Dell Hell: A New Customer Story

One of my long term customers from Colorado, Lee Rooks, contacted me about a month ago, looking to buy a new laptop.  Even though I was having “issues” with my 4 year old Dell Inspiron not being able to upgrade the BIOS, I told him that I thought a mid level Dell would fill his needs.  Below is his email to me after he started having problems with his brand new Dell purchase:

Hi Walt,

I gave Dell a try.  Inspiron 15 R, supposed to come loaded with McAfee virus scan, had to go online to download it, it wouldn’t let me, tried to download Vipre, don’t know if it did or not.  Computer came to a stop. Called Dell, they wanted $230 for “North American service” to fix the software problem that they gave to me.

I took the computer to Ernie, (Editors note: Ernie Hatfield is a good friend who runs Heart of the Rockies Internet Solutions in Salida, Colorado), but then I called Dell and for the privilege of giving them a 15% “restocking fee” I will be free from this piece of crap and stress.  The tech I talked to kept saying I got a “very powerful wirus” …wirus????  I told him I had been using computers for 16 years and I didn’t know what a “wirus” was. He just kept saying I needed software support for $230.00.

When I told Dell I wanted my money back for this piece of crap, they offered me $35.00 to keep it, when I refused, they offered me $50.  I told them, ” that’s stupid, your tech tells me it will cost $230 to fix the stupid thing, if you would just fix the thing I would keep it”.  They didn’t want to fix it so I am through with Dell.

Please understand, I’m not blaming you, I know some people have great results, I just didn’t.

After I got this email, I called Ernie to verify what had happened. Ernie told me that he had another customer that the same thing had happened to, and Dell’s response was the same.  Pay us $230, and we’ll fix your problems.  You don’t tell someone who just spent money buying your product, that you can fix their problem if, and only if, they pay you more money.

Now folks, I ran a computer hardware and software business for almost 20 years.  Granted, we did not sell millions and millions of PC’s and laptops every year.  But we always put ourselves in our customers shoes when they had problems.  We gave unlimited technical support, both in person and on the phone, for the life of the product, not just for 90 days, or six months, or one year.

I would hope that Dell, and for that matter all hardware vendors, would offer at least a 30 to 90 day, no questions asked, we’ll fix your problems for free, no matter what the problem is, warranty.  Whatever happened to vendors standing behind their products and services?


The Bottom Line
Dell really missed the boat with their treatment of Lee.  If they had just fixed his problem, he would have been a happy customer, and probably told many folks about his pleasant experience with Dell.  Instead Dell has now created a monster of customer unhappiness that will tell his story to anyone who will listen.  It has always amazed me how much money a company will spend to get a new customer, but how little they will spend to keep a customer!  This is simply not good business.

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