Change a couple of particulars, and this sounds a lot like the experience I had with Dell just this past week with a new computer I'd just bought from them. Only my experience was even more aggravating than this: Hanging Up On Dell? Gripes about tech support are on the rise, and the PC king is scrambling to upgrade Business Week 09/30/05 (10/10/05 edition).
It didn't seem as if he was asking for much. When the CD drive on Peter Ulyatt's Dell desktop computer failed this summer, he called the support crew at Dell, where he'd bought the $1,600 machine nine months prior. Armed with an extended warranty that cost him an extra $300, the Pasadena (Calif.) retiree got on the phone and waited. After sitting on hold for 45 minutes, a technician whom Ulyatt could barely understand came on the line and diagnosed a "software problem." Ulyatt's call, transferred to the software technician, was dropped. Calling back, Ulyatt waited on hold another 45 minutes, asked for the software desk, and waited a half-hour more before hanging up. "At the moment, I'm not high on Dell's service," says Ulyatt, who plans to buy two new PCs in a year or so. "When I buy again, I will look at others beyond Dell."
Actually, they saved this guy some frustration for the moment. When I was in that spot and got transferred to the software department, after Lord knows how long on hold, someone came on the line and told me software problems weren't covered by the extended warranty. Never mind that it was a brand new machine and the particular software was yet to work correctly even for the first time.
Dell has a serious problem with their customer service set-up. And my experience in the past, with the previous desktop I bought from them five years ago, had always been good on the service calls. Not last week.
In fact, about the only thing they did right was that the company they contract out installation services to contracted with a local technician who was very helpful. In fact, I had him come back to do another unrelated computer task this week.
But don't even get me started about what happened when I tried to confirm the installation appointment through the Dell service line. I'd have to seriously violate the AOL Terms of Service to adequately describe it.