Is Dell Going Down The Tubes?

Seems like everywhere I turn these days, Dell is struggling not to tick someone off. Personally, despite the good intentions they had with offering Ubuntu, it did not take long for their real reasoning to become clear – free press. With that said, they still have a chance to pull their act together, but I fear that selling cheap $350 PCs alone is not going to compete against the ability to go to Best Buy and purchase a new HP with zero mailing time.

One other thing that Dell had better get a handle on is their amazingly poor customer service for Windows users. Not saying that any mainstream PC manufacturer has hit this nail on the head, but are they serious?

Maybe I am being too hard on them here? Perhaps their not as bad as I have said in the past, right? Yeah, and I flew into my home office today on Harry Potter’s magic broom and had tea-n-crumpets all afternoon. Mark my words, Dell is going to be doing some serious restructuring because at this point, they are simply failing to provide anything short of really cheap computers with craptacular service. They used to be on top of their game, but this seems to have been lost forever at this point.

[tags]HP, Compaq, Thinkpad[/tags]

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  • shausha

    I have never been a fan of Dell but as part of a college course last year I did a re-branding exercise on them … partly to see if my uncinfirmed feelings were just that. Not unsurprisingly my research led me to confirm my fears and they match yours. Dell have had it unless they radically change.

  • Mike

    First of all, I am a huge supporter of Dell. I head the IT department for a medium sized company with approximately 250 PCs, and every single one of them is a Dell. We have 60 mobile users, every single one of them (until recently) carries a Dell laptop with them. I steered this company to Dell when I started here 8 years ago, when the company was first founded. I’ve always said “Dell” to any of our employees who asked for a recommendation for a PC/laptop for personal use.
    Sadly, that is all changing, due, for the most part, to Dell’s atrocious support, and, to a lesser extent, the declining quality of their machines. It must be noted right off the bat that Dell’s enterprise/server support is still top notch, really the best support of any large company in the world. Their server technicians are hugely competent, will stay on the phone as long as it takes to solve a prooblem, and are simply a pleasure to work with. If you have a problem with a desktop, however, and get sent over to India, or wherever it is they send you now, be prepared to spend several hours to accomplish nothing. I’ve worked on PCs for half of my 45 years. When I call Dell support, I generally already know what’s wrong, and I’m trying to get a warranty replacement part out of them. Yet I’m forced to walk through the entire troubleshooting script, even though I tell the person on the phone that I’ve already done everything they are asking me to do. Add to that the language barrier, and the long waits to be put in touch with a live person, and you have a recipe for frustration. On several occasions, I have thrown up my hands in disgust, and simply purchased a replacement part which I was entitled to under warranty, because I don’t have the time or patience to train Dell’s technicians. I feel truly sorry for the average home user who is subjected to this treatment, who doesn’t have the basic computer knowledge that I have. It must be a completely befuddling experience.
    So sadly, I have stopped reccomending Dell to employees for personal use. And, for the first time ever, I’m looking at alternate sources for a large desktop order that I have to place this week. The operative phrase here is “Dell USED TO BE a great company”

  • JB

    Years ago I used to think Dell was way over-priced. Now they provide the best value. I can’t even buy the components myself and put them together for the same price. In the past year, I’ve bought two quality dual core systems from Dell and I’ve been quite happy. Have you actually shopped at a Best Buy recently? No customization at double the price? Nah, I’ll stick with Dell.

  • John@Dell


    My name is John, and I work as a support analyst at Dell headquarters in Texas. I’d first like to say that I have assigned an agent to the story you linked regarding the horrible experience an Australian customer is experiencing.

    I’d like to say that such experiences don’t happen, but unfortunately I can’t. I can, however, say that such experiences aren’t the norm. Are we perfect? Of course not. The fact that a Dell representative is taking the time to post to this should at least say that we’re out here, we’re listening, and we’re trying to make a difference, though.

    Matt, I don’t know what prompted you to write this, but if you’ve had a personal run-in with bad customer service from us, I would be happy to look into it. In fact, I’d handle the problem myself. All you have to do is let me know. If you haven’t had a bad experience, unfortunately, I can’t fix what isn’t broken.

    @Mike- If there is anything I can do to help, you can reach me at our group mailbox, and I’d be happy to see what I can do for you as well:

    [email protected] “ATTN: John”

    Dell Customer Advocate

  • Tom Kirkham

    Who doesn’t have crappy support? Dell’s crappy support is probably the same as everyone elses crappy, outsourced support. I’m not saying that is good, but experience tells me that their support is not worse than HPs, Sonys, or anyone elses. Comparing build quality: Who does make a great quality $350 PC? I would say Dell’s are at least as good as any competitor.
    As far as channel sales go, where have you been, living under a rock? They are selling at Wal-Mart and Sams Club right now, and are aggressively moving into other retail channels. I concede that Dell is not as great as they once were, but I would rather compare them to their peers in the real world today, than to what they were in history. Times, they are a chaingin’.

  • Nicholette

    I actually recently (tried to) purchase the XPS 410 as an upgrade gaming PC. (now it’s not the best choice, and I would much rather have Alienware, but the 410 was in my price range)
    I bought the computer and 5 days later get an email (the day the computer was SUPPOSED to show up on my doorstep) saying they hadn’t even MADE my computer yet. Want to know why, because I didn’t choose the Florida Warranty. (Hmm… probably because I didn’t have that option! ^@&#^&^&^!*)

    So I called customer service, here’s a brief summary of the 2 hour conversation:
    Me: “Well, can you just click the button that gives me the FL war?”
    Rep: “Yes, but now we have to redo your entire order.”
    Me: “Can I get the 10% Military discount?”
    Rep: “Sure let me transfer you to the department that does that.”
    … on hold …
    New Rep: “Sorry we don’t do that. You have to cancel your order and redo it. Let me transfer you.”
    … on hold …
    New Rep 3: “Ok let me cancel your order. You’ll have to redo the order online, I can’t do that for you.”

    .. yea like I’m going to buy it now. They literally canceled my order, I actually WANTED to buy it. Of course now.. I don’t know why.

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