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Dell Customer Service Experience

February 7, 2010

Wanted to share the experience with a new Dell XPS9000 system we purchased in Oct 2009.

Reference: Customer #104995248, Problems with XPS 9000 System

I thought Dell would like to know how a loyal customer since 1996 has been transformed into dissatisfied customer who will no longer look first to Dell for computer purchases. I am an engineer and need computers to do my work. I have purchased about 37 Dell computers since 1996. I have trusted Dell computers and purchased them for my business and home use. Because I use computers in my work, family and friends seek my advice before buying a new computer. I have always recommended Dell, but in good conscience I will no longer be able to recommend to anyone that they purchase a Dell system, because of a general trend in a bad direction for technical and product support, and in particular the experience I have had with receiving, and attempting to use the computer purchased on order #874165503.

My wife does digital scrapbooking and it requires a lot of hard drive space and memory. She had a Dell XPS 5 and had maxed out its resources. When I asked her what she wanted for Christmas she said a new computer. She asked that I order it early so she could have it all set up and ready to use before Christmas. She always makes personalized Christmas gifts for all the kids in the family and she needed time to add all of her fonts and transfer all of her data. She had also planned to make scrapbooks for her dad and sister for Christmas. We all went on a vacation together this summer. It was a trip her mom and dad had planned to take, but her mom died before they were able to go. So, in memory of her mom we all went this past summer. My wife kept a diary documenting each day of this very special vacation and planned to create a scrapbook for each family to keep. Her old computer just did not have enough memory or space to handle this project. When the new XPS 9000 computer (Order #874165503) came she was happy, but that didn’t last long. It booted up slow, it would blue screen quite often. She was never able to finish setting up her computer, she was not able to make the special vacation scrapbooks or the other Christmas gifts she usually makes. Giving the personalized gifts is a very special part of Christmas for my wife and it really hurt her that she was not able to do that this year. The only reason she was not able to do that is because Dell has delayed replacing this defective computer system. This computer and Dell’s customer support have caused my wife and I a lot of frustration and grief.

This has been a frustrating ordeal from the time I placed the order. The Original Order # 874165503 was ordered on 9/9/2009. It was delayed at least twice on 9/17 and 9/24 and was finally received on 10/21/2009. Almost immediately the system would randomly blue screen restart, the frequency of this increased each day until the system was blue screen restarting about every two hours. My wife could not even finish typing a word document because it would blue screen and the document would be lost. It blue screened so often that it wouldn’t even boot up anymore.

When I started working (early November) with Dell tech support (first through self help and forums), then directly with Dell online and later by phone, I complained about the slow boot up (it takes between 12 and 15 minutes for the system to boot up with 5 to 7 minutes on the POST.) and the frequent blue screen and rebooting problems. Dell tech support initially claimed it was a firewire driver problem. We disconnected the firewire drives and USB drives for several days and the system continued to blue screen re-start several times a day. Removing the firewire devices had no impact on the blue screening problem. Dell tech support did not at this time address the slow boot up time complaint.

In mid to late November, Dell tech support decided, based on a 5 to 7 minute power on self test start up screen time (POST time), to replace the motherboard. The Dell tech that I spoke to this time ask when the slow boot up started. I told her it came that way. It had always taken that long to boot up. She said the system should have been replaced when I made the first call. At this time I was told that, because it was passed 21 days, she had to try replacing the mother board, but if replacing the mother board did not fix the problems that Dell would send me a new system. The motherboard was replaced on Nov 24. The system continued to blue screen and restart several times a day and still took 5 to 7 minutes to power on self test and still took overall 12 to 15 minutes to boot up.

When I called in and reported the continued problem, the agent said it was Dell’s policy to do two field service calls before replacing a system. I told the agent that the previous support agent had stated that it would be replaced and he stated that they had to trouble shoot further. At this point I had spent 10 to 12 hours on the phone with tech support in diagnosis. This is the point where I lost all trust in Dell. I simply wanted Dell to honor the contract we entered into together when I ordered the computer. All I want is a computer that does what it is supposed to do and for Dell to stand behind this product and the promised resolution of replacing the defective system.

I filed a BBB complaint based on the failure of Dell to fulfill what they promised on resolving the problem. On Dec 3, Binay from the Dell Customer resolution center called me in response to the BBB complaint to confirm the replacement details and gave me an order number for the replacement system. He stated that it should be produced and shipped soon.

Each week in December, I called in or checked online and the system showed in production. On December 15, Binay verbally promised to ship by Dec 23, the date then slipped to December 30. Then it slipped to Jan 11, then on jan 26, I called and left two messages for Binay, and started calling Dell sales numbers when I was not able to get a callback from Binay, an agent (Tory) in Team Vision sales was very helpful – which I called to find out what was going on, he spent 30 minutes researching and told me the order # I was given on Dec 3 2009 (#977527864) was cancelled on Dec 21.

I faxed more letters, filed a Texas Attorney General office complaint, and continued calling Dell. Then on Jan 28;

I spoke to Rocky in the Customer Resolution Center, asked to speak to Binay, Rocky came back on line and informed me that Binay assured me through Rocky that the new system was now on order. I told Rocky that I wanted a refund, after this amount of time and the failure to resolve, I no longer believed that Dell would replace the system, I did not believe that Dell intended to replace the system and was tired of being offered empty promises.

Binay told me about the new order and that it was being built and this time I would get it within 16 business days. I requested a refund and explained that after 2 months of delays and misinformation, I no longer believed Dell would replace the system. We terminated the call.

Later on the 28th, Swetha called and left messages and the next day I was able to return the call and I discussed the problems with her on Jan 29. She explained that since Dell policy was after 21 days, they could not refund, and Dell was doing me a favor by building a new system instead of a refurbished system. This new information made me angry, since I purchased a new system and no one from Dell until her had mentioned any policy of replacing new broken systems with old, I disagreed with her statements, and emphasized the 2 months of delay, on a defective NEW system, and not being able to use the system as planned, Dell’s failure to act in a reasonable time frame, and failure to communicate and deliver as promised, I wanted to obtain a refund and pursue getting a working desktop from other sources. Swetha said Dell could not do that.

I am writing you to express my extreme disappointment in Dell, relate the frustration of dealing with a polite, courteous, apologetic, but powerless technical and customer support system. Your people are polite, always apologize, but have yet to resolve the problem and it is now nearly 4 months into this process.

Your customer service system in less than four months has destroyed the relationship with a loyal customer of 13 years who encouraged everyone who asked to buy a Dell, into a former customer who has already advised several people to avoid entering into “Dell Hell” by making the mistake of buying a Dell product.

I thought that someone who has authority might want to know of this experience and factor this into future decisions for customer support.

If I treated my customers like this, I would be homeless and penniless.


John E Hargrove,


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