless warranty).

I’m going to take a day off work in early October to give this one more go — and after that, I don’t know what…. My brother swears by Apple — has a laptop (MacBook Pro ?) he loves. Maybe that’s where I’ll end up.  Or maybe I’ll just crack my case and install a board with USB ports.  I think Best Buy sells them pretty inexpensively.

A bit of irony: I work for the government and do a bit of procurement. Not just the buying but the actual selection and justification for purchasing. In the past six months I’ve purchased over $25,000 worth of Dell computer products. Unfortunately, I can’t use the tech guys at work to repair my personal equipment (possible ethics violation). But it sure is tempting. 😉 

In the meantime, my recommendation to new buyers is: don’t get the extended warranty. Save your money and then, if necessary, call the Geek Squad to fix any problems that may arise.  Or maybe just go with an Apple. (See 10/4/06 post)



  1. I understand your frustration. I spent almost a whole day yesterday trying to communicate with Dell. I bought a new home computer which cost me over £700 and I paid Dell to send an engineer to set up the new system and to transfer all my data from my old PC. The engineer advised that he could not connect my printer as the new pc did not have a parallel port. Unable to obtain a conversion cable, I had to buy new printer but couldn’t afford it straight away so had to wait until following month. In meantime, my new PC was still in its box. New printer arrived last Friday and on Saturday I got new PC out of box and set it up. I was very disappointed to find a message from Outlook Express to the effect that it had been incorrectly configured and needed to be reinstalled which means I am without email. I am a pensioner and am not familiar with, nor understand the workings of a computer and so I contacted Dell. After a very long time I got through to someone in India who said they would transfer me to Technical Support. I had to wait for ages to get a response and when I did it was almost impossible to communicate with the person on the other end. They did not appear to understand what I was saying and I had to ask them to keep repeating themselves as I could not understand them. Eventually it was established that they dealt with Hardware Tech Support and I needed Software Tech Support. Again I was transferred and had to wait for ages to get through to someone else in India. Communication with this person was even more difficult and this was not helped by the fact that I was becoming more agitated by the minute. The reason for my agitation was that I was being told that I would have to pay to have the problem fixed even though I had not caused the problem and had never used the computer. I asked to speak to a manager and eventually was put through to one. He said that I would have to pay for any software support but that he would be willing to extend my warranty for a further 30 days. I told him I had no intention of paying, that the equipment was not fit for purpose and if necessary, I would seek remedy through the Court under the provisions of the Sale of Goods Act. Eventually the manager said he would refer my request to another department and someone would ring me back. I started ringing Dell yesterday at 8.55 am and got off the phone at around 1.00pm – some four hours later. The whole experience left me feeling wrung-out, depressed and totally frustrated and I am still awaiting a call back. I spent yesterday trying to get through to a UK Dell Head office but they are very well protected and I found it impossible. The nearest I got was Dublin where I spoke to someone in business support but he was unable to help and referred me back to the main Dell number which of course reroutes to India. I will never ever buy from Dell again and I want to warn anyone who is considering using Dell about their appalling DELL after sales service.

    Comment by Mary Wasson — October 3, 2006 @ 4:30 am | Reply

  2. Mary,
    Sorry to hear you got a good, long dose of their technical support, too.
    I don’t know what the answer is but I know the next time I buy a computer it’s going to be all about the service agreement. I’ll want to know the capabilities of the local bricks & mortar support facility (if any), the number of highly qualified technicians available locally to make house calls (if any), whether there is evening and weekend support, the cost per hour, etc.
    Most important, before I buy, I’m going to get a clear understanding of the extent to which I’ll be responsible for attempting problem resolutions. After all, phone support is only as good as the ability of both parties to communicate. I only speak English and I don’t understand ‘computer’ very well at all. So speaking to an Indian, for example, about ‘computer’ is pointless.
    I hope you are able to get things sorted out eventually.

    Comment by Rob — October 3, 2006 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

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