Dell Admits Error In Asking Consumerist To Remove Post

Dell has said it was wrong for trying to get The Consumerist to remove a “confessions” post from a former Dell worker.

Dell’s Direct2Dell blog wrote, “Now’s not the time to mince words, so let me just say it… we blew it.”

Dell also posted its own series of “confessions.” Number one: “Ok, we goofed. We shouldn’t have sent a notice. To my earlier point, we appreciate the reminder from the community. Point taken.”

The confessions went on to tout various Dell services, initiatives, and showed how to get deals on Dell products. Gizmodo called them, “completely transparent marketing BS.” We think they’re pretty good for people looking to buy Dell stuff.

Smart moves all around by Dell. The backlash was growing. It was Dugg, Slashdotted, Farked, Jeff Jarvised… not to mention the scores of other blogs that picked it up. WiseBread ran a poll where 54% of the 1937 respondents said they would boycott Dell if Dell persisted in its takedown efforts. It takes courage to admit you’re wrong. We commend Dell for that. Though, why acknowledge the mistake to the Internets, but not to us? There was no note in our mailbox.

Shrug. A minor quibble. Good on them for writing a mea culpa, not suing us, and for working on a Saturday to boot. — BEN POPKEN

Dell’s 23 Confessions [Direct2Dell]

PREVIOUSLY:
Dell Demands Takedown Of Our “22 Confessions Of A Former Dell Sales Manager”
22 Confessions Of A Former Dell Sales Manager

Comments

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  1. philosobrat says:

    yay… I guess? They should still apologize to this blog for threatening it and should realize how much they have damaged its reader’s opinion of them. So.. um… yay?

  2. arachnophilia says:

    your lawyer is amazing, btw.

  3. ZonzoMaster says:

    KICKASS!!!

  4. The backlash freak train was getting pretty hairy. It was Dugg, Slashdotted, Farked, Jeff Jarvised… not to mention the scores of other blogs that picked it up. WiseBread ran a poll where 54% of the 1937 respondents said they would boycott Dell if Dell persisted in its takedown efforts.

    Heh, Nailed that prediction.

  5. mojoshtudd says:

    Those were confessions??? # 9 on their list says: “We normally wouldn’t have said this in the past, but we have some very cool PCs being introduced later this month.”

    This is just some damage-control act — and a very, very pathetic one at that.

  6. Cheers to Dell! I actually thought their 23 confessions were pretty good reads. There’s some market speak in there, but there were a couple of gems that made me sort of go, “Aww Dell. I love you too.”

  7. ShadowFalls says:

    One thing that is right with the whole thing is the different pricing schemes. I went through their “As Advertised” section, went to customize two advertised Inspiron E1705 models. I customized them to both the same specs and ended up with one $100 cheaper than the other… Oddly enough, the XPS model which was advertised, which would be thought to be better, ended up not being so with some less important options and higher prices.

  8. WSUCanuck says:

    Why am i not surprised that you guys pat yourselves on the back for this, but refuse to admit being wrong on other things…. impressive.

  9. Trai_Dep says:

    Really smart correction on Dell’s part. And, once clearer heads had a chance to mull things through, I think *someone* in the Dell organization pulled back and said, “What side are we really on?”

    Our side. Which is their side. So long as they’re on our side. Win/Win, all of that.

    It’s an epochal change. Do right. Screw up (it’s human). Rely on blogs to bring mistakes to your attention. See it. Fix it. Apologize profusely. Change protocols to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Watch $$$ roll in. Capitalism at its finest. :D

  10. RebekahSue says:

    Via Consumerist:

    Despite some suggestions to the contrary among some of our fellow beings, most humans need to sleep. Some of us also receive hundreds of emails a day and have to deal with every one of them. I received this email at 12am last night. It is 7am now. That’s a pretty good turnaround.

    Maybe an apology IS forthcoming; perhaps Tracy Holland needs to sleep? It’s probably been a rough weekend. I’d give her until 7:00 a.m.

  11. Rev3rb says:

    This has been an interesting story to watch.

  12. Katharine says:

    Admitting they were wrong about this is all good and nice but what about admitting their customer is horrible. This left a bad taste in my mouth about them but the customer service drove me away forever.

  13. Slytherin says:

    I still wouldn’t buy a Dell.

  14. Bay State Darren says:

    Wow. Dell has been officially pwned.

  15. enm4r says:

    I guess I’m just not impressed when a company thinks they can act however they want, and then turn around and apologize. Is that really all it takes?

  16. phypennwl says:

    I’m sorry, but I think this thing has still been way overblown. Dell maybe could’ve done things better, but I think Consumerist could’ve handled things in a much nicer fashion too. I’ve certainly seen far, far more vitriolic C&D letters. Tracy’s messages didn’t seem like they deserved either the sharp response from Gaby or the headline making Dell look like some RSAA-like tyrant.

  17. UnStatusTheQuo says:

    I still give credit to Dell for the blog post for at least doing SOMETHING to try and make things right… well, as much as was possible after their initial reaction. Yes, some of it was saving face and they had few options…

    But, would we expect something like that from, say, AT&T or Wal-Mart or RIAA/MPAA? No chance. Credit Dell, even if just a little.

  18. jerseyjokeboy says:

    I guess Dell wised up and decided to stop the PR mayhem, but my problem is with the reported pricing. I think the former employee confessed that if you configure your pc online, you may get 8 or 9 different prices for the same machine, depending on how you do it. WHAT?? So if I want a Dell pc, I’ll inevitably feel cheated once I configure the pc to my desired specs, since there may be a lower price somewhere in their system. I don’t know if you can call this a scam, but it sure looks like one.

  19. legalbeagle123 says:

    Excellent Headline!

    It’s good to see that Consumerist editors now realize the difference between demanding that something be removed and merely asking that it be removed.

  20. Fry says:

    Good job, Dell. You just earned yourself a few points for admitting you made a mistake. If only other companies did that as well…

  21. So, now that Dell has turned a “new leaf”, does that mean something will be done about the 5 month wait time I’ve had for my Express Upgrade to Windows Vista? Not only have I been lied to by Dell Customer Service numerous times (I was told in March I would be receiving my upgrade “soon, I promise.”) but I have also received ZERO compensation for my wait! And now, after my last call earlier this month, I was told I’d receive it by the end of June. Well, I have yet to receive an email to tell me it was shipped and we’ve already passed June’s midpoint. I should get a free upgrade to Vista Ultimate for all the trouble I’ve been put through! Not only does this make me never want to buy another Dell, it has me so worked up that I’m going to start a letter campaign to my Student Government at Stony Brook University to try and get them to switch the manufacturer they get a discount from to anyone BUT Dell. I start school in the first week of July, and look forward to getting that started.

  22. Look, the people that think the “confessions” are not true confessions, you’re not going to get an insider memo from Dell Inc. detailing all of their personal information or how to *secretly* get a Dell computer for FREE!! Just realize that the power of Consumerist and the Internet brought an ACTUAL Dell employee onto the scene and PUBLICLY ADMITTED defeat (sort of) and OFFICIALLY apologized to US.

    That’s a confession in and of itself people. Now live it up, bask in its glow, and lets see what other corporation we can bring to its knees.

  23. exkon says:

    Hey, no fancy beating around the bush, just a simple: “We’re Sorry.”

  24. royal72 says:

    “royal72 says: thank you dell for confirming that i will never, ever buy a single product you sell. have a nice day.
    06/15/07 01:43 PM”

  25. InductGnosis says:

    I am a former Dell employee. I worked in a dept. created to help with customer service issues. I assisted customer with both technical and care issues.
    Dell are indeed trying to repair what they lost. I witnessed first hand many changes Dell were making. While my stay there was short (due to relocation) there was tons of constant movement and concern behind the lines, all focusing around repair. I think people forget that with a company this large and with so many employees how difficult the process is to repair mistakes.

  26. RichardP says:

    I’m immensely impressed by Dell. You’ve advertised their wares at the publicly advertised prices they want to sell at, you’ve told people it’s a bargain, you’ve pushed the story as widely as possible on the back of a ‘controversial’ news story, and then claimed a victory for the consumer because they backed down.

    Net gain to Dell $500K of advertising.
    Net cost to Dell $500 marketing fees.

    Way to go Dell!

  27. atrauzzi says:

    I still don’t buy it really. Dell has yet to reach out to existing customers to improve upon products out there.
    They still market on the basis that the systems don’t need to last longer than their warranties.
    The warranties themselves are ineffective and only result in parts that lower the reliability and life expectancy of your machine.

    There are so many problems stemming from the quality of their product and Dell is like every other company, they don’t want to backtrack. Just try wearing their heart on their sleeve for a bit…

    I don’t buy it. Not until Dell contacts me and says “we want to make this up to you”.

  28. InductGnosis says:

    With new technology coming out all the time its hard to focus on machines that are older than 5 years. Dell assumes most people will upgrade their systems within a 3-5 year period.

    I of course do not how how much you know about computer hardware but try and find a motherboard or a part thats older than 5 years on newegg. It has nothing to do with Dell, its just how the market is. Current example of this is DDR and DDR2 RAM. DDR2 is much cheaper and easier to find than DDR, but yet is going to be the new RAM standard.

    The comment about the warranties being ineffective is completely bogus. On a daily basis I spoke with many companies and people who would take advantage of the warranties they purchased to repair their machines. Beyond that, there were also upgrades to parts and new revisions put out for machines already being sold.

  29. Imaginary says:

    You know I’ve tried to buy from Dell before and the Kiosk employee was ……well a jack hole. Besides the fact that I don’t trust the corporate systems, I don’t think I’ll be buying from Dell, especially after this ordeal. I’m sure they will be changing the way they present their sales on the website, it’ll be a lot harder next time to find those same deals mentioned in the blog.

  30. atrauzzi says:

    InductGnosis

    Refurbished equipment doesn’t fly with me. Dell shipped me a defective laptop which isn’t even 2 months old now. Their replacement drive? Defective too…

    I’ve worked computer sales, am a programmer, build all my desktops: I’ve been using computers all my life.
    I’m witness to the staggering decline in quality as the market gets gouged more and more. I own a motherboard over 7 years old and it works flawlessely (as does the RAM & CPU obviously). Can’t say that for parts coming out of Dell and many other companies these days. And they think they’re allowed to do that because the mainstream always has a thing for allowing products to become disposable.

    And that’s the problem here: You’re giving Dell and other companies justification to make garbage. Encourage an improvement in quality, not a decline – companies don’t need to be given any more justification for that…

  31. InductGnosis says:

    Atrauzzi:

    Regardless I have been on the other side and you have not. I am not here trying to say Dell is the greatest company ever, I am merely saying they are trying and I have witnessed it.

  32. Has Dell sent anything to Consumerist yet?

  33. pissamist says:

    It is amazing how a company realizes it’s mistakes AFTER the public backlash starts tying them to the whipping post. And as one who works in the broadcast industry, I must aid companies who are not aware of this simple fact. These longtime sayings have weathered time because they work.
    1. No news is good news.
    2. They can talk about you, but not without you.
    3. Listeners. They hate you, they love you, but
    they listen.
    4. Rumors aren’t rumors if they keep coming back.

    These might help the next time a company starts to open their public affairs mouths and insert a size
    22 stupid shoe.

  34. youngxman says:

    Let me see if I’ve got this right. The Chief is “fired” and paid millions but they can’t get my $1600 laptop to me on time. What’s wrong with this picture?

  35. davemckay says:

    Bullshit. Dell has to apologise for asking that an article be removed which advises customers to purchase extended warranty, wait a month before it runs out, trash the product by dropping it and then claim it was an accident in order to receive a free one?

    And then all the bloggers respond, “finally they’ve seen sense”, and still believe they weren’t within their rights to ask for it to be removed in the first place…

  36. Casper Hoegi says:

    In respect to all of this but their PR hasnt got much better ive been at dell for winning a contest for a month now. Now they want me to help them free of charge i posted an add annonymously and now it wont go through but here it is again….SHAME ON YOU DELL
    Dear Sir,

    Thank-you for your email and your patience with this matter.

    In advance, we would like to reiterate that we do not offer our services via
    pop-ups nor do we utilize any promotional material which would indicate that
    our service is free to enter. However, it is important for us to clarify that
    we do utilize affiliate networks to promote our services; in which, some these
    affiliate networks may add pop-ups to their site, which ultimately lead to our
    service registration page.

    It is important to highlight, that we do strongly advise any affiliate, we may
    use, that our products are not be to be associated to misleading media,
    especially media which suggests that our services may be free or that a user
    has “already won” the prize of our service.

    In reviewing the pop-up ad you have provided, it is apparent that one of the
    affiliates has disregarded this advisory. We do not condone this, in any way,
    and whilst we can understand your frustration in the ongoing conversation; we
    would kindly ask further assistance from you in investigating the affiliate
    involved.

    We have reviewed the screenshots you have provided and whilst they do
    illustrate the offending pop-up; please note that, in order to determine the
    exact identity affiliate, we require the address (link) of the registration
    page that the pop-up leads to not just the disclaimer message from the bottom
    of the registration page. Are you able to provide this?

    Unfortunately, due to the legal aspect surrounding our service, we are not
    able to offer a free laptop to you, without prior participation and
    competition in our service. However, we can guarantee that once we have
    determined the identity of the offending affiliate, we will demand the
    offending material is removed to avoid further confusion, such as you have
    experienced.

    Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards,

    Customer Care – Promotion Department