ROUND ROCK, TEXAS -- I purchased an XPS-1 Model 2010 desktop computer from DELL Inc., on April 29th, 2008, for approximately $3,000.00 dollars. I did receive an educator discount, which brought my price down to around $1,800.00. But, it should still be considered a 3K machine, as it was top of the line. It was a great machine, no problems, other than a small problem with the internal TV-tuner card. Along with the computer I purchased a 4-year comprehensive extended warranty, good through April 29 2012.
On February 10th of this year, my system failed completely, thus shutting down my ability to effectively run my business.
As I had already had a minor problem with my system very early on (3 months,) I was not too concerned as I knew Dell would take care of the problem. Last time, they sent a tech. the same week and it was up and running without any real inconvenience: great service (that time.) This time I was not so lucky. Since they came out and tried to repair the system, it has been 2 months and 4 days, for a total of Sixty-Three days! Not only that, they actually have my computer and won’t return it!
The course of events occurred as such: they tried to repair the system on-site 10 days after I called. The tech. spent the entire days and when all was put back together, it would not even post (maybe because when he picked it up in the first place, he dropped it face down 7” right on my $3,000 Cherry Desk top.) At this point, I asked why they could not just do a system exchange, as he has essentially brought out an entire system with him this time (the XPS1 is an all-in-one.) He said, ok, and called Dell. They agreed to send a system exchange out. A week later the exchange arrived and upon opening it, I discovered that they had sent me a different model matching, not an XPS. I called Dell and asked them what this machine was and this is where things get really messy and confusing with customer/technical support.
I asked for another system exchange and they refused. Apparently, the XPS1 was no longer available (even though they had just sent out a complete shell just a week ago?) So, this was the system I was suppose to keep; I told them it was not acceptable and left the exchange computer in the box for another week or so, until after innumerable calls to Dell, it became very apparent that they were not going to send me my system back or a replacement system, as they said they were going to in the first place. This is around four weeks and my business has lost $1,500.00 due to the fact that I could not reach my data nor administer my online store.
At this point a customer support agent convinced me to pull the exchange system out and give it a try, and, in the mean time he would assemble the parts he needed and could have a technician out in two days to repair my XPS1 (which I thought they could not do, but now they could?) system. So I agreed.
Three days into using the exchange system (Inspiron 2305 all-in-one,) it crashed! I simply could not believe it. Not only was the system not capable of running my office, nor had the required connectivity, it was a completely different model set up for a completely different use (multi-media primarily.) I contacted Dell immediately and asked them now what. They first asked me if I had returned my original XPS1 (which was still brain dead.) I could not get them to help me with the exchange system until I shipped back the XPS1. I was holding on to the XPS1 as it contained all my data. They told me to ship both computers back, they would supply the shipping labels, and once received a replacement would be processed. I shipped both computers back.
A week later and many calls later, I was getting nowhere, so I wrote a personal letter to Michael Dell, pleading my case and asking for help; I received no answer. I have included my letter:
Michael Dell, Chairman & CEO
One Dell Way
Round Rock, Texas 78682
Dear Mr. Dell,
On February 5th my DELL XPS ONE had a total system failure. This was not a good thing. Yet, with my warranty still being in effect, I knew Dell would take care of this for me, as they have in the past. Knowing from experience, I knew I would be back up and running within a week’s time at the latest. Everyday matters for my small business and my computer is the hub from which any profits flow. It has been more than a month now and I have had no resolution, nor do I have a computer to run my business with. I am extremely distressed.
I now find myself in unchartered territory, being an unemployed music teacher who is fastly approaching his end of benefits. There are no positions open in my field in my area, nor have I been able to find a position in another field. Because of this, I started an online store (through eBay) in hopes that I might stave off the impending foreclosure on my mortgage and loss of my vehicle. I have used up all of my emergency funds, pulled all my retirement out and am now selling my own personal items online to cover my expenses. My health care coverage is gone and I have not turned on the heat yet this winter; I can’t afford it. My refrigerator is always empty and believe it or not, I do not qualify for food stamps. Without a computer able to run my store, I will not be able to keep my head above the water.
I have been a loyal DELL customer for many years, having purchased several computers for myself, as well as many for other people. I have recommended DELL computers over and over again based upon DELL’s reliability. I believe in your products and have always been extremely happy with them; they are powerful, durable and affordable. The post sale experiences’, however, have been quite the contrary, and have always offered nothing short of inadequate responses. Now, this inadequacy is affecting my financial security, such that it is, and that I can ill afford.
I am extremely distressed Mr. Dell, by the lack of compassion, professionalism, etiquette, ability to understand and overall lack of knowledge and skill that your technicians have shown me. And, I know I am not alone.
This economy is driving the middle class into insufferable debt and penury; it will culminate in the eventual collapse of our economy I fear. It is to the few American companies that still lead the way in industries we invented that we look to for stability and a future where once again we can be proud of what we have accomplished, as well as, secure in our future and life style.
It is within this gravest of times that I fail to see the advantage in outsourcing jobs to other countries when our country is in such desperate need of employment opportunities. I myself am a very intelligent person and would gladly take a job as a support technician; I have worked with computers since they came out in the 70’s and would be very capable of offering service at a much higher level than what I have received from your current technicians. But, the American worker will not work for the wages these countries are willing to work for. Want to bet?
My calls into tech. support have been arduous and exhausting. Once you get past the automated phone system, which is an endeavor in and of itself, you are greeted with yet another series of choices dependent upon your answers to questions you already answered. It is hard to stay calm when the person on the other line is not interested in your problem, nor listens to your concerns.
I cannot relay to you the entire cumulative experiences of my calls into tech. support, as there were too many. I can tell you though, that it has left me distressed, angry, confused and ashamed. It is only with an iron will that you can stay calm when you have to strain to understand every technician, get transferred over and over again, and in the end, gain no result. At one particular point, after being on the phone for almost four hours, transferred more than a dozen times, and continually having to repeat myself, I grew very angry and cannot say that I was the most polite customer to deal with. In the end, however, it was the only time I ever really got someone to listen to me.
My XPS-1 was an awesome computer; a true workhorse. It is no longer in production, so they sent out an INSPIRON One as an exchange system. Unfortunately, it did not have some of the minor capabilities that I needed to run my office with and it also was having difficulty running it as well (which truly confused me, as the processor was superior and it had more memory.) Concurrently, I was asked (many times) to make sure I returned my XPS-1, even though I was also returning the INSPIRON One because of its inadequacy to the task for which it was sent. The last level of technical support I received was tier 3, I believe, and no resolution was had, with the further understanding that DELL would not contact me again. I was then directed to legal, and it is at this point that I found myself simply unwilling to fight with your company anymore.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do; I would love to be teaching again, but, in this economy, music programs are the first to be cut and I fear my degree’s will be useless in the near future. I can not get to my important data on my drive from my XPS-1, nor can my DELL laptop run my office. I am embarrasssed to even write out these figures for such a person as yourself, as they will surly look insignificant, however, they are what I have to work with. In December my store grossed $1,426.00 and January $1,682.00. In February I made $215.00 dollars, considerably less than what I could have made had I the ability to use my XPS to add to my store inventory; currently, all I can do is fill current orders. This had truly put me in a bind. I would have expected and understood a week for repairs on my system, even two weeks would have been begrudgingly understood, but five weeks is just unsatisfactory.
I realize I am just one customer. I also realize that DELL sells too many school districts, Universities and large corporations, and that the single user is a low priority. But, I also realize that we have morphed into a society where each individual relies heavily upon personal technology and computers, so much so, that when that technology fails … well, I think you get the point.
I feel extremely marginalized as a customer, a customer who has supported DELL products for many years. I have also been financially burdened because of DELL’s inability to quickly and effectively deal with my service needs and issues. Finally, DELL has my XPS system and I do not have a replacement one.
Mr. Dell, it would be nice to know that you actually read this letter, at some point, and not an assistant. There are many things stated here that I feel you should hear from an average consumer, in order for DELL and our American companies to thrive in this new world economy.
Greggor Ludvig (pseudonym)
After waiting another two weeks, I heard from the escalation team concerning my computer. Apparently no more XPS1’s could be found to send me. Thus, they were offering to replace my computer with a refurbished like-for-like. Problem is, there is no like-for-like for my computer. After much arguing and compromising, they finally came up with a ‘new’ system to replace mine, with many upgrades, etc., due to the fact that it was newer by almost three years. I said no; it was not an acceptable replacement. I asked one last time for my computer back. Their answer was, “no.” In this process, I was called a greedy American by their Indian representatives, harassed to return my XPS1, constantly denied access to the executive team in charged, AND … AND DENIED THE RETURN OF MY OWN PERSONAL PROPERTY!
I have not played nice with Dell much after the first two weeks. I can only hang on hold for so long without getting annoyed, or talk for so long with someone whom I can’t understand, nor argue with a technician who doesn’t understand, nor talk to a customer support agent who is simply going to transfer me to another department, nor deal with departments who do not communicate with each other, nor work with agents who are discourteous and officious, nor deal with a company that does not really care about their customers, nor have a conversation with a corporate entity that stole my personal property and has helped me to lose more than three-thousand dollars in income.
This is a long, complicated mess, one for which I currently have no idea how to resolve other than a lawsuit. The problem with a lawsuit is that you have to have money to sue. That’s a bit of a practical joke for an unemployed worker with no source of income because it was taken away from him, isn’t it.
I would appreciate any help you can give me,
Sincerely, Greggor XXXXXXXXXX