Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Dell Hell – It’s Over and I won :)

I’ve just come out of court from the hearing to decide my claim for compensation against Dell Computers.

If you have read my blog, you will know that I chose to take Dell to court at the end of a long dispute regarding two Inspiron 1545 laptops I ordered pre Christmas.

My decision to take this to court was twofold:

  • First, to receive recognition and some compensation for the appalling customer service that I experienced that resulted in my 12 year old son Daniel not receiving his Christmas present in time
  • Second, to demonstrate to Dell that they can’t expect to treat customers like this without consequences. I want to show that they need to treat their customers with respect and be responsive to complaints more effectively than in this case.
The hard thing in this case was how to value my time and set an appropriate level of compensation. I did this by calculating how much time I had spent and valuing this at an hourly rate that I regularly charge for my consultancy business.

I was also claiming for loss of use of the laptop by my son and the value of missing software that was in the original order but did not make it into the replacement

In court today, attending on behalf of Dell was a barrister and a solicitor, whilst I chose to represent myself. I’ve had some experience of courts through my divorce, but I was surprised to see a barrister in attendance
My approach to the case was to claim that Dell were in breach of their own terms and conditions for not providing confirmed order documentation and not communicating with me in the manner or the timescales outlined in the conditions.

Dell’s approach was to focus on the minutiae of the law regarding : legal liability for an order; at what point was the order confirmed; what was a reasonable time to deliver it and what was a reasonable time to resolve a dispute

Interesting to note, Dell reserves the right in their T&Cs to change the specification of a system so long as the changes offer at least equivalent functionality

In my case, the original laptop included Napster software and a 12 month subscription to the online streaming service – this was not in the replacement laptop and dell offered me Office Home and Student as an alternative

Both I and the barrister had opportunity to put forward our case, answer questions from the judge and clarify and question each other on the evidence given

The judge then made a quick decision and in summary he found:

  • Dell were in breach of contract to deliver the laptop in a reasonable time frame, although from a legal perspective “Time was not of the essence”
  • There was a period of 2-3 weeks when there was a loss of use
  • The missing software should have been replaced or an appropriate alternative
  • I did not prove my case to receive compensation either for the amount of time or at the rate quoted
  • I also received partial costs paid and did not have to pay Dell’s costs
Why did I not get all my costs? Well last week, Dell made me an offer to settle in advance of court. However this offer was conditional on not publicising the settlement, so I refused.

The judge found that as I could have accepted that offer, worth more than I received today, I could have avoided the court listing fee for today.

Consequently, whilst I won, it is a pyrrhic victory and I am slightly out of pocket.

Despite this, I have no regrets for the action I have taken. I strongly believe that if consumers do not stand up to big business occasionally we will all suffer. I took on a multi-billion dollar company and won!

It is National Complaints Day tomorrow, Friday 13th and I support this wholeheartedly and have started to participate in the forum at Complaint Community which is a very interesting approach to resolving these emotionally charged and frustrating issues

Actually I do have one regret: if I had received larger compensation then I would have gone out and bought myself a new Apple iPad – sorry Dell not interested in the Streak

Off on holiday soon, but if you would like to contact me regarding this situation, email me

My Dell Hell - In Court today

Just a quick post to say that I am just leaving now for my court case with Dell computers.  I am confident I will win my case and I shall post here later with the results - whichever way it goes

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Dell Hell - Posted on Complain Community

just had an interesting talk with the sponsors of National Complaints Day, 2010, namely Complain Community

It is an interesting approach to collect multiple complaints and group them by companies people are complaining about.  They then engage with the brands concerned to see if resolution can be reached.

It's a bit late for me, as I am currently still expecting to be in court this Thursday with Dell Computers, but I would encourage you to check their site out - for anybody who feels they have a complaint, or what sounds likemore often, people who have a complaint about how their original complaint has been dealt with.

It is also possible that we can levferage my experience for some media coverage this week for National Complaints Day - watch this space

My Dell Hell - It's National Complaints Day this Friday

Just had an interesting chat with Sarah Pennells at Savvy Woman regarding my court case with Dell Computers this Thursday, 12 August.

She told me that this Friday is National Complaints Day, so I have made contact with them to see if they want to use my situation as a case study - more news soon.

If you would like to help publicise my case and you use Twitter, you can follow me or tweet using the hash tags #dellsucks or #ncd2010

Or of course please feel free to blog about this, post on Facebook - use this link to my Blog with all articlaes posted about Dell

My Dell Hell - Dell vs Dave Mutton - In court this Thursday 12 August, 2010

It’s been quite a while since I updated this Blog for lots of different reasons, but the main factor was that court proceedings in the UK can take a long time to process

In the last few months several important things have happened:

  • I had contact from a solicitor working at Geoffrey Leaver solicitors, on behalf for Dell. He had two objectives, one was to re-arrange collection of the extra laptop which finally happened in mid April and the second was to discuss my claim
  • We had several conversations based around the fact that I was looking to achieve two core objectives:
    • Primarily to have Dell publicly acknowledge and apologise for their poor Customer Service
    • Receive appropriate compensation for the time and effort I have gone to and for my son for the upset and inconvenience of not receiving his Christmas present on time
  • Despite several calls, I think the main focus from the solicitor was retrieving the laptop and he never really gave serious consideration to my case
  • Consequently, time passed, various deadlines for the court elapsed and I continued the process
  • On Monday 2nd August, I had to pay a final listing fee to the court for the case to proceed. I received a letter from the solicitor on Saturday 31 July with a Without Prejudice offer from Dell. This offer of several hundred pounds would just about cover my costs incurred so far, but I feel still did not give me any compensation for the all the hassle I have gone through. Furthermore, the offer was conditional on not publicising the offer and payment in any format, such as this blog.
  • I replied to the solicitor, making these points and stating that not only was the cash on offer unacceptable, but also the fact that I would not be allowed to mention the settlement was totally against one of the primary purposes of me taking this case to court in the first place
  • I suggested that an improved offer, accompanied by a public letter of apology from Dell would be acceptable.
  • This was formally rejected by Dell, their solicitor stated: “My clients do not consider this proposal to be reasonable and it is rejected.”
Consequently, this Thursday at 2pm I will be attending the High Wycombe County Court and defending my case for compensation from Dell Computers for terrible Customer Service

What is most interesting is a story that I saw on BBC TV news this week – which is also available on the BBC News website – here

This story was about a 59-year-old man from Rotherham who has successfully billed British Gas for his time after two years of ongoing disputes with the energy supplier.

Barry Payling said he was paid more than £2,000 by the company after he threatened to take them to court for a "horrendous catalogue of errors".

British Gas said it had paid the money as "a gesture of goodwill, an apology" - not for Mr Payling's time.

BBC TV News interviewed Sarah Pennels, a well-known personal finance journalist and broadcaster, who runs

This is perfect timing for me, setting a great precedent and I will contact Ms Pennels to see if she is interested in my case

I will try to update this blog over the next few days as and if things develop, watch this space

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dell vs Dave Mutton - It may go to court

Things are moving again with regard to my action against Dell Computers. ]

If this is the first time you have read my blog, I decided several months ago to take action after I had received such poor and incompetent service over the supply of two Inspiron 1545 laptops, despite numerous emails and phone calls to Dell Customer Services and several emails to Michael Dell, Chairman of Dell. It was a long and painful process to resolve my situation and Dell just didn't seem to care about what was happening and their eventual offer of compensation was insulting.

So I issued a claim in the UK County Court for compensation and last week Dell Computers filed a defence. This means they dispute my claim and will defend it in court.

Although the legal department of Dell Computers managed to actually file the defence on time, they have lived up to the reputation of the rest of the business by filing a defence that is both incomplete and inaccurate, but in one significant instance is fundamentally untrue.

So, I have some time now to file more documents with the court and then a judge will decide if it will go to an actual hearing.

This will cost me a bit more money, but I am determined to continue my action and not let them get away with how they treat consumers such as myself.

I wonder how much it is costing Dell to defend this action - probably a lot more than I was asking for in compensation.

I'll update my blog with more information soon, including how you could maybe help my case.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Dell Computers - bunch of useless incompetents

It's 7pm and what a surprise, no courier has turned up to collect the spare Inspiron 1545 laptop.

This collection was arranged one month ago, but I remembered and I would expect a multi $billion business with sophisticated customer service systems to remember too.

I'll just add it to the ever growing list of reasons why I will never buy from Dell Computers again and also raise it in court if I get the chance.

Dell Computers vs Dave Mutton Update

Nothing much has happened in the past few weeks since Dell formally acknowledged my claim. They have 28 days from the date of service to formally respond, then it's up to the court to decide what happens next. This notice expires in two weeks on Monday 22 March.

I now have the details of the solicitors acting on behalf of Dell Computers, namely, Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors based in Milton Keynes. I Wonder if they will make any effort to contact me and check the facts of the matter before making their response. I don't hold any hope that Dell Customer services in India have detailed records of my complaint as they are so inefficient.

The only other thing happening today is the extra Inspiron 1545 laptop that I have had unopened since late December, should be collected by Dell. I say should, I had confirmation on a an email on 15th February that it would be collected today, but so far had no other communication. So presumably, Dell expect me to wait in all day for their courier - I think not.

I will not go out of my way to be away from home, but neither will I wait in to ensure collection. I give it a 50% chance that a) The courier from Dell Computers actually turns up and b) I'm actually here to hand over the Inspiron 1545 laptop.

by the way, if you are reading this and you work at Dell, I had occasion to buy a new Netbook recently and guess what? I didn't buy Dell - so there is the first sale you've lost as a direct result of your incompetent customer service.

I bought a stylish Samsung N220 netbook and so far I am very happy with it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dell Computers vs Dave Mutton

Checked in on my court claim for compensation against Dell Computers last night and they have formally acknowledged the claim. This means they now have 28 days to prepare and file a defence.

I'm not surprised that Dell Computers legal team are more efficient than their terrible Customer Service team based in India. So it will be interesting now to see what they do next - will they try to contact me and make an offer or will they take it all the way and I'll see them in court.

Looking at my Google Analytics data, I am still getting a lot of traffic from Dell servers, so somebody over there is watching this blog - interestingly I haven't had any further traffic recently from the Radian6 service. I wonder if they changed the way they use it - getting a lot of traffic direct using my name as a search word. Maybe someone in their Social Media team realised that the when they click in the Radian6 report it shows up as a referring site to whichever blog or site they are looking at??

Finally, although my emails to didn't get a direct response, I did get my missing Inspiron laptop eventually - it's just symbolic of the inefficiency of Dell that they offered me compensation worth less than the missing software and making no allowance for the unbelievable hassle I have had dealing with their incompetent customer service team.

To anybody who is struggling with your own Dell Hell, it might be a late order for a Dell laptop or Dell desktop, a problem with Dell technical support, or any other type of Dell after sales support, my advice to keep on persevering and I recommend you do this:

  • Keep a note of when and how long it takes you to do anything - this could be how long you stay on hold when you call Dell Customer Services, how long it takes you to write an email to Dell technical Support, or even how long it takes to write a blog post or Tweet about how poor Dell Computers customer service is
  • Always ask for a name and email address for who you are talking to - they will not always give it - so make a note of that too
  • when you send any emails always set your options to ask for a read receipt and copy everybody you have been dealing with on the same email
  • Don't lose your temper on the phone - be polite, but don't let them get what they want which is for you to go away. If you have a legitimate problem, be persistent
  • If it is clear that the person you are dealing with has no way to help you, then ask to speak to their supervisor - ask for their name and contact details before they transfer you (or put you on hold)
  • If somebody says they will call you back, make sure you get:
    • Their name
    • Their contact details, name and email
    • A specific time when they will call back, or the latest time. Then repeat this back to them as some CS calls are recorded, e.g. "To confirm, you "their name" will call me back by 2pm on "day and date" regarding my complaint about "your problem"
    • ask them to email you and confirm what actions they are taking and when they will get back to you

  • Above all else - Don't Give Up

I hope that helps you with your Dell Hell. I've been dealing with my complaint now since the middle of December 2009...

Monday, February 22, 2010

No News from Dell - I'm not surprised

It's been almost a week since I issued my claim in the county court for compensation from Dell Computers for terrible customer service. They have 14 days to respond and I'm hoping that they are such a disorganised company that they will not even bother to defend and I will win my claim.

Of course if they do actually choose to defend that will also be interesting as it will mean that there legal team are far more efficient than their customer service team - nice choice of priorities.

Thanks to the people who have sent me messages of support either on the blog or via Twitter - I am keeping both updated (#dellsucks on Twitter) with any news and who knows maybe I will start a trend...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Legal Process started against Dell Computers

I have today submitted a claim in the County Court for compensation against Dell Computers for their appalling customer service and arrogant attitude. Full details of this process have already been posted on this blog in my most recent posts.

To bring the record fully up to date I have been exchanging emails with a customer service rep at Dell who offered his apologies; confirmed the c£50 compensation; stated that the missing software was now no longer available (no offer of anything to replace it - was worth £60); confirmed that they will collect the extra laptop on 8th March (this is about how long I had to wait to get the order). Finally, he also confirmed that Dell would defend any court action, so I look forward to the next steps in this process.

Finally, I have also decided to seek publicity for my dispute and will be contacting several consumer affairs programmes on both TV and Radio.

Big corporations have to accept that they cannot behave this way to customers who are paying them money for goods and services.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I got Dell's attention at last

Less than 24 hours after emailing Michael Dell and notifying him that that I intend to make a claim in court against Dell Computers, I had a phone call from the "Dell Customer Service Escalation team".

Unfortunately, it still isn't good news, he offered me a free copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 - worth about £60, or a 10% discount on the order worth about £48. He obviously hasn't done his homework as I rejected that offer weeks ago. So I told him that his offer was totally unacceptable and I would see them in court. Dell Computers has until Friday to make a better offer, otherwise I will make my claim.

At least one thing is good - my advice to anybody who is in dispute with Dell Computers is to threaten to take them to court and send your email to

More news when it happens

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

My Dell Hell - time to take Legal Action

My Dell hell saga continues - below is the text of my third open email to Michael Dell, Chairman of Dell Computers

Dear Michael Dell

This is the third time I have emailed you to complain about the terrible customer service I have been experiencing from Dell Computers.

A further 10 days have passed and I am shocked that your company has continued to ignore me. I have had no further contact from Dell Customer Services or from any senior executive at Dell Computers UK in Bracknell, nor from Dell Computers Corporate offices in Round Rock Texas

I have email read receipts from 5 different people who received an email from me on Friday 29 January, 2010, including one from your email address so I know that people in your organisation are reading my messages. I can also see from Google Analytics that visitors have arrived at my blog from your Social Media Monitoring service Radian6.

For whatever reason people at your company, Dell Computers, have chosen to virtually ignore me with regard to my complaint over the supply of several Dell Inspiron 1545 laptops. I will not go into the details as I have done that before on numerous occasions to numerous people, including yourself in my first email, sent on Tuesday, January 19, 2010.

I have now taken advice from Consumer Direct, part of the Office of Fair Trading in the UK and your company is clearly in breach of contract. Furthermore, as I am an independent consultant, I know exactly what my time is worth (expensive) and I have kept a detailed log of the time I have spent attempting to resolve this matter.

Consequently this email notifies you, Michael Dell, Chairman and founder of Dell that I now intend to take this matter to the County Court in the UK and will make a claim against Dell for compensation for breach of contract and loss of earnings for the time spent dealing with your company.

The clock is ticking and the amount I will be seeking is already in the thousands of pounds.

As stated in previous email I am happy to be contacted by a senior executive of your company to discuss my complaint and see if we can reach an agreement on appropriate compensation. If this has not happened by 5pm on Friday, 12 February, 2010 I will start the legal process.

Finally, I will also now be seeking to publicise this situation with consumer affairs programmes in the UK to ensure that potential customers of Dell Computers know what they are letting themselves in for if they choose to trade with your company.

As with my previous emails, this will be posted on my blog,


Dave Mutton

Friday, January 29, 2010

2nd Open email - complainingg to Michael Dell about terrible customer service from Dell Computers

Dear Michael Dell (and assorted senior colleagues)

Congratulations, your company has now become (in my opinion) the most inefficient and rude online business that I have ever had the misfortune to deal with.
For most of the last two months I have struggles to complete a simple order for two Dell Inspiron 1545 laptops and finally received the second one this week. The process has been long and tortuous, made far worse by your customer service team in India continually failing to deal with me in good faith and follow through.

I have tried and failed to escalate the problem within Dell customer services and found the senior CS people as inefficient and rude as the junior ones.

I tried to escalate the issue to the management team at Dell UK in Bracknell and was told that there was nobody to talk to in the UK who could help and that I needed to continue to talk to Customer Services in India

I tried to escalate the matter direct to you, Michael Dell, Chairman and founder of Dell computers, not expecting answer direct from you, but at least to have the email passed on by a PA or intern to someone who could help.

I have tried to engage with Dell Computers via social media by writing on my blog (, posting on Facebook and Twitter (@dbmutton). Despite seeing traffic to my blog from your Social Media monitoring service provider Radian6, nobody has attempted to contact me.

Despite 10 phone calls, 9 emails, 2 faxes, 1 online chat, 6 blog posts (including this one) and 10 tweets (all with the hash tag #dellsucks), I still have not been offered any significant compensation for all the hassle that I have endured in this process.

I now have an additional problem: the laptop that finally arrived has a slightly different software configuration than what I ordered. I have emailed the rep that placed the order about how to resolve this and have not received any response after nearly 5 days – I am getting very tired of this.

So I now have a simple question for you and your colleagues: How does an angry customer who feels he has been virtually ignored by Dell Customer Services resolve this situation when it appears that your business has no interest in taking my complaint seriously?

One last thing I will add – I still have an Inspiron 1545 laptop, ordered in error (wrong colour) by your customer services. According to your own customer services, it was supposed to be picked up and returned to Dell Computers this week. Unfortunately the courier turned up a day earlier than notified and I was not there. So I still have this laptop and have decided that I will retain it in protest. I will gladly discuss the return of this laptop and compensation for the unbelievable hassle I have experienced by Dell customer services. However, I will no longer deal with Customer Services in India as they have been given every opportunity to resolve this problem and have failed miserably.

I will now only deal with a senior executive of Dell Computers in the UK or the USA. If I don’t hear from anybody within 3 working days, then I will take the matter further and complain to the Office of Fair Trading in the UK

I await your reply

Dave Mutton

P.S. As with my previous email – I have posted this email on my blog

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Dell Hell saga continues

So today there is both good news and bad news in my continuing efforts to get Dell Computers and especially the terrible Dell Customer Services in India and Dell corporate offices in Texas.

First the good news - despite saying the replacement Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop would arrive on 3 February, I just checked the order status and it has actually shipped from the Dell manufacturing facility in China and is due to be delivered in the next 4 days - fantastic.

Then the bad news:

  • I received an order confirmation twice this time (none the first time) and I thought I would go through line by line to check the same configuration had been ordered. What a surprise, it's slightly different - the original order included a 12 month Napster offer - 60 free songs streaming and 1 free download per month. the replacement Dell Inspiron 154 laptop doesn't have this - I've emailed customer service again to ask them to resolve it. I wonder how long that will take.
  • 2 hours after I sent my original email to Michael Dell, Chairman of Dell Computers (, I received a phone call from the Dell Customer services supervisor in India that had failed to call me for several days. he told me the order had been placed but when asked about what form of compensation Dell were going to offer me, he had no answer. He did say that he wanted to focus on dealing with my problem and that could we "park" this issue and he would get back to me.
  • in one of my later posts, I predicted that if I did not follow up on this, he would not follow up with me - no surprises there - despite being given an assurance from a dell Customer services supervisor that he would get back to me - I still have not received any email or phone call four days later. Personally I am getting a bit tired of continually having to chase up Dell Customer Services it really is now becoming the worst customer experience I have ever had.
  • Finally, I am now getting very cross with Dell Corporate Headquarters in Texas. Did I really expect to get an answer from their Chairman, Michael Dell, when I emailed him - no not really - but I did expect to get something back from his office. I expect that some office junior or intern actually reads the emails sent to, or to and their job is to pass it onto somebody more relevant - well it looks like my personal email has gone unnoticed and unreplied to. Even though I know that some people in Dell are reading my blog - I can see the traffic to my blog from the Radian6 Social Media Monitoring service which claims dell Computers as a customer - nobody from the Social Media team has actually responded to my blog post, or my Twitter posts with the hash tag #dellsucks

So what do I do?

Do I accept that my replacement laptop is arriving over a month after Christmas and get on with other matters or do I continue my efforts to secure adequate compensation for the trouble I have gone to to try and resolve this?

Personally I think it unacceptable for major corporations to ignore their customers who are trying to complain - especially when I have offered constructive advice about how they should resolve matters. So if you are reading this Michael Dell, I don't give up that easy.

Watch this space...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some progress on My Dell Hell

Wonder of wonders. Less than 24 hours after emailing and blog posting my open letter to the Chairman of Dell Computers, Mr Michael Dell, I have actually received an order confirmation for the replacement Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop.

Unfortunately the expected delivery date is shown as 3rd February, so my 12 year old son will have to wait two more weeks for his Christmas present. It's not clear if this prompt action has been in response to any actual communication internally at Dell or just because it was a kick up the backside of the incompetent Dell Customer service reps now running scared for their jobs and being shown up as bloody useless.

Of course, the matter of compensation has still to be discussed and I will await with interest to see what they come back to me with and how long it takes. What is the betting that if I do not chase the useless Dell Customer Service department then I will not hear anything from them for at least a couple of days - at least 50:50 I think.

So Mr Dell, if by any chance you are following this angry rant via your Radian6 social media monitoring service, what do you think I should be given? Maybe you should call your own customer service line and wait for 45 minutes to talk to one of your Indian customer service reps and see what they are going to do.

In fact I think that is a great idea for you - at Amazon we used to all go and work in the Amazon warehouse every Christmas - partly to help with the volume of orders but also to ensure the head office team understand the pressures of the people at the sharp end of the business. Do you do that? Have you spent time with your CS teams recently? Or have you or one of your senior team tried recently to interact with your business as a customer - probably not.

Well maybe you should and experience the pain your paying customers are going through to buy your products - it can't last, you know. Good will and past experience can be stretched only too far until it snaps...

Open email to Michael Dell generating traffic

My open email yesterday to Michael Dell has generated a ten fold increase in traffic to this blog. I can see from the stats that about 20% of the traffic came from Dell itself in both India (Dell customer services) and the US, presumably Dell Corporate. Several visitors from a interesting site Radian6 which is some form of Social Media monitoring service - so I think my message got through to someone at Dell - but will it get to the man at the top, Michael Dell himself.

I also had an anonymous comment posted to the blog: "I work at Dell and I couldn't agree with you more"

I've not had any further contact yet from Dell Customer Services, so still waiting...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dell Update

A very quick development - just had a phone call from the Dell supervisor who hasn't been in contact since early yesterday. Apparently, the replacement order was made "about two hours ago", but he still can't give me any detail on when it will actually be delivered.

What a coincidence, the order gets placed just after I send my open email and post it here. Nice try Dell, but you still haven't actually solved my problem, nor have you offered me any recompense for all the hassle. So Dell customer services is still very poor. The other problem was his pronounciation of my surname - I am now Dave Mutant!

I have been promised an update by email no later than tomorrow, or another phone call.

At least they have been faster in responding than either Sky customer services, or Talk talk Broadband customer services...more news soon.

My Dell Hell

Open email to Michael Dell, Chairman and founder of Dell Computers inc., from an angry and disgusted Dell Customer

Dear Michael Dell

I have been a fan of Dell computers ever since I bought my first computer from you, more years ago than I care to remember (it was a Pentium 90)

Over the years I have bought from you:

  • 4 desktop machines
  • 5 Laptops
  • 2 Printers

All of them, apart from one printer are still in use, somewhere in my family, a testament to the quality.

I have always recommended your products to my friends and family as reliable and great value for money. Not only that, but if something goes wrong with your machine, your after sales support, in my experience, has been excellent.

However, something has now gone wrong.

I placed an order for the most recent two laptops as Christmas presents - one for my son and another for my step-daughter. One of the things we liked about Dell was the choice of colours for the laptops, so we naturally chose one pink and one blue.

I placed the order on 1st December to ensure delivery in time for the big day and since that point it has been an ongoing nightmare.

  • First I had problems actually completing the order – your customer service team seemed unable to receive a fax or read it when it was received.
  • Then when the order was finally processed – on the last day that would ensure pre Christmas delivery, I received no confirmation so I could not check status other than by calling your customer services phone number.
  • Worrying that they wouldn’t arrive in time, I wanted to check status. So after several lengthy phone calls and one online chat with one of your sales people, I managed to discover what my order number was.
  • Unfortunately when I was able to check order status online, I then discovered that the order was wrong I was going to receive two pink laptops.
  • I called the customer service rep and her response was –oh sorry about that – I can send you a blue carry case if you choose to keep the extra pink laptop. My reply was that I didn’t think my 12 year old son would be happy with that
  • So at that point I knew that my son would not be getting his main present for Christmas.
  • I also got the strong impression that she didn’t really care that my son would not have his present on time
  • I asked when the replacement laptop could be delivered and was promised it would be early January
  • Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, this has turned out to be untrue. I have made numerous emails and phone calls and I STILL do not know when I will receive the laptop I ordered.

As I write this today it has been:

  • Seven weeks since I placed the initial order
  • 26 days since my son didn’t get his present on Christmas day
  • 11 days since the original customer service rep finally called me, and told me she was resolving this
  • Four working days since I asked for a senior customer service rep to call me. I’m still waiting
  • 24 hours since this supervisor emailed me and said that he was really busy but give him 2-3 hours to investigate
  • 1 hour since I lost my patience and called your office in Bracknell UK but was told that:
    • They do not disclose any information about senior management in the UK
    • They could email customer service for me
  • I have made:
    • Ten phone calls to Dell Customer service
    • Sent two faxes to Dell Financial services
    • Sent eight emails to Dell Customer Services
    • Chatted online once with Dell Sales Support

I should add that making a phone call to dell Customer services goes something like this:

  • Welcome to Dell, please choose from one of these options
  • Select an option
  • Welcome to Dell, please choose from one of these options (different options)
  • Select an option
  • Stay on hold for at least 15 minutes, straining to listen to hold music that is so low, that I actually called back twice because I had thought I was cut off.
  • An operator answers, asks a couple of questions then “transfers you”
  • Welcome to Dell, quiet hold music again – couldn’t tell you what was playing it was too low.
  • Wait at least another 15 minutes – the longest I waited was 42 minutes.

As part of this painful process I have searched around on the internet about how best to deal with complaints from Dell and I discovered that I was not alone.

If you search in Google for “How to Complain to Dell”, the response is over 1 million results! In your own community forum there was no easy way to complain – just a referral to Customer support. I also found comments about posts being removed or edited that were critical of your customer service.

I also discovered numerous blog posts with titles such as “My Dell Nightmare”; “Dell Customer Service Sucks”; "I Hate Dell” and “Want to Complain to Dell, Forget It”. There are 179 Facebook groups with names like “I Hate Dell”. #dellsucks on Twitter is always busy with complaints

The most relevant site I found was from Jeff Jarvis at Buzzamchine and his Open Letter to you posted several years ago.

In one of my last emails to the customer service supervisor I told him that I would not stop until I received satisfaction and work my way up the chain of management to you if necessary. My phone call to the Dell Head Office in the UK made it clear that messing around any more at the lower levels was a waste of time – hence I have chosen to emulate Jeff Jarvis and send this email direct to you.

I have been working in the internet industry for over fifteen years including five years at and several years at Yahoo. Everything I have learned shows me that how critical customer service is to building and maintaining a brand and how easy it is to lose customers through poor service.

I am not saying it is easy to do this, but I remember reading an interview once with Warren Buffett when he said:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.
If you think about that, you'll do things differently."

Based on my experience in the past seven weeks you need to do things differently.

I would suggest you need to do the following:

  • Carry out a high level review of the customer service experience concentrating on:
    • Improving your telephone systems especially response times
    • Improved email response times
    • Review or develop effective complaint escalation procedures
    • Improve training in how to deal with complaints, stressing the importance of keeping contact with the customer – they should not have to chase you
    • English language lessons for your Indian call centres – I understand the logic of outsourcing, but consistently the standard of English is below average and this adds frustration by the customer when they have to repeat themselves
  • Review your policy of not disclosing information regarding your senior management – it is just annoying and makes people think you have something to hide.
  • On your customer forums, provide an area dedicated to people who want to complain about how their complaint is being dealt with – trust me - this will be the most popular area until you resolve the fundamental issues
  • Perhaps review your extensive marketing budget – your customers I am sure would prefer to receive high quality customer service and not listen to catchy songs about lollipops
  • Whilst I am emailing you – the other thing I do hate about Dell is your lack of effective CRM. I speak publicly on occasions and have used this as a poor example of online marketing.

If I have just bought a PC from you, receiving an email every week with lots of offers to buy another PC is probably not going to be effective – if I am anything to go by, my average time between purchases is at least one year – that makes at least 52 ineffective but annoying emails to me

Overall I am disgusted at the response of your business and you should be ashamed that the business you have built is now so widely regarded as delivering terrible customer service.

I am sure this email will go through several layers of screening and there is not much chance of it actually reaching you, so I am also going to post it on my blog – perhaps you will pick this up if you have a Google news alert for phrases like: “Does Michael Dell care about his customers”; “What has gone wrong at Dell, is Michael Dell still in control?”; “Dell Customer service – the worst on the Internet?”

I will also post references to this in various social media sites as I know Dell has spent time and effort engaging with their customers through these new channels.

The last reason is that I hope my blog will appear highly in Google for lots of these interesting phrases – see my previous experiences dealing with Talk Talk Broadband and Sky Customer Services

Finally, if it’s not too much trouble, I would like to actually receive the laptop I ordered and give my 12 year old son the present he has asked me about almost every day since Christmas – is that too much to ask? If you want the order details email me

Dave Mutton
A former Dell customer who will now look elsewhere to buy my next computer and who will even consider buying an Apple Mac.