Laptop Owner Stuck In Dell Hell While Waiting For Refund

If you’re a regular reader of Consumerist, you are probably aware that Dell Hell is usually reserved for Dell customers who are trying to get their hardware fixed or replaced. But here’s the tale of a man who has spent months just waiting for a refund from the company.

Over at the NY Times’ Haggler column, they look into the case of a longtime Dell customer who returned his malfunctioning laptop back in March, but has yet to see a refund — and who is now being ignored by Dell.

After several weeks of no refund, the customer wrote Dell in May asking for a progress report. And in spite of having had several back-and-forth e-mails with the same company rep, it’s only at this point that she asks the customer, “I am looking into this matter for you presently. Do you have your customer number or phone number to help me track this down?”

The customer replied with the info and received a response indicating that some sort of error was made initially but that a credit was now being processed.

But it also included this confusing bit: “Please keep in contact. Because your case is not in my caseload tracker I need your correspondence to keep this at the front of my list.”

So because the Dell system is so screwed up that it can’t process a refund correctly — or put a customer complaint into a proper tracking system — it’s now the customer’s responsibility to keep pestering Dell?

Unfortunately, the customer says Dell has since stopped replying to his messages. Thus, the Haggler eventually got involved and received and immediate, though lackluster, response from Dell.

“This was an unfortunate case of a representative not following up,” explained the company. “We have shared this case as a ‘training opportunity’ with her manager. We also share with the appropriate management teams any process failures we may believe exist.”

But as the Haggler points out — and we agree — the problem here isn’t necessarily with one employee, but with a system that appears to be incredibly broken. Training up an employee does nothing to repair the process that screwed up the refund in the first place.

Adding a bit of salt to the wound, the customer eventually received a voicemail from someone at Dell that said, “I was hoping to speak to you… so I could hear the joy in your voice.”

As if he is supposed to be giddy with delight that Dell finally stopped ignoring him (after one of the world’s largest newspapers got involved) and decided to give him a call.

We think he’d be much happier with a refund check… And possibly another brand of laptop.

Running in Circles for a Dell Refund [NY Times]