A cartoon from Indexed
Just after Christmas, DH decided to upgrade his PC. He wanted to do some video rendering and apparently this needed a particular type of processor / speed / etc (don’t ask me – I stopped listening after about 4 minutes when he was explaining the different types of processor and what they could be used for… zzzzz… I’m a Mac girl. I don’t ‘do’ PCs. Cuh. ). Anyway, DH did a lot of research and finally found that a particular PC made by Dell fitted the bill, so he duly ordered it directly from Dell online. After about 2 weeks, the machine arrived and MUCH excitement ensued (him, not me). He carefully set it all up, and switched it on.
Nothing. It was what they class as ‘Dead on Arrival’. Oh. Well, these things happen, don’t they? I’m sure Dell will sort it out, seeing as they’re such a big company. They must have lots of processes in place for dealing with customers who have problems with their machines. Their Customer Service must be good. Yeah.
And this is where the whole sorry tale starts. I’ll let DH fill you in on the rest – here’s his SUPERBLY HILARIOUS letter to his credit card company (that he’s had to write in order to reclaim money outstanding to him from Dell).
I must admit, he’s brilliantly funny. Reader, I married him.
Here’s the letter. Enjoy!
(NB full names and reference numbers have been removed from the letter posted below)
Credit Card Services
PO Box xxxx
14th April 2011
Dear Sir / Madam,
Please find a completed form as requested, in addition to this form I enclose the following:
1. An invoice from Dell for the defective item
2. A receipt for the eventual return of the item on 23-02-11
3. An email from the 18th March confirming my contact with Dell to request a refund of the remaining amount
4. An email from the 24th March confirming my contact with Dell to again request a refund of the remaining amount
The computer was delivered on Friday 11th February and I powered it on as soon as I got home from work, only to discover that it was dead on arrival. As the Dell helpline was closed, I contacted Dell through their on-line form to request a refund. After hearing nothing I tried again on the 14th February to request a refund using the on-line form. Again there was no response (Dell are not big on exploiting the power of the Internet as I have never received a response to these on-line requests).
After failing to make contact through their on-line form, on the 15th February I spent an hour and a half on the phone to Dell (literally no exaggeration) being passed from department to department before eventually I was ended up with a gentleman called Sandip who, together with his manager Ajay, assured me that the item would be collected within 5 days for a full refund, I was given a case number of xxxxxxxxx.
When the item had still not been collected on the 21st February and with no word from Dell as to the reason, I contacted them again by phone and again spent an hour (no over-exaggeration) being passed between departments before a lady called Sutanu took up my case and after revealing the full details of another customer to me (Dell are not great respecters of the Data Protection Act), it would appear that the courier had been sent by Dell to the wrong address. Sutanu assured me that the item would be collected on 23rd February by 5pm and that I should expect a full refund within 5 days.
For once Dell kept their promise and the item was collected (see enclosed receipt), I eagerly awaited my refund, however there was yet more disappointment in store when on 4th March, Dell refunded only the cost of the item (£660.24) and not the cost of the delivery (£22).
I contacted Dell on the 18th March and after the inevitable 40 mins bouncing from one department to the next (ownership of the problem is not a big priority for Dell), I eventually ended up with Hans K who eventually stopped asking me to re-boot the non existent machine and listened to my problem. Hans was sympathetic and saw no reason why a refund should not be forthcoming but he was not authorised to issue the refund himself, I was told that this could only be performed by the Dell Finance Department.
Now you would think that a technology company would have embraced such primitive devices as the telephone, not so Dell, I was told by Hans that the Finance Department do not have a telephone. So I could not be provided with their number, Hans could not put me through to them and I could not hang on the phone while Hans talked to them on my behalf. It would appear that this department are completely cut off from the modern world with no access to modern communication equipment. One has visions of rows and rows of abacus’s with a space in the corner of the room reserved for a telegraph machine which has been on back order since 1976.
Whilst Hans could not put me through to the Finance department, he was kind enough to put my case forward to them and call me back at an allotted time the next day to report on their decision. He provided me with a case number of xxxxxxxxx and on my insistence, a direct telephone number (0844 xxxxxxx) to contact him should he miss his slot (see enclosed email confirming this call).
I must admit, based on the track record thus far, I was not confident that this would happen…….. and I am sorry to report that I was right, the following day there was no word from Hans.
On the 21st March with Hans giving me the silent treatment and no refund on my account, I decided to enter the Labyrinth that is Dell customer services for a final time, this time more hopeful as I was armed with the direct dial number.
At this point you may be spotting a theme – and you are right, I was once more in line for disappointment as the number I was given terminated at the reception of one of the Dell buildings. On the end of this number was a lady, who, whilst very polite had not been furnished with access to a telephone directory of internal numbers and subsequently had no idea of how to get hold of anyone in the company.
Despite my repeated request to speak to Hans K and describing the nature of my call to her, she subsequently bounced me to the main number, cut me off, bounced me to the main number again before eventually we struck lucky when the random number generator she had been using connected me to a person who had heard of Hans’s department and from there it was only 2 more re-directions and 15 minutes before I ended up speaking to a lady called Manjula.
Manjula could not put me through to Hans but believed she may be in the same department as Hans and agreed to look at my problem. I must admit I initially thought I had cracked it, she shone head and shoulders above Hans in that it took her only five minutes to understand that I could not power on or provide the service tag from the front of the machine I had since returned (believe me, this lady is one to watch and is destined for Dell senior management).
Now, Manjula had been given the same script as Hans and could only pass my request on to the mythical Dell Finance Department (I have long since stopped believing that this department actually exists, perhaps there was a fire some years ago and their lack of telephones proved fatal). Manjula once again saw no reason why a refund would not be forthcoming and said it would occur within 3-5 days. I was given a reference number of xxxxxxxxxx and Manjula promised to get back to me should there be a problem.
In an effort to speed up further communication, I asked Manjula to provide me once again with the direct dial number, she gave me the same one I had received from Hans (I feel sorry for that receptionist if they are all giving out her number). When I told Manjula that this number did not work, I was informed that Dell do not have any other telephone numbers (they have a helpdesk with no phones?!!!). When I asked if there was a magic phrase I should use so the poor lady on reception would know how to direct my call, I was informed that there was no such phrase and that Manjula’s team did not have a name and could not be referred to within the company in any way, nor could I ask for any individual member of the team.
The only communication I ever received from Manjula was the email (attached) to show my case had been dealt with; but with still no refund, it clearly hadn’t. I fear that the “Dell Experience” has now worn me down and it may be beyond mortal man to extract any kind of justice from this company, however I hope that you can take on my quest.
The bottom line of this matter is that I was sold an item which was defective on arrival and I should not have to pay the postage for this item, I should be refunded this £22 by Dell.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require further information.
I’ll update this blog when and if we get recompense from Dell, so watch this space. Oh, you might want to bring some sandwiches with you. You could be waiting quite a while…