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Why Dell Sucks Today - The Saga Continues

Some of you might remember my post a few weeks back about Dell taking an order for a product and then lying to me about the delivery date. Repeatedly. For weeks.

I got an email from a guy at Dell who read the post and he said he would help make it right. We cancelled that order and placed another one for a similar, but more expensive, product. (Why, I don't know why, call me an moron.) I told him that I'd blog the outcome -no matter the outcome- good bad or indifferent. He agreed.


They took my order a few weeks ago and gave me a delivery date. 3 DAYS before the delivery date they authorized my debit card and 2 DAYS before the ship date they took the money out of my checking account.

Guess what I got in the mail yesterday?

You got it... Another freaking bogus "Umm... we'll ship that next week" email that I now know -thru a Dell manager- is a lie. (see previous post)

So now they have my money and I'm almost 2 months with no product. I have no idea why their system takes the money BEFORE it ships when they know they don't have the product, but according to my bank, the money is gone.

I have nothing to base this on (I'm no lawyer) but this -to me- sounds like one of those areas we have federal wire fraud laws about. I'm tempted to call the U.S. Attorney and see if I'm right.

Update: 3am I called Oregon today (You didn't think I'd throw away that number did you?) and told Oregon I wanted my product or my money. Oregon didn't give me a straight answer and I was running out the door, so I figured I'd call in the morning. I looked at my bank online just now and the charge was gone. - I still don't know if that is good news or bad, if I'm getting my product or not.


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Comments (33)

Call and write the attorney... (Below threshold)

Call and write the attorney general and the Better Business Bureau. It wasn't long ago that people though they couldn't do anything about AOL. A lot of people (my sister included) filed formal compaints with the BBB and their attorney generals and they got reimbursed and AOL paid millions in fines. Sounds like Dell is set up for the same action. Find a few more people that can document their lies and you've got a sure winner. The more businesses the people take on the more honest those left will become. Just like the hundreds of Criminal CEO/CFO's from the 90's (country led by criminals in the white house so everyone became a criminal, human nature) that are in jail and most of those left have found it to be to their advantage to be more honest.

Scrapiron, I'm not a "sue '... (Below threshold)

Scrapiron, I'm not a "sue 'em" kinda guy but I must admit part of me wants to take harsh action.

Makes a good argument for u... (Below threshold)

Makes a good argument for using a credit card instead of a debit card. At least you could contest the charge (and with your documentation of the whole saga, the credit card company would side with you). With a debit card the cash is just gone from your checking account.

Paul,I don't have ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:


I don't have a solution for you, but the problem with Del is likely their fulfillment software was designed and developed offshore in a place with a distorted economy.

You see, in some of these countries the software industry is among the first to move in with good paying jobs. Smart people with little or no aptitude for software engineering go into that field because that's where the relatively high paying jobs are. The result are teams of developers who are well versed in the latest software design and product management methodology, but who have little or no innate ability for that kind of work. It's like making movies with people who studied acting, but can't act. The product may be technically correct, but so uninspired and lacking of innovative features that it fails to meet the real needs of users.

Well you can always buy a M... (Below threshold)

Well you can always buy a Mac.

I recommend <a href="http:/... (Below threshold)

I recommend http://www.planetfeedback.com

It seems to get their attention.

Not a moron - you just trus... (Below threshold)

Not a moron - you just trusted that it was a one-time cockup. I've ordered 4 systems thru Dell, and have never had any problems. That being said, they've been screwing you over repeatedly - get the U.S. Attorney, the BBB, and the Tooth Fairy involved if you have to. Companies that do this kind of thing need to be held accountable, to put it kindly.

Nothing an email to Kevin R... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

Nothing an email to Kevin Rollins and Michael Dell won't fix. It will roll downhill very quickly and get solved. It beats talking with someone in Bangalor who is hard to understand.

About eight years ago, I or... (Below threshold)

About eight years ago, I ordered one computer, and Dell charged my credit card for two. They delivered both of them separately - and left one of them on my front porch under a tablecloth, where it was unnoticed for a few days, and fortunately not stolen. I haven't ordered from them since for home use, but I've worked at companies that have had similar problems to yours.

I am not a lawyer, but I know enough not to give a legal opinion without having all the facts even if I were one. However, my understanding of the laws as spelled out by the Federal Trade Commission's website is there are a bunch of laws around firm shipping dates, allowing order cancellation, and when they can/can't charge you. I'd suggest starting with the FTC website if you want to go with the nuclear option.

Credit Card purchases:... (Below threshold)

Credit Card purchases:

The nice thing about buying something with a credit card is that you can contest charges.

Call your credit card company, and tell them you would like to "contest" a charge made to your card. Tell them that the vendor defaulted on your agreement, and you do not want to pay them. Explain your case to them, and they will help you. I've done it before.

I did it with a computer that was sold to me a little while back (not from Dell). The computer didn't turn on, I contested the charge, and I tried to send the computer back. The computer was returned to me, and I held onto it. I kept it for a couple months, and they didn't contact me. It turns out that there is this thing called an "abandoment". they made no effort to collect their money, or take back the computer, or deal with the situation. I had the computer for 90 days, so it was legally mine. Turns out, the power supply was busted. I paid $100 and got a new one put in, bam, free computer (sans $100). The computer was worth at least $1500.

You are NOT a moron - but y... (Below threshold)

You are NOT a moron - but you WILL be one if you don't drop that "not a suing kind of guy" attitude. They count on rubes like you that let them get away with their nonsense! Meanwhile, they are collecting INTEREST on YOUR money and you are left without product or the wherewithal to buy an alternative. Start with the local BBB, your state attorney general and yes indeed, try to "trickle down" effect of sending e-mails to the TOP of the food chain at Dell.

My best friend had a similar experience with Dell. Ordered a very specfic custom computer for her son as a gift and it came completely not as ordered. She returned it and went to a Gateway which she was able to buy right at a Gateway store in our area! Sometimes online ordering is not a good option.

Mac you hit the nail on the... (Below threshold)

Mac you hit the nail on the head.

Smartguy you know you're right... I've used a debit card for years with no hassel. - But I'm usually careful who I do business with. :-/

gawaine I'm like you I have no idea what the law(s) says but I know there are tons of them in this area. And they tend to be pretty precise. The FTC website might be my next stop if the phone doesn't help.

Sorry to hear about your De... (Below threshold)

Sorry to hear about your Dell experience - I've bought dozens of their systems for my business and had only one issue - and they corrected that in 48 hrs. Perhaps the difference is that I deal with the small business division?
Anyway, you should absolutely hold them accountable. I hope this exposure will get you the response you need. They could partially redeem themselves if they respond PDQ.
And in the future, always use a credit card.

Paul,I feel your pai... (Below threshold)

I feel your pain on this situation! Are you familiar with Pre-Paid Legal Services? For a nominal monthly membership fee, you could have an attorney intervene with Dell. PPL really excels in consumer law issues, so if you're interested, just drop me a note and let me know.
Best of luck to you!

Paul, if Pre-Paid Legal Ser... (Below threshold)

Paul, if Pre-Paid Legal Services does not have the information that you are looking for go to www.findlaw.com They will probably have the information that you are seeking. Besides they are free.

I have heard so many horror... (Below threshold)

I have heard so many horror stories about Dell, and know enough about computer building to say that most of the components they use are junk quality that I'd never purchase one. (honestly I have been told and shown studies that indicate that the mother boards and power supplies that Dell uses are usually 1 generation behind the top of the line, and have a history of dying within 2-4 years.) Every computer I've owned I have purchased from small shops that are willing to custom build computers to my specifications, and where I can return my computer if something does go wrong.

Not surprisingly the last 3 computers I've owned have lasted for 4 years, 8 years (with one motherboard upgrade done at home), and a new one with 7 months of good service. All have cost no more than a comparable Dell mousetrap.

My advice, never purchase from Dell

I'm not a lawyer (having sc... (Below threshold)

I'm not a lawyer (having scruples and all), but I did stay at a...

At a minimum, you should press Dell to refund the money to your bank account until they actually ship the product. It's not right that they should charge your card if they have no product to ship. And if you have the moxie, ask them what they can do for you to compensate you for a badly botched order. You might be surprised. Dell doesn't want you running aroud saying "Dell Sucks!" to 36,000 people a day.

Escalate with Dell. They didn't get big by being stupid.

Dell has a "community forum... (Below threshold)

Dell has a "community forum" where you can discuss your experience with other Dell users. Maybe they know how to get some action. See dell.com.

I'm not a 'suing' kind of p... (Below threshold)

I'm not a 'suing' kind of person (65 and never been involved in one) either, but i'm also not a roll over and let them screw me type of person either. The BBB and attorney general usually solves the problem. Several businesses have found that out the hard way. If it was in a store i raise a stink that every customer cam hear the commotion. Funny how a store manager can make thing right so quick after the salesperson said there's nothing they can do.
Also have three Dell computer's and haven't had a problem. Ordered one Sony which was junk but they refunded my purchase price including shipping.

I think y'all are letting t... (Below threshold)

I think y'all are letting the "Dell Sucks!"-"No, it doesn't!" thing get in the way of the basic facts of the case.

Customer ordered Product X. Product X was promised by date Y. Bidness took Customer's money on date Y-2, without giving Customer physical and legal control of Product X at the time. Customer has yet to receive physical and legal control of Product X here at date Y+1, but Bidness still has Customer's money for Product X.

Solution: Bidness either coughs up Product X forthwith or returns Customer's money. Period.

If Bidness is unwilling to either cough up Product X forthwith or return Customer's money, then Customer should sue Bidness' miserable arses up one side of the legal system and down the other.

Call radio stations in NOLA and Austin, call television stations, call the T-P, call the Statesman down in Austin. Keep making noise.

Because Bidness is depending on Customer to just say fugheddaboutit.

JD is right. Paul, you don'... (Below threshold)

JD is right. Paul, you don't have to sue to take recourse. Only in America the knee jerk reaction of "sue or walk away"....there are other options.

The BBB is a good start. Asking Dell for a customer escalation is another (may not amount to much, but if you don't do this then it can drag out things down the road), check with your bank on their policies of withdrawals made on goods you haven't received etc.

You can be a pain in the ass to Dell without going to court....and if you have, and Dell doesn't cough up the stuff and you do end up going to court your case is that much easier to win.

Paul,If you need b... (Below threshold)


If you need back up evidence to bad customer service court or no, ring me. I'll send you the docs.

I ordered a monitor, which they delayed twice. It is not even anything they make, you can buy it out of the product channel. After the second delay, I called and emailed that I intended to cancel. I did so 2 hours after the second notice of delay. A week later a monitor shows up.

I then spent the next 6 months tryig to get it returned. Dell kept saying, you got it pay us. They refused to take it back. Still have it siting in the box, unused.

Just let me know and copies are yours.

I have ordered from Dell th... (Below threshold)

I have ordered from Dell three times, and each time got my system in good time and working order. The couple of times I had to call for tech support over the years, the wait was long, but the service good and solved the problem - including the Indian guy on one call.

That said, a reputable business doesn't charge your card until they ship. Period.

There is NO excuse for charging the card BEFORE shipping when they DON'T have the order to ship.

YIKES YIKES YIKES- I'm not ... (Below threshold)

YIKES YIKES YIKES- I'm not going to go postal yet. That's why we telephones and managers. I'll win this one on the phone....

The temptation is to make it a mountian just cuz they pissed me off. But so far it is a mole hill. I'll finish fighting them in the morning, I got busy today... And I ALWAYS win on the phone. Ask Spoons.

been there done that. i cou... (Below threshold)

been there done that. i couldn't return product they sent me in error. i had 5 dell tech support people from pakistan and one from south america fail to fill out card while i gave them info they asked for. it is hard to believe. i finally got some of my money back and gave up. dell is pathetic. but. if you call during regular business hours and punch the code to speak to a sales rep for a new computer. say your sorry you got the wrong dept by accident and that person will be american and will transfer you to the correct dept. where you have a pretty good chance of talking to an american who can deal with your issue. good luck folks. i bought my last computer off of a store shelf who needs the aggravation.

The problem with Dell is th... (Below threshold)

The problem with Dell is the same with every corp of that size. No sense in complaining about it.

Paul,If you think ... (Below threshold)


If you think that your experiences with Dell were bad, then consider the case of a business consultant who sent a scathing complaint letter directly to Kevin Rollins.

Here is an excerpt from the letter: "On a professional level, I am disgusted and horrified with the total absence of ANY comprehension of even the most basic customer service handling skills of, not only your frontline personnel, but their immediate superiors, their managers, and the fact that this lack of understanding extends to what would appear to be the higher levels of management of Dell."

Here is the last sentence of the letter: "It appears that telling lies, even when they are easily caught, is pervasive within your company!"

I bought 2 Dell systems in ... (Below threshold)

I bought 2 Dell systems in 2002 and 2003, they over promised and under-delivered. Then I wised-up and bought a Mac PowerBook 15", Wow what a difference dealing with Americans makes! Instead of getting an Indian speaking jibberish and being paid $0.02 an hour by Dell for customer support, I now deal with actual Americans at Apple for customer support - not that I need anywhere near the support I needed with a Dell. Learn from my bad experiences and go straight for an Apple!

Dear Paul:I read y... (Below threshold)
Dell CA:

Dear Paul:

I read your blog entries, and wanted to apologize for your experience with us up to this point. According to your update, looks like there are still outstanding issues. If you would still like assistance, please email me directly.

Also, I notice that several of your readers have posted comments that they also need help from Dell. I would also welcome them to contact me directly.


Dell Customer Advocate
e-mail: [email protected]

I wouldn't suggest legal ac... (Below threshold)

I wouldn't suggest legal action if it's possible to resolve otherwise - and it seems like this thread is being followed by Dell - but thought I'd point out the FTC info on late deliveries and adequate customer notice/ability to cancel:


Heres the letter I will be ... (Below threshold)

Heres the letter I will be sending to [email protected] it pretty much explains my situation with dell.


I have purchased a dell Inspiron computer in 01/2002. It came with a 3 year warranty and during those 3 years my computer failed me on many occasions. The support I got from dell was terrible and the repairs only lasted for a few months. I believe I had 4 hard drives replaced. I was even sent the wrong one once. This is not even the problem I am having though. I am having a "lines all over the screen issue" for the THIRD TIME. My motherboard was just replaced 5 months ago by dell, and I was not even told my warranty was out because they obviously did it for free since it corresponded to the 1st time the motherboard/video card/lcd was replaced. Now this issue is occurring for the 3rd time. I am told my motherboard needs replaced again, even though it was just replaced. I do not understand how I can have ongoing problems with this particular issue. I have called dell many times and spoke to many techs, asked to speak to many supervisors (got disconnected at least 4 times), and was called by an escalation specialist whom could not do jack for me. I was told I would be contacted by a "corporate tech" whatever that is. What a surprise I was not contacted yet again when promised. I am asking for someone in charge who can do something with my situation to call me before I take this case to Small Claims court. I am tired of wasting my time and hopefully someone will read this that wants to keep dell from losing much business. My father purchases about 15 computers a year, and this has gotten him completely fed up. If dell can't take some responsibility and offer me a repair that will last more than a couple months or a replacement system, I would like to send this piece of crap back. I guess it shows, when you pay $3,800 for a dell, you don't get what you pay for.

I was told by many tech's this was an ongoing issue and by one that I should get a replacement system with all the problems I have had. Yet no one in customer care seems to care about me. I have had over 20 repairs in the time I have owned my computer. I feel that number is even small.

My case number is 136213---, and even though I was emailed by Kapil Sevak -Case Manager and told I was a priority customer, I called him back, also left a message and still have not heard a response. What a surprise.

Here is some times when i was disconnected/transferred to main menu when i asked to speak to a supervisor.

June 19, 2006 Brian Suppose to connect me to supervisor. I am redirected to main menu 1 2 3 give extension.

June 19, 2006
Seta Ask her to send my case info, she reply's its unnecessary. I am placed on hold for 2-3 minutes to see what best can be done.

I am ultimately disconnected once again

Also in addition I asked that my case info be sent to me by email. Yeah too bad I called customer support/care and they won't do it because they says its absolutely unnecessary. Yes if a company will not release information that has been done on your product they obviously know they have failed at something.


Says maybe I can get customer care to fax me my case information. He then agrees to tell me everything that has gone wrong/been replaced. My inside of my computer has basically been completly replaced at least 2x's.

Thanks dell for a system that has failed an unexceptable amount of times. If only I realized after the motherboard failed the 2x time i had a lemon.....

My email is [email protected] if someone from dell would like to contact me.

I bought a inspiron 9300 on... (Below threshold)

I bought a inspiron 9300 on dec 28th of 2005. I got the computer on Jan 5th and i tried to connect to the wireless internet and it did not work.I called up dell and told them of what was happening and they sent me through tech support and did everything they could to "help" me. I then tried to fix it myself and got it working. Now two weeks ago i got the same problem and called up dell to notify them of the ongoing problem. They sent me a replacement computer after me calling twice a day.I then got the computer and tired to use it and it had the same problem as my other computer and i called them up and they sent me through tech support and came to nothing. I have been calling them up for days trying to get my money back and they keep saying ok well try and send me to a manager which then says no or ill send you to tech support. I dont know what to do on this ongoing problem.

E1705There is suppos... (Below threshold)
Mitch Shanlney:

There is supposed to be 3 LEDS (Power, Hard Drive and Battery) on the little circuit board under the rt hinge cover as part of the palm rest.
I have been trying to explain to your monekys for 3 weeks. I'm DONE.
There is a plastic bump instead of the middle LED (hard drive) FACTORY DEFECT.
A replacement part was sent out with same problem. I have asked several time for this to be escalated.
I have worked in the IT field from almost 20 years. I am compaq certified and have done warranty repir work for compaq.

THIS IS REDICULOUS to put your customers thorugh this kind of BS. I have wasted hours on e-mails and phone calls just to get the machine fixed, and it's brand NEW.

I bought 2 laptops fully loaded and 24" display. I am VERY UNHAPPY in how this is being handled, not only by your monkeys in India but also by your warranty provider Bantech. He even spent an hour on the phone trying to explain to India what the problem is.

Someone PLEASE get a clue and get this fixed.






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