A sad case of poor customer support

In November we bought a Dell for my mother, against my better judgment. The computer was a Christmas gift, and we ordered it in November to be sure I had it before I drove home for the holidays. It was ordered on November 17th, and it arrived at my house late on November 30th.

On Christmas Day, we plugged the computer in and pressed the power button. Nothing. Tried different power cords, a different outlet, even a different room, and still nothing. A green light on the back of the computer came on while plugged in, but the rest of the computer would not turn on.

So, during Christmas dinner, I found myself on the phone with Dell’s support department, who – after an hour of tech support questions for the brain dead (are you sure the computer is plugged in? are you really sure?) – told me they would need to send someone on-site to replace the power supply and motherboard. I guess this happens a lot. However, because of the remote location, it wouldn’t be until long after I had returned home. I wanted to be there when it was “fixed” so I asked if there were any other options; their reply: well, you can call this 1-800 number to return it, but they’re not open today.

Based on this information, the day after Christmas, I went and bought my mom a Mac mini. Amazingly, when I turned it on, it worked!

I called Dell today to arrange for a return of their D.O.A. computer, and they said sorry, regardless of what tech support told you on the 25th, you’re S.O.L. because you’re outside of the 21-day return window. Seriously? You shipped me a computer that didn’t work, and now you won’t take it back?

While yes, I am outside the 21-day window, they need to honor what their support department told me on Christmas Day. Who made no mention, by the way, of the 21-day policy (which, I believe them, is buried 20 pages deep into the terms & conditions screen, in 4-point font). They also need to at least make an effort to understand the circumstances: I wasn’t using the computer for 25 days and suddenly it crapped out; I pulled it out of the box and it wouldn’t turn on. The return policy should start the moment I open the box, not the moment they take my money.

I’ve complained to the Texas BBB and have also filed a dispute with my credit card company.

If neither of those avenues work, I will be making very extensive use of the extended support I bought. Once they replace the power supply and motherboard (and whatever else is required to make this P.O.S. work), every other day I’ll insist that it won’t turn on. When the tech arrives I’ll conveniently mention that I unplugged the power supply or forgot to plug the computer in or removed the RAM. Maybe eventually they’ll realize that they should have refunded my money in the first place.

More importantly, I will never, ever, ever buy a Dell again. And as far and wide as I can stretch, I will never let anyone I know buy a Dell either. I should have known better, as the three previous Dell desktops I’ve owned lasted less than a year. Fool me four times, shame on me? Anyway, thanks Dell, way to be a reputable company, standing behind your product and treating your customers so well.

6 responses to “A sad case of poor customer support

  1. That is why I’ve always been a firm believer of building a desktop myself. I got an Acer Pentium 4 when I was 16 and learned my lesson, Still have the scorch marks where I burned my fingers. (Figuratively speaking)

    • To be quite honest, this was at a Future Shop in Canada, where the MacBook Pros were $200 off. They were sold out by 6 AM. And she wants a computer, not a laptop. She already had a laptop and the screen was way too small. I brought her a 24″ monitor I was no longer using.

  2. Pingback: A few unrelated updates… | the musings of a bertrand…

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