Customers’ revenge

: I got a great hoot out of this: My Dell Hell saga is now the subject of a white paper by three UK PR, marketing, and monitoring firms. It’s a PDF, even.

I’m not sure I understand their methodology but they profess to find a new measure for an “issue influence index” and they say that Buzzmachine is influential in impressions of Dell customer support. They say that through their calculations regarding searches on Dell customer service…

a) Jeff Jarvis’s Buzzmachine is the key online source for those who have a negative perception of Dell’s customer service;

b) Its influence is enhanced by support from a closely allied group of bloggers;

c) Dell’s own influence on the topic of its poor customer service is weak; …

e) Taken all in all, Jeff Jarvis’s Buzzmachine is the eleventh most influential voice on Dell’s customer service in general….

That’s a lot of fun, but I don’t buy it. I don’t think I influenced a thing. I do think that I happened to be a magnet for an apparently unlimited number of unhappy and frustrated Dell customers who were already there with lots of pent-up anger (and the parade doesn’t end; I still get emails and comments and links from Dell victims every day, though there’s really nothing I can do for them).

I was merely a leading indicator of the problems that had built up in Dell’s customer base with its unreliable products and unsatisfying service. I could have put my story out there and no one could have responded. Instead, hundreds responded. When you saw that, folks, you should have sold your Dell stock. Fast.

: See also Thomas Hawk’s story of his complaints against a New York camera story that mushroomed with stories online — some of which referred to my Dell Hell — and attacks against the store’s site and phones, apparently by fellow bloggers. Hawk doesn’t endorse that. Neither do I. Nonetheless, every customer-facing service and brand has to learn: We have more friends than you do.

: And while we’re on the topic of pissed off consumers getting their revenge… Nick Denton launches his newest blog, Consumerist, for shoppers with bad attitudes. It…

…hates paying for shoddy products, inhumane customer support, and half-assed service….

The Consumerist will highlight the persistent, shameless boners of modern consumerism — and the latest hot deals, discounts, and freebies around.

Join us. You’ll tell us when you’ve been royally screwed by yet another company, and we’ll channel your rage. Together we will storm the revolving doors of faceless corporations to call them naughty words for genitals, and they will begin to fear us.

The Consumerist. Capitalism is broken. We’ll help you fix it.

: LATER: When you click on this link, you will see how it is a perfect circle, jerk.

  • Timo

    Oh great, I was just about to order a Dell laptop, right in the next browser tab.

    Now what? IBM screwed me on my last machine as well… It’s got a nice tinnitus-like beeping noise as soon as Skype is open. “Works as designed”, they tell me.

    Oh, and let’s not forget the broken audio ports. They sent me a piece of plastic with three holes in it to repair it.

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  • I really wonder about your opinion and problems with dell. I’am from Germany, and Dell is one of the most expensive computer onlinestores here.

    I’ve not purchased any Dell product yet, but I’am looking forward to the Dell XPS series which meet my interest of power for work and also, as they label it, power as a game machine.
    It’s very interesting to read about the problems in the USA and Dell. It would be of interest to compare the both countries within the Dell service and the problems you’re faced.

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  • Anne

    Jeff, you did influence me. My daughter has been wanting a laptop and my husband’s co-workers (all IT guys) were pushing Dell as the best bet. I refused to buy Dell after reading about your (and other people’s) problems.

  • All of this personal anecdotal extrapolation doesn’t mean a hill of beans – even if current technology facilitates collective whining.

    Dell will sell over $55 billion in “unreliable products and unsatisfying service” next year.

    If Dell wasn’t listening to its customers it would be something else by now, say Commodore, Wang, or Digital.

    This whole:

    BECAUSE (of my personal experience)….THEN (insert sweeping generalization)…..

    is borne of self-entitled ignorance and is a retardent to intelligent dialogue and progress.

    Let me give an example.

    BECAUSE every jurassic newspaper consuming baby boomer I know thinks this way…….THEN I posit that the boomer demographic is nothing but a self-absorbed blight on society and our political process.

    To disagree with that would be to deny me my personal experience!!!

  • TRACKBACK: Weblogs koennen dem Unternehmensimage schaden

    Nach einer Studie der drei britischen Kommunikationsfirmen Market Sentinel, Onalytica und Immediate Future PR koennen kritische Blogs durchaus zu einem Problem für das Firmen-Image werden. Am Beispiel des Blogs BuzzMachine von Jeff Jarvis, der sich auf den Computerkonzern Dell eingeschossen hat, belegen sie diese Meinung. Die komplette Studie gibt es hier als PDF zum Download.

  • You may be right that you are not the primary influencer that these studies jabber about, and that the issue is really the broad disaffection of Dell customers. On the other hand, such disaffection is always more effective (or anyway, more interesting) when it’s organized – and especially when it’s self-organized. You seem to be the mote around which the crystal formed. Don’t dismiss it too quickly – it makes a difference.

    Another likely factor is that these studies were done by PR and marketing people. These people, in the majority of cases (though there exist happy exceptions), have never done anything to make a product better in their lives, and their job functions train them to value appearance over substance. No study they do will come up with the answer, “Wow, Dell’s service really sucks. They should fix that.” They want a centralized and external phenomenon that they can get a handle on, and preferably one they can turn toward their own ends. Whether their study is crap or not, the answer they created probably met their psychological and occupational needs.

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  • Timo

    I ordered my Dell today anyway – they outsourced their German support to Eastern Europe – and I got lucky and got a friendly guy, who helped me out, even gave me an 5% discount and called back to clarify some problems with my credit cards.

    A friend tells me that the service quality got a broader range through this move – it took him weeks to get a next-day-service guy to appear at his door – with wrong supplies, of course. I got the same years ago with a Dell, now with an IBM.

    Let’s see how this new one behaves.

    Maybe thats the price Dell pays for doing this – didnt some financial news agency pull back from Eastern Europe back to Germany a few days ago?

  • Congrats. I, as well, am not a fan of Dell. Finally someone is speaking out, and something happened.

    Thank you.

    Matthew Gerlach

  • I just found out about all of this through The Consumerist. I purchased a Dell desktop a year ago and haven’t had problems, but I do know people who have had mixed success with their laptops. Similar to Apple’s iPod, I think a company like Dell gets a free pass from the mainstream when problems arise in their product so long as they’re still the chief supplier.

    As for influencing the mainstream, that’s the kind of power everyone hopes to achieve. Perhaps it’s best to downplay it when (if?) it does happen, so as to avoid becoming a lightning rod or a pariah. But regardless of the negative connotations associated with using a personal experience as a baseline reference for a company’s performance, I have a feeling a good majority of free thinkers will consider someone’s firsthand account more reliable than a company’s PR materials… or a company’s corporate-funded blog.

  • Greyson Fauchard

    I’m not sure if I’m surprised or not – I bought a Dell laptop 4 years ago, and it’s been a great machine for me. It played all the games I wanted it to (until it was too obsolete – only 1 GHz?), I’ve spent plenty of time playing games, video editing, downloading stuff, word processing, desktop publishing and surfing the web, travelling back and forth between two continents. Granted, I haven’t had any service call troubles, but then, well, I haven’t need any service calls. Although now, after four years and a beating my previous (homebuilt) desktop couldn’t withstand, my computer is beginning to breath it’s last.

    I guess it could just be luck of the draw – so many negative comments clearly mean something’s wrong, and does make me wonder if I got a computer from a “better time” or if I just simply lucked out.

    Will I buy another and see what’s what? I’m not sure – I’ve recently moved to Japan, and the prices from Dell’s Japan site are almost double what they are in the States. Yipes. And I thought electronics were supposed to be cheap here.

    Bottom line, as a person whose budget requires him to favor the cheaper products and gamble on the quality, Dell didn’t disappoint the first time. Should I back what it – in my experience – a good thing, or should I try something new and equally cheap (or cheaper) that I have no experience with?

  • I lost faith in Dell after they fired that dude in their commercials for smoking pot. That defined them as uncool.

  • Charles

    At the end of March 2005, i’ve bought a Dell Precision 670. It was the fastest Workstation (when it work). The first time i receive the computer, Dell made a mistake on my name. My name is Charles and the computer was shipped to Richard… try to get a box at Purolator with the wrong name… Good Luck!

    So, a week past before they made the modification. When i receive the computer, i start working with and it was slow. I knew it was slow because the previous computer i had was a Compaq W8000 and this one was faster than the Dell 670. So i called Dell to mention this information and they said it was the hard drive. So they told me to send back the computer. 2 weeks after i received a brand new one, WOW!

    Few months later, the hard drive failed …again. So i called Dell again so they send me a new drive.

    A month ago, i stop the computer and try to restart it but nothing happen. I can just heard a little click and the computer doesn’t boot up. The only thing i can see is the power light flashing Yellow. So i called Dell …again to tell the problem i have. They said it was the power supply. So right now i am waiting to receive a new power supply. But i don’t think the problem it’s the power supply, i think it’s the Motherboard. But Dell Super tech. said it was the power supply.

    Last week, my hard drive (The drive they’ve changed twice) stop working …again. So i called Dell again for a new drive. When i received the drive, i’ve opened the box and i saw “refurbish” What the fu… they send me refurbished drive and the computer as not passed yet the first year of warranty! What a company!

    Good job Dell!!!!

    I had and i have right now bad experiences with Dell servers, workstations and desktops.

    That was the first time i bought Dell and this will be the last time for me.

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  • Drake Ross

    DELL Inc.

    December 10, 2005

    I had previously believed that Dell was a quality company, however my recent experience has left me realizing that it is suffering major customer service problems and its stock price will likely be affected eventually.

    The quality of the computers it sells is as important as its ability and desire to service its customers properly.

    My experience in what should have been a routine order is as follows:

    I created an order on-line on December 3rd, but called to get some advice on a couple of issues. Before calling my “cart” already reflected an instant $50 rebate as well as a $50 mail-in rebate, free shipping and a free monitor upgrade.

    When speaking with the salesperson (Mark Lewis at extension 7134430), he enticed me to apply for credit with Dell Financial Services (DFS) and said that if I was approved, it would result in another $50 discount on my order. I did not want to buy it on credit, but decided to do so based on the $50 additional discount that he promised. I was approved, and the order was completed.

    When I checked back via phone a day or so later, I was told that there was no additional $50 credit available, and that the original $50 (which was there before I even spoke with Mark about Dell Financial Services) was the Dell Financial Services Credit. I made about eight more calls, before someone at DFS told someone at Dell Customer Care, to apply an additional $50 discount to the order. However, when I checked back a couple of days later, this had not been done.

    I therefore called Mark’s manager (Michael Cooper, Jr. at extension 7137957) and after about four conversations with him, he agreed to reduce my order by $75, due to all the trouble I encountered so far. However, when I called back to verify that he had done so, I was told that this $75 had not been applied to my account. I therefore started the calling process again, leaving messages for Michael Cooper, but he did not return my calls.

    I eventually spoke with a person (per him, his name is John Williams) who said that he was on the phone with me days earlier and that he was the employee who was told by the person at DFS to provide a $50 discount. However, he had not done so and could not explain why he had not. In this current conversation, he said that he would apply the $50 discount, but that it would take three days for it to show on my account.

    He said that he could not trust customers since they often lie and say that they were offered discounts that they were not actually offered. However, it is unethical at best, and illegal at worst to simply not provide a discount because one feels that a customer may have lied. An employee should research each situation first, and based this, either grant the discount or deny it, not simply deny it out-of-hand because they feel someone may be lying.

    In addition, when Mark ran my credit to apply for the DFS financing, he badly misspelled my name and address. This resulted in erroneous data on my credit report, which I obtained after this transaction. In fact, these errors were reflected on the Shipping and Billing addresses and I had to make about six calls just to have this fixed.

    Even after all of this, the e-mail that I received from Dell has my name spelled wrong.

    I will likely have to dispute the entire amount under the Fair Credit Billing Act. I will then determine if there are enough other customers that would be willing to provide documentation in order that a class be certified to initiate a class-action against Dell for false and deceptive sales practices and various federal credit violations.

    Drake Ross

  • Sherwin

    I have read about this blogging website from multiple tech sites. Never thought I will post here. Well, I started to use Dell machines in 1996, at that time it seems to me Dell had extremely good quality (yeah, good old days). The Dimension with Pentium Pro CPU (Have you ever heard of it? I am showing my age here. :) runs rock solid. I have to say I loved Dell then. In 2001, I ordered a Dell Inspiron laptop. Well it is OK but feels a lot more “plastic”, which made me wonder of the build quality. Time comes to 2005, I helped a friend ordering a Dell XPS system, top of the line with 24″ LCD monitor. You would expect the machine with THAT price tag comes with good quality and acceptable customer service, right?


    First of all, my friend changed mind and wanted to switch to a 20″ monitor (he saw an 26″ LCD in store and the size scared him :). Now this is about 3 days after we put the order through via web. I called the customer service, the guy told me that he could not do anything because the system had already been shipped. Wow, talking about the Dell speed, eh? The online shipping status remained “under manufacturing” for another week and the computer did not deliver until a week and half later. “It has already been shipped”???!!!

    To make it worse, the credit card bill showed that Dell charged the whole amount TWICE on the same day and cancelled one of them FIFTEEN days later. Because the price tag of the machine, the credit card company charged over limit fee.

    Before we got chance to overcome the dissapointment, the computer finally arrived. Come out of the box, the XPS, the Dell PC “built for superb power and style”, has a curved side panel and a white plastic string sticks out from the huge gap between the front and side panels. The gap is so significant that nobody could miss it. I wonder how did it pass the QC checkpoint at Dell’s assembly line??? (well, if there is one)

    Now I have to admit that the phrase of “Dell Hell” is not just funny, it is real, at least to me.

    PS. Dell’s customer service line is not available now, the recorded voice told me that they will be open during “regular business hours”.

  • Mike Burks

    Bought a Dell Dimension 4700 for Christmas of 2004. Since I got it I have had to replace the hard drive once and have had three LCD monitors fail. The last one lasted three weeks. It was refurbished. It came with a slip of paper that said “Quick Test” under which was checked “No Fault Found”. I don’t think they looked very hard.

  • Here is one of many pending lawsuits re: Dell, Dell Financial Services (DFS), CIT Bank, et. al.

    Dell Computer and Finance Service Customers Sue Dell Computer and Finance Service for False Advertising, Bait-and-Switch Scheme
    The world’s largest seller of personal computers is using high-tech advertising, bait-and-switch marketing and false claims of low-cost financing to lure and victimize California purchasers of Dell Computers and products, customers charge in a suit filed against the company and its financial partners.

    Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP filed a class action suit in Superior Court for San Francisco County Feb. 14, on behalf of two named Dell customers and others who are victims of the giant global company and its lending service.

    Besides Dell Inc., the suit names Dell Financial Services L.P. (DFS) and CIT Bank. DFS is jointly owned by Dell Inc. and CIT Bank and is promoted by Dell to finance purchases of Dell products, often at high interest rates and with false claims, the suit alleges.

    view the complaint

    If you purchased a Dell Computer or other Dell products or services between Feb. 14, 2001 and today, or dealt with Dell Financial Services or CIT Bank for the purchase of Dell products or services, you may qualify to be part of this lawsuit. Contact Shana E. Scarlett at (415) 288-4545, or via e-mail at

    The lawsuit says that Dell Inc. controls all of its manufacturing, marketing, advertising and sales orders and that it deliberately advertises computers and other electronic products at attractive low prices and then systematically substitutes higher-priced products or lower quality equipment for those it advertised to customers, or increases the purchase price without notice to buyers, whom it admits often are unsophisticated. Dell also unilaterally cancels orders when it decides not to honor advertised deals.

    Unlike most products, Dell equipment and services are sold exclusively by telephone and through Dell’s Internet Web site, and Dell customers view only pictures of the products prior to sale – never the product itself. In 2004 Dell spent $300 million advertising its products on TV, in newspapers and catalogues and on the Internet. That same year Dell shipped 5.4 million personal computers in the United States and generated $6 billion in revenue from U.S. consumers.

    The complaint alleges that Dell preys on unsuspecting consumers with its financing practices, as well, promoting low rates and “easy” financing which, without notice to the customer, are changed to include much higher interest rates and hidden charges.

    The suit charges Dell, DFS and CIT with violating California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) by false advertising and bait-and-switch practices; fraud and deceit in its sales and advertising representations; breach of contract by unilaterally modifying terms and conditions of sales and financing; violating the California Business and Professions Code by knowingly distributing false and misleading information; violating the Unruh Act with unlawful retail installment contracts; engaging in deceptive practices in its financing programs; and entering into unlawful contracts and charging excessive finance charges.

    Lerach Coughlin filed a complex case motion seeking to have the case assigned to the complex division of the state court. â– 

  • DJ

    It’s unfortunate that people can only afford computers made in sweat shops; majority of the workers are only children.


    To think that with just a couple extra IQ points, someone could purchase a very nice customized case, followed by a high quality power supply – add some RAM, a Mobo, a couple HD’s, etc… not to mention the lack of being “branded”.

    Just because this company makes billions of dollars doesn’t signify the quality of it’s service/products, it merely reflects the convienance, pricing, and initial ease of use; at the expense of violating humans’ rights. This is forced upon poverty stricken children… and us, who chose to ignore unethical actions.

  • Jim

    Just want to add my 2 cents. I went through the hours of maddness with Dell and Dell Financial. I somehow ended up with a loan that I didn’t want or ask for, and had a hell of a time getting it straightened out. Sent them the money for full payment but they continued to bill for various charges.

    I’m talking about an incredible unnecessary waste of time getting involved with Dell.

  • Jenny WAllace

    Dell wrote off someone else’s bad debt account on my credit report. When I called them to report it, they agreed that the account in question on my credit report was not mine, however, they insisted there was nothing they could do about it and that it was soley the fault of the credit reporting bureau. It took two months and a lot of threats to get it removed. Dell finally removed it.

  • Willmark

    Dell will sell over $55 billion in “unreliable products and unsatisfying service” next year.

    I find this most amusing. Here’s why: Please explain to me how selling a massive amount of crappy computers and having crappy service equates to being the best?

    Seems to me they simply toke a whole lot of people for a ride… with crappy products that’s how,

  • I don’t generally have a problem with the dell machines – I prefer them for most purposes, having 6 servers and a number of laptops and desktops running in my company.

    It’s dell financial services.

    If ever there was a more poorly run organization, I surely don’t want to run into it. If there is anything that would make me look at another computer, the treatment that I have received over my last two server purchases is it.

    Server #1: We bought this machine, and sent a check to DFS. DFS posted the check into a closed account, loct record of payment, and started billing us plus penalty and interest. Copies of the cancelled check did not impress them. A year and a half later, we finally got it straightened out.

    Server #2: DFS must have remembered us, and decided to get even – they changed our billing addresses and did not send a bill for the new machine. I do owe the money, no problem, but honestly I can barely remember to send in my rent check without a bill. For 9 months, DFS did not call or send e-mail. Their bill collector was able to find us in no time at all however, and the computer did in fact arrive at our correct address. DFS claims to responsibility in this at all. And in fact DFS now claims that they are unable to correct the address on the account. Or return phone calls.

  • Rick

    Customer service – they have no concept of what that could possibly be. I spent an hour being transfered to 9 different departments and then got cut off. None of the departments were the right one. People that act like or ARE computers. Absoulely the worst service I may have ever experienced. They have lost another customer!!

  • Leaving a response for Drake Ross re: your post on December 10, 2005. I also am looking for other Dell-shafted customers regarding a class-action suit. I was wondering if you had found a law firm and have filed suit or are still in the process of doing so. If you are still looking for others to join in a class-action suit I would be interested. Please let me know. Cheri

  • Jane Mauerhofer

    I sent this letter to Dell/Switzerland and never got an answer

    Lettre signature
    À l’attn de la direction
    Route de l’Aéroport 29
    1215 Genève 15

    St-Blaise, le 18 décembre 2005

    Concerne: Service après-vente de la maison Dell


    Mesdames, Messieurs,

    Veuillez trouver ci-joint la lettre que j’ai envoyée (par e-mail) au Service technique de la maison Dell il y a une semaine ainsi que les réponses qu’elle a générées. Après avoir lu mon message du 9 décembre vous saurez de quoi il s’agit.

    Suite à ce que j’ai annoncé dans mon e-mail du 9 décembre, j’ai, dans une première étape, envoyé une copie des deux documents mentionné ci-dessus ainsi que de la présente lettre à la Fondation suisse pour la protection des consommateurs, avec un mail d’accompagnement dont vous trouvez une copie dans les annexes.

    Notre fille est étudiante à l’université et doit absolument avoir accès à internet. L’université fait ses communications aux étudiants par internet et son personnel les fait par e-mail. Il est donc impératif que notre fille ait accès à internet.

    Depuis des semaines je demande à la maison Dell de faire son devoir, c’est-à-dire, de réparer (ou d’échanger si une réparation n’est pas possible) l’Inspiron 6000 de notre fille qui semble être défectueux. Je précise que l’Inspiron 6000 de notre fille est encore sous garantie. Il a été acheté au mois de juin de cette année par mon mari.

    Après lecture de mon e-mail du 13 décembre vous constaterez que le problème ne semble pas être au niveau de la configuration, ni au niveau de la wlan carte. Il y a peut-être quelque chose comme un problème de contact à l’intérieur du laptop de notre fille.

    Je vous prie de prendre contact avec moi, soit par e-mail, soit par téléphone (voir mon e-mail du 9 décembre) dans les plus brefs délais.

    Veuillez croire, Mesdames, Messieurs, à l’assurance de ma considération respectueuse.

    Movoever I sent this e-mail


    Betreff: Dell customer services
    Gesendet: Sat, 28 Jan 2006 22:22:04 +0100

    Dear Sirs,

    It’s a shame how Dell Switzerland treats its customers!

    Moreover the employees of Dell have no education at all.

    I sent a registered letter to the General Direction of Dell/Switzerland in
    Geneva and never got an answer from them, these people even ignore the elementary
    rules of civility, they do not even seem to know that one answers a letter
    one got.

    I have clearly told them that the Inspiron 6000 they sold us is defective,
    that we have no access to internet on it although the modem has been configurated
    correctly (on the PC on the fix net and on the Inspiron 9300 we get internet
    and the Inspiron 9300 has got the same wlancard as the Inspiron 6000.)

    I have also informed them that it’s certainly not the wlancard which is defective,
    for I have also tried to get inernet with a stick from Trendnet (we have
    the Trendnet rooter TEW 435 BRM) and it didn’t work ither.

    The DVD lector too does not work. It is not able to read the DVDs.

    To make sure that I will have witnesses who can testify that I have informed
    Dell about the defective Inspiron 6000 when it was still under warranty,
    have sent a copy of the e-mails I sent to Dell/Switzerland as well as a copy
    of the registered letter to the Swiss Office for the Protection of Consumers
    in Berne. I have informed the General Direction of Dell/Sitzerland about
    this but nevertheless Mr. Hunziker & Co do not find it necessary to have
    our Inspiron 6000 repaired, replaced or to pay back the money.

    Moreover I told Mr. Hunziker & Co that my next step will be to inform several
    Swiss papers which publish information for consumers (see my letter in the
    attachment). It’s what I will do next, this so much the more as the paper
    “Bon a savoir” has just published an article about the very bad customer
    services of Dell/Switzerland (cf.

    I inform you that, for as long as our Inspiron 6000 has not been repaired
    completely or replaced by an Inspiron 6000 which has no defect or for as
    long as we did not get back the money we paid for, I will put on yll my e-mails,
    to all my relatives, friends and customers the signature you find on the
    bottom of this message.

    Now I am waiting for your answer. I hope you are less illbred them Mr Christian
    Hunziker & Co at the General Direction of Dell/Switzerland.



    Mefiez-vous de la maison Dell, elle ne respecte pas les conditions du contrat
    de vente, les articles defectueux qu’elle vend ne sont ni repares, ni echanges,
    ni rembourses.
    Be careful, don’t buy at Dell’s. Dell doesn’t observe the warranty and doesn’t
    repair or replace the defective article it sold you and does not pay you
    the money back either.
    Haende weg von der Firma Dell. Sie respektiert die Bedingungen des Verkaufsvertrages
    nicht. Defekt gelieferte Artikel werden weder repariert, noch ersetzt oder


    I never got any answser.

    In all the e-mails I send and to whom ever it may be, I now put the signature you can read above, in the three languages, of course, so that it can been read by as many people as possible!

    The Swiss journal “Bon a savoir” has published the following article


    Bras de fer avec Dell

    Souhaitant acquérir un ordinateur pour ses besoins familiaux, Olivier Lamy, un lecteur de Bon à Savoir s’est engagé bien malgré lui dans un bras de fer avec Dell. Gagnant mais usé, il renonce à porter le cas devant les tribunaux.

    Spécialisée dans la vente d’ordinateurs en ligne, la marque Dell fait régulièrement couler de l’encre. Des clients déçus du service après-vente ne manquent d’ailleurs pas d’adresser leur mécontentement à notre rédaction ou versent leur témoignage sur les nombreux chats internet. Parmi eux, le cas de notre lecteur, Olivier Lamy, qui démontre que la ténacité est parfois payante.

    Déceptions répétées

    En octobre 2003, ce lausannois commande sur l’internet un ordinateur pour ses besoins familiaux. Avec l’équipement standard et une assurance garantissant une réparation sur site ou un retour en usine dans les 24 heures en cas de problème, le tout lui revient à 4266 francs, TVA comprise. Mais, passé les premières joies, la famille Lamy déchante:
    > Le graveur n’a jamais fonctionné: «Il nous a fallu six mois pour que la maison Dell accepte de le changer».
    > La carte graphique fait des siennes: «A peine rentré d’usine, notre ordinateur doit y retourner pour le remplacement de la carte graphique».
    > Nombreux bugs: «Dès les premiers jours, des messages d’erreur nous signalent d’appeler le vendeur de la machine. Ces bugs n’ont jamais été réparés, même après deux séjours en usine».
    > Accès internet aléatoire: «Après la consultation d’une ou deux pages internet, la navigation se bloque malgré l’utilisation d’un antivirus et sa mise à jour régulière».

    Guerre des nerfs

    Olivier Lamy reconnaît que des problèmes peuvent survenir lors de l’installation d’un nouvel ordinateur, qui plus est par un utilisateur amateur. Il se décrit d’ailleurs lui-même comme «étant un utilisateur moyen qui n’est pas assis chaque jour derrière son ordinateur privé». Mais une succession d’échanges plus ou moins fructueux avec différents interlocuteurs de chez Dell conduit notre lecteur à douter surtout du sérieux du service après-vente de la marque, auquel il reproche de jouer avec les nerfs des clients. Jugez plutôt:
    > Demandes par mail: «Malgré une succession d’échecs, on nous refuse de nous envoyer un technicien ou de reprendre la machine pour réparation en usine».
    > Hotline du service technique: «On nous propose de refaire ce qui nous a déjà été proposé par mail, en nous disant que les personnes qui nous ont répondu précédemment n’étaient pas compétentes. On nous refuse toujours le technicien à domicile ou la reprise en usine de l’ordinateur».
    > Recours au service clients: «Conscient de notre courroux, ce service nous oriente à nouveau vers le service technique qui nous communique les mêmes conseils, toujours aussi inutiles».
    > Téléphone à la centrale genevoise: «Après environ 45 minutes d’attente, on nous demande une fois de plus de nous adresser au service technique…»
    > Deux courriers postaux, dont une lettre signature: «Nous n’obtenons aucune réponse!»
    > Promesses non tenues: «Les rendez-vous téléphoniques ou promesses de téléphone de la maison Dell ne sont, la plupart du temps, pas tenus».
    Excédé mais combatif, Olivier Lamy n’accepte pas la fatalité et exige le remboursement de son ordinateur. Or, les conditions générales de vente et de services de la marque l’excluent clairement (art.7): «Si la réparation ou la livraison de remplacement échouent, vous êtes en droit d’exiger une indemnité pour la moins-value effective de la chose (réduction du prix), mais pas la résolution du contrat de vente (résiliation), à moins que la moins-value effective n’atteigne le montant du prix de vente».

    Remboursement obtenu

    En fin de compte, notre lecteur obtient le remboursement complet de son installation. Est-ce à dire que l’entreprise reconnaît des erreurs? «En aucun cas!», s’insurge Christian Hunziker, directeur marketing de la marque. «Il s’agit là d’un geste exclusivement commercial, accordé à titre exceptionnel. Nous occuper de M. Lamy nous coûte trop cher et n’aboutira à rien car, contrairement à nos autres clients, il est insistant et ne fait rien pour entretenir son appareil qui est fortement infecté par des virus et des vers». Certes, mais son insistance a fini par être payante!
    Soulagé de voir le bout d’une procédure de 18 mois et ravi de se savoir débarrassé de son ordinateur, Olivier Lamy ne veut pas porter l’affaire devant les tribunaux. Compte tenu du dommage causé par la perte de données personnelles, notre lecteur aurait toutefois pu demander réparation (dommages et intérêts, selon les art. 97ss du Code des obligations). «Mais, dit-il, je me sens usé et excédé par l’attitude de Dell. Je ne veux tout simplement plus en entendre parler…»
    Son cas ne fera pas école, mais sa ténacité aura néanmoins été récompensée!


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  • Aaron- No thanks DUDE

    I have 3 dell computers, 1- XPS 1- 8400 and 1- Inspiron notebook
    The XPS is horrible..I could list the problems but there is not enough time.
    Lets say 3 months after I recieved it I finally could use it, though it crashes constantly which I so far have resolved this problem. Sound card never worked and finally gave up on it (DELL did NOTHING to replace or fix any of my problems) not only did I spend $1700 on an XPS I had dumped around another $300 repairing it into working order. The 8400 was the same but not as bad, but still $1500 for the 2nd computer I should not have the problems I have had.. The laptop proved to the least reliable of all and I do not use it at all. I could not bear the idea of selling any of these to somone else , unlike Dell I would feel terrible to pawn off these machines on anyone.

    What is sad some time ago (maybe 8 or 9 years ago) I purchased a 5400 Deminsion and had no problem with it and was happy with the machine. Something has happened to Dell since they have grown and seem to have made drastic changes to quality and support in order to increase profits.

    To sum it up Stay Away from Dell computers.
    1st- Paying thousand’s of dollars for a computer, it should work fine or at least I should have the opprotunity to mess it up, I certainly did not pay Dell to mess it up for me or so I thought.
    2nd- Customer service (this is where Dell is in TROUBLE) It is bad enough to spend weeks listening to dozens of Dell Tech Support Employees read from a script about the same problem without any results.(And I am gonna say this since everyone tiptoes around the issue) But to not understand the support technician because of a language barier is not only a bad business practice but also produces no resolution of my problem.
    If the two of us cannot understand each others language than there is no way we are going to resolve any problems. (dell may save money on customer support but for myself it will cost them money for this is the #1 reason I will NOT by another Dell, beside the fact of the technical issues which would be my #2 reason for NOT buying a Dell EVER again.

    It is funny to read Dell press releases and they talk about an ever tight market for home computers and increase cost and the economy, They never sit down and admit they messed up sold crap and saved money on customer support in order to pad thier wallets. If they would go back to the way they used to do business and prduce quality machines and a support team that customers can appreciate they may turn themselves around.
    Until then:
    I would not have any advice on another brand but my next computer I will put together myself, The way I see it I would have to figure it out for myself any way. And I would caution anyone thinking of purchasing a Dell.

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