My Dell Story

September 16, 2005

My Dell Story
Iíve recommended Dell computers to our PC newspapers for the past couple of years, but not after today. Every now and then someone stops to tell me a horror story about their experience with Dell. Iíve always figured their experiences were the exceptions. Until it happened to me.

Iím probably responsible for hundreds, possibly thousands of Dell computers sitting on desktops at newspapers around the world. Taking my own advice, there are a dozen or so Dell laptops and desktop systems being used throughout our building.

Two weeks ago, a fan quit working in one of the desktop systems. Unable to find a fan locally, I called Dell to order the part. Before calling Dell, I contacted several computer stores and got a similar reply from each of them, ďItís too hard to get parts from Dell. You need to call them yourself.Ē

I made the call. I was transferred to someone who found it very difficult to understand me. It took a while, but I let her know what I needed. I had done research on the Internet to get the precise manufacturerís part number and fan type. I learned that fans for other PCs wonít work in most Dell computers. I made sure she understood that I needed the part immediately. She said the part was being shipped second-day air. They didnít have overnight service. At the very latest, I would receive the part in six days.

After six days, I asked our office assistant if she could check on the status of the order. She learned that the fan was scheduled to be in our office in two days. The six days had turned into eight. Today is day ten.

I called Dell customer service this afternoon and was transferred to someone in the small/medium business division. After a few minutes, I learned that the initial order taker has entered a wrong number for the part. She told me I would need to speak to my original salesperson to create a new order. I asked for someone new.

She transferred me to another division of Dell, being sure to give me an 800 number in case I was cut off. After a minute or so, I was cut off. I called the 800 number. Greeted with a recorded voice thanking me for calling Dell, I was given options. I pressed the ď2Ē key as instructed. The next recorded voice informed me that this number is no longer a valid Dell number. If I needed to order a part, there was a new 800 number to call.

I called the new 800 number. I received a quick reply from an actual person. I gave her the case number I had been given earlier. ďIím sorry. I canít do anything with a case number.Ē She transferred me to another number. I was given a new 800 number, in case I was cut off. This was my fourth number of the day.

Next, I spoke with Patrick. He was very polite and knew what to do with my case number. After several minutes, he informed me that there was nothing wrong with the part number that was entered on my order. He didnít know why I hadnít received it, but he would place an order with ďexpedited shippingĒ right away.

I asked when it would actually go out. He assured me it would leave the building today and be in my office Monday. Today is Friday. Iíll let you know if it arrives on Monday.

Iíve checked on this order several times in the past ten days, thinking the Order Status area of the Dell website knew what it was talking about. I felt certain the first salesperson I spoke with would get the order wrong, but felt a false sense of security when I check the Dell website and learned by part was on the way. Never again.


MONDAY UPDATE

My package arrived today, thirteen days after my original order. The fan was the wrong size, but I used a little ingenuity to get it to work.