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 8:06:15 PM
I have to call BS on Apple's US based support. I had to do several calls to tech support about my failing MacBooks (white one and my brother's 2011 Pro) and received clueless, script reading, thick Indian accented support that also tried the sales stunt. Apple is not some holy grail. It's great that the Apple Store has on-site support though.
8/15/2012 8:34:05 PM
Agreed. But Apple service in store is really good.
Then again, Dell Small/Medium/Large Business tech support is miles better than Home. Not amazing, but better. Mainly, because you pay more your system and warranty, so you get better service, better quality system, junk free, OS disk, better engineered, better battery life and so on.
Dell also has on site service. In fact you have a tech guy that comes at your place with the part needed to replace. He comes at the next business day of your call at the time you asked. Like this, your laptop or system is fixed now, done in front of you, where you can assure that the part being replaced is correct, that everything was understood on the phone properly (not the same person, of course), and that your system is working properly.
BTW, for those who don't know, you don't need to be a business to order from there. They are just business class systems. Medium and Large Section is for large order. Small Business is for 1 or more systems.
8/16/2012 1:12:15 PM
All other aspects of Apple aside I've been extremely happy with the Apple in store support. I was unfortunate enough to fall in a swimming pool while traveling with my iPhone 4 which killed it dead. Took it to an Apple store, they looked up the phone and told me it was 2 weeks out of warranty. They took my dripping iPhone and gave me a new iPhone 4, activated it, reloaded my contact info etc, extended the warranty another year and I walked out of the store back in business in 20 minutes.
Definitely a way to win customer loyalty.
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