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Dell Tech Support

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December 11, 2002 7:09:05 PM

I originally wrote this post as a reply, but thought it was good information that warrented it's own post....

I work for one of the two companies that does the on-site service for Dell. Our company does not just service Dell's, but of the PC's you'd be most commonly aware of we also directly cover Toshiba and Compaq. We also see repairs from just about every other OEM that sells off the shelf. The only one I haven't seen in the past 5 years is Gateway, so anything I say cannot be applied to Gateway, but that is only because I haven't personally had any direct contact with Gateway.

With that in mind I'd first like to say that I would not personally buy any of them as I build my own like any good professional computer geek should. This is not because of a quality issue, but more of a cost factor. Mainly because I already own all the software I'm going to use, I see no need in paying for it over and over again.

Next I would like to address the wrong Dell PC sent out by mistake. Sometimes a simple mistake is exactly that, a simple mistake. I will agree that Dell needs to improve upon their processes to ensure this won't happen again, but until they do, It'll happen from time to time.

With us, they will ship one wrong part about every 3 months or so. Of course these are parts and not entire systems, but what usually happens is the wrong paperwork gets attached to the wrong part, so instead of getting a modem, I end up getting a Video Card. Where the tech who was suppose to get the Video Card ends up getting a modem. We usually just chalk these up to a mistake and re-order the part. I could easily see a similar thing happening with the PC itself. I know they don't do it intentionally, but sometimes a mistake is just that. A simple mistake.

Now to the issue of the rebate comment. Online orders and phone in orders can both be handled through Customer Service. You can always get someone on the phone if as long as you have your Serial Number/Express Service Code. The express service code helps out for getting you to the appropriate department. It's usually printed on a small sticker attached to the left side of the PC or the bottom of a laptop. The way I would contact them is...

1. Follow the steps as if you had a computer problem. This is usually by hitting option 1 and typing in your express service code (providing the options haven't changed since last time I called. I don't usually call in the Customer number as the tech's have a different call in number.)
2. When the tech comes on, verify that he's the hardware tech for your model.
3. Tell him your problem with the knowledge that he will be wanting to pass you to Customer Service. Once he does that, insist that he gets ahold of customer service directly and conference you in. Do not allow him pass you into their queue. They can do it, even if they say they can't. If he says he can't, then ask to speak to his supervisor.

Basically, I don't play around with tech support guys anymore. But then, I've been doing it long enough, I know what they can do, what they can't do. They do it for us when we've deemed the computer non-repairable and they're going to replace the computer. (Non-repairable just means it would end up costing more to repair than to replace.)

Let me see, what else can I talk about while I'm here...

Oh yeah, the tech support complaint. Since I deal with calling various companies for tech support, I would like to say this much. Of all the companies I deal with, I prefer to contact Dell tech support the best. Granted sometimes I get a tech that must have got his certifications out of a cracker jack box, but for the most part they're the ones I have the least amount of problems with.

Another thing about Dell Tech support. Most people don't know that they have multiple levels of support. The ones who answer the phone are more often than not Level 1 techs. They can usually handle your basic driver problem, software configuration, and the common things most people call in for, but when it comes to an actual hardware problem, a good majority have to consult with a Level 2 tech. It use to be where they could conference in a Level 2 tech, but nowadays it's a pain in butt to get a L2 on the phone. The way they consult the L2 is to IRC into their chat room. If they put you on hold in the middle of troubleshooting, that is ALWAYS what they're doing. There is no other reason to put you on hold, other than consulting their supervisor. Additionally, it's only an L2 that can authorize a replacement system.

That doesn't count for systems that are less than 30 days old. Even if you don't see it in your paperwork, Dell has a 30 day no questions asked return policy. If there are any problem with your PC in the first 30 days, you can always get it corrected, replaced or returned. So it's advised to make sure you have what you wanted within the first 30 days.

While I'm thinking about it, Compaq also has a similar L1/L2 tech support system. Only with them, when they say they're consulting their supervisor, they actually talking to L2 support. Sorta. With compaq the L2's are their supervisors, so they're not exactly lying when they say their talking to their supervisor, but it basically means the L1 tech has no clue. But that really goes for all these companies. The L1's for the most part have been with the company less than a year.

While I'm here, I might as well keep going about things I know about companies.

The worst...

Of all the companies we do service for, the one I would just absolutely not recommend is Tiger Direct. Not that their systems are all crap, every company has good computers and bad computers, but it's more their policies. Hope you never have a software crash and need to reload the hard drive. You better either know what your doing and forget reload the drive yourself with the cabs that are on the hard drive which Tiger won't tell you that it's there or how to do it. Or be prepared for your hard drive to be in Florida for the next 2 weeks for re-imaging. When we have legitimate hard drive failure, we are sent out only to ensure the bad drive gets sent back. I hate hard drive replacements for Tiger Direct, because I know before I go out there the customer is going to be pissed. They send us out there with a blank hard drive with instructions for the customer to ship it to Florida for re-imaging. Now THAT is probably the dumbest thing we have happen to us for ALL the companies we do service for. Why not ship it to us with the drive pre-loaded if they're not going to provide the customer with software. I mean, that is the least they could do.

Ok, let me get off of Tiger Direct before I start to get mad. :) 

Actually, I think I've said enough here. Actually, I've probably said too much. If nothing else, it's just killed a few minutes of your time for no reason at all. :) 


Take Care,
RJ

More about : dell tech support

December 12, 2002 7:30:34 PM

Dell... bah.
I personally find the Canadian support for technicians to be beyond sub-standard. First, I keep getting this idiot who once tried telling me that there was no modem in the laptop I was working on. I was like 'I have the modem here in my hand, there IS a modem in this laptop'. Second, English isn't this guy's native language... making communicating my needs that much harder.

I phoned the customer support line out of pure frustration trying to get an answer to one of my questions. I can't remember the guy's name I talked to, but I wish I could... because he was probably the most helpful tech I've ever spoken with. He did have to put me on hold to talk to a L2 tech a couple of times... but at least my question got answered and the issue resolved.

I don't work directly for either of the service companies that handle Dell up here... but I am a third-party contractor for both of them. For the most part, parts arrive on time and are usually the correct part. I've gone to replace parts that I knew didn't have to be replaced (for example that modem issue... they sent a bloody MOTHERBOARD to fix a MODEM problem)... I replace the part as per their instructions then do what I can to get the unit working. If I can't get it working, I'll call and order the part that should have been replaced in the first place.

For the most part, they are good... but they get on my nerves sometimes. At least with Compaq I could order the parts I knew I needed without relying on some over-the-phone diagnostics. There are problems you just can't diagnose over the phone... so incorrect part orders are bound to happen.

<font color=red> If you design software that is fool-proof, only a fool will want to use it. </font color=red>
January 23, 2003 4:53:51 PM

Well, now, I don't work for Dell, but if I were them, I'd sure be trying to listen in on this conversation :) . As it is, I have a customer who had a Dell. I say 'had', because after trying for 4 hours to get more than elevator music out of Dell's phone-in support, he handed me the dead system and said "Fix it". Well, it's fixed and running fine, but it's not a Dell any more.

This system had one of the strangest troubles I've come across. It was a Dimension 8100 1.3 GHz and it came to me with a busted RAM socket on the motherboard. It also turned out that I had to replace a whole lot more than just a motherboard in order for this guy to be able to use his computer. Nearly every item inside the case had been gimmicked by Dell so that it wouldn't operate unless it was connected to a Dell motherboard. My customer refused to have anything to do with any further Dell equipment, so basically, he got a new system. I saved the video card, the hard drive, and the CD-ROM. I may end up having to replace the RDRAM, because it seems flaky. I think it was making intermittent contact in the socket and sending surges through it. He even had to throw out his PAID FOR copy of Windows, since THAT had been OEM'd by Dell. I told him he ought to call them and threaten legal action unless they refunded the money he paid for Windows, since the thing won't work, now.

===> Never assume ANYTHING <===

**** Home of Obsolete Hardware ****
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January 28, 2003 4:55:56 PM

Peartree,

It sounds like this was a while back. I'd say sometime in March or April. That is their busiest time of the year. We (the tech's) don't call in on the same line customers do. We're suppose to be guarenteed no longer than a 10 minute hold time. However in March and April you can about forget that one. It also depends on time of day. March or April for customers calling in could very well easily be a 4 hour hold time. However if it's been within the past couple of months, then there may have been another reason for it.

I don't personally do Dell service anymore as I've moved on to another branch of our company, but our company still does Dell service. A few months back I had to call Dell myself and wasn't on hold for 5 minutes before getting a tech. When I was doing Dell service on a daily basis calling them was a daily operation for one reason or another. During March or April we could be on hold for 2 hours, but any other time of year it hasn't been a problem. It also depends on time of day. Even March or April if I called at 3am, I wouldn't have any trouble getting through at a reasonable amount of time.

Additionally, Dell has a 30 day no questions asked return policy. If they were contacted within the first 30 days it could have been returned or exchanged no questions asked. And the choice is the customers choice, not Dell's. But you have to know that, and you have to contact customer service, not tech support. But you need to know that too.

Since this is obviously older than 30 days, in order for Dell to fix the problem they first have to be contacted. To tell you quite honestly, 1 attempted contact that extended to 4 hours and then given up on is not grounds for a lawsuit.

I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've called Dell, and the only timeframe I've ever experienced long hold times was during primetime in March or April.

It is my opinion that the system should be put back into original Dell configuration, contact Dell, which this time of year would be at longest a 15 minute hold time, talk to them about the problem and get the system repaired. Do NOT NOT NOT however, tell them that the system was gutted to make a totally different PC out of it. That would be like telling RCA that you gutted their TV and combined it with a Sony TV to make a different hybrid TV altogether. Legally, once you do that, they are not obligated to fix it.

So, If it were me I'd put it back in it's orginal configuration and get Dell on the line. That should always be the first step in getting a Dell system repaired.

Now to your comment about the hardware being proprietary to a Dell system. Well, that's not exactly true. I have quite successfully taken just about every component from a Dell system and put onto another motherboard. The only difference is that the parts are manufactured specifically for Dell, so you can only get the drivers from Dell. This is especially true for their USR modems, Sound Blaster Sound Cards, and possibly even the Video cards. In any of the above cases that I've tried and wasn't able to get running, it was my own fault for not having the appropriate driver from Dell. searching Dell's site long enough has always gotten me the correct driver. The only problem I really had was with one of their USR modems where I downloaded 5-10 different drivers before I found the correct one. The biggest problem is that they no longer list everything based on the device that it is, but based on the model of the PC, so you have to know the model. But like I said, look long enough, and you'll find a driver that'll work, but you shouldn't even attempt at the card manufacturer, because their drivers will not work. You must get them from Dell.

Take Care,
RJ
January 29, 2003 12:17:48 PM

Thanks for the heads-up on the time of year RJ. No, it was within the last 2-3 months. I found that, in moving from Dell's mobo to a real Intel board, I couldn't use floppy drive nor the Windows disk. The floppy simply wouldn't work at all on the new mobo and the Windows disk had been OEM'd to the point where it specifically wouldn't install. The HD merely required repartitioning and reformatting, in the end. I simply told the customer that he should call Dell for a refund on the cost of Windows, since he couldn't use it on anything but their mobo. I'm not sure if I can fool it into thinking it's still being installed on the original system, but I don't have that much time to waste. I'd really rather see him get a clean copy of Windows. OF course we had to trash the case and power supply...

===> Never assume ANYTHING <===

**** Home of Obsolete Hardware ****
January 29, 2003 5:08:47 PM

I'm curious about that. I'll have to see if I can come up with a Dell Windows disk. I haven't done their service in a little over a year, so my info may be a little outdated.

Last I knew, they had a purple OEM windows disk which was nothing more than the cabs from a normal OEM disk. They didn't give you the powertools with it. IE:p OLEDIT and such. They only gave the minimum required. But then again, that was 98,ME and 2000. I haven't done their service for a PC with XP.

I'll have to see if I can come up with one from one of the guys and see if I can get it to install. If I find a way, I'll come back and let ya know.

Just for informational purposes, was that an XP CD?

In either case, OEM'd to the MFG or not, it's still legal and would be going more the way that other MFG's have been doing things for years. IE: Compuke oops, I mean, Compaq. :)  Their "quick restore" can only be ran on the specific model it was distributed with.

At least with Dell if I do use another disk to load windows, I can get the drivers for the hardware. With Compaq you can forget it. You can find a couple drivers, but not enough to make the system fully functional.


Take Care,
RJ
January 29, 2003 6:21:36 PM

Actually, it was a Win 98 system (Dimension 8100 with a 1.3 gig P4). I tried the usual ways of side-stepping the setup, but no luck. All I could get out of it was something like "Drop Dead. This is NOT a Dell system!". I assume that they went in and jiggered the setup program to check for the Dell mobo. It's ssomething OEM's can do, unfortunately.

===> Never assume ANYTHING <===

**** Home of Obsolete Hardware ****
January 30, 2003 7:39:18 PM

I'd blame Microshaft a bit more than than the OEM. Yes, the OEM does have allot to do with it, but I beleive Microshaft is the one promoting it. They would rather a new OS bought for ever PC in the world than installing 98 on a computer you pieced together today from a pc you just junked.

Dell didn't use to do that prior to Microshaft not providing the CD's to the OEM's. It use to be that the disk Dell distributed was an actual OEM disk from Microshaft. So yet again, in the end it all goes back to the same company who's been giving us the shaft for years.



Take Care,
RJ
February 12, 2003 2:16:16 AM

Dell. LOL.

<b>Anyone claiming they can see the difference
between 450 and 500 FPS in Quake3 deserves to
be severely beaten with a rock. :smile: </b>
February 12, 2003 10:28:39 AM

Microsoft may have been promoting it (though I'm a registered Microsoft reseller and >I< never got any 'promotions' to that effect), but the OEM is the one signing the checks. It's all gravy to them. They pay one price to Microsoft, then turn around, using Microsoft's tools, and ensure that their customers buy from THEM and not anyone else. And people actually do! It's totally amazing!

===> Never assume ANYTHING <===

**** Home of Obsolete Hardware ****
February 15, 2003 7:28:53 PM

DELL,GATEWAY,HP,COMPAQ,EMACHINES,TIGERDIRECT, all take advantage of the publics ignorance, OOH, AAH, what a deal I'm getting, all these outdated proprietary parts for such a low low price, I must be in Computer Heaven, or could this be Computer Hell in disguise. TECH SUPPORT, ROFL.



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