Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Dell Customer Service Nightmare

Forget weight issues, salt, lack of exercise and family genetic disposition. If you want to catapult your blood pressure into the stratosphere, maybe bust a few blood vessels, have a coronary or lose your mind, try talking to the friendly folks at Dell Customer Support.

But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning...

In the Beginning, there was a need for a laptop. Now I'd steered friends and family to Dell before, having heard of their great hardware support, easy to use website, and well priced products. So my wife and I popped open a soda, and sat down to configure and buy a Dell laptop.

Configuration went swimmingly. All the way through we kept seeing this little reminder near the price of how our monthly payments could be as low as so-and-so per month, so as we neared the end, we decided we'd go ahead and applied for a "Dell Preferred Account".

Let me pause and iterate that the site appeared to indicate that an approval decision would take moments. And, as we clicked the final button, it indeed appeared as if we were "approved". I say "appeared as if" because as of now, the 4th day after the original order, I still do not know the disposition of that decision.

Onward...

So we placed the order, got a nice little confirm in the email, and figured all was good in the world of Dell.

Yesterday morning, the first sings of trouble crept in. When logged into the Dell site to take a look at the status of our order, I noticed our status was "Order On Hold". So I decide to call and find out what that means.

Now you'd think that would be easy.

First I try the online chat. Several questions and delays later, I discover they cannot help me, and I should call customer care for an answer to my question. Why someone at Dell can't explain why an order at Dell is "On Hold", I do not know.

So I called the provided number.. First gentleman I spoke to, who was in, I believe, "Customer Care", though it sounded a lot like India, suggested I needed to talk to someone else. I asked why. He said something about the "Dell Preferred Account" taking time to process.. I asked why it said that "approval" would be immediate on the web site during ordering. He said it sometimes takes 48 hours for things to somehow work themselves out. I said the order was more than 48 hours old. He said he'd transfer me to someone who could help...

Next set of teleprompts. Asking me for an account number. Account number? Where do I find the account number... I search on the Dell site I am logged in to. Can't find an account number. I click zero hoping for an operator. ...bad account number, try again... I wait for a long pause to see if someone will come on the line.. ...bad account number, try again... (I am paraphrasing of course, the actual message was longer and more time wasteing, like "We're sorry, but we could verify the account number you just entered, please try....... you get the picture)

So back to chat. Maybe the chat person can tell me where I would look on the website to find the account number. After the usual delay, waiting to work my way up the queue, I get someone. I ask the question. They ask if they can help me.. Yes, account number location on the site.. So they give me a number actually.. Wow, this is finally getting somewhere...

Back on the phone with "Customer Care". New "barely capable of speaking the language" rep to assist me. Explain the situation again. Transferred to another department again. Asked for the account number again. Bingo, now we're cooking.

Only the account number they gave me on chat wasn't correct. "...bad account number, try again... ...bad account number, try again... ...bad account number, try again... ...bad account number, try again..."

AARGGGHH....

Back to square one. Back to "Customer Care". Cool, this time the english seems marginally better. Insist that I speak with someone as when they keep transferring me I can never get through the account number prompt. They ask my name, I tell them.

It is then, after better than an hour trying to figure out why the order is "On Hold", that they tell me my wife, who's name was used, has to be on the call for them to proceed.

I'll skip the part about my tirals and tribulations trying to set up a 3-way call with my wife's cellular and Dell "Customer Care"


back to "customer care"

So my wife and I, 3-wayed in, talk to the next rep. This time, our bad luck, it's a really thick accent. During the entire conversation my wife and I took turns letting the other know what was said after we managed to guess it first.

So we discover "Customer Care" cannot help us, and we have to talk to "Dell Financial Services". At this point we want to get the guy's assurance that he will remain on the line until there's another real human on the line who can actually help us. He promises us this. Then, click, phone ringing, telepromt system takes over, rep nowhere to be found.

!!!!!

At this point we are ready to just cancel the whole order and go somewhere else. Of course, we're now connected with another department. Another rep answers, politely. I must stress that these reps were all polite. Polite as they said they couldn't help us, polite as they put us on hold, polite as they transferred us from queue to queue, polite to the end. But TOTALLY useless.

At this point, the rep merry-go-round becomes a bit of a blur. It took maybe 2 or 3 more transfers to get to someone who could actually cancel the order.

One thing left to do... Close the "Dell Preferred Account"...

Since we didn't want the laptop, and cancelled our order, we erroneously thought it would be possible to get the "Dell Preferred Account" closed with minimal hassle.

Let me say this clearly: I have never had a more frustrating experience in my life. If I were just a tad more superstitious, I'd say that "Dell Financial Services" was an agency of the underworld.

Sometime yesterday late afternoon my wife had to leave the call for an obligation, and I ran out of patience. I started up chat sessions with support, asking where I could tell my lawyer to direct the lawsuit I wanted to file. Threatening to go the the FTC, the BBB, the PTA!

I'd get responses like: "I understand you've been transferred a lot today..."

Um, yes.

An email address is given to me that is supposed to be this rep's manager's account, a fine gentleman by the name of "Sandeep Goswami". When I say "fine gentleman" I am generously giving the benefit of the doubt, as I've not heard a peep from him. Sent an email yesterday evening. It's 3:00 PM the next day, still no response.

To sooth my nerves, I've been posting service requests on Dell Financial Services submission page. Started with "Account Closure", no response... Moved on to "Other", same thing... Tried "Credit Line", and working my way through the other departments.

ANYONE OUT THERE???

Well, the Dell Preferred Account still exists, still shows a balance for the canceled order, and nobody has contacted us.

Let that be a lessson. I cannot more strongly urge anyone to avoid this company and it's financial department like the plague.

--RK

15 Comments:

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plz dial 1800-283-2210; the Dell preferred a/c helpdesk will post the amount immediately..

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