One thing is for sure, I won't be buying anything from Dell again. Almost a year ago I ordered one of their XPS gaming laptops, and after the poor sales service I got from Rock before I left the UK, this order went like clockwork, and the laptop arrived within a few days of ordering.
The laptop itself was great, dual SSD drives, twin 8800M GTX graphics cards in SLI, 17" full HD screen, it was blisteringly fast. If only it had stayed that way...
Less than 6 months had passed of owning it when I came to turn it on one day and it wouldn't power up. There is a little blue light on the PSU brick and that light went off when I plugged in the cable to the laptop. This fact led the tech support people at the call center to believe that the motherboard had blown. 3 engineer visits later and 3 new motherboards and other parts, the on-site engineers couldn't get the machine to power on. So it was shipped to the Dell repair center, who also couldn't diagnose what the problem was, so Dell offered me a replacement machine, but without extending the warranty. I accepted this, the replacement arrived swiftly and all was back working again. All told I'd been without a machine for over a month, and it had prompted me to buy and build a media center pc, to use whilst I was without the laptop, and also to use after that for playing my media on. Really glad I have that machine now. :) I chalked up the failure of the laptop to a 'one-off' and got on with using it. The people at Dell tech support couldn't tell me why it had failed, or what had caused it, and how I could stop it from happening again though.
So, fast forward a few months (less than 6 again) and exactly the same thing happens to this replacement machine. Won't boot, blue light in PSU goes off when the PSU is connected. Same process again, I wait in 3 times for the on-site engineers to come and not fix it, then Dell tech support tell me that they are going to send the machine to their repair center for a thorough diagnostic test. I had had enough by this time, this obviously isn't a 'one-off' issue, and I am more inclined to think that there is some sort of design flaw with the machine. So I tell them I want a refund. The replacement machine failed on March 3rd, and I am now posting this entry on May 7th, the day that the refund cash has finally arrived in my bank account.
The time and effort I have had to put in to get my money back has been unbelievable. The tech support and customer care (which surely is a joke, as it's definitely not what they are doing) departments don't seem to communicate with each other, and they never call you back. I was told that I had a refund agreed by tech support, and that it would be up to 14 days before customer care would get in touch to confirm the refund. I heard nothing. I called customer care (who only work 9am - 5pm), they looked at my case, spoke to tech support, then told me someone from tech support would call me back before 5pm that day. Didn't happen. (No surprise really) I called tech support after 5pm, only to be told that the refund had been rejected, by customer care. I wasn't best pleased. 1) They didn't tell me this when I spoke to customer care, just fobbed me off by telling me someone would call back. So I can't call them back till the next day as it was after 5pm, and 2) they didn't call to tell me when they had rejected the refund. Customer care... really?
So now started a big set of calls between tech support and customer care, one guy I spoke to in customer care to tell me the reasons why the refund had been rejected came out with some crazy excuses:
1) I have already accepted a replacement, so that means I can't have a refund. WTF? I only accepted a replacement because their hardware failed in the first place
2) I have owned the laptop for over a year, again this was not true, and if I was to be picky, i have owned 2 laptops for less than a year, neither of which actually worked for more than 4 or 5 months.
What also got me riled was when I asked to speak to his manager, intending to go up the chain until I could speak to someone who had the authority to not spout their processes at me, he refused, telling me that his boss wouldn't be able to do anything about it, and it was a tech support issue and I should talk to them. (Strangely, it was tech support that agreed to the refund in the first place, so I couldn't see what talking to them would achieve) I was going around in circles, it was costing me time and money to sit on the phone to these idiots, not to mention getting more and more pissed off. At one point tech support even wanted to give me a refund, but to subtract a 20% restocking fee. 20%! WTF? I asked them what they were going to do with the faulty laptop when they got it back, how they were going to 're-stock' it? It didn't take them long to stop asking me about that
So that evening I wrote an email to Michael Dell, which Dave had suggested I do a while ago. I found his email address on the net, from a few articles that suggested that he didn't actually read mails sent to this address but they went to a global escalation team. I explained the situation, and that I wanted a refund. I didn't expect anything to come of it.
A couple of weeks later, I was just gearing up to try and arrange for tech support and customer care to call me on a conference call so I could speak to the jokers all at the same time, rather than going from one to another (I was even trying to find people that worked for Dell that were in Australia rather than talking to the people in the call center which is in Malaysia, found a few on linked in, and other sites like that) when I got a mail from someone else at Dell, this time from the escalation team, saying that they had read my email to the CEO and that they understood my issues and had got a full refund agreed with the tech support director. Result! Although I wasn't holding my breath at this point. It seemed to move along fairly quickly after that, they arranged to collect the faulty laptop and a week or so later the money was in my account.
So there is my experience with Dell, the customer service is shocking, and it takes an email to the CEO before anything is done. However I am impressed that the mail to the CEO did make things happen.
And having said all that, we use dell equipment at work and not had any problems with them, although I suspect there may have been an issue with the design of their top of the range gaming laptop, rather than the more common, run-of-the-mill machines. Still, I ain't gonna be a customer with them again. I'm back to buying components and building my own, at least if something breaks then I can replace that part individually.