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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Dell Hell

I've always had Dell computers, and have generally been pleased with what little tech support I've needed. But this most recent brouhaha has changed my mind. I've had this laptop for about 2 years now. Recently, when using it on battery power (Wifi, and all that), it was shutting down after only thirty minutes or so with no warning. Time for a new battery, I thought. Fair enough. The Dell website makes it seductively easy to figure out what kind you need. I order and pay for it with just a few keystrokes. Two days later (I continue to be impressed) I find a package from Dell on my doorstep.

The nightmare begins. Does this look like a battery to you? Do batteries come with install software? Do they come with a manual entitled "Installing your Dell Mobile Broadband Card"? I think not. Still, it ought to be a simple problem to resolve, right? Just call Dell, explain that they sent the wrong thing, and ask them to send the RIGHT thing.

Ten days later, after speaking to four customer service reps, and posting twice on the Dell website I think we might be on the way to a solution. Why has this been so difficult? Why does a company like Dell make it impossible to speak to a human being without going through endless loops of recorded messages? Why do "customer service" websites provide no way to send a direct email? The reps (all women, all effusively polite, all in India, despite having names like "Janice" and "Chloe" ) were all hell-bent on identifying the mystery item pictured. They wanted to know its value . They wanted to know its "product number". I, on the other hand, wanted them to focus on sending me the battery I ordered. Now Chloe has promised that she will give this her personal attention and that I will receive the battery in "seven to ten days". (Was it unreasonable of me to ask why so long?) We shall see. Posted by Picasa

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