Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Recent Dell update on Stero Mix aka: "What you hear"

I felt this was important enough to post on the old blog, and this one.

Once again, Dell is listening to their customers. It only took a few years, but Dell's Chief Blogger Lionel Menchaca, has announced that the decision to remove stereo mixer recording at the hardware level, is being reversed for some future products. You can read all about it at the blog post here:

Now, for older/current systems, they did release XP drivers which enable stereo mixing in software, but it wasn't so easy for them under Vista. So yes, this is good news for future consumers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Followup to previous Dell customer service snafu...

The State of Things:

Although I'm still smarting from almost a months worth of ridiculous customer/technical service fubars, Dell has smoothed some salve on the issue.

Keep in mind, I like my Dell products. It's a major reason why I didn't publish the anti-Dell/pro-Apple rhetoric replies that were posted to my previous entry. Even though I believe in free speech, my purpose in these blog posts isn't to bash Dell, but to poke at them to fix the support issues I encountered, which do affect my purchasing decisions and recommendations.

So, earlier today, an overnight package was delivered with the replacement components for my notebook pc. YAY! It will be very nice to have a fully functional screen on the laptop again.

This occurred because, after finishing my previous post, which detailed the problems I encountered, I sent an e-mail to a few people at Dell that have helped resolve issues for myself and many other people in the past. The supportive and immediate response from them was heartening. My thanks to all of them.

However, this issue persisted for almost a month. And, I still have mixed feelings about the state of Dell's support services.

That being said, I wish I could say Dell is alone in exhibiting poor customer service. At one time or another, many of the companies I've purchased from have done so. For example, I will never purchase from Averatec ever again. Averatec wanted to charge me $80 plus shipping to fix a 7 month old in-warranty laptop, suffering from a known manufacturer defect. Anything that brings them to mind, makes me want to tell every person within earshot to avoid Averatec like the plague. Averatec didn't honor their warranty with me. Think about how stupendously inept, offensive and all around lousy Averatec must have been, to make me feel it was worse than what I went through with Dell recently.

Sorry, Averatec makes me want to rant, and I hope they go out of business.

Dell doesn't make me feel that way. I just wish they'd fix the customer service issues, which last year had been much improved. I sincerely hope they get back on track, so no one else has to go through what I experienced. Knowing the people I communicated with yesterday, I have hope something will be done about it. After all, not everyone knows how to blog, or how to get the attention of the good people within Dell.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dell - This is such horrible customer service service, I just have to laugh!

I'll try to keep the preamble as short as I can... you can skip down to the E-mail below, it's worth the read, the laugh, the cry, and the total and complete WTF?!

The summary here is:

  1. An under-warranty notebook pc requires a replacement part.

  2. The part was approved for replacement, by a Dell rep and his manager. It was to be shipped to me for self-installation.

  3. The part was instead shipped to a 3rd party Dell partner service company.

  4. Three or four more phone reps later (no cursing or outrage), multiple dropped calls, an e-mail to Dells "Unresolved/Outstanding Issues" support group, and still no resolution.

  5. Then, the hilarious e-mail parade you'll find down below ensued, with such ridiculously unhelpful characters as Amit, Manav, Nidhi, Sushil, Joel, and most recently Manjit. All of whom seem incapable of following up, reading, making a phone call between the hours of 3:00pm and 5:00pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time or even appearently understanding the basic concept of international time zones.

I'm very frustrated and very pissed off, but I do see humor in this disappointingly exceptional lapse of customer service and support. And, in your reading, if you question whether or not any of these reps legitimately tried to contact me during a time I specified as being available, I have detailed incoming/outgoing cell phone records to prove they didn't realistically or at all try to contact me. So,

You'll find the E-mail way down there, and a fuller recounting of the story here:

There is a problem with my E1505 laptop LCD. Troubleshooting has narrowed the most likely culprit down to the inverter. I am capable and experienced enough to replace the LCD/inverter myself. Also, I have a significant scheduling conflict with Dell's local service company BanTec, as I'm available only after 11pm. No problem, ship me the replacement part, my neighbor in the *same 2 family home, same address* will receive it for me. Then, I will self-install, and ship back the defective part. So...

On 5/27/08 - Dells Technical Service rep "Chandan" approved everything over the phone, and on the same call, his supervisor "Chris" went over the details and confirmed them himself, informing me the replacement parts would ship by FedEx, and that I would receive a return shipping lable to return the defective part. Great right? But, wait! There's more...

On 5/29/08 - (Confirming date when new cell phone bill arrives), I received a phone call from a "Bantec" technician, asking me to schedule a time with him to replace my notebooks LCD. He had received my replacement parts instead of me. However, I had specifically arranged the replacement parts to be shipped to me directly, because I am not available until after 11pm, a time which I was told my warranty, and Bantec, did not cover installation.

Not to mention, I have no interest in allowing another technician to touch my equipment/data unless necessary. Still, if it would have solved things, I may have out of sheer frustration, but I wasn't able to arrange the timing. Anyway...

The Bantec rep informed me that he spoke with his supervisor, and he could not drop off the replacement parts at my house, with my downstairs neighbor, as I had arranged it with Dell. He had to perform the installation himself, which wasn't possible, for a number of reasons, starting with the fact, I wasn't home.

So I called Dell's technical support. Results:

Rep #1: Tried to call conference me with Bantec, dropped the call attempting the conference.

Rep #2: Also, tried to call conference me with Bantec, and dropped the call as well.

Rep #3: See above. It's getting almost laughable already.

Note: All 3 reps took my phone # down and promised to call me back if we were disconnected. I do believe one tried, but he appearently didn't have the patience to wait until the 3rd ring, when I picked up, he was already hanging up. It wasn't an accidental disconnect, I heard the manual "static-click" of the disconnection you get when someone uses a call center headset and hangs up. If it had been an accident, wouldn't he have called back? Also, his impatience was unfounded, as I said, he didn't even wait until the 4th ring. I was polite to all 3, and my cell phone does not ring for a long time. If it hits the 4th ring, it goes to voicemail. And, not one Dell rep that claims to have called me, left a voicemail. Not one.

I waited a few days for any of the Dell reps above to get back to me as promised. It didn't happen.

Then, I e-mailed the Dell "Unresolved Issues" group, from the link on What transpires from here on may be described as hilariously abyssmal customer service/support, which I'll summarize all the way at the bottom.

Please excuse the typos. Dell's responses will be in Green, mine will be in Blue, comments will be in red.

NOTES: I removed much of the automated e-mail scripting that is not pertinent to this issue, including Dells disclaimers and times of service, for easier reading. I didn't remove anything a Dell rep independantly stated.

My reference number *never changed*, neither did my phone number, and every e-mail these Dell reps sent me, had the entire e-mail history appended to it from the previous rep in the chain. I removed it for easier reading because the >>>> formatting was terrible, but each rep could easily see the history of what was occuring. And again, I was NOT rude or belligerent to any of them. There was no reasonable cause for this lack of service.

So, here goes... from me on: 6/2/2008

Email Address: (removed for privacy)

Case/Reference/DPS Number: XXXXXXXXX Service Tag: XXXXXXX

Problem: Need replacement LCD for E1505. I will self install.

Scheduling conflicts prohibit on-site tech appointment with Bantec. Arrenged for
LCD to be shipped to home address, where neighbor in the same house would receive it for me. Instead, LCD was shipped to Bantec. Many subsequent headaches have ensued. Please help. I can be contacted at: xxx-xxx-xxxx Thank You.

From Amit:

Quoting US_ACS_HSB_Outstanding_Issues<

Dear Dell Customer,

Thank you for contacting Dell Technical Support. I apologize for the inconvenience caused. I will surely assist you.

As I see from the records that our supervisor Yadhavan tried to call you upon the number provided by you but you were not available. Please let me knowthe best time to call you up so that I can arrange a call back for you as per your convenience. I appreciate your cooperation.

The case number for this interaction is xxxxxxxxx. The case has been documented and the contents of this case are available to all Dell support representatives. If you need additional assistance with this issue and you utilize our phone or chat support channels, please provide them with this case number.

Thank you,

AmitDell Rep ID 01117844

Dell US Consumer Technical Support

Dell Technical Support

Dell E-mail Support operates 24/7. If your reply is received while I?m unavailable, your issue will be handled by one of my colleagues to ensure thefastest possible resolution.

My reply (still the same day):


Thank you for your response. The best time to reach me is between 3pm and 5pm Eastern Daylight Time, at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Regards, (removed for privacy)

NOTE: I never heard from Amit again. My phone records also show, no incoming calls that could possibly have been from Dell.

So, the next day 6/3/2008, Manav e-mails me:

Quoting US_CTS_Support <

Dear (removed for privacy),

Thank you for contacting Dell Technical Support. I see from our records that you are contacting us regarding your Inspiron 1505 with Windows XP on it. I understand your concern from the e-mail regarding the issue with the system. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused and would be glad to assist you.

I understand that you are upset over the situation. As a customer myself,I would feel the same if that happens to me. However, I would appreciate your understanding and I hope you could give me the chance to work on this matter. I assure you that I am here to help you fix this issue with your Dell.

I have arranged a call back for you as per your requested time, In case you miss the callback or you need callback at your convenient time, please reply to me with the best time and phone number to call you.

I once again regret the inconvenience caused to you.
Please reply to this mail if you have any questions or concerns, I will do my best to help you.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. The case number for this interaction is xxxxxxxxx . Please keep this number for your records as it will help us keep the track of this issue. .

Thank you again for contacting Dell Technical Support.


Rep ID 127785
Shift Time, (6:AM- 3:00PM CST) CST, Offs Friday and Saturday
Dell Technical Support

Well, I waited for the call, but I never got his call either. I did reply to him anyway, nicely. But, I never heard from Manav again. Here was my reply on 6/6/2008:


I have not yet received a call. To reconfirm, my phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. The best time to reach me is 3pm to 5pm Eastern Daylight Time.


(removed for privacy)

So now let's meet Nidhi. Nidhi didn't understand her country was in a different time zone than my own. You'll see why in my reply to her e-mail. So, here's Nidhi, the next ghost of Dell support to visit me via e-mail, on 6/6/2008:

Quoting US_CTS_Support <

Dear (removed for privacy),

Thank you for responding to the mail. Since Manav is not currently available, I am replying to your e-mail. I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. I have rescheduled a callback for 8th June, 3:30 PM Eastern Time.

I appreciate your patience and cooperation. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. The case number for this interaction is xxxxxxxxx.

Thank you again for contacting Dell Technical Support.

Regards, Nidhi Sangha
Dell Rep ID 140552
Dell Technical SupportTimings: 2:00 PM. to 11:00PM CST,
Week offs: Wednesday and Thursday.

That e-mail was on a Friday. I waited for Nidhi's call on June 8th, as she stated.. which was a Sunday. Well.. read my reply on Monday 6/9/2008 to understand what happened, why I didn't get the call, and if you haven't guessed yet... I never heard from Nidhi again either:


I did not receive a call on June 8th from Dell.

However, on June 7th, my phone does show a call from a Dell 1-800 number, at 2:58pm. I'm guessing your timezone is a day ahead of mine.

For the next call attempt to resolve this issue, please make it a weekday, between 3pm and 5pm Eastern Daylight Time, to xxx-xxx-xxxx (the same number as before.)

I still do not understand why the issue hasn't been resolved by simply shipping a replacement LCD to my home address, as originally agreed to by Chandan, and confirmed by his call center supervisor Chris, on reference number: xxxxxxxxx

You are now the 9th (or more) Dell representative to apologize for the inconvenience caused to me, and the 3rd rep after contacting the Dell Outstanding Issues group. I have not yelled or cursed. I have been patient and cooperative. However, I am now very, very frustrated.


(removed for privacy)

So later that same day of 6/9/2008, my inbox was visited by Sushil. Let's go meet Suhil now:

Dear (removed for privacy),

Thank you for Replying. I sincerely apologize for all the inconvenience caused to you, however please be assured, I will personally look into the issue and resolve it to the best of your satisfaction.

I have arranged a Callback for you at the requested time. I assure you that this issue will be fixed to your satisfaction. I would be more than happy to assist you again. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you.

Your case number for this interaction is xxxxxxxxx. Please keep this number for your records as it will help us keep the track of this issue.

Thank you again for contacting Dell Technical Support.


Rep ID: 131920,
Dell Technical Support

Well, Sushils' e-mail was very reassuring. He seemed to have things well in hand. I waited ten days for my replacement parts to arrive, or to receive a phone call from Sushil. Nope, nothing. I never heard from Sushil again. So from 6/9/2008, on to 6/19/2008 when I next sent an e-mail of my own to Sushil, wondering what happened. I was worried, as you'll see...


It has been 10 days, and I have not yet heard from you.

I hope all is well with you, as you said you would personally look in to the issue and resolve it to the best of my satisfaction. I am worried for you, as I have not received the callback you arranged, nor any followup of any kind. I hope you are ok.

If you are well, please do help me with case number: xxxxxxxxx


(removed for privacy)
Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx 3pm to 5pm Eastern Daylight Time.

*sigh*... feel like meeting Joel? Wait. Joel? Not the average offshore support name... maybe this issue came back around to a US support center? Maybe it'll be someone closer to home that could help me? Nope. Read on! ('ve come this far after all...) Still 6/19/2008:

Dear (removed for privacy),

Thank you for your reply. Since ?Sushil? is not currently available, I am replying to your e-mail to ensure quick resolution.

I sincerely apologize for your past experience. I will do my best to provide you with quality service.

I can see in our records that you had to contact us number of time. I understand that this has taken more than acceptable time to resolve this issue however let me assure you this is not the normal way we deal with our Customers. I will surely go ahead and bring this matter to my manager?s notice to make sure that required action is taken on this. Also I am arranging a call back for you from our Supervisor/Resolution Expert as per the timings provided by you. Please wait for the call and we again assure you that we are committed to help you resolve this issue.?

It's a pleasure assisting valuable customers like you. I hope I have resolved the issue to your satisfaction; however, if the problem still persists, please feel free to contact me at any time. I want to ensure that you have a positive experience with us.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. The case number for this interaction is xxxxxxxxx.
Please keep this number for your records as it will help us keep the track of this

Thank you for choosing Dell.


Dell Rep ID 110071
Work time: 06 AM to 3 PM, CST.
Dell Technical Support

Guess what? I never heard from Joel again. I waited 4 days before replying to Joel on 6/23/2008...


The problem still persists. Also, I have not received a phone call from the Supervisor/Resolution Expert you mentioned you would have contact me. I am very frustrated.


(removed for privacy)
Phone: (xxx) xxx-xxxx 3pm to 5pm Eastern Daylight Time

Guess what...? Joel wasn't the last of the Dell e-mail spectres. Another one e-mailed me in response to my repy to Joel... and around and around we go... wonder if I'll ever hear from this guy? His name's Manjit. Hi Manjit! I'm not happy, but at least I'm laughing. Did you notice, Manjit asked me to give him a conventient time, between 2:00pm and 11:00pm CST to call me?
Wait... isn't 3:00pm to 5:00pm, Eastern Daylight Time, the same as 2:00pm to 4:00pm CSR? He couldn't figure that out? Or did he just not read the preceeding plethora of e-mails? Oh... you haven't read Manjits e-mail yet? Whoops! Well here is Manjits' e-mail in whole! I'm not removing the generic automated Dell info, just so you can see what it looks like! Enjoy. (Yes, he's the last one at the time of this writing.)

Dear (removed for privacy),

Thank you for replying. I appreciate your patience and cooperation.

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, due to upgradation in tools we were unable to call you however I will rearrange the call back I request you to please provide me convenient time between 02:00 P.M to 11:00 P.M CST for call back and also provide me with the alternate contact number, so that we can troubleshoot the issue. Please provide me with the details to proceed further.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. Your case number for this interaction is xxxxxxxxx. Please keep this number for your records as it will
help us keep the track of this issue.

If you require any further assistance, please feel free to visit our Online Technical Support Center at:
Our 24x7 technical support center can also be reached at 1-800-624-9896. (Please have your Express Service Code handy when calling)

Thank you again for contacting Dell Technical Support.


Manjit Singh.
Dell Rep ID 131846
Dell Technical Support
Timings: 02:00 P.M to 11:00 P.M CST
Weekly Offs: Sat/Sun.