Dell, Hell NO!

“This is Dell, hello.”

In my nightmares, I’ll hear the lilting words echoing down Kafkaesque halls.

Forget the actual product (ignore the 3 Dell computers needing service this last month in my 3 computer household.) Let’s just focus on my amazing experience of having an ear massage at the expense of Dell. (Ignore the gouging $39 charge for EACH computer in order to tell me “I’m sorry. We can’t help you with that over the phone”—which I already knew! Ignore this.  You can if you really try.) Let’s just focus on the beautiful lilting rhythms of the Indian continent—which I was able to enjoy at great length both yesterday and today. (Ignore the hard drive received so long after it was promised that my computer had already gone to our local Emerald Technologies AND returned home in wonderful working order—a process comprising more than 2 weeks!)

Let’s just focus on the hour long massage gifted me by a series of workers on another continent yesterday. The wonderful feeling of having my ear rubbed deeply by my phone

while yet another person in an identically and carefully bland, though beautifully accented voice, asked me the same questions and then responded, “I’m sorry. We can’t help you here. Let me transfer you to a department that can.”

Until finally, one worker stood out from the rest, “I’m sorry. We can’t help you here and the department who can won’t be open until tomorrow.”

Thrilled at the prospect of yet another long massage, yet unwilling to put the company to any unnecessary expense I urged trying to deal with my problem then.

“I’m so sorry.  We can’t help you here but, I promise, no problem, they help you at this other department tomorrow.  No problem.”

So today, I received another deep tissue ear massage compliments of Dell and the mysterious Indian continent that previously I had been entranced by. Sadly, the beautiful lilting voices were no longer working their soothing magic on me.

I felt like a volley ball on the beach but without the visual comfort of brown, beautiful bodies around me. First the tech department, then customer service, then the tech department, then…

Battered and bruised I was volleyed to yet another person in the customer Dis-service dept. “I’m sorry but…”

I snapped. “This is unacceptable.” I insisted on relating my long litany of complaints.

The most recent voice waited yawning until I was through listened patiently. Then, in the same identical bland voice, said, “I am so sorry but…”

That is why

The next time I buy

I’ll say,

“Get Dell?


Currently, I’ve been passed to DHL, a shipping service, to determine why the hard drive I ordered the 15th of June and returned the first part of August has yet to return to Dell.

I hope the poor frightened and abused little hard drive has escaped this hell.

I wish I could!



  • Get thee behind me, Satan! I’ve been on PC so long I don’t know if my body could stand the shock of a MAC! Maybe when I upgrade though.

  • amen to the dell comments…..after nearly losing our business records and not getting the help we needed, i cant recommend dell to anyone that i like..

    also, i consider a mac a downgrade….i rely on TWO buttons on my mice……macs are just not functional enough for me and i could care less about looks or status when it comes to computing.

  • Kym,

    My heart goes out to you, but what you just described is standard operating procedure in the business world. But, it has gotten better, they have taught the beautiful brown skinned people to talk with an American accent.

    We deal with the same people, that repeat everything you say, like it’s supposed to make you think they feel your pain. They don’t fool me though, I think they just pass you off until you can’t take it any more and hang up. People that have no idea of what you actually need is the reason that I got out of appliance repair. On this side I am talking to a complete failure in the “help department” while on the other side I have a customer that wonders what the hell is going on, and they think that you are inept. The only way you can protect yourself is to quit.

    My brother-In-law ordered a $300.00 koi pond vacuum, he opened it and looked at it and it wasn’t what he wanted, so he closed it back up and returned it “Return Recite Requested”. They warned him that he would have to pay 30% restocking charge, even though it was not of the quality they described it to be. He agreed and shipped it back to them and they have not credited him after two months. He will probably be credited eventually, but it will require him to follow it through.

    Every time we have a cell phone problem we have to do the same thing. We sell Trac-phones for $20.00, and I spent 1 hour and fifteen minutes trying to help a customer. While the customer was angry with me the whole time. We now have a policy that if you want a Trac-phone, you deal with the problems yourself. Most people just spend the twenty bucks and get a new phone or have the number changed on their old one, but it is not fair.

    I’m getting angry, so I’d better go, but be very, very, very, very glad that you are not in business today! It is seldom that you can find help on the phone. But you will find someone willing to talk to you until you tire out.

  • I have one word for you, HP. I have never had any trouble with mine, knock on wood. I think this is the third one I’ve owned. Oh, one did crash when I overloaded it, but a friend fixed it by letting it run the restore program.

  • I read all this as I sit here staring at my Dell monitor and listening to the hum of my Dell computer. I have talked to plenty of the legions of foreign tech people, but for another brand. It is so frustrating, and the $39 charge is outrageous. Makes you want to go back to carving letters on a piece of bark and forget you ever heard the word computer.

  • I just got my Dell back from being serviced – locally, thank goodness. I had the wonderful men of Shaw Computer Services replace the five month old hard drive. And this was only after Dell sent me a nice refurbished one (!). I tried to send my hard drive back via DSL but was informed that they no longer serve our area (Fortuna) so I’m now waiting for UPS shipping labels. I’m definately going with a Mac next time. Good luck. I hope your ear recovers.

  • Apple does have a reputation for better customer service, but it comes at a premium price for the equipment. I’m not saying it might not be worth it, but I don’t yet know as I haven’t ever owned an Apple computer. However, that may change in 2009.

    That said, I’ll make two unsolicited suggestions: DIY and SmartComputing Magazine. SmartComputing can be had for about $26/year and besides a nice monthly magazine they also offer unlimited technical support for subscribers. I can honestly say that I’ve phoned on three different occasions and received the greatest of help and care. The magazine is a bit below my level of computer expertise, but every issue has something in it that I didn’t know before and $26/year for tech support is a steal!

    Regarding DIY, it is SO easy to build your own PC these days. You don’t need Dell, HP, Sony, Compaq, etc. to own a desktop Windows-based computer. There are lots of very good sites devoted to building your own machine and you will never regret doing such. You learn so much about computers (but not so much that you feel like a complete geek/nerd) and will find that there is so much useful and helpful information on the Internet to help you if you run into a problem. I gave up years ago on computer manufacturers and have never looked back.

    Oh, and the greatest thing about building your own is that it is only loaded with the software you WANT on it. None of this b.s. that manufacturers load that slow down your machine and cause all sorts of headaches when you try to get rid of it.

  • Well, I’m another Mac person. We own four of them and have had a couple of crashes on the older machines. The new Macs will run Windows on a partition of the harddrive, something I’m about to do as I need some PC programs for research. The big story is the lack of bugs on the Mac. I have never had one.

  • Knock on wood – I am running on an older Mac G4 – never had a single call to tech support. (except the time my son installed the Beta version of OSX without reading the directions. :)) Actually OSX is incredibly stable. Again, knock on wood. ‘Cause I am due for a new computer. They’re so much smaller and cuter now.

  • but how do you live without a right-click button on the mouse?

  • DHL dropped alot of domestic service on June 28, 2008. And is now focusing on international freight. The contract was bought by UPS and shared with USPS.

  • soapbox

    Count another vote for Mac. I made the switch almost nine years ago (though I’m still stuck using PCs occasionally for work) and while I have had some problems (a bad hard drive in my MacBook, fried RAM in my G4). Apple customer service was always friendly, courteous and very helpful.

    I spoke with real human beings after pressing a modicum of buttons — can’t recall how many, mebbe two or three prompter menus first — and they were in Cupertino, if that’s a factor for you.

    After determining that i knew what i was talking about when i told them my six-month-new hard-drive was defective, Apple shipped a brand new (not refurb’ed) hard drive with photos, an allen wrench and instructions on how to replace it myself.

    I’d never cracked my case and felt a tad nervous about eviscerating my laptop, but they were willing to talk me through the instructions on the phone. And lo and behold, the laptop and hard-drive have functioned quite well since — and i daily put mine to its paces editing video and doing layout/design. And since then I’ve upgraded my RAM and replaced a friend’s hard drive.

    Yes, the package sells at a premium to standard PCs — but you get more than just a machine. You also get a kickass OS with a gamut of lifestyle applications: iMovie, which gives everyone the tools to be a Coppola; iChat, which finally delivers on Buck Roger’s promise of video-phones in the 21st century — i video chat regularly with friends & family (who have Macs) in remote areas of the globe, shwing! — GarageBand, a deceptively powerful recording/sampling software package that will give life to your inner Scratch Perry/Steve Albini; iPhoto will streamline your image processing and storage abilities; and Comic Life and Photo Booth are both superfun apps that can be used to make impromptu Christmas cards, web illustrations and comic books starring you and your kids. For starters.

    Plus if you use PhotoShop, Illustrator, AfterEffects, Dreamweaver, Corel Suite, et al. or are interested in editing websites/photos/video, then your life will be much easier with a Mac using Automator to reduce repetitive tasks to a single click. Ever have to resize and color balance 200 images as thumbnails in five minutes, then place them on your website and enter their metadata into your PERL database? Automator can do it all for you.

    They’re not without their downsides. Entry level Macs are lousy gaming machines, many killer apps are Windows only, pirated software/P2P is almost exclusively PC-oriented, and Netflix still won’t stream on-demand to Mac OSX.

    However, as mentioned above, the new Intel Macs will run Windows on a partition, so if you’re savvy enough to be able to format your hard drive and install two operating systems then you’ve rendered most objections moot.

    Except for gaming: get a PS3/Wii/Xbox360 or a life.


  • there is a site called that is very helpful and can fix most problems. they will give you an estimate over the phone and then they take over your computer and fix it. works for most things. they are in the counrty too.

  • Quick note for ex-republican – “Right click” on a Mac just requires you to depress the command button on the keyboard as you click your mouse.

    I have 400GB on this iMac that I’m not sure I will ever use. Much of the structure is recyclable, comes the day, being made from glass and aluminum. My little avatar with my hand on my face was made with Photo Booth. I’ve used GarageBand to record myself reading stories for Librivox (admittedly, I bought an additional $25 microphone). I’ve had this machine for almost a year, and there are capabilities I haven’t even explored yet. When does a blogger have time?! I no longer buy television – no time (among many reasons)! I got the “small” size screen, 20″ diagonal. It’s huge. No more Cathode Ray Tubes.

    The only thing I miss about Windows is the FreeCell game. But that’s a good thing. I think it was an evil mind control device installed by Bill Gates anyway. The card game equivalent of crack.

  • Hey Elaine, I’m your enabler:

  • wow I missed this thread. I have been on Dell’s for a long time and had great service and reliability. So in July I decided I would upgrade my 4 1/2 year old PC for another dell. After lots of planning and comparing I placed my order. When it arrived, the bluetooth keyboard didn’t have a battery cover. Big deal you might ask? True not a big deal. But not what I had paid for.

    The first guy I spoke with told me that the keyboard wasn’t supposed to come with a battery cover. I politely asked him if he knew what a battery cover was. He said “yes. Of course.” Then I told him if he did, he wouldn’t have told me it wasn’t supposed to come with one.

    My support continued this way over 9 phone calls and 2 weeks. In addition, I paid extra for 2 day shipping. Only 1/2 the order came in the 2 days (which happened to be on a Saturday). So I had to wait until Monday for my 24″ widescreen monitor. Luckily, I still had my old monitor and could use that to setup my new machine.

    After arguing with 2 customer service reps and their 2 managers, I was stuck with our policy is to refund your shipping minus a 24.99 “standard shipping charge”. “That is our policy”. Um… What policy is that? Where does it say that on your website. You do realize that you didn’t meet your 1/2 of the obligation which was to have the entire product delivered in 2 days. So I called my credit card company to dispute it. Eventually, Dell did credit me the rush charge minus the 24.99. So if my credit card company reverses the reversal, I’ll have to challenge the 24.99 portion.

    I finally had to tell Dell that my keyboard was broken to get any support. It still took telling that story to 3 support reps and 4 weeks to finally get my keyboard. Did I mention that Dell started asking me to return the defective keyboard before the new one had arrived? two weeks before it arrived?

    While I have, over the years, suggested and helped many people buy Dell’s for the ease of configuration and reliability, my next purchase just might be an HP.

    oh yeah for those mac’ers. Considered switching now that OSx has a decent underlying engine. But I decided I would like to keep the extra 2000 it would have cost me.


  • Wow, I’m guessing Dell has changed its service policies because nearly everyone I talk to is hating them now.

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