Drunk Dell Tech Repairs Laptop With Hammer

A boozy Dell tech tried to repair the headphone jack on Andrea’s Inspiron 9100 with a hammer. Andrea’s sense of propriety kept her quiet when Joel arrived reeking of booze and cigarettes, and neither she nor her boyfriend spoke up when he started wielding a hammer to install parts that wouldn’t fit onto the motherboard. Joel ended up cracking the case and putting nail holes through the wrist pad. When he left, Andrea called Dell to complain and asked for a new tech. Who did Dell dispatch? Joel!

Andrea eventually shipped the laptop to Dell so they could repair Joel’s damage. Sadly, they forgot to repair her headphone jack.

Andrea writes:

I was just reading the story about the pubic hair laptop, and I have my own story about Dell!

Since I bought my Dell Inspiron 9100 in fall 2004, it has had so many problems, making my extended accident insurance totally worthwhile! My charger died after about a year, they replaced it after 3 hours on the phone, and that one died shortly after, which was also replaced. I reformatted the summer after college, and my Wifi quit working. I spent hours on the phone with a multitude of different techs and the last one realized the cd they’d sent me wasn’t for a different wireless card. But the worst thing to go wrong was my computer’s fans. Being an overzealous first-time computer buyer, I didn’t realize what a GIANT this laptop is. After just a few minutes on, it heats up fiery-hot and kicks on the jet-engine fans. And after a few months, the headphone jack attached to one of the scorching fans stopped working.

So I called Dell. Over, and over, and over. Keep in mind this was in 2005. Every tech had their own idea what to do, and many of them spoke almost no English, so it usually took at least 2 hours just to explain what was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, they were courteous and they wanted to help, but they just couldn’t understand me. Finally, in fall 2006, someone decided to do something about it. They offered to send someone out to replace my motherboard, or ship it off to Dell somewhere. I couldn’t afford to not have my computer for a week, so I opted for the Dell technician. Oh jeez was I stupid.

The next day, a gentleman named Joel called to schedule my appointment. He arrived at the scheduled time and went to work. I was alarmed by the overwhelming scent of ALCOHOL and cigarettes on him, but too polite to say anything, I let him do it. Except, he forgot his tools in the truck. He returned 5 minutes later reeking more strongly, but ready to fix my computer. I watched him take out all the parts, gently. My IT boyfriend came over around then, and we sat watching videos and watching Joel. After removing my motherboard, he started replacing parts. Except, they didn’t fit. What to do?? GET OUT A HAMMER AND HAMMER IT BACK IN!!?? Oh yes, he did. With my LCD monitor attached.

When completed, there were a few problems. The frame around my monitor was cracked through, and there were 2 nail holes coming up through the wrist rest area and frame of the keyboard. I pointed them out to Joel [the destroyer] and he said ‘Yeah, I thought that was weird when I got here’. He asked if it was working now and I said yes(like I was going to say no and have him touch my poor laptop again!) When I lift up my laptop, there was a neat little pile of the bits of plastic he had broken off.

I called Dell right after this and the tech I got was pretty indifferent. After 3 hours, they said they’d send out a different Dell Service Technician to fix the problem. Guess who called? You’re right, JOEL! I didn’t answer his call. So I called Dell again, and said no, not Joel. I had to explain the damage to this technician too, which despite showing them pictures still took 3 more hours, they put in another service order. It was Joel, AGAIN! This time, he showed up AT MY HOUSE, WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT. He called me 5 times that day, each time leaving angrier and angrier messages about where am I? The only reason I didn’t call the cops was because I had just moved and this creepy freaking guy outside my house all day didn’t know that I no longer lived there. He had been calling me on his cell phone, so I had no idea what company he worked for or what I was supposed to do. I asked Dell. They told me if I wanted someone else, I would have to call the company. So I did. I complained about him and demanded another technician. And they said he is the only Tech in the area, so it’s him or nothing. So I decided maybe losing my laptop for a week wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. I am still pissed that his company felt too good to give me an apology. If you live in Madison, WI, beware of JOEL!!

Dell shipped it out and back in 4 days to replace the cracked frame, nailed wrist rest and keyboard frame, and motherboard. Keep in mind the WHOLE POINT was to fix my HEADPHONE JACK. Everything came back all pretty except the jack was STILL BROKEN. AND the computer overheats and shuts down now! I called Dell, again. They stayed on the line with me for hours AGAIN. And FINALLY I got someone who knew something about my laptop!!! Dana shipped me a replacement fan, which was also a replacement headphone jack, and TADA! After 2 years, my headphone jack worked! Now, if my warranty hadn’t expired, I could get my computer to stop trying to start on fire, and then shut down! It is completely worthless if I want to use it for longer than 5 minutes.

I attached 3 of the most obvious photos of what was damaged when he hammered my computer. The first is of the cracked LCD frame, the 2nd the weird dent from hammering a screw into the wrist rest, and the 3rd the completely drilled through keyboard frame. And in Dell’s defense, my boyfriend got me a Latitude C640 from 2002 they were throwing out at his work and it’s wonderful. It is portable, reasonably fast, and doesn’t overheat, even after 6 years of use.

It is amazing how good it feels to vent that to someone who could benefit from my experience! Thanks for this opportunity, Consumerist!