I recently, very recently, got a new laptop from Dell. My old laptop, Shiba the Toshiba, had lived her life in service to my essays and was ready for retirement. Being 6 years old, about 600 in computer years, it was time for me to load my Jensen Ackles desktop onto a flash drive and move on.
My dad and I researched computers. Dell appeared to have everything I was looking for, including a reputation for good customer service. It's a bit of a mystery that they've maintained it, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
So my new lappy came in the mail, I booted it up, named it Dellbert, and was happy as a pig in shit. Until it shut down randomly. Normally I would take this as a Very Bad Sign. Unfortunately, Dellbert came fully equipped with Windows Vista, and since I'd heard about how crappy Vista was, I assumed that was the source of the problem and considered downgrading to XP. I didn't think about it further.
About a month later, conveniently outside Dell's return policy, Dellbert began to really act up: freezing, shutting off, going super slow, and generally being annoying. I was about to call Dell, when suddenly I had no choice. Dellbert died. Flat lined, right in the middle of an episode of Kitchen Nightmares. Bollocks!
I called Dell. I tried to troubleshoot the problem. We tried a whole bunch of stuff I don't really understand, partially because I don't speak computer and partially because judging by the connection and the accent, their call centre is in Outer Mongolia. Finally the tech-guy called it. My hard drive was toast.
Now, here was my expectation of what would happen next:
Techie: Oh dear! Well, sometimes hard drives do that. Unlucky you. I'm sending out a new unit pronto. You can ship back your dud in the box and we'll give Dellbert a proper burial.
Me: Alas, poor Dellbert. His successor shall be Dellbert Junior. Will that be 7-10 days?
Here's what really happened:
Techie: We don't make the hard drives, so really we're not in any way responsible, and actually, you should be glad to give Dell your money because we're just that awesome. At any rate, get a screwdriver.
Techie: A SCREWDRIVER! You have to take the back off and take out the hard drive. Then we'll send you a new one, which you can install. THEN you get to re-install Vista and all the drivers! Won't that be tedious! Did I say tedious? I meant fun!!!
So I took off the back, took out the hard drive, read out the serial number and waited. Purolator chose not to deliver my new hard drive the first time. Apparently they delivery guy was confused by the buzzers. He didn't seem to realize that the 4th one corresponded to apartment 4. Numbers are hard.
Finally Purolator decided it was time to deliver my package. I ripped into it like a kid at Christmas after his fourteenth sugar plum, only to discover it didn't fit. IT. DIDN'T. FIT. They friggin sent me the wrong type of hard drive. So I called back. I explained that it didn't fit. I explained what the hard drive looked like. I gave them the serial number again. Clearly I was getting nowhere. The Techie was having a hard time visualizing. He asked my to take a picture of the hard drive and send it to him. Take a picture. Upload it to my computer. Email it to him. I asked him how I was to achieve this magical feat with my hard drive lying on the table. I couldn't see his face, but the silence sounded embarrassed. Techie suddenly suffered from spontaneous Dell system errors and had to end the call, promising someone would call back.
Spontaneous Dell system errors seem to happen a lot.
They did call back. Again and again. To ask me for the serial number of the hard drive. I think I gave it to them five times. I finally talked to a Techie who knew something about my system. "Oh, there's an adaptor!" he said. He told me to pull it off the old one and put it on the new one. NOW my hard drive fit!
So, there I was, feeling not good about the situation, but there seemed to be an end in sight. I was plunking my new hard drive in when another Techie called. He asked for the serial number again.
I lost it. I'm not proud. Well, I am a little, because I came up with some super creative synonyms for idiotic, but I don't love yelling a customer service people. It's not their fault their company sucks. My voice started going a little, so I finally hung up.
That snapped it for me. This whole experience was ridiculous. I was getting a new computer and that was final. I called customer service and explained that it was unreasonable to expect a customer with no computer background to unscrew their own computer and remove the hard drive. I explained that it was unreasonable to expect the customer to re-load all the drivers. I asked what the recourse was when Technical Support failed to properly troubleshoot the problem. The Dell representative suffered from spontaneous Dell system errors and had to end the call. I called back and started out a little nicer. I explained all the same things. Repeatedly. Finally, an hour later, I started laughing and asked her if she new just how ridiculous Dell’s customer service was. I informed her that I used to work for Rogers, so I knew what bad customer service looked like. I also informed her that Dell put Rogers to shame, which is an impressive feat. It took a while, but I finally got her to agree to a new computer.
End of story, right? Yay, Me!
Sadly, no. That was two and a half weeks ago. I'm still waiting for my new computer. Dellbert is still sitting on my desk, insides out, waiting for his last rites. Someone called to help me through sending Dellbert back. She seemed really surprised that my new computer hadn’t arrived yet, mumbled something about it already being signed for, and then suffered from spontaneous Dell system error when I tried to ask who had signed. I haven't heard back.
So, the moral of this little tale? Don't buy Dell. Ever. It's not worth the hassle or the headache or the spontaneous Dell system errors. You couldn't pay me to own another Dell computer. In fact, after this ordeal, I'm switching to Mac. If I convince one person in this world to never buy another Dell, I will die happy.