Several weeks ago, I tried to buy a Dell laptop for my daughter who’s heading out to college this fall. I was on the Dell web site. I had a system selected, a Dell Latitude D830, all customized and ready for purchase. But the one thing I wanted that their web site was not allowing me to do is change the 6 cell battery to a 9 cell (which would give my daughter more hours of use between charges).
So I called Dell. I told them that I have a computer in my cart, but I want to change the 6 cell battery to 9 cell. What a fiasco. It started with the fact that the guy I spoke to, Enrico Lucena, was very difficult to understand. English was not his native language. What frustrated me most about it was that when I would say “pardon me”, he would then say something different. It was like he was trying to explain what he said rather than just saying it again but maybe slower. When I say “pardon me”, it’s not because I need an explanation, it’s because I want you to repeat what you said because I didn’t understand the words.
The first thing he tried to do was figure out exactly what I had in my cart. He tried to do that by having me copy and paste the URL of the page that I’m on, and e-mail it to him. As a professional web developer who understands how web sites and cookies and shopping carts work, I knew that this would not work, but I e-mailed him the URL nonetheless, and of course he clicked it and it didn’t work. After waiting while he stumbled for about 10 minutes, I finally printed my web page, saved it as a PDF, then e-mailed that to him.
He then told me that he could get me the 9 cell battery, but only if I became a Dell preferred customer. I told him that he can call me a “preferred customer” if he wants, I don’t care, as long as it doesn’t cost me any money and I can get my 9 cell battery. Then came the caveat. He said that I’d have to pay for the computer via their credit plan. The problem with that is that I get gas cards in the mail all the time for using my BP Visa, and there’s no way I’m going to buy something for over $1000 and not use my BP Visa.
We were on the phone for a total of 40 minutes and he finally said he’d do some checking and get back to me in 10 minutes. He didn’t. He called back and left me a message a couple of hours later. After leaving me a few messages, and having the price up around $1,600, I decided to abort the plan.
I then bought an HP Compaq 6710b RM406UT notebook computer. It has everything I need and is $500 less than the Dell I was trying to buy. So far it’s been a great computer and I’m happy with the purchase.
It’s too bad. I’ve always been a Dell guy, but they’ve allowed issues that had nothing to do with the quality of their computers to get in the way of me making a purchase.