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Company takes shady Indian call support and battering the beleaguered customer to new levels

Laptop magazine has unearthed a rather large steaming mess of hustlery and hucksterism in a series of support calls to Dell, Inc. (DELL).  Dell, the world's second largest computer retailer has been in midst of a big round of layoffs and outsourcing, as it has struggled with
"sluggish" profit growth
.

Mark Spoonauer, editor and chief of Laptop, spent hours 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 Laptop's 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.

Dell comments:

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. (AAPL) 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.

Source: Laptop



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RE: shocker
By dacarguy on 8/16/2012 11:52:23 AM , Rating: 2
My very recent experience with Lenovo:

1. Buy Lenovo IdeaPad on Amazon.ca
2. Get laptop two days later and notice that the battery won't charge. Otherwise it seems to be working fine. Conclude that the AC adapter is faulty.
3. Call Lenovo to avoid exchanging the whole thing with Amazon and risk getting a different problem (ex.: DOA). Lenovo insists on calling Amazon first.
4. Call Amazon. They can’t send a replacement part because the compatible adapters aren’t "Sold by Amazon". They can't exchange the IdeaPad because they are permanently out of stock.
5. Call Lenovo again. The employee agrees to send a new ac adapter but the replacement part is out of stock. He instructs me to search for the part number on their website to see when it'll be in stock again, and call them when it is. (wtf? How many days will I be stuck with a non functioning, brand new laptop? I actually bought it for my Mom's birthday which was approaching fast, and was simply setting it up before giving it to her. Good thing I didn't have it shipped straight to her!) Employee is impatient and pushes to end the call. Decide it would be best to call later and hopefully get a more helpful employee. In the mean time, search for the part # and find only a different but compatible adapter, which is currently in stock!
6. Immediately call Lenovo again. This time the employee insists on troubleshooting. Obviously that doesn’t change anything. Finally, Lenovo agrees to send me a replacement adapter.

In conclusion, Lenovo tried to get rid of me (but I'm sure any OEM would do the same if the product is exchangeable), gave me poor/rushed support with false information, and then finally gave proper support with a resolution to my problem. All within 24h!

FYI, Lenovo support (for Canada) is in Manila, Philippines, and there was severe flooding there just a couple days earlier. Also Amazon.ca support is excellent.


RE: shocker
By Belard on 8/17/2012 6:28:17 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry to hear that, but that is typical for low-cost consumer products. Less margins, less service. What I hate - like with the utility companies, is higher prices with less service.

When I get an idiot on the phone, I will just hang up and call again and hope for the best. Also, to get an idea where they are from, speak to them them about American culture, events, weather - a bit of small talk while something is going on.

Now, when I deal with Lenovo's ThinkPad support - its been excellent. Also, my company tends to buy the $200 extended warranty which has a tech come out within 24hrs :)


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