Copy of

 I BelieveLied


...my (bad) experience purchasing 2 Dell E1505 notebook computers.

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UPDATE 8/22/06: I'll be doing a big update here soon to catch everyone up on what has been going on in the past week.  For now, I dropped the message below on the Dell Blog at http://www.direct2dell.com in response to Laura Bosworth, Director - WW Customer Experience's post here: http://www.direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2006/08/22/2131.aspx

My response reads:

"Laura,

Perhaps part of the reason customer satisfaction is slipping, has to do with the lack of attention to detail so many Dell customers are experiencing.  Here is an example..


My wife and I recently purchased two Dell E1505 notebooks.  

We were interested in the Free Skins offer, after looking at the list of available Free Skins prior to purchase. You can see them here:

http://delllied.googlepages.com/seeskins2.JPG

However, after receiving our E1505's, this is how many of the non-university logo skins are available, after selecting the designs theme from the dropdown:

http://delllied.googlepages.com/NoDellSkins.JPG

Correct, Zero.  And I know, you do not see in the image the fact that we did indeed use the drop down, to select the theme style we wanted.

So, in other words, we see it as (yet again) an offer by Dell being made, and then not lived up to.

Dells marketing/advertising people need to pay more attention to detail, make sure they can live up the enticements they present during the sales process, and most importantly, make sure they understand what they are selling, and describe it properly, or they risk making fraudulent claims and outright lies, which I have proven has been done as recently as the past 60 days. 

I am working with Downs Deering and other people at Dell on some of the *many* disgustingly anti-consumer and unfair sales practices, as well as the poor support everyone at Dell is obviously working on.

However, if even your most recent promotions are failing to be upheld, then I do not see enough of an effort on obvious and immediate details that are very easy to resolve.

As a second example, I suggest you immediately modify the dell.com/outlet inspiron notebook selections that reflect the "integrated Sound Blaster Audigy ADVANCED HD Audio" under the Sound Card column to state that it is is a software only option The actual sound hardware is an integrated Sigmatel 9200, NOT a Sound Blaster Audigy product.  What is being listed as a "Sound Card" is actually a CD with software.. this is blatant deception, even if it's just a "mistake" someone made.

To be fair, one issue (not mentioned above) has been resolved, and a few others are "in the works". But, problems as obvious as the two above, should be handled within 2 business days. Not weeks, or months.

Good luck with next years reader satisfaction survey. Even with the changes being made, if the same lack of attention to detail exists, I do not see better results in Dells future.


-DL"

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UPDATE 8/15/06: Wow. My last post was five days ago? Time for an update then! (ok, somehow I broke the blog.. working on it..)

Since my last post, a weekend plus a few days have passed. I noticed that very little occurs at an obvious level on Fridays and Mondays, not to mention through the weekend, when it comes to interacting with Dell.  This may be due to start-of, and end-of-week meetings, reviews, reports and preparations that Dell reps must face in order to provide the services that they do.

However, I was happy, and suprised to have received an E-mail on Saturday from Mr. Deering at Dell, as he followed up on the issues other than the Sound Card, that I have passed on to him.

Now, not everything is rosy and full of sunshine for me and Dell, even with the exceptional level of help that Mr. Deering has been working on providing.  For example, the gentleman I mentioned in a previous post that contacted me from the Customer_Advocate@dell.com group, has been severely lacking in his timeliness and attention to details. And to be honest, he has pissed me off.

This gentleman (not Mr. Deering) at Dell, has not responded yet to an issue I brought to his attention on August 3rd. Not even to recognize the issue and say he is following up on it. That was 12 days ago. Very unprofessional.

In addition to which, this same gentleman, has required me to prompt him for an update on a seperate issue, a full week after discussing it with him.  In addition to which, he was unsuccessful at retrieving a file he requested I send to him, without letting me know about the problem he had in doing so, until I prompted him for that update.

The file was password protected, and I provided the password to him via e-mail on August 3rd, when he first requested the file. (yes, I know, e-mail is an open, plain text, unencrypted method of communication. And, passwords sent by e-mail are not safe. This was not a big issue in this case).

So, after my providing a second source for him to download the file, he succeeded in doing so and advising me of such, a few days later, only to inform me that it was password protected, and could I provide the password.  This pissed me off, as I clearly informed him the first time he requested this file, what the password was, and every detail needed to attain and access the file.

This is the level of incompetence that will drive Dells recent spike in customer satisfaction ( according to the ACSI ) back down. It may just be that this individual is over worked, but that is no excuse, as no matter what his own issues are. As a Dell customer, I should not be subjected to.. well.. plainly said.. the idiocy I have experienced with this person in the advocacy group at dell.

The problems I have with him, stem from his lack of judgement and common sense. As well as the fact that he takes longer than 48 hours to follow up on an issue, sometimes longer than a week, and he has yet to even address another issue at all, even though I have brought it up to him a second time. And when I say follow up, I mean a simple return e-mail to inform me that he is actually following up on the issue at all. This is common courtesy he has frustratingly and repeatedly shown himself to lack.

Dell is obviously working on improving their service. However, as long as their process does not improve to filter out these incompetent, or disinterested reps, then they will not succeed in the long term against their competitiors who are likewise seeking to improve service as well.

Still, it is not all bad.  One by one, Mr. Deering is addressing my issues, or putting me in touch with people at Dell (other than this one particular dolt in the customer advocacy group) who can better assist me with a particular issue.

For now, I'm waiting patiently to actually see resolutions occur, as I work towards helping Dell, to help themselves, to help me.

-DL

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UPDATE 8/10/06: For the past few days, I have been in contact with a number of Dell representatives. Partly to resolve my issues with Dell. Partly to work out a resolution with Dell that most people experiencing the same issues I have can benefit from. And, partly to offer my input while I have Dells ear. 

During this period, I have had the opportunity to discuss a few of my issues with Downs Deering, the Director of Dells Home and Small Business Service Delivery Programs.  You might recognize his name from posts on the DellOne2One/Direct2Dell.com Blog. Although it is not his primary role at Dell, Downs has taken it upon himself to act as a customer advocate to assist with resolutions for people who have not been able to achieve an issue resolution through normal Dell support channels.

In other words, this is a guy at Dell who is going out of his way to try and help out customers, when it's not his direct job to do so. So, don't give this guy grief. Be specific and detailed in your explanation of the issue you are dealing with, and most of all, be nice. He's not the guy you need to yell at.

Also keep in mind, if you do contact him, you may be directed to someone who can help you with your specific issue even better than he can. Try contacting the Dell escalation team first, as they likely can save you some time in contacting the person best suited to your issue. And give them a day or two to respond. Thier web based contact URL is below. So...

If you have unsuccessfully pursued an issue with Dell Support, I suggest that you either:

A) Use this URL to to contact Dells escalation team: (try this first!)

https://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dellcare/en/outstanding_issues?c=us&l=en&s=gen and include the following if possible:

System Service Tag #, Case # (If you have one), contact name and contact information (phone number and e-mail)

or

B) Shoot an E-mail with your problem and your related Dell information to: Customer_Advocate@dell.com

You should put your order # or case # in the topic and you may address it to Downs Deering.

Also, be sure to include the following in the body of your E-mail: 

System Service Tag #, Case # (If you have one), contact name and contact information (phone number and e-mail)

 

Now, I must admit that at this time, the open ear, and more importantly the direct feedback Mr. Deering has provided, gives me a glimpse into the reality that Dell is striving for change.

In the past few days, I have also had the opportunity to speak with a gentleman at Dell, who is working directly on improving Dells online support efforts, and establish a dialogue with him to provide suggestions and insight into the negative issues I have experienced with Dells support.

In addition, and more importantly to me, I have just concluded an international conference call with Mr. Deering and Dell design center engineers in Shanghai, China. The purpose of the call, was to proffer and discuss a possible technical solution to the audio issue I have experienced with Dell.

The general idea, is to find a method of providing the features I expected to have from the notebook computer I purchased from Dell. Since it is not physically possible for Dell to provide an actual Sound Blaster Audigy hardware product at this time, I find a suitable solution would be to provide the multi-channel digital audio input and output I would have expected from the product I expected to recieve in the first place.

Dell has been exceedingly accommodating in addressing this concept, and hopefully the technical solution I have presented will be feasible. I am purposely leaving out details about the technical solution, as there is no assurance yet if it will be possible to impliment. This solution is in place of other options, such as a USB based digital audio device.

I am now feeling a bit more confident in addressing the other issues I have had with Dell. Mr. Deering and his team have given me hope that the other issues I and others have, may be suitably addressed. I did not feel that way when I wrote the first post in what has become this blog.

I do hope the realization of suitable resolutions, to the various  issues my wife, myself and many others have experienced with Dell, will come to pass. 

And, I would also like to thank the many people who have sent me supportive and like minded e-mail. Your kind words, compatriotic spirit, and overall support for my efforts have meant a great deal to me, as I pursue these issues with Dell.

Thank You,

 

-DL

P.S. Stay tuned. (and I'll correct typos for this post tomorrow)

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UPDATE 8/8/06: There has not been enough time to reach a resolution with Dell.  However, I am feeling hopeful as my ideas are being met with understanding and a willingness to find possible solutions, other than just returning the hardware, and writing Dell off this years hardware purchases.

In the past week, I have been contacted by two Dell representatives focused on resolution. One by E-mail, and one by phone.  The gentleman I have spoken with by phone, speaks and understands the same general level of English that I do. (I hope that is not an insult to him. heh.) And, I find this to be a refreshing change from the offshore call center language barrier I've previously experienced.

It is unfortunate that every consumer cannot achieve this level of service without jumping through hoops (or blogging) at this point in time. If what I am seeing now is a true indication of Dells willingness and devotion to implement aggressive, fundamental and suitable changes to their overall customer support, then I think they will succeed in winning back all but the most disgruntled customers. Maybe even a few of them too. But, it still remains to be seen exactly what changes will be made, and if they are effective. And it will take many months.

I'm hoping by this time next year, the mumbly guy with marbles in his mouth speaking at 200bpm (beats per minute) at the other end of the Dell support phone call, will be able to provide succinct and satisfactory resolutions to customer issues.  Then I won't mind so much asking him to please repeat what he said twice, followed up by asking him to spell it letter by letter. Because I'd know he was giving me an answer worth waiting for. 

Currently, I am presenting our issues and suggestions by E-mail as well as over the phone. Some of which require further discussion and investigation. So, I will be conferencing shortly with other Dell representatives to see if the technical resolutions currently being discussed are feasible, and also to present some ideas for improving a currently inept first tier level of customer service, via the offshore support reps.

Yes, right now it's just idea sharing, talking things out, and reaching for progress to an amiable resolution.  It may not work, but it's a start.

It'd also be nice if they would reword the "Integrated Sound Blaster Advanced HD Audio *Software Edition*" on the website. So I don't have to hear from another person that "Sound Blaster" drivers don't work on their Dell. And, so that I don't have to tell them "Dude, you got a Sigmatel!"

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UPDATE 8/6/06: Dell is still lying about hardware specs.

In the past few days, I have received E-mail from people who are experiencing various problems they're having with Dell.  A few of them pointed out the following:

Dell Outlet is still selling the "Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy HD Audio" option as a Sound Card, but it is not. On models they sell, such as the M1710, the actual hardware uses the same sound processor as that of our E1505's, the Sigmatel 9200 Audio Controller. And, again in this case, it doesn't say that the actual integrated sound chip is not a Soundblaster Audigy.

Here is the proof: 

 OutletAudigyE1.JPG (186KB)  OutletAudigyE2.JPG (220KB)

You'll notice, even on their high end system the XPS M1710, Dell calls the Sound Card an: Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy Advanced HD Audio.   I call this deception.

What they actually supply is a CD from Creative (makers of the Soundblaster brand of hardware) that contains software to "enhance" stereo sound (two channel) to make it sound like "Surround Sound" (multichannel ie: 5.1) using methods that trick the ear into hearing more depth. It also includes a few other audio tools. You can see an image of that CD still in its sleeve here:

DellLied1.jpg

No where in the process of purchasing these notebook computers from Dell Outlet (mine were purchased from Dell Home Sales if you'll read the original post further down this page), do they ever inform the buyer that the "Integrated Sound Blaster" they've been told they are getting, is just software using a different product in hardware.

To be fair to Dell, Sigmatel also produces audio chips for Creative. However, that does not mean these notebook computers are getting the brand name hardware that buyers are paying for. It also doesn't mean that buyers are getting the full feature set that purchasing a Sound Blaster Audigy entails.  What they are getting, is a Sound Blaster Audigy software suite. Unfortunately, that is not what buyers are being told during the sales process.

I'm working with Dell on a resolution for the E1505's we purchased, but I still think Dell needs to stop letting the marketing/advertising/sales people run the show, and make sure that when they state a hardware specification, that the buyer gets what they pay for. Dells integrity is proving to be as poor as their customer support has been the past few years.  "Anything for a sale" seems to be the attitude I'm getting from them, which is sad, because the products aren't that bad, if they don't lie about what we're getting.

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* I just got the E-mail for the "Dell Satisfaction Survey"

* For some reason, that made me laugh.

UPDATE 8/2/06 #2: Wow, 3 replies from Dell representatives based in the USA on the same day. Here is how that is going:

One was a follow up I mentioned in a previous update.  The gold support rep who was the first (and only) Dell rep to respond to this blog until today, E-mailed me to say he couldn't help but he did pass my issue on to be escalated. 

He's a nice guy, and I don't hold a grudge, his communication was wholly appropriate.  He also gave me more information about the software CD that was sent to me, and how it compares with the driver download on Dells site. I gave that info its own update below. I'm just a little saddened that a "technical support specialist" in the "Gold Technical Support" group couldn't do more.

The next Dell rep to contact me was a "Dell customer advocate." His initial outreach was to:

A) Apologize and tell me they're working on the problem with the sales reps.

B) Give me the company line options of credit for the CD/return the notebooks/refund the money.  No where in there do I see an effort to reach a  resolution. What I see there is a misunderstanding of what's been said on this page.  Perhaps I don't communicate well enough. But as I told him what I said to the 3rd Dell rep to contact me today:

 "As you say, 'Dell definitely wants you as a customer', and that is what I am, a Dell customer.  As you will see here:  Edited Image link, click here to see image I own a number of Dell products prior to the purchase of the E1505 notebooks (we purchased 2 units), and this is why I am working to reach a resolution. Not to just chuck the whole issue by returning the product and never buying Dell again.  We enjoy the products, and would honestly like to see the service improve."

C) Ask me for a copy of the full conversation that I recorded with the sales rep from the clip below, and mentioned he wanted it to "review and identify the employee." 

To which I replied:

" ...I will be happy to provide the full recording  However, I must note a few things before doing so, and this is not to stall you, it is due to the concerns I still have."...

"...it was not just one sales person who provided the inaccurate information. It was a number of them. Picking this one gentleman out for some form of discommendation would be a disgusting abuse of fairness.  The training and review process for Dell obviously is the culprit."

So, my initial impression of this particular customer advocate leads me to think Dell needs to reflect more flexibility, and not keep pushing the company line. Because the company line seems to be "Don't like it? Return it and go away." even though he didn't say that, and did suggest that after I made the return I could purchase another configuration of my choosing with my refund.  But really, who is going to go through all this hassle, return the product, then buy from the same company? It just stinks of anti-consumerism and driving customers away.  I preferred the method of the 3rd Dell rep to contact me today...

The 3rd Dell representative to contact me today was none other than a (The?) Dell Director of the HSB Service Delivery Programs. He is also one of the bloggers over at Dells One2one Blog. His title and activities are not what made me prefer his interaction. It was his methodology and approach. Intentional or otherwise, it works for me.

His approach was appropriate. He kept his introduction simple, and allowed me to address the issue(s).

This too was the correct way to do it.... He already had my e-mail address so you'd wonder why he needed my "contact information.?"  Obviously to me, it was because he understood from my blog, I was looking to *speak* with someone, on the phone, who could hold a dialogue without reading the screen or guessing what two consecutive English words meant.

Anyway, I was using VoIP (Internet Phone) when he called me from his cellphone. Let's just say, Skype is fantastic, but not perfect, and sometimes the call quality when talking to someone on a cellphone is the pits.  So, he gave me his cellphone number to call from another line. 

No. I will not share his number, but by next week I will post alternative contact information for him, so whoever needs to can make contact.

The conversation was animated, not angry. It was a true dialogue, not a digression into frustration. In the end, he understood fully what my point has been all along.  And, you know what?  He realized my point was to communicate a true resolution to the problem, not to complain or reach a compromise (which leaves both side unhappy). 

Now, my suggestion requires some technical effort and verification on Dells part.  It looks as if they'll make that effort, because it's one that will benefit all their customers who experienced the same issue I am having. It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than a half-***ed compromise.

 I will post more about it after Dell and I have tested the technical aspects of the resolution, to see if it will actually work reliably. Hopefully, it will also be effective enough for them to provide across the board.  (yes, my motives were only partly selfish, and mostly altruistic, whodathunkit, and I'm betting this particular Dell Director of the HSB Service Delivery Programs, will agree with that sentiment.

To him, I would like to say thanks. His name is Downs Deering, and I think he expected me to be a raving lunatic when he contacted me. (perhaps I was?) But, I think we both hung up feeling far more optimistic. 

I'll still wait to see how this plays out, but it's the first promising contact I've had from Dell since we purchased these E1505's.  Downs, I look forward to speaking with you again after the weekend.

Cheers.

P.S.: We'll be getting to the other issues next week as well. I'm going to see how this goes first.

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UPDATE 8/2/06 #1: OK, the download is just the enhanced driver. The CD that comes with the "integrated Soundblaster Audigy Advanced HD Audio" instead of the actual Soundblaster, also includes a number of software utilities for editing .wav files, the SoundFont Manager Bank,  and other features. So, Dell isn't exactly *just* selling the driver, in place of the hardware, they've been selling a whole software suite instead of the hardware.

The the online driver download does not come with this suite of utilities.  This honestly makes no difference to me, but in the interest of fairness, I'm speaking about it. So again, Dell is NOT sending out and charging for a CD that contains ONLY a driver you could have downloaded for free, but the CD contains the driver plus an audio utility suite for configuring the "Advanced HD audio" and doing some sound mixing.

Personally, I'd rather use Audacity for the sound editing, and the audio players I use have their own equalizers built in.  In other words, this is a nice suite for someone less experienced or... OK, I admit it, less picky. 

Also, I'm sure these utilities interoperate well with the "virtual surround sound" the software performs to make 2 speakers sound like 4 or 5 speakers. (they say 5.1 but if there is no base unit on E1505, then I don't accept the claim of that .1) The rest of my arguement still stands.

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UPDATE 8/1/06 #2: Proof it's a scam and Dell Lied

Now I'm SURE of it. Dell doesn't inform you on the website, and didn't inform me on the phone, that the Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy Advanced HD Audio for the E1505 notebook they charged me for and claimed was a hardware upgrade, is a FREE DOWNLOAD. Straight from the E1505 Windows XP Drivers section! They charged me for a freely downloadable driver, without informing me I had the option of freely downloading it! And they did this after selling it as a hardware upgrade! (The proof Dell claimed it's a hardware upgrade is in the original post way..down..there..towards the bottom of this page just scroll down to the red Dell Lied ).

So they *tricked* me into buying something I didn't have to pay for in the first place. And lied to get me to do it. Before, I was just disappointed. Now I'm ANGRY.

It's not about the $25 Dell claimed it cost me. It's about being deceived, scammed, and lied to by Dell. And being deprived of the  features I was informed I was purchasing.

Michael Dell, get your con artist marketing/advertising people in hand, because in my opinion this *is* fraud in the enticement. Your business support does a decent job. Your company provides some decent products. Your overall support was once decent years ago, but no longer.

Want proof? See for yourself.. Note: not photoshopped, I used MS Paint to crop, paste, and circle in red the important line(s). Nothing is being left out that would change the context.

 

 

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UPDATE 8/1/06: It looks like Dell is paying attention. They finally fixed the customer support phone number on their website, that has been incorrect since at least July 20th.  Yet, I still haven't been contacted by someone from Dell, who can actually work with me to reach a resolution regarding the issues I have as a Dell customer. 

They'll find that actually working with me to resolve these issues will be rather easy. But they don't seem interested. I guess my next step will be to prepare the letter to the BBB, my state Attorney General, work on getting this issue onto Slashdot and other sites, and spread the word. Then, maybe someone at Dell will pay attention to something other Dell, like perhaps... a Dell customer.

Have you read Dells Blog? They only seem interested in the problems Dell is having, instead of reaching out to their customer base. Hey Dell, your customers should come before your investors.  If you lose your customers, you'll lose your investors.

Dell may not want me as a customer anymore, but that doesn't change the fact that I AM a Dell customer, and I own quite a few of their peripherals aside from these notebooks.

Maybe, I won't want Dell as a vendor any longer. I'm getting very close to making that decision. If I get there, that will include my purchasing and acquisitions recommendations to my business clients. That isn't a threat. It's an unfortunate possibility, since Dell does some to put some effort into business support. However, if Dell can't take care of me at home, I'm not going to take care of them at work.

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UPDATE 7/31/06: Well, two interesting things happened lastnight. Firstly, Digg.com seems to have removed this pages Digg from their listings.. after it exceeded 2100 diggs inside 10 to 15 hours.  My guess is that something in the content or format of this page was against their rules or sensibilities. I don't know, because they didn't bother to E-mail me about it.  Maybe I just need to read the FAQ again, or perhaps Dell is a sponsor for them in some way. The digg page is still there with all the replies, but it doesn't show up in their search or categorical lists anymore. :(

Secondly, someone representing themselves as a Dell Gold level support person contacted me from.. TEXAS! ... to tell me that he would try to find someone (else) to help me out.

Well.. it's a start.. sort of. He saw the posting on digg.com and replied to me directly. It's more than any other Dell rep has done since I put up this page. So, I'd like to thank him for reaching out. (Thanks!)

Also, some random points of interest:

Some people have been referring to this page as IBDL. Quite a few in fact. Maybe I'll pick up on it too..

We've received many e-mails from all of you offering words of constructive advice, support, sympathy and overall good will. There were a couple of naysayers, and a few threats from trolls, but overall you have all shown that there are good people out there, and we really appreciate you. 

Now, I just found out that as of this moment, if you google for the keywords "Dell Lied", you'll see this page as the 1st result. Now, I'm not so sure that is a good thing, but I guess any publicity is good..oh crap, now I'm sounding like those advertising types that do stuff like use the word integrated to describe a piece of installable 3rd party software.

Also, if you know any bloggers who are willing, I'd appreciate it if you'd ask them to drop this page's URL on their blog and spread the word. With digg giving us the cold shoulder all of a sudden, it'll be nice to keep a little activity going so Dell knows we're still here. 

That's about it for now. This has obviously turned into something of a blog, which wasn't my original intention, but there you have it. I'll try to keep it updated as things change, or drop in for a few words every few days of nothing else happens.

Cheers

 -DL

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Welcome DIGGers!!  Update from DIGG.com 7/30/06:

To answer a few questions and comments here:

#1) When I first looked at this notebook/laptop configuration online last month, *there was no mention that the Soundblaster Audigy option was software only* I wasn't ready to buy at that time.

#2) We ordered by phone, because we were having trouble with Dells website. If the website has been working, We'd have used it. I was later told it was due to a large number of hits on a Dell web promotion.

#3) The CD in the image is inside a sealed paper sleeve. That is how I scanned the image. I did not want to break the seal. Also, if you right click the image and save as.. you can open the ENTIRE image not just the 1/2 that is showing on the webpage.

#4) Not being able to utilize Dells website, we called multiple times into Sales, Customer Care and Tech Support (at the suggestion of Sales reps) to get the hardware specifications for the E1505 features we wanted.

#5) Returning the notebook computers would result in Dell trying to apply a 15% restocking fee. Meaning I would lose hundreds of dollars just to return them.

#6) I am *NOT* trying to "get more" from Dell ala AOL.. as I noted, this is just ONE issue out of many I needed Dell support to address, and Dell support has been abysmal in doing so. What I have been trying to do, is get enough attention from someone at Dell who has a better grasp of English and the authority to assist me appropriately.

#7) In my opinion, the issue I posted, is one of the LEAST embarrassing to Dell of the other issues I want to address with them. They may disagree, but I purposely did not post the other issues to save Dell some bigger headaches than even this one could be.

#8) The E1505's aren't all bad. If some of these issues are resolved, it wouldn't hurt us to keep them. Dells post sales support however has been painful.

#9) None of Dells reps were rude to me. Most were downright nice, from the clueless to the not-so-clueless but lack-the-authority, to the downright disinterested (who were the worst, because they had no interest in even trying to understand the problem)

#10) When I call in to Dells support, the automated message states that Dell may record the call. I don't care WHY they may do it, the fact that they have informed me they might, gives me the right to record it too. Also, my state allows me to record phone conversations as a single party notification.

#11) And please keep in mind.. just ONE rep didn't give me this incorrect information..MULTIPLE reps did. Pre and Post sale. In my opinion, this is reflective of either:..
A) Dell management knows this happens and makes more money letting it go.. or
B) Dell doesn't do enough pre-sales fact checking, which I should not be punished for.
C) Dell purposely misinforms their reps who couldn't know better in order to increase revenue (few companyies would keep a rep who knows better)
D) Dell is too busy expanding to realize they're too large to handle their existing customer base adequately. (or they realize it and care more for profit, so we just get lip service).. in other words, stop worrying about increasing sales.. put more effort into support. And don't claim you are, when it's not evident to the post sales consumer.
E) Dell simply doesn't train their people very well. Spend more time/money on training and incentive to improve skills/knowledge. And that means, stop giving incentives for how many "successfully closed trouble tickets" or sales your reps make each day. It's only counter productive to good service.

Anyway, those are my speculations. Time to go check e-mail and see if anyone at Dell cared enough to respond to me over the weekend.
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UPDATE 7/30/06: For the past week, I have had to call Dell Home Customer Service using their Dell Sales phone #.  Why? Because for the past week (actually for the past 10 days) the Dell Home Customer Service 1-800 # published on Dells "Contact US/Support" webpage has been INCORRECT. I told this to two different reps on July 23rd and E-mailed webmaster@dell.com to no avail. The # is STILL WRONG a full week later.  Incompetence, or do they strive to make life difficult for post-sales customers?

Want proof? Here is the screenshot.  And, this is what I hear when I call that number (.wav format audio 908 KB) I checked it, and rechecked it, even had two other people try it. 

Luckily, I realize that I can call their sales number, and can still get through to support.  My  67+ year old neighbor with an older model Dell did not realize this yesterday.

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Beginning July 20th, 2006:

I started off hoping to get a good price on two Dell E1505 laptops. One for myself, and one for my wife. So we called Dell Home Sales when Dells website wasn't working.

We called in a few times, asking about specifics on various features of the laptops. Then, happy with the answers, we (my wife and I) ordered two Dell E1505 laptops.

Only later did I come to the opinion that Dell Sales representatives either do not know much about their products (misrepresentation), or  deliberately mislead me (fraud).

There are a number of problems I am experiencing with Dell at this time, here is the first and easiest to prove, communicate and understand: 

Dell Lied: The E1505 notebook computer does NOT come with an integrated Soundblaster Audigy Soundcard, it never did, and doesn't even have that option. Dell sells a piece of software (audio drivers) that they charge $25 for, to use the existing basic stereo integrated sound card to create "virtual" surround sound. 

I later learned that they call this software "Integrated Soundblaster Audigy *Software Edition*" on their website, which didn't help me on the phone order. 

The actual "integrated sound card" I received is a Sigmatel 9200 audio controller. But, that isn't what Dell told me. And, I can prove it, read on and listen to the audio clip below...

Numerous Dell Home Sales representatives informed me that my Dell E1505 was upgradeable to a "Soundblaster Audigy Sound Card," from the basic stereo soundcard, for an additional cost of $25.  Here's my proof:

Recorded sound clip from my conversation with a Dell Home Sales representative:

In .wav PCM format, 42 seconds long, 908 (KB) KiloBytes: DellLied1.wav click here (this is the clearest sounding, the next two are the same file, compressed for easier download, but the audio is poor)

In .mp3 format, 42 seconds long, 41.3 KB: DellLied1.mp3 and In .wma (Windows Media Audio), 42 seconds long, 267 KB: DellLied.wma <- works in Windows Media Player version 8 and higher.

The Dell Home sales rep in the clip was not the only one, pre or post sales, to give me that same information, that has proven to be a flat out lie. In my opinion that is Bait and Switch , or just plain Fraud, you tell me. 

Note: I don't blame the reps at this point. If multiple reps provide the same information, then my guess is the problem resides with management for allowing it to continue when people on Dell forums have been complaining about it for weeks, or longer.

To make matters worse, look below at the CD Dell sent me:

(And yes, I am POSITIVE that this laptops hardware does NOT have a Soundblaster Audigy Soundcard, and Dell doesn't sell ANY of these laptops with Soundblaster Audigy Soundcards.)

 

If you can't read what it says : Integrated Sound Blaster Audigy ADVANCED HD Audio. For those who don't know.. in computer terms.. integrated means it's build into the motherboard, it is hardware. Except in this case, it doesn't exist in hardware at all

If any Dell representative, post-sale had shown the slightest understanding of my concerns, this page would not exist and we would be working on resolutions to these problems

Unfortunately, the offshore Customer Care representatives understand the individual words I say, but do not understand their meaning when put together in a sentence. Their primary tactic was to just forward me to another department, so Dell Home Sales sent me to Dell Home Customer Care, and Dell Home Customer Care (tried) to send me to Dell Home Technical Support (but usually ended up sending me to some other support department instead), and Dell Technical Support tended to suggest I talk to Sales...

Then, my letters and E-mail to Dell went unanswered, and my messages to the Dell reps at http://www.dellone2one.com/  also went unanswered. So now I am beyond frustrated.

If someone from Dell wants to resolve these issues with us (note, this is just one of many at this point) then please contact me at the E-mail Address to the upper right of this post. Or, check the Dell Blog feedback for my messages at http://www.dellone2one.com (Dell One 2 One Blog).

I will be happy to provide the entire conversation the above audio clip was taken from, as well as whatever others I may have.  You will find that the clip is NOT out of context.

However, I expect Dell to TRAIN their reps better, not admonish them for being wrong because they aren't properly trained before being put on the phones. The lie comes from the company, not the individual, at least not when multiple individuals at the Sales and Technical support level provide the same information.

If you really want to know why this is such a big deal to me, it is because I had intended to connect my digital 5.1 external speakers to my laptop, as the Dell Home Sales reps had told me I could do.  Now, I AM being told, that I can get a "special cable", for an additional charge, that hooks up to the S-Video (yes, VIDEO) port of my laptop, that can output 5.1 audio, but only when playing a DVD in the laptops DVD drive.  That means NO 5.1 audio mixing, No 5.1 music,  No 5.1 video game audio..etc.

Also, none of the reps I spoke with about the cable (4 of them, 1 technical, 2 sales, 1 customer care) can tell me which cable I actually need to get the s-video to digital audio output. Meaning they can't tell me with any certainty what the item number is or what the cable is called.

That is why I am so upset, I see promised features, then bait and switch tactics and additional fees, and incompetence.

Right now, Dell doesn't seem any better than the con artists in Times Square, in New York city that sell tourists computer hardware at 300% markup. Then sell them the power cable separately, AFTER the computer is purchased.

If Dell never reaches me, then any lawyer who wants to take this issue up on my behalf, please contact me, and minus personal details I will provide the same full audio conversation to you as well.  Also note that I will only provide direct personal information about myself to a lawyer once I know who *you* are. 

Wish me luck people, because I have spent the last week attempting to resolve this issue amicably, to no suitable resolution, with Dell Home Sales, Customer Care, and Technical Support. And, I guess, buyer beware.

 

 

 

 

You may send me e-mail using the E-mail address DellLied@gmail.com and please, no solicitations, and no flames. If you have something that will help resolve this issue, I'm all ears..err eyes.