Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

How not to buy from Dell

I had some funds to kill and I thought a new small laptop running Windows 7 would help me not to be a total illiterate when it comes to whatever changes come with W7. I wanted to replace my old Acer Travelamte 3002 WTMi that served me well (though loudspeakers failed almost from day one).

A quick look around the web showed that Dell M101z model could be a good choice: good value, acceptable battery time, small and not too heavy. I've never bought from Dell before but I guessed it won't be difficult or unpleasant: I was wrong.

First of all, I wanted Dell to produce an invoice to the name of my employer. I contacted with Dell chat (sorry, not available over the weekend) and I asked them for help. I was provided an email of a Dell representative dealing with my employer. I sent her an email and waited.

After 24h with no answer, I contacted Dell chat again asking how long should I wait to get an answer, as this being my first time with Dell I was not aware of what the typical service delay figure might be.

I was asked (twice) for my phone number and email and a sales person rang me. However, when I informed him that I wanted this sale to be billed to my employer I was told only the person I emailed before could help me. The salesman [kindly] made some checks online and told me I would be getting a response by email that same day. He was right, a few minutes later I received an answer from my "designated Dell representative".

News were not good though. In a one-line answer I was told the model I wanted to buy was not in the representative's list. That was, perhaps, a model to be sold for home users but not to business customers.

I was surprised that no alternative was provided, maybe an alternative model with somehow similar features, or the advice of buying the unit not as a business customer. Well, maybe things are done differently at Dell.

Anyway, I had researched the topic quite a bit and I was still convinced that model was a good deal, so I emailed back stating that I had no trouble paying credit card (instead of my company being billed) as far as I could end up with the laptop and an invoice to the name of my employer.

Once again, I was told what I wanted was not possible. Ok, it seems it is time to give up. Maybe this is the way they work.

So then I went back to the web, and started searching for alternatives. I learned that Hewlett-Packard had a small laptop line called DM1-*. I saw several models on Amazon that looked ok.

But then I was surprised that, when looking at the same HP model in PC City, they were selling Dell M101z there too.

I've bought things in PC City before and I am positive they can produce an invoice to the name of my employer (although they will want me to pay cash or credit card). So, just by chance, I learned how I could buy a Dell M101z and get an invoice to the name of my company. Nobody at Dell figured that out for me, even when that was exactly what I was asking for.

Now I am not sure I'm buying that model from Dell as I try not to favor those companies that do not treat me well as a client.

In these times of economic hardship, it is difficult for me to understand how companies can be so insensitive about their customers needs.


Update: I ended up buying an HP DM1-2150ss laptop instead of the Dell one. It was available at the same price as Dell's but I was not happy with the way Dell had treated me as a prospective customer. HP model was lacking Bluetooth though.

I bought it in PC-City but I cannot recommend them either, as I went through a small nightmare trying to reserve it online. Just to find out later that my on-line reservation served no purpose once I told them I wanted an invoice to the name of my employer. They do not seem to care much about their customers either. I've got my invoice eventually, but it was not easy nor pleasant to deal with them.

2 Comments:

  • At 11:18 pm, Blogger Angeline-Marie said…

    Found you searching for something else, but had to comment.

    A couple of years ago, I shopped for a Dell computer and totally went Apple.

    Dell called me so many times, and emailed me me, too, to sell me the computer "built online." It was a total turn off. The sales person could not even answer some of my questions!!!

    Dell has great customer service -when they want to sell something. HP is not much of an improvement, either.

    So- good luck!!!!

     
  • At 1:03 am, Blogger Miguel Sánchez said…

    Thanks for commenting. I own several Apple computers, this time I wanted a small PC laptop to keep my computing environment diverse. I ended up buying HP. Dell's M101z was available in the same shop (PC City) but not the dual core and I was reluctant from a brand that turned me down as a prospective customer.

    BTW, PC City Spain website is a disaster waiting to happen: I was unable to register using my company TAX ID as it was "already taken". I registered using my personal ID and ordered online to pick it up at the shop. While my order was behind the counter an invoice to my company could not be produced unless they cancelled my online order and did an over the counter sale. They did not have any preprinted invoice, as payment is done when you pick up your order. I was warned that prices might end up being higher, fortunately that was not the case. I told them they need to review both their web and their policies for on-line sales. All I got was something along the line that "owners are British" and they don't give a shit ...

    Most of my shopping with Apple stores have been ok unless I wanted the newest model. In Spain it takes like one month for many shops to stock a new product. It happened to me this summer: the shop attendant could not believe I wanted to buy a Magic Touchpad at the end of July (when in fact I received several Apple ads about it by then).

     

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