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When a good idea is a bad move

[note: It's possible I missed something on the website, but I don't think so]

One of the great things about Dell's support site is that every PC they've ever sold has a service tag, which you could use to look up the configuration of the PC online (and then get drivers, order upgrades, etc)

Now it appears they've switched to using an online configuration analyzer - an activex control that dynamically reviews your system configuration.

Good idea, except when you're not on the system that you need the info for (which, reviewing my memory, is something like 3/4 of the time). I've got a server sitting here cold, dark, and quiet - I have to go get a DVD drive for it. I hoped the Dell site would tell me if the CD drive in there is SCSI or IDE. Well the online autoconfigthingy doesn't really help me there, does it?

Nastygram going off to Dell...

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

That's a pretty bad decision. Especially when they already have an established base with those service tags you mentioned; you'd think they had the brains to make it possible to do both.
Thanks for letting us know, though, so I don't learn it the hard way when my laptop screen goes cold or something.

Mickey Petersen
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Are you sure about that?

I'm right now logging into the Dell support website from my Sony Vaio laptop and it works just fine.  When I log in using my email address, it defaults to letting me see the config for my Dell workstation and also lets me change to my friend's Dell laptop using the "Manage My Systems" link.  I set up her laptop on my account when we re-imaged it and had to download drivers.

Ankur
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Philo:

Tyr the selecting another system link on the left.  It lets you either input a service tag, or select a system from a list.

Elephant
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Man, I'm a typo machine today.  That's try. . .

Elephant
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Ahhh...
First of all, this is a PowerEdge server - not sure if that made a difference.

I finally tried saying I didn't agree to run the configuration thingy - THEN I got a page where I could get to the system info.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

They've had their head up Microsoft's ass for too long.

"Dude, just have 'em connect up to the website with their broken computer." 

"Cool.  We can kick back with another bowl."

Larry
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Philo:

FYI: Michael Dell does not read his email , only an executive assitant reads and forwards it to the appropriate person.

I hear only lousy things about dell these days, right from their products, to support and everything else...

Prakash S
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Prakash - I'm well aware of that, but his executive staff seems to get things done.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Dell just got more bad press.

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=10867

This guy mailed the board members and several industry sites/mags

Mike
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Yeah, I won't argue that - I had the same problems when the display in my laptop went bad. The only difference is that after about a week of playing "find the support person" I wrote a letter (a real paper one) to Michael Dell.

A week later I got a phone call from his executive staff, and three days after that I had a new laptop.

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Let me be the first to say that Dell's .edu support is fantastic.  I can get any part I need shipped out next day with a 5 minute phone call.  If we ever do run into problems I can simply drop our Dell account executive an email and he'll take care of things pretty quickly.

The key to getting support people to help you out is confidence.  Tell them what the problem is, what steps you have gone through to fix the problem, and what part to send you.  Tell them what they want to hear.

hmm...
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Philo,

Over here if you order extended support(forgot the exact phrasing), their support unit(or whomever they outsourced it to) will come to your house/work/whatever and fix the problem on-site(like the bad screen in your case).

If that's not service, I don't know what is. I've had several friends experience bad screens, dead keyboards, etc. and they basically said "When & Where?" and showed up with the hardware and replaced it -- no fuss.

Mickey Petersen
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Well, Mickey, that was really the whole problem.
It was an "employee purchase" laptop - company subsidized, but my laptop. They didn't get the onsite service.

So when the display went bad, I was asked to send it in for 2-3 weeks. At the time it was my primary work machine as a contractor, so that meant 2-3 weeks without pay. My whole quest in the matter was to try to get someone to come out and replace the display on-site. I was willing to pay for the service call, but I couldn't give up the machine for that long.

My observations:
1) Dealing with Dell's tech support really got me nowhere. Every call had to start with them trying to get me to install new display drivers, reboot, etc. I think it's idiotic that I had to go to the executive dept. to get help.
2) The fact that someone with a "return to depot" warranty can't pay for the service call to get an onsite replacement is also idiotic.
3) What the hell - to make up for it Dell sent me a new laptop that was far better than the one I had. So they bought me. :-)

4) How bizarre is it that they could send me a new laptop with an airbill to return my existing one, but they can't arrange a billed onsite call?

Philo

Philo
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

You could also look at it this way: Dell offers you the choice of paying for decent support or not. It is "unbundeled".
Would you prefer to still pay 1.000$ 1985 dollars (how much is that in 2003 $) for a simple word processor wether you wanted the included telephone support or not?
To me the answer is unclear. e.g. if a very high percentage of the systems shipped would need to be serviced in order to do as advertised, then the cheap unbundeled offer would be unfair, since you would have to pay over time anyway.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, August 07, 2003

I don't have a major problem with a la carte support, but I find it incredible that you have to make an irrevocable decision at the beginning of a three year ownership. I also can't believe Dell doesn't offer "pay as you go" service calls: "I'm sorry sir, but you have a return to depot service plan. However, for $200 we can send a tech out with the part..."

Of course, *that* is subject to much abuse as well... [shrug]

Philo

Philo
Thursday, August 07, 2003

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