Oh Dell

Posted on 22 February 2012 in Computers, Shopping (No comments yet - be the first!)

If any retailers near me sold 14" laptops with an Intel Core i7 processor, then this wouldn't be a tale I'd be telling. But they don't which meant I couldn't just walk in to a store and buy what I needed.

So I went to Dell. I already have two Dell PCs and they work well. Good price, good specs. The first computer I bought through them was a nightmare on the delivery side but the second went OK, and how bad could it be?

Actually placing the order seemed to be hard enough as they insisted I have a free printer which I really didn't want. When I tried to un-select it on their website, it told me I needed a printer. I had to wait several days for that amazing offer to expire which meant I placed the order on Saturday around 9am. An XPS 14z or something. Backlit keyboard and everything. And no free printer. Result.

Twelve hours later (gosh, what speed for an online business!) my order was finally "acknowledged".

Another twelve hours later and I had another email. Please "click to chat" as there'd been a credit card problem.

I'm guessing here that I put something in slightly wrong. It happens. And it must happen a LOT to a company like Dell who are a big operation so I was rather surprised that they simply didn't have a form I could fill in. I was even more surprised to see that it had taken them 24 hours to find out there was a problem, when surely they could have checked within minutes of me placing the order?

Sighing, I reached the keyboard "to chat" at the glorious hour of 9am on Sunday. Dell have some sort of IRC chat system to handle this stuff. More preferable to a phone conversation I decided and lo I "chatted" to Manohar and after ten minutes we finally had the order re-placed. Three minutes of which seemed to be him asking me how I was.

Within minutes of finishing the conversation I had a log of it! Wow, the technology. And far better than Dell's sales system as it took a further six hours before I got another order acknowledgement. Still it was ordered. Only then did I spot that the ETA was nearly a month away which led me to shake my head.

The next morning I had an email from Anthony. He was asking for confirmation of the shipping address and my work email address. I'd decided to get the PC delivered to work, knowing how awful Dell's couriers are. Bemused as to why they wanted my work email address and to why I was having to tell them the shipping address for the third time, I replied off the email and sat back. There was no response. Which was polite of them.

Tuesday lunchtime brought even more fun. Idly wondering if the month long delivery date had been brought forward (the ETA for laptops is 7-10 days after all) I headed to the website and entered the order number. (For some unknown reason, you have to physically enter the order number - they won't just display them. Why? Who knows. This is Dell we're talking about.)

No change on the date but something grabbed my attention. The shipping address.

For some reason - and I have no idea why given I'd told them the shipping address three times - they'd decided they were going to ship it to my old BBC work address. The one I left in June.

I have no idea why. Not one iota. I'd used that address for an order some years ago but I'd deleted it from their website. I'd told them the correct shipping address three times. But there it was. Wrong.

I double checked the order acknowledgement. Yep, it was wrong there too.

Sighing, I picked up the phone and did battle with an automated phone system which seemed designed to keep me as far away from a human being as possible. It took me five minutes of wading through menus to get there (although to their credit, once I finally got the right option, someone picked up straight away.)

Over a dodgy phone line I patiently explained the problem and was politely told that they'd make a note that the address was wrong but they couldn't change it until the PC was ready to go to the couriers! Oh and they'd phone me on Thursday and I'd get a confirmation of the incident tracking number in several hours.

So I'm now taking bets. What do you reckon? Will my PC end up in North Acton? Or will it actually get lost in the bowls of the BBC with a confused post-room staff member trawling the floors of the Broadcast Centre looking for me? And if so, will Dell be a complete pain in the arse about it all because "it's been delivered"?

Somehow I don't feel the odds are good.

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