Dell Computer Corporation Informative - Dell's Warranty & Customer Service
Mr. Michael Dell
Chairman of the Board of Directors
One Dell Way
Round Rock, Texas 78682
Dear Mr. Dell,
I am writing to you, somewhat as a “last resort”, regarding two recent purchases of computer systems from your company and a total breakdown of technical support, warranty support, customer support and in general those precepts which I have always regarded as good business practice and common sense.
Although I have purchased numerous Dell systems before and the product and product support was outstanding, the current scenario isn’t pleasant and began after placing an order for an Inspiron 8600 (TAG # XXXXXX) on 07/23/04 with payment by credit card for delivery to have followed within two weeks. After over a month of waiting and the credit card having been billed with no delivery, I disputed the billing with my credit card company and was issued credit for the purchase. Then on 10/04/04 I received the unit, and in good faith immediately called the credit card company and had funds released to Dell with billing subsequently issued to me by MBNA on 10/05/04 and paid.
On December 17, another order was placed (Order # XXXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXX) for a Dell desktop unit as a Christmas gift for my wife with the understanding of needed special delivery and promised arrival before or by December 25, 2004. Two days later, I was informed by Dell that the delivery date could not be met. As such on or about December 20, after having been informed it had not yet been shipped, I cancelled. Two days after Christmas, the computer arrived by UPS and when refused was returned to Dell by UPS.
On or about January 3, 2005 the printer portion of that order also arrived and was signed for by my father, not knowing about the cancellation issue. He was told by the UPS delivery person “If the package remains unopened it can be dropped of at the local UPS pickup point and will be returned to the sender.” The following day (on my instructions) he dropped it off at the UPS Store and it was returned to Dell. During this entire time I was in Iraq.
Subsequently while on a business trip to Thailand, the Inspiron 8600 failed…would not even boot. I telephoned Dell Technical Support and was refused service…was told that I needed to call Dell Financial because of a problem of some type. This was extremely difficult, professionally embarrassing, and frustrating to attempt to make international calls to Dell in the presence of my business clients and all to no avail.
After numerous calls with no results and desperately needing the information on the Inspiron 8600 hard drive for my business meetings, it was necessary for a local purchase of another laptop and to have the hard drive information copied onto the new unit from the Dell…all of this at a cost in excess of $2,000 USD. That which made it most infuriating and frustrating is your Customer Service representative informed me, that the bios had been “spiked” to render the unit inoperable since the unit had never been paid for.
After returning to the US and after numerous additional and frustrating calls to my credit card company, Dell Customer Service, and Dell Financial Services I was informed by “Jackie” ID # 605659 at Dell Financial that in fact the funds had been posted in October 2004 and that all of the problems should never have occurred. That she would resolve the technical service issue and that Dell Technical would take care of the Inspiron problem…at this point I was furious and asked that a refund be issued for the unit or that it be replaced with another “new” unit. This was denied and almost four (4) months later the unit is still inoperable with nothing from Technical or Warranty support. And keep in mind, that each time I have called Dell and Dell Financial I have re-iterated the continued inoperability of the 8600.
To add insult to injury, I then received a bill for the computer and printer that had been ordered in December and returned. Again, I attempted to resolve the billing issue with numerous telephone calls to Dell Financial and to Dell Customer Service. Each time I was only able to talk with someone in India with poor language skills and an apparent inability to understand the units had been returned. Finally on the February 3 Dell Financial statement a credit was issued for the desktop ($2231.3) but not for the printer ($136.74) and for the “late” charges that had already accrued. Once again numerous calls back to India…meanwhile, I’m back in Iraq making international calls and almost every call was about an hour after the “on holds” and transfers…Each time with a promise from the customer service rep that “the problem will be researched and someone will call you back”…Guess what, no calls.
In early March 2005 (and another bill from Dell Financial with accrued late charges) and after more “numerous India calls” I was issued a credit for $106.00 of the $136.74…it seems Dell had no record of the printer return and would not issue full credit to me via Dell Financial…the India rep said that the “warranty” portion could not be refunded! A total insult especially since at this point I had personally expended almost $2500 in the purchase of a new laptop (to replace a Dell product still under warranty) and the international calls…keep in mind, I’m still in Iraq.
But wait…in early April another letter from Dell Financial and now the outstanding printer bill of $136.74 has grown with accrued late payments and fees and is now $101.66 even after the $106.00 credit ($206.66 for the $134.76 printer)…all for merchandise that was returned to Dell. In the same mail delivery was a notice from Dell Financial’s collection arm, I.C. System, Inc, demanding payment of the $101.66. Again “numerous India calls” to both Dell Financial and Dell Customer support…Dell Financial passed me off to Dell and Dell back to Dell Financial and Dell Financial back to Dell…both committed to “researching the issue” and getting back to me….One week and three days later, I am still waiting for those return calls from a supervisor and still purportedly owing $101.66 for the printer. Meanwhile the $1847.00 Inspiron 8600 (still under warranty and out of service for almost four months) sits inoperative in the corner.
Please pardon the lengthy letter and my apparent cynicism, but needless to say, I am furious and this entire almost laughable comedy is like the proverbial monkey trying to make love to a football…and the football is winning. I am enclosing a check to you for the remaining $30.74 ($136.74- $106.00 = $30.74) and want this to end.
It is terribly sad that both Dell and I have lost more time and money than this entire principled issue is worth…for a company that purports employment of approximately 55,200 team members worldwide and reported revenues of $49.2 billion for the past four quarters, you certainly need to be aware that your “customer service” stinks. If other previously dedicated Dell customers are experiencing the same problems and “the India connection” adventure, I would think your company’s success is soon to be short lived.