Well, well, Dell

So Dell is starting a blog.

Ha. Heh. Ho ho ho.

It’s a blog in content management system name only.

The subtitle is “direct conversations with Dell” but this is as much a conversation as yelling at a brick wall. There is not one link there. It’s filled with promotions for Dell’s wonderfulness. The top post today from the global director of e-commerce, Manish Mehta, saying:

It is hard for me to believe that it has been 10 years for www.dell.com.

Yes, I think I spent about 10 years on hold with you guys.

But seriously, folks, the first step in blogging is not writing them but reading them. The conversation is already happening out there without you. Join in that conversation. Dell continues to believe that it can control the conversation. That horse is out of the barn, over the horizon, dead, and buried.

At the same time, the Wall Street Journal reports, Dell is starting a new ad campaign that doesn’t emphasize technology or price but people, giving us sagas of satisfied customers who got the perfect machine.

Oh, damn. I just shorted out my Apple with a spit take.

: I really do hate to be so snarky. I really have no ongoing obsession with Dell. They just make it so easy.

And my poor readers are still obsessed with Dell. Just today, I got this email:

Dell service is the worst experience that one can experience……….We switched to Gateway

I get them almost every day still. And every day, I get four or more comments on months-old posts with more personal horror stories about Dell. A random comment today:

I bought 2 dells and couple of my friends also bought dell. All four of us experienced failure within 2 to 3 months of purchase. It tells me that dell is producing cheap like GM used to do. If dell does not know the price you pay for this, DELL can look at GM

Dell isn’t listening. And listening, once more, is the first step in blogging.

: Here’s Steve Rubel on Dell’s blog.

Perhaps it might have been better for them to have stayed silent. Cmon Dell. We know you’re bigger than this. Join us. Be real. Walk the talk.

  • http://moviemarketingmadness.blogspot.com/ Chris Thilk

    Waiting for you to comment on these issues has been like waiting for Aerosmith to play “Walk This Way”: You know it’s going to happen eventually and, thankfully, you’re not disappointed when it happens.

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  • Gary Lerhaupt

    Disclosure: I used to work at Dell. Snark away, but does this not appear to be a major step in the right direction? And of course its important to acknowledge that some within the company (including formerly myself) have been blogging (albeit infrequently) since 2004 at http://linux.dell.com/blog.

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  • http://www.ditisberry.nl Jaap

    I submitted a slightly critical but very polite comment hours ago. It’s still ‘awaiting moderation’ but I doubt if it will ever be published.

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  • Christopher

    Jeff,
    I just submitted a comment to one of the posts on the dell one2one site regarding the XPS 700. In short, the XPS 700 the new flagship model has been seriously delayed and Dell’s own community forum is rife with speculation and unsatisfied customers venting frustration, so i submitted the following comment to a post on the XPS 700….here’s to hoping for the best:


    Ken,
    Let me first thank you and the other members of the Dell engineering team for chosing a blog as an avenue of communications with your customers, suppliers, peers, and others. I think we all have a pretty good idea of how effective a tool a blog can be…so lets put these feedback loops to work.

    I realize that this may not be the proper forum to vent frustration about the current XPS 700 delay, I’d invite you to post your thoughts on what’s going on with the XPS 700 right now and offer your customers some insight as to why everything seems to be up in the air with the XPS 700. If you take a look at the Dell Community forums right now, specifically the XPS 700 – General Hardware forum, you’ll see a thread about 280 posts long speculating on the causes behind the delay (everything from an aluminum shortage, to Nvidia shortages, to speculation on compatibility with the upcoming ‘Conroe’ processor…and on the list goes)
    I do hope that you’re aware of all of the commentary and not-so-idle speculation going on in the forum, if not, its disheartening to see that such a loud and (admittedly garbled) message isn’t making its way to you.

    I’m patiently awaiting my own XPS 700 and, like others am curious to know about Conroe compatibility (or whether or not i’ll be able to change my order once you make an official announcemnet…) I respect Dell’s priveledge to determine its own marketing and sales strategies, but as a Dell customer of 8 or 9 years now, I must admit I’m growing a little weary of the nebulous and inconsistent responses regarding the delay. As a point of fact, there are 6 different ways for a customer to receive an expected shipping date, and for some customers, all six give different dates…this is worrisome, to say the least. (1. one date in the Confirmation email; 2,3. two different dates on the online tracking site, 4. one date from sales reps, 5 one date from the customer service rep; and 6. a different date from the community forum moderator). “

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  • Karim

    Yes, I think I spent about 10 years on old with you guys.

    Freudian slip? :-)

    Oh, damn. I just shorted out my Apple with a spit take.

    Funny! I’m typing this on an Apple. There’s also a Dell in this room; it belongs to friends of mine. They asked me to fix it because it’s broken… :-)

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  • Schaz

    Sheesh, they’re reading and responding to the comments – that’s how conversations begin. I could understand a wait-and-see attitude (I’ve had crappy service from them too) but this post reads like they’re beneath contempt no matter what they do, which really reduces your credibility more than theirs.

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  • Jack

    How does it compare with Apple’s corporate blog?

  • CHC

    Dell has some serious problems. My laptop (less than 6 months old) has been having a series of hardware problems, culminating in an incessant clicking/popping/static sound that happens even when the volume is fully muted. And no, it has nothing to do with a GSM phone being nearby.

    Here’s what I had to go through today to get customer service:

    - I waited on hold for ~30 minutes
    - I then spent 40 minutes on the phone with an Indian CSR who had trouble speaking and understanding American English
    - He asked me to remove the hard drive
    - Then he asked me to remove the DVD drive
    - Throughout this whole process, I could barely understand what he was trying to instruct me to do, and I’m a fairly technically savvy engineer
    - The sound continued, so he then proceeded to describe how the depot service process worked
    - He asked me for the address that the laptop was sent to
    - I gave it to him
    - He said it was the wrong one
    - He then asked me if there were any other addresses
    - I gave him my new home address
    - He said it was the wrong one
    - I then dug out the old box in which the computer was shipped, checked the UPS label, read to him the Austin Texas Dell address from which it was sent, and then re-read the original address which it was sent to
    - He said it was the wrong one
    - Exasperated, I finally asked him if this was really necessary — he just needed to ship me a return box!
    - He checked with his supervisor and came back and then told me it was ok
    - We then moved onto the next stage — spelling exercises!
    - He asked me to spell my name. I spelled it for him 3 times (C as in Cat, H as in Harold, I as in Ivan….), but he got it wrong three times.
    - We tried again and he finally got it (I thought).
    - We then moved on to my address
    - I spelled “Middlefield” for him twice, but he got it wrong. Finally, on the third try, it worked.
    - I spelled Palo Alto for him three times (again…P as in Peter, A as in Adam….) but he got it wrong all three times. I thought it was right, until he read it back to me (“Alo Pato”).
    - We tried again, and I spelled it a fourth time — finally got it right
    - He then put me on hold for about 5 minutes
    - He came back on the line and asked me if there was an apartment number
    - I said yes, that’s why I said #105 after the street address!
    - He said, “you didn’t say apartment. you have to say apartment”
    - I told him it’s not an apartment, it’s a townhome.
    - He said, “you have to say apartment, or else I don’t know”
    - Exasperated I gave in.
    - Finally he said he’d send me an email with all the information I needed to complete the return
    - He sent me the email
    - My name was misspelled

    I appreciate the desire to save money through offshoring. I’ve studied this issue closely. However, the drive towards offshoring is predicated upon the belief that a 4:1 cost advantage can be realized through lower cost labor. Unfortunately, this interaction (due mostly to the bad accent, difficulty understanding spelling, and the cultural confusion) took 4-5 times as long as it would have with a North America-based service rep.

    Dell products are a bit cheaper, but it’s ultimately not worth it for me if service is going to be this painful. My next purchase is going to be a Mac.

  • http://www.ditisberry.nl Jaap

    Update: there are now 10 comments on un-concreting the cow path. Mine isn’t one of them. Comment 5 to 10, the ones that were published, are all, at least in part, positive:
    - “Nevertheless, I think this blog is a great idea.”
    - “Welcome to the blogosphere :) ”
    - “Like what I see and glad to know Dell has decided to open up”
    - (informative question)
    - “WOW! ”

    I suspect that there are a lot of comments that never get published. Anyone else having this experience?

  • Chris

    Hey Jarvis

    I honestly think you have no life. Honestly? Do you have a life, or do just spend it trying to make Dell miserable. I’ve been working with Dell the past three weeks researching trashy blogs that worms like you leave all over that frigen blogosphere and I cant honestly say that Dell is trying to take a step towards fixing their customer service. They hire guys like me to go on the web and look through the blogs of guys like you in hopes that we can find out your problem and fix it. But honestly I dont think you have a problem Dell can fix. Your problem is you have no life.

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  • http://www.ditisberry.nl Jaap

    … and my comment is published. They’re slow, but it’s seems to be going ok now.

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  • Gayle

    I’ve only recently had the displeasure of experiencing Dell tech support and customer service after my fairly young desktop majorly crashed. Needless to say here, but the support and service (or lack thereof) have been appalling. Several weeks later, my computer’s only semi-functional and I’m quickly realizing the appeal of getting a Mac. As a longtime PC user, I never thought I’d make the switch. Somehow, I don’t think Dell will care much…

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  • http://www.datapoohbah.com/tech/ Datapoohbah

    Oh, yeah, posting that someone is switching form Dell to Gateway. I’m sure that’ll get their attention. Gateway is useless an of no threat to Dell in any way shape or form. Hasn’t been since they stopped using spotted cow like boxes.

    If that user things Dell support is bad, he/she is in for a REAL treat.

    Don’t get me wrong Dell isn’t perfect, and hasn’t been improving for a long time. They’ve promoted too many mediocre prople from within instead of getting people who know what needs to be done.

  • http://buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Jack,
    Fair enough on Apple. But the starting point for discussion is different. My Apple works. My Dell didn’t. This isn’t about blogging. It’s about being a customer with a product that doesn’t work and service that doesn’t help.

    CHC and Gayle,
    Thanks for the reality check. Yes, that’s what this is about.

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  • http://www.daviddalka.com/createvalue David Dalka

    I posted on this but could not find your trackback info.

  • gary J

    I had a Dell Dimension 4100 Series, Service Tag Number FMRG101. I replaced 4 hard drives,in 4 years. I wasted a lot of time with support. I tell them I am a software engineer with 20 plus years of experience, and they say, lets try this , again and again, every time the drive failed. And you guys just replaced the same crappy drive with the same type. Now I tell everyone I know, do not buy DELL. I have a Powerspec from Computer City and a Toshiba now. I am very happy with them.

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  • swissfondue

    This comment is not directly related to your post. It is addressed to the mainly negative comments of people telling their horror stories with Dell computers and support. I’d like to offer a counterpoint to these comments.

    As a former Dell customer (now Apple-only household since 3 years) I had no problems whatsoever with my then top of the line XPS Dell. I bought the Dell in 1998. I later upgraded some of the hardware myself. Even later I ripped almost eveything out of the case, installed a new motherboard, but reused the memory, CD and HD from the Dell without reinstalling any software or reformatting the HD. The hardware salvaged from the original Dell computer still works fine today (my father is using it since 3 years, but will soon buy a Macbook on my advice).

    I’d only recommend Apple today, but if some one insists on wanting a PC, I wouldn’t steer them away from Dell.

  • Keith

    So what does it mean that I left a politely worded but critical comment for one of the Dell blog posts, but it hasn’t appeared yet? I appreciate their right to strike inappropriate comments (it is their property), but are they editorially selecting comments? If so, that’s a bit translucent.

  • Get Over Yourself, Jarvis

    This isn’t about blogging. It’s about being a customer with a product that doesn’t work and service that doesn’t help.

    Funny, I thought this post was supposed to be about Dell blogging. Why don’t you deal with the issues of corporate voice in a topic about blogging. True, Dell’s customer service, not to mention equipment, typically sucks big time. But then again, caveat emptor. I tend to buy quality (non-Apple) brands, and surprise surprise, don’t have hardware problems. (Don’t have software problems either, but then again, I run my Windows machine with firewalls, use Firefox, etc.) But that’s beside the point.

    How can you, in good conscience, encourage companies to speak directly to customers and then beat them about the head and shoulders when they begin. Bloggers weren’t born in a day, and everyone – including corporate types – need to learn how to find a voice. That only happens with practice and time.

    So, lose your hate-on for Dell, Jarvis, and buy a Toshiba, or Lenovo.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Because I expect them to engage their customers on the things that matter to their customers, not just find a way to advertise how wonderful they are.

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  • http://lol lol

    lol coucou DELL

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  • Steve Naidamast

    The last quality machine DELL ever produced was the DELL Dimension 4100 which is still chugging away as my primary workstation at home. Both DELL machines I bought after the 4100 line was discontinued experienced problems; the my 8400 server lost the drive just after 30 boots, my DELL 4300 (I Think), my secondary workstation has a construction glitch which causes as annoying rattle in the case or the power-supply box is flawed.

    My next workstation, I’ll build myself. The extra money for this will be worth the peace of mind…

  • Jack

    > Fair enough on Apple. But the starting point for
    > discussion is different. My Apple works. My Dell
    > didn’t. This isn’t about blogging. It’s about being
    > a customer with a product that doesn’t work and
    > service that doesn’t help.

    Sure, but I seem to have plenty of email from my readers complaining that they’ve had up to four iPods, all of which have broken, and Apple doesn’t want to know.

    One says: “All attampts to have a proper conversation with Apple have been thwarted. They behave robotically and dictatorially and insist there is no one who can deal with the issue.”

    Fact is, both Apple and Dell have many satisfied customers, and many dissatisfied customers. It would be interesting to know which company is actually performing better, over time, relative to the numbers and volumes of products involved, and the types of customers served. (The bulk of Dell’s business is with businesses, not consumers.)

    I’m sure neither company is perfect, and I’m sure both could improve. But I’d expect them to be rather closer than your, erm, oversimplistic approach suggests…. ;-)

  • http://bile.wordpress.com bile

    I’ve never had major issues with Dell computers… but after buying one of their TVs I will never do business with them again. TV is packed with inputs but 80% of the devices I own won’t function on it. Dell has been completely unresponsive to the issue. No ETA… no progress report. No concrete answer to whether they will even fix it. With the W2600 there are major power supply issues and according to some of the support forums, they are taking Dell to small claims court because of it. People have been through 6+ replacements. I’ve started attempting to bring the issue to a larger audience through Digg and set a blog… but it’s slow going unfortuantly. All I want is to be able to play my SNES on my TV like I could on probably every other company’s TV on the market. Any help or advice would be greatly appricated.

  • http://tsw2.brianjb.net Brian

    “Dell service is the worst experience that one can experience……….We switched to Gateway”

    Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

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  • Ex Dell Tech

    Dell support was so crappy even for us techs that were suppose to have a better line in that I just up and quit. I couldn’t look another single customer in the eye and lie to them. Dells phone techs were poorly trained and many times just plain beligerent. The end came when Dell refused to help a customer with a legitimate warranty claim. They didn’t know how to fix it and wouldn’t allow me any more time to troubleshoot the problem. I finally fixed it in spite of them then quit. So long scumbags! I wouldn’t recommend them to my worst enemy.

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  • http://www.evision.com.pk/promotion.html ben

    Dell says:”The older i get the better i was”.I also use dell machinery its compatible.

  • HJ

    Give it a chance. So far, I like it.

  • Fionn
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  • http://astra-design.com/corporate_identity.html Alan

    I think customer service at Dell leaves much more to be desired. But anyway he is doing a great job if to judge by the results of the business.

  • http://www.a1-date.com Alan

    50 million is an impressive figure.

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  • Sintacks

    I guess a lot of you who have “20 years experience” don’t have enough sense to find the right avenue to get service.
    Gary J, you posted your service tag (not too bright). Go here if you want service: https://support.dell.com/support/emailtechsupport/index.aspx?ServiceTag=FMRG101&s=gen&l=en&c=us ****** by doing that you won’t have to talk to a tech who doesn’t speak English, and you get to spell things out yourself. It would seem that someone with 20 years experience might not know this, but Dell has multiple avenues for support. You could say that someone who uses the PHONE to call an Asian outsourcer instead of using the good ole American resources on their website deserves what he gets.

    The point is, if American consumers were smart enough to know how to avoid talking to an outsourced tech, there wouldn’t be any.

    For you other so-called “tech experts” who work for a business -or if you own a business, you already know if you pay for the service you’re going to get it. What about Gold service? Platinum service? Dell provides service for anyone who pays for it. And you know what? If you have so much “tech” experience – why don’t you use that experience and go to Dell’s warranty parts direct website? http://warrantypartsdirect.dell.com/us/Program/index.asp

    Doesn’t any of you tech experts know about Dell’s onsite troubleshooting trees? You get to follow the t/s tree yourself. Do the steps, note the journal ID, (even over the phone) give it to a tech, and guess what? You get your service. No questions, no hassles, no explaining and repeating and complaining. Do you think you’re so smart? You will be. See here: http://support.dell.com/support/troubleshooting.aspx?c=us&cs=&l=en&s=gen

  • http://www.alierra.com/design-pricing.html Dan Price

    It’s marketing…

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  • Helen P. Gray

    I did not want DELL to take over my LIFE. I bought this computer to upgrade from Windows98 whch I was perfectly happy with, but thought I needed to upgrade. It has been, for the most part, a disass-ter. You took away my Google home page and stuck YOURS in place of it. I don’t like it that I no longer can pull up my current local newspsper, and today when I tried to pull up OBITS, I got a news article dated August something…about my son, an attorney who has dropped a high-profile case. That’s NOT current news! Today is November 26. WAKE UP and get me back to where I was before Dell came along. (I donated my old computer to a good cause. Should have given them this one.) HPG

  • Douglas Willett

    Dell is the biggest rip-off and offers the worst service that I have experienced in almost 70 years of living! You would have to pay me a fairly large amount of money before I would allow a dell into my home. Without presenting the horrible details and describing the hours wasted, let me briefly describe my experience. First, the CD-drive quit. Two months of wrangling, $199 later and after my computer had been shipped to them and returned untouched (their shipper does not exist in my area!!), dell shipped me a replacement drive which I had to instal myself. By then I had learned (not from Dell) that installment was no more than unplugging the defective one and plugging the new one in, which retails from non-dell sources for about $69. Just before shipping the computer to them, the monitor went dark. We asked someone at dell to investigate this problem, but obviously noone did. Several phone calls gave us the information that $299 up front was required and the computer had to be shipped back to them. I started to set up the repair, but then declined because of complications involving shipment. This was all in the same phone call to the same person. Two weeks later my bank statement indicated $299 withdrawn by Dell. Somewhere between 4 and 6 hours of phone calls later, I got someone at Dell to say that they would return the money. Still it took another 2 weeks and more phone calls to get the $299. With all the fine computers and service available today, I don’t understand why anyone would deal with Dell. DW

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  • You’ve Done What Dell Wanted…

    You have done exactly what Dell wants and become a major source of promotion of their new blog and operational philosophy. I’d say Dell is quite a bit smarter than all of those railing against them….

  • James

    Let me clue you in to the sum of my experiences and my dealings with Dell tech support and customer care. First let me tell you that with multiple Dell units deployed and an initial outlay of funds already spent. I am vested in Dell and it would cost me money to go somewhere else. But that does not mean that I have to take “NO” for an answer. Over the years I have drawn the conclusion that it is me myself that is the best support option for my Dell hardware. So with this in mind I have been known to keep exter parts around. Hard drives, floppy drives, memory, monitors. Having an exter older unit around on the shelf to rotate with a broke unit is a good idea. I also grab all the cds and lock them up. When I call into Dell I have learned their script and usually have rotated my exter parts in and out beforehand. And I tell them that I have already placed a known good part in its place and it worked. I used to spend hours on the phone before I did these things. Now even when I go to India I can usually convenience them in less than ten minutes by following this procedure. Occasionally I do get a person whom will make me jump through at least one hoop. “It still could be this” is how they start that sentence. But even those people are convenience in a short time when you have replaced the part with a known good one. Also I choose the time that I call during the day to the afternoon I seem to get better service. It was explained to me that there is an overlap in the support centers in the afternoon. Because of the time differences between the many support centers overseas and in this country. It is around 6:00 my time that the overlap must be settled because I always end up in India for support. Also I always end up in India on the weekends so I put it off till Monday. They never show up for service anyway till Tuesday so calling Monday is no big deal. Also Dell does not fix the hardware they sell. I have Unisys and NCR show up on my units and the service tag determines which one will show to fix it. No dell employee has ever shown up at my business ever. Dell has gotten better in the last couple of years in at least trying to resolve my conflicts with the service providers I have noticed. Also they have made real strides when I have escalated to them about bad parts being sent, and providers being late and not calling. I have been escalated to their Resolution Expert Center a number of times now. And have been very satisfied with the results. There is one rep there in particular by the name of Jeff Scully that I always hope for when I go to the REC. But they must be training the techs better because I have not had to go to the REC in a number of calls this year. So the point being to these comments is that you get out of it what you put into it. I lose money when one of my employees is down and unproductive. But I save money by laying the ground work and anticipating what I will be asked to do by Dell. So knowledge is power when dealing with Dell. And self reliance is the most important trait to exhibit when running a business using Dell. Patience and professionalism does not hurt either. And pulling the REC card out of your hat does not hurt either!

  • http://Dell.com Nadine

    I belive that the way Dell is conducting its business is rediculous. This company posts different deals on the web for murchandase they do not have in stock and/or the once that have been discontinued from the production. That is exactly what has happened to my purchace. First my order was delaied for uncertain amount of time, then I was informed that monitor that I have chosen is no longer available. When I asked to provide me with monitor of a different size (bigger, not smaller of cource) and next day delivery after waiting another 2-3 weeks, Mr Alston, who is a manager of small business department at Dell, refused to do it for the same price. I do not mind to pay money for good quality and service, unfortunately Dell do not measure up to one or the other.
    I would like to worn everyone who is planning to purchase from Dell to seriously consider doing business with other companies.

  • http://Nonerightnow Donna R

    Well, my gripe is with their customer service… my account got “blocked” and no one I mean no one will or can tell me why… or fix it. Funny I have nerly 3,000 in credit… owe 106.00 only… but can’t use it… can’t make on–line payments… and I was told I would have to use another way of paying for the cam corder I wanted to purchase for my daughter! Wellllll, I promise I will NOT buy it from Dell… nor will I purchase another Dell product… me alone… that won’t hurt them… but if enough “me’s” join rank… it WILL hurt!
    I hope at least one person gets to read this.
    Thank you
    Donna Ryan
    I am worried that I have a Dell computer and a printer…. will just have to bite the bullet and hope they last a while. I never could get my wire-less printer to work “wire-lessly”…. :-) Oh well…
    Have a wonderful day…..

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  • http://www.skisnowtoys.com tee

    in this manner, i dont mind if dell is in another issue here. just stay out of it okay?

  • http://www.ilove2slim.com/ ??????????????

    Top post. I look forward to reading more. Thank you for sharing.

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  • jre

    Remarkably, at an age roughly that of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Web years, this post is now the subject of another: http://the-editor.uphero.com/2012/05/03/pronouns-have-to-refer-to-something/

  • Dave R.

    I want to file a comp;aint against MyTechGurus . I was led to believe that they were representing Dell when my new computer went down. I tried to stop the transaction but was unable to. My tech Gurus promised me a refund of $188.00 on Nov.11th. I still havent recieved the refund. I have been on line with them but no result. They did not fix my computer and would not release controll of the computer unless I gave them a CC number. I finally reached Dell and they interviened. This company is a rip-off. And I want everyone to know about them.

  • Pat

    I just had a great time with Dells techincal support Gurus. What a joke, a bunch of liars and thieves. I was lucky enough to get my money back but they used my Mom’s computer to download files and the day after I got my money returned her computer crashed. Convient huh. They tried to scam $100 out of me for support for my computer and My Mothers? Why would anyone get support for someone elses computer? Spent hours on my Tracfone went through my whole month’s calls and all I got was lies and my computer not fixed. Who ever this idiot is who goes around trying to make out like Dell gives a damn about anything should try to talk to these Indians or whatever they call themselves, you can’t understand them at all. If you are an American why can’t they have English speaking people for their tech support? The reason is they don;t give a damn. I will never by a Dell computer and will spread the word to all I know.