Avoid Dell Hell By Ordering Through Dell Small Business

Ordering through Dell Small Business and you’ll never step into Dell Hell. They have vastly superior reps and techs than those devoted to the Home and Home Office lines.

Reader Paul asked his helpful rep why there was such a different in service and she said that Home and Home Office uses “techs with little training and seat time,” whereas well-trained techs based in the US service Small Business.

With all the Dell horror stories going on, we felt left out, wondering why we never seemed to have a problem. Now we know it’s because when we ordered our XPS (back when we worked in a real office) we ordered through Small Business and had it delivered to work. We just wanted to make sure we got the package safely but turns out there were other side bennies. — BEN POPKEN


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  1. muckpond says:

    another big bonus: the machines coming from the small business area aren’t pre-loaded with thousands of crappy applications.

    you still get a few, but it’s FAR fewer.

  2. consumed says:

    We use the Gold Tech Support at my company and they’re awesome… mostly based in Idaho or Texas and I have never had to wait on hold before a tech comes on the line. Since all the power supplies and motherboard capacitors keep failing in our GX270/GX280 systems I have had to call them dozens of times and they generally send out parts the next day when I ask for them to send the parts.

  3. muckpond says:

    another big bonus: the machines coming from the small business area aren’t pre-loaded with thousands of crappy applications.

    you still get a few, but it’s FAR fewer.


    I’ve definitely found that isn’t the case, there are probably 5-10 annoying crappy junk programs that launch on startup. If that’s less than what they normally come loaded with it must take hours to boot.

    Other big perks of small business are the customization options and the lower prices.

  4. What, no comments about Dell’s consumer-unfriendly tiered web site?

    Unless you know ahead of time to pick “Small Business”, you won’t get to configure your machine as flexibly as possible – nor will you get the best prices – nor will you get the best support.

    Dell – obfuscating the best options for consumers since 2001!

  5. rbb says:

    But, be aware that Dell Small Business always charges sales tax if you live in an area that has it. Dell Home does not necessarily charge sales tax .

    And if you order from Dell through AAFES (if you have to ask, you aren’t eligible…), there is no sales tax and free shipping.

  6. Indecision says:

    Definitely do this with HP as well! Not that HP’s business support is a bastion of good Customer Service (it’s quite the opposite, actually), but the level of service you get still manages to be better than their home support.

    This is especially true if you’re even a little bit technically savvy. I’ve even convinced them to send me a replacement laptop motherboard, plus all the repair manuals for their business models are right on their website. The home models? No repair manuals to be found.

  7. cde says:

    @rbb: Considering that its a business expense (Hence, small business), the tax and the purchase are tax-write-offs/deductibles.

  8. dantsea says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier to avoid Dell Hell by doing business with a company that sucks less?

  9. rbb says:

    @cde: Quite true. But, the consumer without the ability to write-off the sales tax needs to factor that in to making a decision between the small business and home divisions of Dell.

  10. scoobydoo says:

    Don’t forget that you can’t use your Dell Preferred Account with Dell SB, I like my DPA because I get an additional 4% off, plus I almost always have 15% coupons in my account.

  11. getjustin says:

    I bought a Dell about a month ago and had some really great customer service through some very strange issues. But I’ve been reading all of these posts about horrible customer service recently and thought it was rather strange. Until now. I ordered though Small Business and I can vouch for the fact that the service was really top notch.

  12. minneapolisite says:

    Aha! This finally explains why I have such a great experience with Dell customer service (ordered my laptop through Small Business), while my coworker can’t stop complaining about them (ordered hers through Home Office). Thanks for the explanation!

  13. ohayorisa says:

    I too received my computer through Dell Small Business and have always had great service…I never knew why with all the Dell horror stories I’ve heard and just figured I was lucky.

  14. karmaghost says:

    OOooo, good to know. I haven’t had any problems with this laptop… yet *knock on wood*, but it’s good to know the service for Small Business is much better.

  15. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Where on the HP site are the repair manuals.
    Much of that will be applicable to home models.

  16. sizer says:

    @dantc: ‘Wouldn’t it be easier to avoid Dell Hell by doing business with a company that sucks less?’

    And who would that be? Other than building a computer myself, which I’ve done a few times, it’s hard to come up with anyone who will sell you a better computer cheaper than Dell with no hell involved if something goes wrong. Certainly not HPaq or eMachines or Sony. IBM/Lenovo/Apple have good service, but you’re paying for it up front.

    All our work computers are Dell small business, and I have to say they’re quite nice. Support was okay the once or twice we’ve had to use it – though in light of this posting that’s to be expected.

  17. Paul_e30 says:

    In addition to what I found out, after you purchase a computer from the SB section, you should get quarterly emails about sweet deals and clearance items. The last one I got notes 40% off a Dell 1815dn laser printers!! The one before that had buy 2 get one free on 19″ Ultrasharp LCD monitors!! They definitely NOT on my spam list!

  18. Paul_e30 says:
  19. facted says:

    @muckpond: For that, simply use PC-Decrapifier :) Awesome program.

  20. FLConsumer says:

    Dell Small Business also has higher-quality PCs to sell than the Crapsumer division. Their Optiplex desktops and Latitude laptops are damn close to bulletproof. I have a GX280 in the server farm which had the misfortune of being dropped down a flight of stairs. Case is a little worse for wear, but it still closes. I replaced the HDD just to be on the safe side, but it’s happily purring away in the server farm. We’ve even thrown a few band-aids (as in the actual bandages) over the “bruises” the case suffered as a joke.

    Likewise, their Latitude laptops (and Lenovo Thinkpads) are about the only thing my users won’t break in a month or two. Bunch of friggin apes. The one user broke 3 Toshiba laptops in 6 months. The Latitudes seem to last him about 3 years, which is fine by me. Also, the Next-Day On-Site repair service rules. Nice to be able to get users’ laptops fixed while they’re on the road. Dell just shows up at their hotel or visiting office with the parts and does their magic. Been a major life-saver for me.

  21. shdwsclan says:

    Just order IBM.
    Ordering as a customer in the ibm/lenovo strata, you still get great customer service, there is no such thing as ibm hell.

  22. mickbw says:

    And here I thought I was in a community of one.

    I found the laptop i wanted on the web but I receive an employee discount because my company is a big Dell buyer. Woo Hoo, even bigger savings. Not.

    The only problem was you had to call and talk to a sales rep to get the discount. I was pushed to 3 different sales reps before I got someone who understood that though I worked for a state agency didn’t mean I was purchasing this laptop for a state agency but for personal use. (If you saw the sh!t they get from Dell because of their contract, you would understand why I wanted to make that clear). I am ready to give them the credit card number when I ask if I can get it without an O.S.
    No you can’t do that, I will have to talk to my manager, let me call you back. No call back and of course they never call back.

    I call back and they can’t find my quote. The rep has to do another quote and gives me a price over $100 higher. I told her that I would just eat the $20 discount and order through the web site. She said that would take 2 weeks longer if I did that. I asked to talk to a supervisor. She hung up on me.

    I called back. The next person told me I couldn’t order a computer from the small business site unless i had a taxid. Luckily I didn’t listen and ordered it through the web.

    Surprise, Dell has never called back about my complain. The only reason I bought the laptop was to save the $300 on the configuration other than what they were trying to push on me.

  23. Indecision says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik: Much of the principles involved in laptop disassembly are common, sure. It’s the important details that differ — like just how many screws are holding in that panel, and which ones need to be removed before getting at the others. These are often wildly different between models.

    As for where those repair manuals are, go to hp.com, click “Support and Troubleshooting” and punch in a business model. Take the nc4400 for example. Under the “Resources…” heading, click on “Manuals.” Then under “Service and maintenance information”, click the “Maintenance and Service Guide.” They often list multiple manuals for similar models, so make sure you click the right one.

    It’s in the manual under “Removal and Replacement Procedures.” Since it covers replacement of everything down to the motherboard, the full disassembly of the machine is documented in detail.

  24. mrcoolguy209 says:

    One thing nobody has mentioned is that with Dell SB, you are not offered the Premium version of Vista. You will need to call their customer support and request an upgrade from the base version to premium for ~$30.

    Additionally, there is actually a site that deals with uninstalling preloaded programs from the bloated computer sent from Dell. Search google for “dell decrapifier”. No joke.

  25. quail says:

    This rings true for any company, HP or Sony or Toshiba. Their business lines are more robust, more customizable, and more upgradeable. Not everything is soldered directly to the mother board and there are expansion slots.

    All of my computers, except for the crappy Compaq laptop I currently have, came from Dell’s Business side. Great customer service.

  26. billhelm says:

    @shdwsclan: i tried to order a lenovo thinkpad and got the runaround from their sales and order fulfillment for two months before I finally gave up and got a dell. kept pushing back my shipping date, phone reps couldn’t give me a straight answer on when the thing would ship, and upon reading about others success in getting a 10 percent discount due to the delays the most I was able to get ouf of them was a free laptop bag. so ibm/lenovo is not immune.

    finally cancelled my order after two months, ordered a dell lattitude on a monday from small business and it was in my hands on Friday.

  27. FredTheCat says:

    My father just ordered two machines from Dell Home and they arrived in just a few days, work great, and are the quietest machines I’ve ever heard. I’m almost tempted to replace my whole network of rendering machines with them!