Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why I will never buy from Dell again...

I had hoped that I might be typing my next blog entry on a brand new Dell laptop, which I ordered a couple of weeks ago. Oddly enough, this was a big thing for me - despite my advanced age of 34 and my general geekery, I have never actually bought myself a laptop - the three laptops I've had since 2000 were all company laptops which to a greater or lesser extent could also be used for personal purposes - though being moved to my employer's standard build a few months ago meant I couldn't really do anything on my laptop.

This was a problem for a few reasons - I couldn't install the software I needed for my Open University course, the laptop only worked for internet access when connected through the corporate VPN, but the most significant thing is I'm leaving at the end of next week with a view to going contracting.

So having decided I couldn't really justify the expense of a new Apple, I placed an order with Dell for a generally well specced, beefed up laptop. Yesterday I received an automatic call saying "your new laptop will be delivered tomorrow am". Generally quite impressed - they've only taken about ten days to assemble the laptop and ship it from China. (Yes, I'm the sort of saddo that regularly checks the shipping info on their site to find out where the laptop was).

And that's where the entire thing fell apart.

I spent the morning at home on tenterhooks waiting for the doorbell to ring. Regular checks showed me that the laptop had left the depot in Chelmsford at 9:45.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited.

By two o'clock, I was starting to wonder where the laptop had got to. At quarter past 2, I reloaded the shipping page to discover it had been signed for at 12:08 by someone called "J Jones." I've no idea who J Jones is.

So a quick call to Dell.

Me: "I'm wondering where my laptop is. According to the shipping stuff, it's been delivered, but it's not here! It's signed by someone called J. Jones, who I've never heard of"

Dell in Delhi(*): "Please hold Sir... Sir, according to our records, the laptop is delivered and J. Jones signed for it".

Me: "Yes, I just said that. The thing is, there's no J Jones here. We've been here all morning, so it's not like the delivery people left it with the neighbour. Not that I think we have any Jones as neighbours".

Dell: "i'm sorry Sir, but it's marked as delivered."

Me: "No it isn't".

Dell: "Well Sir, I can ask the carrier to send us the slip, which I can then email to you."

Me: "which will prove it was signed for by someone I've never, ever heard of. Can't you just take my word for it now?"

Dell: "Sorry Sir. I need an email. I will contact you by end of the day".

I rang them an hour later, to get the "no news message." I did suggest that while they were at it, they should find out where the laptop is (if it's been misdelivered to another house in the village / borough / county I'm sad enough to drive over to get it!). I also tried to contact the courier company direct (Walsh Western, now Syncreon) but their automated systems can only tell me the laptop is "delivered".

At 5:30, I call back, as I still haven't received my email. Dell in Delhi informed me that that the lady I had dealt with earlier had gone home, but it would be 48 hours before they would get the slip from the courier. When I get through to customer service, they are about as much help as Gordon Brown is to Labour's re-election prospects. At this point I decide I've had enough - I want to cancel as the alternative seems to be fighting Dell's multi menu system to get through to people who can't tell me what's going for at least another week. I'm then informed that I can't cancel the order until "their investigation is complete" as the laptop has been "delivered". My insistence that:
  • It hadn't been delivered to the delivery address.
  • It hadn't been signed for by anyone known to anyone at the delivery address.
  • I reminded them that Dell that on their own website it's very clear for security reasons they will only deliver to the address on the credit card. They clearly have not done this!
was met with a response of "it's delivered Sir".

The day ended with my calling Halifax and disputing the payment to Dell. Updates will follow!

(*) - I don't know that's where Dell's call centre actually is, but the lack of Irish accents and the prevalance of Indian ones on the phone plus a vague recollection of some Irish news reports makes me think I was talking to an Indian call centre, and I can't resist the alliteration.


James Higham said...

No one ever listens to us Mac users.

deiseach said...

Because Apple never mess up with delivery . . .

Having said that, your Twitter updates suggest Dell really screwed up. It's not the initial crime that's the problem, it's always the cover-up

tommy3lions said...

I bought a dell once but when it broke down the customer service was dire. I was warned against this but did not listen. They had my money and knew i was dependent on them, poor in communication and expensive to use. DO NOT BUY FROM DELL.

Anonymous said...

So what happened afterwards?! Did you get your laptop?!