EECB Saves Reader From Dell Hell

While we never like to hear the awful stories that come through our doors, it’s a relief to know we can help. Listen to Reader B.J’s harrowing Dell tale, and the EECB that saved the day.

B.J. writes:

Something you guys might find interesting:

Evidently, the EECB technique still works with some of our friends over at Dell. Let me explain. Back on December 8th, I called up Dell interested about placing an order for a new laptop for my upcoming college semester. I spoke to an excellent salesperson named Michael who graciously walked me through all of my options based on what I was looking for. Great, as this is what I was expecting and I wasn’t let down. I ended up selecting the Dell XPS m1530 laptop in midnight blue. Seeing as I work in New York City and am also a student I needed something decently powerful that doesn’t weigh a metric ton. Once we had wrapped up the call I was given an estimated ship date of 19, December. Since I am remarkably impatient once I actually decide to buy something (I’m kind of meticulous when it comes to purchases, not pain-in-the-ass meticulous but the be-sure-of-what-you’re-buying kind) I prudently checked the status of the order.

Fast forward about a week and a half. The Wednesday before the 19th I decided to give Dell a call to see if there were any chance of the laptop being sent out earlier than its projected ship date. If there’s one thing I USED to know about Dell, its that they’re typically pretty good at beating their own deadlines. I was told to check back in the morning with a department called order modification, which resides in the warehouse and could provide me with a better answer.

*shrug* not a problem. I call back the following morning and to my astonishment I am informed that my order had been canceled. Canceled? WTF? I never canceled it? What the hell happened?!? Well, the sales associate, in her disconnected, I’m-only-here-for-the-paycheck way said flatly that there was an issue with credit processing. So here I sit, wondering if I went over my credit limit as I waited for somebody from Dell financial to get on the line. Finally, they inform me that as a new customer, they had to verify my information before the purchase went through. I asked them why now, and not when I ordered a week and a half ago. Nobody had answers. I clear up the block and was sent back to customer care to reinstate my order.

Ok, so here’s where things get pharmaceutical…

Now, with most companies if there’s a problem with an order they usually contact you, right? After all, they want your business as much as you want their product. No such luck here despite having all three of my phone numbers (home, cell, office) and two email addresses. Furthermore, even though this all happened ONE DAY before its ship date, Dell evidently cannot simply reinstate an order, even if is was their fault. Their resolution was to place an entirely new order for the same configuration as before, wait another two weeks or longer (due to holiday volume) and have a new estimated ship date of 23, Jan. And send that out to me next day comped. Hideously inadequate when you’re talking about a previous order that was right on the cusp of completion when somebody on their end nozzed it up on me.

Order canceled late on the 17th. I just checked it earlier that afternoon. wow.

At this point I’m getting feisty because that makes no sense to me whatsoever. What the hell happened to my original order? Did they disassemble it overnight? Did it disappear like the Cheshire cat? The associate was actually trying to answer my rhetorical questions, how’s that for sharp? I ask for a supervisor and get somebody who tells me that she’s not a supervisor and that there are none in that building. After calling back 9 different times, speaking to six ‘supervisors’ being held for hours and dropped a few times for good measure I check out Consumerist. I’m pretty sure I’m glued to some unruly customer list because after about the third person I starting cussing people out something lovely.

I applaud the work you guys do, btw. They ways you deconstruct the corporate run-around is admirable. I’d love to work for you.

That said, on your site, I was looking for phone numbers to executive customer service and I happen upon the Michael@dell.com email address. By now, I’m thinking its a shot in the dark and if it doesn’t work, I’ll go to Sony or Apple the next day. I email my litany of woe and a way to reach me.

I should also mention that I paid a visit to Ihatedell.net and read the horror stories therein, had I read them earlier before I made the initial contact I probably wouldn’t have gone here.

According to what I’ve read on your site, executive responses are often either surgically decisive or glacially slow. I was not expecting a prompt response. Suffice it to say that only maybe two hours later I have an email in my box from somebody at Dell’s Global Escalation Management Team.

The epilogue is this:

After talking to the lady at the GEMT she hacked the new laptop’s build and ship time from three weeks plus to two days and comped next-day shipping. This mess started on a Thursday and another laptop shipped on Monday. (Didn’t get it till last Saturday thanks to FedEx’s holiday bumbling, another story entirely) It arrived with upgraded components (higher processor, memory, backlit keyboard, screen) and with headphones and a personal letter of apology. Interestingly enough, despite dell’s horrendous incompetence they still seem to get things done you just need to get to the right people. The company employs around 88,000. They can’t all be assholes. Happy shopping.

By the by, the computer works great!

Lesson? M.Dell’s personal email works. quickly and I would recommend it to anybody who gets stuck in this web.

Among the stops on my Dell Call Center World Tour:

Indonesia, Maylaysia, Ireland, Texas, Tennessee, Ohio and that old, outsourcing favorite, India.

B.J.

Photo:[Getty]