I've been an Apple guy for the past seven or eight years and besides really, really loving their computers, I have been uniformly happy with their customer service. I can get them on the telephone. They speak English. They even have several retail stores in Seattle with competent, knowledgeable employees who seem eager to help.
Unfortunately, my job also requires me to have several Dell personal computers in my home and that's where today's post picks up.
Last Thursday a power surge somehow knocked one of the computers out of commission, despite being plugged into a surge protector. A little research revealed that the machine was still under waranty so I called and scheduled an appointment for the next afternoon, between 1:30 and 5:30.
Friday, Day One: Around 5 the tech guy showed up - as an aside, does anyone know anyone who has ever gotten an appointment near the front of the window? - and he replaced the PC's internal power supply which did not fix the problem. Turns out he needed another part to try Plan B, a part which he did not bring with him.
I made an appointment for the next business day - as an aside, why couldn't they offer support on weekends? - and proceeded to wait.
Monday, Day Four: Still waiting. And waiting. Then a call came in from Dell alerting me that the missing part had not been ordered in time so there would be no appointment that day either.
Tuesday, Day Five: Again with the 1:30 to 5:30 appointment window. Again around 5:00 the phone rang and I was told - get this - that the part had arrived but had been sent to a different tech person than the one who was scheduled to come to my home!!! Then I was told there was no way to get Part A to person B so they would have to reschedule the appointment for the next day!!!!
Wednesday, Day Six was yesterday. Miracle of miracles. The tech guy came in the middle of the afternoon window, had the part, and finally fixed the problem. Now I am back up and running.
If I had bothered to do a Google search for "Dell Computer customer service" I would not be so surprised by my experience.
Turns out Dell, despite their nearly continuous television commercials that cheerfully claim the opposite, is far and away the leader among all technology companies in complaints to the Better Business Bureau.
After scanning site after site dedicated to what many call Hell Computers I learned that their disregard for customer service is legendary and that I was apparently lucky to get my hardware problem resolved at all! I saw stories of PCs that were dead on arrival and hours spent on hold on the phone to talk to "Wendy" in Calcutta. Among the pages I found:
the Dell page of ConsumerAffairs.com
and the Dell page of Epinions.com.
I didn't have any choice but to bring Dell products into my home but you do. Buyer beware!