Re: Where does a former Dell customer go?
- From: Ben Myers <ben_myers@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2008 00:20:49 -0500
On Dec 24, 6:07 pm, Ben Myers <ben_my...@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:RMZ wrote:In the last 15 years I have purchased about ten PCs from Dell. I knowGood luck with whatever brand of computer you buy. Today, I picked up a
that's a small number compared to many businesses, but those were all
most for home use. I also recommended countless family and friends to
buy a Dell. I would praise the quality, support and price made
available by this direct PC maker company.
In those early days (and even up until about five years ago, which is
the last time I can recall contacting them) Dell support was prompt
and the support reps very knowledgeable. Their products were a step
ahead of the competition in quality. It's amazing how quickly things
Just in the last six months I know of two instances first hand where
Dell product (in both cases Notebook PCs) had serious defects surface
within a month of usage. I've heard many second hand stories of
problem product coming in such as faulty LCD displays. I've also heard
the horror stories of what someone has to go through to get an
exchange on a product. A bit over a month ago I experienced this first
hand when my mother ordered one of the NetBook DELL PCs. I was in the
room with her as the she placed the order by phone. She told the sales
rep "I need the one with Windows XP" two and a half weeks later an
Ubuntu Linux equipped "NetBook" arrived. I immediately called Dell
support, the experience I won't soon forget
I would take an oath, what follows is not exaggerated: I placed the
call to dell support on a weeknight (around 7:30 PM). I was
transferred three times, tallying all wait times between transfers
this took 35-minutes. When I finally got in touch with someone in
returns/exchanges I was communicating with someone who spoke English
with a very thick accent. My time was limited so I had to arrange to
call back. I asked if there some direct number I could call to speed
up the process the next time I called, I was told "Just call our 800
support number" (so the answer to my question as, No)
The next day I called Dell back. I went through the 800 number again
and once again had to be transferred. This time I was transferred four
times as one rep transferred me to the wrong department (or
something), the wait was 38-minutes before talking to someone who
could help me. At this point not caring how rude I came across I asked
are you based in the US? He paused and said "No sir". While I won't
get into the politics of offshoring support, the bottom line is Dell's
choose to save a money by offshoring this service had a very negative
impact on my customer service experience. It took me about 10-minutes
for him to get down my e-mail address. We kept going through the "J as
in Jack, E as in Easy, S as in Sam... etc..." we must have done that a
dozen times, again his accent was a real wall. I told him what
happened with the order (the notes he had from my call the previous
day were incomplete apparently). I was told there would be a $50
restocking fee (on a $299 computer mind you) and the fault was assumed
to be the customers (i.e. my mother). Since I was in the room with her
as the order was placed and I knew she was in the clear, my mind
immediately raced to all the other non-tech savy grandmothers out
there who might have fallen victim to Dell's return policies. After
some tough words were exchanged I was able to get the restocking fee
removed. I was told a return label would be coming in my e-mail within
three days, this process took over an hour of the phone but I was
happy for it all to be done with it, so I thought.
Three days past and nothing came. I waited longer... still nothing.
Once again I had to call back to Dell support. This time (the week of
Christmas) I was on the phone with them for about an hour and a half
and was transferred four times (again). My conclusion is that Dell,
like so many other great Americans brands has degraded greatly in
terms of product quality and support. The only thing that hasn't
changes is their moderate pricing, which considering the poor quality
of product & support should be considerably less (one would do better
to walk into a local retailer and pick up an Acer or Toshiba branded
product, made in China with lackluster support but at least priced
Michael Dell should be absolutely ashamed of what his company has
become. I've heard the stories about "we have to cut cost to compete,
etc...) that's all bullshit. Just like every corporation, Dell is an
unchecked machine only intended on making as much money possible for
their shareholders. While some CEOs manage to sell their board of
directors on maintaining a high level of quality, I believe somewhere
along the way Dell has sold out their customers altogether. They seem
to be a B-List computer manufacture still posing as a A-list vendor.
Maybe in that regard what Dell has become is a metaphor for many
Regardless of the how & why- I am sad to see that Dell has chosen this
path. It will take a long time (and a lot of convincing) before I ever
purchase or recommend a Dell product again. In the past there have
been companies that burn their customers and I have passionately
rallied against them. With Dell there's isn't a lot of energy in me to
do so, I feel like a family member has stabbed me in the back.
If you choose to buy a Dell, God help you if you need support with it
or you need to exchange it. In Dells place there really isn't another
computer maker. Apple is delivering the support and quality Dell once
was known for, but at the cost of being a luxury priced product and
dual operating system mandate for those of us wanting to stick with
Windows. Of the PC makers: Lenovo and Sony seem to be the best
choices, but neither really offer what Dell does for tailored
Goodbye Dell, I'll miss you.
6-month old HP laptop for service. Crapped out completely. No warranty
either. And just try to get an HP repaired under warranty, unless you
are a business account. What else have we got in name-brand desktops?
Acer-eGateMachines. Sony. Not much else. More brands of laptops,
though. Well, try to get spare parts for a Sony anything, a Toshiba
laptop, a Fujitsu laptop. Check out the tech support available on the
mfr's web site BEFORE you buy.
I cannot defend the lower quality of the newer Dell boxes. It is an
industry-wide trend. Build them cheap, and throw them away when they
break. It's sort of an accelerated approach to what Detroit did with
cars for many years. A GM, Ford, or Chrysler product would croak after
5 years, so you had to buy a new one and keep them in business.
Computers seem to bite the dust ever more frequently.
Finally, go build your own. Then you will have no one to blame for poor
quality except yourself... Ben Myers
Ben you're right and that's why I titled it "Where does a former Dell
customer go..." There really isn't an answer. I know before they sold
their PC division to Lenovo, IBM was excellent to dell with. Of course
those were the days when Dell support was also quality. I have no idea
how well Lenovo is doing. For those who don't care about they money
(or having to switch between OS products0, Apple is producing
exceptional quality product. I know two colleagues who are in the
software engineering field who made the choice to go with Mac Books
(even though they primary work on Windows). Using the latest Windows-
on-Mac solutions they are able to do everything they want and seem
very very happy with their choice (Apple support and product quality
is consistently rated the highest by the likes of Consumer Reports, et
al. for whatever that is worth).
Regarding HP. No doubt their are customers out there who feel the same
way I do about Dell towards HP. They seemed to have followed the same
path (out of competition, neither will take the high road). The
problem with Dell and HP going down this path is that once the word is
out there that their quality is gone (and based on my experiences I
believe it is) then their brand becomes greatly devalued. After that
point, good luck to them trying to compete with the Asian manufactures
who offer better prices and (probably) better support at this point.
Perhaps Gateway (who I could write much negative about as well) is on
the right path. They don't try to hide that they use Asian factories
to build their retail products cheap, but if you call their support
you're taken care of promptly and it's from someone who speaks English
clearly and can relate to your from not only language stand point, but
also culturally. The later is of course greatly overlooked, but very
important to the human element of support.
My new strategy is one forced upon me. Buy at retail and buy based on
the best deal you can and budget in repairs and replacement within 2-3
years. If I needed to order a large batch of systems with a specific
configuration then I would need to turn to on on-line direct vendor,
but it would not be Dell. I would say the quality of their support was
at least 50% of what made them stand out. With that completely negated
now and I would even go so far as to say my time on the phone with
them (which was consistent on three occasions) was the worst support
experience I've had in recent memory. I'm typically on the phone with
tech support from some company 3-4 times any given month so it's hard
for me to grasp just how far Dell has fallen when several years ago I
would have rated them one my best support experiences.
Lenovo laptops seem to be holding up in quality, at least the better T-series and X-series. I have not had hands on with any others, and Lenovo seems to be trying (but not succeeding) at selling in the consumer space, something that IBM rejected 2-3 years before selling off to Lenovo.
IBM's own desktop quality was excellent for its P3 systems. The Socket 423 P4 systems were a mixed bag of good quality (Asus) motherboard and a cheap tinny case. Most of the Socket 478 boards were made for IBM by MicroStar, well-known for exploding and oozing capacitors, so you know how high in regard I hold Microstar.
Really! Build your own. Assembling a computer is easy, except for mounting the stupidly designed Intel-branded LGA775 heat sink fan (so you use another brand with screw mountings). You'll pay more but be able to pick the parts you need, and get the quality and reliability you expect. In addition to the Dell boxes I refurb and sell, or repair or whatever, I build a few new systems for people, systems made from top drawer components where it counts. As an added bonus, you'll be able to pick and pay for the version of Windows that you want, not the one the computer manufacturer wants you to have. If you want to continue running XP, that is a major plus, albeit at a price. (Friends of Vista, don't bash me for saying this.)
Last of all... The "retail" computer systems sold in most of the mass market outlets are unimpressive piles of electronics, tin, plastic, and screws. I don't care what brand it is. If the computer is sold retail, it is really made cheaply because all the computer manufacturers can afford to deal with the customer on a one-off basis and tell the customer to go screw himself, or maybe screw him with very high repair costs and essentially useless warranties. In short, I am tarring and feathering ALL the stuff you see at Best Buy, Circuit City, Walmart, Staples, Office Max, Office Depot. I walked through each of their stores after the Black Friday rush had settled down around 6pm, and saw nothing very good except maybe for the most expensive desktops. I would not hit a dog in the ass with any of the laptops I saw. Moral? Buy a business-class computer, e.g. from Dell's small business sales or equivalent elsewhere... Ben Myers
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