Dell Semi-Horror Story

I’ve had some really bad experiences with Dell, and a couple of great ones. A couple of weeks ago was a “medium bad” experience with Dell. I ordered a 19″ LCD monitor for my mother-in-law on October 11th at 10:39 AM CST during one of Dell’s “10 Days of Deals” – the monitor was normally priced at $329 CAD and it was $80 off, making it only $249 CAD. I placed my order, got to the point where I had an receipt, which I printed off. A week passed, and when I went to check on my order, I realized I hadn’t heard anything about the monitor. I logged into my account on, and there was no record of my order being placed. HUH? I checked my email receipts folder (where I keep things like Dell electronic receipts) and I had no record of an email from them. I dug up my paper receipt, and unfortunately there was no order number on it. Yet I had the receipt, presumably meaning I was going to be charged for it.

I called Dell customer service – it seems their entire online sales group is based out of India – and tried to explain my problem to the agent. I’m not one of those ultra-patriotic types who believes that every job should stay in his own country – I believe that if a company can be cost-effective with a call center, while still providing excellent service, they should out-source. The problem is that the Dell call center does not, in my experience, provide excellent service. I quite often have to explain my problem over and over again, and the agents don’t seem to grasp the concept of “customer service”. It’s not a language issue most of the time, it’s a cultural issue, which isn’t something that can be put in database. At any rate, after explaining the problem to the agent, he explained to me that the problem was that the Dell Deal of the Day I ordered was no longer valid because the day was over. I explained that I had a receipt indicating that Dell had accepted my order. He explained that I had no order number because the monitor I wanted was out of stock. I explained that I had a receipt indicating that Dell had accepted my order, and that I wanted the product.

We went back and forth for a few minutes, where I explained that if Dell runs out of stock on a product but continues to sell it and take credit card numbers, then it’s their problem not mine. Eventually I asked to speak to his manager, which always makes the Dell sales agents very nervous – they must have some sort of performance metric tied into call escalation. He put me on hold, came back, and made me an offer: he’d sell me the monitor for $269 CAD, $20 more than the Deal of the Day. It was a good offer, and $20 isn’t much, but the principle of the issue was still the day: the big corporation offered a product at a certain price, and now they were trying to change the rules. I persisted, asked for his manager again, and he finally offered me the monitor for $249 CAD.

Here’s the kicker: after jerking me around and making the entire thing difficult, he had the nerve to give me his sales ID number (#1308) and ask that I’d use that ID number whenever I placed online orders. As if he had done me a huge favour and I should feel grateful for getting the product for the price I expected in the first place. Needless to say, I will not be using his sales ID number. As much as well frustrates me sometimes, their prices are hard to beat, and I really like the design of their monitors. Got any Dell horror stories of your own?

One thought on “Dell Semi-Horror Story”

  1. I worked for Dell. Believe it or not – there is a Dell call center in Edmonton that handles a lot of the customer service areas. Dell recently got sued in the US over their bait-and-switch tactics. Essentially, advertising one product to entice a customer in, then saying its out of stock and offering a much more expensive product. Its shameful.

    I will however give you a mint on dealing with Dell call centers. You will find that once you are able to get a manager involved – you will have absolutely no problems. So .. if you call Dell and get someone that is not giving you what you want, simply ask him to document that you are not happy. Hangup – call back. When you call back, politely ask to speak with a manager. If they ask what its about, don’t tell them – just say you want to speak with the manager. They are SUPPOSED to transfer you right away – no questions asked. Once you get the manager, explain the situation. You will find that 9 times out of 10 it is resolved satisfactorily on the spot. Dell is very big about making customers happy – if you have a fair argument – you’ll find they’ll accommodate you.

    I’ve never had any bad experiences from Dell, except from their sales department. They will do anything and tell you any thing to make a sale sometimes it seems. The best thing you can do, as with any call center, is hangup and call back to get a different agent. Each time you call back you stand the chance of talking to someone in a different part of the world 🙂

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