Dell Incapable Of Selling Man TV

On Black Friday, Rich attempted to give money to Dell to purchase a TV. He failed in this endeavor and Dell doesn’t seem to care, despite sending him 5 order acknowledgement emails.

The TV was a Sharp 32-inch LC32SB28UT 720p LCD HDTV advertised for $449.99, now listed at $529.

Richard writes:

I placed an order for a TV on Black Friday. The next day I got 5 identical order acknowledgment emails, each stating that I’d receive a confirmation email within 24 hours. No email ever came, nor did the TV (obviously). The 5 emails seemed fishy too, so I called support…

Attempt 1: (Saturday) 30 minutes of automated hell and hold music to find out their databases were down and I should call back in 3 hours.

Attempt 2 (5 hours later): same thing: database still down, 30 more minutes down the tubes.

Attempt 3 (next day): 60 minutes on hold, they can’t find my order despite me having a Purchase ID #, eventually transferred to sales to re-place the order and was disconnected while she looked something up. Fortunately I’d gotten her extension, except that it went straight to VM. I left 5 messages and never got a call back.

Attempt 4: Call the original #, ask to speak with a supervisor, 15 minutes on hold, tell him my issue, he promises to set up a 3-way conference call with sales so I can replace my order, instead I get transferred directly and sales won’t honor the original price. I get frustrated (but don’t swear or insult anyone) and she hangs up on me.

Attempt 5: Immediately ask to be forwarded to someone I can file a complaint with, 30 minutes on hold, finally get a manager. She’s nice enough and tries to help. 30 more minutes before we finally re-place the order for the original price and I get a confirmation email.

All told more than 5 hours spent trying to get this resolved. Unfortunately I could not tell if my original order was still in process or what, nor could they find it, so I couldn’t just cancel it. Plus the price was good and about half way through I was determined to make sure I at least got something for all my hassles. When I finally got it resolved I asked for a way to report my experience to someone who cared and the manager said that she’d take care of it. I asked for a case # and she said they don’t give those out. I asked for a venue to vent my frustration and she said that was it. I emailed customer service, which says to expect a response in 24 hours, and I never heard back.

I would advise strongly against anyone ever buying anything from Dell. I certainly will not.


The guy is standing here with earnest money, ready to exchange it for Dell’s goods. Even after Dell was made aware on multiple levels that he was trying to buy a TV, they could not help him. Their database went down, so see you later? Do you just butterfinger the whole order? With the flood of customers on Black Friday, maybe so. There’s another guy right behind you. In any case, Dell dropped the ball here, and so Richard had dropped them as future provider of televisions.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Dover says:

    Are the “incapable of selling” and “attempts to get [store] to take his money” lines getting old to anyone else? I enjoy the stories, but those phrases are seem pretty ragged.

    • courtarro says:

      I’m trying to figure out if any of my local TV providers get “Man TV”? That station sounds awesome! Oh wait … are they just talking about Spike? Too many ads!

    • c!tizen says:

      What kind of sick consumer “enjoys” these stories?

      *refreshes Consumerist for next story

    • The Marionette says:

      It was old from story 1. Any time I’ve had to give money to dell (or any company for that matter) i’ve never really had any problems, yet I see no stories posted on here about that =

  2. spamtasticus says:

    I never do business with Dell. What people don’t realize is that Dell is far from a good computer company. They are, in essence, the bargain basement computer assembler who won the marketing “war” back when there where like 1000s of them. They still put together computers from a crap mishmosh of components with barely a margin and therefore rely on mass volume and little service to be profitable. There is nothing illegal about this or nefarious. Just make sure you know what you are getting into before you buy something from them.

    • bethshanin says:

      Dell’s business side is much better. Their customer support is awesome. The servers, desktops and laptops has been trouble-free for years in our company. We’ve lost HP and SuperMicro servers but the Dells have plugged along with no issues.

      • c!tizen says:

        lol, lost a HDD in a Dell server this morning.

      • spamtasticus says:

        Your experience is different than mine. I specced out an entire IT structure for a very large real estate operation exclusively with Dell. I worked through one of their business reps for over a month to set up the buy and the maintenance contracts. The computers they shipped to us where all different from the specs we agreed on and even different from each other. They never resolved the issue and we ended up having to accept their terms or take them to court.

      • incident_man says:

        DHell’s business side is better?!? Bet you’d like to know that it was their business line of desktops, the Optiplex, that had systematic issues with exploding capacitors, specifically the Optiplex 270 and 280. Also it was their business tech support and customer care that were lying to affected customers and telling them that there was nothing wrong with all those machines!

    • c!tizen says:

      Man, don’t get me started. Dell is #1 on my sh*t list today.

  3. Joe-TFW says:

    Dell got his money…Dell wins. If you don’t have the guts to simply tell them to shove it, and give them your money, then you lose. You’ve rewarded them for a poor customer experience. Congrats.

  4. bethshanin says:

    Whats a Man TV? Sounds sexxy/annoying

  5. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    I’ve found Dell’s consumer-side support and purchasing to be severely lacking.

    Also, $449 for a 720p 32-inch TV is not a great deal. Costco has much better prices, awesome customer service, and extends the warranty to 2 years.

    • spamtasticus says:

      Of course Cotsco is cheaper than Dell. Dell makes money selling electronics and Costco makes money selling purchase histories to marketers. If you don’t believe me, try getting a Costco membership card without showing them an ID.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        Where can you get a true membership without saying who you are? I’m talking about memberships where you HAVE to be a member, not the grocery store cards.

      • econobiker says:

        But it doesn’t have to be your actual born-with ID though. I am sure that some people (who may have illegally immigrated from other countries) could hip you to a service that makes slightly less than true IDs…

  6. earthprince says:

    I bought a Dell a while back, but I knew what I was getting in beforehand. For simply changing a small feature in my computer, I added at least a week to my already two/three week wait. Had I not known this going in, I would have been incredibly angry, but luckily I knew what to expect. If you are willing to wait and they have something that meets your very specific needs, I find Dell to be a good-priced option. If you can’t wait a month, want good selection, customer service at even basic levels, or anything above the barebones of what you are actually buying, I would not advise Dell.

  7. IphtashuFitz says:

    About the only way I’d purchase a Dell these days (and in fact just did) is by going through Costco. At least Costco has good customer support & return policies. If I run into problems with the Dell I just return it to them and let them deal with the nightmare that is Dell.

  8. CBenji says:

    Back in 2007 my Dell Inspiron that was still under warranty or service contract. I contacted Dell. I was hung up on at least every other call. They came out to work on the laptop, told me it was the hard drive even though I knew otherwise, and they changed two hard drives in the stupid thing. In the meantime I was out a computer for months. They finally realized it was the motherboard something I suspected from day one after 3 months. They would always ask for my phone number just incase we would get disconnected, but they would never call me back. I will never buy another computer or anything from them again. They really do suck.

    The company I used to work for swore by them and I can’t understand it. Since then I have switched to Apple. They are overpriced, but I have a laptop that you can truly drop and still rely on.

  9. Starrion says:

    Dell is awful with pretty much anything on the consumer side. If you place your order online, enter all your data correctly and the product is in stock, AND the delivery is performed when you are home, then all is well.

    If any of those variables fail, then you are doomed to call their outsourced call center of People_who_couldn’t_care_less. Endless hold times and customer service people who have no idea what “service” means are the norm. I only buy through my company program that orders through our dedicated US rep and ships to the office. That works great.

  10. Tedsallis says:

    Funny, I just did a quick search and Dell is selling that exact model now for $299.99. Walmart sells it for $360. Maybe they did him a favor?

  11. jessc says:

    My experience with purchasing from Dell for an institution has been so horrible that unless I have no choice in the matter, I don’t use them. At this point, I have steered over $10,000 worth of purchases to other vendors.

    First of all, if there’s a problem, the only way I can get to a person on the phone is to *yell* at the automated system. Seriously. It always wants to list all the orders for me based on my phone number, but those are all the orders for the institution. The first time that happened, I followed the instructions to skip to the next order, and it doesn’t work. Nor did pressing any other button on the phone. I had to hang up to avoid listening to a dozen or so detailed orders. The next time, I went to a different prompt, ended up in the same place. After that, I *yelled* when asked what I wanted, “How do I speak to a person!” That got me to a person. A couple days later, another problem, called, *spoke*, “How do I speak to a person,” and it dumped me back to listing all the institutions orders. Called back, yelled, got a person.

    They canceled half of an order, and never told me. I’d been buying so much stuff that I didn’t notice for a month that I never got that order. And they never told me they canceled it until I yelled at their automated phone system. They canceled half of it, but couldn’t figure out how to get me the other half. Even on a new order. That was two months ago. They can’t figure out how to get me extra power supplies for their top of the line Latitude laptop. Initially they told me they were out of life, but the “Z” model is only a year old, and it is still featured prominently on their web page, so you’d think they have power supplies that go to those laptops. Two months, no. At least I’m now getting emails once a week saying they are still working on it. That’s an improvement.

  12. golddog says:

    Dell is incapable of doing lots of things that fall under normal business practice.

  13. Mr. Pottersquash says:

    oh comon. techinal failures are techinal failures. you go to a store and their power goes out do you blame the store? it sucks but oh well. Dell WANTS your money but they just cant take it.

  14. cashxx says:

    Dell is horrible….I bought a 20″ monitor years ago when they were first coming out and got it and it had hundreds if not thousands of bad pixels and went through the same thing as this guy.

    I can’t believe they aren’t out of business the way they play with prices and stuff. Anymore I think all they are is a Amazon that just happens to build computer hardware.

  15. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    Man TV. Is that kind of like a teletubby?

  16. HammRadio says:

    if only because everyone here is complaining on dell it seems.

    I have not had one issue with customer service or dell machines. I’ve also purchased two televisions (and some other electronics — speakers/blu ray player) from dell without issue.

    I have purchased three desktops (one as gift) and two laptops and have referred my family. All of my purchases have been online and not required customer service contact however. I do recall purchasing additional memory and receiving the wrong kind. Returned and Replaced without issue. I have a credit line with Dell that I use for purchases (don’t know if that helps the process) and once asked for a credit increase to purchase one of the TVs and received it without issue.

    My work laptop is also dell. — but since I don’t have to “support” it, it doesn’t apply, save for that I have not had an issue.

    Maybe my experience is in the minority…

  17. DanKelley98 says:

    ” I asked for a case # and she said they don’t give those out”……been a fan of Dell for years, but I guess that says it all about the current state of things. Damn, I already don’t buy HP for my company….now Dell could be out….

  18. emilystarr says:

    As far as I can tell, Dell has some sort of archaic non-working system that requires an order to go through several processes before it’s actually placed. Then when something goes wrong (as it does frequently) you get to argue with people about if your order was placed or not. That’s when you keep telling them your purchase ID and they keep telling you that it’s not in their system.

    My best guess is that angry squirrels hand-enter all the orders that come through, and because they’re angry, and because they’re squirrels, they get a lot of things wrong.

    I’ve had two orders cancelled (they sent me an email saying that the order was cancelled) that I placed with Dell, and customer service always seems vaguely puzzled about why it was cancelled, not really sure it existed in the first place, and then they spend all their efforts steering me to place a phone order, which I won’t do, because I don’t trust them at all to enter it correctly, or not tell me the truth about how much it’s going to cost.

    After those experiences, I definitely won’t be placing any more orders with Dell. I’m happy with the computers I bought that weren’t Dells after my failed other attempts.

  19. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Just for the record, the first and only computer I bought from Dell directly was a laptop… (Inspiron 1000, IIRC) which was then determined to be a fire hazard, since it overheated so badly it fried one power cord and melted the replacement.

    Took it from me, sent a brand-new laptop in its place. (Mid-range media notebook as opposed to the budget computer that the 1000 was)

  20. Mr Grey says:

    I have never had an issue with Dell. We made to switch to them after troubles with Lenovo.
    I have a personal Inspiron 6000 that is still soldiering on. My 5 yro uses it to a lot for PBS Kids, and has dropped it, stepped on it, the thing refuses to die.