THE AGENTS IN THE DELL – A THURSDAY RANT

I wasn’t going to bother to write this because you’ve heard it before. And you’ll hear it again. The same old sad story. Dell makes some amazing computers — yet they have what must be the worst customer service on the planet. I do not see how it could be worse. It is so bad on so many different levels, it’s hard to know where to start. But then, I realized I might as well write it. Writing it could make me feel better. Eventually, I will also find it funny. I’m nearly ready to begin laughing. One more cuppa coffee and I’m there. Laughing.

This problem — not a huge problem, mind you — was whoever put my machine together forgot to install the Adobe software I bought with the computer. Or leave a link — or give me an unlock key to download it myself. Knowing Dell as I do, I considered just forgetting it. Let them keep the money and move on. But it’s $80. A bit too much to let slide.

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The thing about Dell Customer Disservice, other than its general suckiness, is that they never connect you to the right department. They repeatedly ask for the same information, but whoever you talk to next won’t have the information and you’ll have to provide it again. If you ask for the number to which they are supposedly transferring you because you fear they will disconnect you, you can be sure the phone number is either no longer in service, or is completely wrong. The ones they gave me were either: (1) disconnected, (2) A cruise scam organization (you know, free cruise if you give us all your personal information?), and (3) Direct-TV. What I wanted? Sales Support for Alienware.

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Any agent to whom you talk will never read what (if anything) a previous agent wrote — so you are always back on square one. No one ever calls you back or can provide you with a number to get you to the same person again.

They put you on hold and forget about you. Or disconnect you. They transform minor problems that could be dealt with by any normal company in a couple of minutes, into a week-long crises.

The first two agents I spoke to insisted I really had the software and was too inexperienced with computers to find it. Both agents went poking around INSIDE my computer (remotely). Each independently ascertained that the software isn’t there, nor is there any download link for me to acquire it. So, finally, after I got a bit strident about it, they connected me with a supervisor (this identical scenario played out twice). Both of whom informed me that they would not be able to deliver it. The first said it would be another five days. What? A download?

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I was in “patience is my middle name” mode, so I waited. Five days later with no further contact from Dell, I called again. The first agent told me I would have to wait ten days more and disconnected me. I hit redial. When finally I got an agent, I shouted: “I WANT MY MONEY BACK.” I felt I needed to get his attention before he disconnected me again.

The agent (aka idiot) explained he could escalate “my issue” and maybe (only maybe) I would get my money back. He would “send a request” up to whoever were slightly more in charge than he was, but he could not guarantee they would comply. Because, he said, I probably already have the software and simply can’t find it.

I started to say something, but choked on my own words. Several deep, cleansing breaths later, I pointed out Dell had failed to deliver something for which I had paid. They do not get to NOT give me the product OR return my money. That’s theft. But my idiot said those were the “rules” and I said “we have other rules in this country and I want to talk to a supervisor. NOW.” My idiot assured me a supervisor would say exactly the same idiotic thing. I said that, were this to prove true, then I would keep going up the ladder to the damned president of the company if I had to, so put the supervisor ON the phone NOW.” I think I may have been yelling by then.

Got the supervisor. After he too explained that the software was ON the machine and I explained he should read the notes on this case number (yes, I had a case number) and he would see that no, I don’t have it and no, I’m apparently not going to get it, and frankly, I’m sorry I ever ordered it, and now give me my money back before I call the Attorney General and report the company (I’m sure I wouldn’t be the first) for Felony Stupidity and Customer Malfeasance.

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Eventually he said he couldn’t give me the $82.95 Dell owed me, but would $100 be okay? I said yeah, fine. He was still talking when I hung up. I’d been on the phone for three hours and the dogs needed feeding, Garry wanted help unloading the groceries and my ear was getting sore.

Yesterday, I was issued a refund for $82.95. Can I sue for emotional distress?

I still don’t understand why there is any problem. It’s a download. I could download the software on the spot from Adobe. I’d only bought it from Dell because it was much cheaper.

This is supposed to be (wait for it, wait for it) PREMIUM CUSTOMER SERVICE. I hesitate to imagine the standard shit they are dishing out these days to regular, non-premium customers.

I buy Dell computers in spite of Dell. The computers are great, but oh-lord-give-me-strength to deal with their “customer disservice.” This morning, they sent me a “customer satisfaction” survey. I didn’t bother to fill it out.

33 thoughts on “THE AGENTS IN THE DELL – A THURSDAY RANT

  1. I do not remember the exact details, but once in the deep past Mr. Swiss bought a Dell and had a problem. He complained and actually had a swiss guy on the phone. After a month, still with his problem, nothing happened. He called customer service, which was now suddenly in Slovakia, somewhere in the middle of Europe. First of all they could hardly speak german, they were no great help and it was the first and last Dell product that Mr. Swiss bought. One thing lead to another. I asked him what the problem was, but it was so long ago, that he could not remember. All I remember was the disappointment he had after buying one of the best computer products. At that time everyone was talking about Dell.

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    • They once … LONG ago … LONG LONG ago … had pretty good service. Then they farmed it all out to people overseas … Russia, Pakistan, the Phillipines. They don’t train them. They agents don’t know anything about the products. So a stupid little problem — and this really WAS a stupid little problem — becomes a great big problem. It really is inexcusable and if they didn’t have exactly the computer I wanted, i wouldn’t be willing to deal with them either.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We buy Dell for the office and use an iMac at home. But generally. There are very few companies with good customer service anymore. It’s really frustrating. The “Genius Bar” people at Apple Stores treat you like you’re an idiot because you done that’s the same expertise training on the products that they do. I took ours in for a mechanical failure. They called to tell me it was fixed. When I went in to pick it up, it was obvious that it wasn’t fixed. The person helping told me that I’d have to check it in again and wait another three days to have it fixed. At that point, I went to his manager, to whom I explained that I had waited the initial three days and they called ME without fixing the problem. The manager said I wouldn’t have to wait three days but that they should have it ready for me the next day. It was, but I wrote them the worse review. I’ve also sat at their counter waiting to be helped for 30-40 minutes while other customers come and go, because I was 10 minutes late for my appointment.

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    • Yes, I remember when we had a problem with an iPhone. Apple’s only service location for warranty service is 50 miles away through heavy traffic. Their “experts” are arrogant and ill-mannered. It’s one of the reasons I don’t LIKE Apple. But you are also right. Good service is rare and noteworthy. It’s why I’m loyal to Amazon, LLBean, Lands End, and remarkably, Walmart where I rarely shop in person, but from whom I buy via internet. They actually have excellent customer service. Amazing.

      Most customer service is full of people who have no training in either service or the products they are supposedly experts on. It isn’t unusual to know more about your product that the person who is supposedly helping you. That’s not one individual’s fault — it’s a corporate decision to hire people and not bother train them. But they could, at least, be pleasant and nice. They don’t also have to be arrogant assholes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We have problem here when you ring customer service only to find it is in India or somewhere in Asia. They sit in front of a computer with stock answers and just read it out. No slight detours or personal service given.I had a problem with my iPhone – took it in. At first I wasn’t believed because the phone was behaving itself. Then it died on the sales person. They believed me. It was sent back and I got a replacement within 2 days. I was a happy chappy then.

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    • It’s the same all over the world. However, it really ISN’T the fault of the agent to whom you are talking. He’s just a working stiff doing what he’s told to do. The corporation that made the decision to outsource customer service and then employ untrained people who have no idea how to do their jobs — on any level — should be held responsible. It’s a corporate decision that goes hand in hand with not providing documentation for computers, software, cameras, and other expensive equipment.

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  4. I worked for a call center for computers when I first moved to Las Vegas. One of the worst jobs ever. I actually had someone so upset, he threatened several times to come to Las Vegas and shoot us. Nowadays I would probably report that to the authorities but back then I took the time to, basically, talk him down.

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    • My son was a top tier tech support guy until the Towers went down and his company’s clientele were largely buried in the rubble along with his career. It’s a hard job. I don’t blame the guys on the phone. They’re just doing what they’ve been told to do. If they know nothing, it’s because they’ve never been trained, so the corporation that employs them has no reason to expect them to provide good service — but customers DO have that right.

      I PAY for premium service … and I don’t get even acceptable service.

      Unfortunately, at a certain point — my third day of trying to either get them to give me the key code so I could download the product from Adobe … or refund me the price i’d paid and i’d get what I needed somewhere else (a solid 7 hours of telephone time) — I gave up being nice. Voila. Ten minutes later, problem solved.

      If you’re polite and nice and civil, they laugh at you. Apparently if you aren’t frothing at the mouth with rage, you must be some kind of fool.

      There are companies with good service. Amazon being the most obvious. I buy a lot of things from Amazon because I know they will stand behind the stuff they sell. They’ll take it back, arrange for someone to collect it. Refund my money and tax and all of this without making me run the gauntlet.

      Good service makes loyal customers. It’s something companies used to know and I don’t know how they have forgotten it. Especially in tech where competition is especially cutthroat.

      Liked by 1 person

        • And I think you are right. It’s baffling. They SHOULD care. They lose customers for bad service. If I didn’t know enough about computers to know I can do most things myself, I wouldn’t buy from Dell because the service is horrible and has been for years. The problem is, you can’t buy a Dell computer and get the warranty unless you buy it from Dell.

          This particular problem is not likely to recur. I’ve learned my lesson. Don’t ever buy software — or peripherals — from Dell. Computers? If you gotta have something special, you gotta do what you gotta do … but everything else? Don’t buy from them. This was not always true. I used to buy a lot of stuff from Dell, back when they had customer service.

          I know a lot of people who have given up on Dell and I know that when I was looking for a computer, I didn’t buy several brands because of their reputation for disappearing if you need help. Dell is there … if you have the strength of character to cut through the shit … but it ain’t easy.

          Meanwhile, these computer companies wonder where oh where have their customers gone. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that treating customers like assets might make a difference. Baffling.

          If you DON’T yell at them, they don’t respond. Fear is the only thing that motivates those sad service reps. Even if you want to be patient and polite, you end up red in the face and screaming at the phone. Garry was sure I was going to have a stroke.

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          • Same thing happened with me when I was talking to the bank over the phone about my debit card being declined. Their response was “sorry but you have to go into a branch office. We can’t tell you anything over the phone. We were on vacation in the middle of nowhere and me with no cash and no credit card and they’re … “oh, so sorry”!

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            • That’s just so wrong. You see? That definitely calls for senseless violence. They call it senseless, but we know there are reasons. Banks are quite probably number one, but really, any customer disservice unit can easily drive any of us to madness. It’s one of the foremost reasons I’m very glad I DON’T have a gun. I might be tempted to use it.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. This is getting more common with all companies now. At least I have speaker phone and can usually lay it down and multitask. I’m old enough to remember when a person answered the phones and one was never put on hold….

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    • Yes, sadly it is. Companies that had good service decide to save a few bucks and outsource the service to the far east. Which by itself, is not terrible … but then they hire people who are barely understandable. They don’t train them to do a decent job and they probably pay them peanuts too. So WE get what the corporation pays for and not what WE paid for. I pay for premium service because if I’m going to spend a lot of money on a computer, I need to know I have a warranty, at least for the first year. This was supposed to be their top of the line premium upgraded personalized service. That’s REALLY scary.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Patience has never been my middle name. So they told you $100 refund and gave you back less, which is what you paid, but still…..I cringed at your time on the phone, but it all seems so normal. Their supervisor? Probably their buddy sitting right next to them. Such a sorry situation…

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  7. I have gotten in the habit of filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and also contacting the CEO of whatever company as you can find their email info or addresses and phone #’s online. I had a debacle with At & T last year and did all of the aforementioned and was ended up with a refund and credit – they were not happy about the BBB getting involved!!

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    • Oddly, the only time I actually did bring in the AG and the BBB was when Sprint tried to nail me for a ton of money I really didn’t owe them. They weren’t really thrilled with the AG’s involvement either. But this was a small thing and there was no reason for it to get so stupidly complicated. Really terrible customer service and awful customer relations. AND dreadful negative PR.

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  8. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a tenth canto of he’ll where they send company executives and teach them the evil art of setting up a telephone customer service department. Their aim is to drive as many people as they can into committing a murderous act and therefore taking their souls.

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    • I am sure you are right. No one but a demon from hell could create a customer service department obviously designed to drive humans to acts of senseless (ah, but are they really senseless?) violence.

      You know, with the right script, this could make a great comedy to which every human on three continents could relate. Consider the possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Just reading all this, now I have to go meditate for an hour now to calm down. All the memories this brings up, countless injustices at the hands of those we are dependent on for technological help. I’m thinking there needs to be a new diagnostic code added to the DSM 5 (manual of mental disorders).

    C.S.I.P.T.S.D. (Customer Service Induced PTSD!!!)

    AAARGH!!

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    • I think you are right and I am suffering from it. i do try to not get totally whacked out by this stuff anymore. Garry was genuinely afraid I’d have a heart attack or a stroke. But they do stretch our patience to the limits and beyond.

      Liked by 1 person

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