Beware of Dell!

It’s has been said that if you get a good Dell computer, it will be very good.  But what of the bad ones? Dell put me through hell to get my computer sorted, so much that even my usually well mannered grandad verbally castrated them on the phone.

It started August 3rd. Finally, I was getting a new laptop, a Dell Inspiron (I don’t know much about laptops, so my nan and aunt picked it out). It was as much of a birthday present as a university present, so I would have my own personal computer to get all my university work done on. The moment I turned it on, it started beeping. I didn’t know if this was normal or not, so I ignored it… after all, I was only setting it up. After it was set up I left it at my Aunts and didn’t use it again until late September, when I started University… but then it happened again.

Everytime I turned it on, it emitted seven beeps in succession. Sometimes it would beep once then shut itself down immediately, sometimes it would beep continuously without actually starting up and I would have to turn it off. On average I had to turn it on and off 20 times before it would get to the log in screen. On several occasions it took more than 3 hours to turn on.

And that wasn’t the end of it.

When it was turned on it would often continue beeping very quietly. It shut itself down randomly in the middle of sessions, putting up a blue screen which told me something was wrong and if it kept happening to contact the makers. The built in webcam didn’t work, with the computer telling me there was no webcam connected, the keyboard malfunctioned often forcing me to hit each key several times before it realised that I wanted a letter/space/number. As for windows updates… it didn’t like them. The laptop became worse everytime windows updates ran, so I did my best not to let them run in fear that I would be without a laptop at a crucial moment.

And this is the tip of the iceburg. I can’t list everything that was wrong – I was too busy being frustrated that somehow I’d managed to buy a new broken laptop to remember everything.

To top it off, my Nan put the reciept in a safe place. A really safe place. And we all know how that one ends, right?

So, November 19th, when I’m finally back home from Uni (which is 250+ miles away) my Grandad phoned tescos. Who put us through to their electrical helpline. Who suggested we call Dell. Now, I don’t balme Tescos, it’s natural for them to suggest this and, as you will learn, they were very helpful later on.

But here is how helpful dear Dell were:

After 40 minutes, and repeating the details of the laptop to 4 different people who I strained to understand (I have nothing against the Indian accent, only that as an English person who has to listen very carefully to understand technical jargon, and has trouble talking to people on the phone, having to speak to several people with thick Indian accents with an apparent connection problem between my phone and Dells which made voices quiet, and having to repeat what I’m saying several times because the difficulty in understanding goes both ways… do I even need to finish this sentence?), anyway, after 40 minutes I was finally put through to an Indian lady who was quite nice and seemed to be able to help me.

The lady gave me instructions, which I followed, and finally told me that a major problem/flaw with a vital component, likely the Motherboard, had developed. Developed. Bearing in mind that this problem was there from the second I bought the laptop, I was unimpressed – but polite. I wasn’t about to be rude to the woman who seemed to be the only person who could help me.

Then she said it.

Unfortunately (despite being a multi million pound company) Dell did not have the resources necessary to fix my problem at that current time.

She then proceeded to say somethings I didn’t understand, speaking quickly and confusing me.

All I wanted was a little code I was supposed to recieve so that I could replace the laptop.

I did the only thing I could do. As politely as I could, I said I didn’t understand and had to pass her to someone who would (I did have some waiting music lined up, but because she had seemed helpful, I decided not to play it…) and passed the phone back to my Grandad.

59 minutes after dialling Dell’s number in search of one, measly little code, my Grandad finally loses it. He informs them, in a polite way, that they are messing up my education, quoting exactly how long it took for them to reach this point, only to say they couldn’t help, and asking that they just provide a code so that the laptop could be switched.

They couldn’t do that. However, they could send someone round in a weeks time to take the laptop so that they could look at it and return it a month+ later. But they didn’t have the resources to deal with it.

They knew there was a problem. They narrowed down the cause of the problem. But they weren’t interested in helping me fix said problem. Their couldn’t-care-less attitude was undeniably evident.

Needless to say, we gave up on Dell. I was angry and ratty, and I wasn’t the only one.

The next day Dell phoned again. grandad picked up and, by the sound of it, they were offering help. Well, it was too late. The night before we had already gone to Tescos, armed with various bank statements and proof of purchase (still no reciept, but my Grandad keeps records of all finances), and met a very helpful assisstant at the electronics desk. Seriously, this guy was lovely, and we left happy with my new laptop. A laptop which was NOT a Dell!

So, it ended well (we hope ;]).

But I hope no one will make the same mistake I did – just because Dell is a big brand, doesn’t mean it can be trusted. My new Acer is so much better.