There are sometimes when even the best supplier you hav egets it completely wrong.
And here starts the story of what Dell did wrong with us.
Dell have provided us with a heap of damn good priced, and very reliable kit for some time.
Their tech support can be frustrating sometimes and you often have to push them to actually believe that you know what you are talking about, but at the same time remind them that although you can happily diagnose when the motherboard of a laptop has gone that does not mean that they can just palm you off with sending out a new board and no further instructions ...
Occasionally you get the tech support guy on the other end of the line telling you to ring back and ask for him when the part arrives and he will talk you though fitting it. This is very handy to have, but one of the reasons we have next day on site is because we are busy people ... and an engineer makes our lives easier.
If we say we cannot do it and are too busy then please believe us ...
but this is just a general gripe ... you can say the same about any supplier / manufacturer.
But Dell have gone two better.
The first was an issue with a set of Latitude D505 machines we got around a year ago. We spotted that 2 were not charging and so we made the usual call. They finally admitted that it was probably the board and an engineer finally came out (it took 2 weeks for this) ... the engineer spotted that the poer socket did not look very healthy and told us to be careful as Dell might decide future issues like this are caused by user damage.
Ok ... fair comment ... it could be.
Then 2 weeks later another one has the problem ... and then another ... and another ... until out of a set of 14 there are 10 with the problem (and remember that 2 have already been fixed)
Ok ... we have a gentle chat with the HoD where the machines are used ... they are actually given out by our Reprographics Manager (figuratively one of the support team and perfectly capable of making sure the machines are put away properly) ... and they machines are being looked after.
We are puzzled ... we speak with Dell ... Dell send an engineer who repairs one and send the board back to Dell. Dell say it is user damage.
We have our friendly external rep come out ... she sees how the remaining are looked after (and we have shipped some temporary machines in as well for a few weeks, D505s but from a different batch and these have no problems) and puts forward that it is not user damage.
The weeks roll by ... and then the months ... we make regualr calls ... our reps change ... the new reps are shocked to find out it is still outstanding and then chase it up ...
The warranty team will not back down. The sale team look at writing it off as a good will gesture ... they get blocked. They go higher ... they get blocked ... they go higher again ... and get blocked.
So we now have 6 duff machines that will cost £400 a piece to repair (we sent some to the warranty team for a check over and they fix them without asking and so we are refusing to pay ... and they have accepted it ... if only we could send the other 6).
Be careful of what they agree to repair ... if you mention the laptop is used by a student they don't want to repair anything, but are happy to do it for staff machines.
And then there is phase 2!!!
We operate a laptop for students scheme.
2004/5 we used Samsung machines from Stone Computers and whilst the kit was ok (the plastic bits are prone to falling off and we had driver issues to start with ... not to mention the lack of built in wireless) the price was not as good as we wanted.
Queue Dell and Toshiba battling it out for 2005/6 ... Dell win with a final push as they have next day on site support.
We get the test machine in to build an image. We build it and send it back to Dell to load onto the machines at the factory ... only to find it takes 8 weeks if we want to do this. We need the machines in school in 2 1/2 weeks at the latest to be handed out a few days later.
A few frantic phone calls and it gets sorted ... a close shave but we manage. Then we start with the new school year.
We notice a machine is getting nasty scratches and we can't work out how ... then we spot that there is a screw missing ... and it is in the bag, lodged in the lining.
And then we spot another machine with 2 screws gone ... and another ... and so on. Shortly we find that out of a batch of 86 we have 67 with one or more screws missing.
It takes 2 weeks to get this one processed ... and it was only finally sorted because we went through each member of the team finishing with me doing my "I am the stroppy boss who has now turned round to his NM and said not to even consider buying any more crap from Dell" routine.
I finally managed to get onto a helpful person ... and he is now sending out small packs of 70 screws on a regular basis until we get the 700 we need to make sure we are covered. He is having to do this because other sections of tech support cannot organise a bulk load to be ordered and shipped out to us.
And then we start having a problem with the bags we got with the laptops. The carry handles are falling off because the rivits holding in place have not been put on properly ... and tech support won't deal with it because the bags are from Planet 21 ... and put you onto customer support ... who can't deal with it until it has been raised as a support call ... and so on ... and so on ...
Once again I manage to find a helpful person in customer service (I now know the helpful person in tech support and the helpful person in customer service ... there is only one in each department and I will sell their details for a reasonable amount) and so replacement bags get sent ... after 3 weeks!!!
And now we are having a repeated problem with a number of machines ... optical drives failing to be work / be seen ... machines running very slow and repeatedly crashing ... and the only thing the seems to fix it is replacing the motherboard.
But this has now been escalated and will probably take another 3 weeks to get a fix. And then we will be charged some stupid amount.