It's all a matter of perspective.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 14:31:13 -0800 (PST)
From: "Nathaniel W. Greer"
Subject: Frustrated Customer and Technician
To: "Michael Dell"

Dear Sir:

I am a LAN support technician with ________. I work in Little Rock, Arkansas on a contract with _________. Our client uses Dell desktop and notebook computers exclusively. We have around four thousand of them on our network, including at least one hundred notebooks.

For the last three and one half years I have worked on Dell computers for forty hours a week. In addition my job, I am a college student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. When I decided that I needed a notebook computer for my schoolwork, of course I went with a Dell. I knew that Dell computers are trustworthy. On the rare occasion that we have a hardware problem with a Dell computer at work, replacement parts are sent overnight without any questions asked. Dell has award-winning customer service.

Earlier this year I plunked down over one thousand dollars of my own hard-earned money, (about three weeks of pay) and ordered myself a Dell Inspiron 2650, service tag number 15g3521. From the time I received this computer, it has shown signs of hardware problems. I had to call Dell Technical Support about two weeks after I received it because it would suddenly power off while I was typing on it. I spoke with a customer service representative who walked me through some tests. He asked me to keep using it and see if I was still having a problem. He vowed to call back in a couple of hours and see how it was going. He never called back. These problems continued.

Next I formatted the hard drive and reloaded the operating system. This did not solve any of my problems; indeed they multiplied. The NIC stopped working. The PC was constantly locking up. Often it would lock up while booting and would not even boot all the way to the desktop for hours at a time. I took my notebook to Donald Richardson, a technician in my office that is certified by Dell, and he diagnosed the motherboard as defective. I called Dell Technical support and spent two hours on the phone with a representative. We flashed the bios, tried to reinstall drivers, ran tests, and did a lot of trouble shooting. Finally he conceded that I had a hardware problem and made arrangements for my notebook to be picked up and taken to a Dell repair center. The representative told me that they would replace the motherboard and have the computer back to me within seventy-two hours. He further told me that he would give me a call to make sure this process was going well. I never heard from him again.

My notebook was returned within the seventy-two hour time frame, but with a note saying that the technicians were unable to find anything wrong with it and did not replace any parts. I took it out of the box, turned it on, and immediately started having the same problems I was having before I sent it in. Obviously I was furious. I called Dell Technical Support and got a representative who called himself Gary. I asked to speak with Gary’s manager and was transferred to a man who gave the name Alex. Alex informed me that there was nothing he could do unless I did some more troubleshooting. He requested that I format the hard drive, reinstall the operating system, and then test it. Alex refused to give a number where I might call him back directly, but promised me – on his honor- that he would have Gary call me back the following Sunday between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00 PM to see if my laptop was working. Predictably, no one called me back.

I formatted the hard drive and tried dozens of times to get the operating system to reinstall. Each time the computer would lock up before I was able to complete the installation. Finally, after a week of trying I was able to get Windows XP completely reinstalled. Immediately, the notebook started having the same kind of problems that it was having before. The NIC works intermittently if at all. The computer locks up frequently. The computer will suddenly shut off while I am working on it. Etc . . .

Obviously I am quite frustrated. I do not have the time or the energy to keep dealing with this issue. A machine that I purchased to help me with my schoolwork has turned into a time consuming nuisance that keeps me from my studies. I have been lied to on three separate occasions by Dell technical support representatives and have no desire to call them again. Any assistance you could offer in getting my Inspiron 2650 repaired or replaced would be appreciated. I am a fair man and open to options, I just need a notebook and quickly. I have three large research papers to write in the next four weeks and I have to have a computer to write them on.

Thank you in advance for your assistance,

Nathaniel Greer
#79 ________
Little Rock, AR 72204

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