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Computer maker Dell said this morning that it has put forth a settlement proposal with the Securities and Exchange Commission to end a probe into Dell's accounting practices that has been underway since September 2006. Back then, Dell delayed filing its 10-Q quarterly report for the second fiscal quarter report and slammed the …

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An honest, customer service driven maker of top quality hardware steeped in integrity

An honest, customer service driven manufacturer of top quality hardware, steeped in integrity. A statement that has never been used to describe Dell, either the person or the company.

I've always steered well clear of Dell, their products have always been stinky piles of proprietary crap in my eye. but so many people are brainwashed into thinking Dell is something magnificent.

One of my clients has been completely brainwashed for years, and i've spent endless hours trying to convince him otherwise, to the point of nearly ruining our business relationship. Recently this client needed a server and some workstations, and decided to call Dell directly, without consulting with me first. He let the Dell reps spec his systems for him, and holy shit did they see him coming,

my client runs a small business out of his home with 4 full time employees, 2 in the office and 2 in the field, he uses a proprietary line of business application that could run on a netbook, and your typical business software ie quickbooks and office.

Dell specs him out a server, single CPU Xeon 2.53ghz, 2GB (yes 2GB) of RAM, 3x147GB 15K SAS drives in raid 5 running server 2008 enterprise and charges him almost $10k for it, of course with their 4 year gold support plan.

The workstations weren't any better, they sell him precision mobile workstations, with QX9300 quad core CPU with nVidia Quattro graphics, 4GB RAM single DIMM running windows XP, complete with docking station for $5000.00 ea. these things run so hot its unreal, from day one they would overheat within an hour of use and shut off. propping them up with a fan in front of them put too much of a strain on the docking station, so i had a handyman build a 10in fan in to the surface of the desks blowing up in to the laptop to keep them cool.

When I saw the specs of the server, which was after it had been delivered of course, i came unglued. I called Dell's enterprise customer service to ask WTF? at first they had the attitude of tough shit the customer should have known what he was ordering, but offered to take the server back less 20% because it was a custom ordered server. I raised holy hell with them and after 6 phone calls over a 2 week period, i was eventually connected with their executive customer service team, the lady i spoke with there was very responsive, i explained exactly what they had sold my client and why it was retarded and nearly non-functional yet extremely expensive, i also went over the treatment we received from the previous customer service reps and explained that as a result of that treatment we had contacted my clients attorney and were reviewing our legal options. The executive customer service rep took all of the information and said she would research the situation and call us back. My first thought was yeah right, and the devil's selling snow cones in Manhattan. I was wrong, she called back in less than 2 hours and offered to refund $3000 (the cost of the server 2008 ent license) and send out an additional 6GB of RAM for the server. which we agreed to. she stated the RAM would ship next day and the refund, which she first tried to slide by as a credit on my clients dell account, but later agreed to refund to his credit card, would be processed immediately.

The following month my client called me and said the RAM never showed up and he just got his card statement and no credit had been processed. I contacted Dell's executive customer service team and got a different person this time, when i asked to speak with the person i dealt with the previous time i was told that she wasnt available, she was helping other customers and my only option was to deal with the person i was speaking with, so i did, i explained the situation and we never received the RAM or the credit, he put me on hold for a really long time, then came back and said there was no record of me ever speaking to the other executive rep, no record of the promised refund or RAM to be sent out and that basically i was making the whole thing up, he also explained that Dell's return period had expired therefore we were stuck with what we had, end of story and he hung up. I called back several times, each time being told the first rep was not available. finally after about 7 or 8 calls, she answered the phone, I told her what had just happened, she was in disbelief, she pulled the records right up using his account number. after apologizing for nearly 15 minutes, she told me she would stay on the phone with me until she had a visa reference number for the refund and a fedex tracking number for the RAM. 30 minutes later she gave me the numbers. My client had visa on the phone and we verified the reference number for the credit on the spot.

Unreal... My clients new favorite saying is "Dude! Dont buy a Dell!"

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Corporations are all the same!

They have found that it's OK to provide terrible customer service. The reason that it's OK is that all the others offer terrible customer service, so REALLY BAD customer service is normal. I won't say the new normal because this trend has been building for years. If you can find a small company that will really look after you that is the way to go and from the price of the Dell equipment you wouldn't be spending anymore money.

Next section has nothing to do with Dell, directly. It is just an example of how corporations treat people, employees in this case which impacts customers.

The one I work for, Bell (Canadian telco), has brought in a CEO to break the union and take the company apart. We speculate the reason is to prepare it for sale to a larger telco. The method that they started with was to send the union a proposed contract that they were quite sure would be rejected and it was rejected. The next step has been to announce that they are consolidating five call centers into two. Some employees will doubtlessly be offered positions in the call centers that will still exist but in many cases will hundreds of kilometers from the existing locations, so many will not be able to take these jobs.

There will be many other departments and people impacted by these and other changes, such as the removal of retirement benefits that were grandfathered to people with a certain number of years service with the company, but foolishly, never written into a contract. I don't know how that was missed but I do know the union executive signed to a very weak contract last time.

So, any company buying the Aliant portion of Bell can expect a dispirited and unmotivated workforce. I mean why should we bother, the company doesn't care about us. that has been made patently obvious.

Bell can claim that the Aliant portion is not profitable or not profitable enough, especially since the stripped of us one of our profitable sections, mobile in exchange for their rural copper phone service. Now that is fair a trade.

So, this is my rant for now. Anyone who made it this far, thanks for reading all that.

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Anonymous Coward

So many company paying fines...

for criminal behaviour or what should be criminal behaviour. Shouldn't governments start putting CEOs in jail? Oh wait....birds of a feather.

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Grenade

SOP

Not finding any record of your calls is SOP these days for a lot of companies.

I know one guy who records all his phone calls just so they can't 'forget' or 'lose' records of calls.

To make it legal all you have to do is tell them that you are recording the call. JUst like the tell you that they are doing to you when you call them.

I've had this run around with a number of companies. Just saying that you are recording the call really makes a difference.

In this case, Dell Customer SErvice really deserve one of these.

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Flame

FInes? Yes let's make the customer pay!?

As AC 22:26 notes, fines are pointless in cases like this. They clearly don't actually deter anybody (see Deepwater, Buncefield, Bhopal, or whatever), and the ultimate insult is that in general the cost is simply passed on to the paying customer, leaving the executives responsible to go on to enjoy their very nice retirement packages. Note that the executives are always responsible (that is what they are paid loadsamoney for), even when it is not their fault. Similarly, BP are responsible for Deepwater even if the initial cockup may (or may not) have been the fault of a subbie.

Locking up a few more convicted management criminals, in the style of Bernie Madoff, might do a little more "pour encourager les autres".

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Anonymous Coward

Put the CEOs in prison

Instead of just fining the company who will end up punishing consumers via price hikes, put the CEO and top execs in prison for accounting fraud. You'll see a positve change in Biz practices real fast.

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Except of course that the precise reason for the existance of corporations

is to limit the personal liability of those involved.

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