Dell Hell

Right… just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water….

Regular readers of the DoBlog will know that I recently bought a world of pain and torment a laptop from Dell.

The very first problem I had was with the graphics card – it was not what I had ordered. After a litany of screw-ups Dell eventually got me, a technician and a replacement graphics card in the same point in space.

I thought that battle was over.

Stone me but I was wrong. While doing some diagnostics this morning after replacing the defective DVD Drive I noticed that the base score in Windows Vista hadn’t changed since the new graphics card was installed. So I took a look at the bios and saw that the ‘new’ graphics card was a 128MB model x1400 ATI Radeon Mobility… exactly what the technician took away with him when he replaced the original erroneous part. I was… I’d like to say shocked but the feeling was more like the dismay a parent feels when their child brings home an F in fingerpainting.

I have discussed the issue with my Samoan Attorney and he advises me that

  1. I should have listened to him and bought a Mac. (But he’s a lawyer so not to be trusted) 😉
  2. I should gather my emails, my original order specification and all my blog posts and put them in a registered letter to the head of Dell in Ireland. (there goes my weekend)
  3. I should tag all of my posts here with “Dell Hell” as there are pixie minions in Dell watching for these things and ready to leap in to action to put things right

That’s a bit like shutting the door when the horse has bolted (hang on, where have I used that phrase recently?)

Surely the appropriate response is not to firefight (which is what this team appear to be about) but to prevent the occurence of the problems in the first place? At this point, any profit margin Dell had (including the cost of the finance package I used to fund the purchase of a laptop of a given specification) has evaporated. Putting additional cost into the supply chain by employing people to inspect the defects out does not make sustainable sense.

My recommendations for Dell, based on my experience:

  1. Imrpove your processes. They are deficient. If a product can ship that does not meet the ordered specficiation then there is a weakness in your processes
  2. Break down barriers between areas so that your actual root causes can be addressed
  3. Improve the quality of your information. Everything I have experienced has been due to poor quality information within the supply chain, from the incorrect card being shipped, to a desktop card being shipped to replace that, to the incorrect replacement card being shipped. There were attributes of all of those things (number of MB of RAM, type of card vs type of machine it would go into etc.) that could have prevented me having any problem but at the very least would have triggered a different flow of events and a different outcome for me the customer.
  4. Create a constancy of purpose about improving quality and building quality in from the point of order capture (where the defects might first arise) through to the manufacturing process and onwards to the customer service processes (which can’t seem to operate with the fact that a person may be located at more than one address, particularly if they have a laptop)

The courier who delivered my replacement DVD drive today told me that he dreads doing deliveries for Dell as there is always a very high chance there will be some information wrong on the delivery notes. For example he had some packages for delivery in a rural part of my area (non-unique addresses) so he required a telephone number. The phone numbers had been mis-transcribed and as a result were not numbers in the area he was delivering to. Some of them were office numbers of the people in question – who had requested delivery to an alternate address.

For any Dell person who might happen upon this post, here is a link to the rest of my posts on this.

Another question raises its head now that I have a broken and unusable DVD drive that needs to be disposed of, that of the WEEE regulations. Dell have provided me with no means of returning the faulty component (nor did they do so for the graphics card that was taken out originally). As these components can contain hazardous material they fall under the remit of the WEEE regulations and, according to my Samoan Attorney, Dell should provide me with a means of returning said components to them for disposal (or for reuse in other machines in the case of the non-faulty but just incorrect graphics card).

Despite repeated requests to Dell support by email no-one has given me any information. Indeed, the email from Dell re: the DVD-Rom specifically told me that “you do not have to return the old drive to Dell”. Sounds like a potential breach of EU law there…

4 thoughts on “Dell Hell”

  1. I’ve left posts with links to this at Dell’s Customer Service blog and I’ve also followed up through Dell’s “Unresolved issues” options on their website.


  2. I recently purchased a Targa Laptop from Lidl. It’s fantastic. I didn’t have to deal with any of those Dell cnuts trying to upsale my specifications into big money land. Nor did i face the prospect of some semi-educated cretin ‘losing’ my specifications and haing to start the order again. I just got up early, sauntered into Moore Street and gave a man a nice wad of crisp 50s. I recieved a laptop and a firm handshake.

    That’s how men conduct business.

    I say this not out of any real pride in Lidl or the german race as a whole but just because my success makes daragh’s failure all the sweeter.

    Huzzah, they even threw in a free case load of gadgets

  3. Turlough (if that is your real name…) I agree with you. Frankly I dont’ think I’ll ever buy from Dell again. I’ve tried to be objective and analytical in how I’ve looked at the issues – but eventually one has to draw the conclusion that Dell are simply uncompetent (which is worse than incompetent) and don’t care about customer service or doing their job right.

    Nothing that I’ve experienced was unpreventable.

    The case load of gadgets isn’t that much of an attaction for me – I still have a drawer full of them from the Gericom I got from Aldi 2 years ago.

  4. same oll dell issues. i got a laptop from them before christmas with 72hours of ordering online.

    today i ordered a laptop for my mother, so had it delivered to her address paying with my credit card. i know, i should have known better. anyway it was 1am and i was sure her address was on my cc, too late to call. so ordered anyway.

    checked this morning with dell no progress on order, none not even order number yet. so called creditcard, address wasn’t on it. still unsure why must be re-issued card not carrying over details or something. so added address.

    called dell (indian call center), they didn’t know what to do. recommended that i just re-order the system. what, but i have ordered it already. anyway looks like it’ll take another 24 hours before it will be processed. although i am not very hopeful that it will be processed. also system has not gone up in price by €20 so can’t reorder.

    seems to be another mis-step in dells process. they don’t have any process in place for this type of issue. surely i should have been emailed or phoned about the address issue. why does dell make it’s customers do all the work. they are not pro-active.

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