All Business, Good & Bad

Sometimes, an awful consumer experience. Let's call them out. Okay, mostly. But sometimes awards. Yes? All the accounts are truthful. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike. Email me with your stories and I'll include them.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dell - Bad Business, August 2005

Damn it, Dell, you've done so well. (August, '05)

I have had a Dell computer for over two years now, and have had no problems with it whatsoever. The one time I had to contact customer service, the experience was pleasant and they quickly solved my problem.

But now there's a problem. For reasons unbeknown to myself, I - in those two years -have never actually used the DVD drive to play a DVD. I have two players, and it's never been a priority for me. But the other night I rented a DVD with specific DVD-drive content. So I put it in. And it didn't do anything.

So I tried another and another, finally figuring that NO DVD would play in this drive. Having had excellent experience with Dell, I had no problem giving them a quick call to try and resolve the issue. They ran me through a series of checks and came to the conclusion that it was not, in fact, a problem with the hardware (the drive reads data discs but not DVDs), but the software. The software won't read DVDs. And software's a problem.

You see, Dell's policy on hardware help is fine: they'll make sure it works. But when it comes to software, you need the tech help folks, and they cost money. Now, I didn't write down the prices because I would be Damned if I would pay for fixing something that came from the factory, but it ran like $30 for the call or $70 for the year (should I need another service from the tech gods), would that be Visa or Mastercard?

F-that. I confirmed one simple thing before slamming the phone down, and it's a lovely "what if:" What If I had received my computer and, two years ago, found this problem the very first day I had the computer? It seems that I would still have had to pay Dell more money to solve the problem, even though they had installed the software.

The biggest issue with this is the potential for fraud: suppose Dell wanted to earn a little extra cash. All they would have to do is tell the tech installers to make sure the drives didn't agree with the software. There is no proof for this, it is simply speculation.

Point being that there should never be the potential for exploitation of customers, espeically when it comes to the purchase of something more than $1000.

Dell, this is a thorn in your side, and while I welcome you to Winston Salem, NC, I deplore the monetary tactics used in this case.

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