As is always the case, when my current laptop reached that stage of just being out of warranty, it started breaking down. I'm starting a postgrad course in September, I'm getting more into PC gaming and I've got some money (well a credit card with a high limit), seemed like a good time to upgrade. I ordered my lovely new Dell Inspiron on the 12th of March. After a slight delay in actually, you know, processing the order, it arrived on the 21st. It's all working fine and it's lovely and life is good.
I go to visit my sister for the weekend at the end of April. The laptop is left at home safe and sound. When I get back on Monday (30th) and try to turn it on, it will not boot up. I try all the tricks I can think of, but it is now a very expensive paperweight. We try again the next morning to be sure, having left it to charge all night, but it is dead. We ring the company I bought it from and they agree to repair it straight away. Of course that means taking it to a local store, which is a 2 hour minimum ride away on expensive public transport. The guy is very sympathetic and organises to have it collected from me by courier, taken to the store and then delivered back to me when the repair is finished. Earliest pick up day is a week later on the 8th of May. No big deal, my old Compaq is still running...ish.
8th of May arrives, they pick up my laptop and take it to the local store. 10th of May I get a phonecall from the store to explain I need to sign a consent form that if data is lost I won't blame them. She'll send it as soon as she'd troubleshooted the laptop as the tech support guy didn't do it with me over the phone. Have fun troubleshooting a laptop that won't turn on. Form arrives on the 12th of May, is signed and put in post box with first class stamp on the 14th. Should have arrived at the store by the 15th.
Then we left it as we went on that lovely holiday and it can take up to 28 days and all that. When we got back, as we hadn't heard anything, I decided to give the store a call. You can't call the store directly, it sent me to tech support. Fine, the nice guy at tech support can track it. It's now the 30th of May, 20 days after the store received my laptop. This is when I discover:
- The paperwork has not been filled in correctly at the store
- The laptop is not with Dell for repair because there was no one there when they tried to pick it up...from the store
- The store have not updated any of this on my file
The guy is very apologetic and promises to have the store call me right away. A little while later, the store calls and I get a very different version of events:
- The laptop was not booked in until the 19th and wasn't received on any date before then
- There is no record of any member of staff calling me on the 10th to get a consent form signed
- Dell have picked it up, she has the handwritten receipt to prove it, it was picked up 3 days ago (the 27th, 17 days after getting it)
- Their system is very hard to read sometimes (yes, I'm sure the guy in tech support is just an idiot)
When she's finished explaining this she says, as patronisingly as possible, "I'm sure you'll be happy with this." I tell her I'm not, what she's saying makes no sense at all and I'm very upset that it's taken so long for my laptop to be sent off for repair after receiving it. She dismisses all my problems and tells me that it's all in hand. 5 minutes later she calls back. Oh, would I like a full refund or exchange? The fuck, you just said Dell has it. Why the sudden desire to give me my money back? Also, I can't have a like for like because they've stopped selling the Inspiron. I explain I will need to think about it and ask how I can get back in contact with her for this refund. Oh no, I don't contact her, I contact customer services and all my notes will be updated to show what's going on.
Later that day I call customer services because I've found a new laptop I want. They have no record of any of this deal the store is offering me. The lady, once I explain everything, is very apologetic and promises to see what's happening. She explains that someone from tech support is now handling my case and will contact me to give me the full details of what's happening. After 2 days of hearing nothing, I decide to call tech support myself. I cannot talk to the guy dealing with my case, the one on the phone right now will deal with it. I give him my details and I swear this is the first out of his mouth: "Oh yes, your laptop's been lost.' EXCUSE ME! Seriously, this is the first I'm hearing of this. Then it becomes 'possibly lost' they are waiting to hear from the store. He calls the store, but no one's answering. We now go to I might get an exchange for something similar once the store contacts them but he doesn't know when it will be and I'll just have to wait and hangs up.
At this point I've had enough. They've now apparently lost my brand new (slightly broken) laptop and no one will tell me what's going on. I just want my money back so I can buy it from somewhere else. I call that afternoon and demand a manager. A very nice guy takes all my details, brings up all the files, apologises a lot and gets a manager. The manager comes on:
Manager: So how can I help you today?
Me: It appears that the laptop I sent for repair has been lost, no one will tell me what's actually going on and right now I just want my money back because I want to go somewhere else to buy a new laptop.
Manager (in a very brusque tone): Well, you have been offered a refund, so do you just want that?
Me: Well, yes.
Manager: Right, I'll process it right away and send you an email to confirm that. *Hangs up*
Aaaand, that was that. Once all the bank holidays were out of the way (thanks Queenie), I woke up this morning to find the refund on my card. Yippee, I can now order the laptop I've seen at another store and go collect it today! The drama is over!
Of course it's not.
When I arrived at the store with reserve number in hand it turns out they don't sell that laptop, they aren't getting any in and there's nothing they can do. No apology, just a glassy stare and a 'what do you want to do about it?'. At that point, we decided to take our business elsewhere yet again because it's just getting boring now. We head over to another store nearby that sells laptop, talk to a very nice lady who knows better than I which laptops would be suited for gaming and I end up with a much cheaper one that the original and the replacement I ordered.
At last, my saga is over. I think.
ETA: Having read some comments, I've realised I haven't made something very clear in the entry. I did not buy the laptop direct from Dell, I bought it from a fairly well known UK chain of department stores who pride themselves on customer service. When things have to be repaired, the company requires that you send it to a local store and then they will send it on to the manufacturer. All the phone conversations were with the company I bought it from, not Dell. I have no idea if it was this company, a courier or Dell itself who lost the laptop, but all the bad service issues have been with the company being idiots not Dell. I actually wish I could just blame Dell as this company has been one my family has used for YEARS, but there you go.