Michael Daum


Why I don’t like Dell
April 11, 2007, 11:45 am
Filed under: geek, gruntle

So my laptop is a Dell XPS M170.  It’s not my favorite thing, but it gets the job done.  Gets very hot though, and kind of exudes a certain cheapness which you wouldn’t expect from something which cost so much money.

One problem with the box is that the battery has been recalled as part of the kind of giant program which Dell would only engage in if people’s laptops were actually exploding; which they were.  I thought it would be a good idea to participate, so I ordered my new battery on the web like a good customer should.

Soon enough, a battery came to my house.  The address on the box even said it was for my house.  The name it was sent to was not mine though, and the battery did not fit in my laptop.

That was last August.

I admit that I should maybe have been more proactive.  Proactive in this case means sitting in the  help center down the hall  waiting on hold because my office doesn’t have a phone (‘nother story).  Didn’t really seem like fun.

Anyway, the battery subsequently died.  Really dead.  When the plug falls out of the computer it turns off like a light bulb.  Data loss often ensues.  Bad.  Worse is that the plug is actualy designed to fall out.  Good design — probably keeps lots of laptops on tables which would have otherwise been on the floor after someone trips on the power cord.

So today I was fed up, and figured I’d do the phone/help center/endless hold thing and try to get it sorted out.  My first call was to the recall people who noted thatthe stutus of my request was listed as “processing”.  Well that was good to know.  I also obtained the “request number” for my new battery.  Also good to know.  Finally, the man told me he’d be sure to expedite the request so that the battery would “get out the door”.

I hate to say it, but none of it seemed all that promising, so I thought I’d give the express service people a whirl — seeing as I’m paying for the express service.

One thing about the express service people is that that they take forever to answer the phone.  The battery people are much faster, but weren’t helpful.  So I went ahead and spend 90 minutes on hold scribbling in a notebook down the hall.  I talked to a gentleman who was able to look up my recall account.  I told him that the battery was now dead, and suggested that he put in a service request for a new battery, bypassing the recall madness.  He complied by putting me on hold for another 10 minutes.  Then he came back with the news that Dell’s policy is not to provide any service requests on recalled batteries.  He pointed me to a web page where I could follow the status of my recall request.  I mentioned that this tracking page didn’t work for me before, but he assured me that now that the tracking was straightened out everything would be fine.  He left me with the advice — “Just keep checking that page, and we’ll get the battery to you”

Downtrodden I walked back to my desk.  First thing, checked the page.  Still didn’t work.  Still no battery.  Try again in another 6 months.

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