We have a Dell Dimension 9150 in the office. It is the Film Festival's main computer, although I do much of my work every day on my Mac. On Friday, just before I left the office I backed up some information from that computer. On Monday, when I got back to the office, the computer was dead.
I did all the twelve-inch problem solving issues. I unplugged everything, I replugged everything, I turned off the power and turned the power back on. Nothing. I pluggesd the monitor into another computer, nothing worng with the monitor.
I asked Jay (my boss) to check on the warranties and we have had the computer for 3 1/2 years years so there are no warranties on the machine. With no warranties to void, we popped the hood and concluded that the motherboard appeared fine, the hard drive appeared fine, but the internal power source.fan was no longer working. $50 part, $100 tops, how hard could it be?
Tuesday with help from Francois my intern and by help I mean that he did all the work while I stayed the hell out of his way, we removed the power supply and went to Micro Bytes. They hemmed and hawed and said that they might have something that might fit, but they couldn't guarantee it, but we would have a 7 day return policy on the part. Cost was $50.79 with tax.
Naturally, it doesn't fit. The fact that it was not the same height or width as the old one wasn't the issue, it was the connectors not matching that was the issue.
I called another supplier in Montreal that Mario (the network guy for the company that we sublet offices from) suggested, but they said that I needed to call Dell.
I am not sure why I felt instant dread when I was told that, after all Dell's whole business model revolves around selling people parts, right? Right?
I start by calling the 1-800-www-Dell number at just after 10:30 am. (Call#1) I explain what becomes my mantra: 1 know the machine is not under warranty. I need to get a price for the combined fan/power supply. My goal was to do the scouting work for Jay so that his time wasn't wasted when he called to order the part.
The first person that I speak to forwards me to 1-800-387-5757 (Call#2) They tell me that I should be speaking to 1-800-847-4096 (Call#3) who in turn refer me to 1-866-398-8977 (Call#4). By this point, I start telling the lucky person who picks up how long I have been on the phone and how many different people I have already spoken to.
Then I start getting transferred between two different section of Dell related to the fact that when we originally ordered the Dimension 9150, we ordered two computers at the same time, so I speak to the Dimension departnment twice and another department for the other computer once. (Call#5, Call#6, Call#7)
The seventh Dell employee that I speak to finally takes some level of pity on me and creates a service ticket describing my issue (800 942 905), informs me that there is no way that so many people should have transferred me bu he will need to transfer me again. He transfers me to the warranty department (Call#8), despite the fact that the computer is no longer under warranty. The warranty department transfers me to another warranty department (Call#9) who finally begin to comprehend the problem, but can't find the part number and they suggest that they should transfer em to the "spare parts" department (Call#10).
This department is finally able to figure out what part I need, that it is in stock and that it costs $63. (US Dollars I assume.) So, success at answering my initial question after speaking to ten Dell employees and since it is almost exactly 1:00 pm, only 2 1/2 hours sice I made my first call.
I point out the ridiculousness of the amount of time this has taken and ask to be compensated. From my point of view, they should just be sending me the part free. The technician that I am speaking to can do nothing for me so he passes me to his supervisor (Call#11) Dell employee#175332 - only took me ten Dell employees to decide that I should ask. I am a SUPER-GENIUS!
I explain my tale of woe and my two goals. 1) Get a simple to follow procedure for Jay, my boss, so that he can order the part with no hassles and 2) I (or rather YoungCuts my employer) should be compensated for having my time so completely wasted. Specifically, since the part is under a hundred dollars just send me the damn part.
Allow me just to quote him, "If Dell wanted me to fix the problem, they would make it possible for me to fix the problem, but they don't."
I ask to be transferred to someone who can solve my two problems, he does so, but warns me that they will offere no compensation whatsoever.
He transfers me to Bill (Call#12) Dell employee#168821, who does in fact offer me a credit - a rather nebulous credit in fact somewhere between 10-40%, applied after the part is purchased. He sends me a confirmation e-mail of this, but can't walk me through what I need to know to make this process painless for Jay and has to transfer me to (Call#13) another department where neither of us can hear one another, but we are able to communicate enough for him to call me at work and we finish up the call with all the information that we need which he confirms by e-mail.
He e-mailed me the quote while we were still talking, dated 1:53 PM, so just under three and one half hours for the call and thirteen employees, for which completely wretched lousy service, we will get a credit between $10 and $40.
Now, if I was a head honcho at Dell reading this what would really set my blood boiling is that of those 13 Dell employees over those 3 and one half hours, not one thought to suggest that I buy a new computer and they would shift over the hard drive from the new one.
I am not for one second suggesting that I would have said yes or have been receptive to the idea, but it is an alternative that Jay and I have discussed and since Dell's whole business is built around - you know - SELLING COMPUTERS - at least one of those thirteen employees might have at least suggested it as an option.
-And that's why I hate Dell today.