Dell Tells Customers They've "Won" the Right to Purchase $317 Warranty
August 15, 2012 5:35 PM
comment(s) - last by
Company takes shady Indian call support and battering the beleaguered customer to new levels
magazine has unearthed a rather large steaming mess of hustlery and hucksterism in a series of support calls to Dell, Inc. (
). Dell, the world's second largest computer retailer has been in midst of a big round of
layoffs and outsourcing
, as it has
"sluggish" profit growth
Mark Spoonauer, editor and chief of
being willing sucked into a nightmarish vortex of Dell support calls, which the company insists are unusual and a series of "misunderstandings". The calls began when inquiring about issues with a Dell laptop.
First the Dell representatives in India tried to pitch a $239 USD warranty "discounted" to $199 USD or a one-time payment of $129 USD to solve the firmware issue. Dell would later acknowledge that the issues should have been covered by the hardware warranty, blaming the sales attempt on a "misunderstanding".
On a second call Mr. Spoonauer inquired about using Dell DataSafe to back up his computer, at which point a second Dell rep in India informed him that software questions were not allowed under hardware warranty and customers without warranties could not ask questions. The service rep's manager "Raj" then again pitched the software warranty, bafflingly unveiling a second pitch -- that he could support those kinds of questions if the caller bought an affiliated hard drive at their local electronics store.
But the real kicker came in the third call when the service rep Sherma interjected in a discussion over poor battery life in a recently purchased device with an exciting announcement. Describes Mr. Spoonauer, "In a surprised tone, told us that we had won a daily drawing to purchase a four-year extended hardware warranty for our laptop for $317.
"You may already be a winner!" Dell tries its best Publishers Clearing House impression in
latest investigation [Image Source: Ticker Times]
When Sherma's excitement was met with caller apathy he went into panic mode, attempting a harder sell. Only three customers win the drawing a day, he informed. And the normal price was $512 USD.
Daily drawings are not a regular practice nor encouraged tactic in technical support and we have used your feedback to reinforce this with our teams. Their only priority is to resolve our customers’ issues.
As much as Apple, Inc. (
) is criticized for its
belligerent legal tactics
, customer support is one major perk of the computer makers' products. After all, Apple is one of the few companies to offer in-store support covered by warranty, and better yet to offer
U.S.-located tech support
. Dell, apparently opts for quite a different approach, though its products are, of course,
significantly cheaper than Apple's
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
8/15/2012 7:16:51 PM
I have owned 3 Thinkpads, only first one was still manufactured/designed while IBM still owned the THINK line but I've never had any issues in dealing with support from IBM/Lenovo, at least for THINK products.
I also did purchase the accident warranty on my most recent one, have actually used it twice now with no questions asked.
I have dealt with Dell and HP before and it's sort of hit or miss with them. I don't remember getting an Indian person on the other end but the last time I ever dealt with either was some years ago.
I personally will never use an Apple PC (ya they sell PCs, Macbook is a PC, get over it), I'd probably recommend one if you can afford one. People always forget that support costs money in terms of paying staff, infrastructure and overhead involved. If you compare what Apple and Lenovo/IBM do for their customers (at least Lenovo for their THINK customers), their products don't seem so overpriced.
Demanding cheaper prices is what has lead to factories and support for a plethora of brand name products being shipped to South America or Asia. You get what you pay for.
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