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Dell makes computers. Dealing with them has been called "Dell Hell"
FYI: If you have problems with a Dell computer try emailing Customer_Advocate@dell.com. I have not heard any feedback on it, but it can't hurt.
Wow. The you-know-what just hit the fan. The Attorney General of the state of New York is suing Dell for "FALSE ADVERTISING,FAILURE TO PROVIDE SERVICES, AND DECEPTIVE BUSINESS PRACTICES". Some of the allegations involve technical support, others are related to financing. You can tell the New York Attorney General your Dell Hell story at this website www.nyagdell.com which also has the full details of the lawsuit. Wow. May 16, 2007.
Bad Dell Tech Support May 11, 2007. My experiences dealing with an Inspirion 1150 laptop. In brief, installing Windows XP Service Pack 2 slowed down a machine that had shipped with SP1.
College Kid Learns Lesson About Dell's
Warranty . by Ed Foster. May 10, 2007. A story about a useless extended warranty. The griper said
"... in 70 years I've never dealt with a worse company than Dell." Be sure to read the comments too.
Update: Just days after this article was written, Dell was sued by the New York State Attorney General for, among other things, useless warranties. See story above.
Dell Screws Up a Good Thing Jeff Matthews. January 24, 2006 I didn't run across this blog posting until May 2007. After being a happy Dell customer for 10 years, Mr. Matthews writes: "... I spent five hours off and on last night dealing with a mish-mash of toll-free numbers and incompetent or not-my-department technical support people at Dell. Poor service at Dell is not necessarily new-news. I’ve been hearing since last summer from various friends and acquaintances that Dell tech support was not all it had been cracked up to be. But since I haven’t called Dell Technical Support in over a year, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Today, I am paying attention..."
The 10 Worst PCs of All Time by Dan Tynan in PC World magazine. March 19, 2007. Number 10 was the Dell Dimension 4600 (2003).
Dell Hell applies to their employees too:
Dell sued by investors over alleged Intel kickbacks by Eric Bangeman. Ars Technica news. February 2, 2007. This lawsuit accuses Dell of inflating its profits by failing to properly disclose rebates from Intel in the amount of "hundreds of millions of dollars". In addition, the suit alleges that Dell concealed the presence of an SEC investigation from investors during 2005.
Windows can't print. January 27, 2007. A relative called from another state with a problem - his computer wouldn't print. There were no printers defined to Windows and there were a bunch of red X errors in the event logs. By remotely controlling his machine, I found the problem to be that the print spooler service wouldn't start because it depends on the LexBce Server service which wouldn't start. An Internet search found that this is Lexmark printer software that Dell pre-installs. The computer never had a Lexmark printer, only HP. The LexBce service was disabled so I enabled it and then started it. This fixed all the problems, out of the blue all the printer definitions returned. Thanks for nothing Dell, you owe me 1.5 hours of my life.
The real underlying problem is the dependency of the print spooler service on Lexmark software. Somewhere on the net I found instructions to enter a command to remove this dependency: "sc config spooler depend= RPCSS". I didn't try this. Microsoft ran into problems with Lexmark printer software also and has a KB article about it: Spooler subsystem app has encountered a problem and needs to close" and "Operation could not be completed error messages
Hewlett-Packard Cements Lead Over Dell in PC Market by Rochelle Garner January 17, 2007. Bloomberg. Quoting: "Hewlett-Packard Co. beat Dell Inc. in sales of personal computers for the second straight quarter ... Hewlett-Packard's market share increased 2.4 percentage points in the fourth quarter to 17.4 percent of the worldwide market ... Dell slipped to 13.9 percent from 16.4 percent ... Hewlett-Packard ... shipped 2.3 million more PCs than Dell in the fourth quarter, Gartner said. Dell's shipments fell by 8.7 percent. ``This level of decline is unprecedented in Dell's history,'' Gartner analyst Charles Smulders said in an interview. "
Dell hit with class action suit over Inspiron by Colin Barker CNET News.com January 16, 2007. Complaint filed against Dell Canada alleges company knew of heating problems but continued to sell the machines.
The same person does three blogs: I Believe Dell Lied, Dell Lied asks: Whats Up Dell? and yet another I Believe Dell Lied site. This started with an ad that seemed to say a Dell laptop had a hardware sound card, when it did not. January 13, 2007
Dell on 'Dell Hell': 'We were mostly to blame' January 9, 2007 by Dwight Silverman in a Houston Chronicle blog. Comments by Michael Dell.
From dellverticalline.com: "There is a defect that is causing vertical (1 pixel wide) lines to form on the LCD screens of Inspiron notebooks that were purchased around March-May 2005. These lines may either be stuck on one color or vary in color depending what content is displayed behind the line. Dell customer support is, for the most part, denying that there is a defect causing the screens to prematurely go bad." December 23, 2006.
DELL COMPUTER CLASS ACTION SUIT (mission district) December 8, 2006. Quoting: "...A CLASS ACTION SUIT AGAINST DELL FOR THOSE THAT ATTEMPT TO PAY THEIR BILLS BEFORE THE DUE DATE AND ARE UNABLE TO DUE SO BECAUSE OF THE SYSTEM DELL COMPUTERS INC HAS IN PLACE." by CARL M. GLOVIER
Disgruntled Dell customer finds crafty path to lawsuit settlement December 10th 2006 by Conrad Quilty-Harper in the Engadget blog. An unhappy Dell customer with a broken laptop sued the company in a new and ingenious way. The lawsuit papers were delivered to a Dell shopping mall kiosk instead of corporate headquarters. It got no attention, Dell didn't show up in court and the customer won the case. Even better, bailiffs were allowed to close the kiosk and seize items if Dell didn't pay up. They paid.
Dell Gets a Failing Grade in School by Ed Foster in The Gripelog October 9, 2006. Quoting: "Over the last two years, the high school where I am the technology coordinator purchased 15 Dell desktop computers," the reader wrote. "Within a month of receiving them -- in one case within twenty minutes -- four of the computers crashed."
Consumer Demand and Growth in Laptops Leaves Dell Behind by Christopher Lawton. Front page of the Wall Street Journal. August 30, 2006. Available online only by subscription. Interesting tidbit from the article: In 2003 Dell opted to save money by hiring temporary workers for their call centers. Penny wise and pound foolish. By 2005, 75% of the people who take sales orders were temps rather than full-timers. Those that wanted full-time jobs were not promoted. Employee turnover in late 2005 was 300%. In 2002, the turnover rate was only 30%.
Dark Days at Dell by Nanette Byrnes, Peter Burrows, and Louise Lee in Business Week magazine. August 24, 2006. The tech industry's lean, mean direct sales machine is on the fritz, and there don't seem to be any easy fixes. The article tells about a computer company in Dell's home town of Austin that gets many unhappy Dell employees looking for jobs. Headhunters find Dell difficult to work with, so they steal employees rather than place them.
Class Action Settlement regarding the Dell Inspiron 5150 Notebook Computer On August 16, 2006 Dell settled a class action lawsuit that affected all individuals and entities in the United States who own or have owned a Dell Inspiron 5150 notebook computer.
Dell is recalling four million laptop batteries: August 17, 2006. Although the same Sony batteries that are fire hazards in Dell laptops are used by other laptop vendors, the other companies (including Sony themselves) are saying that their machines are safe. Why? They are smarter than Dell in designing the machine.
Dell is being sued in China for false advertising on the central processing units of some notebooks. The second story below tells of an arrogant company. They dealt with their customers in such as way as to offend and outrage them, leading to the lawsuits.
Did Dell know about exploding laptops for a long time?
July 31, 2006. Getting rid of the junk software pre-installed on Dell consumer machines
Dell laptops are exploding:
Dell: Facing Up To Past Mistakes Business Week Magazine June 19, 2006. by Louise Lee. Dell is one of three companies profiled that, while trying to save money, have instead "mangled their relationship with customers." The author argues that well trained workers lead to lower costs and happier customers that will purchase more products in the future. Dell, Home Depot and Northwest Airlines have gone the other way and are paying for their mistake. Quoting: "Last year, to discourage people from calling at all, Dell removed the toll-free service number from its Web site..."
Dell's World Isn't What It Used to Be New York Times May 13, 2006. Quoting about stock prices: "Since last July, shares of Dell have lost almost 42 percent of their value. Hewlett shares have gone up 34 percent in the period. Indeed, since Mr. Hurd's hiring was announced in February 2005, the shares are up 60 percent."
Quoting about customer service: "The company, once known for great service, has faced a rash of mistreated customers to the point, analysts said, that the problem was becoming part of consumers' perception of Dell." Really?
Dell's price cuts take their toll by Robert Walberg at MSN Money Central. May 8, 2006. Quoting: "Dell, like GM, needs to fully understand what ails it before management can actually go about fixing the problem. For Dell, management believes that sales can recover if it recaptures the price advantages it once enjoyed over competitors. But, based on conversations I’ve had with many people since beginning to write about Dell for MSN Money a year-ago, I think the real problems are product quality and customer service. The perception is that Dell computers routinely have bugs and that the company’s tech support is maddeningly slow and increasingly uncooperative and unhelpful."
Signs of cluefulness at Dell by Ed Bott April 15, 2006. Quoting: " ... last month when I had major problems getting a broken Dell laptop repaired. The motherboard graphics had failed, and the warranty specified that it was eligible for next-day on-site service. I’ll spare you the gory details – let’s just say that it took 19 phone calls and 27 days for a repair person to arrive at my office."
So long, Alienware, it was nice to know you by Ed Bott. March 22, 2006. Regarding Dell buying Alienware and poor Dell tech support which he called "the world’s worst technical support system." Quoting Mr. Bott: "I’m still getting comments on posts from 2004 like this one, and the quote from Dell CEO in this post is priceless and clueless at the same time. In the six months or so since I last wrote about Dell, their service has become worse. I’ve now been waiting 24 days for Dell to repair a defective motherboard on a notebook computer that’s still under warranty. The sheer incompetence of their support organization is breathtaking. If you’re thinking of buying a Dell – or an Alienware – think again. There are plenty of well-run companies you can give your business to. You’ll get a better computer, and your blood pressure will stay within medically acceptable bounds. Trust me on this one."
How to Survive a Tech Support Call by David Pogue in the New York Times February 22, 2006. A Guide to Dell Tech Support by John Stumpf. Quoting: "... you are forced into the unenviable position of having to call Dell Off-shore Hardware Support. Look at it as a journey, one on which you will be tested, much like Job or Arthur Dent. You will descend into the ninth circle, but with the proper preparation, tools and attitude, you will return, a better person for it." Perhaps the best line refers to the Dell person you talk to a Dell Offshore Personal Expert - a DOPE.
Paul Dell vs Dell Computers February 16, 2006. A man named Paul Dell makes web sites for a living. His domain name is www.dellwebsites.com. Dell, the computer company, is none too happy. Paul Dell blog.
January 12, 2006, An Open Letter to My Dell Notebook Computer by Joe Malchow.
Dell Dimension XPS 400 Evaluation December 16, 2005 by Brian Boyko. Quoting: "Without mincing words: We had significant quality of use issues with this computer."
Reliability and Service: The Best Companies to Buy From in PC World magazine. December 1, 2005. Quoting: "Our survey also confirmed the growing perception that Dell's halo is fading. Once known for its excellent reliability and service, Dell received scores for desktops and notebooks that were average overall and below average in some areas, including phone support hold time. Dell's overseas reps with thick accents also featured in many reader complaints. Recent changes by the company to shorten some warranties and alter delivery policies may tarnish its image as well."
Hanging Up On Dell? Gripes about tech support are on the rise, and the PC king is scrambling to upgrade. Business Week magazine. See also the reader comments on this article. The article was written October 10, 2005 and posted here November 29, 2005.
Is Dell on the decline? by Robert Wright, VARBusiness, November 23, 2005
Dell Has Three Prices For One Part By Ed Foster November 7, 2005. Quoting: "Dell's pricing has always been very much 'subject to change' at a moment's notice. But one enterprise customer of Dell's recently discovered that, subject to who you are and what you think you're buying, two or more prices can exist at the same time for the same thing."
Jeff Jarvis has continued sniping at Dell added November 29, 2005.
Dell earnings gets dinged by PC problems by Michael Singer CNET News.com November 10, 2005. The article says that Dell will spend $307 million to send out service technicians to fix Optiplex systems with faulty capacitors. On another note, it says: "...We think Dell has been too focused on perfecting its existing model instead of adapting it to a changing environment," Moors & Cabot analyst Cindy Shaw said in an investor newsletter. "Industry sources tell us there have been few major changes to Dell's model over the last five years. During that time, vendors such as Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Acer and Gateway have become more competitive and narrowed price gaps...".
Bulging capacitors haunt Dell by Michael Singer CNET News.com October 31, 2005. Dell plans to replace components on some of its Optiplex business PCs but will not issue a product-wide recall. Quoting from article: "This is not the first time that Optiplex machines have suffered from bulging capacitors." The problem also affects other companies: PCs plagued by bad capacitors by Michael Singer CNET News.com November 10, 2005. Among the other effected computers are the Apple iMac G5 and the HP xw-series workstations.
The law firm of Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins is suing Dell. Customers Sue Dell Computer and Finance Service for False Advertising, Bait-and-Switch Scheme. You can tell them your horror story. November 7, 2005.
Inspiron 5150/5160 AC/DC Power Jack Problem from AQS Computer Services. Added October 17, 2005.
How Dell repels attempts to buy its 'open source' PC by Ashlee Vance in The Register October 6, 2005. Seems that Dell makes buying a computer without Windows pre-installed difficult. See also Dell's Open PC Costs More Than Windows Box at Slashdot.
Dell Won't Recall Defective Motherboards by Ed Foster August 30, 2005
A Dell Hell blog done with poems by Howard E. Morseburg. September 2, 2005.
Geekgirl2 blogs that her Dell Hell experience has cost her company some serious money along with wasted time and effort. August 20, 2005.
expensive, computers have a dedicated video card with its own internal video ram
that is separate and distinct from the ram used by Windows. One way to judge
assorted video cards is by the amount of ram they contain, the more the better. A recent Dell catalog advertised computers with ATI video cards
with misleading names. For example, one Dell computer comes with a “128MB ATI Hypermemory graphics card". Up till now, this meant that the video card contained 128MB of internal video ram. No more.
I read the fine print in the back of the catalog.
ATI has redefined the meaning of "128MB". For years it meant the amount of video ram in the video card. But this video card has only 32MB of video ram. Now ATI wants the 128MB to refer to the total amount of ram the video card will allocate to itself. If your computer needs 128MB of video ram, for example, then the video card will use the 32MB it has, and steal 96MB more from Windows. A computer with 256MB of ram would thus end up with only 164MB for Windows to use. Ouch. A review of an ATI Hypermemory video card by CNET suggested only using it on computers with a gigabyte of ram.
This misleading advertising seems to be used on all ATI "Hypermemory" video cards and also on Nvidia TurboCache video cards. The ATI cards were released last month. November 20, 2005.
Certified and Restricted By Ed Foster, January 17th, 2006. Quoting: "When you've got a real beef with a company, does it help to write a letter to the CEO? The GripeLog has heard testimony on both sides of that question, but one reader recently made an interesting point. If you're going go to the trouble of writing a company's big cheese, make sure you send the letter certified and restricted."
August 17, 2005. A reader of this page spent a lot of time fighting with Dell and did not give up. We can all benefit:
Dell Satisfaction Rating Takes Deep Dive by Lisa DiCarlo in Forbes.com. August 16, 2005. Quoting: "According to figures released Tuesday morning from the University of Michigan American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), Dell's customer satisfaction rating dropped a steep 6.3% to 74 out of a possible 100--the biggest drop among the major PC makers." The original report: Six-Month Decline Halted in ACSI
The same report prompted this summary of Dell Hell in the news: Dell's "Extended Buyer's Remorse Program" shows results. Good Morning Silicon Valley. August 18, 2005.
and this story in ComputerWorld Study: Dell customer rating plunges; Apple leads pack August 16, 2005. Quoting from the story: "...CEO Kevin Rollins denied that Dell was having customer service problems."
July 22, 2005. www.mydellexperience.com should really be called "My BAD Dell Experience". A brutal Dell Hell experience.
Jeff Jarvis had a very bad experience with Dell (one that incited foul language). Buzzmachine. June 21 through July 9, 2005. 106 people commented on his initial posting. Other postings have also been frequently commented on. To me, that says a lot. The story has to do with a laptop that has more problems than grains of sand on a beach and in-home premium support and repair which was non-existent. And he keeps on griping:
In his TechBlog Dwight Silverman, who writes for the Houston Chronicle, wrote about Dell Hell. Hey, Dell: Are you listening? July 3, 2005. His "pattern in the evolution of computer company customer service" probably explains the downhill spiral at Dell. See also his Follow-up: Dell wants you to come to them from July 8, 2005.
July 2, 2005.
In commenting on how Dell gripes are nothing new, Ed
"Google Dell customer service problems and you get 2,950,000 hits, with titles like "My unbelievable
experiences with Dell" and "How bad is Dell support? A lot!" and "If you have problems, expect no
assistance from Dell" all on the first page of results."
Dell without a 'Care' in the world July 13, 2005 by Michael Singer CNET News.com. Dell's customers are lamenting about the company shutting down the Customer Care message boards that have long been part of its Dell Community Forum, with some wondering about Dell's service commitment. Another article on the subject: Dell falls off the Cluetrain by Charles Cooper of CNET news.com July 15, 2005.
Dell Computer: Worst Company Ever by Giles at Crack Pot Press. May 2005.
In September 2003 Kenneth Hunt made a Dell Sucks entry in his blog. Since then many people have commented on it with their own gripes. Warning: it is a very big web page.
May 23, 2005. Someone I know bought a new Dell Inspiron laptop. The screen came as damaged as any I have ever seen. There was a vertical red stripe from the top to the bottom of the screen about an inch from the right edge. The red stripe was visible on a black, blue and green background. Obviously, Dell does no quality assurance at all before shipping an Inspiron laptop.
Then he tried to return it and descended into Dell Hell. The machine was defective and it was also within the first 20 days so he had two valid reasons to return it. In addition, he had purchased first class technical support. None of this prevented Dell Hell. In (mostly) his own words:
I needed to exchange my new Inspiron 600M because of a defective monitor, there was a red stripe running vertically across the screen present at the XP Boot and the welcome screen, omnipresent with blue, black and green backgrounds. If only Dell acknowledged that or cared. Mind you, I purchased premier warranty service so I could get expedited treatment on top of the regular limited warranty- there's truth in advertising!!
I initially called tech support, whereupon I was told that I was in the Dimension cue rather than Inspiron even though I was never prompted to which cue to go to, and when I was disconnected en-route to the Inspiron, my first thought was, I wonder if Dell considers this notice, because I have five days from when I inform them of a problem in order to return their product, even though I hadn't yet received the credit return authorization number required to return it.
Upon reaching tech support again, after telling the guy the problem, he tells me, because I have premier warranty, he is not authorized to help me, and I must go to premier support. I said, well, what's the number/extension, they aren't authorized to give it to the public, but they'll gladly transfer me. I ask him what to press in the automated prompt, of course that option is not offered to me, and furthermore, I'm asked for a dispatch number of which I was never given, nor am I prompted for the express code for which I was told by Dell and I have on paper that I should enter for a prompt response.
Round 3: I call tech support and am told no, I need to go to the help desk to access premier support. I again ask for advice how to proceed with the automated process, she says oh press 4, which I do and eventually get navigated to another help desk which I feel I'm back to square one. No, apparently there is a second round of help desk which is only then authorized to send me to premier warranty.
Then I'm told to call customer service. I'm transferred.
After being disconnected and calling customer service myself, I'm told as this is a hardware issue and not as a result of a miscue in transport, that tech support has to handle it. In order to "expedite" the situation, she creates a reference code so the next [expletive] can get caught up to speed. So I'm transferred to tech support again. They read the reference code, and I'm told I need to be transferred. To which that person then creates a second reference code - why I don't know. At which point I crossed out the first reference code, which when my wife took over for me because I was getting fed up, they wanted the first reference code again even though they now have two to choose from.
My wife asks for a supervisor, after getting static from the crack Dell staff, again, (chorus), gets disconnected, but not before waiting for about 10 minutes.
At this point we say enough, I'm no longer interested in exchanging the Dell product, I want to be rid of it and this damn company. The premier warranty is only causing more trouble! If I could only get frequent caller miles to India I'd be in good shape.
After 2 more people, on our 9th caller and after 1 1/2 hours, after merely trying to exchange my new laptop within the allotted 20 day period, for which NO REASON SHOULD EVEN BE REQUIRED LET ALONE DISSECTED, we get the holy grail, the customer return authorization number.
But wait, our struggles are not over. We are told we have to pay shipping- wait for it- because Dell does not have a record of our complaints with what is wrong with the computer. I calmly tell her, uh, don't you have the 2 reference codes explaining the problem? She says yes, but that's merely that you were TRYING to reach tech support to tell them of a problem, not what the problem was. I said, well, if I hadn't been disconnected or transferred the 4 times I spoke to them, they could've written down the problem. So I get my first apology and she says, well, I can't help you with that.
So I have to call UPS, because she can't handle that from her computers either, and then when I ask how do I know that Dell has received the equipment, she said I could call customer service. I said I don't think so. I will call UPS instead.
So, even though I currently use a Dell and was a semi-apologist for Dell in the past, no more. This is inconceivable. Imagine If I had an actual problem and needed to reach tech support and had invested time and money into it? This is a disgrace and I'm going to tell anyone I come into contact with to avoid Dell. I am still more shocked than angry at this treatment, because it wasn't personal.
Buying a Monitor
April 7, 2005. I tried to buy a Dell monitor. When it came time to enter the email address and password for my existing Dell account, it was rejected. The error "Please enter your 4-20 digit password" is shown in the picture at the right. This makes it look like no password was entered, but I did enter a password. Bad error message.
Then I asked Dell to email me the password associated with this email address. They quickly did. I had the correct password. Still, the Dell web site kept rejecting it.
When I started the ordering process, the default email address the web site had for me was not the one associated with my Dell account. After the above problem, I asked Dell for the password associated with that email address. If you can't beat them... Again, Dell quickly emailed me this second password. With this other email address and password, I placed my order.
I didn't like that password however, it wasn't secure enough, so I went into the Account maintenance to change it. I couldn't. To make any password secure, you should use some special characters. Dell did not like a character in my new password. The error was
Invalid Password: Password can contain only numbers (0-9), upper and lower case letters (A-Z, a-z), dollar signs ($), question marks (?), plus signs (+), periods (.), and commas (,).
In an Aha!! moment, I realized why the first password was rejected - it had a special character in it that is not one of the allowable ones according to the above error message. So even though I had used this password in the past, it was on file with Dell and they emailed it to me happily, the validation logic in their web page rejected it.
Do they care? We'll see. From the Dell home page, I selected Contact Us and from there opted to contact dell about the web site. Any responses from Dell will be posted here.
Dell has more than one web page where you can sign in to your account. The email message that told me of the bad password (the one with the special characters) suggested that I log on to my account here. I tried that the next day and got this error.
The e-mail address and password combination you entered do not match any accounts on record. Please register or try again.
Again, this is using the password, they sent me to an email address of mine they have on file. The email message, by the way, ended with "We look forward to providing continued world class support for your computing needs." I don't think so.
April 8, 2005. The next day, Dell sent an email message with my order details. The second email address that I used, the one that worked, is linked to the same Dell customer number as the first one. A database person would consider this not normalized.
ship date was 6 days after the order was placed (April 13th). That seems like a
long time for an item that is said to usually ship within 24 hours. So what does
the usual ship date really mean? The Software & Peripherals Estimated Ship Date
page says "The Usually Ships Date is intended as a guide and does not provide you with an actual ship date."
OK. "Usually" is certainly not a promise. If you order an item that "usually" ships in 24 hours but, in your
case, will ship in 6 days, is this a bad estimate or deceptive
Update: April 9, 2006. It is a bad estimate. The item shipped on April 8, 2005 which is, in fact, roughly 24 hours.
April 8, 2005. Later I started to buy something again. This time, I used the email address that worked yesterday and the password for it. No go. Dell's web site again, acts as if the password was blank, as if I entered nothing. The error is the same as that shown above for yesterday. This is not the password that worked yesterday, instead its the newly changed one, the more secure one. Like yesterday, I am entering the password correctly. As with yesterday, I asked Dell to email me the password and they do, very quickly.
This happened both with IE6 and Firefox 1.0.2.
I tried deleting the Dell cookies from IE6. This caused the Dell site to prompt me to create a new account, with only a small link for people who already have accounts. I clicked that link and my email address was no longer pre-filled in. I entered the email address and password, but again, the error message was that shown above ("Please enter your 4-20 digit password"), as if I had not entered a password at all.
Then I tried a wrong password and was shocked. Dell correctly reported that the password was wrong! The error message was
The Email Address and password entered do not match any accounts on record, please try again.
To recap: wrong password is correctly detected, right password is ignored. Dell does not like me.
April 11, 2005. I tried logging on to Dell on this customer support page. This time the error was:
Unrecognized login. Please check the email address and remember that passwords are case-sensitive.
Does this mean the email address is not in the system? The password is wrong? I entered a wrong password and got this message again. Then I entered the right password, the one that I changed just a few days ago. No go. I was sent to this page which forced me to change the password. You can't make this stuff up.
The message was "To heighten the security of your account, Dell has changed the requirements for passwords. Please select a new account password according to the rules below." The rule now is "Passwords must be at least 6 characters in length and contain at least 1 letter and 1 number. The security of your account is important.". The password it is forcing me to change is already over 6 characters in length and does contain at least one letter and one number. By now, this is to be expected.
I changed the password and it didn't like it. I conformed to the rules above but despite that, my new password was rejected. Maybe its the special character? YES!! I removed the special character and it accepted the new password.
Does Dell lie on purpose or are they just incompetent?
April 3, 2005. If you buy a Dell monitor from their Home division, can you return it without paying a re-stocking fee? This should be a simple question to answer, but it was not. The details of their return policy says:
"Non-defective third party and Dell-branded software, peripheral, electronics and accessory products (for example: televisions, printers, projectors, MP3 players, PDAs, battery chargers, un-preinstalled third party software, wireless cards/access points/routers), including but not limited to those sold by or through Dell's "Software & Peripherals" or "Electronics & Accessories" groups, may be returned within twenty-one (21) days from the date on the packing slip or invoice, but a fifteen percent (15%) return fee may be deducted from any refund or credit."
I have no idea if this includes monitors or not. Trying to contact Dell to ask this question results in nothing but a run-around on their web site. It seems pretty obvious they don't want to handle questions.
Eventually, I stumbled across an online, live customer care chat. However, the system requires a service tag before you can ask a question. I am a Dell Home customer and know my customer number, but the system doesn't want that, it wants a service tag. I bought a number of items from the Dell Home division and have a record of all of them, but none were computers and only computers have a service tag. I even bought a monitor from them and tried entering the model number. No go.
I borrowed someone else's service tag and got into the system only to have the screen freeze up. I waited and waited while doing other work. When I looked at the chat window again, it had timed out. Someone had come online, and hung up on me when I didn't respond immediately. And there is no going back, the chat window says "Thank you for using chat. Your session has ended. You may close this window now.".
I start the chat all over again from the beginning and get connected. I say I am interested in buying a monitor. Gaurav wants my address and telephone number before answering anything. I type that I won't provide this information for a sales question. However, the chat window pops up an error window that says "The document contains no data". That was the end of that chat session. I tried typing more, but it never went anywhere.
Somewhere else on the Dell site I found another online chat. This one I used with IE (before I had used Firefox). This one requires the installation of an ActiveX control from Talisma Corporation. There is no way that I am installing an ActiveX program from an unknown company just to ask a question.
Despite my saying no to the installation of the ActiveX control, the chat seems to work. Arindam_Sengupta said: "Please give me a minute to review your question. In the mean time can you verify the shipping address of the unit and the telephone number please?" I was told to contact Dell Customer Care at 800-624-9896 or you can also chat with them here.
Again, this chat wants a service tag and the agent (Ankur_Kalohia) wants to know the system shipping address and the telephone number. I say I'm a new customer. Then I am told "For this I would suggest you to please contact Dell Sales Department at 800-915-3355 for the information you need as this is a Hardware Troubleshooting Support."
April 10, 2005. I reported this as a web site problem and a few days later, got a reply from Dell that said:
If you purchased new products directly from Dell, you may return them up to 21 days from the date of the invoice for a complete refund of the purchase price. Hence if you purchase a new monitor the return period will be 21 days.
January 5, 2005. Anyone can make a comment on this page (see link above). Today someone made the comment below anonymously. Take any anonymous comment with a grain of salt (or two), but this does seem to agree with a pattern I had already noticed.
|I have been working for Dell Tech Support for a few months now and I can offer a few tips. First, if you are buying a Dell system, buy it from the Business side, not the consumer side. All consumer support is handled in India while all business support is handled in the U.S. You might spend an extra $100 or so for the same machine, but it's worth it to get someone who speaks English natively. Second, once you reach business support keep in mind that in the "business support" division, techs are REQUIRED by company policy to fix your problem. If you call back within 7 days with the same problem, the original tech gets a negative score for the original call. The tech is required to send you an email summary with details of your call. That summary includes a link that allows you to provide feedback to Dell about your experience. Those feedback messages ARE read by the managers and coaches at Dell Business Support and go into the files of each tech. If you have a bad experience, BE SURE to fill out the feedback form for the call so that the tech is accountable for the call. As I noted before, none of this is the same on the consumer side. Dell could give a crap about consumers, but 80%+ of Dell sales come from the business side.|
March 11, 2005. Someone emailed me today to say that after purchasing a computer from the Dell Small Business division that technical support was still handled out of India. I can't confirm this.
March 19, 2005. Another anonymous comment was made today by someone claiming to have worked in the Business 21 day software support division at Dell. This person said that tech support employees were not required to fix the issue by company policy. Also, as of March 8, 2005 all software support was moved out of the US and is now fee based. The person claimed their moved to Canada. Again, I can't confirm this.
April 3, 2005. Dell Monitor Information Center says "Flat panels are quickly gaining in popularity from home to corporate use. Why? Because they offer numerous advantages:" Among the advantages Dell cites for flat panel, LCD screens are a Fast Response Time and a Wide Viewing Angle. This is a lie. LCD screens are inferior to CRT screen in both response times and viewing angles.
What Dell Support Thinks of Dell Support by Ed Foster March 29, 2005 The Gripe Line Weblog. From people who claim to be Dell employees, but this can not be verified.
Pricing: March 18, 2005. Robert X. Cringely in InfoWorld writes: "...a small business can snag an Inspiron 1150 notebook for about $600, but a K-12 school could shell out nearly $1,350 for the same box."
December 23, 2004 Dell Hell by Jeff Prosise of wintellect.com includes "a word of warning to anyone who buys an on-site service warranty from Dell." Seven months after this was written, people are still commenting on it. Lots of rage out there.
December 6, 2004. What if my new computer doesn't work? by Leo Notenboom. He bought a new Dell laptop computer and returned it the next day due to hardware problems.
December 3, 2004. From Ten to Avoid—The Worst Products of the Year by Jim Louderback in PC Magazine.
... if you're looking for a multifunction printer, avoid Dell's lame MFP Laser Printer 1600n ... it's slower than a 330-pound defensive tackle with two bad knees on a muddy field. This is Dell's first homegrown printer—it got previous models from Lexmark—and it shows. Oh, and don't expect to use the fax machine or copy any body parts with your PC shut off; the 1600n needs a locally attached computer to do its stuff. That's ridiculous, especially for a network-attached device.
November 1, 2004 Disenchanted with Dell by Ed Bott. Quoting: "In the past year, though, I've become increasingly disenchanted with Dell, thanks to support policies that have turned practically hostile. Last year I had to fight for months to get a $200 rebate that I was entitled to ... I was one of many Dell customers who experienced this problem ... But Dell's customer service representatives didn't seem interested in this problem, and it took at least 10 phone calls, my blood pressure rising a few points with each one, to get the rebate ... Last week I had another run-in with Dell ... a four-year-old Dell Dimension 4100 that ... has a case fan that sounds like it could qualify for a Nascar event. It's so loud that you can literally hear it two rooms away when the door is closed."
November 20, 2004. More Dell woes by Ed Bott. A follow-up to the above article discussing a common power supply failure with one year old Dimension 4600 computers.
Dell Hell by Randy Cassingham in the "This is True" newsletter. November 2004. After only a few days of owning a new Dell Inspiron laptop, it would not turn on. Plus Horror stories from others too.
Technical support at Dell is going downhill.
May 16, 2004. In the last couple months, I have run into a couple Dell computers with Windows XP and the McAfee Security Center suite of software. In both cases, the owners of the computers had me uninstall the McAfee software. You couldn't make software any more confusing if you tried. On one machine it was reporting things that were not true, such as programs being installed and/or running that were not (I forget the exact details).
The other machine was only using the anti-virus software. For the life of me, I could not figure out if the AV software was running or not, or the date of the anti-virus definitions it was using. The machine was over a year old, no doubt the trial subscription for new virus definitions had expired, but I couldn't figure out when or how to renew it or even if there was such a thing as a subscription in the first place.
See also A pox on McAfee by Ed Bott May 16, 2004. He too had very poor experiences with the McAfee software that Dell pre-loads. In his case, the McAfee software reported that the firewall was not installed, when in fact, it was installed, was running and was causing problems. Quoting Ed Bott: "I don't recommend McAfee software to anyone, and when I see a friend using it, I usually suggest that they switch to something else..."
FYI: Uninstall the McAfee anti-virus before uninstalling the McAfee security center.
Buying A Computer
January 5, 2003. A friend of a friend wanted to buy a Dell desktop computer. They went to www.dell.com -> Home and Home Office -> Desktops. Under the heading "Outrageous Desktop Deals Starting at $399!" was a Dimension 2400 with 17" Flat Panel selling for $699.
The person wanted this computer and monitor for this price but couldn't figure out how to buy it.
There is no big BUY NOW button anywhere to be seen. They had to call my friend for help spending their money.
Then again, the web site design might be tricky rather than poor. My first reaction was to click on the green Customize It button. If you do this however, you don't get the computer and monitor for $699. As it says in red, the price applies to "this configuration only".
You have to click on the "E-Value Code" to purchase the computer. Oh.
But not so fast.
First, you have to write down the code (6V213-D24TVL in this case) on paper because you are required to enter it in the resulting web page. And, the resulting page has other "special offers" none of which are this computer and could easily lead someone astray.
If buying the computer is this confusing, imagine technical support. Then again, just read the prior topic above.
April 21, 2003. Finding the home page for Dell customer support is harder than it should be.
Often emails from Dell refer you to their www.dellcustomercare.com web site. A recent article in Fast Company magazine mentioned that people unfamiliar with how the Internet works, type in web addresses into Google rather than directly in to their web browser. The web site www.dellcustomercare.com is not listed in Google. Today (April 21, 2003), if you search for "dellcustomercare.com" (with or without the leading three Ws) Google finds nothing as shown below.
However if you search for just "dellcustomercare" on Google, this web page is listed first. This page! The one you are reading now.
Searching on Yahoo for either "www.dellcustomercare.com" or "dellcustomercare.com" also returns this web page first.
Searching on both AOL and EarthLink for either "www.dellcustomercare.com" or "dellcustomercare.com" again returns this web page first and no reference to a Dell customer support web site at all.
I am fairly certain that is why people email me with their Dell issues thinking they are writing to Dell. I requested that the Dell Customer Care web site be added to Google. I can't believe no one at Dell thought to do this.
But what if people search for "Dell Customer Care" as three separate words rather than looking for a URL?
March 26, 2003. I was briefly in possession of a Dell Inspiron 4000 laptop computer running Windows Me for the purpose of correcting some software problems.
When the computer boots, there is no instructional message as to what key to hit to invoke the BIOS setup.
The computer did not come with recovery CDs (to many this is a plus, not a gripe). To re-install Windows Me, I had to re-install Windows, then use multiple CDs from Dell to re-install various applications. There was no product key printed on the Windows Me CD or its cover which I did not realize before starting to re-install the OS. In mid-stream, I had to turn the computer over (with it running) to get the product key from a sticker on the bottom.
If you turn the computer off with a CD inside, you can not eject the CD without turning the computer on again, which reboots the operating system.
At one system startup, the BIOS complained that it did not know what time it was. The computer had lost track of the current date and time. This, I believe, is due to a problem with a battery on the motherboard. The computer was manufactured in 2000. These batteries should last longer than three years.
On February 12, 2003, I placed an order for some computer accessories with Dell. The items were scheduled to ship 5 days after the order was placed. On that date, Dell sent an email that the items were delayed an additional 10 days and said the order could be cancelled. On February 17, 2003, I opted to cancel the order, called them on the phone and cancelled it without problem. Two days later, however, the online order status does not indicate the order was cancelled. Instead it says "Delayed Currently attempting to complete order". To confirm that the order was cancelled, I emailed Dell at an email address mentioned in their note saying the order was delayed. They responded very quickly with:
I apologize for the inconvenience however we do not handle this type of request. You will need to contact our customer service division at 1-800-624-9897.
When I call that phone number, the recording says they are experiencing heavy call volume and suggests that I go to www.dellcustomercare.com. I do, and enter a question about whether the order is really cancelled. Dell responds in a few hours with:
Please be advised that you have reached the Dell Online Customer Service department for Small Business Division. Because your account is with another department, I am unable to access the necessary files to assist with this request. With this in mind, I have forwarded your request to the correct department and you will receive a reply to your request shortly.
The rest of the message is identical to the one below from my monitor warranty question. Very soon thereafter, Dell emailed again:
I apologize for the inconvenience this issue may have caused. I have looked through your account and show that your order is in production. However, I have submitted request to the concerned department to cancel order number: 999999999 for XXXXX. This process may take up to 2 business days to complete. For cancellation, you can also contact our software and peripherals department at: 1-800-449-3355 extension: 62470.
It takes a high tech computer firm, two business days to cancel an order for an out of stock item. When I checked four days later, the order had been cancelled.
December 21, 2002. Recently, I purchased a monitor from Dell and wanted to know the details of the warranty. The web page on the Dell site for the monitor does not say anything about the warranty. The packing slip didn't say either, so I decided to email Dell and ask. Dealing with the customer support section of Dell's web site was much harder than it should be. In part, this is because I have purchased a number of things from them and have multiple accounts with multiple divisions and I've lost track of the details. From the packing slip, I knew the order number, my account number and both the manufacturer part number and the Dell part number for the monitor. This was not sufficient information to ask about the warranty. Logging on to Dell customer service is keyed off an email address rather than an account number and I had lost track of the email address used with the account number used to buy the monitor.
Eventually, I logged on to customer service by supplying the service tag for a Dell computer that was purchased months earlier than the monitor in question. I can't explain exactly what happened, but eventually I was able to enter my simple query. This was the response:
Thank you for choosing Dell On-line Services.
Please be advised that you have reached the Dell Online Customer Service department for Small Business Division. Because your account is with another department, I am unable to access the necessary files to assist with this request. With this in mind, I have forwarded your request to the correct department and you will receive a reply to your request shortly.
In the future, please visit the following URL for customer service requests: www.dellcustomercare.com
Be advised that the above-mentioned web site creates a cookie (Temporary Internet File) on your system when you visit the above-mentioned web site. You may have clicked ?Small Business Division? in your first visit. Subsequent visits to www.dellcustomercare.com will be automatically redirect you to the ?Small Business? segment of our web site. In order to correct this situation, you will need to delete the cookies from your system. Please visit the following link for assistance in deleting the cookies from your system:
After you have successfully deleted cookies from your system, please visit www.dellcustomercare.com and click on ?Home and Home Office?. This will create a cookie on your system, which will automatically redirect you to the ?Home and Home Office? segment in your future visits.
If you need any further assistance in deleting cookies from your system, please contact Dell Technical Support for best assistance...
It speaks for itself.
December 22, 2001. Two people I know recently got new Dell computers with Windows 2000 pre-installed. One computer was shipped by Dell in early November 20001, the other on December 2, 2001.
Gripes with early November machine
The machine would not shut down in response to Start -> Shutdown... -> Shutdown. There were no error messages, the shutdown was just ignored.
The owner of this machine is an AOL customer. He complained that he couldn't open files downloaded with AOL. It turns out that the files were Adobe Acrobat PDF files and that Acrobat was not installed on the machine (I never actually saw the machine in question, so this is second hand).
Gripes with the December 2nd machine
(This machine I used for a few hours). It also had shutdown problems, with the exact same symptoms as the other machine. It ignored shutdown, restart, logoff and suspend commands. Not every time, but then again I only tried to reboot it a few times. Rather than pull the plug, I used Task Manager to kill any processes that I knew were not needed. My first choice was Real Player and it was a lucky guess. After terminating Real Player the machine shut down fine. When the machine shipped from the factory, Real Player was configured to run automatically at boot time. Not any more.
Windows 2000 was at Service Pack 1. This is a disgrace. Service Pack 2 for Windows 2000 came out sometime around May 2001. There is no excuse to ship such an old version of Windows 2000 seven months later. If it was my machine, I would have returned it. I got a Dell catalog in the mail that said "Because every Dell system is built-to-order, you receive the latest technology." Not true.
The file system used with the machine was FAT32. NTFS is a much more reliable file system.
Gripes with a laptop
February 18, 2004. I recently spent some time working with a Dell Inspiron laptop that is about 3 years old. It shipped with Windows 2000 SP2, 256 MB of RAM, a 20 GB hard disk and a Pentium II or III (I forget which) running at 700 MHz. Two gripes: The machine was using the FAT32 file system which is not nearly as reliable as NTFS which Windows 2000 supports. In fact, the machine had suffered a number of broken link/pointer problems. Also, the letters on the keys had worn off. Not all of them, but a handful.
FYI: See other Windows 2000 gripes
No Spare Processors for Dell Server By Ed Foster July 20, 2004. At what point does a manufacturer's obligation to provide spare parts for a system cease? Consider the experience of one reader who recently found he could not get a processor for a two-year-old Dell server, a system still covered by a Dell same-day onsite service contract.
Is Dell an American company?
Letter: 'I would have dumped Dell years ago' November 3, 2003 by Jason Hildenbrand on ZDnet
David Strom. Web Informant newsletter. February 5, 2003. Quoting: If you have to buy a laptop these days, don't buy a Dell SmartStep. There is nothing smart about it ... if you want a 2 GHz laptop, you only get that speed when the laptop is hooked up to AC power. When it is unplugged, it is running at half that speed. Omid Rahmat of Tom's Hardware calls it Dell's Gigahertz Dupe..."
One 2 One With Dell a blog by people at Dell. January 13, 2007.
FYI: I am told that if you want to get noticed about an issue, threaten to sue. This will get you transferred to an upper level management person. I can't confirm this. December 17, 2006.
FYI: A reader of this page suggested emailing complaints to Investor_Relations@dell.com and Board_of_Directors@dell.com. I have not checked this myself. September 14, 2005.
FYI: A reader of this page looked into taking Dell to small claims court. According to the court clerk in the county where Dell is located, you can't file a small claims action against them without physically appearing in court, in Texas. August 15, 2005.
FYI: Jeff Jarvis dug up the name and email address of the Chief Marketing Officer at Dell. See Chief Marketing Officer; Vice President, U.S. Consumer Business July 15, 2005.
FYI: When calling Dell tech support, a reader of this page (thanks Clare) suggests always getting the tech support persons name and employee number first thing. If you have problems, request to speak to a supervisor. You will always be told that there is no supervisor, but forceful demands will eventually get you to a supervisor. Then get the supervisors name and employee number too. May 19, 2005.
FYI: An article in the New York Times on December 19, 2004 said that Dell laptops are made in Malaysia. In contrast, full size Dell computers are made in the U.S.A. (at least those sold in the USA are made here). Other Dell products, such as PDAs, printers and music players are made by "third party manufacturers" primarily outside of the USA.
FYI: A web site for people really angry at Dell: ihatedell.org
FYI: To get tech support from Dell try support.dell.com or call them (800) 624-9896.
FYI: Accord to this Get a Human page, you can speak to a person at Dell by calling (888) 560-8324 and hitting zero twice. For customer service call (800) 624-9897, then option 1, ext 7266966, option 1, option 4, option 4.
FYI: I have read (but not verified) that calling technical
support before 12:30 PM or after 8:30 PM Eastern time makes it more likely you
will speak to a tech support person in the U.S. (see below)
Separately, the July 2004 issue of PC World said that a Dell technician warned that Mondays, holidays and back-to-school season are bad times to call for tech support. The magazine also said that calls in the late morning and early afternoon were more likely to be answered in the U.S. as opposed to overseas. It didn't say what time zone though it was referring to.
FYI: Easing the Pain of Dell Support Windows XP News newsletter. April 1, 2003. The article said that Dell has 3 call centers: Atlanta, Austin and India. The best time to get a real English speaking person is when the two US call centers are live, probably between 8AM EST and 7PM EST
FYI: The I Hate Dell Computer Disgruntled Employee Web Site. This is a forum for Dell employees and customers to voice their opinions about problems associated with Dell Computer Corporation.
Someone wrote to Walter Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal asking if they should install a firewall in a new Dell computer that will be directly linked to a cable modem. Everyone said yes, but Dell said no, so they asked Mr. Mossberg. Dell is wrong, as Mr. Mossberg correctly pointed out. May 1, 2003.
FYI: Dell: House calls over bad motherboards CNET News.com May 2, 2003. Dell will replace flawed motherboards inside nearly 20,000 Inspiron 2650 laptop models manufactured between November and December 2002. A bad component could short out and render the notebook unable to power on. Instead of requiring owners to send in their systems for repair, Dell will come to you. They are contacting owners of effected machines.
|Page created: December 2002||Page last updated: May 25, 2007|
|Prior updates: May 11,14,16 2007 | March 25, 2007 | January 11,13, 17,21, 27 2007|
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