Escaping Dell Hell

I’m fed up with Dell Computer. Their systems and service have gotten progressively worse over the last few years, and I’m not going to take it any more.

Dell Unveils New Products At San Francisco's Museum Of Modern Art

The final straw was the most recent computer I purchased from Dell Online. You see, for some reason, Dell doesn’t tell you when there’s a problem with the order. They just cancel it. No email. No call. Nothing.

The credit card I use for IT purchases gets abused heavily. With about five dozen personal computers in use within Apogee Search, we’re constantly buying replacement parts and accessories. Add to that a fairly steady stream of new purchases, and you’ve got a credit card that occasionally has problems. It’s generally because we’ve triggered some sort of fraud filter (which, incidentally, have gotten more sensitive over the last few months). Sometimes I have to call the credit card company to loosen things up, but usually just waiting until the next day (or even later that day) does the job.

As a result of all this, I’ve learned to keep a close eye on my Dell purchases. Usually, I log into my account a day or two after placing an order to make sure it hasn’t been cancelled.

I did so with this latest order, and everything looked fine two days after I placed it.

The computer was ordered for a new hire that is starting Monday (yes, Apogee Search is still in hiring mode). So, Wednesday I log into my Dell account to see when the computer is going to arrive. Unfortunately, the order had been cancelled. Again, no email or phone call.

My IT Ninja, Daniel Burton, gets on the phone with Dell. Unfortunately, our “account rep” is unavailable. Neither is our account rep’s boss. And, no one else can help us. So Daniel leaves a message.

Daniel finally gets a call back, has them place an new, identical order to the previous one, and it goes through just fine. Unfortunately, it won’t be here until after the new hire’s start date, so we’ll have to put her on one of our crappy, old, loaner computers for a few days, and move her over whenever it comes in. This creates more work for everyone.

Dell CEO Michael Dell Speaks At Conference

Michael Dell, there’s this new invention called email. Maybe you’ve heard of it. Maybe your website could use it. Every other e-commerce site on the Internet does.

And, if not email, have someone pick up the phone and call about problem orders. It seems like you don’t want our money. I know we’re not one of your largest customers, but we’ve consistently spent $15K to $20K per year with you over the last three years.

Until now, that is.

With horrific service both before and after order placement, and a steady stream of failing batteries, power plug connectors, and keyboards, we’re done with you.

So, Daniel and I are starting a vendor evaluation for a new computer system supplier for Apogee Search.

I’ve got a personal bias for Macintosh computers, but the laptops are just too expensive. The Mac Mini is reaching an interesting price point, but with no OEM’ed Microsoft Office option, it’s still too pricey.

We’ll be looking at HP/Compaq, IBM, and Lenovo. We’ll also probably look at resellers such as CDW, who has been chasing us for some time.

I expect they’ll be a bit more expensive than Dell on the front end, but the lifetime cost of ownership may well be less. It’ll certainly be less annoying.

We’re mostly purchasing laptops, with the occasional desktop, and a rack-mounted machine once or twice per year. Daniel and I have a pretty good idea what we’re looking for, but any advice is certainly welcomed.

4 Comments on “Escaping Dell Hell

  1. Brad at Dell

    I am from Dell and I read your post. It sounds like things did not go as they should. Know I can’t change what’s happened, but I’d be happy to get some more details from you, follow up internally and see what we can do to remedy the broken process. If there’s anything I can help you with specifically, even though I understand your relucatnace to continue with us, I’d be very interested in helping with that as well. You can email me directly through my email address that I used.

    Brad L
    Community Liaison

  2. JMacofEarth

    All I can say at this point is Dell is doing a heck of a job reaching out and working the conversation. I hope Brad’s efforts are successful and well met!

    Well done Dell.

    Disclaimer: I work for Dell but had nothing to do with this post nor it’s response from the communities and conversations team. But I am proud of how that team is really putting in the effort to make things right. Even for little ole businesses like yours! 😉

  3. Mrs. Mecomber

    I’ve never experienced a Dell. I had always been an HP buyer, until I finally tired of spending more time with their tech support than actually using my problematic computers and printers.

    I’ve shifted to Toshiba for laptops and Acer for desktops. I’ve had very good success!

    I like your post, I hope it rattles some rafters and gets some things moving. Stumbled!

  4. Mr. Lee

    I recently ordered a Dell for my daughter for Christmas, we received the wrong computer and after literally 10 hours on the phone, finally got a hold of someone who would “allow” us send it back to get a new one. After returning it in hopes of receiving the correct one, AGAIN I received the wrong computer/hardware/software. Now after being told they could not process my return because their system was down and being hung up on several times, they are telling me that my 21 days to return the system is over and there is nothing they can do about it. I have previously purchased 5 DELL computers for home and everything has gone well, however, this now is the last straw. Their service SUCKS! to say the least, their “service” people are rude and are obviously reading from a script. I have tried to call several other phone numbers for them, only to get forwarded to the same useless staff, hung up on, or an endless ring. Any suggestions out there?

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