Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas from Dell

I got this wild hair and decided to order my wife a laptop for Christmas, so I called Dell. I bought my last computer from them about 10 years ago (yep, still running Win 98) and it has been a good one.

I placed the order over the telephone with a person who spoke great English and had a great personality. It only took me about 10 minutes to spend $1100 with him. It was December 3, 2:30 pm, and my laptop was to be shipped on December 14. My last bit of Christmas shopping was complete.

As soon as I hung up the telephone, I realized that I could have gotten a larger hard drive for an additional $25, so I called back. I punched all of the required buttons on the automated part of the call and finally got a live person. Unfortunately, there was a language barrier and I eventually had to hang up the phone.

I immediately dialed Dell again, punched the necessary buttons, and got another person. This time, we not only had a language barrier, but there was alot of static on the line. I figured that this must be a very long-distance call...maybe to India. I could understand this person better than the first, but not well enough to discuss upgrades and prices. Out of fear of a misunderstanding that may result in my upgrading the wrong part or accidentally purchasing two laptops, I politely hung up the phone again.

Third time is the charm they say, and on the third attempt at calling Dell, I got someone that spoke better English. He confirmed that my upgrade would only be $25, but my new ship date would be December 19. I asked him how I could have lost 5 days of shipping on an order that was placed less than an hour ago, and then I explained to him that the order would have only been about 5 minutes old had I been connected to America and to someone who could speak English on my first call. My plea fell on deaf ears and in the end, I was assured that my laptop would arrive in time for Christmas. I guess I should have confirmed that we were both refering to Christmas of 2007.

On December 20, I called the toll free line to check my order status and the automated thing said it was still in the build phase. I had to dial a different number to get a live person, but not until I punched all the right buttons on the automated portions of the call. This person said that some parts were on backorder, but the laptop should be shipped by December 31.

I asked him what Dell was going to do about this poor service and he said that he could rush shipping. I told him that I expected that anyway since I had been assured on December 3 that I would receive this by Christmas. I asked him about a rebate or other reparations and he said that there was nothing that he could do, but I could cancel my order if I wanted. I asked him had he rather lose the whole sale instead of just a hundred bucks of it. He said that he could not give me a discount or anything else.

I asked him to guarantee that it would be shipped by the 31st, but he could not. He did say that Dell has an "order control team", or something like that, that would call me if it was not going to be shipped on time. I asked him at what point did this "team" kick in and do their jobs because no one had bothered to call me to tell me it was going to be late the first time. He said that they did this after it was late twice. Awesome team, I thought.

Then, this guy said that he could transfer me to the "build" department and get them to delete the upgrade that I had ordered and that might save me some time. Now, this was the stupidest thing that I have ever heard and I told him so. Here's why: if they are working on my computer, then this would be another change and my date would be delayed even more for the revision. If they are not working on my computer, then I guess it could save me some time, but if they are not working on it, why did this upgrade cost me 5 days in the beginning, less than an hour after I ordered it?

He did not have an answer, we ended our conversation, I did a little shopping, and thought a little about everything that had transpired. If they do not care about my business, then I should not care who I give it to, right?

Well, I called back, this time to cancel, pressed all the buttons, had to stay on hold for 15 minutes due to "heavy call volume", finally got a woman who spoke English poorly, and told her that I wanted to cancel my order.

She told me that I had ordered my computer from the Business division, and that she worked in the Home division and would have to transfer me. I told her that I did not order it from the Business division to my knowledge, and did not route the call to any specific division when I ordered or even now while I am trying to cancel it. Rudely, she told me that I did order it from the Business division.

I finally got someone who sounded like they really cared about my ordeal and was willing to help me cancel my order. Maybe she did not really care and was just ready to go home for the holidays...I do not know. At this point, I do not care.

She sent me a cancellation confirmation email, which reminded me that I never received the confirmation after I ordered it. I was supposed to have received one after the order and then one after the upgrade. I mentioned this to her and she asked for my email address.

The person who took my order had mispelled my email address, so there is no way I would have ever received these confirmations. Which brings me to this: the order confirmation email and the upgrade confirmation email would both have been returned to the senders since the email address was incorrect.

On top of all of the customer disservice that Dell has provided in this process, they did not even check their own email often enough to realize that the confirmation emails were never even sent to me.

Last night, I spent several hours shopping on ebay. There, I purchased a Dell laptop, one model above the one I originally ordered from Dell, new and in the box, for $350 less than the one I was trying to buy straight from Dell. In addition, it shipped today (received a tracking number) and should be here Monday.

Nothing like a Christmas from Dell.

1 comment :

Karla said...

Man, sorry that was such a painful experience for you. We are getting past our disappointment, but I'm still angry that they didn't have the good sense to ask to speak to my mom instead of my dad. Yuck.

Happy Christmas!