Doug's Blog

A win for me

While it took a lot of frustration, and probably cost more in terms of what I’m paid per hour than the cost of the computer, Dell has accepted the laptop for refund. I sent it back yesterday.

It was perfect timing to get the email on their decision, since I got it when I got home and my first after dinner plan was to put together a charge complaint to the Competition Bureau for failure to live up to a promised warranty. This probably would have resulted in more time, but sometimes I might see principle as being more important than other things.

So, that’s over with a happy ending…

The end addendum

I just received a phone call from Dell that, since I live in a “remote area,” they cannot provide the next day warranty service that came with my new computer. They tell me that they are willing to repair my computer. I refused, brusquely, but not impolitely.

I posted the following in the Dell community forum this morning:

After more than a month of trying to get warranty service, I surrender. This morning, I purchased a new laptop computer. I can no longer wait for service. I teach for three colleges online and functioning without one has been a nightmare.

And, no, it was certainly not a Dell.

Your warranty and service support is non-existent. Your “techs” and social media are useless. How you can function as a business, selling products for which you can’t even provide the warranty you sold me, is unconscionable.

I suspect that you will not refund my purchase, and that is just a further indication of what a fly-by-night organization you run.

I doubt that I will get anything more out of this. But, I also doubt I will ever buy one of their products again…

The end

I suspect I have decided to do what Dell has been trying to get me to do all along. Give up. And, I have.

I need a computer to function, and it’s been more than a month of waiting to have my new one fixed. I can’t wait any longer. Last week I ordered a new computer and picked it up this morning.


Therefore, I surrender. Sort of. Now comes the unmitigated pleasure of trying to get a refund, but, that’s bound to be a completely different, and equally frustrating, story in itself…

Full circle

So, yesterday I received the following email from Dell:

Hi Doug,

From the Tag information I see the system has an In Home service warranty. We will go ahead and send out an engineer with the parts.
The service call is booked under the reference number : 321808235.
Kindly note that the Onsite technician will contact you to schedule the appointment once he receives the parts. Please go ahead and have the appointment scheduled accordingly.
Note : The Service is subject to parts availability and the working hours of Onsite technician are from 9am-6pm Mon-Friday.

Farooq Ahmed
Social Media and Community Professional

This is rather easy to say, since the person saying this is in another country and probably has no idea of where Whitehorse is, to say the least of knowing whether or not they actually have someone here to service the computer. This is the third or fourth time I’ve been told I get onsite service.I responded with:

Interesting, since I don’t think you have an authorized technician here and haven’t for about 10 years.

This morning, I get this:

Hi Farooq,

As our customer, Doug Rutherford, stated previously (please review his original Dell Community Forum post below), there has not been a Dell technician in his area for the last 10 years. Unless you have a definitive contact that can service Doug’s system, please arrange for his system to be returned for the Repair Depot and please schedule a box to be sent for his convenience.


Lorna McNamara
Customer Support Specialist
Dell | Social Media Support
USA Customer Care Board<>

I get two things from this email. First, they obviously can call for onsite service without actually knowing whether or not there is someone onsite. How do you do that without having a specific contractor to choose from? Two, someone else is “sending me a box.”

We’re now in a loop, and this is the fourth or fifth person to say “we’re sending a box.” Just like they did the first time, on the morning of September 9th…

Why would you own a Dell?

The official Dell apology count is now 9. This, however, brings me no closer to having my system replaced or repaired.

Apparently, the two last conversations, one with a social media rep and one with the person who handles their community forum, have led to me to believe that the warranty expires next August and they’re trying to hold out until then. (That’s being facetious, but I suspect that will be the end result.)

My service file was indeed closed. Apparently, this is because I didn’t send it back within 10 days of it being booked. Since I am still waiting for the packing box and information they told me I had to send it in for a month now, I’m not that willing to accept the blame for that and pointed it out. I have yet to hear back on that one.

Also, the forum manager has said no refund since I’ve had the unit for more than 30 days. The fact that it arrived on the 15th of August and I’ve been trying to get it repaired for a month seems to have no relevance to that at all. I’ve asked to have it escalated to someone who has the authority to override that. I have yet to hear back on that one, too.

Oh, well. I’ve already ordered my new laptop. I pick it up Tuesday morning. I have, however, gotten rather tired of backing up and reconfiguring new computers in the last little while, though.

As I note, I did check my warranty. I am supposed to have next day, on site warranty repair. Maybe I should be insisting they send a tech from Vancouver or Prince George to repair it…

Laptop status report

In my last post, I outlined some of the issues I have been having trying to get my laptop serviced. I suppose the first thing I can point out in the definition of how successful I’ve been is that the laptop is still in my living room.

I posted my woes on the Dell Community Forums. I actually did get a very noncommittal response from someone who states at the outset that she is not very technical and can’t help with diagnosing my issues. This makes me wonder, since my complaints are not with the diagnosis of the problem. This was settled at the very beginning and, one would assume she should have noticed that.

At no point in my complaint did I mention what the technical issue was… just that there is no definitive way I’m supposed to send it back and the lack of follow through on the shipping of the laptop itself.

“Please note, I am not technically inclined and will not be able to troubleshoot your system. If your case has already been referred to our Executive Escalations Team, I will not be able to intercede on your behalf, as their authority supersedes that of my department.”

Has it been escalated? I haven’t got the faintest idea, and don’t know if I have to deal with that myself or will they do that based upon the message.

I pointed out the problem lay with having it returned for service and the oddly competitive nature for how it gets returned. Since the first message took almost 24 hours to get a response, I don’t know what this will yield. I did state that I am no longer interested in dealing with the poor level of service I’ve received and want to return it for refund.

That being the case, I have already found its replacement. No, it’s not a Dell computer. But, if there is no really fast resolution, I’ll just write my computer off as a bad decision and pick up a new one.

I suspect one of my students will have a new tear apart computer by the beginning of next week.

As an aside, you can go online using your service dispatch file number and determine where your service issue is at. I entered mine and was told the file doesn’t exist. Dell sucks…

Adventures in tech support

I’ll preface this with the fact that, to my students over the years, I have constantly referred to Dell as the gold standard of customer support. That’s not just a reference to the computer industry, but customer service overall. I have stayed at some rather nice hotels over the years and they didn’t treat as well as Dell support has in the past.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

My old Dell Inspiron laptop, a 2010 model, finally started showing signs of moving on to that next plane. For example, when you open the optical drive, part of the physical drive carrier droops down. Yes, it’s been dropped.

I purchased a new laptop at Staples but returned it the next day because it had been used. Used, and not wiped, by the way. At that point, I decided that ordering a new one from Dell and waiting until it was shipped may be a better choice.

“May” is a very powerful word. After about five weeks, I started getting warning messages that the computer could not recognize the AC adapter and would no longer charge. This is where warranty service comes in, and armed with several previous dealings with Dell service support, I figured this would be pretty quick and dirty.

I’ll break this up by mentioning that Dell now outsources its call centre to somewhere in India. Many such centres use what is called by some outsourcing agencies as a “pay for performance” model. In short, when I submit my computer for repair, the person from the centre who convinces me to do so gets a commission.

So far, I have been given five different options for resolution and these have come from about 10 different techs. However, each of these wants me to acknowledge to them that I intend to go through with the repair, meaning, of course, that they will be the one who gets the commission. They actually have been, basically, competing to be the one who gets paid for this.

My options have been:

1. I’ve sent a shipping box and you are to send it via FedEx.
2. I’ve sent a shipping box and you are to send it via Purolator.
3. I’ve sent a shipping box and you are to send it via the mail.
4. I can arrange for onsite repair.
5. You have to provide your own shipping box and send it using a waybill I will send you.

Some of the others have provided the same suggestions, but have also asked that I confirm which one I will use with them specifically. A lot of these conversations have taken place through Twitter and their Dell Cares account.

As a note, I’ve found the Dell Cares account is just the technicians and any real social media manager for a major company should be having fits over the level of conversation conducted using their brand name. For example, I pointed out after the first (I’ve had several from several different people) mention that my warranty is supposed to provide onsite service. Dell hasn’t had an authorized technician here for years.

When my last Dell laptop needed a new keyboard under warranty, I did manage to convince the tech that I was able to replace it myself after he had spent about 20 minutes trying to find someone to replace it. I pointed this out and I was somewhat rudely informed that I obviously had access to a technician since my warranty called for onsite repair. Also, they certainly wouldn’t have sent a technician to replace a keyboard anyway, since the user would be expected to do that. I don’t quite think he or she understands the difference between replacing a desktop and laptop keyboard.

I seriously doubt that Dell is going to pay to send a repair tech from Prince George or Vancouver to come and replace my motherboard.

I got enough of both rude and repetitive from Dell Cares that I actually blocked their Twitter account. There’s probably enough Norse blood in my dating back from 1,000 years ago that I can go with burning the odd bridge every now and then.

So currently, I’m at the point where I don’t know which choice is actually the right method for sending it back, and quite frankly, I’m still not that sure where it’s supposed to go. I can think of a suggestion of what someone could do with it, but that may be anatomically difficult.

I have twice asked to deal with a supervisor, through the Dell Cares account and through their Facebook page. Times were arranged for them to call on two separate days, but no one called either time.

I do get a kick out of the attempt of one of their techs to blackmail me, namely, that he would arrange for a supervisor to contact me in a few hours, but first I should confirm to him that I was sending the computer back through arrangements he would set up.

In short, the concern is not how to best service my brand new laptop, but how to ensure that you are the one who gets the commission for getting it serviced.

A suggestion: unless you can be guaranteed that the computer will never need warranty work, you probably don’t want to buy a Dell computer…