Let me start by saying I serve in the US Navy in Japan. Two months ago I purchased a Dell Inspiron530s from the Navy Exchange on our base. At $750 it seemed to good to pass up. Last week (just over two months from the day I brought it home), the hard drive died. The tech that diagnosed the problem told me that because I live overseas, Dell doesn't recognize me as the computers actual owner. "Well that's kind of funny" I thought. After all, it is in my home, the NEX sold it to me and let me leave the store with it. Well, it's just a stupid formality I'm sure. I'll just explain it to them in the morning when I speak with customer care. I called and very calmly explained the situation to the representative who listened and then told me that Dell couldn't help me and that I should go to the NEX and try to get them to help. I was stunned.
After, I reasoned, didn't it say DELL proudly on the side of my computer? It certainly didn't say NEX. I asked him about this, but he held resolutely to his stance. So, I asked for his manager. He is just telling me what he has been told to tell me and so isn't equipped to help me. After all, I'm sure Dell didn't expect for their product to die on me...overseas. Surely I can get some one with more authority to assist me. But to my surprise, the representative refused to pass me on to his boss. "What?" That's what I said. I am 39 years old AND I serve in the military. One thing I know for certain is that EVERYONE has a boss. I asked again, certain I heard him incorrectly but he said he was about the most senior person at the company and that anyone he passed me on too would only tell me the same thing. Frustrated and angry I went to the NEX and explained to them the situation.
To my chagrine, they told me that Dell was the ONLY computer company they deal with that won't take returns, but unlike my Dell representative, this lady took my information and past it on up the chain of command. Let me say that by doing this, she helped me FEEL better immediately because she seemed to be doing everything within her power to help me. I felt that if this issue was not resolve to my satisfaction it would not be because she did not try. That is HUGE. That is customer service at it's core. Her boss called Dell and sent them e-mails on my behalf in an attempt to resolve this issue. Dell refused to budge. In the end, this situation was resolved to my satisfaction by the NEX. Realizing that they had sold me the product they had received from Dell, they refunded the money I spent entirely even though policy stated they didn't have to.
In the end Dell has lost a customer that will likely be buying as many computers in his life as he will be buying cars. Also, the manager of the NEX is very unhappy with them and I suspect that if he has any say in it, Dell will not be sold at his store in the future and he will likely use me as a cautionary tale. As for me, I look at it this way. I spent $750 of my military pay on an item for me and my family. That is a considerable sum for an E-4 with a family of three and a child support payment. I bought it from the NEX who bought it from Dell. Split between them 50/50 before expenses they make $375 each. Dell could have replaced that hard drive for pennies but decided not to. They are losing a customer who will likely buy at least 7-8 more computers, not to mention accessories from them in the future all for at best a $200 profit? Not to mention the stain on the company name and reputation. I am a reasonable man. Things happen. Parts break, especially when shipping to parts unknown. But to not accept responsibility for what is clearly a faulty product is wrong.
In my shoes, what might you do? How might you feel? How would you respond? I believe I showed restraint. I am not writing to receive anything except maybe an apology and assurance that this will not happen again to my fellow servicemen who may find themselves overseas. Also, customer service should be just that, customer service. If you are incapable of helping, ask your boss. He is paid more because it is assumed he/she knows more and can make those decisions. To blatantly pass the buck the way he did told me that he didn't care and sends the message that in turn, Dell does not care.
I suspect he was doing what he was trained to do and that should be addressed. This is no way to treat a person whose only crime in this was to support a company.