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Dell Inc. Complaint - A loyal customer very disappointed - Dimension 4600
Dell Inc. Complaint

Dell Inc. Complaint


A loyal customer very disappointed - Dimension 4600

I recently (October 2008) needed to upgrade the storage capacity of my Dell 4600, which I'd purchased in 2003. I turned to Dell for two reasons: up until now I'd received good service from them, having bought three systems from them over the years, so I felt I'd get good service now; and I trusted that they would know what I needed, as I am not a hardware guru, and so I would not have to worry about making mistakes. Unfortunately this was incorrect on both counts.

When I spoke with Dell sales, I said I wanted a 1 TB SATA drive. The rep said my system was not SATA compatible, and I would have to go with EIDE, and the largest available was 500 GB. I took her word for it, and as time was of the essence (I am a grad student, and had assignments due that required massive amounts of drive space and my original 120 GB drive was near capacity) I had the drive overnighted. The drive arrived the next day (the only thing that was to go well in this affair), but when I contacted tech support to have help walking through the installation, I found out that I needed an IDE cable, which did not come with the drive and was not available in my machine. This was my first surprise. When I called Dell sales, they told me they'd be happy to sell me a cable, but it would be several days before I'd receive it. Upset that, if I'd been told about it, I could have purchased the cable at the same time as the drive and therefore would have had it then already, I opted to try to locate one locally. Little did I realize how rare IDE connectors had become... I had to go to a specialty store that was not open on weekends (I found out Friday, late). Once I had the cable, I contacted tech support again and began the installation... when I had the cover off, and was trying to locate the bay into which the drive would go, I discovered that my original drive was a SATA! I had never seen a SATA connection before, so did not realize what it was until the technician told me... that was when I began to feel REALLY upset. That began my adventure with Dell customer service.

The more I ruminated, that day, over Dell's mistakes, the first being told my system was not SATA capable, the second not even being told I needed additional parts to make my second-choice drive work, the more I felt they needed to make this right by offering me the SATA drive I'd originally wanted at the same cost as the one I'd been told was my only choice. I sent them a complaint to that effect, and waited... and waited... and waited. They then sent me a letter saying no. I complained to a supervisor, adding comments about how I have been a loyal Dell customer for years, and would like to continue to be (when I graduated I would probably be buying a new, high-end system). And waited, and waited... in the meantime my original drive began to make sounds, and I thought I might need to replace it; I also thought it was becoming less and less convenient to simply return the drive I'd mistakenly been told I needed (but which did work) - so I changed my proposal to this: I would buy a new 1 TB drive at the cost of the EIDE drive I'd bought, and Dell would ship it overnight at no additional charge. I felt this was equitable, especially since the cost of 1 TB drives continues to fall rapidly, and this was dragging out so long that the prices had fallen appreciably, making Dell's "discount" to me even less.

Dell didn't see it that way.

I just got off the phone with their "supervisory staff". He tried to tell me that there were no internal drives offered on my system's "upgrade path", so they would not sell me one (although if I wanted to buy one locally, I was welcome to). When I pointed out that, if his assertion was true, the sales staff that had sold me the internal EIDE drive was doubly wrong, he tried to tell me it had been an issue of availability at the time...

Basically, he was giving me rationalizations that made Dell's position for denying my request seem appropriate, and when I pushed to hear Dell's final position he finally said no. I clarified that Dell was denying a long term customer a discount that amounted to $20.00 at this time after having been given bad advice under urgent circumstances and then gone through a four-month run-around trying to resolve the matter, and he repeated no. He tried to add that Dell was noting my concerns, and would review the events to be able to provide better service in the future, but I interrupted him by replying that I had no interest in what Dell did in the future as I would not be doing business with a company that valued $20.00 over loyal customers.

The final summation is this... caveat emptor. If you have a Dell system, you need to learn its technical specifications yourself and do your homework before calling them. If you don't, and a mistake is made, even if it is Dell's, you can expect absolutely no contrition or even regret on their part. But they will be happy to sell you something else to make it right. Oh yes, and don't forget they'll ask "Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

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