Don't Buy a Dell Computer from the Dell Company!
- by Wes Penre, Dec 17, 2005
(Posted here by Wes Penre: Dec 17, 2005)
I feel obligated to write this article, and after all it does fit in on this website pretty well under the "Business Section". When I heard the following story I felt quite upset:
I have a very close and dear friend, whom one year ago bought two Dell laptops at the same time, directly from the Dell Company; one for herself, and one for son, who needed it for school. My friend, whom we can call Sunny, got a "Preferred Customer Account" with Dell, with 0% interest for one year. Sunny is an excellent payer, and needless to say, her credit is impeccable, otherwise she wouldn't have gotten the good deal with Dell.
As the responsible person she is, she paid off Dell 1 1/2 months before the year of no interest was up, which in the business world is called "anticipated payoff". This shows even more what a reliable customer she is. She got a postcard from Dell, thanking her for the business etc.
However, due to the busy environment her son lives in at school, she was now worried about that the new laptop could be ruined; perhaps the boy accidentally would spill water on the machine or something else might happen to it. Therefore she decided to get an extended warranty on his laptop, and after talking to Dell, a mutual agreement was made, where she got the extended warranty, all in her name, as her son did not have a credit built up yet. She was not concerned about this, because she knew (and I know) that her son is very responsible. The extended warranty was a one-time payment of $250.00, and Dell said they would send a bill for that amount. This all happened a little more than a month ago.
Yesterday evening, I was visiting Sunny and we had a gathering with mutual friends. Her son was not there, but her daughter was. Late at night the phone rang, and Sunny's daughter answered. Thinking it was a Telemarketer, she said her mom could not come to the phone and ended the phone call. We had no more thoughts about this during the rest of that Friday evening.
At about 8:00 am on the next Saturday morning, when she needed to sleep in, Sunny was woken up by a phone call. The caller said it was from Dell Collection. It turned out that the phone call the previous night was from the same people. Sunny was quite upset to be woken up by a rude phone call like this, also knowing she is a responsible payer.
The collector said that her bill with Dell was late. When Sunny grilled the collector, it turned out that the bill was no more than five days late! Sunny understood immediately that her son had accidentally forgotten about the bill, busy as he was with finals and school work. However, she was pretty upset being harassed by Dell Collection for a bill which was only five days late. She told the collector this, also telling him that she was a "Preferred Customer", who had bought two laptops without ever missing a payment. She requested to talk to a manager.
The manager came on the line and she explained the whole situation again, asking him why they did not send a reminder notice like all other companies in the United States. She explained this was obviously an unfortunate oversight, which could be proven by her impeccable history with the Company. Why was she harassed by the Dell Collection Department for a bill that was only five days past due? The manager did not show any attempts to understand her, and referred to that they are only following the law. Sunny was now so upset that she hung up on the manager.
Fifteen minutes after this phone conversation, she paid the Dell bill over the phone for an additional charge, because the collection department also told her they did not accept that she mailed in the payment. They only accepted a check over the phone under "these circumstances". Sounds very serious, doesn't it? I once worked for another large US Company, which also refused to let the customer mail payments when they were late. They, too, only accepted checks over the phone. However, the difference between the Company I worked for and Dell is that "my" Company only applied this policy when the customer was behind on a regular basis, had a bad payment history, was more than two months behind on the current payment and had multiple broken payment promises!
I can swear that Sunny did not have any past problems with meeting Dell's payment policies, quite the contrary. I have checked her receipts, and she ALWAYS paid her two computers ahead of time - every single month. This whole situation made her feel like a criminal, or at least as someone who over and over neglects to pay her bills and tries to hide from the collector.
I seriously don't know of any other Company treating their good customers this way. If any of your readers have similar experiences with Dell, please feel free to email me and tell me about it at firstname.lastname@example.org . This way of treating customers is of course totally unacceptable. It is morally and ethically correct to pay ones bills on time, but we are only human and can forget. There is no need to treat people like criminals for a one time oversight.
Needless to say, Dell just lost a good customer, and will hopefully lose a whole lot more, until they learn to treat their customers like responsible human beings, and not like criminals. Until then, I strongly advise people not to do business with Dell. We need to boycott Companies like these, until they learn. These are big companies, and perhaps they think they can afford treating people like this; even lose a few good customers, but things like these spread like wildfire and in the long run the Company will lose its status and sales decline. It is an idiotic way of doing business, but it also tells you something about the mindset of those who run such Companies.
Tip: Google "dell harrassing phone calls" (yes, with the misspelling), or click on the link, and see what you find. This is not the only critical article...
May 26, 2006:
Of course I understood that my friend is not the only one who's had problems with Dell. I encourage you to send me ANY personal story you may have regarding this Company and how they run their business. Unfortunately these unacceptable behaviors are not isolated to Dell, but they are a horrible example on how some companies do business.
GMAC (General Motor's Acceptance Corporation) is another one. I even found GMAC in the U.S. Law Book under a section which used the Company's collection department as a perfect example of how a collection department should NOT be run. GMAC Collection (according to the law book) have had many lawsuits against them, and lost most of them. Still, they are not changing their procedures. However, I can't help but thinking that Dell should have been put as another example in the law book; as one Company that is WORSE than GMAC; especially after reading the following stories from my readers.
The other day I received the following emails from a reader of this page. I have his permission to publish his entire communication with me. Here goes (email #1):
"My horror story is about a guy calling my house three times. He first asked for my son and then on the second and third call asked for me or my wife.
It seems that he is trying to collect for a (name withheld) who theoretically is my son's wife (he is not married and does not know a (name withheld)) who defaulted on some laptop computers to the tune of $6980. My son tried to talk to him and the guy (Brown 1800-741-2100 ext 2265) was extremely rude and said he would ding my son's credit report if he (the supposed co-signer) did not pay in full. I tried to call the guy and he hung up on me three times telling me to "cut the umbilical cord". I called a 4th time and requested his supervisor and was connected to her voice mail.
I called the FBI regarding possible identify thief and after I call Dell I will call the Better Business Bureau and the three collection agencies. I have seldom been this upset."
And here is email #2 as a response to my question whether I had his permission to publish his emails:
"Certainly. I am trying to find out from Dell what they do with uncollectible receivables? I think companies like LTD Financial Services of Houston TX 77074 purchase these debts for cents on the dollar and then if they can collect a $1000 on $50,000 they will break even and then anything else they collect is gravy. Real collection agencies such as LTD of Connecticut will initially send information via the mail etc. The tactics used by LTD Houston are so over the top I am going to pursue it as possible identify theft via the FTC and my contacts in the FBI."
May 27, 2006:
Emails continue to come in. Here is an other incredible story:
"Three years ago my father purchased a Dell desktop.
From the get go, he only had problems with it and spent several evenings on the phone with tech support trying to get the problems resolved. Finally, it was determined that the computer had major defects and could not be fixed with tech support. My father was instructed to box up the computer and return it to Dell for a refund.
About a week after he returned the computer, he began receiving calls from Dell saying that he was late on his payments. He told them that he actually returned the computer and was waiting for a refund. After the first couple of phone calls, he called Dell to confirm that they had, in fact, received the computer. They had and told him that his refund would appear on his credit card soon.
This didn't stop the harrassing [sic] phone calls. Dell started calling my parents twice a day about his "delinquent account". He would get phone calls at home and on his cell phone. This is despite the fact that when he called Dell or asked the person calling him to check their records and see that the computer had been returned and was no longer in his possession. They would indeed confirm this but apparently this didn't matter. They still demanded payment from him.
This went on twice a day for almost 2 years. My parents would answer their phone and just hang up when they realized it was Dell again. My father was beyond fed up at this point. Dell would on one hand fully acknowledge that he no longer owned this computer but continued to harrass [sic] him for payments. My father finally contacted a lawyer to handle the matter. The attorney he contacted has been bounced all over the world and has talked with people higher up at Dell trying to resolve the issue.
It was as if the left hand was completely unable to to communicate with the right hand in this company.
My parent are now in their 3rd year of receiving calls from Dell. Their once impeccible [sic] credit score has been seriously damaged and they still receive daily phone calls from Dell. The attorney has been working the phones for several months trying to get things resolved and is now moving forward with a lawsuit."
July 03, 2006:
Email 1: "We are a business that employed someone who purchased a Dell. He must be late in paying because we gets harassing phone calls multiple times a day. This employee works in the field, not the office so they know he can not be reached here. They continue to call. I told them his cell phone number and to never call again. Ten minutes later they called!!! I called them back and tried to get the woman's name. She refused and hung up on me. Also they just kept asking for my Dell account number (which I don't have) and a social security number. Just what I want, my SS number given to people in India. My son just graduated from high school and is in the market for a computer. He wanted a Dell but now I know we will never buy one from that company. Do you know an address or phone number (other than India) where I can complain?"
Email 2 (same person, a few days later): By the way, they called my business 8 times yesterday! Our employee said he had called them 2 days ago but apparently that wasn't enough or the message didn't get through to India to stop the calls. I also hate that they make up fake names, like we are supposed to be tricked into thinking these are American workers. Names like David Charles and Kevin Smith - give me a break! Good customer service is empathy for the client and trying to understand and resolve their complaints. Not Dell."
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Monday, July 03, 2006 09:29:35 PM
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