Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stand up for yourself! Dell Debacle!

Seems like I'm always finding myself in some sort of debacle! Well, here's the recent one: my online purchase of a dell laptop.

I bought my laptop online on boxing day. My good ol' HP has seen better days. The keys are popping out, the screen flickers in black and white when I go to a website that is mostly black, and the sound doesn't work. Not fun if you're trying to watch something on youtube, netflix, etc.

Luckily, I get a discount from a few different computer companies through work-Dell, HP, Lenovo, Apple, etc. It was essentially a toss up between Dell and HP. The first laptop I ever bought for myself was a Dell, and the second was an HP. I don't recall having any major problems with my Dell, but the second time around, at the advice of a computer tech, I went with an HP. My HP was a beautiful, albeit heavy, 17.3 inch screen laptop. It was a beauty! Loved her. Had her for about 4 years and would have happily let technology pass me by and keep her for another 2-3 years if not for the problems that began to surface. At that point, it was more economical to just buy a new computer.

When I spoke to co-workers and such and told them that my ultimate purchase was going to be between Dell and HP, everyone seemed to sing Dell's praises. Having no recollection of any major problems with Dell in the past, I decided to go with them again.

With boxing day around the corner, I didn't really have enough time to gather up all of the money I wanted to gather in order to buy my computer at a discount on top of the discount I already get through work. I went online and looked at various computers before deciding on the computer that I'm currently typing on-a 15 inch touch screen inspiron.

I liked the online purchasing process. There is someone on the other end in a "chat" typed capacity that walks you through your purchase and assists you. Before I began the purchase, I asked the person helping me if I could buy the warranty later, since, again, I was short on funds, but the computer I was purchasing was at quite a good discount. The Dell rep said I had up to one year to make the purchase. This worked perfectly for me, since I planned to make a purchase in about a month or so. What I wanted was the warranty in case my computer stops working for whatever reason, as well as the warranty that covers accidental damage. An additional 2 or 3 years should do.

So I made the purchase on December 26 and received the computer about 2 weeks later. I transferred most of my files from my HP to the Dell and worked on getting acquainted with this crazy operating system called Windows 8.

As you know, shortly afterwards, I had my knee replaced and the last few weeks have been a bit rough for me. First I attempted to do it through Dell's chat mechanism. I was told I needed to call and was given a phone number. I called-I was transferred to someone else...who told me I had to do it through chat. In all, I spoke to 3 different chat agents and called 3 different numbers.

I finally got someone through chat who did say that I had to speak to someone directly, but offered to call me, then connect me to the person I had to speak to. She was very passionate about having me fill out the chat survey that pops up at the end of every chat where I discuss how helpful the chat rep was. She told me that she was going to put me on hold and it might  take a while, so perhaps I could use that time to fill out the survey. I told her I would do it AFTER I was satisfactorily transferred over to the appropriate person.

Eventually I was connected to someone in technical support. After chatting for a while, he specified to me that I could extend my warranty, but I could not get the accidental damage coverage. Why? I asked. I was told that THAT particular coverage needed to be purchased within 30 days of purchase of the computer. What? That's not what I was told. How many days has it been since I bought the computer?

33 days.

What?!

I of course protested, but to no avail. I would have spoken to a manager . then and there, but I had company coming to visit me and my knee (haha) so I opted to call back after my wonderful cousins left.

I called back (and again, got the run around for about 20 minutes) before I got another manager. Out of respect, I'll refer to him at "C". After discussing with him, he essentially told me that the rep that assisted me in buying the computer told me the right thing, and I didn't ask the right questions. The warranty is one thing-the accidental damage is different-it's considered a coverage, not a warranty. I expressed to him that me not being a Dell employee, I wasn't aware that different warranties (he corrected me-it's not a WARRANTY, it's a COVERAGE) have different names and different time frames in terms of when they should be purchased. On top of that, it's 33 days later for a purchase that should, as per Dell's apparent policies, should have been purchased within 30 days. It's not like I called 3-4 months later. C wouldn't budge. When he seemed to be dismissing me, like "well, is there any thing ELSE I could help you with" typed verbiage, I told him yes-I would like to escalate this further.

In asking to have it escalated further, he reiterated to me that he would be happy to do that, but the person I spoke to would simply tell me the exact same thing that he has already told me, and if  I wanted to hear the exact same thing, he would be happy to arrange it. Well arrange it then-you're not going to deter me from speaking to someone else. He was also sure to let me know that he would fully note/document my account with the conversation we had and all that he had told me-again, trying to deter me, or perhaps thinking I would escalate it and change my story. Listen-just escalate it. He told me that someone would contact me the following business day.

The following business day, an escalations rep named Deb called me. He reiterated what C told me, but after hearing what I had told him, understood my point. He offered to contact the warranty department and ask them to give me both of the warranties/coverages that I wanted, especially based on the circumstance. Since the system that enters the warranty only allows for this particular warranty to be added to a system up to 30 days after purchase, he could not promise me that system functionality would allow this addition to take place, but he would contact the appropriate department and would try.

The next day, he contacted me again and said he was going to forward the information. In the meantime, he requested various pictures of my laptop just to ensure that it was still in good condition. I don't put it past people to try and purchase this warranty after the computer has already been damaged. I took the appropriate photos and sent them off. He said someone from the warranty department would call me the following day.

The following day, the warranty department contacted me and I was able to successfully add both warranty/coverages to my computer. The process was seamless, though it did appear that some things needed to be done manually, perhaps because it was past the 30 days. Other than that, everything went through just fine.

The day after that, Deb called me back again as he wanted to ensure everything went smoothly, and if it was ok for him to close the case. I thanked him for his diligence, and that it was in fact ok to close my case.

So in the end, I stood my ground and was able to get was I was entitled to. I wasn't given total and complete information and should not have been penalized for that. C didn't see that, but Deb did, and I'm happy about how everything worked out, even though I had to call/chat with over 20 people before getting what I needed.  In the end, it all worked out.

And that is my Dell Debacle.

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