Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner



« Can Women Rape Men? | Main | Michigan Child Custody »

May 04, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Dell - the loveliness of learning to DIY for problems!

Mostly I never bought Dell, as I had been doing DIY since the mid-90's, and only had one Dell machine that was next to impossible to upgrade. When I became incapacitated enough to be unable to spend time on DIY, and need a replacement for an ancient Desknote I wound up at Dell... I had been reading of the decline and fall of Dell tech support, but basically wanted integration: a notebook computer. From what I had read of Vista, it was to be shunned and I purchased a copy of XP Pro for myself when I finally tracked down the majority of device drivers for what was to be my Inspiron 1721.

What should I have done? Wiped everything out on the hard drives and put a nice, brand-new install of XP on it! But I thought to give Vista a try to see just how excreable it was... yea and verily I spent two days wiping Dell-ware and McAfee from my system, and shutting off every bell, whistle, and insane part of the UI that insisted on gathering attention. Then, when I could get things almost running well enough to say 'eh, not bad' I ran the system through the updates.

Lo! On reboot no bootable drive could be found!

From there came a measly 5 days with Dell trying to get the poor critter fixed, and after a lovely 4 hour telephone call the thing actually *did* reboot with *old* drivers, and all such other stupidity that Dell had on-board made me realize that Dell and Vista was a match made in purgatory if not in the nether regions itself!

Of course on the next update it did the exact, same thing all over again.

By then I had discovered the wonders of nLite and making my own install disk and slip-streaming drivers and, generally, figuring out how to make an all-purpose install disk. And wiped every other damned thing off of the system. Good riddance!

So, knowing that, what did I do to get a second system? Bought a duplicate, of course. This time the DVD drive wouldn't open nor come out for love nor money. That actually took two weeks going after tech and customer support to get the message through: I could not do as they recommended as the drive was stuck in the system. They *still* got their wires crossed even *after* they got someone to 'personally handle the problem'. Dell tech and customer support do not talk with each other... tech support got the clue and did the two-day turnaround to factory 'get the drive working' deal. Then customer support sent me a new drive after the old one was properly working.

Now if you want a *real* horror story, there was going after iBuypower to deliver a functional system which only took 3 months.... but that, as they say, is another story.

What I would *really* like is a 'notebook' that was just the keyboard and screen and a tray to slide in something like an ITX motherboard. That would allow me to upgrade component-wise without the hassle of a new system.


"made me realize that Dell and Vista was a match made in purgatory if not in the nether regions itself!" - CLASSIC!

Bill Bivin

Hello, Dad.

I am sorry to hear about your experience to this point. My name is Bill and I work for Dell.

I would like to help you out, if I can. I will email you in a moment and try to get this worked out as quickly as possible.

Bill Bivin
Dell Community Liaison


Bear in mind that this is not an issue which is specific to Dell--by and large customer support for most companies plain sucks. Writing/emailing/calling the CEO of a given company will, 99% of the time, result in absolutely nothing. Why? Because CEO's have vetting processes in place specifically due to this concern. While it would be a brave new world (in a not-so-creepy, non-Aldus Huxley sort of way) if the CEO's were subjected to all of these communications, it's simply not a practical expectation. Yes, the support models would obviously improve drastically, but you would sacrifice all other facets of the company in the name of support.

What WILL work? Go beneath the CEO level, but not too far. For instance--I had an issue with Circuit City several months ago that went nowhere over a course of three months. Until I went ferretting through the vast resources of the internet and found the management contacts (VP and director levels) of their support. Firing one blanket email off to everyone in that chain had my problem solved in 24 hours. I've used this method before (with both Zales and Amazon) and had the same result. The added benefit is that you can usually interact with whomever responds, and contribute to fixing the problems in the model itself. (For instance, I put the CC people on the hook for fixing the escalation/resolution process and implied that I would go viral with my problems and everyone else's until an effort towards improvement was shown.) It's all a matter of maintaining your rationality when you do go up the chain--too far up and you'll just end up where you began with a drinking habit. ;)

C. W. Welch

YES, I've been screwed by Dells customer service. I will NEVER own another Dell product. 1 year and 5 days after my waranty ran out my motherboard went out. After several weeks of customer support with India accents and not listening to me and my problem. They had me changing batteries and purchasing their battery. I was so frustrated I when to a shop in town and they had to replace the motherboard (at least I know I have a good one in there now) the power supply and the fan because Dell has certain plugs for only their equipment. I then wrote Michael Dell a big complaint letter on how rotten his customer service was, that I would never buy another Dell and I was going to tell everyone about my experience. I also told him in this letter that this type of customer service was going to hurt his business.

No more Dell for me. I will be having a home built computer next time so I know exactly what is in the cpu.

Best of luck!

Eric J. Meyer (Done with Dell)

I can top that. I had a similar issue with my E1705, i.e., flaky display. I would get jagged lines on the whole display after about 5 minutes and then the screen would go black. I too, found references to similar problems on the web. After 4 tech visits to replace:
1) graphics card
2) memory
3) motherboard
4) graphics card again
I had to send the laptop in to depot maintenance. Imagine my surprise when the laptop came back with the same problem! After 3 months and 30 hours of phone and web support I got a replacement laptop.
Interestingly enough, I am an electrical engineer and have designed PC ASICs. I can only imagine how painful this would be for a technical novice.
All I can offer is to keep talking to managers and saying "replace the laptop." I can't really fault the tech support folks I spoke with. IMO, the problem lies with selling systems with crappy engineering and reliability problems and then expecting tech support to pick up the slack.
No more Dell for me (after 4 dell desktops and 3 laptops over the years). I'll be buying more reliable systems from Best Buy now. At least then I can take the thing to a person and demo the problem.

Rock on!


My advice to everyone I know when you buy a Dell is to buy it as a business customer. Even if you don't have a business, make up a name and remember it. You will not get bad customer support as a business customer.


I learned awhile ago to buy business line workstations from Dell (via the outlet). You receive "North American" tech support, and when you call at night or on the weekends, there is very little wait because you are calling at off-hours for businesses. These PCs come with next day service for 3 years, and you don't have to fight for it!

BTW, I disagree with Anonymous, writing the CEO sometimes works. I had an issue with Microsoft's One-Care product that I couldn't get resolved via their standard support. I sent an email to [email protected] and had call from a tech support supervisor call me next day.

Larry N

My experience with Dell was similar although I wound up getting the repair made after about 30 days. My laptop is an XPS M1330. I paid for gold tech support and next day on-site repair. The LED-LCD went magenta and turquoise and distored. My external HD LCD worked fine. On the first pass the support tech agreed the NVIDA video was bad and needed replaced, but just as he was ready to authorize the on-site repair his supervior intervened, overulled him and said I needed to first re-install Vista. What? and wipe out all my files, emails, settings, etc that I use to run a $20 million business. Why? Becuase it was cheaper. When I protested about the huge interuption it would be to my business and how much extra I had paid for the upgraded service Dell's response was that it cost them a lot of money to send someone out with a new motherboard. So what--that is what I paid for. I declined that fix. Luckly, I waited 2 weeks and got another service tech who came up with the same diagnonis but was not overruled -- 2 days later a repair tech showed up at my business, installed the new NVIDA and motherboard and it fixed the problem.


My business has 30 Dell Desktops and I had just bought a new Dell Server. I told the first tech this to no avail. NO MORE DELL FOR ME AFTER THIS EXPERIENCE. I cannot afford the time and the inconveniece to be hassled by Dell experimenting with fixes trying to save a buck. My experience destroyed any goodwill Dell had built with my business. I can only imagine what will happen if the Server has a problem.

I would speculate that my, and the other experiences I am reading about here with Dell, indicate that they are in financial crisis with cash flow problems and have an internal directive out to support management to reduce costs and all costs -- TO THEIR CUSTOMERS.


As a computer consultant we no longer recommend Dell to anyone. I have a Inspiron with a failed ac power supply detect circuit, basically a new mother board is the only fix. Stupid design, flaky laptop, had 3 hard drives fail in it.

Never again. I don't recommend Vaio by Sony either. And Centennial cell service, forget them too.

Amazing how these companies make anti-customers who have influence with other customer buying choices.


Jack Sheldon

I am a local USA based computer consultant. NO I am not trying to sell you my services, too late for that, in your case. I SO symphahize with your situation. I see this all the time in my consulting practice. People buy into
'buy new', and the extended warranty and then when something DOES go wrong, the outsourced piss-poor customer no service, and lack of english ("I would be to help you today") is one phrase that stands out from a well meaning indian person),

obtained by the formerly usa based companies we all worked so hard to make succsessful, bites you in the BUTT... I like dell machines and from a hardware point of view are really good. I rebuild/refurb and test and sell them. Better than Gateway, Emachines and compaq, believe me. I have seen hundreds...

Also gone are the local built white box pc's made local, since the big box stores have driven them out of business as well.

Next time buy LOCAL from a local guy who answers the phone in ENGLISH and CARES about his LOCAL COMMUNITY reputation. We are around, and word of mouth is the best way to find one. And needless to say, avoid the 'nerd herd' jerk squad, from Worst Buy and all those SCHMUCK squad teams, with the nose rings, and poor customer skills, and lack of experience. BTW, thank you Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Min, etc, and other big box stores for your incompetence, it creates plenty of business oppty for me !

Have a nice day!

Andrew Yang

I bought Dell's complete care warranty service when I bought my laptop. I bought the complete care service for my laptop because I was under the impression that it covered laptop batteries. Recently when I called in I was told that complete care does not cover the battery. I was confused because in the Dell's website complete care is stated as, "Complete Care coverage only covers internal hardware components and does not cover peripheral devices, damage or loss caused by fire, theft, intentional acts, or by normal wear if the normal wear does not affect performance." It then points be back to dell.ca for further information. Scroll down to read: (http://configure.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=ca&CS=cadhs1&l=en&OC=N1420PDV_R_E)

It is extremely vague in what Dell considers as a peripheral device. In my opinion and many of my friends which I have asked about this situation they feel that a battery is NOT a peripheral device and in fact an integral part of the internal hardware of a laptop computer. Also since the normal wear of a battery does affect the performance of the laptop I feel that I should be covered.

I tried to call and e-mail various people but my e-mails went nowhere and my calls were of no help. The reps continued to state that batteries are a peripheral. They also will not escalate my calls since they don't esclate. I tried e-mailing Michael Dell success but you know what, they wouldn't give me a battery but they would refund me $54 when I had 1.5 years left on my $300 3 year warranty. I don't know maybe somebody failed math at Dell and this why they are getting their ass kicked by HP.

Regardless, I'm thinking about dropping my laptop just to screw with Dell and get my money back.


I've purchased over 300K of DELL in the last 2 years as a business and I can honestly vouch that there business tech support is a complete different case. I feel bad for you because we've all been in your shoes at one time or another. When I have problems I call tech support and if they waste more then 2 minutes of my time I call my sales rep and he automatically escalates it. I've had maybe 3 tech support calls in 2 years and I get immediate support from Dell.

Like the comments say, Dell business support is 100 times better. I was actually thinking of buying myself a new home PC (which btw is a DELL but never had a problem) but I guess now I'll probably go with extremepc.com computer.

Best of luck to you and if you're still not getting service I can most definitely make a phone call to my sales guy and put the screws on him for you.

Good Luck

Tom Budlong

I got an E1705 from Dell. Low screen contrast made screen illegible. After similar support line frustration a techie came out and replaced the screen which killed it entirely. The thing went dark after the techie left. Dell replaced the computer. Same lousy low contrast screen.

And, they never could come up with an adapter to make it work off the car cigarette lighter. After they sent a replacement adapter that plugged into 110 I gave up

Ended up selling the machine to the next guy at approx $1000 loss. At that price he should be happy, and should tolerate DellHell.

It's chronic.

Recently ordered a dual screen desktop from HP. After ordering, they emailed that they would change the video adapter. An hour's worth of frustrating phone calls and they could not tell me if the new adapter would drive both screen. Gave up and cancelled. The cancellation department was very efficient.

Maybe it's me.

I think perhaps the problem is insoluble. Complex machinery with an infinity of complex problems, and a spectrum of customers from total dummies to very savvies, we are all demanding cheapest, not enough Native English speaking techie people in the world to handle the flood of calls.

Two jobs I would never consider: VP of Tech Support and POTUS. Life is too short.

Bruce Eden

Send your letters to the media. Then send them to the CEOs of Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and other computer companies. They get around to all the CEOs in that particular industry.

That's why I bought an HP computer. I heard too many horror stories about Dell, and knew somebody that did sales for Dell and was constantly besieged with complaints about service and maintenance because Dell techs and customer service were nowhere to be found.

I am surprised the company is still making money on the stock exchange. I thought they'd be pink-slipped by now and on their way to Chapter 11.

Please do not dispay E-Mail Address

Thanks for your Post now my buddies understand why I
spend thousands of dollars on hardware, misc. software / operating systems etc.. and build my own PCs (yes even lap tops)from store bought parts.


Very intersting post. I really enjoyed reading it. Unfortunately all the big companies have become arrogant. They have no respect for the consumers that got them to were thhey are now.

A fellow dell-heller

I ordered a Dell Inspiron 1521 on 8/5, and the delivery date was 8/20. Since then, my order has been delayed 4 times.As of this writing, I still have not received it.

I have called customer service each time. Answers vary from, "we don't know anything you don't know" to "it's still in production" to "you should understand that a company like ours has no control over when an product gets made." I was refused "escalation" to a supervisor 3x, with excuses like "he/she is not here" or I was simply hung up on. When I finally got through to 1 manager, he also told me he didn't know when production would be completed and without listening to me further, hung up as well.

See my blog for all the details:


Tuan Truong

I am going through a very similar problem right now with Dell. My laptop has been sent back to their Dell "REPAIR" Depot 4 times within the past 4 months. Every time I get the laptop back, something else is damaged. The LCD was completely scratched up, then the WLAN switch was broken off, and the worst one so far, which is being "repaired" right now is that when my CPU fried, they swapped it out for a different CPU that is magnitudes slower. They swapped out my fried Intel Core 2 Duo 3MB Cache 2.1ghz CPU for an Intel Celeron 2.0Ghz 1MB Cache. Can you believe that? I am currently waiting for a DHL courier to come by and pick up my laptop for the 4th time.

B Cook

I have a very similar frustrating story...so frustrating that I don't feel like telling it again here but in summary: a laptop sent in for repair....not home to pick it up from DHL delivery...told it was sent back and now after hours of calls to India, chats and trying to find Dell Hqs...NO computer for my daughter at college...

Has anyone considered a class action suit? seriously? it's time! especially considering that so many of us are having the same story where we have spent $ and now have lost it due to shady business practices. let me [email protected]


Doess anyone have any information on where I can email someone of higher authority that will help me out with my dell computer. I have had nothing but a pure disaster. My computer has not worked more than it has...since day one I had to pull apart whole system with help from my people from India and equador, I even had some guys cell phone because I would call him on the regular. Pathetic but true. Customer service is no help and I deserve to be satified especially since I spent over 2,500 dollars on that piece of crap. I even tried to email Dell and asked them for a the CEO's email and recieved no response. If any one can help me please email me at [email protected].


I am an onsite technician, and do some work with Dell - while I can't speak for internal Dell employees, I know that if I get someone complaining, they go to the bottom of the list. It's the same with most technicians, we're in our own little world and don't want others to mess with it.

Sad but true.


To Whom It May Concern:

My name is xxx xxxx and I have been a Dell computer owner for many years. Overall, I have been a very satisfied with the products and services.
I had purchased several Dell desktops over the years and in fact, one desktop is still working although it is very out dated.

About three to four years ago I purchased a Dell Inspiron E1505 laptop and the hard drive failed about on month ago. I have been very fortunate as I never had a PC crash before, and heard many stories about how people had their hard drives crash randomly. In the past, I was able to resolve issues with my Dell computers in one or two phone calls.

On the November 14, 2008, I received a Dell XPS M1530 as an early Christmas gift from my wife. I was very excited to receive this as my Inspiron had crashed and I did not have a PC. After receiving the computer and setting it up, the PC started to shut down randomly without prompt. I called Dell Technical Support, and in about an hour or so the issue was resolved.

On November 20 2008, my DVD player become inoperable when I was burning some files onto a DVD. I called Dell Technical Support and was able to have the issue resolved within a few hours. Over the next few days the issue resurfaced numerous times when I would insert a cd with music, photo’s, or just a software programs into my computer. Additionally, I was unable to eject the disk from my machine, run a program, or play my music from the DVD drive. When I checked the “My Computer” feature on my system, it would not have the actual icon for the DVD player listed. It appeared as if I had no DVD drive on my computer any longer. I restarted the computer several times and this would appear to correct the problem in the interim. After this initial incident, the problem happened more frequently.

On November 20, 2008, I called Dell again and after more than one hour, the Technical Support Representative upgraded my Bios from version A11 to A12. Although the BIOS was upgraded, the same problem happened. I called Dell again, and more than an hour on the phone, it was able to be resolved after working with Dell Connect.

Even after these attempts to have this resolved, the problem still occurred and I had to call Dell again to work through a resolution. Each time I would speak to someone at Dell or request help through the chat line, the representatives would provide the exact same response as the previous one and the problem still occurred. They all guaranteed that the problem would be fixed after they worked on the computer.

Finally, a Dell technician told me that I would have to set my computer back to the factory setting. This was very disappointing as I had just completed a great deal of work on my computer that would have to be backed up. The backup took many hours as well as the initial installment of the software on the computer. I felt like I wasted my time setting up the computer, loading many programs, photos and music. This was extremely deflating after working hard to get the computer as I wanted it. I did inquire if there were any other options other than resetting the computer and the Dell Technician indicated that this was the next step that had to be taken and it would resolve the issue.

After spending a several hours backing up all of my files and doing the factory reset, reinstalling my photos and other programs, the problem happened again. I once again had to restart my PC twice to get my DVD player to work. I was very patient up until this point as I had spend so many hours trying to troubleshoot this brand new computer. I am now upset and annoyed because my brand new XPS M1530 was not working properly and Dell is unable to fix the issue.

I had now spent many hours with Dell on the phone or online using Dell chat. I also spent many hours resetting my computer back to the factory setting and working on setting up this computer. Additionally, we had a technician come to my home on December 12, 2008 to replace the DVD drive.

On December 12, 2008, I called Dell again and explained the situation that I no longer wanted this PC as it is taking more time and money to manage it. Dell told me that since it had been over 21 days and I could not return the PC and that my only option was to reinstall the operating system disc and the drivers. I again pleaded that I really did not want to do this because of the time required to perform these actions, but Dell insisted that this would fix the issue and this was the last option. I felt that my hands were tied at this point and I spend the next 4 hours of installing the OS and the drivers. Immediately after this, the problem happened again!

I am at the point now that I do not want this Dell computer, nor do I want to do business with Dell any longer. After spending more than three hours being transferred around from customer service to technical support, from the technician to a manager, to a supervisor, then to customer service and back to technician and so on nothing was resolved. After another few hours, I attempted to resolve the issue again and contacted Dell via chat regarding the issue. I chatted online with a Dell technician and he did some work on the computer remotely and claimed that this time the computer was fixed for good. I told the technician that I had no confidence that this computer was fixed, and he still assured me that this was the final fix and I would no longer have this problem.

The next morning when I turned on my computer, the problem was still there. My DVD player not working and once again so I contacted Dell, and was not told that we need to replace the DVD drive for the second time and also the mother board. I again pleaded with Dell to either let me return the PC or get a replacement. He said he could not and this would be the final fix and it will for sure fix the PC.

I am not sure what is not clear with this situation regarding this computer and the time it has taken to get it up and running. I have had this computer for less than one month and have had to reset my PC back to the factory setting , received multiples upgrades, reinstall the OS, loading and reloading my files multiple time. Additionally, this PC has been taken apart several times and this places wear on the factory fit. Essentially, I have purchased a brand new computer and had it refurbished within thirty days, but still paid the full price for the PC.

Every time I tried to explain to Dell that this should not be happening, the response I get from Dell is the technician will fix the PC for good and I would no longer have this issue. I have read many reviews from many different web sites about these awful stories. At first, I thought that the people who wrote these bad reports were not very patient or they were exaggerating. I now understand first hand how they feel. I cannot seem to talk to any one at Dell about this without spending several hours on the phone on hold, then getting transferred, then back on hold. It is a big circle of passing the phone around to one person to the next, and everyone says they can’t exchange my PC, but the technician can fix it.

I understand that the parts they replace in my new PC are new, yet I feel like my PC is not new for the fact it has been taken apart and put together a couple of times. I have not yet been able to enjoy my PC. I spend so much time with Dell technician, or I have to reinstall all of my software, and work to reinstall it all again. I have to wait for someone to replace parts for my PC. Help me someone please.

I am requesting to exchange my XPS M1530 for a brand new XPS M1530 the exactly the way I ordered my first computer. One person from Dell had told me if they could exchange my computer I would get the smaller resolution for my screen. That in itself is unacceptable.

I do not understand what is happening to a company that I thought was the king of computers. I do not know if I would except these problems and all the procedures I had to go through if my new computer was only 2-3 months old, but I only had this PC for one month and the problems with the DVD player started after my first week of owning this computer.

I do not know who to send this letter to in fear of the only response I will get is a technician will fix your PC, and if that means spending more hours on the phone or chat online, having to wipe every thing off my PC, or having more parts put into my PC. I don’t now how much more of this a long time loyal Dell customer should have to put up with. Therefore, I am going to send it to everyone that I can find at Dell and continue to push for my replacement until I receive a resolution. I no longer want to wipe out my computer, or no longer want to install or uninstall drivers. I no longer want to replace parts, or reset my computer to the factory setting or reinstall the OS. I really want a brand new computer the way I had ordered it, not a refurbished one.

Billy Cook


I believe there are thousands of us out here who have not been taken care and have had to go through similar machinations to try to get customer service...I am looking at setting up a website or something to organize folks for a class action suit...I just recieved an email from someone who saw my email address on this blog...really this is a serious problem

zac farkas

I have had it with dell they continue to run me around with problems relating to something they know about completly and they have even posted a blog about the problems. they can not give me any type of upgrade to the video card one (inspiron 1520 with the 8600m GT ) its part about the weak cast or wahtever in it the blog is http://en.community.dell.com/blogs/direct2dell/archive/2008/07/25/nvidia-gpu-update-for-dell-laptop-owners.aspx there. i have contacted dell support for hours the computer is now a year old and i have been complaining since the first month. i have shown them images of the problem showed them posts like the one i just linked about the problem and they refuse to listen that thats the problem. I have been forced to do 3 windows reinstalls and been through a motherboard a hard drive 4 videocards (abbout to be 5 i believe) a LCD screen and now they are trying to blame it on my software. I have contacted the support for the software and talked to their advanced support and they have told me that nothing under normal operation of the software would cause this issue that it appears to be a hardware realated issue. I have been kept up till 3 in the morning waiting for a phone call that NEVER CAME. And spent hours on the phone talking with "the highest point in escalation" that i could get all for them to tell me that they would not be doing anything with my computer that it was a software related issue and they didnt do that. Also the techsupport about 30 minutes ago just tried to get me to use the paid software support im sorry but that is completly outrageous that i would have to pay for support for a problem they caused. PLEASE any advice would help


I am having a terrible time with Dell. Our computer Inspiron 530, which is less than a year old, freezes or locks up frequently. After following Dell's instructions for hours, it has been determined the hard drive is defective. Dell has shipped a new hard drive to a local installer who tells me everything we paid for with Dell plus what we have added to the computer will be lost-even what I paid Dell for! We are senior citizens, not good techies, who work part time and need all our computer programs. Dell could care less, telling us it is our responsibility to go to sharedrives.com to back up our files and then to reinstall. We have a 4 year at home warranty which Dell ignores. I am going to be certain to write many publications about Dell's poor customer service. We have had so many case numbers and I have spoken with so many technical support staff who speak poor English and lie to me about calling us back, that their names would fill a book. I sure would like some decent service on their defective product!

Used Refurbished Laptops

As unique as Apple's Cinema display might be in the world of 19" to 21" flat panel displays, it shares the same LG.Philips panel as the Dell UltraSharp 2005FPW. There happens to be only a single panel manufacturer capable/willing to mass produce wide screen, high resolution flat panel displays for the PC market. Since these two displays are so similar, we thought it only necessary to review both side by side. Several sources have claimed that the 2005FPW had numerous discoloration problems and generally poor image quality. Obviously, if one of our displays demonstrates imperfections, we would expect to see both displays to be flawed. However, the Dell and Apple displays utilize different backlights, so we are open to the thought that there will be some dissimilarities between the units. Let's take a closer look at our 20" displays.

The comments to this entry are closed.