In the post The Old Coffee-in-the-Keyboard Trick, I presented how I stupidly sloshed coffee into the keyboard of my new Dell laptop. Since I had purchased a next-day, on-site service contract, I didn't go into low Earth orbit. Instead, I used Dell's Internet chat service to obtain help. What happened surprised me.
Since the sales pitch for the service contract included the phrase "next business day" and Monday was the next business day after I connected with Dell's service, I expected a call from the local arm of Dell. Since I had heard nothing from them by mid-day, I decided to call their 800 number.
After dealing with an awful voice response system, I was finally able to reach a polite gentleman having a heavy Indian accent. He was very hard to understand. After spelling out my name (K for kangaroo, U for underwater, S for synchronous, N for network, E for elephant, T for trombone, Z for Zebra, K for kangaroo, and Y for yellow), providing my customer number, my service call number, my telephone number, the VIN number of my Gold Wing and the barometric pressure here in Florida, the polite service representative was finally able to determine that his system was down and he couldn't find my record. He was, on the other hand, kind enough to provide another number for Dell service.
Calling this new number led me to an entirely different voice response system, just as vile as the first one I might add. Once again, I found myself speaking with a polite gentleman having an Indian accent. This time, I was able to understand him and the process of spelling my name, providing my customer number, my telephone number, the VIN number of my Gold Wing and the barometric pressure in Florida went much faster.
This Dell representative informed me that he was able to find the service call record and service request number in Dell's system! Ah, sweet success. Then he went on to point out that he wasn't going to be able to do much more for me since he worked for the desktop, not the laptop, support group. He was kind enough to provide the name and telephone number of the local service contractor who had been tasked with bringing my laptop back from the dead.
Monday came and went without a telephone call.
So, it is now clear that next-day, on-site support no longer means next-day, on-site support. What does a contract of this nature mean? Obviously, the answer is more revenues for Dell and lower customer satisfaction. Are we all together on this?
I've gotten many helpful and encouraging messages from readers. It appears that my experiences are quite common. Shame on you, Dell.
Here are the key lessons I've gleaned from this experience so far:
- Back up your data files. It might even be wise to back up rapidly changing files each and every time they're updated.
- Laptops are increasingly expensive, throw away tools. Keep a six-pack on hand just in case you have a failure or friends come over.
- On-site, next-business-day service contracts aren't what they appear to be. So, keep an attorney nearby.
I'll let you know what happens next as the adventures of Dan in Dell-land continue to unfold. Thanks again for the helpful messages.