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Recourse For Poor Customer Service?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the in-harm's-way-a-long-way-from-home dept.

Businesses 593

eleventypie writes "I am in the Army and currently stationed in Afghanistan. Recently I found myself without a laptop so I decided to build a studio 17 from Dell. I designed/customized my laptop on 2008-09-17 and placed my order, which totaled approximately $1,700. The laptop was built and apparently shipped on 2008-09-28. Given my APO address, I know mail can sometimes take a little while to get here, though 7-10 days is normal. Dell said to give my laptop 6-8 business days and occasionally, it might take as much as 4-6 weeks. So on 2008-11-12 I sent another email to Dell informing them I still had not received my laptop. One person said to give it more time, while another person responded to my message telling me to send my address again and they would send me a replacement. So I sent my address immediately and never got a response. It is now the 30th of November and I still have no laptop and Dell seems to have quit responding to my emails. This is very frustrating being out $1,700 and not having a laptop to talk to my friends and family and do school work. Phone calls aren't easy so calling them is pretty much out of the question. Any advice on what I can or should do at this point to get the computer I ordered or get my money back?"

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Call your credit card company.... (5, Informative)

Rick Zeman (15628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936799)

...and dispute the charge. No laptop = no payee.

Re:Call your credit card company.... (5, Informative)

Mana Mana (16072) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937123)

Two things that you can do that will work.

If Mad: call dell and threaten a "charge back!" Vendors hate that and will snap them to attention as nothign else.

If Really Mad: call CC company and have a charge back done. It's all dell's problem then - you are out of there.

Don't feel sorry of someone stole said property en route. That is called insurance, doing business for dell. They have processes to find it, the thief or gain restitution.

Re:Call your credit card company.... (5, Informative)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937179)

What seems to work wonders with Dell (disclaimer: I deal with them quite a lot, as I support over 150 Dell desktop/laptops at work) is the "unresolved issues" link on the very bottom of the Dell front webpage. Just the other day, my hope system, an Optiplex GX620 decided to start getting weird on shutdown/hibernate, such that it would shut down ok, and power the system off, but then it would immediately power back up again on its own. I did all the obvious troubleshooting, including seeing if it could be a bent windows install by installing a clean copy of XP on another drive, and sure enough, same problem, it also occurred on an install of Ubuntu. This strongly pointed to the motherboard having problems, so I submitted a support ticket, telling the tier one drone the problem AND the steps I'd taken to isolate the issue.. Drone apparently couldn't read plain English, because he told to do all the things I'd already done.. I replied that I'd already done these things, and believe it or not, he wanted me to do them again.. I simply went to the "unresolved issues" link and filed a case there, referencing the case id I'd been given by the drone, and the very next day, I got an email telling me I'd get a replacement motherboard shipped to me... This link seems to connect to clueful people, and more importantly, ones who can take ownership of a problem and get it resolved... Give it a try.. BTW: Thank you for your service to the country, I salute you!!!

LVDave

Re:Call your credit card company.... (0, Troll)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937203)

It would be really great if they would send you an e-mail telling you that they were shipping you a replacement motherboard and firing the representative who handled your case initially.

I've been through similar trouble with other companies. I had one idiot drone ask me what version of the operating system I was running four or five times in a row, when I was answering him each time. I finally asked for a supervisor and directly asked the supervisor to fire this moron. I doubt it happened, though. Most companies care not even the slightest bit for providing non-terrible customer service.

Re:Call your credit card company.... (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937371)

This link seems to connect to clueful people, and more importantly, ones who can take ownership of a problem and get it resolved.

Ever since Dell outsourced their customer service they've never been the same company. Every niggling little thing they push back on customers to do, every endless phone menu you have to take time to navigate, takes a little of the value away from their product.

Instead of the endless goat rope of tier I customer service, I'd opt for the charge back angle.

Too bad it's not as simple as ordering an air strike.

Find out about the shipping status. (2, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937265)

Another thing to ask is if they ever shipped it and if they did what the tracking number is. At least this way you can try to work out whether the blame is with Dell or the internal courier service used by the military to get it there (I imagine this how it works). Once you can work out where the computer should be you will know who you be dealing with.

Contact your credit card company (4, Informative)

SpiceWare (3438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936815)

and have them reverse the charges

Re:Contact your credit card company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937061)

Exactly, however I must question the rather absurd price of $1700. From his description of what he does with it, I gather he would have been satisfied with any old standard $500 laptop from any old OEM.

Re:Contact your credit card company (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937145)

The submitter is in the military, probably junior enlisted, and everybody knows that most junior enlisteds are niggers or other minorities who haven't made a dime in their life(aside from stealin' or slangin' dope) before they joined the military. That's why most of them, back home, drive escalades wit' rimz and insist on buying the latest, flashiest fluff.

My advice to you, dear submitter, is to wait until you serve our your deployment, then grab an AR-15 and shoot up Dell HQ full of holes and blame it on PTSD. You'll get much sympathy from Americans and do 6 months in jail at most. Alternately, you could request leave and fly directly to India to track down Dell's customer service centers, then let the ol' gun rip them a new one. Indians are cheap and replaceable.

call your bank (1, Interesting)

Lilo-x (93462) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936817)

call your credit card company and charge back the $1,700

of course you bought this on your credit card right? considering your circumstances and location the extra insurance afforded by purchasing on a Credit card means you wouldn't have through of using any other medium

Otherwise you will have to speak to Dell or any trading standards operated in the USA for proper legal advice

Blame the APO (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936829)

It most likely got stolen by a corrupt employee on its way to you. Dell thinks you got it and won't send another one, so the place to take this is your credit card's fraud resolution process, who will most likely eat the loss.

Re:Blame the APO (5, Informative)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937017)

The credit card company won't eat the loss - they'll mediate his dispute, and unless Dell can prove that he received the laptop, Dell will be out the one (or two) laptops they claim to have shipped and the OP will have his money refunded by his card company, who will in turn deduct it from Dell's account.

Given that it's an APO address, it will be hard to prove receipt. Better call the card issuer soon; chargeback rights vary by issuer, but typically expire 60-90 days after purchase.

Re:Blame the APO (1)

diablo-d3 (175104) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937325)

Chargeback rights vary by the US Federal law on the subject, not by issuer. I believe it is 60 days.

Re:Blame the APO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937329)

From the AskSlashdot:

I designed/customized my laptop on 2008-09-17 and placed my order

The laptop was built and apparently shipped on 2008-09-28.

It is now the 30th of November and I still have no laptop and Dell seems to have quit responding to my emails.

Apparently kdawson dug deep for this one and thus everyone's cc advice is getting to him a bit late for lack of timely coverage.

Re:Blame the APO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937035)

Trust me VISA will not be eating it. The ability to reach in and take it from Dell is 100%.

Re:Blame the APO (1)

diablo-d3 (175104) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937235)

Actually, the credit card company won't eat the charge... Dell will, and their merchant processor will charge them a fee for a reversed charge (who in turn was also charged a fee by the bank who issued the card). Typically, Dell will pay 10-15% more than the laptop was originally worth if this isn't resolved in a favorable manner.

Most likely, as long as eleventypie has the credit card company reverse the charge, the credit card company will find in his favor just to make sure he keeps spending on that card. If Dell doesn't like it, tough: although they can sue him in small claims for it, they honestly know better not to even try, they've already lost business because of his Slashdot post.

eleventypie, you may also try contacting the Consumerist [google.com] over this for additional media coverage.

You can't be both, right? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936849)

So are you a soldier (you're in the army) or a student (you need to do school work)? Or a cheap student soldier?

You can't be both, right?

Re:You can't be both, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936873)

Yeah, everyone knows that jarheads can't read.

Re:You can't be both, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936949)

USA USA USA

haha

Re:You can't be both, right? (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936915)

There are members of the U.S. Armed Forces who attend college while enlisted and even while stationed overseas. Certainly you've heard of online degree programs offered by schools such as Argosy University or University of Phoenix?

Re:You can't be both, right? (3, Informative)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937049)

Actually in the Army you can get a degree from most normal colleges while deployed as well. Theres a college exchange program where you can take classes at any approved college (including some classes taught by the army itself both online and offline) and receive your degree at the participating college of your choice (and they do have a good selection of participating colleges.)

Re:You can't be both, right? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937085)

Well, I mentioned Argosy University particularly because my wife attends there and there is someone stationed in Afghanistan who is currently taking the same class she is. Their program is actually only partially online -- there is part that is on-campus as well.

Re:You can't be both, right? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937109)

There are a lot of options for service personnel, most of which are better schools than the ones you mentioned. Pace University had professors aboard my ship while I was in the Marines in the 1990's - unfortunately I couldn't attend because I actually had to go ashore and fight in Somalia while the rest of the Navy floated around and earned college credit.

I think it's great that these options are available to those in the service, it gives them a great head start when they get out.

Call your credit card company and dispute the charges.

Re:You can't be both, right? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937157)

Argosy's psychology program is very reputable.

It's obvious... (5, Funny)

falken0905 (624713) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936851)

Send in the Marines! Once Dell HQ is surrounded I'm sure they'll find your laptop.

Re:It's obvious... (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936973)

Send in the Marines! Once Dell HQ is surrounded I'm sure they'll find your laptop.

Hint: It's in the building next to all the unfound WMDs.

Worth a try.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936861)

Honestly e-mail CNN with a story about how hard it is to deal with issues like this when you are out of country in the service. You can even file an iReport. If they run with the story I think you'll find your laptop showing up in record time with a heartfelt apology from Dell.

Re:Worth a try.... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937013)

Agreed 100%. Make a video with your webcam and then submit your story to iReport.com [ireport.com] . Click the UploadNow! Button. CNN loves to run stories submitted by the men and women in the service. If you're lucky, they'll send Robin Mead [wikipedia.org] . ;)

He can't submit the story... (5, Funny)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937333)

He doesn't have the laptop so he can't submit the story. Dell knows this so they aren't worried.

Re:He can't submit the story... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937373)

He doesn't have the laptop so he can't submit the story. Dell knows this so they aren't worried.

What?

Go by phone, or BBB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936869)

Contact the better business bureau or get on the phone, get to customer support, and ask for a manager. I never put up with trying to talk to someone that speaks broken english and just tells me there deals that they have for that month.

Can't use a regular phone? (2, Informative)

sherl0k (1215370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936889)

Apparently you're at a computer with internet right now, you should try using SkypeOut or another free software VoIP service to call tech support and figure out what's going on.

How to get your laptop... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936899)

Get your problem posted to the front page of slashdot?

Dissapointed with Dell (0, Flamebait)

PhattyMatty (916963) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936905)

Choosing Dell was probably the only thing you should have done differently. I haven't heard much praise about them.

Re:Dissapointed with Dell (4, Informative)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936961)

meh, i would have had the laptop shipped to a relative and asked *them* to ship it in a plain box (not one marked DELL DELL DELL) with insurance, delivery confirmation or whatever option they could get from USPS or whoever.

as others mentioned, do a chargeback.
then buy a thinkpad :)

Re:Dissapointed with Dell (1)

imemyself (757318) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936991)

Not sure about their consumer oriented stuff, but their business products and support is great. I wouldn't buy a consumer type laptop from anyone, consumer stuff is garbage.

Well, now that this is on Slashdot... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936923)

...I predict that Dell Customer Relations will be acting very quickly to get you a nice laptop. ;]

Sounds like you need to submit this to (4, Interesting)

kipin (981566) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936941)

consumerist.com

Re:Sounds like you need to submit this to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937211)

Agreed! Consumerist knows how to get to the right people to get things handled.

See your local JAG attorney (5, Informative)

jrminter (1123885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936945)

My son is an Army JAG Attorney. He was telling me that helping servicemen with such problems was part of the job that gave them much satisfaction. They can write some very good letters on your behalf. You probably have a few deployed with/near you.

Re:See your local JAG attorney (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937067)

Yeah, well my son flies Apaches. Not as impressive as being a fancy pants Army attorney, but he too says helping servicemen with problems such as this gives him much satisfaction.

Re:See your local JAG attorney (2, Insightful)

onescomplement (998675) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937079)

Absolutely. The "Advocate" thing is something I do locally for folks who get poor customer service and I have a couple of ex-JAGs as friends. Definitely tap on them.

Presumably, you paid with credit card (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936955)

Presumably, you've paid with a credit card. Call up your CC company and dispute the charges.

mdell@dell.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936957)

Send an email to Michael. That should fix the problem rather quickly.

Found (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936969)

Go to consumerist.com they have numbers and email addresses for corporate customer service.

In the army? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936971)

You're the plumber of the words asshole. Shoot yourself in the face. Repeat until.

Re:In the army? (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937195)

By all means, troll to your heart's content but PLEASE make it intelligible so that our minds can experience the troll as yours did..

Re:In the army? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937225)

Is that you Osama?

AAFES complaint or contact Credit card Co. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936979)

Hopefully, you went through the online exchange, AAFES, if you didn't then ASAP contact your Credit Card Co. and file the necessary paper work. Next time using AAFES will give you some additional leverage, as AAFES will go to bat for you on lost orders.

Two must-do moves (4, Informative)

psychosis (2579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25936987)

1) Dispute charge with your credit card issuer (as others have recommended)
2) Check out the consumerist blog (consumerist.com) and use their guidelines to get consumer satisfaction.

Don't let them BS you - put the beef out in public and you're more likely to get results. Dell and other large companies don't care about you, an individual consumer - make it public and affect thousands of buying decisions and you'll likely fare better.

Note: If they resolve this to your satisfaction, also post/email/whatever a follow-up showing that they made good on a bad situation. If they do not, of course you should let everyone know that as well.

Good luck!

Re:Two must-do moves (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937305)

And there is another step you can take. Escalate.

You see, often problem solving in companies can most quickly be done by talking to the right person. Unfortunately, you usually cannot escalate by simply asking to speak to a CSR's manager.

The trick is to do some research about the company (via google) and find out some of the upper staff. Start by trying to dig up middle management. Find a building location. Do a phone number lookup of their address. Start at the bottom of the tree, and work your way up.

Recently, a co-worker of mine had some serious problems with bad billing at his phone company. I did some digging around and found out the name and building of a Vice President of some department. Within 5 minutes of talking to the VP, he got off the phone, the VP made a few phone calls, and a very apologetic CSR called my friend back. They fixed the problem.

Be polite, be calm, explain how the proper channels have failed you, but most importantly, be brief. If you are going to take the time to escalate someone important, odds are that their time is important and they are busy. If you can simply secure a call back, be happy with that.

Stationed in Afghanistan? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936993)

Aren't you too busy shooting at random civilians to worry about laptop problems?

Re:Stationed in Afghanistan? (0, Flamebait)

pdusen (1146399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937107)

I can't believe assholes like you still exist.

Re:Stationed in Afghanistan? (-1, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937249)

I can't believe assholes like Bush still exist. Vietnam motherfucker. There's no army in Afghanistan, there's no legitimate reason for the troops to be there. "Police actions" are folly.

Re:Stationed in Afghanistan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937315)

Your existence is folly.

Re:Stationed in Afghanistan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937289)

There's nothing wrong with indiscriminately killing women and children who are Islamic savages.

If you don't drop 'em today, they'll drop your convoy tomorrow after wrapping themselves in duct-tape, ball-bearings, and explosive.

Re:Stationed in Afghanistan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937313)

I can't believe dumbfuck rednecks like you are still allowed to breed.

You're in the army dude, AIRSTRIKE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25936999)

This is why the west is going to fail in the middle east - no fricking initiative.

its not dell's fault (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937003)

you have a dodgy supply chain to your location. bother the supply chain

Re:its not dell's fault (1)

Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937359)

you have a dodgy supply chain to your location. bother the supply chain

uh... no. The supply chain is Dell's responsibility. The ability to purchase a machine over the Internet and have it sent to you is THEIR BUSINESS MODEL. Thats what they're promising for your cash - if they aren't able to reliably deliver the machine to your location, they shouldn't be taking your cash.

Re:its not dell's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937367)

agreed, shipping to APO is dodgy at best.

How about a little less attention whoring? (-1, Flamebait)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937023)

Seriously. We respect your service in Afghanistan, but this is clearly not a question for Slashdot other than you are trying to use Slashdot's fame to draw attention to your case to get you preferential treatment. Clearly if what you cared about was your money, you'd call your credit card company and the matter would be settled in minutes.

I've bought PCs from dell. Their customer service has been decent enough. Of course, I wrote polite but firm emails at all time. if they stopped responding to you, why do I get the distinct feeling that your emails were the sort that if you were reading them aloud to the customer service lady at best buy, the security guards would ask you to leave?

i am always shocked by people who try to characterize one company or another - be it a PC manufacturer or a telecom provider as particularly bad in some area or another. Anybody who does even a milisecond of internet research will find people griping about EVERY company under the sun on the web. what do bold pronouncements of boycott and "never buy from them again" make you? Perhaps you feel better having vented some anger, but at the end of the day if you think that other companies are substantially better, you're only fooling yourself and ultimately are irrationally removing one company from the mix for providing future products for you.

Lastly, the people who suggest the "better business bureau" as a solution are fools. The BBB can not do anything useful, and the cost and hassle of filing with them is immense. when we have customers (we have hundreds of thousands - it is bound to happen) who act like little children (not that we don't make mistakes, but I'd venture to guess that easily 95% of our "hardcore" complainers are basically whiny bitches who usually complain because we are not giving them something above and beyond what their license agreement stipulated) and threaten to go to the BBB, we gladly provide the BBB contact information, knowing damn well that nothing will ever come of it even on the infinitesimally remote chance that they actually do file.

Thank you for your service.. and sorry. (5, Insightful)

osssmkatz (734824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937171)

Excuse me. No. We respect your service, and he has every right to ask for help from people he trusts. That apparently is us. They said they'd send a replacement.. but didn't. So now we are discussing resolutions. You had no right to make those assumptions.

Re:How about a little less attention whoring? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937193)

Unless you are buying literally thousands of PCs, the fact that you had to write them multiple emails implies that they have crappy service.

Re:How about a little less /. asshole behavior (1, Troll)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937207)

>Seriously. We respect your service in Afghanistan, but this is clearly not a
>question for Slashdot other than you are trying to use Slashdot's fame to draw
>attention to your case to get you preferential treatment. Clearly if what you
>cared about was your money, you'd call your credit card company and the matter
>would be settled in minutes.

          And, given that he is risking his life in Afghanistan, why the hell shouldn't he get preferential treatment?

          Brett

Re:How about a little less /. asshole behavior (4, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937241)

And, given that he is risking his life in Afghanistan, why the hell shouldn't he get preferential treatment?

Because, as a non-american, I don't support the war, and i don't support his actions.

Why should he get preferential treatmetn for living in a country that sends him to war for no reason? Why should he get preferential treatment because he was idiotic enough to sign up for the military in the USA?

Re:How about a little less /. asshole behavior (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937365)

Wait a minute... I thought asshole behavior was what Slashdot is all about?

Re:How about a little less attention whoring? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937279)

Without folks like him, there would be no Slashdot. As far as I'm concerned, he can ask whatever the fuck he wants.

But when it finally arrives (1, Offtopic)

toby (759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937025)

Full of that fresh, shiny VISTA goodness.. you'll be deliriously happy!

Be patient, my lad - The WOW starts... soon!

In case Credit Card fails (2, Informative)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937031)

OK, it's been 60 days and your bank may tell you that there's nothing that can be done.

Looking at Reseller Ratings [resellerratings.com] Dell has a really shitty customer service team.

I would suggest:

  • Write a snail mail letter explaining your situation and what you want - state only the facts NO EMOTION. Emails and phone calls do not work with shitty customer service and this will be creating a paper trail for future legal action.
  • File a complaint with the BBB.org
  • File a complaint with the Office of Consumer Affairs in the state you are a resident for.
  • File a complaint on resellerratings.com
  • Call or email here [clarkhoward.com]
  • You may have to talk to your JAG office.

Good luck

News? (-1, Troll)

Mondo1287 (622491) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937033)

Why is this on the front page of Slashdot? This is not news worthy. I fucking hate you sometimes Slashdot.

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937083)

why only sometimes?

Re:News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937103)

Because it's a story about our boys over there killing terrists for Jesus. Slashdot: the new Fox News.

Call credit card company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937051)

Call the credit card company - dispute the charge. And for the record, I would not have waited 2 months. I'd have given them 10 days at the most. At the very least, those imbeciles at Dell should have tracking information.

If they do - then you can see where it's lost (or if it shipped at all). If they don't, then they get to do it again at their expense. If they give you any static, go see the JAG Atty for your locale...

If it was stolen en route after it got into the APO system, then the JAG will love to see that. If it got stolen PRIOR to getting into the APO, file complaints with the US Postal Inspectors...

EECB (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937055)

I've heard of many great success stories from people employing a new consumer tactical weapon: the EECB, executive email carpet bomb [consumerist.com] .

But it's only to be used as a last resort, no matter how justified or important you think you are. After you've tried everything else, dig up the email addresses of Dell executives (which are generally not hard to find, surprisingly) and send *all* of them a well-written, rational letter explaining why you are dissatisfied with their service and what they can do to set things straight if they want to keep you as a customer.

For bonus points, mention tactfully that you have a blog. Good luck, soldier.

Re:EECB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937243)

Yay. Yet another spammer.

interesting question... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937059)

Of course you can just cancel the credit card charge.

However, I'm not sure really what you do about Dell's customer service. Or, indeed, the CS from any large corporation if you have a problem.

In such companies, the goal is to reduce customer contact (by fobbing customers off with canned answers) and maintain a satisfaction rate of about 80% (usually through fraudulent stats practices). That means that most customers will either be satisfied or simply give up due to inadequate answers.

Most CS is either outsourced or in a contact center far from the head offices. Most CS staff are looked down on by Head Office staff. Communication is one way -- FROM head office. If you have a complaint about CS, the first person you complain to is from CS. If your complaint is serious, or is a good suggestion as to how to improve the business, then CS staff usually have very little opportunity to pass that to Head office, other than through a heavily bureaucratic process. Often it will get thrown out in the 3rd or 4th tier in the process. It's very unlikely that you will be able to contact someone in head office directly to raise issues with CS. CS has a vested interest in hiding any issues from head office.

Which leads me to wonder why any corporation ever bothers to provide any CS at all. It being such a cost center, and one that bosses clearly don't care about -- otherwise it would never be outsourced.

write a letter (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937081)

Send a letter to the president of Dell, CCing the vice-president of sales. Lay out the problem. Emphasize your presence in Iraq and service and self-sacrifice. Lay it on thick.

Iraq? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937219)

Well, some place full of furriners, anyway.

(Disrespect intended only to nomadic, not the original poster, who I am sure is well aware of the myriad differences between the two countries.)

Department of Fair Trading (or US equivalent) (1)

jassa (1092003) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937129)

I had similar problems with Dell Australia recently, and after a month or so of trying to play nice I looked up the location of their Australian office and contacted the Department of Fair Trading in that state to ask them for assistance. They took over from there and within a week I had the Executive Customer Escalation Manager for Dell Australia ringing and emailing me (and leaving me her direct email/phone number), apologising profusely and trying to get everything sorted out.

I don't know if a similar government regulatory body exists in whichever state Dell US are based in, but do a little research and if one does exist, ask them for help. Make sure you let them know eveything you've tried so far, and include any and all documentation to support your claim.

Good luck!

This is what you're fighting for (-1, Flamebait)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937133)

Enjoy it, patriot.

Re:This is what you're fighting for (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937311)

Go suck a cock you whiny little bitch.

Three mistakes (0, Offtopic)

guruevi (827432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937151)

1. You got a Dell
2. You used APO with Dell
3. You apparently used a non-tracking service

What to do: Reverse charges. Contact Apple (they use non-descript boxes and UPS or FedEx without charging extra). Their laptops are sturdier for that price as well.

Complain to the Better Business Bureau (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937163)

You can do that online (BBB.org); my experience is that a real person in Texas will respond and help resolve it. That's what happened when an order of my went into Dell's little version of customer service hell. I spoke with a real person in TX who not only solved it but gave me a credit for a future purchase. As a side note - did you checkout the deals on AKO? Soemtimes they are better than those online.

Might I suggest you try to call them? (1, Insightful)

Rendus (2430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937169)

I'd suggest you first pick up a telephone and have a real-time conversation with somebody.

Re:Might I suggest you try to call them? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937339)

Did you see the part about making phones calls being difficult for him? I work at a company that has a lot of military customers and it is very hard for them to call our Pacific contact center via the phone. First getting a phone call out is tough, then spending your minutes (normally on calling cards) waiting on hold is aggravating. If you get disconnected, you have to start the whole process over with a new phone card. My company has some DSN numbers is Asia they can use if the hours match up, but I doubt Dell has resources on bases to provide this. Normally you are left with email and faxes for any business that doesn't have a DSN connection.

There is only one theif in the army.... (2, Informative)

poormanjoe (889634) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937199)

...everyone else is just trying to get their shit back!

Brother someone stole your shipment without a doubt. I can't believe you would even order something like that while in country. When I was in Opsec, Afghanistan we had our mail stolen all the time. Mostly just cartons of smokes. You should have ordered it through AAFES if you couldn't wait to pick one up on your R&R.

We also had quite a few CONEX get broke into during shipping. They would simply take the hinges off, take what they wanted, and weld it back shut.

My suggestion to you is to make sure you report it. Maybe one good thing out of it is one of those USSR employees will get fired.

Good luck Sir

7-10 days? (1)

York the Mysterious (556824) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937217)

7-10 days is pretty quick for an APO. I'm waiting about 5 weeks per package on my APO in Antarctica. Same old C-17 delivery, but damn do they take their sweet time.

Don't waste time with Dell Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937227)

1. Filing a claim with the Credit Card is the best option, as you'll get your money back quickly and can place an order with a different supplier. Emailing or calling doesn't help as you always end up talking to somebody underpaid overseas that simply doesn't care to make you happy and don't care about the great service you do to the USA.
2. If you really want to escalate with Dell, the best way is to file a complaint with the BBB. I did it twice with Dell and I got an American rep to call me and solve the matter (the 2nd time, they didn't recognize their mistake but took the merchandise back over 90 days later and refunded 100%).
3. Great time to buy now with Holiday season offers, if you call your CC you should know in a matter of minutes if they can reverse the charges (and they'll as you never received the PC). Dell needs to prove it was delivered to you.

Good luck

Pains me to say it (AAFES) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937231)

Purchasing your Dell computer through AAFES (Army Air Force Exchange Services), online or off, has 2 benefits:
1) Tax-free.
2) Your Dell helpline service tickets will be assigned to the Small Business department, instead of Joe Public.

PS: You can also buy your Harley-Davidson motorcycle through AAFES while you're deployed.

Homeland Security (4, Funny)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937239)

Recourse For Poor Customer Service?

Homeland Security. I've had the impression long before 9/11 that Al-Qaeda has infiltrated Dell customer service.

Send a fish .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937269)

I've had nothing but good experiences with Dell (have you checked their online tracking system?) But if you're really really pissed with a company nothing is quite as satisfying as mailing them a fish - wrap it well, make sure you ship it surface, forget about the return address, you wont be wanting it back. Mind you finding a fish in Afghanistan might be problematic, there must be a local equivalent

Cancel the credit card charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937277)

Here's what I would do:
- call or email Dell, tell them that since you didn't get your laptop and didn't get any information from them, you will dispute the charge on your credit card
- give them 24 hours to respond
- if they don't respond, call your credit card, and dispute the charge. Keep your email as a prove that you contacted the merchant
- if your laptop from Dell comes, refuse the delivery
- buy laptop somewhere else :)

how times have changed (0, Troll)

gmccloskey (111803) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937293)

in the first world war, soldiers wrote home about the terrible carnage, the awful conditions, and how they wanted to go home. They wrote poetry and listened to jazz.

in the second world war, soldiers wrote home about the incredible pace of war, the awful conditions, fighting the tyrannical fascism of Germany, Italy and Japan, and how they wanted to go home. they wrote novels, and listened to dance music.

in the vietnam war, soldiers wrote home about the pointlessness of war, the awful conditions, the alienation being in a completely foreign culture where both sides saw you as an invader, and how they wanted to go home. they smoked dope and listened to The Doors.

You're posting on a web site, complaining your recreational toy hasn't turned up after a few weeks.

May i humbly suggest that your time is better spent reading some books, to enlighten you as to why you're in the position you are, and just how the hell you and your countrymen arrived there.

i'd suggest Steve Coll's "Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden" - well written, and a modern perspective on the afghan condition. And for the longer historical perspective "Afghanistan: A Military History From Alexander The Great To The Fall Of The Taliban"
by Stephen Tanner. There are many other excellent books out there.

I'd also question your choice of laptop. For challenging conditions, with heat, sand, and a lot of bumps, I'd suggest a panasonic toughbook or other ruggedised solution. Unless of course, you're a REM who's several hundred clicks from any forward operating post, and have ready access to 24x7 electricity with no spikes, aircon and constant net access. Apologies if I've called that one wrong, but you're not exactly giving the impression of being at the sharp end of business out there.

lithium ion battery/cpu shortages? (1)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937309)

being a premier partner with Dell, when ordering somewhat customized laptops or desktops, I get really late estimated shipping dates due to the amount of CPUs and lithium ion batteries on hand at Dell's factories. one think I will say, is that sometimes Dell likes to discontinue certain models of laptops without telling the customer until it is way too late. or, the particular configuration of your model might have some parts that might be discontinued as well. as much as I like Dell for their excellent warranties (crucial for business customers), their inventory control needs to improve.

Clark Howard to the Rescue? (0, Offtopic)

zonezero (175540) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937331)

Contact Clark Howard at clarkhoward.com and I am sure they will get you results. Wouldn't surprise me if Dell didn't push you a laptop and a thank you gift on the next transport after a phone call from them.

karma? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937337)

maybe it's god's(buddha's) way punishing you for being involved in the illegal invasion and occupation of a sovereign foreign nation

lots of the afgan people don't have adequate food, shelter, and clothing, much less $1700 laptops, thanks to about 20+ years of unending war, currently compliments of the americans, before that the russians and twice before that thank to the british, gee i wonder why they are not to fond of white christians

maybe if you make a $1700 donation to an afgan orphanage you will get your laptop

Insure Your Mail! (1)

sofakingon (610999) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937349)

I've had an APO address for the better part of a decade. In that time, I've had the following articles stolen in the mail:

a monitor
2x laptops
a workstation
3x motherboard/cpu combos

They were all bought with credit cards; so I got my money back, but it's still a major pain in the ass to have to deal with

Overseas military mail is an easy target for criminals. The required customs declaration makes for easy pickings.

Sometimes, they do catch the perps and the penalties are harsh. That's your only consolation.
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_/ai_n15827460 [findarticles.com]

If you insure your mail, they are required to have a positive chain of custody and proof of identity before delivery.

How to get results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25937351)

E-mailing the customer service address directly is rarely a winning strategy. The people answering them are simply not empowered to help solve complex problems.

In similar situations, what I do is send a reply involving the entire e-mail chain. I send to the customer service address, but CC one or two relevant VP's of the company in question. In my e-mail, I summarize my understanding of the situation, the result of communication so far, why I am dissatisfied with the results to date, and what I expect to see done to resolve the situation.

The drones in customer service might not be able to resolve your situation. But an appropriately placed vice president certainly can. And, in my experience, if your expectations are reasonable, your problems are significant, and your tone is respectful, you are likely to get their help. They may pawn you off on a regional director with a "Handle this!" e-mail, but that's gold.

The trick, of course, is to find the appropriate e-mail address to CC on your complaint. Google is your friend on this, and consumerist.com has been a good resource in the past. Try to stay focused--sending a complaint to Michael Dell is probably not the most effective path. He gets a lot of e-mail, and customer service is at best a small part of his overall portfolio. What I try to find is either a VP of Customer Service/Experience, or failing that the exec with overall responsibility for the region you're ordering from.

Most companies claim to care deeply about service, and a situation like yours can (and should) leave them feeling embarrased about their company's execution, and will make them want to help you. I've gotten several nasty customer situations resolved to my satisfaction quickly with this technique. (In one case, an airline's VP of customer service had someone personally call me to let me know they took my problem seriously and were working on my problem within 2 hours of the original complaint).

The key is to be respectful, explain what you want, and get the issue in front of someone who can do something about it.

It was intercepted by a warlord (1, Insightful)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25937361)

and Bin Laden's typing his myspace profile on it right now. Go get him!

Seriously though, what are we supposed to tell you? Contact somebody higher up the chain, preferably by phone. Yeah it may be hard, but so is delivering a $2k package to a 3rd world shithole.

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