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Posted: 12/18/2005 4:08:02 PM EDT
I'm on the other side of the Atlantic to most of you, but recommend Dell's pretty much all the time. I have a Dell business manager I can ring direct, the stuff is cheap & pretty good quality. The collect & return warranty works, the on-site is even better. I personally use an XPS-M170 laptop and it's fantastic..

What's the problem with Dell in the US?

Nick
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 4:19:22 PM EDT
I think the "big dog" always gets picked on a little.

I have no choice but to use Dell at work. My desktop is ok, but nothing special, the network infrastructure I live in is far more limiting than the hardware. I have always had helpful help on the few times I have called in. I have a few programs that hiccup, but that could be the corporate footprint that gets pushed out more than the hardware.

At home I get more bang for the buck with other brands or throwing stuff together myself. I also prefer AMD processors.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 4:20:25 PM EDT
Defective hardware and the outsourced tech support in India with non-US english speaking people is extremely frustrating.
My laptop was shipped with a buggy touchpad and the software fix wasn't released for several years and guess what. It's still buggy
I avoid tech support at all cost and when you do need it they put you on hold for a enternity and then you get someone with poor command of the english language.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 4:34:27 PM EDT
My wife bought a laptop for tooling around while on TDY.

I'm not blown away by it but it's not a bad computer.
Haven't had to use any of their support for it.
I'd consider a Dell desktop for out next computer. Out Compaq is starting to show its age.
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 5:08:55 PM EDT
I think the main problem is their quality and tech support have gone down hill over the last few years. They used to be more about quality & performance (and higher priced), but have been more about the low price leader these last few years and it shows.

The outsourced tech support is frustrating for many reasons (many Americans feel it takes U.S. jobs away, the quality is spotty at times and the language barrier is even more frustrating when you're already frustrated because of the computer problem).

I still recommend them, because you get good hardware at a good price. But my own preference is to build my own desktops and ThinkPads for laptops (we'll see if that lasts, if quality goes to shit since Lenovo bought them).
Link Posted: 12/18/2005 8:00:50 PM EDT
if you think tech support is bad for the end user. The majority of the computer's I work on each day are Dells under warranty. the customers gets sick of not being able to understand, or get what they need taken care of. So they take it to me so i have to get it done for them.

being a tech I can diagnose the problem. when i call tech support we have talk to their script reading tech. rediagnose the problem untill they are satisfied. then we have to get it shipped to us. thats a whole different story

this last month I have had two seperate customers call and order the recovery cd's(they had lost them in moving). each cutomers received backup software like symantec ghost to (fix their computer) and was charged $60 or so dollars plus shipping. then one customer called back. they assured they would ship the right item. Dell shipped them a BOOK to learn how to install windows. I could go on for hours about the problems I have had will Dell.

Link Posted: 12/19/2005 10:56:13 AM EDT
while we're on the topic, Sony's tech support isn't that great (for laptops, that is). I tried out their live chat and it is extreamly annoying. They would say "hi" and all that crap and then I would ask my question. They take like ten friggin minutes answering it. Then I would ask another. One time, it took a guy four minutes to say "no".


WTF
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 11:07:39 AM EDT
A customer of ours runs a shop that repairs computers. The number one brand he works on is Dell. Even though most are under warranty, people pay him rather than dealing with the horror that is Dell's support. When people will spend money to avoid them, you know there's a problem.

As I've posted about here before, on the next to the last batch of 24 Dell computers we bought, one wouldn't power-up out of the box. We bought the next day service for them, and it still took Dell 18 months to replace the power supply. To Dell, 18 months is the same thing as next day. Just after that I had two LCD monitors that didn't work out of the box. It took me about 30 hours on the phone just to get an RMA #. Since they stalled past their 30 day replacement policy and paid with a cashiers check, we're stuck with them. There's no excuse for that. I've got around two dozen more Dell horror stories that I'll save for another day. I don't know of a more dishonest company in the computer business.z
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 2:21:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Badaim:
while we're on the topic, Sony's tech support isn't that great (for laptops, that is). I tried out their live chat and it is extreamly annoying. They would say "hi" and all that crap and then I would ask my question. They take like ten friggin minutes answering it. Then I would ask another. One time, it took a guy four minutes to say "no".


WTF



They don't hire people and give them any kind of technical training. They just say "Look it up in this manual, and type whatever this says exactly. Even if they say 'I tried that six times' you can't skip even one step." Almost nobody with tech support actually hires people and makes them know what they're doing.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 5:14:23 PM EDT
In defense of Dell, I would say that overall I've had pretty good luck with them. Yes, you get the DOA equipment, RMA problems, incompetent tech support, etc. But, I've been fairly fortunate with them (it could be that I work for an Enterprise and we get preferential American tech support).

I've had the difficult tech support guy that wants to read his script line by line after I've already diagnosed the problem. The best way to deal with this is to just tell them what they need to hear "hard drive making grinding noise, ran diagnostics and failed, put it in another computer and it did the same thing, put a known good HDD in the problem computer and it worked fine". Do that right away, cut out all the crap and get your part ordered. Always nice to get the lazy tech, who just wants to order you a part and get you off the phone (man, I love the lazy guys, as long as they can order me the right part).

I usually get my parts the next day, if I call tech support by 4pm (but then again, I live in TX).

Now, if you want REAL tech support, call IBM. IMO, they are the best (and hopefully will remain so after this lenovo thing and don't get me started, I'm still pissed about that)...
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:15:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Zatu:

Originally Posted By Badaim:
while we're on the topic, Sony's tech support isn't that great (for laptops, that is). I tried out their live chat and it is extreamly annoying. They would say "hi" and all that crap and then I would ask my question. They take like ten friggin minutes answering it. Then I would ask another. One time, it took a guy four minutes to say "no".


WTF



They don't hire people and give them any kind of technical training. They just say "Look it up in this manual, and type whatever this says exactly. Even if they say 'I tried that six times' you can't skip even one step." Almost nobody with tech support actually hires people and makes them know what they're doing.



Give a feakin monkey enough bananas and he can take over...
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:38:40 PM EDT
They must have outsourced their tech help since I used it. Last time I called it was quite good help.

Link Posted: 12/20/2005 8:43:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By target-hunter:

What's the problem with Dell in the US?



Dell Quality= crap

They are the largest beigebox assebler in the world.
They dont actually make anything, that is their problems.
Oh yea that and fucking Apu in Mumbi telling me that that my single bit ecc errors are at a normal level, when they are infact numerious enough to cause the drac card to indicate that there is a critical error.
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 9:08:13 PM EDT
I don't like dell for one reason.

My old boss wanted to speed up his desktop and asked me to run a full recovery. I told him to try Ad-aware and get rid of the spyware first. He did that and it worked great, no recovery needed. Two days later he got an email from dell that he removed some software that voided his warrenty and if he wanted to keep his warrenty he had to put it back on.

I tried to get him to give me a copy of the email but he never got around to it.
Thats why I don't like, trust, or use Dell.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 10:40:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 10:43:42 AM EDT by Sub-MOA]

Originally Posted By CousinIT50:
I don't like dell for one reason.

My old boss wanted to speed up his desktop and asked me to run a full recovery. I told him to try Ad-aware and get rid of the spyware first. He did that and it worked great, no recovery needed. Two days later he got an email from dell that he removed some software that voided his warrenty and if he wanted to keep his warrenty he had to put it back on.

I tried to get him to give me a copy of the email but he never got around to it.
Thats why I don't like, trust, or use Dell.



I highly doubt that that email was actually from dell.

Aside from that: Dell is crap. They sell shit that they know is broken (bad caps on mobo ring a bell anyone? How about laptop battery issues?) and give you the run around about fixing the issue.If I wanted that level of crap hardware/support I would have bought eMachine shit and saved several thousand dollars for my employer.

I should not bitch though.

The computer industry as a whole has become this game where a name brand is slapped on the side of the biggest pile of shit they can scrape together. Then they try to frame a “warranty” that avoids the normal cost incurred by using crap components. Then they build a support system that makes it less costly to simply go out and buy rpl parts for situations that the legalese in the warranty can’t avoid.

The gold standard for reliability in computer systems is more or less moving to in house systems integration and support. – You doubt me? Look at Google. Look at Ebay. Look at Amazon. – They all build/support their own boxes/software at the enterprise level.

At the personal computer level – It’s always been a smart move to build your own if you have more than two synapses firing.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 10:44:08 AM EDT
They treat their business accounts much better than their home accounts. Not too mention overseas tech help sucks.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 10:55:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/21/2005 10:56:23 AM EDT by Sub-MOA]

Originally Posted By PBIR:
They treat their business accounts much better than their home accounts.


I hear that a lot… Mostly what it means is that they hire English speaking people to answer the phone and will actually replace parts with a single call/email. Then the IBM tech comes out with a used “tested good” part and takes you machine offline while he uses a flashlight to find his ass.

… only to be repeated after the “tested good” part fails… shortly after the IBM guy makes a clean getaway in the corp van.



Originally Posted By PBIR: Not too mention overseas tech help sucks.


Yeah having them actually speak english is nice.
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 8:48:42 PM EDT
The company I used to work for was a mutual fund company owned by a large bank. The bank had their own machines, but my boss (the National Sales Manager), ordered us six regional managers, Dells. During one two month period, three of us had our machines crash. That's when the fun began.

When my boss ordered our laptops, he paid up for extended waranties that included "on site" repairs, since he knew the machines might need repair when we were on the road. When mine went down, I started calling their help desk on a Saturday afternoon. My first response from one of the Boys From Bombay (when I asked for an onsite repair) was "We'll need to run a diagnostic test to determine if you meet our criteria." Okay, I figured. That sounds fair. Uh huh.

For the next six days, I was shuffled from Bombay to Calgary, to Austin, to New Delhi, to who knows where. All the Dell techies made the same statement about running a diagnostic test, then somehow the phone connection got dropped before the test was completed, forcing me to call back yet again.

I'll spare you all the very long version of what ensued, but here's how I got it resolved. As I told the last guy I talked to in Texas "I'm very good at working my way through a corporate maze. I'd really like to tell someone how much you were the guy who finaly helped me. Now, can we schedule that onsite repair?" Once he said no, I got busy.

I called the corporate HQ and asked the receptionist about "the guy I met at the trade show on the West Coast a few months ago...you know, what's his name-the National Sales Manager for laptop sales, etc. If I wasn't so careless, I wouldn't have lost his business card."

"Oh," she said. "You mean Fred (or whatever) Whatshisname?"

Me laughing: "Wow!" "Can't believe I forgot Freddy's name!" "Do you think the Big Guy is in?"

Her (laughing): "He may be, but if not, his assistant Sheryl (or whoever) can take your message."

Me: "Great. Sheryl keeps that guy on the straight and narrow. Sure, I'l talk to Sheryl again."

Her: "Hang on while I connect you."

At that point, I went directly to Shery's voice mail. I then leave leave a calm but extremely direct message about the disgraceful state of Dell's service. Vey polite, but very direct. In the next two days, I left about six or seven more VM's. Old Freddy had one flunky call me to say she'd need me to run a diagnostic test before they could schedule that onsite repair. I don't think so.

A few more calls to Freddy's VM, and then it happened. A call from Texas appears on my cell phone while I'm waiting for a flight at the Omaha Airport.

"Hey geegee, this is Elrod from Dell. Sounds like we've been jerking you around. What can I do to help you?" A few days later, my problem was fixed. As I asked Elrod "Was all this really necessary, for a customer who had already paid for the service I was requesting?"

I'll never own another Dell. Never.
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 5:18:06 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/25/2005 5:44:24 PM EDT by gardenWeasel]
They sent me two refurbished 250 GB Maxtor Plus IIs to replace the one that shit the bed on me last week. I called on Wednesday. The first HD showed up on Monday, so I reformatted it and threw it into the hot box. Then on Wednesday, another HD showed up, this time with a new SATA cable and some software on CDs.

Both of them had instructions telling me that I had to send in the part that was being replaced (so that it can no doubt ultimately end up as a refurbished replacement for the next guy).
Since I only had one to begin with, and it didn't even last a year...I figured I'd open up the second one anyway. I did , and set up a RAID 1 configuration since I don't trust the single HD anymore.

I guess I'll send the one I had back to them in one box, and maybe I'll fill the other box with Dell setup CDs.

Here is a question...
Since they want my old HD, what should I do to it so that no one can get all of my settings, shortcuts, passwords, and personal information off of it?????
Nothing legally fishy on my drive, but Identity theft is big business these days.
Thanks.


Link Posted: 12/25/2005 10:21:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By gardenWeasel:
Here is a question...
Since they want my old HD, what should I do to it so that no one can get all of my settings, shortcuts, passwords, and personal information off of it?????
Nothing legally fishy on my drive, but Identity theft is big business these days.
Thanks.




"Wipe" the HDD using any number of tools out there (don't waste your money on the pay tools, there are plenty of free ones):

dban.sourceforge.net/

www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=TVAN-SDD&sitestyle=lenovo

Link Posted: 12/25/2005 10:29:38 PM EDT
Yeah, I hate when I get a DOA replacement part. Just more wasted time added with frustration. And I absolutely hate refurbs ("tested", yeah right!).

But, in all honesty part of the problem is our own fault (not entirely, but partly). Computers have become a commodity (that's partly why IBM sold off their PC division) and we all (the masses) want them as cheaply as possible. And one of the ways they become cheaper is by skimping on the quality (remember the capacitor debacle a couple years back).

Of course, theirs plenty of corporate greed in there too. If they can drop the quality (parts or service) which saves them money and keep the prices up high, well that's more money for them. And they're all doing this, Dell's just a big player so you hear it more.

If it's a desktop and you don't want these problems then buy some decent components and put it together yourself or buy a unit from a premium supplier (alienware, falcon northwest, etc). That's harder to do with laptops (building your own), but don't by some generic name laptop or the $300 wally world special.

And cross your fingers, a little luck never hurts...
Link Posted: 12/26/2005 4:12:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/26/2005 4:37:09 AM EDT by gardenWeasel]

Originally Posted By ZULU NINER:

"Wipe" the HDD using any number of tools out there (don't waste your money on the pay tools, there are plenty of free ones):

dban.sourceforge.net/

www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/document.do?lndocid=TVAN-SDD&sitestyle=lenovo



Thanks.
Their policy is kind of vague:

Dell's Procedures for Data on Hard Drives Returned under Warranty

Dell does not have responsibility for any of the data you place on a hard drive you return to Dell; however, Dell endeavors to overwrite the data or, in some cases, destroy the hard drive.


Yeah right. Who knows where they ship them off to? For all I know, the hard drives they get back after a warranty exchange are refurbished by sub-contracted nigerian scammers.


NOTE: No data removal process leaves a hard drive or computer as free from residual data as a new product. Dell makes no recommendations regarding your security needs or representations regarding the effectiveness of one method of data removal over another.

NOTICE: You are responsible for your data. Before you ship product(s) to us, make sure to back up the data on the hard drive(s) and any other storage device(s) in the product(s). Remove any confidential, proprietary or personal information. Remove any removable storage devices and media, such as floppy disks, CDs, PC Cards, USB storage devices, and other removable storage. In the event Dell receives a tape drive (or other removable storage devices) inadvertently, while Dell has no obligation to remove the data, our practice is to use good faith efforts to either return the tape drive to the customer, or destroy the tape drive. We are not responsible for any of your confidential, proprietary or personal information; lost or corrupted data; or damaged or lost removable media.


EDIT>
I think I'm cursed.
My phillips DVD+ drive seems to have crapped the bed now.
I'll guess I will have to give Dell customer support another call.

Anyone want to bet against them recommending a re-install of windows to fix it?

Link Posted: 12/27/2005 6:06:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/27/2005 6:07:34 AM EDT by FMD]
<One person's experience, take it FWIW>

Dell's business customer support is okay, and their business products are decent.

Their consumer (read the crap that gets sold to the average end user) stuff seems to be generic junk, with CS outsourced to Tajikistan or someplace. Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad.

I ordered the two Dell laptops I have from their small business website, specified the components I wanted (paid a premium for them as well), and immediately deleted all the Dell-loaded crap programs that came pre-installed. Dunno if that voided my warranty, but it didn't seem to. I've had all of one problem in the two years I've had the thing:

After 11.5 months (into the 1 year warranty) of HARD use, I had a single keyboard key go south on me (completely my fault, I used the thing as a gaming rig). Dell replaced it for free, with a two day trunaround.

I originally had planned on replacing both at the 2 year mark, but at this point they're still going strong enough to get me through another year, hopefully issue free. On the other hand, when it came to getting a third laptop for the office, I opted to go with Sytemax. The "made [assembled] in the USA, 24/7 customer support in Ohio that speaks English" thing sold me.

I may be one of the lucky ones, but I would still have no problems reccomending a custom-built laptop from Dell's SB service.

</One person's experience>
Link Posted: 12/27/2005 7:27:00 AM EDT
They are sending me a new DVD drive.

So far:
2 hard drives for my 1 bad one.
1 DVD+drive on the way*.

I already replaced it yesterday with a Sony DVD+/-R/RW, CD-R/RW drive that I picked up for very little out-of-pocket expense thanks to some gift cards and mail-in rebates.


Link Posted: 12/27/2005 8:50:22 AM EDT
I liked Dell from way back. They were a very good company.

One big reason for Dell bashing is that the company decided to pull a sale from a well known gunsmith because his business was in "firearms" and Dell refused to sell to him. This was back about 7-8 years ago, but maybe less. I used to have a link and a topic discussion about it. I think it was knocked around here back in 1999-2000 or so.

There was a big backlash against Dell for some time and I think they changed their tune and made it right, but there is still distrust for the company from those who remember. Maybe someone will remember here and chime in.

One thread title was something along the lines of:

"Dude, you're not getting a Dell!"
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 11:19:49 AM EDT
If you like proprietary hardware and non-standard wiring... Dell's great! The only from Dell i'd ever buy is a laptop. Thats only because laptops are all proprietary anyway.
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 4:45:42 AM EDT
I have had decent luck with deal, just now looking to replace my p3 800 dell bought in like 2000 (with Windows ME to top it off..thanks microsoft for abandoning that OS).

Anyway, I have been able to take care of what comes up with it and I will agree with the Apu in India statements on the service (sorry if that once was a british colony and offends you). THat is the way most tech support has gone though. Most recently I was frustrated with a phone bill and talking to someone over in the golden triangle who didn't understand what LOCAL service was.

Anyway, once you are the largest manufacturer of computers, you are going to have some problems I guess but its still a good computer. A bit overpriced in comparison to other brands available but I guess thats how they afford eveyrthing. I work for the .gov and we buy dells alot and I know our IT guy has decent luck with their business service (probably cause we are the .gov).

I would buy another dell if I could get one as reasonable as another comparable brand.

Link Posted: 12/30/2005 4:54:57 AM EDT
Its the WalMart syndrome. As soon as a company gets good at what it does, increases its customer base and rockets to the top of the earnings charts every Tom, Dick and Mary with an anti-business rant, tech-weenie and Big Business hater with an ax to grind comes out of the woodwork to take potshots.
I don't work for Dell, don't even own one but the next computer I get will be a Dell unless someone can do a better job at building one and shipping it here and then assisting if something goes wrong.

(flame suit on)
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 5:09:25 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 5:38:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jp_72:
I don't work for Dell, don't even own one but the next computer I get will be a Dell unless someone can do a better job at building one and shipping it here and then assisting if something goes wrong.
(flame suit on)



Systemax PC

I have 3 of them now. They kick ass. Tech support is in Ohio and they work to fix any problems.

I had a hard drive going bad. They overnighted a new one that works great. Even offered to help me recover my system. (didn't need).

You can get them at Tiger Direct
Link Posted: 12/30/2005 4:17:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By kissfan:
Systemax PC

I have 3 of them now. They kick ass. Tech support is in Ohio and they work to fix any problems.

I had a hard drive going bad. They overnighted a new one that works great. Even offered to help me recover my system. (didn't need).

You can get them at Tiger Direct




Only 3 days late!


Originally Posted By FMD (on 12/27) :
...On the other hand, when it came to getting a third laptop for the office, I opted to go with Sytemax. The "made [assembled] in the USA, 24/7 customer support in Ohio that speaks English" thing sold me.

Link Posted: 12/30/2005 8:47:56 PM EDT
To add to the thread, a co-worker of mine ordered a Dell laptop at one of those shopping mall kiosks. Was told by the sales rep that it definitely would be there before x-mas. Got an email a day or two later saying it would ship after x-mas (received it on the 28th).

Now, I'm sure this is a problem with all the manufacturers this time of year. And, I'm sure if the sales rep makes a commission, he has an incentive to make the sale.

Either way, the next time someone mentions Dell, you can be sure this guy will tell his story about how they promised his computer before x-mas and he got it 3 days afterwords. This is one way a company gets bashed (rightly or not)...
Link Posted: 12/31/2005 3:25:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FMD:
Only 3 days late!



Hey! I'm slow, but good.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 6:23:41 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/17/2006 4:22:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Paul:
Dang I never have any problems with any of the computers I buy!

Must be me.



Ha!

Right there with you.
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