t must have occurred to you that dear old Microsoft (aka “The digital vampire”) will suspend the support for XP on April 8th.

Not because XP is a bad OS, no. They do this just because they don’t sell enough tablets and netbooks running that sorry excuse for an OS called Windows 8.

Well, W8 is an abortion of an OS and as such should be relegated to the curiosity cabinets of digital mishaps.

But hey: the average user cannot live without Microsoft (or they would immediately move over to any user-friendly Linux distribution, like Ubuntu or Mint), so what MS does is to push W8 on every new machine sold anywhere, while Windows 7 would do just the same work (better, actually) at the same speed and with a less steep learning curve.

But that is not the point here.
Whether you like W8 or not, if you’re buying a new Laptop you will have to use it.
No discussion possible.

If it was for me, I’d be quite able to force W7 on my new laptop and work with that instead of W8, but not the average user…

So what the average user does, is to go online and look for a cheap laptop, but still one made by a so-called “A-brand”.

Take Hell… I mean Dell.

Living in the NL makes it logical to go to, which as such is quite appealing and has a section called “Dell Deals”.

That is something a true Dutchman (or woman) really gets a warm, fuzzy feeling from: the word DEALS!!!

And true enough, there’s a nice deal: an Inspiron 15 for just less than 400 euros.
Kind of a miracle in laptopland.

Intel i3 CPU, 8GB RAM, 500GB HDD, W8.1 (alas).
All considered just what one would need for some “Office” work, mails and a little web surfing. Nothing pretentious, no need for super-detailed gaming or heavy-weight multimedia applications.

In short: perfect for the scope.

That is until you want to actually buy one…

First bad experience:
No specs anywhere about the type of keyboard.
Since you would like to get a standard QWERTY one, while you know that a Dutch one is not a standard QWERTY keyboard.
So what do you do…?
…You try to get in touch with someone.

The site itself suggests you start a chat session with someone, but as soon as you click on the chat icon, the new page opens, stays there for an eternity and half, and then… nothing.

So you go back to your original page, but then the chat icon has disappeared altogether, so you try to find out how in heaven’s name you can contact those people, reload the page, try to start all over again, but nothing happens and the new chat page stays blank and gives no signs of life.

Fine, then close the browser, try a different browser. Same shit…
Try even another browser and a different computer…
Again same shit.

Then you have the brilliant idea of cleaning your browser’s cache, history, cookies and whatnot and for a good measure you throw in some good old DOS command to flush the DNS cache as well (if you reall want to know: “C:\ipconfig /flushdns”).

Only then, the page will show again the chat icon, so you trigger a chat session again, and miracle upon miracle, you get to the “Moxie” chat page (Moxie is the name of the chat application, made by another company not worth mentioning).

Finally someone’s home… The guy can answer your questions, even in your own language (Dutch) so despite his name, he is not stationed in a call-center somewhere in India.
If he is, then he must be out of his mind to go work there…

Anyway, a few questions and answers later, you are ready to place your purchase order.
Well, in theory, because the page that you had left open when you started the chat (the page with the product description and the half-completed purchase form) does not respond anymore.
Almost logical (but not entirely if you know how those things work) because after all, you had not typed anything for the last 20 minutes so the token may have expired.

OK, so you start all over again (for the second time) and you get to the point where you can start checking your purchase, extra options, discounts…

Hey, wait a second!!!

The initial web page announced a discount of 20 euros (incl. tax) on the whole purchase, but now this item has a value of 0,00 and nothing is subtracted from the total, even worse: the announced discount on the expedition fees is also not detracted and the total price is suddenly almost 50 euros higher than announced on the product page.

Even more interesting, the product is shown in the “basket” twice and both items have a different price. so what the H(D)ell is going on here?

OK, start again, delete browser’s cache, history and all that shit and now (attempt number three) the discount is applied, also the shipping fees special offer is applied and finally the end price matches the one on the product page.

This could have been the happy ending of an unfortunate story, but we’re not there yet… more misery is looming at the horizon and we’re heading straight into it.

The price is finally right, so next step is to fill in the form with the delivery address, name, zip-code and so on…

One item is typed the wrong way: the zip code had to be typed with a space between digits and letters (how would one know? Some site wants it like that, some other wants it all in one piece… and we talk about standardization of data… Idiots).
Anyway, the site shows the line in red where you add the space and finally click “Pay” (“Betalen” in Dutch).
After loading for something like 50 seconds, the page finally crashes with a message that “there was an error and the operation could not be completed”.

So here we go again (attempt number 4).

Everything filled in again (using the godforsaken space in the zip code, for crying out loud!) and ready to choose the payment type.

I normally use the standard internet banking option (I never use a credit card, as it is eventually more expensive). So at this point the page again fails to load after 1,5 minutes waiting for something to happen.

Once again a useless error message that tells you that “something” went wrong (what? where? how? why?).

So before starting attempt number 5, you want to give the chat another try, but then you re-think the situation and decide to phone the blokes at D(H)ell, because that is what is suggested on the error page (“neem contact met onze telefonische bestellijn”, in other words: call our telephone purchase service).

There’s a link for the “contact”, which returs a wonderful “server error” page, because the expected company logo (for chrissake again!) could not be found, as it poined to a “” domain instead of a “.com” one as requested by the script. And all of this while I’m supposed to be on a “.nl” domain.

Where does D(H)ell purchase their web services? At the “Graduate School for Village Idiots”?

Or maybe they have their own in-house web-services, which would make sense, because at this point they have convinced me that they must be a bunch of true idiots doing something they are absolutely not qualified to do.

So here we go again, restart everything (attempt number six… or was it seven?) and even before starting, go to the Dutch D(H)ell site and immediately look for the “contact” link. This time the page gets you the number you want, in Amsterdam.

So the phone goes on with the unavoidable series of menus and choices and finally you land on the queue for the telephone purchase service… just to be told that there is no-one who can take your call at the moment and refers you back to the chat…

You know what D(H)ell?

I’ll buy my laptop from one of your competitors, no matter which one. I’ll probably pay a bit more, but I’ll get at least some sort of service!

2 thoughts on “Dell-Hell”

  1. Unfortunately, I should have read your post before I bought a Dell. Dell has found that listening carefully to social media is a good way to avoid hurting their brand name, and allegedly “caring” for their customers. However, I don’t understand why Dell won’t simply augment their system in the customer care department. Why do they wait until people like you and me are blogging about it? It seems as though they are trying to avoid helping their customers, and then if there is no social media damage, then they just forget about their customers. I think if they really cared about customers and having a good name, they would train their reps to listen, and not be so stone cold and inflexible. My current experience tells me that Dell Sucks. Inspiron sucks. Specifically, the Inspiron 3737 sucks. In January of 2013, my brother and mother went in to buy me a new laptop. Someone had broken into our house and stolen our previous 2 laptops, and our flat-screen TV. So, for Christmas, they bought this new laptop for me… although I didn’t receive it until late January, as it was in the mail. The laptop was up and running quickly, and we all loved it. Nice wide keyboard, big screen, fast. Loved it. During the summer of 2013, the laptop started acting a bit funny. At first we didn’t know what it was. The cursor was hi-lighting things, and not allowing the clicker to work properly. This happened occasionally – once or twice per day for a couple of months. It began getting worse. By late October, we figured the problem out. It was the left “mouse” or clicker button below the touch-pad, which was sometimes sticking. Somehow my son figured it out, as he’s fairly savvy with computers. So, I called my brother first, and told him of the problem. Right away, (in early November) he contacted Dell, and told them of the problem. Whomever he spoke to at Dell (which may have been the “wrong department”), they told him that he would need a purchase order number, since he had bought the Inspiron 3737 online. It took him several weeks to find the number, but found it eventually. As we continued to wait for the “purchase order number” from my brother, it became eventually obvious that the button had completely failed. I received the purchase order number from him during Christmas break, since that is when I was in contact with my brother. I called Dell to follow up, and was passed around, and the call was disconnected. Very frustrating. Dell Sucks. No matter, this was an ongoing issue, so I wasn’t worried. Then, I called back after New Years on the 10th (so I was told by Dell Support). They told me that first they needed a number on the bottom of the laptop. I was out of the house, but I had brought the laptop with me for the phone call. (I was on the phone for a long time, and had to go to a doctor’s appointment). Dell Sucks! They told me that my warranty was one week expired. I told them the story, and let them know that this was our 3rd time calling, and second time getting through. So they put me on hold. Dell is so bad. I was on hold for just under an hour and twenty minutes! When I finally reached a person, they apologized and told me that there system was down, and it would be a couple of hours before their system would be up again. He said I’d need to call back some other day. Nice guy, but it really sucked Dell. I wasn’t worried though, since we’d started this process in early November. So, I called a 4th time, which was today – Jan 15, 2015, before noon. They asked for the same code on the bottom of the computer, and I told them the whole story. They said they would forward me to a different person, and escalate my issue. Instead, my call was routed right back to the same department! So, I re-told my story, and they again requested the number on the bottom of the computer. They told me that they would escalate the problem again. Dell Sucks, because it happened AGAIN! I was re-routed to the same department AGAIN! Do not buy Dell if you’re interested in getting any help with a faulty computer! I told my story for the 3rd time. This time with the number on the bottom of the computer all ready to go, as well as the purchase order number which we were told to find. This guy was probably from India or Pakistan, due to his obvious accent. I had a really hard time understanding him. His demeanor was actually great though. Nice guy. But, he seemed to totally ignore my entire story and told me that I would be charged money since my warranty had just expired!!! I explained to him that it expired AFTER we first began calling them and explaining to them that the laptop was totally lame, and not working properly. Dell’s computer is faulty. He just repeated himself, and mentioned that there was no record of my brother calling him, that my brother failed to give them all of the information regarding the laptop. I asked him if there were departments that might not know about the special number on the bottom of the laptop (like me…we didn’t know.) He said yes, but it was my brother’s responsibility to give Dell this specific number. Ridiculous! Dell did not request that number when he called. My brother was given wrong information BY DELL about what number he will need in order for the laptop to be fixed. Then, I’m told by this (relatively nice) guy that we don’t need that number at all! Then Dell blames us for the misinformation that came from them! So, after going back and forth with the guy, and telling him that I do not want to go back and forth, but to have Dell’s mistake fixed, I asked him if we could please escalate this problem, since he COULD NOT HELP ME. Dell sucks so much. Dell’s customer service is terrible. The guy wasn’t terrible, but if that is the way that they work… to GIVE MISINFORMATION UNTIL THE WARRANTY EXPIRES, SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO FIX ANYTHING? Inspiron’s customer service design is definitely lame. The guy agreed to escalate the issue, put me on hold for about a half hour, then he or the system hung up on me. Ridiculous, so far my brother has had one “successful” phone call which was completed even though THEY TOTALLY MISINFORMED HIM. Then, I’ve had 3 incomplete calls, and I’ve been blamed for DELL’S MISINFORMATION to boot!!! Come on! What does it take to get Dell to fix their manufacturing mistake, to honor their warranty, and to give me one customer service experience where I am not cut off in some way? Dell, why? Is this how you sell computers? Stonewall the customer until the warranty “expires”? Somebody, help, since it’s clear that DELL CANNOT HELP ME!!

    1. Brad, you are so totally right… A company calling themselves “A-brand” should at least have sufficient funding (or at least work ethics to begin with) to implement a decent (if not excellent) Help-Desk, to set up consistent and uniform information available to its customers across the board, anywhere, anytime.
      Unfortunately, we all know that globalization is not the paradise they (Corporations) make us believe.
      I normally build my PC’s myself, but for a laptop I still need to go to those people I would normally avoid like the plague (the “Corporations”).
      The Nerd-Herd shop around the corner is my stop of choice, but when it comes down to laptops, tablets and the likes, we are at the mercy of these horrible people like Dell and related miscreants.
      I don’t think you can try legal action against such a giant, but you may inform with your local representatives if it’s legal in your Country to receive only a 1-year warranty period.
      I have no idea what your particular Country’s legislation says in matters of consumer rights, so I can’t provide an answer.
      There’s always the chance to have an ombudsman look into the matter (if that is available in your Country) and win advice from any pro-deo legal organization for consumer’s rights or anything like that.
      Keep making (negative) publicity for this issue wherever you can… it might eventually wake up some people.
      Take care.

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