Dell Can't Tell Time

Dell doesn’t understand the difference between business hours support and 24×7 support. Dell’s website states “We will respond to your sales e-mail inquiries within two business hours, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!” Wow, what excellent service.

On reader thumpasor’s suggestion, we sent Dell an innocent email asking if they could provide sales support for a server purchase at 2am. Dell responded with the following email:

subject RE: Dell Small Business Online Order Question #AutoReply#


We have received your message and look forward to serving you.
Our e-mail technicians should respond with in 2 hours of receipt of your message.

Please note that our agents hours of operation are M-F, between the hours of 8am – 5pm CST.

8am-5pm? We’re not good with math, but we’re pretty sure that’s less than 24 hours.

Dell clarifies their hours, after the jump…

Dell responded to our email thirty minutes later.
Mr./Mrs. Greenberg-Berger:

Thank you for choosing Dell. You have reached the Small to Medium Business Online Order Resolution team.

Please contact our Customer Care Department at 800-456-3355 extension 7268938 for further assistance in this regard. Our Representatives are available between 7am to 7pm CST Monday through Friday and they will be glad to assist you.

Thank you for choosing Dell.


SMB Online Sales
Dell, Inc.

7am-7pm? Wasn’t it 8am-5pm in the last email? Our androgynous name confuses many, but we didn’t think it could muddle time. Until now.

Which is it, Dell? Do you leave small businesses in the dark for 15 hours per day, or 12? — Mr. CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER (Thanks to thumpasor!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. huginn says:

    Dude…. You’re gonna have to wait!

  2. gorckat says:

    They referenced two different departments- email techs and customer service by phone.

  3. elbuzzard says:

    They don’t say they will provide sales support. They say they will “RESPOND to your sales e-mail inquiries within two business hours, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!”

    Did you get that auto-response within 2 business hours?

  4. Voyou_Charmant says:

    It’s ridiculous to me that a huge company like Dell can not provide both 24 hour sales and support.

    I work for a small software company (just over 60 employees) we offer 24 hour a day technical support (our support is also capable of making sales, imagine that!), and our regular sales hours (both corporate and consumer) are from 8am to 8:pm Monday through Friday EST.

    We do no outsourcing. Every department is in house and 99% of the time you call a live person will answer the phone.

    This customer service oriented approach has proven to be nothing but successful.

  5. rewinditback says:

    i had to fight tooth and nail to get Dell to refund me of my lemon computer they sold me. I’d estimate it took 4 months to get a full refund… and in the end it took a letter to john stossel, BBB, FTC, and a letter on the ” dell home forum ” under the title ‘ dude i’m being robbed ‘ to get my money back. F-DELL.

  6. comedian says:

    “Not in a row.”

    Stephen Wright

  7. kerry says:

    @The Comedian: My thoughts, exactly. There’s a Korean restaurant near me with a big sign that says Open 24 Hours! but if you pay attention to the sign on the door you’ll see they’re closed from 2am-6am. Open 24 hours, yes, just not in a row.

  8. @elbuzzard: Yeah, but that’s misleading. Nobody will read that and think they’re only supposed to get an auto-response. Auto-responses can’t respond to an inquiry because they can’t read the e-mail. They only respond to the fact that the e-mail was recieved.

    It’d be like someone asking me a question, me saying “Huh?”, and then refusing to actually answer the question because I already ‘responded’ to it.

  9. kerry says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:

    It’d be like someone asking me a question, me saying “Huh?”, and then refusing to actually answer the question because I already ‘responded’ to it.

    I’m going to do this the next time someone asks me a question I don’t want to answer. Brilliant!

  10. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    Not surprised… Dell can’t do math either, remember?

  11. elbuzzard says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: It would be more like you answering the question immediately with “I’ll answer that tomorrow.” They didn’t refuse to answer anything.

    I’m no big fan of Dell, but they are just doing what they said they would do. An auto-response is a response.

    How big of a deal is this? Is this actually bad customer service or do we just like to complain?

  12. marike says:

    I’m curious as to if they replied to his email by 9 or 10 am CST.

  13. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @The Comedian: Damn, you beat me to it!

  14. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Yeah, this is all kinda sketchy. But honestly, an auto response is better than no response at all. I’d feel slightly better if I sent a support inquiry and got an auto response with the date and time I sent the inquiry, along with a case number. That way, if a real person doesn’t follow-up on the next business day, you would have some evidence to help you file a complaint.

    Not getting any auto-response is just any easy way for companies to say, “Nope, we never received your inquiry. And your warranty expired this morning. We can’t help you. Bye”.

  15. warchild says:

    Actually, if the notices, that each one of their departments has different support hours. If you are calling about your home computer, yes, your support hours are 24×7 .. However, if you are calling about your server, there are different hours depending from which department you purchased it from..

  16. Mogbert says:

    Many MANY places consider the ability to send them an e-mail or access their support webpage 24/7 support. After all, they don’t shut down their servers at night, therefore the e-mail and webpage are still up.

    It’s more marketing then anything else. Their support said “This is what we do.” and then told marketing to write up someting about it. Marketing felt that the servers being up is good enough to claim 24/7.

    Now when you get down to “contracts” they are very specific, those aren’t written by marketing.

  17. SexCpotatoes says:

    Funny thing no one mentioned that in the auto-response, it SAYS they’ll get back with them within two business hours…