Home Computer Hell

Computer Hell

I ordered a PC from Dell.com the experience was fast and friendly. I found a computer I liked, ordered it and it was delivered in just a week. This process was painless. The pain was felt after I received the PC.

Day 1 - I open and install the PC and after booting up the PC for the very first time and going through some of the first-install wizards the computer blue-screens and crashes. I reboot the PC and I'm able to get the first time setup to complete however after 5-10 minutes of using the computer it crashes again. It's late in the day so I leave the office and go home.

Day 2 - I contact technical support and explain the problem. We spend 45 minutes messing with the bios of the system. This seems to fix things but I tell the tech that I'm not certain the problem is fixed since it happens every 5-10 minutes and it's nothing in particular that seems to cause it.

Day 3 - I come in the morning and try to boot the computer and it refuses to boot. I have to restart it 5-6 times before the computer will boot. Once it does boot it continues to blue screen after several minutes of use. I'm busy with other things so I'm unable to call tech support back for a few days.

Day 4 - I call tech support again and explain the issue. Again we spend 1/2 hour changing bios settings. Then we spend another 1/2 hour changing windows settings, safe mode, and other settings. Again the problem seems to have gone away but I tell the tech that the problem is intermittent and seems to come back. The tech has me restart the computer 4 times, I thank him hoping my computer won't crash the following day.

Day 5 - The computer crashes again. I call tech support, wait for 1/2 hour and then finally speak with a tech. The tech says that I need to re-install windows. I begin the install (this takes 1.5 hours) The techs name is Al, his ID is 464730. He promises to call me back after the install is complete. He never calls me back.

Day 6 - I call again and this time instead of reinstalling windows the tech suggests that we run a diagnostics program. The diagnostics program is supposed to take 1-2 hours. The tech promises to call me back. He never does. The diagnostics complete without finding any problems.

Day 7 - I call up and I ask to return my computer. I'm not happy with it, it's not working and Tech-support can't fix it. Well according to customer support I can't return my computer because it's past the 14 day return policy. I point out that I had problems with my PC from day 1 and that I would have gladly returned it but wasn't given the option until I spoke with technical support. Ok, well that's ridiculous but I'd be happy with an exchange as long as the computer works. No problem, they tell me but because the customer support systems aren't linked with Technical Support they need to transfer me back to tech support to issue a dispatch so that my computer can be exchanged by customer support.

So I get transferred to technical support and I'm told that it will take 15-31 days for my system to be exchanged. 15-31 days!!!!!! So I tell the guy to issue the dispatch and transfer me to customer service because I'm pissed. In transferring my call I get disconnected. I'm not sure if they hung up on me or not.

I call back and I'm about to blow my lid. The person on the phone is named Dan badge #459296 and he assures me that my new computer is on it's way and I will have a new computer in 3-5 days. I asked him 4 times to be sure I understood him and he assured me that by May 25th I would have a new computer. I would then return my old computer. He promised that I will absolutely get the computer no later then May 25th. My dispatch number for this was 058205544.


I called and was put on hold, then disconnected.

I called again to speak with customer support and was told that only technical support could access my service records and that customer support could not. I asked the Customer Service agent to stay on the phone with me as he transferred me to technical support. I was sick of people passing the buck. As he was transferring me I was disconnected again.

I called back and was told that the order was canceled because they tried to call me and the phone number was wrong on my account. So they canceled everything. Not only was the phone number wrong, it wasn't even close. Not a single digit matched nor was the area code correct. I was given a case number and connected to technical support because customer care can't access the technical side of the system and for some reason this is a 'technical' I was given a case #.

I call back again and am told that it will take 2-3 days to issue the dispatch and get me a UPS tracking number. On the phone...

Me: "I'll be patient and wait the three days"
Dell: "Thank you sir, is there anything else I can do?"
Me: "No, I don't want to end the conversation I want to wait. I have free long distance and unlimited minutes and if you expect me to wait for three days I'd like you to wait with me."

The poor dell support person let out a nervous chuckle. I imagine he realized to some extend that although my request was absurd it was only slightly more absurd then his request to have me wait for three days for an electronic 'dispatch' transaction, or 21 days or 31 days or whatever they thought it was going to be.We talked for another 1/2 hour until I was transferred to his manager. The manager promised to keep me updated daily as to the status of the system and my tracking number. I was skeptical but he has called me back for the next two days.

While on hold for probably the 10th time I was told that for faster service I should try Dell.com/chat. So I did. I loaded it up on another computer and re-entered a lot of my information. You would think that the nice thing about chat is that I don't have to repeat yourself but I was asked for my telephone number 4 times! My guess is that on the other end there are dozens of people chatting to the same person and they keep asking for phone numbers, to buy more time. The online chat person's name is sovee_varughese. I'm asked to re-enter my phone and information into the chat even though this was all entered to initiate the chat. I get a dispatch #058453864 and I'm told it will take 15 days for the dispatch to process. I tell the chat that I'm not happy with the 15 day wait and he tries to disconnect me. I ask to speak with a supervisor.

The supervisor tells me it would take 3 days to create a tracking number to replace my computer. I told the supervisor I would wait with him in the chat for 3 days. I was serious too. It's not a big deal for me to minimize the window and keep it running for three days. At least this way there is some accountability. The supervisor squirmed for about an hour while the chat window was open. Then he disconnected me. It's easy enough to reconnect so I did.

Now I'm on with Yusuf. He assures me that my new computer will arrive in 3-5 days. "Yes I’m sure" it will arrive he assures me but he can't get me a tracking number.

While on the phone with technical support I was disconnected again. Arrrrrrrgh.

Next day, on chat again with "Varun". "Can I have the tracking number" - No it hasn't been generated. I was told I would have it today. It will be generated in a day or two. I was told I would have it today... Ohhh wait it has just been generated, it's "058453864" is this a UPS tracking number? No. It's actually a dispatch number. But the dispatch number doesn't help me in any way. I ask the chat person to wait with me in the chat room for 2-3 days until we have a tracking number. Yes, I'm starting to be a bit of an asshole and I admit this but we're already into week three of this fiasco and I've restrained myself much longer then most. The dell chat person got pissed and disconnected. I usually get escalated to the floor manager. Time to try again.

Joseph (445546) called me again, Monday afternoon to update me on the status of my computer. I was told it would be 2-3 days for the dispatch to go through. Joseph tells me that it will take another 2-3 days to go through. He's calling me on memorial day but says that although technical support is there on holidays 24x7. The actually assembly of computers doesn't happen. It'll be another 2-3 days.

May 30th. Assembly????? My first computer that I ordered was delivered in a prompt 5 days, now that I've already paid I have to wait and wait.

June 1st, 05 - A manager from Technical support (KulVinder - 373329) calls me to check if I'm still experiencing a problem with my Blue Screen! The manager didn't bother to check the records to see what had happened. I inform him that I have requested an exchange. He checks his computer and says... "ohh yes, I see that... you should have your system in 5-7 business days from the dispatch date." The dispatch date is the 26th of May and it's the 1st of June so it's been 6 days already. I inform him of this as well. He replies well then you should be receiving the system very shortly. I ask him for a UPS tracking number. He says he'll call me back in 1/2 hour. (Time:11:10am)

Called back at 2:15pm - So sorry it took me so long I was looking into it. And it's going to be 8-10 business days. Why? Well we have to re-configure a system that's the same as the one you have so we have to wait for any parts that are missing.

Me: “Well let me know what parts are missing and I'll tell you if it's ok to substitute or provide a different part!”

Them: "We can't do that."

I call again. Albert - 378065 - A manager tells me it will take 8-10 from the day of the original dispatch. He sees that the dispatch was on May 26th - should by this Friday. He decided to puts in a request to expedite the process. Case #101828519

Thursday June 02 -

Amit_Kumar - in chat - not helpful at all. Told me the computer would arrive 7 days after the dispatch. I told him that would mean it would arrive today. He then changed his mind and said 2 more days. Then he gave me a dispatch number 058453864 again.

Wed June 08

GAURAV_SACHDEVA 001-25891 in chat. Not helpful at all. Told me the computer would arrive in 3-5 days. I told him I didn't believe him because no order number was generated. He assured me that he had escalated the issue.

"Please don't worry I'll call you up with the updates, I apologize for all your previous experience."

{Gregory Raiz 2:26:08 PM} You promised me on the phone that I would have my computer in 3-5 days and you also promised that you would have an order number for me by tomorrow. YES?????

{GAURAV_SACHDEVA 2:27:03 PM} Yes, I’ll provide you each and every details ,please don't worry. We are here to help you.

Yeah Right.

Well I didn't get a call in the morning, or the afternoon but amazingly around 3:00 I did get a call with an

Order Number and a FedEx tracking number! Was I actually going to get my computer?

Two days later... Finally!!!!!

The computer arrives and seems to work well. In the box comes a packing slip and a request to return the original broken computer.

Several weeks pass and I get a phone call. Hello this is Dell, we haven't yet received the broken computer, has it been sent out?
Me: "It'll be 5-7 days, please be patient." ;)

(The last part is a joke the rest did happen)

Lessons I Learned

  • Customer support should only ever ask for information once. On the phone, in chat or otherwise. If your not going to record the information don’t bother asking.
  • Each customer should only have one customer support person. The customer should be able to contact this person directly to handle problems or issues.
  • Keeping customers satisfied after the purchase should be as important as making the original sale
  • Customer support should have access to technical cases and vice-versa. Departments should never pass the buck.
  • It’s better to honestly say “I don’t know” than it is to make up a bogus answer
  • I won’t be buying from them anytime soon.
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