July 13, 2005 3:51 PM PDT

Dell without a 'Care' in the world

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.
Dell's customers are lamenting about the company shutting down the Customer Care message boards that have long been part of its Dell Community Forum, with some wondering about Dell's service commitment.

The moderated message boards, which allowed Dell customers to post and reply to questions about general order support, rebate status, warranty information or invoice questions, were shut down July 8. The company notified customers of the change on Monday with a posted message that referred customers to Dell's Order Status Web site or its online chat feature that promises to link consumers with a Dell Customer Care representative.

Longtime contributors such as "Rick," who also runs a site called Rickmktg.com, expressed sadness at the changes.

"For those of us that have spent the past few years on these forums, we know the tens of thousands of people that the moderators have helped," Rick said in a post this week. "Shutting down the Customer Service (non technical) forums will only further the belief that Dell is focusing on business customers and doesn't care about the consumer."

A forum community assistant known as Mark said he also feels for the many moderators who spent hours monitoring the sites for customers in need of help.

"It is very disconcerting that we will lose access to the wonderful support that these individuals have supplied throughout the years," he said.

Even the moderators themselves said they were saddened by the news. Dell's "Chandler," who was selected as the first moderator of the customer service board, when it was originally known as WebTalk, in 1997, said he was proud of his Customer Care boards' reputation for being "the place where our customers could go to have their problems solved."

Dell spokeswoman Jennifer Davis said the closure was necessary because many of the issues that cropped up on the boards were of the type that should be addressed only by authorized Dell representatives and not other customers. Many of the answers, she said, required access to customers' personal information.

The No. 1 computer maker said how-to questions, preventative maintenance issues and other nontechnical concerns are better handled through other Dell Community Forum boards that cover the company's home and home office systems, consumer electronics and financial services.

"What this was all about was determining that we had channels that were better suited to handle these order-support type inquiries, and then we could move the presales and Dell financials services that used to be housed under Customer Care over to general boards," Davis said, noting that the company has spent nearly the last two years revamping its online customer service.

As to rumblings that Dell is cutting back on its forums to squelch any negative postings, Davis said moderators remove offensive language but leave even the most critical messages to stand intact. They're even archived.

A quick search for the word "horrible" on the presales board turned up 63 responses. A query for the words "rude technician" gathered 96 results, while a search for the phrase "bad service" came back with 9,044 hits.

 
Correction: This article incorrectly listed the Web site run by "Rick." It is Rickmktg.com.

27 comments

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Dell is getting too big perhaps
When Dell outsourced their call centers overseas, their business customers became so irrate because the foriegn call centers couldn't understand English well and lacked the experience. Thus, Dell moved just the call centers for the business customers back to the states.

I think something else is happening internally--some kind of money move, as most business decisions relate to. Perhaps they find that the cost of keeping the board up is more than hiring a few off-shore centers to take the information.

Maybe they will try again with moving the business accounts overseas to save money....
Posted by (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dell is No Longer Customer Oriented
Many publications "were" praising Dell's customer service few years ago, and I did enjoy its customer service then. But now? When I call the tech support, I clearly know that "Brian" on the phone is somebody in India. And most of the time I have no idea what he is talking about (maybe he doesn't know either?) Anyway, shame on you Dell, my next PC won't be a Dell :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
Reply Link Flag
When did it become legal to require customers to give their SS#?
I ordered ink last night from someone at Dell in Poonjab, India and, in order to complete my order, they req
Posted by bobbie.lynn (2 comments )
Link Flag
When did it become legal to require customers to give their SS#?
I ordered ink last night from someone at Dell in Poonjab, India and, in order to complete my order, they required me to give them my FULL social security number. I said that I will give them only my last 4 numbers and they said they could not process my order until I gave them my entire social security number. I told them this is illegal and improper business practices. They said, "Nevertheless, we require that you give us your full social security number."

I verified this with a person representing himself as the Finance Manager. I didn't get his name because I could never figure out how to spell it.

Where can a person buy Dell printer ink from a retail store?
Posted by bobbie.lynn (2 comments )
Link Flag
Customer Support forums are useless...
I hate using support forums. The only companies that use them are those that are to cheap to pay for support techs. Most of them I've been on the mods are smart a$$es that think they know it all and everyone else is wrong. Get on the Mozilla forum. You'll see what I'm talking about ;-)
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Clearly you've never...
You've never used Dell's support forum? Many of Dell's own paid employees would get straight down to business, cut through all the crap and admit things that you otherwise couldn't get any other rep to say.

More importantly, it was not as you described. It was VERY professional and using the search feature (not a great search, but an OK one), getting answers to questions was quick and easy.

I purchased a 700m recently and had a ticking HDD. I quickly and easily found out through Dell's own forums that I was merely one of hundreds (perhaps thousands) with a truly faulty hard drive. More importantly, I found that Dell was denying the issue, despite the numerous complaints and HD failures.

Which led me to E-Bay instead of Dell to correct the problem. I purchased a new, bigger drive, and have been happy ever since. The old drive? I didn't waste my time thinking the clicking was normal and have to go through the nightmare that many others did. Why? Because of the forum. Just the last in a long list of instances where Dell's forums have been incredibly helpful, even incredibly quick when I ask a new question.

I sold my Dell stock a month ago after ordering two systems for a friend of the family. No recovery or driver CDs (you have to burn them yourself), much lower warranty services (including default warranty length for most of their systems), and the fact that BOTH systems came with dead optical drives. After getting the issues corrected (much pain), I sold my stock.

Did I mention I used to work for Dell and quit? I hated how the customers were viewed and treated.

Dell is making all the same moves Packard Bell, HP, Compaq and the others made that allowed Dell to get to the top in the first place.

They lost my money, and this faulty laptop will be the last system I purchase from them until I see more of the old Dell, and less of this lets save 20 cents on every system by not including the recovery CDs  which will also screw our non-technical customers into thinking their computer is 'dead' and they have to buy a new one in a year when their Windows craps out! - But doesn't our default warranty last a year? - Right, we'll have to reduce that too.

I stayed with Dell for their ONLINE support and services (including the forum). Now that reason is gone, I'll just buy the components and make it myself.

-C
Posted by Chrono13 (5 comments )
Link Flag
Info not valid
I like how CNET decided to read a forum and use people's comments in a story w/o asking.

They called my site "DellTalk". It's actually www.rickmktg.com, and provides support for hundreds each week.

It would have been nice had Cnet asked permission...
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DellTalk?
In addition, DellTalk was the name of the forum prior to being changed to Dell Community Forum. If you go to <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://delltalk.us.dell.com/" target="_newWindow">http://delltalk.us.dell.com/</a> it gets you to the same place.
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
Info not valid
Rick,
Thank you for the clarification. The article has been corrected.

Michael.
Posted by msingersfo (24 comments )
Link Flag
Nice security Cnet has
The post that has Jeff's name was posted by Rickmktg...
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Build your Own
I have said this before if you can build your own do it,if you can't then have somebody who you can "trust" to build you one. The parts are much better and if he/she don't build it right, you know where they live.Both my computers are "Hand built" and they run just fine.
Posted by (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Email Michael Dell...
Not that he gives a damn but maybe it will work for you. His address is michael_dell@dell.com .

We are a business customer and a few years ago when I saw them entering the low cost budget computer market I knew this was going to be trouble. A little cut here and there has relegated Dell to no better than it's rivals in he consumer arena.

Even on the business side it has gone down hill. One example is that we have a defective KVM switchbox so one of our operators called for service with the KVM serial number only to be told that they need the serial number of the server it was ordered with. So we still haven't gotten service on it. Hunting down one serial number out of several hundred servers is not an easy task.

Fred
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The real winner will be:
An outsourcing company!

Go Outsourcing!
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
...not so fast...
I run a small town home PC biz. The real winners will be home-grown techs, in the end. Already, people call &#38; pay me vs. hanging on a phone for India-

T ;^)
Posted by adkmom (4 comments )
Link Flag
Customer Care or lack of
So what else is new in the world of customer care. Dell cn not handle the critiscims about NON US people who can not speak anythung but textbook english and do not understand anything that is not spelled out in the tech/Cs manuals
Thats why I did not buy a dell pruduct when I upgraded my Dell
Posted by MajorCB (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Customer Care or lack of
reading the comment posted by the individual, sparks a sort of racisim in the comment......is it just BECAUSE that there are people who are sitting abroad, and who's first language is NOT english, is the sole reason being that you did not want to purchase a Dell product?? and as to the statment that 'NON US people who can not speak anything but textbook english and do not understand anything that is not spelled out in the tech/Cs manuals' is farse`.....it is just that the customer care reps are bounded by certain ethical policies and therefore are not able to say much on calls.....please review the statements passed and a NON-BIASED judgement be passed.
Posted by Cleopatar1234 (14 comments )
Link Flag
Customer Service
The best advertising is excellent customer service. Seems that as a business succeeds (based on the quality of it's customer service), however, it tends to become impatient (greedy) and replaces customer service with TV time "to reach more potential customers". Shortly after, a downward spiral takes place with the "intellegent leaders" scratching their heads, scrambling for answers to present to their investors as to why the collapse into mediocrity.
Posted by Eloys (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dell no longer cares....
Michael Dell has his- screw the rest of you...

I really can't think of any other response to this?

Make your money Mikey- on the backs of those who have lost their jobs here, in the US, as you pad your bank account ever more. Oh yeah, &#38; take advantage of the poor in India, as well. Great guy, eh?

Here's the reality of tech support these days:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microchp.org/shockwave/tech.swf" target="_newWindow">http://www.microchp.org/shockwave/tech.swf</a>

It'd be even funnier if it weren't so painfully true,

T
Posted by adkmom (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That's a Funny one!
Well man, i MUST admit that you have a sense of Humour!...(a lil off colour though)well you say that this is how the Indians sound?.....just imagine the PAIN Indians have to undergo trying to understands the VARIOUS dialects of the Americans...now THAT cracks one up! :0
Posted by Cleopatar1234 (14 comments )
Link Flag
Initial Experience with Dell was horrific
Found coupon on line. Almost 45% off. Just purchased laptop Dell Insipion 9300. They screwed up my order. Waited 45 min on phone line, tried to rectify before they ship, they purposely hung op on me, coupd not talk to supervisor, left messages, he never called back. Bunch of morons, get people from India, Philipines, etc. Service stinks. Anything they promise, they lie. Free shipping, none, they added afterwards, promised to ship Next Day, did ground, promised free 512 upgrade, lied. Changed my order and charged much more. I emailed, I called - nothing was done.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
YDELL Complaint Forum
I think it would be helpful to other customers if you can post your complaint/opinion ydell.com
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Non existant Dell Support
See letter below to which Ive received NO response.
Current state of comput. Still sitting in my house unrepaired
with no communication with Dell at all now. Last I heard after
filling out the email survey was a big apology and a promise to
call back tomorrow with further instructions. That was on
February 3rd. Still no return phone call.

Dell computers: VERY POOR
Dell Service: Non existant. See letter below
Proof: The last phone call to Dell Software Support had this
interesting tid bit. The Canadian lady to whom I spoke confided
in me that she also had been trying to get HER computer
replaced as it also did not work. SHE HAD BEEN TRYING FOR 3
WEEKS TO GET RESOLUTION. IF SHE CANT GET RESOLUTION AS
A DELL EMPLOYEE WHAT CHANCE DO I HAVE AS A MERE
CUSTOMER.

As you read the below letter please know that in addition to this
horror show I have and I put this in cruel quotes next day in
home service.

February 2, 2006

Mr. Michael Dell
Dell Inc.
One Dell Way
Round Rock Texas 78682

RE: Service Tag CZD 3561
Express Service Code 28259685865

Please note that my account address is : xxxxxxxxxxxx Tiburon
CA 94920


Dear Mr. Dell

I have purchased over the years many computers from Dell both
for myself and for my businesses. My latest computer, an
Inspiron 700 m, has caused much anxiety and has caused me to
waste literally scores of hours on the phone with tech support.

A synopsis:

I called hardware tech support with a minor problem. My
computer would not read an Internet connection. Within an hour
the hardware tech had the computer blue screened. A computer
that worked fine, other than the Internet.

I spent 10 1/2 hours with tech support that day trying to fix
their screw-up. This was followed by a dozen or more sessions
and countless hours trying to fix the blue screen error. I even
was charged $99 for software to try and fix your hardware techs
goof.

After exhausting all possible remedies and spending on the
order of 50 or 60 hours on the phone I was instructed to send
the computer back for its 4th MOTHER BOARD.

Please be aware that I was promised when sending the 700 m in
for its third motherboard, that should it need another board they
would give me a new computer.

Needless to say they did not honor the promise to replace the
computer.

Today I opened the box that was supposed to arrive with my 700
m that was to have had a 4th motherboard installed as well as
work done on the BIOS. According to the paperwork it was
supposed to have undergone extensive testing.
To my lack of surprise the computer still will not boot up and
had the exact same error message displayed before the repair.



What I would like: A full refund for my purchase price of this
dog and a refund of the $99 you had the audacity to charge me
for error of your own hardware tech.

As a quid pro quo I will not bill you for the $31,500 of my time
spent with inept techs and on hold.





Rick Hxxxxxxxx DDS

rjh/ms
Posted by rhart6 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Dell/DHL=bad News
I placed an order in good faith on 8/3/07 and new the ship date would be towards the end of August. i check the DHL tracking on Tues. evening and find that DHL says the driver made an attempted delivery on that day and the previous day but no one was home to accept the package. The driver did not leave a delivery attempt notice at my residence as they are supposed to. On Wed. My day off from work, I stay home all day; with my wife, waiting for the DHL delivery. At 2pm I check the DHL tracking and it says the driver made an attempt to deliver at 1:23 pm but no one was home. At 1:23 pm my wife and I were sitting in our living room waiting for the delivery with the front door open. If he had stopped where was the Attempt notification slip? No slip no delivery and the only help I get from Dell is the address to the DHL office where I can go and pick up my computer! And a $50.00 credit (that I can spend on there web site) for my inconvience.
Dell drops the ball by teaming up with an irresponsible carrier. DHL is just rotton. I cancelled my order and told them to send it back. I will not accept this kind of ill-service. There are many other fine computers out there.
Posted by larrrry42 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
DELL-NEED I SAY MORE!
The problems I am experiencing and have experinced with Dell led me to investigate other consumers complaints. I wonder why the US Attorney Generals' office has not step up to the plate and forced Dell to return everyones' money for unfair trade bordering on fraud business practices. The fact that New York State has a dedicated website to Dell complaints should send off of a few bells and whistles. I forwarded my complaint to Washington,D.C. after I received a phone call from Katherine Davis from Dell, in reponse to my letter sent to Michael Dell. Surpise, more waste of my time!
Posted by NJWITCH (2 comments )
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