The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Goodbye to Dell
Mike Rappaport

Tonight I bought two computers, neither of them a Dell.  After having who knows how many Dells -- we have 8 now if you count the computer the school provides at my desk -- I will never buy another.  Of course, I didn't have to argue with the salesperson at the Best Buy, who recommended against buying a Dell. 

And of course there is a lawsuit against Dell, as reported by the New York Times:

Still, many customers complained that their computers were breaking at unprecedented rates and that Dell was not doing enough to fix the situation. The companies feared that their businesses could be disrupted at any time because of the machines.

For example, even Alston & Bird, the law firm representing Dell in the lawsuit, had to fight for Dell to address 1,000 questionable computers and argued that its business had been put at risk.

“The problem was unquestionably the worst we have ever seen in this business,” said John Hess, the president of CompuCycle, a company in Houston that refurbishes computers and dealt with 5,000 faulty Dell machines. “I would suspect this has been part of the decline in Dell’s reputation.”

In most industries, the market does a good job of punishing companies that perform badly, and I am happy to see Dell get its just deserts.  I can't tell you how long I have spent in Dell Hell talking with technical support for the computers. 

I ended up buying two ASUS computers -- one desktop and the other a laptop.  I hope it works out.  The prices were right, although that perhaps suggests that they might not be high quality.  But at least I didn't pay a lot for a bad computer, which also required that one replace the parts with Dell parts.

Update: Out of curiosity, I called Dell a few days ago to see whether they cared about losing a good customer.  Not really.  It took a while to get to customer service, and the Indian sounding gentlemen didn't really know what to do with my complaint that I felt taken advantage of by Dell.  Not surprising.   I suppose the clearest message I could send to Dell is that they failed to make two sales tonight.

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Mike Rappaport
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Comments

I once called up Dell with the intention of buying 2 work computers for a total of about $5000 -- I just wanted to talk to someone knowledgeable who could help me work through certain specific features. I told the operator this and she said I should use the web site. When I said I was ready to make a purchase, but that I just wanted to talk to someone first, she put me on hold for about 20 minutes before I finally hung up. To be fair, I did buy the 2 computers through Dell's site, and I don't have any complaints about them. But it's amazing to me that Dell wouldn't spend 10 minutes walking a customer through a $5000 purchase. (Not to mention all the up-sell opportunities they missed out on.)

Posted by: Eden | Aug 13, 2010 7:43:41 AM

The Bells of Dell go ting-a-ling-a-ling
For you but not for me:
For me the angels sing-a-ling-a-ling,
They've got the goods for me.
Oh! Death, where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling?
Oh! Grave, thy victory?
The Bells of Dell go ting-a-ling-a-ling
For you but not for me.

Posted by: dearieme | Aug 13, 2010 8:19:21 AM

Professor Rappaport, you hit it on the head with the inability to use universal parts in Dells. I had a Dell laptop for my office and will never use their products again. I had a gold plated service agreement that got me things like a new AC adapter in 1 business day but that effectively meant 48 hours without being able to charge my PC because I couldn't use a generic power brick. That was at least $1000 in lost revenue. So no more Dell once that lease expired.

Posted by: unhhyphenatedconservative | Aug 13, 2010 11:01:46 AM

I'm still using a Dell desktop for personal and gun clup business and having no problems. There were gremlins once, a couple of years ago and some Apu guy from Dell tech support walked me through it OK. I guess you could say I'm a satisfied customer. My oldest son, an Army computer type doesn't like Dell and says to keep away, based on both quality and price. When I go for new gear, I'll probably follow his advice..

Posted by: Lou Gots | Aug 14, 2010 5:27:52 AM

For the last seven years, the company has been plagued by serious problems, including poor customer service, suspect product quality allowing customers to rely on trouble-prone machines.

Posted by: Technical Support Melbourne | Aug 15, 2010 5:57:24 PM

"The Bells of Dell go ting-a-ling-a-ling..."

We have a winner!

Posted by: Jonathan | Aug 15, 2010 8:18:23 PM

A common complaint that I have been hearing among Dell computers are internal noise (like a small siren) that has been reported in laptops. Also, dell computers not opening or refusing to stay open.


Posted by: Computer technical help | Aug 16, 2010 5:51:31 PM