Saturday, March 04, 2006

Fatwa against Dell

Ace has a post up about the hell that is Dell Computer's customer support. All I can say is Amen. I bought a Dell laptop a couple of years ago, and I paid half as much for the customer support plan as for the computer itself. I know that extended warranties are supposed to be free money for the company, but I had just come off some pretty serious problems with a previous laptop which happened as soon as the one-year warranty expired. So I paid a lot of money to get the warranty extended for four years.

I can't decide whether or not that decision was a mistake. On the one hand, there have been numerous problems with the computer. I have had to replace the motherboard twice, which costs as much as a brand-new computer, much less the warranty extension. On the other hand, every time I call their customer service, I suffer. They've already got my money, so the best thing that can happen for them at this point is that they keep my money without spending any of that money to, you know, fix my computer when there are problems.

So every time I call them, they make the experience as painful as possible. I almost always speak to someone in India. And pretty much no matter what number I call, they tell me that I called the wrong department. They they give me a new number to call (usually one which I already have, and often the number that I just called) and promise to transfer me. Then my call either gets disconnected or gets transferred to a totally random Dell person who also says I called the wrong department. I never, never never, never get any help until I have talked with at least four wrong people and been disconnected at least once.

When I finally get someone who claims to be a technician who can help me, of course, that person is usually a complete idiot who knows as much about computers as my mom and is just reading off some script. No matter what problem I have with my computer, their solution is to reformat my hard drive. Why? Well, because it's an extremely unpleasant process that takes time and effort on my part, and makes me very nervous. If the cure they offer always sounds worse than the disease, then they don't have to actually cure me. And that's the best outcome for them. They already have my money, right?

I hate to admit that they have trained me, just like Pavlov's dog. I now accept several small problems that make my everyday computer experience crappy, because I can't take the thought of dealing with Dell "customer care." It's somewhere between Kafka and Dante's Inferno. So I just sit here with a broken computer, and they keep my money.

I hate them. I wish I had bought the super-duper-ultra-warranty that forces them to replace the computer even if you break it on purpose-- because if I had, I would smash this laptop with a sledge hammer at least once a month, just to make them lose money replacing my computer over and over again. Ugh. I'm choking on my own rage, here.

So, uh... Don't buy a Dell computer. They suck. That's all.


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