Dell fails on service delivery

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My work laptop is a Dell Latitude D600 – the specification offers me all I need (well, I would like a Toshiba Portégé M200 tablet PC but that’s another story), including built in 802.11b and Bluetooth support. Except that it doesn’t – some of our D600s have had problems with the Bluetooth cards not being correctly seated or requiring motherboard replacements before they will detect the Bluetooth card – mine is one of those…

The trouble is:

  1. Convincing Dell that there is a problem.
  2. Getting Dell to send a engineer, at the right time and with the correct parts.

Its been three weeks since I first requested support and this is the catalogue of incompetence I’ve endured so far:

  • 16 August 2004 – Logged incident with Dell via their website.
  • 17 August 2004 – Initial reply tells me to check the BIOS settings – I respond immediately and tell them that the BIOS does not recognise my Bluetooth card (showing as not installed).
  • 18 August 2004 – Dell tell me to check the drivers in Windows! I reply and restate that the BIOS does not detect any Bluetooth devices…
  • 21 August 2004 – Dell diagnose that a new motherboard is required and request contact details to send an engineer/parts.
  • 23 August 2004 – Contact details provided.
  • 25 August 2004 – I chase lack of progress by e-mail. Dell respond and tell me there will be an engineer on site on 27 August (the day I am not available). Dell reschedule for 31 August.
  • 26 August 2004 – two e-mails from Dell regarding my service call, and a phone call from the same support technician I have been corresponding with – I repeat that I am not available on the 27th and Dell reconfirm that the engineer will arrive on the 31st.
  • 27 August 2004 – Dell engineer arrives on site, despite assurances that service request is booked for 31st!
  • 31 August 2004 – Engineer arrives with wireless network adapter! Confirms that the problem is the motherboard or Bluetooth card and will return with Bluetooth card on 1 September.
  • 1 September 2004 – Different engineer arrives with Bluetooth card, but wrong part number – will return on 2 September with correct Bluetooth card and a motherboard.
  • 2 September 2004 – No engineer visit – chased by e-mail. Dell respond that part will arrive on 3 September.
  • 3 September 2004 – No engineer visit, and no parts. I chase Dell by e-mail. No response to date.

Dell equipment may be (relatively) inexpensive, and (reasonably) well specified, but it now seems my argument for buying Intel-based servers from Compaq (now HP) and IBM rather than the less expensive Dell equipment is equally valid in the PC world – there is a cost in the overall quality of the product (and associated service) with any low-cost PC (and by that, I mean business-focused OEM equipment – of course you can buy no-name or consumer PCs for even less).

If you are looking for a new PC and you want my advice – don’t buy Dell.

7 thoughts on “Dell fails on service delivery

  1. I was off-site on 6 and 7 September, but a Dell engineer finally arrived on the 8th – with just a Bluetooth card (which did not fix the problem). After that visit my touchpad also started to wander around of its own accord! They returned on the 9th to (finally) fit a new motherboard (as well as all the screws that the previous engineer had left rolling around the inside of the case) and now my Bluetooth is detected and available!

  2. Dell fails on latitude E4200 delivery time
    I was due to take delivery of new dell latitude e4200 tomorrow 23 oct. Only today I get an automated email to say it will not be available for another month. They will have had my money for 2 months plus by then. Phoned the dell salesman and there was only an answer message. I’m stunned and very anoyed.

  3. WOW. I read your post and only WISH that my experience was that short! Isn’t that sad.

    Purchased a Dell Studio 1535 and Inspiron Mini on 9/5/08. Order canceled. (That was My Bad…wrong CID#) Order was replaced 9/6/08. The the order was canceled and replaced 5 MORE TIMES!!!

    Got the Studio 1535, bad motherboard. Got another 1535….bad motherboard…. Got my third on November 20th (a 1537 now) and it came without the CAPS LOCK key attached. NICE. A technician came by today. WRONG PART! Of course.

    My Dell experience has been horrible. To make things worse, I worked there for 10 years….AND STILL…with all the contacts I have, my experience has been horrible.

    It must be Karma. All those times that I told my Customers not to worry, that Dell would take care of everything…

    Should’ve bought a MAC. Well, I still have 16 days to return…..

  4. @MyZeroWaste – what a disappointment- I saw one of those E4200s a few days ago and it looks like a really nice laptop.

    @JD – that does sound like a nightmare. But don’t expect Apple to be any better (oh yes, and that stuff about Macs just working… in my experience, they fall over just as often as Windows or Linux PCs… although in fairness my Windows PCs don’t fall over very often either).

    @Everyone – after all of my talk about don’t buy Dell (admittedly back in 2004), I did buy a PowerEdge 840 server earlier this year and I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying a Mini 9 netbook soon… maybe I’m a glutton for punishment (and maybe they know that people will still buy from them, despite the shoddy service).

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