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New York Sues Dell for Poor Customer Service

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the reaping-what-you-sell dept.

Businesses 295

Phanatic1a writes "New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is suing Dell, alleging bait and switch financing tactics, false advertising, and 'numerous other deceptive business practices relating to their technical support services, promotional financing, rebate offers, and billing and collection activity.' According to Cuomo himself, 'At Dell, customer service means no service at all.'"

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I've always been pretty happy with Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19150647)

Now Geek Squad - that's who really needs to be sued. Have they ever actually fixed a problem? Anecdotal evidence says no.

Geek Squad (2, Interesting)

milgr (726027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150775)

For some reason I actually paid for an extended warranty on the Vaio I bought at Bestbuy. Strangely enough, I got some value out of it...

They replaced a DVD writer that failed, and a keyboard (the P fell off while I was typing). My biggest complaint was that when I picked up my laptop, I needed to wait for about 40 minutes. No geeks were in sight most of that time.

I know why (1, Informative)

Nate Fox (1271) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150653)

sounds like someone didnt pay for the Gold support. ALWAYS pay for it. Or use another vendor, its your money!

Re:I know why (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150685)

That's an interesting theory, but I think it has more to do with Cuomo following the Eliot Spitzer School of Getting Yourself Elected Governor of New York. It mostly involves bringing high profile cases against nationally recognized big corporations.

Re:I know why (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150735)

But whatever the motive, note that they don't usually raise high profile cases like this without believing they will win. They must have at least a little valid evidence to back it all up.

Re:I know why (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150809)

I'm not arguing that the case is or isn't valid, I'm just calling into question the motive behind it. I agree with you that they probably have more than a little evidence to back up their claims. Like I mention in a post further down the page, though, customer support is almost universally crappy, so if they are interested in fixing the problem rather than just generating press, there are a lot of other companies they should add to their "to be sued" list.

Re:I know why (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150983)

Yeah, I agree. I think the choice of going after Dell is mostly publicity. NY (and probably most states) like to go after the big fish to set an example for the rest.

Re:I know why (2, Insightful)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150991)

Evidence of what? dell has bad service? thats not hard to come by... The question is why the hell is it the AG's job to sue somebody for poor service? Does not NY have some real problems to deal with?

Re:I know why (5, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151247)

The question is why the hell is it the AG's job to sue somebody for poor service? s.html [] :

The Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection prosecutes businesses and individuals engaged in fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or illegal trade practices. In addition to litigating, the Bureau mediates thousands of complaints each year from individual consumers. A large percentage of these complaints are resolved satisfactorily through the mediation process. As part of its mission, the Bureau provides information to consumers and seeks to ensure a fair and vigorous market place. The Bureau also drafts legislation and conducts studies and writes reports on emerging consumer problems and issues.

Re:I know why (1)

graphicsguy (710710) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151261)

How is this insightful. Bait and switch financing deals are not just bad service.

Re:I know why (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151291)

This is hardly bait and switch, nowhere have I ever seen anything to make me think I would get an operator on the phone quickly.. Sheesh the Chinese are putting melamine in animal feed and we are worried about being on hold with Dell?

Re:I know why (2, Informative)

benzapp (464105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151323)

Evidence of what? dell has bad service? thats not hard to come by... The question is why the hell is it the AG's job to sue somebody for poor service? Does not NY have some real problems to deal with?

Yes they do, but fixing those problems are long-term issues that are outside the scope of democracy. The State of New York faces enormous future budget shortfalls as government workers retire and the entire vote-buying apparatus of the state bureaucracy comes crashing to the ground.

Democrats previously gained votes by promoting "social" programs like welfare, public housing, and other such initiatives. Government workers account for a full 17% of the workforce in New York State. When you consider that nearly 50% of the population (NOT the workforce) receive public assistance, you begin to see the problems for the Democratic Party.

They can no longer establish a plutocracy by stealing from the hardworking citizenry of the state. More people take from the state's coffers than donate to it. The game of throwing the people's money around to buy votes is over.

So what is a democrat to do?

Something... ANYTHING... that doesn't cost money. And this is an example of that.

Re:I know why (1)

dark3r (14184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151523)

Well unfortuately, filing the lawsuit will cost the public a lot of money. I imagine the best outcome would be if Dell settled out of court.

Re:I know why (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19150737)

That's an interesting theory, but I think it has more to do with Cuomo representing the pissed off people of New York. It mostly involves bringing high profile cases against nationally recognized big corporations that the people are pissed at. Crazy how democracy sometimes works, eh?

Re:I know why (1, Insightful)

James_Aguilar (890772) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150909)

For what it's worth, it's important to remember that people being pissed at a corporation doesn't mean the corporation has actually done anything illegal or immoral. One example is people being pissed about gas prices. I mean, it's fine to be pissed at the corporations that sell gas, but on some level, you have to remember that the prices are high because the cost of production is high.

That said, I haven't experienced Dell's customer service, because I have never been silly enough to buy one of their machines. Everything I've heard indicates it might be lawsuit-worthy.

Re:I know why (5, Informative)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151087)

Prices are high on gas because the cost of production is high? How do you back up that statement? Gas is high because of massive mismanagement, inadequate processing facilities, and large amounts of capacity being offline for either shoddy maintenance (Pipelines rusting out) or really sketchy reasons. (The big facility in Oklahoma explodes because of a lightning strike? These people never heard of lightning rods and proper grounding? If there's no oxygen supply in a big tank, then you can hit it with lightning all day long and nothing can ignite.)

This is all bullshit caused by the deregulation of the industry. Look how well deregulation of the energy market worked for California, rolling blackouts, raging high prices, etc. Required public services needed for the basic functionality of our society should NEVER be deregulated, cause all it does is let unethical traders get rich of scamming the whole system.

I know, all you "free market" clones will fry me for stating the obvious, but the free market doesn't exist without government regulation in the first place. Free market is just an euphemism for "quick buck", not a long term, stable solution.

Re:I know why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151123)

And regulation is? I guess we should look to the former USSR for proof of that, huh?

Re:I know why (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151445)

sorry this is abit off topic but you mentioned that gas prices are high cause cost or production is high..

i have worked with oil compaines and if you could see how much it costs - you would realize that that is not by any means the reason why gas is expensive

Why is this a problem? (2, Insightful)

brennanw (5761) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151043)

Spitzer was a good AG for New York. If Cuomo wants to follow in his footsteps that's fine by me. I have no problem with someone auditioning for future jobs by doing their current job well.

Re:I know why (1)

K'Lyre (600056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150709)

And just how much is this Gold support? More than $70? That's how much I pay my computer sales place for 3 years of parts and labor.

Re:I know why (2, Insightful)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151031)

How's that working out for you? Most of the support contracts that stores offer are pretty much worthless. Have you tried taking something back a few times and see how good their customer service really is? They wouldn't offer the support if they expected you to use it. Anyone can sound good in a sales pitch, but how they act after they have your money is the real metric worth noting.

Re:I know why (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151065)

It's not really worth it, imho. Your response time goes up, but you're still likely to get a guy coming to your door who has the wrong part, and no idea how to install it.

I've dealt with standard, silver, and gold support, and they're all crappy. I've had to get our regional corporate IT director involved on more than one occasion...I mean literally, this guy is 2 steps below the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, and I'm having to have him PERSONALLY intervene in a support issue and threaten to pull our entire corporate account, just so I can get support.

That's a problem.

Re:I know why (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150815)

I'm not sure whether it's relevant to this case, but I agree. If you're a big enough company, you can get it so Gold support isn't that outrageously expensive anyway, but it makes all the difference. If you call Dell as a normal customer, their support kinda sucks-- still better than most, but doesn't say much. But if you have Gold support, you'll at least be routed to real support personnel within a couple minutes, and you'll have replacement hardware within 4 hours.

Re:I know why (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19150903)

and if your big enough you can take part in dells warrenty parts direct program, and just place the replacement part orders directly and not even deal with phone support... just get the damn new parts drop shipped... this is something that is very awsome that dell does. allows us to fix stuff with out ever needing to talk to a phone support person.

Re:I know why (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150945)

Oddly enough, I never heard of "gold" support until reading an earlier post on /. today. I even posted "Bring Back the Super Geeks" at [] a few weeks ago, and no one mentioned gold. Thanks for the info! I just bought my first ever gold support, to test it out.

You can sue for poor service? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151037)

Wow, can we suggest more lawsuits?

How about Comcast for the undisclosed limits on downloads even with "unlimited" service? Or Microsoft over the Microsoft tax you end up paying on new computers unless you jump through tons of hoops. Or Paypal for, well, the tons of crap they've put people through.

Or any of the other places that give you crappy service; I'm sure Slashdotters could come up with a pretty long list...

Dude (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19150657)

Dude, you're getting a lawsuit.

Re: Welcome to your offshored overloards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151177)

This is what you get with offshored support! D'OH!

And with all the offshored engineering Dell's products just continue to promote the cyclic need for calling support. Double D'OH!

Unlike Corporations. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150663)

State normally takes advantage of the Customer Service Support. Corporations usually have support as a last resort for the State it is normally in the middle.

Re:Unlike Corporations. (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150751)

Personally, I use Customer Service Support as a last resort because it's highly unlikely they'll come up with anything I couldn't have figured out for myself, and going through two hours with front-line support before getting to someone who actually has knowledge beyond the standard script is a huge hassle. This does not apply exclusively to Dell, though.

Huge corporations who buy a lot of product from a vendor will often have an engineer or two (or more) assigned to them specifically. That person may even work directly on site. In these cases, they will go to the vendor early in the process, because the vendor is sitting right there. For smaller shops that have to go through the 800 number, calling them is usually a huge waste of time unless they have no one on staff who knows anything about computers. Again, though, this is not exclusive to Dell.

Re:Unlike Corporations. (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150887)

Personally, I use Customer Service Support as a last resort because it's highly unlikely they'll come up with anything I couldn't have figured out for myself, and going through two hours with front-line support before getting to someone who actually has knowledge beyond the standard script is a huge hassle.
No wonder they're getting sued.

Re:Unlike Corporations. (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151101)

I've run into many problems with my laptops from Dell. Each time I've diagnosed by myself and called into their tech support for a new part. They ask a few questions and send me a new HDD, optical drive, keyboard, power pack... Yeah. What's nice is they overnight the stuff to you. As long as you take charge of the conversation you should be able to get what you need. IE "No, I'm not going to run your Dell system utilities. I ran scandisk and I'm telling you the drive is dead." or "The F-ing 'B' falls off every time I touch it."

Re:Unlike Corporations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151179)

Reminds me of the time the optical drive (DVD reader/CD Reader/CD Burner) lost the ability to read CD-R (and only CD-R) media. L1 tech support said that because the diagnostic CD booted there was no problem with the hardware. 6 hours to get that fixed, plus one more to get the software support bill off my credit card.

Re:Unlike Corporations. (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151141)

My usual issue is with hardware support. Some part craps out, and I call them for a replacement part, and have to go through so many hoops that it would have been cheaper to just buy a new computer for what they had to pay me to sit on the phone with some joker in India who is running through the "Choose Your Own Adventure" tech support binder, and not listening when I tell him what the problem is.

I shouldn't have to spend hours coaxing a guy on the phone through his troubleshooting manual until he gets the answer that I know is the right answer.

Re:Unlike Corporations. (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151161)

For smaller shops that have to go through the 800 number, calling them is usually a huge waste of time unless they have no one on staff who knows anything about computers.

I have to deal with Dell on a regular basis. Not because I know jack about computers, but because I have to go through them to get parts under warranty (or worse, not under warranty and proprietary). Their crap is ALWAYS breaking. This year we're up to at least 4 monitors, 3 hard drives, some RAM, laptop battery, laptop motherboard, and a rack mounted 8-tape autochanger / backup device (which was barely 4 months old when it shuffled off).

Fortunatly, I've often troubleshooted the entire script beforehand so it usually goes "yes, yes, no, yes, no, no, still broken." "ok, we'll ship out a replacement part." "excellent." and done.

Re:Unlike Corporations. (0)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150989)

State normally takes advantage of the Customer Service Support. Corporations usually have support as a last resort for the State it is normally in the middle.

What? I've worked for big corps, and the state. When I worked for corps, we would often have an on site rep. Never had that working for the state.

Big surprise from Dell !?! (1)

cpearson (809811) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150695)

This can not come at any surprise to the /. crowd. Especially from Dell.

Re:Big surprise from Dell !?! (2, Informative)

epiphani (254981) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151109)

Actually, it DOES come as a surprise to me. Maybe because I'm in Canada, but Dell's support has always been top notch for me.

Just two weeks ago, I called up and said my laptop was randomly rebooting a bluescreening, that I'd swapped the ram with no avail, and I wanted a new motherboard and ram. They had a technician come to my office the next day, and after an hour I got a laptop with a brand new motherboard and ram.

Maybe I'm missing something here, but that experience alone has convinced me that I won't be purchasing a laptop elsewhere.

Re:Big surprise from Dell !?! (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151155)

Actually, on the grand scale of computer support over the years, I've gotten pretty good support from Dell. It's been on the decline these past few years and has fallen to what I'd call "average".

Corporation Baiting (3, Insightful)

capt.Hij (318203) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150701)

I live in NY, and I am glad for the work that Eliot Spitzer has done. Now that Cuomo is the AG he is trying to make a name for himself the same way Spitzer did. Spitzer took on powerful interests within the state. Cuomo is taking the easy way out and going after out of state entities like colleges who have less than ethical relationships with loan organizations. Cuomo is a corrupt politician just trying to get his name out there. I fear that in the end his little adventures are going to go badly, and it will not reflect well on the state of NY.

Re:Corporation Baiting (-1, Troll)

SengirV (203400) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150805)

Seeing as you all voted Hilary as one of your senators, I don't think the people of New York care much about their image.

Re:Corporation Baiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19150957)

or corruption

Re:Corporation Baiting (0, Troll)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150883)

Oh. My. God. Well, it's nice to see that your lobotomy went well.

Don't even think (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19150717)

This cannot have anything to do woth Dell selling Linux preinstalled

Re:Don't even think (1)

spockrock (1096067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151061)

Actually Microsoft recently purchased the state of New York......the the state later BSOD after suing Dell.....

Cuomo, huh (2, Funny)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150729)

I guess it's time to welcome our new plutocratic neonoble overlords.

Deceptive business practices? (5, Informative)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150773)

Like bragging about their customer support, but then when you do call them up, you get some foreign person with an accent you can't understand talking over a phone connection that makes him barely audible, that you can only speak to after being redirected for a few hours, and who will then tell you your hard drive needs replaced because there's something wrong with the fan in your power supply? That may not be illegal, but it would be nice if they changed that.

Re:Deceptive business practices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151049)

That is the same response you get for ANY IT support from anyone when it comes to using Windows based personal computers. It has nothing to do with outsourcing. Personally I have never had foreign accent spoken to me when I call tech support. Another problem is when know-it-all computer engineers run into trivial issues they don't have a clue about and they can't deal with customer support representative following simple procedures of diagnosis and fix.

Next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151381)

Try their Web chat: /support/gen/chat []

There are no unintelligible accents, or standard troubleshooting questions. You enter your service tag and go. I don't know who they've got manning the other side, but they get the job done, and probably for far less cost for Dell. I can get a replacement part overnighted with 5 to 10 minutes of chatting, everytime. It's excellent!

Re:Next time (1)

taustin (171655) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151483)

I had much the same experience trying to install a second video card on a cheapie box. Spend a while confirming the motherboard does not, in fact, support two monitors, and he offered to transfer me to customer service to talk about an exchange (which we didn't need).

My first thought when I connected to him was that it's very hard to type with an accent. Wasn't the most clueful tech in the business, but he was apparently sitting next to one who was. Which is good enough.

Gold support or nothing (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19150781)

I kid you not, I just finished a gold support call to Dell for a server. They were prompt and courteous. They didn't know how to fix it offhand, but called me back quickly with the right information. The guy even spoke English, which was a very pleasant surprise.

Re:Gold support or nothing (1)

amcdiarmid (856796) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151165)

Why should I have to pay for Gold support over a generic warranty? While the lawsuit seems to be largely about Dell and financial shenanigans (Billing for returned merchandise & opening accounts improperly), I rarely find "decent" support on the "user" line. While I have occasionally found someone who would shortcut the script based on what I told them. (Gee, it works if I remove the modem-pci-card, but not if I put it back in. and that's only because I put in a new hard drive with all the current drivers...) I find that I spend the next hour verifying "who is the owner of this machine," "Where do they live," "Please give me enough identification to steal the owners identity please" so that the 5 minute diagnosis takes over an hour to resolve. For a $5 part. That still has to be sent back to Dell. Generically, as soon as a subcontractor gets familiar enough with the troubleshooting script to shortcut it, (Oh, you have tried turning off the machine - and you say it works if you plug in the powersupply from another machine...)then that subcontractor is replaced. ("Ok, you say the machine works if you put in another power supply. Very good, now can you please try turning off the machine and turning it back on. Do any lights turn on?....") I usually don't even bother calling Dell support for clients with non-gold support. Buying new hardware at OverpricedShack (tm) is usually cheaper that the time it will take Dell to replace it. When a standard warranty customer wants to make a point, they almost always end up making mine.

Re:Gold support or nothing (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151373)

Dell's gold service is great. If you sound like you have a clue, they'll just overnight a replacement for the bad component with out having to jump through all the hoops(ie: is your computer plugged in?) I'm also sure all gold support is US based, unless they teach their indian support guys to talk in a midwestern accent.

Dell Server Support != Dell Desktop Support (2, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151391)

Do not confuse Dell's server support with their desktop support. Servers make Dell money. Desktops make them well-known.

I don't know how it works in other parts of the world, but here in the UK the routine is:

1. Call Dell Technical Support.
2. Give the service tag to the call handler (always sounds like an Indian accent, but ICBW).
3. If the service tag refers to a desktop/laptop, regardless of the level of support, it goes to India and deal with the communication issues that so often seems to entail. Server calls go to Ireland and communication issues are non-existent.
4. The level of support you've paid for now comes into play. Depending on what you've chosen, parts may be drop-shipped within 4 hours and an engineer should arrive to fit them also within that time, or an engineer will arrive next day - or, if you're a cheapskate, you'll have to ship the item back to Dell at your own expense and it'll come back to you when it comes back. Customers with a Gold (24x7) contract can also ask their account manager for the telephone number of the appropriate team which is manned 24 hours a day, rather than the number on the website which cuts over to a recorded message after working hours to say "please call back tomorrow".

And yes, I have made support calls under such contracts with Dell and also with other companies. In my experience, as soon as you're talking about real hardware rather than desktop PCs and you're paying real money for the support, the level of service you get is not bad.

Not so bad. (3, Insightful)

milamber3 (173273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150787)

I don't really know where the New York AG is coming up with the "no service at all" comment. While I'm not sure about their problems with promotional financing, rebate offers, and billing activity; when I am forced to interact with dell for customer support on work computers I have always had good experiences. Maybe it is because I can fix most software issues and the only time I really go to them is when something fails. They have replace what's broken quite readily. Even if his problem is with their other practices I think he's over stating the support problems. Don't get me wrong, I am definitely not a fan of dell but I don't like them because of the proprietary hardware and the preloaded bloatware.

Re:Not so bad. (1)

zenyu (248067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151431)

Even for hardware I wouldn't call them good.

I bought a Dell 2405FPW monitor early on in the production run and it had this nasty habbit of making a high pitched noise and shutting off about four hours after it was turned on in the morning. So I did some googling and found out that this was caused by overheating. So I did what any geek would do and placed a fan so as to cool the beasty this gave me a good 10 hour run before it would shut itself off. But the problem was fixed in revision 3 of the hardware and there was a quiet recall being done. So I called up Dell to get a replacement, they had never heard of the problem and made me go through 5 hours of 'lower the resolution to X, did the whine go away?', 'No?, try turning the monitor 90 degrees, did the whine go away?", "No? Try plugging the monitor into a different circuit, did the whine go away?" "No? Try reinstalling the operating system, did the whine go away?" Now I refused the offer to have her call me back after each step and kept her on the phone through all of this, if they waste my time I want somebody in India to finish the novel she's reading on Dell's dime. After all this, they did agree to cross ship me a replacement monitor, which while marked 'used', was the new revision of the hardware. I haven't had a problem since, I can even leave the sucker on overnight and turn off the A/C in winter now.

All the major vendors have terrible support, except maybe Lenovo, but I don't think Dell is being singled out so much as they are the first to be hit.

What really bugs me about Dell is the SPAM. It's relentless in both electronic an paper formats. They even ignore it when you put them on the unsolicited pornography list with the post office; I would really love it if the Attorney General busted them for this and fined them individually for every piece of computer-porn they mailed through the US postal system. Dell's e-mail SPAM occationally makes it through my SPAM filters which really irks me, they've only lost about $10,000 a year in my business and probably make it up multiply by all the asshats that respond to SPAM so I don't really expect them to stop sending SPAM. But I don't understand why they won't stop sending *ME* SPAM, since they should be able to see from their sales receipts that they obviously lost me as a customer with that idiotic move.

Thank you Mr. Cuomo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19150799)

Sincerely, Best Buy.

Dude... (0, Redundant)

patternmatch (951637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150803)

Dude, you're gettin' a lawsuit.

And how is dell doing these days? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150813)

In light of how their sales are dropping, I would guess that the last CEO was trying to push his money up by making loads of short-term thinking changes (moving customer service to india, moving production to China, etc), and now the company reaping what he sowed. The funny thing is that I would not blame the last CEO but the shareholders who helped to push this. They had a job to look out for their long-term holdings and did not care.

Re:And how is dell doing these days? (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151125)

This was not a short term goal The first thing the old CEO did when he came to Dell several years ago was to model Dell's Tech support after Gateway's. Gateway was Dell's biggest threat at the time and had really bad tech support. But the bean counters looked at what Dell's tech support was costing and salivated over cutting it to the bone thinking the cost would go strait to the bottom line. It worked for a while until they applied the "faster, cheaper, better" philosophy to their hardware with an emphasis on cheaper. Then as products failed and tech support calls went up there was no one to take the call.

Always had good luck with Dell (1)

therealking (223121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150821)

Support has been good though sometimes the indian support reps can be annoying. I always get a resolution that I am happy with. Been buying dell for over 8 years, at home and work, wouldn't have it any other way.

Why not go after the sleaze in NY Cumo?? Oh thats right, because it's you.

abuse of power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19150831)

So some jerk in NY with some pull bought a Dell for home use and got pissed at what every other home user experiences from Dell.

Yawn yawn (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150835)

You know, I've despised Dell for years but I have to give some credit to them for not wanting to support certain (l)users. E.g. Customer buys a Dell loaded with Crapafee Virus scanner... Crapafee acts up... (l)User calls Dell. Another example... (l)User craps out their machine with infestations of malware and junkware... (l)User calls Dell bitching and moaning... My analogy on it all... "You buy a Honda. Then go out and buy a Harmon Kardon radio system for it... Radio acts up..." Why in the world would you bring it to Honda? 1) Its not Honda's problem. 2) Its not Honda's problem and 3) Its not Honda's problem. I've had the unfortunate circumstance of calling Dell in Colorado (Colorado, New Delhi that is), and have had my issues resolved quickly. On the other hand I won't beat around the bush and tell whomever firsthand. Look I rebooted, I did this, I did that. And to make things more dramatic, I scour Google for error codes on hardware so I can bypass all the fuzzy "read from the script Mandinipuor" garbage tech support spews... Its not always Dell's fault some of the idiots are luzers

Re:Yawn yawn (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151119)

If you buy a machine from dell, and it comes pre-loaded with software. When that software acts up, dell should be responsible. If dell doesn't want to take responsibility, then don't install 3rd party software.

When I purchased my car (a honda actually), I had the dealership install an after market remote starter. When I had trouble, guess who I brought it to. Guess who fixed it ? The dealership.

Now, had I bought it from Best Buy I would have brought it back to Best Buy.

Re:Yawn yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151121)

Will somebody sue Slashdot and/or packetmon for misleading us into thinking this gibberish was a comment?

Dell Financial Services (5, Interesting)

kmhebert (586931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150837)

Is a loan sharking operation which will charge you 29.99% APR. I quickly transferred my balances and will never use that service again.

only if your credit is not so great (1)

1800maxim (702377) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151301)

On good credit, you'll get 8.x %, and then depeding on your credit score, it goes up. If you got offered 29%, your credit score is probably in the gutter, as was mine when I was in my 3rd year at school and had to finance my laptop through them.

Took out a 3-year loan at 27.99%, paid it off 1.5 years later. Of course by that point most of the interest was paid and not so much principal, but that was my only way to buy a notebook which I really needed.

Re:only if your credit is not so great (2, Interesting)

tirk (655692) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151455)

Not true with Dell - I have a credit score of almost 800 but Dell still wouldn't offer me anything under 22%, so I just used a different financing method. Though in Dell's credit they didn't try to bait and switch me, the details were quite clear from the beginning.

Apathy... (4, Funny)

Tyger (126248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150881)

Apathy []
If we don't take care of the customers, maybe they will stop bugging us.

A bitter lesson never learned by Micheal Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19150893)

I guess mom was right, if you run too long with the wrong crowd, in this case Microsoft, you will sooner or later get into trouble!!

Re:A bitter lesson never learned by Micheal Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151011)

Another's spelled Michael


Why single Dell out? (4, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150963)

Had the misfortune to call Linksys recently too. An entire Saturday wasted going through the first-layer support morons, who were just reading the scripts from their screens. Some of them — reading so slowly, I could not help thinking, they are on drugs. Others — lying that the supervisor is "on a meeting"...

Finally, someone had brains enough to realize, the problem is above his level and transfered me to the second level support person, who quickly understood, what I was saying all along, and proceeded to tell me, how to cold-reset the wonder Linux-router, which promptly fixed the problem — 6 hours after the first phone call to Linksys...

Don't know, if any amount of legal prosecution can help against this sort of moronity.

The main legal beef of this prosecution, I guess, are the (alleged) financing/collection irregularities — a heavily legislated and regulated area. The populist "no service at all" rhethorics are just thrown in to help Mr. Guomo repeat Mr. Spitzer's feat later on...

Re:Why single Dell out? (5, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151327)

how to cold-reset the wonder Linux-router, which promptly fixed the problem -- 6 hours after the first phone call to Linksys
Please tell me you don't mean pressing that recessed button at the back of it.

Pathetic, Im so glad I left NY! (2, Insightful)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150965)

A state should not be in the business of suing companies for bad customer service! People should go and by Apple, or HP, or lenovo. But leave it to NY or MA or CA to go and get the state involved where it has no place. I notice that Andrew Cuomo is failing upwards..

Re:Pathetic, Im so glad I left NY! (1)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151111)

Could it be that the NY state uses Dell for equipment?

Who is the customer? (2, Informative)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151263)

The State of NY is one of Dell's biggest government customers.

Re:Pathetic, Im so glad I left NY! (1)

pboyd2004 (860767) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151275)

HP or Lenovo? Your crazy right? And don't even get me started on trying to get Apple to replace a broken part. Let's just face it people NO major OEM has anything that approaches decent customer service.

Little tip: If your calling most of these major OEMs do it during the day. Sometimes you get lucky and actually get Americans that way... I'm not joking I talked to a guy in Oklahoma the other day.

Sounds great, who's next? (2, Interesting)

Murrdox (601048) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150977)

If you want to sue someone for terrible customer service practices, I can add a few more necks to the gallows.

How about...

COMCAST - Customer service is non-existent. Advertised cable-internet speeds are excessively exaggerated. Bills constantly increase, yet service level goes down. They even have the balls to ADVERTISE on their own guide system. If they're making advertising money by putting ads on my screen while I'm browsing channels, that should be money OFF my bill, not added to it.

VERIZON - Customer service is horrible. Expect to talk to at least 3 or 4 people to solve any problem more complex than simply paying the balance on your bill. Also, ANY CHANGE that you make to your Verizon account somehow ends up adding a year to your contract with them. I don't understand how this is possibly legal.

While we're at it, let's just completely ditch cell-phone contracts. I should be able to get a decent phone service plan without signing my life away. Predatory lenders have less complex contracts.

Re:Sounds great, who's next? (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151347)

Comcast has by far the weakest service. The famous routine of requesting that you "unplug your modem" and it will magically repair itself after you replug it back in 5 minutes later. The most useless piece of garbage support.

Haven't we got bigger problems? (0, Offtopic)

popo (107611) | more than 7 years ago | (#19150985)

I think it's nice that our elected officials are going after customer service departments and tackling social ills like the fact that a pint of ice cream isn't really a pint [] . But haven't we got bigger problems? Even forgetting about national issues like our tattered Constitution and our dictatorial "President" -- we've got dozens of billion dollar New York corporations that don't pay taxes, we've got $6 BILLION OF []
FRAUDULENT TRADES A DAY on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. We've got estrogen [] in our water supply which is decreasing male fertility (and fish stocks). And the list goes on....

Somehow I don't think Dell customer service really qualifies as an emergency...

You know, the solution is obvious (3, Funny)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151005)

Allow groups of consumers to sponsor a visa for an IT guy from Banglore to fly over, service 100 or so computers and then fly back home with earnings that are attractive by his local living standards. A round trip ticket is only like $800 or $8/person for a flight reserved well in advance. If big companies are allowed to outsource labor abroad, it's only fair that individuals are allowed to do the same thing to address their personal needs rather than paying a premium to Dell to cover US-based salary of its executives.

Having dealt with NY state services (3, Insightful)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151033)

Who the hell are they to sue anyone for bad service. Get me through the DMV is less than an hour and maybe then you can talk!

why pick on Dell? (1)

Ichthus777 (1037294) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151063)

I cannot believe this character Coumo is picking on Dell... their service has seemed good to me (many other US companies use folks overseas who are using English as a second language) and I have never been cheated by Dell. I think this is a cheap attack from a corrupt politician trying to make a name for himself. Otherwise... I suppose only New York is having trouble with Dell? Something is fishy here.

Dell is learning (1)

moankey (142715) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151079)

I agree just last year their support was horrible. Offshore support was less than helpful and made me more frustrated after calling. But recently at work I had to have a few machines repaired and you know what their support is back to the old Dell I know, the people I dealt with seemed to be American, helpful fast and gets the issue resolved. Whereas HP now has offshoring and calling them is an exercise in frustration, and at times the calls must have been routed through a string and a tin can, static, unable to hear the person on the other end, and disconnects.

I guess it depends when you dealt with Dell support and what time they were at in deciding to keep support domestic of overseas.
I for one am now satisfied but a couple years back I would agree with Cuomo.

Re:Dell is learning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19151243)

When you had your bad experience with offshore support, was that for a computer from Dell's business lines, or consumer?

Years ago, they offshored all of their support. They brought business support back to the US after they got a lot of complaints and started losing corporate customers. That might explain why when you called for your personal machine you had a bad experience with foreign support staff and when you called for work machines you got an American.

Think Dell is Bad? Try Compaq (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151083)

I bought my Compaq notebook six months ago and it's about to go in for the fourth time. Last time it took weeks because they sent it back signature required and they would only attempt delivery when I was not home.

Re:Think Dell is Bad? Try Compaq (1)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151203)

Last time I used HPaq, their business support was still outsourced. With Dell, business phone support seems to be North American in origin.

RTFA, the lawsuit really is NOT about CustService (5, Informative)

drhamad (868567) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151159)

It's really about bait & switch tactics in their finance arm, attracting people with 0% offers then denying even those with good credit, making them pay 20% or more finance fees. "The lawsuit accuses Dell of luring consumers to purchase its products with advertisements that offered attractive "no interest" and/or "no payment" financing promotions. In practice, however, the vast majority of consumers, even those with very good credit scores, were denied these deals. In a classic "bait and switch" scheme, DFS instead offered consumers financing at high interest rates, which often exceed 20%. Dell and DFS frequently failed to clearly inform these consumers that they had not qualified for the promotional terms, leaving many to unwittingly finance their purchase at high interest rates." THAT is what it is really about. The rest is just to throw on a little more on top, to scare Dell, and more importantly to make the public support it.

Re:RTFA, the lawsuit really is NOT about CustServi (1)

writermike (57327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151409)

It's really about bait & switch tactics in their finance arm, attracting people with 0% offers then denying even those with good credit, making them pay 20% or more finance fees.
Kudos to them and I hope they win.

But now let's go after other such practices like Rent-To-Own and Rent-A-Center.

Ok so let me get this straight: (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151227)

You want excellent free service and support while also paying extremely cheap prices for your computer. You are stupid. If you want super-duper support, PAY FOR IT. Additionally, I have many years of in-field support experience. I have spoken to Dell support many, many times. Sometimes I've had bad experiences. Sometimes I've had great experiences. It depends on who you happen to get. Of course, the enterprise support is typically awesome. That's 'cause it costs enough to allow for the hiring and keeping of quality, knowledgeable employees.

Doesn't look good for HP, Lenovo, Sony, etc... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151233)

Dell service sucks, no doubt. But what about HP service? How about Sony's telephone support? Just trying to get things fixed that are broken with these others is as bad or worse.

If someone thinks that customer service is bad with Dell, they are going to think it is universally bad and all computer makers need to be sued. Sadly, not very realistic.

Re:Doesn't look good for HP, Lenovo, Sony, etc... (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151333)

Dell's new motto "We're no worse any anybody else."

How is it this happens only in NY? (1)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151241)

Is it that the laws are different there? Or maybe NY is the only one that gets decent press?

Lack of service or double-evil financing practices can be assumed with most big businesses. Dell isn't even the tip of an iceberg, it's an ice cube from the tip of an iceberg.

I'd really like to hear some opinions as to why other states aren't doing the same.

Re:How is it this happens only in NY? (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151369)


i'm not going to nominate Dell for saint hood, but there are far worse companies out there.

Re:How is it this happens only in NY? (1)

howardcohen (244367) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151593)

The AG here is new and a voracious publicity hound. That's why he's been so busy.

Re:How is it this happens only in NY? (1)

putch (469506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151599)

i really don't have any stats on other states but here are some things that might factor into it. i know some other attorneys general do similar actions but you're right that from what i can tell the NYS AG gets more attention.

1) we've got NYC which is one of the biggest media markets in the country if not world.
2) not sure about other states but in nys it's a bounty system. so the AG gets to keep a lot of what they win via these lawsuits to help fund other actions. the dept of law is a very big operation in nys.
3) it's an elected office and those elected to it have an interest in making a name for themselves. spitzer won in a landslide election for governor largely because he got his mug on the cover of time magazing for suing some people.
4) there might be something else

On-line chat (2, Insightful)

icthus13 (972796) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151303)

Always, always, always use the online real time chat for Dell tech support. The waits are shorter and it does a lot to reduce the language barrier.

Me Too (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151487)

I always found that getting support from Dell meant spending literally hours battling their phone system, mostly on hold, and escalating beyond script readers to problem solvers, to get maybe 20 minutes of actual support. So I rarely use it. Plus, I had a couple of recalled power bricks for which that I completed their process for replacing, then never heard from them.

However, I recommend to the many people who ask me to help them buy/upgrade their PCs that they just call Dell. Because those people mostly need script readers, and the encouragement of long hold times to fix it themselves, which they usually can do.

But we're not getting what we're paying for. Dell is clearly profiting off inadequate support for which they raise their prices. If they fixed that, we'd either pay less, or get our money's worth.

Go Cuomo. My low expectations of your brainpower and competence will be defied if you prove negligence and fix Dell.

Dell Outsourcing to India (3, Interesting)

hexed_2050 (841538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151533)

Recently I had a problem with my printer and it took 27 calls over 3 days and about 16 hours of waiting on the phone and talking to Indian after Indian whom couldn't answer my problem. My problem isn't with Indians as I have many of them as friends and Indians are very smart people. My problem is with Dell outsourcing to India and giving them no power to correct even the smallest of issues. Basically if it's not on their troubleshooting sheet they have in front of them chalked up with canned questions/answers, then you are SOL.

When are companies going to understand that they may get a first time buyer with their cut-rate prices. But if that buyer ever has a problem with the hardware and receives cut-rate support, they are not going to buy from the same company again.

Just one reason I buy HP.


Three simple rules (1)

$criptah (467422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19151541)

1. Look cool.
2. Be healthy.
3. Do not buy small items that will not last more than three years with credit.

If you really need to finance $800, perhaps you should not be buying it. As far as I am concerned, Dell provides cheap hardware that performs relatively well for its price. What they do with their financing is really not that bad considering that private banks charge through the roof for college loans.
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