My work laptop is a Dell Latitude D600 – the specification offers me all I need (well, I would like a Toshiba PortÃ©gÃ© 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:
- Convincing Dell that there is a problem.
- 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.