Dell schmell

Well, I was getting all huggy with Dell — until I see that Michael Dell took a swipe at me at CES. He held a session with bloggers there and Dwight Silverman reports:

Michael Dell says he was “very aware” of blog guru Jeff Jarvis’ crusade against his computer company over poor customer service when it was going on, and now concedes that the way it was handled at the time was a mistake.

Dell’s mea culpa came today during a meeting with bloggers, Dell customers and journalists in a conference room at the Hilton Hotel next door to the Las Vegas Convention Center, where CES is under way.

The conversation included a wide range of topics, from Dell’s blogging initiatives to its Alienware acquisition to business strategies. But the focus kept coming back to issues of customer service, and Dell’s stumbles in that area.

Dell seemed earnest about wanting to be responsive to what people are saying online about his company, and said he now spends “quite a bit” of time reading blogs.

I asked Dell if he knew about Jarvis’ jihad — which has since been dubbed “Dell Hell” — when it was going on in mid-2005, and he said, “Oh, yes.” I asked if he was involved in the decision internally not to respond to Jarvis publicly, and he didn’t answer directly.

But Dell did say that, while his company could have handled it better, steps were taken behind the scene to satisfy Jarvis.

“At various stages, we went to great lengths to resolve the situation,” Dell said. “At points, it seemed like he wasn’t interested in a resolution. But I am not going to place all the blame on him. I’d say we deserve a majority of the blame.”

He later said the company wanted to turn the phrase “Dell Hell” into “Dell Help.”

Since then, Dell has dramatically increased its outreach to bloggers, and he said the company would soon expand its Studio Dell — a service unveiled today in which its managers blog about their initiatives — to include Dell’s own customers, turning it into a kind of PC-enthusiasts’ YouTube.

I made it clear that my problem with Dell was solved with a refund, which came as a result of email to a since-departed vice-president and a call from an assistant, not from blogging. There was nothing whatsover “behind the scenes;” I wrote about any and all contact with Dell, which was minimal. And let’s also be clear that the real issue in the end was not me or my computer but was Dell’s treatment of its customers and relationship to those who blogged about the company and their experience — and, ultimately, the impact of customer service on the finances of the company.

As I’ve said, I see an impressive change in the attitude of Dell toward its customers from the bottom. I wonder still about the top.

: Oh, and though I have not said much of anything about Dell in quite a long time, to this day, I still get almost daily comments and emails from people telling their own tales.

  • Heh… Tell me about it. I still get e-mails about AOL :-)

  • Jeff:

    The good news is that we are holding forums and hearing what is working and not working from our customer’s perspective. This will continue.

    We appreciate your position here. You are right that the real issue was Dell’s treatment toward its customers. That needed to be improved, and still does. Though we have began making improvements, no question there’s still a ways to go. And regardless of how much progress we make, we should always strive to be better.

    Also at issue was, as you say, our relationship to those who blogged about Dell and their experiences with us. We’ve changed our previous attitude significantly, and we’ve made some good progress. We hope to continue that progress through efforts our blog outreach team, through our own blog, StudioDell and other social media initiatives we’ll offer later this year. These initiatives aren’t simply cosmetic fixes—they require the efforts of many people at Dell to work. I can assure you that all our digital media initiatives have support at the highest levels of the company, including Michael and Kevin.

    We’ll continue our efforts to improve how we support and interact with all our customers however they choose to contact us, and we’ll continue to do it with as much honesty and transparency as possible. Appreciate your candor and we look forward to ideas you may have for us in the future on how we can continue to improve.

  • Jesus, Lionel… Did you read the post at all?

    Jeff was annoyed that Michael Dell took some cheapshots at him in a speech to bloggers and his point was that he has seen a change at the bottom and wonders if there’s ever going to be one at the top.

    What in the hell does the rest of your PR press release have to do with that?

  • echy


    I took the “behind the scenes” comment to mean something internal to Dell. In any event it sounds like Michael Dell is still pissed at you.

  • Buddy

    When the Dell phone rep told me the call was being recorded, I told her that it was OK as long as I could record it as well. She refused and disconnected. My wife spent 3 1/2 hours on the phone this morning & got nowhere with the Idiots from Dell.

  • Guy Love

    Back in the 90’s I used to recommend Dell to all my friends and colleagues. But then they began making computers with nonstandard BIOS, proprietary parts, and outsourced their customer support to India. They did this all in the name of profit and tight margins and a desire to force customers to be locked in to a Dell upgrade path.

    I now tell my friends and colleagues to avoid Dell. Dell self-destructed because they got greedy and decided to squeeze every dime out of their product vs. giving the customer a good experience. Only after getting whacked and losing market share do they begin to rethink their strategy.

  • Pam Smith

    I purchased three Dell computers within the last three months. Two were Christmas presents for my two sons. When my son received his he decided he wanted to upgrade to a better processor.

    I contacted Dell for a return. I had spent 1154.17 on the computer and I expected there would be some return fees. I expected that it may be $100 to $150. Boy, was I wrong. My son had to return ALL three pkgs even though he only wanted to upgrade (and pay for the upgrade) the tower. Oh, and the three pieces had to be returned to THREE different addresses just so two of them could be shipped right back to him. (We finally decided to return everything and purchase elsewhere because we were so disgusted with Dell).

    However, my son did end up spending $40 in return shipping, and Dell refunded me only $837.00. I had him return everything and buy his next unit from The people at Dell had NO customer service skills. They were condescending and obnoxious. I wouldn’t recommend this company to anyone!

    I’ll buy another Dell when Dell freezes over

  • Pam and Guy-

    I am sorry your experience with us wasn’t the best, and wanted to follow up with both of you, but I need to be able to contact you directly. We have numerous initiatives underway to improve things, and as part of these processes is the drive to learn as much as we can from our customers to help guide those improvements.

    Towards that end, and to also see if there is any assistance I could provide you, could you please get in contact with me? You can reach me at . As this is a team mailbox, please reference Buzzmachine and my name (John) in the subject line so we can make sure it gets routed to me. I should be able to respond within 24 hours.

    I am looking forward to hearing from you!

    Dell Customer Advocate

  • I am an IT analyst for a small but bleeding edge co. in WI.
    We are looking at different vendors for 80-100 laptops when Vista ships.
    We are waiting to roll out Office 2007 and Sharepoint 2007 until we can buy a bunch of Vista laptops.
    I ordered a new system for personal use from Dell.
    I ordered a $3000 system and an extra adapter and a seperate antivirus program from another computer, and am given 3 shipping dates over the next week.
    No worries.
    I call the next morning to make a change, and figured it would be no problem because the notebook was scheduled to ship on 1/30.
    After being bounced around for an hour, told ‘so sorry’ and ‘just 2 minutes’ 137 times in a heavy Indian accent.
    I was disconnected after asking to speak with a manager, so I called back.
    After 1 hour I was able to make the change, but the guy wrote up another order and cancelled my first order, no doubt to nab the commission.
    My bank didn’t like the second $3000 charge in a day and refused it.
    I called again and after 45 minutes and 3 different Indian support personnel, was able to get the previous approval for the first computer moved to the second computer.
    I called back again later to add another battery, and all hell broke loose.
    ‘Can I know your address?’
    ‘Can I know your order number?’
    ‘Can I know your phone number?’
    I calmly explained what I wanted added to my order and I was told my shipping date and what shipping I had chosen.
    I repeated myself, and was asked ‘Can I know your order number?’
    Again, I stated the upgrade I wanted, and again I was told my shipping date and my order date.
    I asked to be transferred, and we started over again.
    He would not transfer me.
    ‘So sorry’
    ‘Just 2 minutes sir’
    ‘So sorry for your inconvenience’
    ‘2 more minutes sir’
    Same thing.
    Finally I get him to transfer me, and as the next guy says hi, the line goes dead.
    I call again, and sit for OVER AN HOUR on hold, until I reach someone and calmly ask to cancel my order.
    ‘Can I know your order number?’
    ‘Can I know your phone number?’
    FINALLY, I am transferred to ‘Lou’ in Panama.
    This wonderful woman quietly sat and listened to my entire tale and asked if she could attempt to keep my business.
    After 1/2 hour with Lou I had the machine I wanted with free shipping and a free OS upgrade.
    The charges have not been sorted out yet, so we shall see if this is real or more of Dell’s BS.
    I have been shopping Dell since the early 90s, and even have a second cousin who works in R&D or something there, but my sales force will be getting Lenovo T60s when Vista rolls out, because I refuse to support a company who tortures those who built it on a daily basis.


    Dell has had my computer for 3 weeks and i still do not have it fixed. They are claiming that the cracked LCD screen on my brand new laptop computer is not covered under warranty even though a half dozen tech reps have told me that there are defects in the LCDs that can make them extremely fragile. I have been lied to by managers, promised call backs from managers with no calls, cust. srvc reps, tech support reps, you name it. This company is a JOKE as well is their tech and customer support. Nobody knows what anyone else is doing. I have been on the phone for 8 1/2 hours over the past 2 days and have talked to 11 different people including 3 managers (or reps posing as ) and nobody will do anything to resolve the issue, even though a week ago a manager by the name of Mark Pardis in their tech support department approved the repairs to be made under warranty at no cost to me, but I still get calls every day trying to collect $495 for the LCD that is supposed to be covered under warranty. They do not stand behind their piece of crap computers. I will find Mike Dell and I will make sure he is involved in the repair or the refund of my computer. Anyone that can give me information as to how and what I need to do or how I can get in touch with these losers and get something done please email me. Thanks You!

  • Ed Lucas

    I bought an XPS 700 2 months ago after going down multiple times and having to reload the operating sytem 4 times it finally came to the point that I couldn’t even boot from the CD drive. Dell support finally agreed to send me a new computer. The Indian represenative commented several times how this was going to be much better, which is true since it runs. However the components in this were less than my initial system. I have bought 3 Dell computers and several 24 and a 30 inch monitor in the past which worked fine. Just remember their price is good unless you have a problem. I had the top service contract and this is what happened.

  • Charles


    If you at DELL are serious about making your company #1 again, you need to customer service to USA and empower them to make customers happy.n the end customers are the ones with the money and they made rich when you had good service.

  • I had a recent bought with Dell’s outsourced India Email and Call Center. I did blog about it and the problem did get resolved 24 times faster from than from trying to go through the proper channels. Blogging has great power and Michael Dell does react and respond to blogs very quickly. Blogging helps cut through the Bureaucratic red tape. My issue did get resolved and it would not have gotten resolved to benefit me if I had not blogged about it. If I had not said a word on the net, I would have eventually received a partial refund but it would of come up short compared to time spent trying to resolved the problem and added shipping costs. After dealing with Michaels best Executive Care people from blogging. They contacted me right away. The problem got resolved quickly, professionally and I was extremely satisfied with the results. While I cannot say in public what Dell did to resolve my problem, I came out much better than dealing with India. It was worth it for me to speak up.

    I just hope Michael Dell can learn from the Customer input that we provide and can fix its problems with Customer Service. Outsourcing needs to be elliminated. Customer Care needs to be a number one priority.



  • Joe

    My wife and I have just gone through what I have now, to my regret, come to learn is a typical Dell experience. My wife already has a Dell inspiron 700m, and she has never had a problem with it, so when it came time for me to purchase a new laptop, we bought a fully loaded Inspiron 1705 with free Vista Upgrade.

    The laptop arrived on time, 10 days ago. I was surprised and dismayed to see they had preinstalled Vista. I expected it to come with XP, and planned to do the Vista upgrade in 6 months or so, after the Vista bugs were worked out. Still, figured no big deal. I tried my wi-fi. So far so good.

    The next day, decided to install McAfee virus protection/firewall replacing the Norton that came preinstalled with a 30 day trial. Uninstalled Norton, installed McAfee — and a message came up saying the computer was incompatible with the McAfee firewall. Figured this was a Vista bug, and rather than drive myself crazy trying to make it work, I’d just uninstall the McAfee and purchase a year of Norton.

    Unfortunately, as I tried to uninstall McAfee, the computer crashed. I restarted it, it crashed again. I called customer support, spoke to service rep “Vincent” in India. (Take it as a given that every call from here on out consists of short bouts of talking to someone followed by long and numerous bouts of being on-hold.) After about 2 hours and several tries with various methods, we got Vista reinstalled —

    — but the programs that came preinstalled on the computer were missing. “Vincent” said he’d check on how I could get my programs back and call me back in an hour. In the meantime I tried my wi-fi — but it no longer worked. Wouldn’t let me sign on to my own network. I decided to watch a DVD until “Vincent” called back — but the DVD player froze!

    After about two hours, with no call from Vincent, I called back, got “Sean” in India. Explained the problems. He tried to fix it too, but finally admitted he couldn’t. Either this was a hardware problem, or the reps weren’t up to speed on fixing Vista problems. But after putting in 5 hours between “Vincent” and “Sean” I asked if we could just exchange the computer. “Sean” asked his supervisor, but told me his supervisor said that it was possible, but he’d have to ask a higher level supervisor and I’d hear back at 8:00 p.m. the next day. About an hour after that “Vincent” called back (it was almost 1:00 a.m. local time). “Vincent” didn’t have an answer about what to do with the missing software, so I told him it was okay, I had moved on to dealing with “Sean,” who would call me the next day.

    The next day, no one called. And I finally did the due dilligence I should have done before buying from Dell and learned that Dell had been losing market share due to poor customer service. And now I’m kicking myself for only researching Dell’s machines and not their record on customer service.

    The day after that I called Dell again and spoke to Mayank in India, who, clearly sticking to his script, insisted I had to go through a reinstallation again. I told him I had no more time to put into this, that his two colleagues had done everything they could, that “Sean” knew they couldn’t fix it on the phone and that “Sean’s” supervisor knew I wanted to exchange the computer. He looked at the record and said that I was turned down for an exchange and that I’d have to reinstall Vista with him. I asked for a supervisor. He told me he could not get me a supervisor unless I reinstalled Vista with him first. I insisted. Mayank wasn’t happy but he agreed to get me a supervisor … and the line went dead.

    I called back, spoke to Shaheen, briefly explained why I wanted a supervisor. She got me to her supervisor “Sam,” who said they probably wouldn’t authorize an exchange because the computer was too new (what, they only exchange OLD computers?), then patronizingly explained that in his several years as a supervisor he’s only ever heard of “five to seven” faulty machines (Right!) and that he’d try to do something but that I’d have to “work with [him] to come up with a solution that worked for [him] as well as for [me].” Apparently, getting a working version of the computer I already paid for was going to take a negotiation, give and take on both sides. And to think, when I started this process I’d naively assumed that I was a valued customer, the kind who is “always right.”

    When I insisted that I wanted an exchange, “Sam” said he would pass my case on to “Dell Senior Management” and that I’d hear back in no more than 3 business days. I asked if “Senior Management” were the people who could authorize an exchange. He said yes. Great.

    3 business days (five days total) pass and no call.

    My wife calls AmEx to complain and they open an investigation and agree that we don’t have to pay them for the computer for thirty days while they investigate.

    We wait two more days and still no word from Dell. And I realize that since we have no invoice we have no idea what the invoice date is and for all we know, the 21 day return window is in two days. My wife goes on-line and tries live chat — but the system is down. She is told to try again in an hour. She does and we get the invoice date. We’re lucky. We still have a week to get the problem solved before we are stuck paying a restocking fee. I e-mail “Shaheen” back at the last e-mail address we were given and ask for an update. No response.

    Finally, today, my wife calls back. It’s been 8 days since we spoke to “Sam.” This time we get “Michael.” He looks up our case and tells us our case was decided, and he is surprised no one told us. The verdict — no exchange for us. However, we can RETURN the computer and because it’s been fewer than 21 days, no restocking fee will be charged. But, to add injury to insult, we have to pay shipping to return Dell’s faulty machine to them. Oh, and he tells me they value me as a customer, have a nice day.

    I know Dell makes quality machines. I’ve read Friedman’s The World is Flat and I know about their phenomenal supply chain system of building and shipping computers. I assume I got either a rare lemon — the freezing DVD player and the no longer working wi-fi — or Vista is either not really compatible with the machine, is still buggy, or the techs aren’t completely up to speed on how to repair/reinstall Vista. And MOST of the people we spoke to were polite and professional. But why on Earth would such a company cultivate/tolerate such a poor level of customer service? And how do they get away with making their customers take the risk on return shipping, even if the system they purchased was faulty and/or unable to be repaired by customer service?

    There are smart people in charge of the company. People who crunch numbers all day. It seems somebody did the math and figured out they make more money ticking off a large percentage of customers who call for service than they would if they offered a painless way to get problems fixed. I’ve now read about their “new, more transparent customer service” but apparently the people we were dealing with haven’t. Wish I’d known of this blog BEFORE I got into this mess.

    Learn from my mistakes. Understand that you may be saving a few hundred up front, and you may get a great machine — but be prepared to spend a great many hours dealing with customer service headaches and be prepared to spend your own money to send it back. Actually, now that I say that, I live in California, and we have some of the most liberal consumer protection laws in the nation. I’m suprised there isn’t some sort of law covering this sort of thing.

    Also, insist on getting an invoice up-front, then write down the invoice date (which is often several days before you receive the machine) and makr the day 21 days from then and KEEP TRACK. Don’t let customer service stall you with “we’ll call you back in a few days” — the longer they stall you, the better the odds that you will miss your return window.

    We are dropping the computer at UPS tomorrow. And next week, I’ll be buying a computer from Costco. Not sure what brand, yet, and I know I will spend a few hundred more to get a comparable machine to what I ordered, but knowing that if there is a problem I can take it back in six months, no questions asked is going to be SO worth it.

  • Dude

    Its time for Michael Dell to shut down the company (Dell) and return the money to the shareholders.

    “What would I do? I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders,” Michael Dell said before a crowd of several thousand IT executives.

  • SB

    I recently called Dell and I had a terrible time with their automated system. When I finally got someone on the phone they didn’t seem to care.

    Then I posted my frustration on my blog and 2 days later I got a comment from them. Which was kind… odd but kind. When I checked the stats on my site I found that they had been visiting that same entry for 2 days many times.

    So I have posted another entry and I will update you on the results.

  • Cindy

    I just purchased a new Dell Dimension E521 that came with Vista Home Premium. Fifteen minutes after setting it up and turning it on, some automatic updates took place and told me to restart the computer. When I did, the computer would not restart. I had a blank screen infront of me. This has happened almost every other day for the past 3 weeks of owning this computer. I have spent hours on Dell chat, and lastnight over 2 hours on the phone with a tech after an hour of typing in online chat. Midnight and he was still trying to figure out how to boot up my system. He advised me that I would probably have to reformat and reinstall Vista. I had just transferred all my files from my old computer to the new one, pictures and music and I was about to lose everything. I told him I no longer wanted a Dell computer with Vista because Dell uses sound cards and video cards which only partially work with Vista. My system crashes, I lose sound every 15 min or so.
    The techs continually ask if I have the CD/DVD for Vista. Duh??? Don’t they know that don’t ship the OS System cd with their computers? When asked if i could have the cd shipped to me they said yes, but then I was disconnected from the chat line because the tech had me install another driver which crashed my computer. Amazingly you are never able to connect with the same person you just spent 2 hours with and have to start all over again from the beginning with a new tech. Total frustration.
    I was finally told lastnight at 12:30am the tech Uriza would call me tonight between the hours of 5 and 7 pm est. It is now 10 pm and my phone has not rang. Therefore, my problems are not solved ( nor will they ever be as long as Vista is running on this new Dell) and I was left hanging with a computer I can’t use. I managed for the 10th time to do a system restore and get the computer to boot up normally. I will not install any upgrades because I don’t plan on turning this computer off until someone contacts me. I sent another email to dell support tonight telling them I never rec’d my phone call and that I do not want this computer any longer. I want another one with the same 2 gig of memory and upgraded processor I paid for, and with XP not Vista installed.

    This is the third Dell I have bought in 2 years. I have never had problems like this before. Support has always been very helpful (they still are but they haven’t a clue what to do with the problems Vista is causing). If Dell continues to sell their product with hardware that is not compatible with Vista they are going to lose their customers quick. Microsoft knows of these issues, Dell knows of these issues, yet they still are selling Vista and pushing the upgrades. My only benefit was the 20 inch monitor and I’m hoping that Vista doesn’t destroy the video on that too. I used my Dell account to purchase this computer, until I have a computer that works the way Dells advertising says it will, I will not pay another penny on my account. Almost 1300.00 on a system that sits on my desk doing nothing. My old Dell Dimension 3000 with 512k of memory ran faster and more effeciently then this new “State of the Art” Dell computer does.
    How sad is that?

  • Cindy

    I received my phone call from the Dell tech lastnight. A day late…and he left a message leaving his email address for me to contact him if the issues haven’t been resolved. Sad part is I couldn’t understand a damn word he said so now I have no clue how to contact him to tell him NO..none of the issues have been resolved. This means once again, I have to start from the beginning with a new tech. Does it ever end?
    I’m assuming when Dell doesn’t get anymore money from me they might look into my problem a little closer and finally do something about it. I’ve now sent out my third email to tech support with no replies. Am I surprised? Not at all…as I said, I won’t pay another penny for something that doesn’t work. Does anyone know where you can get a cheap copy of XP? I’m learning more on these blogs and forums then the Dell techs know. Maybe they should start reading them more often :)

  • Jackie

    Hi Cindy,

    I am writing from Dell’s Corporate Headquarters in Texas. I have read your blog and would like to speak to you about your comments. Can you please send an email to, attention Jackie.

    Thank you,

    Dell Customer Advocate

  • Cindy

    I have sent you an email. I’m not quite sure how to take your response, wanting to discuss my comments as opposed to discussing my problem. I am glad however that someone from Dell is watching this blog. Hopefully this will be resolved and quickly. Dell has a forum, have you ever taken the time to read comments from the unhappy customers who post there (I am one of them)? When I purchased my laptop last year and my other desktop the year before I never saw these negative comments about Dell. What has happened??? I am in no way prejudice, but having tech support people that you can’t understand is way out of line. Dell has settled for “cheaper” as opposed to “quality” like the company had a few years ago. In this case the “You get what you pay for” doesn’t hold true. I’m afraid we paid much more then what this computer is really worth. I’ve never looked at Dell to be a culprit of false advertising. After this experience, that sure has changed my opinion. Will wait to hear from you. By the way, if that 21 day window is still in effect for having to pay shipping costs you can knock off 15 of those days I spent periodically waiting for someone to respond to me and still not resolving my problem.

  • Robert and Karen

    Following is our opinion of our experience with Dell and Dell’s product. We purchased a Dell because we thought it was a good computer with an excellent warranty that would be honored.

    Our problem started in May, 2006. After months of unresolved technical and customer support, $100’s of dollars in trac phone minutes(we don’t have access to high speed where we live), hangs ups, no follow up, technicians you can’t understand because of their accent, etc., we were finally issued a new computer when they determined that the problem was the motherboard.

    As of February, 2006 we have a new computer and are experiencing many issues. We have started over with technical support, customer service, and managers in an attempt to resolve these issues. Our experience is mirroring our expereince from the previous computer only we feel that this situation has escalated to a new level of incompetence. Our experience with Dell has included inept technicians and customer service personnel that hung up on us without a resolution, we have to call for a new tech and start all over because you can never reach the same technician. Problems are never resolved because nobody returns the promised return phone call. We have been disconnected during online chats in which problems were supposedly being fixed but weren’t, trac phone minutes since Febraury 2nd has run us approximately $300.00. Dell’s tech support just stopped working with us and have left us with a shell of the computer we once had. I don’t feel that all of the issues we have experienced with the Dell technicians are all their fault, but Dell does need to restructure the way they service their home customers.

    We have requested a refund but was told that due to the depreciation of the computer we would only receive a partial refund. They further stated that the depreciation is at 65%. We have requested a member from the executive team to call us. We were assured they would call us on March 25. When we didn’t hear from them we called back and were informed that a memo had been posted that they were scheduled to call us to discuss a possible resolution on March 28. We provided four phone numbers to insure they reached us yet they could only find two numbers. We have requested to talk with someone in upper management who could make a decision, but was told they were not able to provide us with names or phone numbers.

    It appears that our only recourse is to trust that the executive team management will get back with us. We would be happy if a technician could come to our home and fix this computer. Personally, it is my opinion that a full refund for this computer as well as a refund for the trac phone minutes is the only fair resolution. However, we would settle for another computer.

    Many of our comments seem redundant, yet we have worked all night on this computer numerous times, been hung up on so frequently we could not begin to provide a count, promises of return calls that never happened, and many of the same issues that others have posted. This has been going on for months. I really hope that somebody from Dell who is fair and has a high level of integrity reads this posting and will help us to resolve our issue.

    Tired and frustrated in Michigan but will continue to address this issue until a fair resolution has been reached.

    Robert and Karen

  • Cindy

    Robert and Karen,
    May I make a suggestion that you email Jackie (see previous post from Jackie to myself above) As you know, I had the same issues as you. After emailing Jackie I was connected to a Dell tech in Texas who spoke english! I gave him remote access to my computer and he got things running again for me. So far my problems have gone away…except for losing sound on and off and I have come to the conclusion that its a problem with the website not my sound card. I now have this techs personal phone number and extension in Texas and if I ever have a question or problem I can call him directly (which I have done once, and he returned my call within 10 minutes). I’m not sure how you paid for your computer, I opened a Dell account. Therefore I have the upper hand because if Dell had given me the run around any further…I would stop payment on my account until my issues were resolved. Dell is well aware of their customers frustrations with the technical help from India and abroad. The techs work from a script and in my opinion have less knowledge then I do! I don’t know what your actual problems are with your computer, but doing searches on google for the problems your having brings up hundreds of hits that you can read…and many of them have ways to fix the problems on your own.

    I have been a Dell customer for a long time. I have never experienced the difficulties with support before as I did this time around. It’s obvious Dell has made changes to the way support is now handled. Needless to say they are changes for the worse..not better. This is resulting in a great loss of customers. We are not alone, I have friends going through the same thing with HP and Gateway now. Non english speaking techs who can’t resolve any issues their confronted with. It makes you wonder what the qualifications are to become a computer technician. As far as I can see, all you need to do is be able to read a trouble shooting guide and copy and paste answers from it. Sad, but true. At this point, my experience with my Dell computer and tech support qualifys me to become a Dell tech.

    I hope this will help, I’m alittle reluctant to post my email but if you would like to post yours, I would be happy to email you and give you the phone number of the Texas based support that I have received. They know what their doing as opposed to the techs you get when you call the support line.
    So far I am very satisfied with my computer, but you can rest assure the minute I experience another problem I’ll be on the phone again. I still have 325 days to go before my warrenty runs out. Also, I don’t know if you bought the extended warrenty (I didn’t) but there are computer stores in different areas that service Dell computers under warrenty. You might be able to find out if there is one in your area and take your computer in to them. Demand what you can, and don’t give up. This is one time where the customer is always right. Spending money on a computer is expensive, and it had better live up to it’s reputation or else…..

  • Hello to everyone. I tried to post this little excursion to Dell’s Blog, they rejected it. They did contact me. And I do appreciate it. But I still believe others should have the story to help them with their purchase decision of Dell systems. On this particular order, I had priced everyone. HP, Lenovo, Gateway and others. Gateway was actually less than Dell at first. (Strange). But in the long run, Dell ended up doing all kinds of things to keep my business. (I was promised a lot of extras with Dell, and most of them they have kept, thankfully.) We pretty much had a 50/50 Dell/Gateway network.

    I really had planned on getting Gateways because of their service. Wow, I can take care of 5-6 problems/systems with one phone call, and be done in 5 min (including hold time) with an American! (That is standard support with business. You don’t have to buy the Gold support.) They are amazing. I am really kicking myself now after this order by not choosing Gateway. What killed Gateway on this order was mainly Windows Vista licensing. Dell was offering it free (through this non-express upgrade) and Gateway was actually pricing it out (Really low, not free). Unfortunately, Gateway’s over cost by just ~$3,960 was enough to be rejected. Now, I would gladly pay the extra to have the software, and not have to fight just to submit the order for the Upgrade. Here is the Journey. Enjoy. I will try to add a few of the contacts between me and Dell after I sent this. (my comments to them will be preceded by ***)


    Ok, This is insane! I have wasted 60 hrs at least either on the phone, being transferred, or being hung-up on.
    1. Calvert ISD purchased 60 Brand New Dells with the “Express Dell Upgrade”.
    2. After 3 months, my sales rep finally sends me the link to upgrade my systems.
    3. I have the list of Service Tags that I purchased.
    4. I enter the first service tag, and continue.
    7. 1 Week later…. I go to the website, yes, it is working now. LOL!
    9. The site is now asking for the COA (OF 60 COMPUTERS!!! OF COURSE DELL HAS RECORD OF THE COA)
    10. So I call Dell 1-800-456-3355 x724.7716
    , My sales rep (Roel Zambrano) is quiet and puts me on hold a couple of times. Tells me to call Microsoft, they have the information on file and can handle the order.
    11. I finally get in touch with the Microsoft licensing department. They say that only Dell will have record of the systems COA placed on the systems. DEAD END.
    12. I dig around and find a really old scanner (wand type), I unboxed 60 Dell sealed computers, in storage, to scan the COA number and prepare to start entering the systems.
    13. Ok, we are a state agency. We are not taxed. And we usually only use POs to order items. It is wanting a credit card!! Yay, just what I need.
    14. After a lengthy approval process, finally I am allowed to use the school’s credit card to purchase the licensing.
    15. NEXT DAY! Log into site: I enter the service tag.. WOW!! I WILL HAVE TO ENTER ALL THIS INFORMATION? FOR 60 COMPUTERS?
    16. I CALL MY HANDY DANDY REP. He informs me that there is no way to enter them all at once and get it over with. One at a time, 4-5 pages of entry.
    17. I notice the phone number at the bottom of the website, and decide to call them. 1-866-634-7426. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! NO RING OR BUSY SIGNAL. NADDA! I TRY COUNTLESS TIMES TO NO AVAIL.
    18. I download Google toolbar, and use their handy auto form filling. I enter all the data and wala! Got to love Google, everything pops in the form. Even after a warning about the credit card, it pops in.
    19. ERROR~ ENTER YOU PHONE NUMBER IN NUMBER ONLY FORMAT. Rats, Google will not enter a number only phone number. They put the dashes in for you, and you cannot change it. (I tried editing the application data file).
    20. After 4-5 hours of entering in the data and CHECKING THE TAX FREE BOX, it is time to go home.
    21. Now it is Feb 21st. I am hoping other companies that ordered many more systems are having the same issue and want help.
    22. I call 1-866-634-7426. IT ACTUALLY RINGS!! after questions about French and English and a TON OF STATIC, I am put on hold. This is the absolute worst hold recording ever… SSHHHHHTTTTT…… SSSSHHHHHTTTT….CRACKLE….. Be prepared to be surprised by the excessive static!!!!!
    23. A woman answers. I tell her I would like to Express Upgrade 60 computers. AFTER SHE ASKS ME REPEATEDLY TO REPEAT MYSELF. SIR…SIR…HELLO? I have no Idea where this outsourced group is, but it must be the Congo! After we SHOUT AT EACHOTHER FOR 15 MIN, She TELLS ME SHE CANNOT HELP ME AND gives me another number: 1-800-388-2785 Dell Volume Licensing.
    24. I dial and have to hit a few numbers. On hold….. “HAHA..” The guy with volume licensing actually laughs! Hold on a min, I will transfer you to Customer Service.
    25. Two tones…. More hold music.. I get a guy in Customer service. He is listening to his iPod so loud, I have a hard time hearing him. I think he was actually in America, but by his accent, has only been here for a month. I tell him my problem, SIR CAN I GET AN ORDER # FROM YOU?….I give him my order number…VERY LONG PAUSE 2min+….LOUD ROCK? MUSIC IN THE BACKGROUND…OK, SIR CAN YOU TELL ME YOUR PROBLEM? (Hmm, didn’t I just tell him my problem?…) So, I tell him my problem again… SIR PLEASE HOLD, I WILL TRANSFER YOU TO THE CORRECT DEPT..(and then really fast)…thank u or call ell, mumble.. mumble.. mumble..
    26. Ok, I hear the two tones…. More hold music (elevator style1, easy listening)….and more hold music(elevator w/ads from dell, more pop style)…. “WE ARE SORRY, THE NUMBER YOU HAVE CALLED IS NOT AVAILIBLE, PLEASE TRY YOUR CALL AGAIN. GOOD-BYE.”
    27. Did I call a number? Hmm… I have to wake myself… I look at the phone, I have an urge to smash the phone with a spare Dell 3448P Switch.
    28. So I take a few deep breaths.. and call 1-866-634-7426. Again, French Press 1 (wouldn’t you want to say this in French? I ponder who designed this poor system)…Press 2 for Spanish (Hmm I chuckle to myself)..LONG WAIT….SSSSSHHHHHHTTTTTT…. PPPPOPPPPPP…CRACKLE….
    29. I finally get another guy from Congo. I am sure these guys are using cups and string to communicate. WE START THE SHOUTING MATCH AGAIN….CAN I SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER?…SIR…SIR…HELLO?..Finally he gets the point…and puts me on the SAHS “Stay Awake Hold System”. After another 15 min. THE MANAGER IS NOT AVAILIBLE RIGHT NOW..(of course, he is picking bananas for everybody’s lunch.. I should have known). CAN I HELP YOU SIR?…LONG SHOUTING MATCH/EXPLINATION…yes I told him the phone number I had called..800-388-2785..SIR…CAN I GIVE YOU THE CORRECT PHONE NUMBER? 800-388-2785…THEY CAN ASSIST YOU…
    30. Wow…That was fun! Did I just give him that number..? Ok, I try it again. I get a guy in Oklahoma. Nice kid. He tells me that all the Volume Licensing Staff received an e-mail stating “Customer Service Staff has been trained to take Express Upgrade orders in quantity.” He tells me they received the e-mail last week Tuesday. (Feb 13th). He transfers me to Customer Service again.
    31. A little frustrated and tired of listening to hold music, I finally get a new guy. I try to tell him my problem. I ask him if he has been trained, and if he hasn’t, find someone that has. SIR, I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. I HAVE NOT BEEN TRAINED TO HANDLE LICENCING…PLEASE HOLD, AND I WILL FIND THE CORRECT DEPT FOR YOU…
    32. No, wait just a minute, don’t you transfer me to anyone unless you talk to them first. Last time I did this it the phone system actually hung up on me. OK SIR, I WILL CALL THEM AND THEN CONFERENCE THEM IN…..A SHORT PAUSE…HERE I HAVE THE VISTA UPGRADE DEPARTMENT FOR YOU….
    33. A nice young sounding lady answers…HELLO JOSH, HOW CAN I HELP YOU? We spend while chatting about the problem and she tells me she hasn’t been trained either. She says that she can look up a number for me…HOLD MUSIC AGAIN…I am still looking, I will be right back….MORE HOLD MUSIC…OK, I HAVE FOUND THE CONTACT NUMBER FOR THEM, 1-866-409-9542. I AM SORRY I CANNOT TRANSFER YOU. CAN I GIVE YOU A CASE NUMBER?…157593011…
    34. I don’t even know why I decided to call this number… it looked familiar but it was a little different. FOR FRENCH PRESS 1….SPANISH PRESS 2….
    35. Ok, I am now thinking what my phone might look like if I stack all the Dell Switches(9 managed and powered), Dell Servers (7 HUGE ONES), 90 New Dell Desktops w/17-19 FPD; Drop them all off our 3 story building at once on top of the phone…. How small would the plastic chips be? Would it be a magical powder to transport you to the Congo? What would be the longest wire in the phone? Outside the phone? How many buttons would be intact? Would one capacitor survive? Hmm….
    ***After a while I received this e-mail from Jackie. I really feel sorry for her. Almost like a police officer. They have a job, but man, what a job. They are pretty much just shot at all their life. Here it is.

    Hi Josh,

    I am writing in regards to your Direct2Dell blog post about your Vista upgrade. I would like to help you with this issue. From your post, I understand that some of your service tag numbers are not recognized by the upgrade site. I have looked at your account and I see the 60 Optiplex systems purchased in November. I will look through each of those to see which ones are not recognized. Once I determine this, I will have this corrected for you. At this time, you will have to visit the upgrade site and register each of them. I will remain your point of contact throughout this process. Please reply if you have further questions!

    Thank you,

    Dell Customer Advocate

    ***Even though she was wrong about me contacting them (the service tags not being recognized, which I had never mentioned), she at least was checking into the order. Here is my reply:

    From: Josh Hymer
    Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 3:25 PM
    To: ‘Customer_Advocate’
    Subject: RE: Direct2Dell blog. (KMM44004828I57L0KM)

    Cool, somebody is home! Thanks Jackie for your reply. I was actually on the phone with Melissa @ Dell Volume Licensing. Ok, so if I cannot submit these at once, can you check on the tax information? I have submitted our tax exemption form to my Dell rep quite a while ago. My Account # is 3980644. Can you make sure when I place these orders that these will be tax exempt? I am checking the box, but I am not getting any confirmation on the tax being removed. Thanks for your help.

    Josh Hymer

    ***I was so happy somebody was replying. It makes anyone happier that someone is listening. I tried to get her on the right task. Maybe she could help me. Here is her reply:

    Hi Josh,

    I have checked all of your tags and some have been registered, 11 to be exact. Unfortunately, there is not any way to bulk order these and if you were advised this, I am terribly sorry.

    In regards to the tax information, this is what will have to happen to get the exempt status. Sorry if you have already seen this in the FAQs on the upgrade site:

    If you are eligible for a tax exemption, please indicate your exemption status by checking the “Tax Exempt” check-box on the “Confirm Your Selections” page before confirming your order. Please also print a copy of your “Thank You For Your Order” page when asked to do so. If you claim an exemption, your order will be placed in a “pending” status awaiting receipt of documentation supporting your exemption. To release your order for shipment, you must fax a copy of both your printed “Thank You For Your Order” page and your tax certificates or other documentation supporting your exemption to Dell at 866-297-3280. Your order will be released for shipment upon receipt and verification of your exemption documentation. Tax exemptions will be applied to your order according to your verified exemption eligibility.

    I will remain your point of contact, so if you have any other issues, please let me know by replying to this email!

    Thank you again for your patience,

    Dell Customer Advocate

    ***Yeah, I have to admit I was pretty frustrated. I had already mentioned that I was checking the box in my previous e-mail. I still have a hard time believing that I have to fax 120 pages to Dell for a tax free order that was tax free to begin with. She was good to contact me, but didn’t really give me anything other than I already knew. I received this a month later:
    Dear Dell Customer,
    Vista Order#: V2175424
    If you are claiming tax exemption, we are required to file a copy of the certificate recognizing your organization/company as exempt from sales tax.
    At this point, we have not received the certificate to exempt your Vista upgrade order.
    Please fax the certificate as to how you are claiming tax exemption to 1-866-297-3280 along with your Order Status Confirmation or your Order Detail Information sheet sent to you when the order was placed.
    ***Here the faxing begins. After I realized how hard this was going to be, I stopped asking for tax exempt status. Tax was only 73 cents. The total would be $43.80. It is really hard to justify even sending a fax for that much. (I checked 15 systems for tax exempt status) After that struggle, I promptly stopped checking the Tax Exempt status box. I still faxed a tax form for every system I ordered though. I just didn’t want my order halted by a form. This is *****5 months after my order now****! Time is catching up to me. After that submission I get this e-mail several days later: I knew it! More problems!

    From: []
    Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 2:08 PM
    To: Josh Hymer
    Subject: FW: Josh Hymer C#3980644 INVALID **WORKED**
    Dear Dell Customer,
    Vista Order#:
    We have recevied your tax exemption certificate, however we will need for you to update your billing information for your Vista orders so that we may process the order as tax exempt. The bill-to name on your Vista orders must match the company or organization name on your tax exemption certificate.

    ***I knew it! More problems! I had inadvertently put my name on a few of the submissions. Strange how the original order had my name on it. Since we are using a credit card, we are required to use the name on the card. Rats! I get a little upset and send this little note to Dell:

    From: Josh Hymer
    Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 2:24 PM
    To: ‘’; ‘m*****’
    Subject: RE: Josh Hymer C#3980644 INVALID **WORKED**

    You have our tax exemption form on file! I have tried my hardest to complete this Vista order. Would you like our business in the future? This process is completely too long for large quantity orders. I REFUSE TO COMPLETE THE BILLING INFORMATION UPDATE. I have wasted close to a total month on this poor quality update process. Gateway was actually going to include the licensing at the time of order. Ha! Next time we will happily spend the extra $$ to get a much superior service department. Please find my attached diary.

    ***After this e-mail I attached the NON-EXPRESS UPGRADE. Strange enough the Tax department at dell never replied to this e-mail. I had actually given up. After a few hours of cooling off, I decide that I should change the name on the billing information. There I have done my duty. Then I started receiving these e-mails:

    From: auto-confirm []
    Sent: Sunday, April 01, 2007 4:08 PM
    To: Josh Hymer
    Subject: Unable to process your Dell’s Express Upgrade to Windows Vista Order

    Thank you for your recent order for Dell’s Express Upgrade to Windows Vista.
    Order Number: V2406342
    This email is to advise you that we were unable to obtain a credit card authorization to complete your order request.
    If you are still interested in receiving the Dell Express Upgrade to Windows Vista, please visit our website before March 31, 2007 to update the credit card information we have on file.
    ***This is actually a little comical. Look at the sent date: Sunday, April 1, 2007. I have to visit the website before March 31st? LoL! Well I decide to send a message to Jackie again. Here it is:

    From: Josh Hymer
    Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 8:59 AM
    To: ‘Customer_Advocate’
    Subject: RE: Direct2Dell blog. (KMM44015752I57L0KM)
    Importance: High


    I just received 6 of these e-mails:
    Thank you for your recent order for Dell’s Express Upgrade to Windows Vista.
    Order Number: V2406383, V2406342, V2406350, V2406362, V2406376, V2406329

    This email is to advise you that we were unable to obtain a credit card authorization to complete your order request.

    The credit card has a zero balance. The information on the card is correct. I need to know why this card was declined these 6 times. This card is for Calvert ISD, and we have ordered 60 vista upgrade licenses. Please fix this before all 60 licenses will be rejected.

    Josh Hymer

    ***Well, well. I do get a reply from Jackie! This is actually funny. Here it is:

    From: Customer_Advocate []
    Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 4:43 PM
    To: Josh Hymer
    Subject: RE: Direct2Dell blog. (KMM46006433I57L0KM)

    Hi Josh,

    I have sent the information below to the fulfillment center to see what the problem is. Once I get information back from them, I will be back in touch with you.

    I have also received the email you sent to Michael Dell in regards to the tax issue you are having. I have reviewed the email and I see that you have been advised to correct an address and I see that you say “I REFUSE TO COMPLETE THE BILLING INFORMATION UPDATE.” Unfortunately, if you do not correct the address, the tax exemption cannot be applied. In order to have tax exemption status, a business has to follow certain rules/laws. In order to process a tax exempt order, Dell also has to follow these rules/laws. I understand that you have spent time getting these orders processed, but if you choose not to correct the address, the tax exemption cannot be processed.

    Please reply if you have further questions!

    Thank you,

    Dell Customer Advocate

    ***I was glad to hear from Jackie again. I had to chuckle when I read this. She actually got the e-mail I sent to Mr. Dell himself. If she would have just checked the order, I had already updated the order. And it wasn’t an address problem, it was a name problem. Oh well. I send her this e-mail in response:

    From: Josh Hymer
    Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2007 9:30 AM
    To: ‘Customer_Advocate’
    Subject: RE: Direct2Dell blog. (KMM46006433I57L0KM)
    Importance: High

    Hey Jackie,

    LoL, I am actually surprised the e-mail made it to you. I figured his secretaries would have trashed them. Anyway, I logged into the site after I cooled off. The changes have been made. (Changed the name to Donald Robbins from my name, Josh Hymer)

    What gets me more than anything, you guys already have my tax certificate from the purchase of the systems back in November. Why can’t you use that? My customer number is tax free. I never have had to send any tax exemption status whenever I order systems, servers, or switches. (Yes, I did fax 120 pages to the tax department for each of the 60 systems) Why do I have to send this to you for a menial purchase of only ~$600.00?

    When I order the systems, I don’t have to submit a separate order for each of the 60 systems; I can submit one order for all sixty. Why do I have to order each software upgrade separately?

    When I order systems or servers, I do not have to use a credit card. I just fax in a PO and I have the systems in a week. I have spent more time trying to submit these orders, than I did waiting for my shipment. If you just understood what I have to do all day (supporting three locations with over 250 users), and how much time I have had to dedicate to this, you would probably be frustrated.

    The problem with the order that I sent to Mr. Dell was the Name on the order. My name was on the original systems order! The only reason I used the Superintendent’s name was that the order required a credit card. The only credit card we have is the Superintendent’s (Donald E Robbins). This wouldn’t have been a problem if we were not forced to use a credit card for the purchase. Thanks for your time today.


    Josh Hymer

    ***Now I am just waiting for a response. Hopefully through all of this, I will still get the promised upgrade from my original salesman. He said that I should have everything in by Feb. Now I have 60 new Dell systems without the OS I wanted: Vista. Thanks for your time today. I hope you enjoyed the read.

    Josh Hymer

  • It’s kind of funny (ironic), same thing is happening to me. right now Jeff. Once went online (on 11/20/2007) and got 40,000+ visits the first day, Dell all of a sudden decided they want to resolve my issues. Imagine that. I guess we will see how this goes.