back to article Dell crowned Bad Santa computer maker by angry customers

Dell customers are furious at the computer maker after it failed to deliver products in time for the holiday season, and instead offered a "Holiday Card" to place under their Christmas trees to replace undelivered gifts. The company issued a statement on 17 December in which it said that it had been hit by order delays due to …

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  1. Marco van de Voort
    Gates Horns

    Count yourself lucky

    They don't know how lucky they are.

    I assume like me,. a lot of people are waiting for Dell's Windows 7 upgrade package (with a shipping date that is weekly updated to the next week) for 5--6 weeks (ordered half november).

  2. Michael C
    FAIL

    a card? are they f'ing kidding?

    Look, a week or two for a custom PC is not a big deal. After that, the price shifts, and I'd expect to AUTOMATICALLY receive either cash back equal to the difference between the price I paid and the lowest price offered during that backurder timeframe, or upgrades to the best system components that equal the performance of the price point. Additionally, if the delay exceeded 4 weeks, or especially if it missed a major holiday delivery without indivation is would, I'd expect additional compensation.

    Last time I custom ordered, it was a GateWay notebook, over 4 years ago. GateWay delayed delivery about 4 weeks due to problems acquiring the particular high performance HDD I had requested. By the 2nd week I had confirmation of the delay, and they discounted the order $75 as that was the new price point. On week 3 they offered a RAM upgrade in addition to the discount. Finally, they made an offer of a step up in model, keeping all the other offers intact, which included a better CPU and GPU, and i had the machine 2 days later. Had i bought that configuration 4 weeks earlier it would have been nearly $250 more.

    I'd still be a Gateway customer today if they still made and sold decent high end laptops, but they folded and make crap now. Instead i got a MacBook Pro for the wife in November... which was the best machine I could get at my predetermined price point. (Dell has nothing to compare to a top end 15" MacBook Pro, nor does HP or Acer or Lenovo, best I found with the same specs was either a 9+lb 17" with a 2 hour battery that cost $400 more, or a weaker system with poor graphics for $200 more). She's got 10.6 and Win 7 on it and it plays DDO in a VM with a better framerate than my desktop with a 8800GT, and stomps my desktop performance when running win7 natively.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Wouldn't go with Dell

    Dell aren't the best makers of computers. This is fact. The reliability rate for their laptops is below that of Apple, Toshiba, and Sony. I have personally purchased two laptops from Dell. The first lasted me three years. I had two issues with it. The Ethernet port died two years after I got it, and the plastic was painted, so the paint wore off on the palm rest. Second laptop I got has been a much better experience, well, except for the fact that the hard drive is beginning to fail only a year and a half after buying it. Both times no warranty to cover me. My advice to people getting a new computer is this: don't go with Dell. Stay clear of HP if you can, I have a family member who wished they had never bought a HP computer. Go with an Apple or Toshiba computer. I'd say Sony too but I'm not sure about their record lately. Personally, when I have enough money, I'm getting myself a Macbook Pro. A PC with Windows 7 is nice, but in my opinion a Mac with OSX is better.

    1. Hardcastle
      Boffin

      There is an exception on HP's swag...

      I agree with you on HP's subpar performance for the most part, but I must give a little credit where it is due... I have a business-class lappy that came with XP Pro (the ZX6131us) that I scored in 2005 that is still going strong. I'm still using the original 100 GB HDD as a portable USB unit, and I did upgrade the RAM to its maximum 2 GB, but the rest of the parts (including battery) is stock. My girlfriend ran it off and on for a few years and wasn't exactly gentle with it, but it is totally Timex: It takes a licking and keeps on ticking (That shows my age, I fear). As for OSes: it runs Ubuntu and its derivatives flawlessly, and Win 7 works great except for only two flaws: no support for the dial-up modem (which I do not need) or the SD slot (which I keep a little USB jobber on hand for that supports SDHD), so the dude has some years left in him. Even if it croaks tomorrow (knock on wood, not wishing that ol' BS), 4.5 years says I still got my money's worth, even though that initial amount was about $1050 US). I have no problem parting with good hard cash when it buys quality parts. However, I would look past HP these days over into Apple territory for a good lappy with good rugged specs.

  4. Dana W
    Jobs Halo

    I Love Dell! Really!

    Microsoft alone couldn't do it, It Took Delll's incoherent and useless customer service, and absurdly bad build quality to get me to buy my first Mac, and for that I owe them my thanks.

    I still get ads and fliers from them addressed to "Bana W_____" After two weeks of trying to get them to just fix just THAT on the phone, the best they could do was make sure everything i got was addressed with two names "Bana W____" AND "W____ Dana"

    In the end, how could I trust the good faith and technical ability of a computer company that couldn't get my NAME right, let alone my computer?

  5. James O'Shea
    FAIL

    Dell Hell

    I know a few people who ordered machines from Dell during the September-November time period. One of them got his laptop (a $5000+ Alienware gamer special) six weeks late (not six weeks later; that would have been only four weeks late, but six weeks late, two full months after making the order) and not the way he wanted it (they were out of some special screen he wanted, he could have got the special version if he'd been willing to wait another three weeks; in addition, it had half the memory he'd ordered, 'cause they were out of the special RAM he wanted, too...). Three others canceled their orders after waiting for up to 5 weeks without getting their machines. In all four cases Dell charged their credit cards almost immediately, so they were without their money _and_ without their machines. The guys who canceled had serious problems getting Dell to return their money, and had to threaten to go to their card providers and have the money retrieved that way before Dell gave it up.

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Cannot get names right

      Ha! I can related. According to Dell, I have lived on several streets which sound similar to real, easy-to-spell street names, but do not exist. My name has six different spellings, and the one account which had accurate information 10 years ago, and still has accurate contact information to this very day, was apparently over-paid by $500. Did they contact me? Nope. Sent it to the State, instead, and now I have to go through a process to claim it. Muppets.

      Once Dell has your contact information set, it is set in stone regardless of how many times you call to correct it. Oh, and contrary to what Dell tells you, it DOES give out or sell your information to third parties. I know, since I have received plenty junk mail addressed to Alan Ratclift on Meribian Rd -- only Dell knows that super-secret information. (Ah, crap!) That kind of tagging is almost as good as throw-away email addresses.

      Paris, she knows how to get hold of me but won't contact me, either.

  6. Joe Ragosta

    You get what you pay for

    Anyone with any computer knowledge at all knows that Dell support and deliveries can't be trusted. Over the past few years, the quality of their systems has taken a dramatic drop, as well.

    If you buy a system solely on the basis of price, don't be surprised when the vendor cuts corners to get you a lower price.

    If you want support and service, then you have to pay for it. Choose your system from a reputable vendor rather than the cheapest bargain basement junk you can find.

  7. Inachu
    Unhappy

    It is this new age stream lined delivery method.

    It is this new age stream lined delivery method that is pure fail.

    Plants refuse to have a warehouse has a stockroom full of stock but instead is made to order.

    So that cuts down on holding onto anything and makes it bad for the consumer.

    No stock = no quick out of the door soloution.

  8. 7mark7

    Hmm ...

    The company issued a statement on 17 December in which it said that it had been hit by order delays due to "increased demand [and] industry-wide constraints on some components".

    If increased demand causes problems, they will presumably be canceling all advertising for a while?

    (Where is the naive icon?)

    1. Trevor 10

      League Tables

      "If you buy a system solely on the basis of price, don't be surprised when the vendor cuts corners to get you a lower price."

      The trouble is that people buying laptops only really have price and components by which to compare the laptops - especially if they aren't tech savvy. You can't vote with your ££££s on an issue which you have no information.

      What is needed is some basic data from each manufacture regarding things like percentage of orders met on time, customer satisfaction and the percentage of warranty claims honored. Not going to happen of course, the only people who have that information is the manufacturers who can only look bad.

  9. jbelkin

    Dell Either Couldn't Afford the Components?

    So Dell either couldn't afford the components they thought they could buy cheaper? Or they couldn't get anyone to sell it to them? Or buy time at a factory? Not sure why anyone would buy a PC from a company on the death march...

  10. Jasmine Strong
    FAIL

    Why is it Dell is the only company that has these problems?

    I ordered a Dell Mini 9 from them many months ago- it took over two months for them to actually ship it. Apple, Lenovo and HP are making basically the same product and they can ship machines the same day you order them, especially with a one-size-fits-all SKU like the Mini 9. What is wrong at Dell? Surely they're not that popular.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Typical Dell

    Having once worked for a former logistics provider to Dell, this is no surprise.

    They squeeze their supplier chain hard, and you will note a penchant for blaming problems on said suppliers. The company I worked for had continual issues with the Dell EDI system, and it was always "our fault", never their infrastructure. Thank god they found somebody cheaper than us to go beat up on when our contract ran out. We were probably losing money on the contract anyway.

    They have a ruthless business model (ask Ireland how things are in Cork these days), and thanks in part to their past behavior, when it came time for me to replace my aging XPS Gen II I went back to HP. I ordered my Pavilion dv7 through Costco on 12/12 and had it by 12/22.

    They have apparently decided to compete on price, not service, at least in the consumer space. Things like this should be no surprise. I would guess their corporate customers got the units they needed in time... but that's just my jaded guess.

    Dell deserves a slap upside the head.

  12. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Boffin

    And how is this a shock?

    I really don't understand how people can be-itch at Dell about their inability to build/deliver 'custom' boxes in time for the holidays if you don't order well in advance.

    Look, here's the realities of the business.

    First, margins are getting slimmer and slimmer. When you get your new machine, how many 'freebies' ie 'demo applications' are included to entice you to try and then purchase the actual program? (Dell gets paid to put these little gems on your PC by the software manufacturer.)

    Dell doesn't build a standard box and then put it away in inventory for someone to buy. Dell builds each machine to order. What this does is keeps their parts inventory down and their built pc inventory down. This means that their 'holding costs' are lower.

    Dell like other companies frequently use 'JIT' (Just In Time) for inventory management. That is that they track their inventory and they don't order new inventory before they need it. This also helps them keep their costs down. Besides holding costs, there are new and improved products out there. So they don't want to get caught holding stock that they don't need. Based on their past sales history and projected sales, they determine how much inventory to hold and when to order.

    But here's the rub. When you have a year where the economy is in the crapper and you want to cut costs, you tend to hold off on ordering and you adjust your sales forecast lower. This means you order less parts. Unfortunately, there's always a lag time between when the order is placed and when the products are shipped and delivered. So if Dell needs more DDR3's, they need to order it 4 weeks in advance and they tend to order in large quantities. But what happens when their DDR3 supplier also uses JIT, and they also forecast lower sales? So then they reduce their inventory on hand and they delay the shipments. If the supplier is the manufacturer, then they have to make more. And that takes time. So they have a delay.

    So, when there are delays, they can cascade and your pc isn't going to be built and delivered on time. And lets not forget that Dell wants your business, so they'll take the order.

    There's more, but what I've posted is pretty much common sense. Yet people feel betrayed and shocked. You want the most bang for the buck and you want to spend less. Computer manufacturers have to make money so something has to give. Honestly, I'd be shocked if Dell didn't have any problems during the holidays. It would mean that either they're going to lose money or someone guessed right.

    Its the same thing when people gripe that there aren't any real deals during x-mas. It means that the markets are operating efficiently so there's no surplus to sell off.

    1. Andrew Taylor 1
      Grenade

      Nice trolling

      The simple fact is that Dell agreed these delivery dates at the outset, if they couldn't meet the order delivery dates they should not have accepted the orders. Common sense states that if someone says can you deliver on such and such date, you check that you are actually able to complete the delivery before saying yes. Simple isn't it.

    2. Andrew Taylor 1
      Megaphone

      And another thing

      The best way to stay in business in the current recession is to look after your customers, piss them off and they will piss you off, end result another crap business goes to the wall. My local cycle shop has applied this rule for 75 years, they call this good business practice or common sense.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Realities of a cost accountant

      These are not the realities of business but rather the realities of a cost accountant who is screwing the company and its supply chain so much that they will soon run out of revenue due to customers being p!ssed off. I have seen this kind of short-sighted ruling by over-zealous CFOs who know sweet FA about selling, revenues and keeping customers many many times.

      Yes of course price is essential as well as keeping low / no-stock wherever possible, but Dell have screwed up badly and this is not the first time either. The past 2 years their quality has suffered as they have further tightened the screws in a simplistic way - the kind of mistake that any recently graduating MBA or MSC Finance would make due to knowing sweet FA about real business.

      Dell is dying, slowly full stop. And I say this as an owner of 2 Dell laptops fortunately bought in the days when quality was far better, and still working very well.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        FAIL

        Trolling?

        Dude! Wake up and smell the coffee. Since when have you ever had a company turn away your order because somewhere there's a part on back order?

        The fact is that Dell keeps their costs down (cause) and the quality of their service fails to meet expectations. (effect).

        There's nothing new here or anything that is not to be expected.

        Sorry but I've been in this industry for too many fscking years and I've seen it all from all manufacturers. One company halted shipping systems because of a defect in the hardware and new components were on back order for 4 weeks. (Ooops!)

        If I were Dell and I told you I couldn't deliver and sent you away, would you call me for your next pc?

        Somehow I doubt that.

        Fail because you're view on the world is a tad too simplistic.

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        I didn't say I agreed with it...

        I just stated the obvious facts.

        If you don't take this approach when it comes to hardware sales, you're going to go out of business anyway. The margins are thin.

        The truth is that JIT does work if your suppliers hold the stock you need, and you're good at forecasting demand.

        If I were Michael Dell, I'd have erred on the side of having extra hardware. The downside is that the extra hardware could have been either sold off or used for RMA/repair replacement.

    4. mego
      Paris Hilton

      @And how is this a shock?

      >>First, margins are getting slimmer and slimmer

      Aw, cry me a river. So because they can't get their old 80%+ margins like they did back in pre-2k madness, I should feel bad? Oh, and I used to work for several manufacturers back in the 90's (Mecer and Acer among others).. and I can tell you that 80%+ was not abnormal, often it was more depending on where the cheapest kit was to be bought. Dell were even worse back then.

      >>When you have a year where the economy is in the crapper and you want to cut costs, you tend to hold off on ordering and you adjust your sales forecast lower

      No. What you do is NOT PISS OFF YOUR CUSTOMERS. Jeez, people. This is a RECESSION we're clawing our way out of... yet you know how often I wait up to three weeks just for a QUOTE from some suppliers? Do I still deal with them? No.. and two have just filed for bankruptcy. Why? Take a few guesses..

      >>And lets not forget that Dell wants your business, so they'll take the order.

      Uh-huh. See above under "DO NOT PISS OFF YOUR CUSTOMERS".

      >>Its the same thing when people gripe that there aren't any real deals during x-mas.

      Uh, yeah, no...

      Paris, coz even she feels the shaft..

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Alert

      Tough!

      To a certain extent, yes people should consider the timescales, but I'm sorry if company X says it will deliver by date Y, then company X should deliver by date Y!

      DELL have enough stats available to say that on such and such a day when customer orders system type A, current delivery time is X number of weeks, they have enough stats to change that delivery estimate on a day by day basis. Like most business they lie about the figures so punters don't wander off to another company. On the high street, the thought of having to traipse to another store is what they hope you will consider and simply buy it there and then, with "da net", you simply click Google and search another store, in seconds you can be looking at a competitor's site. That means another lost sale. So why not half that estimate, make it look like you can beat your competitors estimates.

      At the end of the day it's pure and simple greed. Get the punter's cash on the books as soon as, so the shareholders get their cut, the top bods get their bonuses, then send the punters goods when they can manage it, whenever that is.

      Given the cut-throat nature of the PC business these days, pissing of your customers, especially those still willing part with cash in a recession, seems a like bloody stupid thing to do!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    There are other manufacturers...

    Disappointing for Dell customers, but if I'd purchased a machine from Dell and gotten the run around and been delayed more than once with no communication, I'd probably cancel the order and go with someone else. If enough people speak with their wallets, Dell might make a little better effort at customer service.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    typical

    Big corporate, shuts down Irish operation, moves to Poland to save money then fails to deliver the goods, all in the same year.

    Nice one Dell!!!!

  15. Petey
    Coffee/keyboard

    Should've left it...

    ... back in Limerick where the workers did a stonking job of making sure Dell kept SOME sort of reputation.

    Serves them right for outsourcing from their new Polish factory.

    Idiots. Glad I bought all my xmas purchases elsewhere.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      factory location matters ?

      of course in Limerick they only assembled the systems so unless they had the parts automagically appear there i fail to see how assembly in Poland would be any different

      of course now that they've sold the Polish Factory to an outsource partner they can blame them for future delays also :)

    2. Chika
      Alert

      To be expected

      There was an article elsewhere that went into the details of why companies went to Eastern Europe and why so many of them are now shifting their operations back. Think the Beeb's site had something about it but I forget now. It seems that, although these workers will do a job for less than they will in places such as Eire or, indeed, the UK, the price of shipping, parts and the lack of quality in the work has made Western Europe attractive places to work again.

      In other words, as the old saying goes, you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

  16. Darkwolf

    Its not just hardware...

    In early November I had ordered a restore disk from Dell for a clients computer (he never made one and HD is buggered), and that order kept getting backordered, finally got the disk about a week ago.

    In this particular case, the client had paid for the disk, and due to the delay I had to reduce MY charges to the client to keep them happy about not having their computer for nearly 2 months.

    Previously whenever I ordered a restore disk, would have it within a week, and was expecting to receive it earlier then I did based on previous experience.

    At this time, any clients looking for new computers, I am not recommending Dell, and actually recommending custom built systems built by myself, as you can sometimes get a better system this way for only a slightly larger cost (in some cases less) then you get buying a "off the shelf" system.

  17. Samuel Walker

    I wonder

    How much of this can be blamed on Apple mass-buying parts for their Tablet that will be confirmed soon?

    [/cynicism]

    On a more serious note, Ian @21:10 has got it spot on I reckon.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Why is it Dell is the only company that has these problems?

    Actually HP has been having issues with getting stuff shipped out as well. We've had issues with lots of stuff backordered, or just taking weeks to get standard stock shipped. We've also had issues with wrong product being shipped multiple times... ordered 4 laser printers w/built-in JetDirects (IP printer server board) like back in Sept. They've shipped the wrong printers THREE times now - same basic model but without the JetDirects. You'd think they could just send the JetDirect boards and we could install them ourselves and t hat would save them a LOT on shipping, but noooo.... we're still waiting. So it' not just isolated to Dell folks... luckily our stuff wasn't for Christmas presents. :)

  19. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Paris Hilton

    Dell drives business my way over Christmas

    Thank ye, merry gentlemen.

    Yes, so I had to work out quotes for one particular customer. Dell wanted to put them in an over-powered, over-priced i7 system. I priced out an i5 system at about $1300 less, including a matching warranty, and a guarantee that the off-the-shelf expansions in place would work.

    Dell begrudgingly quoted an i5 system at about the same price as mine, but with no guarantees that the external storage array (Promise X-10 with InfiniBand connector,) PCI-X RocketRAID card, or Quantum DLT-V4 SCSI tape drive would work. The external array is on a standard connector, for which Promise offers an updated PCIe controller with mini-SAS and an adapter. The PCIe also takes care of the potential PCI/PCI-X issue ("No new server comes with PCI, it's all PCIe, now.") We already know OTS equipment is hit-or-miss with Dell, but to tell me that a standard 5.25" device, the tape drive, will not work in a new server because of missing mounts which can only be ordered at the time of purchase -- that is a bit obtuse. Anyway, I spent an hour arguing with this fluke. He tells me that Dell is moving the way of HP and others in terms of after-purchase equipment installation. No, that is okay; seriously, why stand out from the rest?

    The week of Christmas I call back to make sure I heard everything correctly about compatibility, blah blah blah, and having consoled ourselves into losing a large investment in storage upgrades to the current server in order to stick with a Dell machine. The result: no one from Gold Sales or Support was available. No, really, the woman told me that they were all on Christmas vacation, and was rather indignant at my displeasure.

    Short story long, I got in touch with a stand-in for the Gold server guy who ran up some numbers for me on additional storage and potential HBAs, but, again, no guarantees of any functionality what-so-ever. And the hard drive warranty? The basic warranty, regardless of length of coverage, only covers hard drives for one year. Fine, we really want a better warranty but, "it doesn't matter. None of the warranties cover the drives for more than a year." *sigh*

    They bought my server instead, and in two weeks everything will be installed and working properly, with blessings from Intel's own server folk.

    So, yes, thank you, Dell. Your customer service and insistence on pushing way more hardware than necessary has made me quite a bit of money this Christmas season, a time which is normally pretty much dead. I will see about putting you on my Christmas card list for 2010.

    Paris, normally pretty much dead.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cash Flow Problem?

    When you are getting paid late all through the year it becomes impossible to meet demanding delivery schedules no matter how much the client pressures you.

  21. Cucumber C Face
    Pint

    No one ever got sacked for ....

    .... buying from Dell. Lot's of criticism of Dell here. But who <i>would</i> people go for for off-the-peg and bespoke Windoze desktops and servers and slight premium on the price isn't an issue?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    You get what you pay for

    And that includes Dell. If it seems too good to be true a deal. It probably is!

  23. bexley

    rubbish comutputers anyway

    It's shame people have had towait so long to find out they just bought shit computers.

    6 weeks to deliver a PC? and off the shelf PC (fine maybe with a different HDD and RAM but they take minutes to install not weeks)

    I would not want to wat more than a few days and a company the size of Dell should not be making people wait more than a week.

    You can have an HP pc the next day. servers next day to. In fact with a lot of HP gear you can have same day delivery.

    I gave up on Dell a while ago when they could not understand why i wanted tobuy a certain netbook without windows xp.

    Your lucky if you get through to the Irish chaps though, i do find that you tend to get a more coherent conversation with them, the indian call centre is like pullng teeth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @No one ever got sacked for ....

      Wanna bet?.....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Cash Flow Problem

      >>When you are getting paid late all through the year it becomes impossible to meet demanding delivery schedules no matter how much the client pressures you

      Uh-huh. Last I checked, Dell insisted on payment on ordering - whether through finance (which means they get paid pretty much immediately, at latest when the order is confirmed); or credit-card (which means immediately).

      Idiot.

    3. Neoc

      Same problem this end.

      Bought a Dell laptop, didn't come with a restore CD. When asked about this, the "Support help" was for me to press F8 when Vista was booting to access the recovery partition. Only one problem - it was the booter that was corrupt (grub-equivalent, for the linux-heads) so it *never* got to the windows-booting stage. (luckily, I knew someone who I could cadge a Vista install CD off - not the same version I had, but the booter program is the same)

      Dell said they were shipping me a restore CD. This was well prior to Christmas. Still waiting.

      Last Dell *anything* I purchase.

  24. kissingthecarpet
    Headmaster

    It's flack

    not flak. Flak is anti-aircraft fire. A flack is a PR.

  25. Gary F
    Thumb Down

    Angry customer writes...

    I've been waiting 3.5 weeks for the delivery of 2 servers and they tell me I have to wait a further 3 weeks. It doesn't take 6.5 weeks for a factory to build 2 servers. I could have done it myself in 2 days if they posted me the parts! In the past they took just 1 week which suggests something at Dell has gone very wrong. Cost-cutting probably.

    What makes it worse is that I ordered some switches and backup cartridges at the same time which were delivered 2 weeks ago. This means the warranty on the switches and cartridges will expire a whole month before the warranty on the servers does. Because the whole order is a self-contained system this is not acceptable.

  26. raving angry loony

    get what you deserve.

    Solution: stop fucking buying from Dell and start buying computers from companies that give a shit.

    Of course, that'll never happen, and the idiots will keep flocking to Dell. Anyone shopping from Dell basically deserves any crap they get - it's expected, it's normal, and it's not exactly a surprise.

  27. Phil Koenig
    FAIL

    OLD news for Dell

    What cracks me up is that these are EXACTLY the kinds of stupidities that soured me on that brand for over 10 years now.

    I've always been amazed at Dell's success and mindshare amongst the public. The only thing I can think of is their practice of immediately grading you as a customer into #1 "Fortune 500 corporate" (or journalist, seemingly), #2 "Medium-sized business", or #3 "Small biz/individual peon" and treating you accordingly.

    I always wondered whether the movers/shakers in tier #1 were the only ones treated well, since they had the most influence on the press coverage and public perception of the company. Because as someone who always came in as a Tier 2 or Tier 3 customer under that regime, I certainly never experienced anything remotely impressive about Dell, back when I still dealt with them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Grenade

      re: OLD news for Dell → #

      10 years? Try 15+ years. Hospital I worked for bought Dell on a large scale (1000+) they were so screwed over by Dell that the entire IT department management got sacked.

  28. Bo Pedersen
    FAIL

    As said before Nothing New

    Dell have done this for years,

    I cancelled an order for an M15X after repeated delays, and different components being out of stock, some that I was told were previously already in my build....so they take some of my bits to build someone else's machine?

    My thoughts are that they like to buy components at a certain bulk level to get a certain price point, which then secures their profit margin.

    So high end systems generally get less orders, so they wait until they have 500 or 1000 orders for a certain component before going to their suppliers.

    and Yes the quality of Dell products does vary, but to give them their dues, Business support is pretty good, its just end consumers that get the raw deal, and when you look at it that way, its pretty much the same across the board, Acer, HP and others have terrible support for your average joe, but do backflips for a corporate caller.

    Time to support your small vendors guys , local people who give you personal face to face support and don't string you along with a big bunch of excuses.

  29. iainonthemove

    it was delivery not the components

    I ordered one of their mini 10's for Christmas and was given a confirmed delivery date of the 14th Dec. It came and went, no information from Dell or their courier (WWI) and had to call the couriers 0871 number which answered and then kept me in a queue for an hour (at a cost of ~6 pounds). They then arranged it again and didn't deliver and did the same a final time. My final delivery attempt was Christmas Eve and they didn't have it on the Van as someone had left it in the depo.

    Biggest gripe was that they didn't deliver and never bothered to call to apologise and arrange another date. Customer service is clearly not very high on their list of priorities, but seeing this article kind of makes sense now - I didn't think they could be that bad on purpose.......

  30. takuhii

    Twitter account still up

    dell_ruins_xmas is still live...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mmm

    Well, for the sake of balance, sort of, I'll comment that my 25 Nov ordered laptop was scheduled for delivery 1 Jan, and actually delivered 22 Dec, so in time for Xmas after all. Plus it seems pretty good so far.

    However, several Dell horror stories in my family/friend circle, so er, maybe just lucky.

  32. Khalid
    Thumb Down

    phew...

    ...was debating whether to go for a dell studio xps or a macbook pro, after hearing on here what a mess dells customer service is and the nighmare of actually taking delivery of anything from them has made my mind up for me, will wait for the apple refresh on jan 26th 2010 and then pick up a macbook pro in store the next day !

  33. lowlife
    FAIL

    They also delayed some orders due to cost

    I had one friend that ordered a Dell Mini on black Monday this year. He ordered a standard Dell Mini with nothing special or custom changes. He ordered this on black Monday when the price was $279. His order was first delayed to December 17th. The day after he received his delay notice he received another delay notice that said his order would not be delivered until February 20th, 2010.

    A few days after black Monday (AFTER) another friend ordered the exact same Dell Mini 10v and his order was delivered before Christmas. He paid the normal price of $349. This was the exact same computer and it was ordered after black Monday. Sounds like Dell pushed all the special or reduced priced items back.

  34. Wellard

    Threaten to cancel the order

    When I ordered a Dell XPS M1330 over a year ago, the delivery date was pushed back three times. So I phoned up to cancel the order, I was told by the CSR that the LED backlit display panels were out of stock, I insisted that I wanted to cancel the order, then the agent offered to put a 'priority' on my order and have it shipped the next working day. Sure enough, it arrived the following Tuesday morning.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Threaten to Cancel the order

      A Lawyer told me that if you place an order with the wording "TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE" on the order. If the company does not come through on the promised date (in writing) then you can cancel the order post haste and the company does not have a leg to stand on.

  35. Ed Gould
    FAIL

    Dell late in its deliveries

    I do not know about anyone else but if someone were to give me a Dell I would politely say no thanks and either say give the money to charity or ask for a gift certificate to buy my own computer at a reputable establishment.

    In other words I would refuse any DELL computer offered free or otherwise. If pressed I would say if you insist on a Dell please give it to some charity who needs a worthless computer.

  36. Dark_rain
    Megaphone

    Home users...

    From a quick glance at this thread, most of these retards are buying from Dell HOME division. First mistake. NEVER EVER buy from home, always order from the business side of the operation, then you get treated like a human being. The machine build quality is better and the support is better.

    And also, I completely agree with Ian @ 21:10! It's simply suicide to keep large inventories stocked in the computing business. Technology can change in the blink of an eye, leaving you with stock that isn't worth half what it was when you bought it 12 hours ago. Can anyone think of any companies that enjoy screwing people over in this way... whats that you say? You can't? How about Apple, that bunch of useless wankers that bring out new machines or MASSIVE price reductions with no warning to the end user before they order!

    Bottom line is, if you want RECENT hardware at reasonable prices, use your fucking brains and don't expect people like Dell to keep it on ice, it isn't feasible. Simple as. Perhaps also do SOME of your xmas shopping more than two weeks in advance when you KNOW that theres going to be competition for certain things. Like computers. It's pants-on-head retarded to do anything else.

    (and yes I know the Apple-bash was a little off topic, but it is a valid point)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      someone

      ..failed to properly read the article before having his little hissy fit. Classy.

    2. Hungry Sean

      Dell's business stuff's not so bad.

      I had a bad experience with a shoddily made Dell home desktop years ago and they earned my wrath. I've seen a lot of dell laptops crap out too over the years. But at my previous job we had Dell business desktops which I was very impressed with. They had some nicely designed cases that made it easy to open things up and swap parts, and generally held up pretty well. We also bought four or five used dell xeon 1U servers which for the price were excellent-- they had dual power supplies, hardware raid, good network cards, ECC RAM, and were generally pretty spiffy. Just my experience.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Memory shortages

    I find it hard to believe that Dell wouldnt have seen the memory shortages coming. Nearly every must buy peice of tech over christmas had a huge chunk of memory in it. I assume this was the reason for memory prices going from £10 per GB to £15 per GB late last year.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    One of the problems...

    ...of custom ordering.

    If they have a "just in time" stock policy, which is understanderble in HiTech industries, then they are at the mercy of the stock levels of their suppliers.

    It's not the customers fault, so all the morons deriding the "idiot" end users, how many people go to the farm, pick the chicken, slaughter it, process it then eat it, or do you eat any old shit you buy in the shops and hope that it's what you want? It's called convenice and the fact 99.9999% of the population really don't give a **** about the CAS rating of a memory module. So grow up and see a life outside IT people, there is one.

    PS my pc I built myself 6 years ago and is just fine thanks, I have other priorites than getting wet over the fact the graphics card is bright red.

  39. Adey
    Happy

    the solution is easy.

    I walked into the Apple store and walked out with a 4GB, 250GB Macbook Pro and a 260GB Lacie backup drive in under 15 minutes.

    Sometimes cheap is just that. Some people get what they deserve buying a Dell. That's what you get for being tight. If you don't pay for service and quality, you don't get any.

    what's the Latin for 'the buyer is an idiot?' Retardo emptor?

  40. Michael 82
    WTF?

    @adey

    Dell arent cheap. But tesco are cheaper and you get better service with them! The end is nigh for dell.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apparently

    If you order a Latitude now you can get guaranteed Xmas Delivery

    http://www1.euro.dell.com/uk/en/business/4x_latit_e5500/fs.aspx?refid=4x_latit_e5500&s=bsd&cs=ukbsdt1

    That's got to be the longest delivery schedule I've seen!

  42. andy 103
    WTF?

    Well if you will order online...

    ... expect to wait.

    There is an alternative - walk into a physical shop and buy a new computer. Of course you'll pay more for doing that, but then you (usually) can get it as soon as you've paid.

    If you order anything online, you make an order and then you wait for the goods to be delivered. When they get delivered is really down to the person sending them and if you don't like that then don't buy stuff online.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    @adey

    I read your post about going into apple and buying the PC then your comment about the buyer is an idiot. Apt. Very apt.

    To me the story is about people buying online, to have it delivered at their convenience, so they don't have to find an apple store and for most people that means travelling to a city some hours away and fighting other people in crowds and parking fees for the privilage. To then bling it up with the annoying sales pitch and the really annoying staff, getting a machine that Apple won't let you get because you get no customisation, you are charged vast over pricing because they hold the monopoly for a "badge" that people like you obviously suck upto. I say obvious because you bought one.

    Dell shoppers want convenience of their arm chair, no lock ins with iSuck or whatever other branded crap you get and above all the custom build or custom things they want or need. Not what Jobsian fanboi's are told they want by the brain washing ad campaigns and pretty lights.

  44. Trevor Zettler
    WTF?

    Dell - logistically

    Isn't this the company whose claim to fame initially was logistical prowess unrivaled by any other PC maker. Seems they've forgotten their roots.

  45. Ed Panzeter 1
    Thumb Down

    Dell Computers

    I ordered/used Dell Laptops/Desktops/Workstations almost exclusively for the last 10 years in all of my jobs. Their quality at all ends of the purchase/fulfillment/support spectrum has plummetted in the last few years. I recently started ordering/testing HP laptops and workstations which I've been happy with them so far. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever find a manufacturer that the powers that be are comfortable with while getting the performance/service level I'd like.

  46. Johnr

    That would be me

    I ordered late November thinking normal turn around is about a week. I have since received 3 notifications that the shipping date has slipped and do I want to cancel...I just keep on waiting , cause it was a special and dirt cheap

  47. phatslates
    FAIL

    I am @dell_ruins_xmas

    Hi there all,

    I am @dell_ruins_xmas.

    My twitter account is back up and running now, thanks to this article. Just wanted to say that Dell were completely useless. Their customer service department couldn't help with anything, they couldn't say what part was out of stock (it was the Phenom X4 Processor), and couldn't suggest anything except wait a few days, then get a refund (leaving me 2 days until Xmas)

    I was lied to numerous times including

    - Your order was bumped as orders were placed after yours

    - We ran out of the processors, but they're back in now - two days later, no they never arrived.

    My advice for all other cusotmers, use twitter and facebook. They have an entire CS team dedicated to social media, and it shows how powerful a tool it can be. I've sent letters to Dell, emails, phonecalls, twitter, facebook PMs, and in the end, yes, I got my computer for my family before Xmas, but not without a lot of hard work. And what did they do to say sorry, refunded my £20 delivery. A shambles!

    Anyway, follow me on @dell_ruins_xmas for more information, and if you want to actual contacts at Dell in both UK and US, i can help you out with who to talk to, to help get your order moving!

    Cheers,

    Dan Slater, aka @dell_ruins_xmas

    http://twitter.com/dell_ruins_xmas

  48. xtrahost

    Just-in-time FAIL

    We had this experience from time to time when buying servers from Dell in the past and because it was hacking our customers off we moved to HP.

    The Dell built-to-order just-in-time model is often lauded as a model of efficiency but the reality is that although it saves Dell a few quid when it fails it's the customers who suffer.

    With HP we can see what's in stock and order off the shelf from distribution for delivery next day. Any customisation we need we can do very easily ourselves by fitting HP disks, memory or CPU packs.

  49. shawnfromnh
    FAIL

    Taking a chance

    I would never buy from a company like Dell for pre-christmas delivery. As state by many JIT stocking procedures have been implemented by many companies including my own factory I work at and all our customers and suppliers. JIT is also as others stated great as long as you don't get huge orders with short deliver times then there is a massive problem. In our shop that problem is low quality parts that are borderline at best going out the door and probably weeks late also. The other problem with JIT is bad customers. We have 2 customers that before the recession were good customers but now they have to pay in advance since they have several orders that have sat for months on the shelf waiting for payment still.

    JIT is good if you are like Dell at the end of the line and want low costs. If your a Dell customer though it is bad since you will end up buying junk that barely passes quality standards or is possibly ready to fail on delivery.

  50. elderlybloke
    Linux

    Ding dong Dell

    I got a Computer from my friendly local computer firm about 6 years ago and had them upgrade it a year ago.

    I had a talk with the nice chap , there and decided on the Motherboard, CPU etc, and had him install them in the old case.

    It was a very reasonable cost and any of my problems get solved in reasonable time. It is a home computer so I don't expect priority .

    Maybe buying local could be better for a lot of people, as they all have very similar bits.

    One thing I made sure of was a good quality PSU.

    I will not ever buy a Dell .

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