Monday, January 23, 2006

I have a Dell Inspiron laptop (I still can't get behind "notebook") and I like it. A lot. It has worked consistently well despite the abuse of getting toted around all the time, having coffee in its immediate vicinty much of the time, etc. Yes, I have periodically gotten some error message from almost day one saying that something called Framework Services needs to close and do I want to send an error report, and I dutifully do so and nothing seems to be bothered. And the spacebar occasionally fails now, as close readers will probably notice from time to time over the last few months. Otherwise, great.

The new quirk that has developed over the last few months is that the power cord is, well, quirky. It doesn't seem to acknolwedge the exist of certain outlets at all. Others it likes pretty much all the time, others it will take to with some jiggling, etc. It's basically on the "just blow on it" phase of an old Nintendo.

So far I've lived with it with minimal hassle. I did contact the Computer Showcase here on campus where I bought it, and they said it's a Dell issue. Then I played the procrastinating waiting game.

I just called and went through an extensive talk with a very chipper computer ("I think I heard you say, 'suck it.' Did I hear that right?") that eventually deigned to let me queue up for a human. I was quoted less than 3 minutes wait time, though it was closer to 7, but that was fine. Less fine was that the incidental music and talking parts were getting increasingly staticky. Finally I get a person who requests my name, some number from my computer, some other number from my computer, etc. When we finally get to the point where he's supposed to say, "So, what can I help you with today?" or somesuch, company policy apparently required him to press a special button to resume the static, so the following conversation ensued:

DellGuy: bzzzzt bzzt bzzzt bzzzt bzzzzzzzzzt bzzzt bzt?
Me: I need to replace my power cord
DG: bzzzzt bzzt bzzzt bzzzt bzzzzzzzzzt
Me: I'm sorry, I couldn't make that out, the line got very staticky
DG: bzzzzt bzzt bzzzt bzzzt bzzzzzzzzzt
Me: Um, I don't know if there's anything you can do on your end but I can't
DG: (presses extra static button, then proceeds to speak in a manner such that I can't even make out "bzzzt" anymore)
Me: OK, I'm just going to hang up and try the online chat service
DG: bzzzt bzzt
Me: (click)
I then go back to the webpage and find, of course, that the online chat service option the chipper computer was so eager to point me to does not, in fact, exist. Or at least it's very verrrry well hidden. So I send the following through the email submission, hoping it's polite enough to get a response while still registering sufficient annoyance:

Hi, I've had a very frustrating experience trying to get someone on the phone or any information off of your website for a ridiculously simple question: is my power supply cord covered under my warranty, and if so how do i replace it. It works about 30% of the time, for no obvious reason why it sometimes does or does not work. If someone could get back to me quickly, I'll be somewhat less angry about the whole experience.
Is it stupid to turn against companies that make products you like just because of this? Or should I think thrice before buying another Dell?

1 comment:

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