Tuesday, April 01, 2008

To HELL with DELL AND PCWORLD!!! [Updated and Updated again...]

Okay, this is not going to be a polite post, for those who are expecting a nice warm how-are-you type post after my rather-unexpectedly-long hiatus, Sorry, not happening.

And it's not my fault.

The computer woes that I reported in the last while HAVE NOT ENDED. In fact, they have DOUBLED. Why, a kind soul may enquire, is that? Didn't I boast about the fact that I paid GOOD MONEY on the laptop insurance? Didn't I say, back in my last post in EARLY MARCH, that those fuckers in tech support at PCWorld (the 'Walmart' of PCs in UK and Ireland), that they were supposed to be contacting me to pick up my laptop for repair by courier? And my, isn't it already THE FIRST OF APRIL NOW???????? Shouldn't my laptop be under reenginnering somewhere in the UK, if not already repaired????????

Well, I must be very naive. But I really, really believe what was promised me over the phone and in my insurance policy in black and white. But no, THOSE FUCKERS AT PCWORLD TECH SUPPORT HAVE NOT EVEN BOTHERED TO CONTACT ME TO PICK UP MY LAPTOP FOR REPAIRS, A SERVICE WHICH THEY OWE ME ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN POLICY DOCUMENTATION IN BLACK AND WHITE.

Actually, there is a factual inaccuracy there. They did contact me. ONCE. During the entire time from mid-February, to now, April. This is DESPITE PCWorld's self-styled "Techguys" promising me, when I first contacted them in the olden days of February, that their sub-contractor, Teleplan, will contact me WITHIN 24 HOURS OF THE FIRST FAULT REPORT. What did I get? NOTHING. NOT A PIP.

I rang back to both the customer service number and the tech support number to follow up. Each time I was promised that an e-mail have been sent to Teleplan to urge them to follow up on the courier service. Each time NOTHING. I asked if they could just contact Teleplan while I'm on the line and they just arrange the courier service there and then, but no, can't be done.

Then out of the blue, when I was away from the office doing on-site fieldwork for my PhD, I got ONE phone call from Teleplan. I didn't have my office calendar with me so I cannot confirm the date, explaining that if they have rang me at any time earlier than that day I could've been able to confirm. I asked the guy if he could book the following week, as I'm definitely a lot more flexible that week (you see, the kicker is that they only collect Monday to Friday during business hours, and you must be at your home address that is on the policy, so that means that as a customer you MUST LEAVE WORK AND WAIT AT HOME FOR THE ENTIRE DAY for them to pick up the laptop, as they can't even confirm if the courier would come in the ballpark range of the morning or the afternoon ). But no, he could only book up to 7 days in advance, as he rang me on a Wednesday, that 7 days INCLUDE the weekend that they CANNOT deliver anyway. I resigned and asked if he could ring me back the following Monday, when I will be at the office and can confirm for sure when I might be able to stay home. But no, he said that I should ring them back again on Monday. More than that, I was given a UK number to ring, which means I am being asked to make AN INTERNATIONAL CALL to them to follow up. I then said, rather politely yet assertively I might add, that I have rang them many times over the last while to follow this up, and I am not prepared to ring and being put through various voicemails or get stuck on phone transfers while paying INTERNATIONAL PHONE CHARGES AT MY EXPENSE for that privilege. At which point, HE, the fucker, hung up.

I waited to the following Monday, to see if Teleplan will actually ring me back. Nada. I rang back to the PCWorld Techguys on Tuesday, asking if they could follow up on my behalf. The guy said that, he has to make a whole new request now to Teleplan because my earlier request was "left too long without any action" and would have been considered out of date (Quite right indeed). And then I was told, again, that Teleplan should give me a call within 36 hours.

Oh you should know the punchline by now. OF COURSE NOTHING HAPPENED.

I was also told, by this kindly Techguy person, that if they don't ring me within 36 hours, I should ring back PCWORLD Techguys again and explain the situation and ask the person to just ring Teleplan to confirm the courier arrangement.

I did ring back PCWORLD Techguys when nothing materialised after 2 days (that's 48 hours to you Teleplan! Don't say I didn't give you the benefit of the doubt), but the person that I was put through to is reluctant to ring Teleplan on my behalf, because, he says, that a request has been put through to Teleplan already and I should just wait for them to contact me, or, I could ring their UK number, again at my own expense, to follow up with them.

And oh, last night when I got home, I got two letters dated March 20th from Teleplan (one letter was postmarked 20th March, the other 25th March). They say they "have made numerous attempts to contact me but have failed" to get in touch with me, and that I should ring them at their UK number or they will consider my request invalid.


I was ready to go over to the UK and burn the whole lot of them down when I saw that.

So what's my recourse? I am NOT going to ring Teleplan anymore, I have had enough grief in my life on the computer front (also with my unfortunate purchase of Dell, but that's the subject for another rant, and I've expended my ranting energy now) and I'm not a masochist.

I AM however going to complain to the National Consumer Agency (thank God we have such an agency in Ireland) and I am telling all my friends and colleagues and even enemies (for the shabby treatment I got is not something I'd wish even on my worst enemies) and indeed anyone who would listen NOT TO BUY INSURANCE FROM PCWORLD.

But that still won't help my laptop getting fixed. But to be honest with you, after the way I've been treated, I am not sure I can trust my personal data (including my research data protected under ethical approval) to that bunch of feckless idiots. I will take my laptop personally to the PCWorld branch's on-site tech guys and see if they can do something with it, if they can't, they will just have to REFUND ME MY MONEY. ALL SIX HUNDRED EUROS OF THEM. And I withhold the right to sue them for time wasted and the costs of phone calls and indeed, extreme mental anguish that they have caused me as a result of such shabby service and their frankly feckless attitude to their paying customers.

In the meantime, I thought, I should just buy myself another computer so that I could complete the work. And I deliberately did not choose to go to PCWorld for that purchase.

What did I do? I rang Dell instead.

And I'm not sure if I have "SUCKER" tattooed on my forehead or something, but again I HAVE BEEN SWINDLED by the fecking sales / customer support / tech support. This time over the wireless card which is supposed to have included with my computer but which of course, DIDN'T.

I am THIS CLOSE [thumb and forefinger squished together in demonstrate how near I'm to the end of my tether] to going over to the Dell quarters and personally wringing the necks of the tech support / customer care or whatever the hell they are called at Dell. If anyone tried ringing their customer care number, which is off-shored to some call centre on the Indian subcontinent, and which contains mighty long pauses and which directs you always back to a switchboard operator who don't have a clue or to a voicemail number which never rings you back, you'll begin to appreciate what I felt. Which is on top of again, wasting a whole day for an adaptor that was promised last Tuesday but never materialised and then I found out that the guy who promised me that it will be delivered by Tuesday at the latest DID NOT EVEN BOTHER TO BOOK IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

I don't have the heart to detail the entire sorry saga here of what happened to me at the hands of Dell. As I said I used up all my ranting energy just to go through the sordid history of my maltreatment by PCWorld. Suffice it to say here that, I did get a call this morning from the "escalation point in the Sales department" that they will deliver my USB Internet Wireless Adaptor after all and that he will e-mail and call me by tomorrow at the very latest.

I have heard the same promise from at least 3 other Dell tech support / sales guy since my desktop was delivered Wednesday a fortnight ago. I will wait and see if Dell actually means business.

If any of you casual readers of this blog happened to know someone about to buy from Dell or PCWorld. Beware, you've been warned.

[Update: Nothing happened, again. In fact, worse than nothing happened. The guy who called me from Dell on Tuesday morning, who gave me his "direct line" number, turns out to have given me just a fax number, and when I eventually tracked him down yesterday through numerous phone-calls and having to repeat to each and every clueless Dell telephone operator ad nauseum explanations of how I've been mistreated by Dell (apparently Dell is a technologically-backward company where the databases of the customer care and their sales department are not linked in anyway and where their customer care reps cannot log any queries in any detail beyond generic descriptors like "specification issues", and where they are instructed to ask every single caller to repeat the whole query again no matter how many times or how many people the customer have talked to previously), he had the gall to say that I should e-mail him instead when he knows full well that I wasn't in a position to do so because I am not able to go on the internet at all due to the fecking missing Dell wireless card. (In any case, the email address based on the spelling of his name he gave me doesn't match up with any record on the Dell system according to the customer care people I've been put to, yet he denies this and say that that's his correct name, but he won't send me an email himself to confirm his address). Worse, he now would not confirm any timeframe whatsoever as to when he would be able to give me a confirmed reference number for the USB adaptor, just that it would be "some time". Hah!

I am having a coronary just reliving the above horrid treatment. But at least I'm not the only one. One of my students says that she too had an extremely horrible experience buying from Dell a few years ago, when they sold her something that she didn't need at all.

Anyway, below are the names of the irresponsible slimy lying bastards at Dell sales department who have basically screwed me over and over:

Sreekanth Karukonda - the sales rep who goes by the name of "Jude Smith" (no kidding), who gave me false sales information and who would not take responsibility to resolve his mistake in any timely manner, who kept giving out false promises and still more misinformation when I tried to track him down to resolve this.

Shater Jack (if that's his real name, at all) - that slimy and rudest son of a bitch who had the cheek to say that he's doing everything "to make me happy" when he knows full well that he's really enjoying screwing my order up and not being held accountable for it in any way.

If there is any justice in the world, may the both of you burn in hell.]

[Updated again:

Turns out I really isn't the only sucker who fell for Dell, in fact millions others apparently had similar hellish experiences. In fact, their frustrations with that sorry excuse of Dell support are all too familiar:


Apparently though there are a couple of similarly frustrated bloggers who had blogged about their ordeals at the hands of Dell and managed to get some resolution to their problems. Here's the links:


Unfortunately my humble blog is read mostly by me, there is no audience to speak of so there's really only a snowball's chance in hell that my post will generate any sort of actual action from Dell. I mean, if they could easily ignore emails and phonecalls, it's really expecting too much to think Dell would bother with blogs at all, even three years on after the above blogger managed to break through their sheer wall of indifference.

Anyway, in case anyone out there who happens to stumble upon this: DON'T BUY FROM DELL if you care for your quality of life in any way at all.]

[Latest Update: 7 April 2008 just after 7pm

FINALLY!!!!! I am able to surf the internet on my Dell desktop, the machine that I bought back in early March and which was delivered on Wednesday 19th March. Am SOOOOO relieved!!! Finally I no longer need to try to read emails and blogs on my tiny tiny mobile screen and no longer have to guess the content of Chinese webpages. The Dell delivery guy called me this morning to say that he has a delivery for me, and he was kind enough to leave it until after work hours today to deliver it to my door. He came by about half an hour ago and I just after finishing installing the USB wireless adaptor to my PC, and hey presto, it works!!!

Am so relieved I can do a dance! Am so glad that the Goddess of Things Computing is finally smiling on me.

It's curious also how the Dell sales reps got back to me so shortly after I posted the above update with their names on it. I mean, I never imagined that the above post would generate any action at all, given how lowly-ranked this humble blog of mine was and still is. However, within a day or so of my update being posted above, Sreekanth Karukonda emailed me with a confirmation that my USB wireless adaptor will be delivered on or before 9th April, and this time, the promise is finally fulfilled. It may well be a coincidence that he got back to me so quickly after I've updated my blogpost with his name on it, despite days and weeks of futile attempts to follow up through the normal routes of phonecalls and emails. But I am never going to underestimate the power of blogging from now on :) ]

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At Wed Apr 02, 03:46:00 a.m. IST, Blogger laichungleung said...

I hope you are feeling better already. Can't you just return the Dell notebook at this point? I am not trying to rub it in, most notebooks have built in Wifi even 4 or 5 years ago, you really don't want a usb wifi thingy dangling from the USB port.

Many years ago, I had trouble with my iBook, and they sent me a box so I can mail it back to repair. So that was rather painless. My iBook still died prematurely but that's another story. I know you said a PC is more suitable for the type of research you are doing, otherwise you may want to give the MacBook a try, I think the model is getting pretty mature with most problems ironed out. No, they don't just work, it's all marketing. Macs also screw up too.

At Thu Apr 03, 07:03:00 p.m. IST, Blogger Snowdrops said...

I am still angry. And incandesently so.

I wish I could just return the product. But first of all, it's a desktop not a laptop that I bought. Second of all, it's Dell, so they don't have a physical brick-and-mortar store I can take the desktop to. They have to arrange people to come and collect it and then organise the refund. The fact that they are having problems even delivering the bloody USB adaptor makes me even less hopeful that they will follow through on the recollect and refund.

Also, I do need a computer in the mean time. I can't wait any more time not having a computer to work with at home. So I can't afford the time I'll waste to send the computer back to them and try to procure another one and having to wait for the new one to turn up.

So yeah, I'm screwed.


(sorry for another rant, just don't get me started as I am not capable of being calm and polite now about this whole sordid affair at all).

At Thu Apr 03, 10:29:00 p.m. IST, Blogger laichungleung said...

I can understand why you are still livid.
I had a feeling that it is a desktop after I wrote the last comment.
I would just get a USB network adaptor myself. Or a PCI network card, just to get a network connection and move on. With the PCI network card, you need to open the case and plug the card into one of those slots in the back of the system. But it's not really a big deal and you got to know your PC better. Ask one of your tech nerd at school, they could help right? or just rip one (wired network card and the RJ-45 cable) out from school and use it...

At Mon Apr 07, 07:33:00 p.m. IST, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Thanks LCC for your kind words, but surprisingly enough the Dell rep finally got back to me with the USB adaptor that they promised me and now I'm finally able to go online again, after almost a month of waiting (and crucial time lost in my PhD schedule). You're right however about not letting this drag on to further increase my blood pressure.

The only remaining problem is my laptop still not being fixed, and I haven't had a chance to take it back to the PCWorld store yet. Am going to just work with what I got at the moment and concentrate on that.

Thank you so much for bearing with my irate rants on what has increasingly become a boring blog now. And congrats again on your own new laptop (sorry, "notebook" - but I have to say "notebook computers" are all called laptops over here, regardless of whether they are in fact built for use on human laps, the term "notebook" to refer to computers never caught on).

At Fri Mar 13, 07:18:00 p.m. GMT, Anonymous mary said...

I have waited in TWICE for "Teleplan" to call to collect my laptop and both times i had been promised that the courier would be here sometime between 9am-530pm could not say , Morning or Afternoon....well 17 hours in total i had to wait for Teleplan and guess what......not a bloody call or anything to say that they would not be calling as arranged...I am so angry that PC world are using these "COWBOYS" ...PC World must have gone for the CHEAPEST insurance company to do repairs..HELLO TELEPLAN!!!!
PC WORLD do something to protect your customers from these wasters...get a decent company to carry out your customers computer/laptop repairs....I am seeking legal advice against PC WORLD & TELEPLAN and am also going on the TV to give my views...so god help TELPLAN Who should be called "COWBOY COMPANY" WE DONT CALL WHEN WE SAY!!!!!


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