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Reason # 595 not to buy a DELL computer

Reason # 595 not to buy a DELL computer

February 27, 2007

Today the computer tech guy came to replace the motherboard on my computer.

This is what the man in India diagnosed the problem to be over the phone. We went through a thorough diagnostic procedure which involved turning the computer on and off while counting to five, taking out the battery, and spinning around while hopping on one foot saying the alphabet in pig latin backwards. And the conclusion that he came to was faulty motherboard.

You think I am kidding?

The tech came today, and given how late he was I think he walked all the way from India. He replaced the motherboard and gave me the new power cord, even though I explicitly told the man in India that my power cord was not the problem.

And guess what? The motherboard was not the problem either. It isn’t even surprising.

Let’s recap, shall we:

memory upgrade
new battery
new power cord
new motherboard

And still not a fully functioning computer

So I call India again today. After spending 15 minutes listening to computer prompts I finally get to talk to a real live person. Unfortunately this person does not have a firm grasp of the English language. And DELL, this is a problem. When the person you are trying to communicate with does not understand what you are saying, it is a problem.

I hear the man flipping pages in his diagnostic book. And then he says, “Okay, let’s begin the diagnostic procedures. Turn off your computer and count to five.”

I wish I were kidding.

Posted by Chris @ 6:30 pm  

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  1. Jennifer says:

    Yeah, my DELL lapwarmer sits collecting dust since it died over a year ago-none of the computer geeks in my family can resurrect it. Our DELL desktop has also had to be replaced-under warranty, thankfully. If the GATEWAT I’m using now dies I’m defecting to a MAC.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Maybe try asking for a superivsor, they are usually based in the US, and if you can communicate better, you may be able to get to the root of the problem quicker.

  3. Polly says:

    I find that if I call Dell in the early evenings I get someone who has a firm grasp of the English language. Perhaps everyone in India is sleeping during this time? And yes, askfor a supervisor, they are located in an English speaking area.
    When I had to get a tech guy out, Dell offered, I didn’t even ask. But, that was 5 years ago, so maybe they aren’t as kind?
    Hope all goes well with your repair, and soon for your sake!

  4. Still Standing says:

    At least you are able to blog. The Dell must not be THAT bad. *wink *wink

  5. Chris says:

    No it IS that bad.

    When it takes over 8 hours for the computer to turn on, it is that bad.

    I have been posting on my son’s computer.

  6. Chris says:

    Okay Chris, here is what you do…

    Call Dell.

    When non english comprehending person gets on, start saying “Me no understand. Me no computer. Me no understand. Me no computer.” Please speak slowly, and enunciate every word.

    I did this for a friend (who had a Dell that was a piece of crap too) in December. Got me an english speaking person two out of three times.

    By the way, the brand new Dell she had was shipped back to Dell within two weeks. I have her almost convinced to buy a Mac. Almost…

  7. Bre says:

    I loathe DELL. My hard drive crashed in my 6 month old laptop and when I called (after they shipped me a new one) to have the tech guy walk me through the reinstallation process he asked if I could call back two days later because it was the end of his shift. When I told him there was no chance in hell of that happening he got angry because his supervisor was going to make him stay late to help me, rushed through things, skipped steps, and my computer has never fully recovered. Awesome, DELL, award winning customer service, indeed.

  8. Danielle says:

    A friend was telling me about the Dell that they just bought refurbished for a really sweet deal. We all know why it was so cheap.

  9. Lilly says:

    Oh I feel your pain. Haven’t dealt with Dell but had same kind of problem with AT&T when our phone line stopped working for a week & 1/2. I think having to hear a company’s long series of phone prompts over and over and then getting a tech that you can’t communicate with can.just.drive.you.nuts!!! Sorry for your crazymaking computer problems.

    And I once called Comcast and got a grandmotherly woman with a strange accent and asked where she was and she was in Iceland!

  10. Woman with Kids says:

    I’ve found beating my head against the wall in time with the Muzak played while I’m waiting helps pass the time.

  11. Crisanne says:

    Trouble free here in MAC land…:)

  12. kate says:

    yeah I dont hear too many wonderful things about dell that is for sure!

  13. kate says:

    Oh and I have a Mac now it is fabulous and totally worth the money!

  14. Melissa says:

    Oh, I soooooo feel your pain. I too had an excruciating conversation with a very nice man who spoke no English. He kept insisting it was the powercord also (Have they had a run on faulty power cords?????). Anyway- bottom line, is we still have quirky problems with it ALL THE TIME. I hate the computer. Fortunately, it is not mine, but the kids. I have a Mac, that I adore. And, it is going on 5 years at this point, and still haven’t had a real problem with it. I think I will be giving my computer to the kids, chucking the Dell, and buying myself a brand spanking new Mac :)

    Good luck!!!!

  15. Kristie says:

    OK, am I the only person on the planet who has a Dell and has never had a problem? Although, to be fair, mine is almost seven years old, so maybe it’s the newer ones that are faulty? I’ve had to add a memory stick .. otherwise, no problems ever that couldn’t be fixed easily and quickly. Actually, no problems that were ever the fault of Dell. A few viruses, but that’s it. I was considering buying bigger/faster/better, and going with Dell again, but now the rest of you have me scared. Maybe I’ll just stick with my old, fully-functioning machine and go with the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra.

  16. Chris says:


    Maybe it is the newer ones. My old laptop worked fine with no problems until it was dropped. AT that point it was cheaper to replace than to fix it, the warranty was long gone.

    This laptop is just over a year old and has been nothing but a lemon.

  17. robiewankenobie says:

    i will send ninjas if you can give me the correct address. they totally need some “ninja therapy.” asshats.

  18. peekay says:

    stay off the porn sites! those sneaky virus wielding clicks make your dell a goner!!!

  19. Jennifer H. says:

    The secret is to buy Dell Gold Technical Support when purchasing the computer. This is the way to always get an English in America speaking person. I do the tech support for a small law firm and I always speak to an American this way. Also, just refuse to do their tests, say you did it last time on the phone and are not going to do it again and keep insisting that you get the next level up support. :) Good luck.

  20. stunted says:

    Ok, I can’t take it anymore. Coming out of lurkerdom to say I wish I had your problem. I work as a sys admin for the biggest penny pincher of all time. I actually maintain a fully-functional print server on an old PS/2 tower - can you say MICRO-CHANNEL baby? Barring the sledgehammer approach (which would be a bit obvious) I cannot figure out how to get the thing to croak. I type this on an antique thinkpad that WILL NOT DIE. It has been dropped at least three times, and ‘dropped’ is an understatement - five-year old spinning in desk chair snagged the power cord with his foot and sent the thing flying across the room. Stupid thing never even blinked. In addition to violence, it’s impervious to liquids and lightning. I’m going to be stuck with it forever. Count your blessings.

  21. Kat says:

    Ask for a full name and a direct number. Don’t hang up without those details. If you can, also get the name and number of their supervisor. The fact that they know you’ll be calling back will usually get you much better service, regardless of the call technician’s nationality.

  22. Holli Smith says:

    I would’ve given up by now and found a local computer shop. I use a dell at work and I use a dell at home… but I’m spoiled because I work in the IT department so I always have one of my guys fix things for me!

  23. Kristi says:

    I just went through all that nonsense with Dell a few weeks ago. Though in my case, he got the diagnosis correct with saying I needed a new hard drive. But yeah, what a pain talking to people you can’t understand who can’t understand you and you can’t understand each other and you end up going round n’ round for 4 hours on the telephone when all you want is your friggin’ computer to stop threatening you with a “memory dump”. Good luck!

  24. Julia says:

    I work in customer service and i can tell you that the big companies do not have direct lines generally to individual reps…so insisting on their name and employee number (go for it) insisting on a direct contact phone number….not going to work because they Just don’t have one… I have issues with Dell to…My laptop is doing pretty well right now 5 mths old but we bought an axim and broke the stylis and can’t seem to get a new one for the life of us….the kiosks says they dont carry stock and when you call Dell says that it isn’t in their inventory…4 calls now… this weekend will mark #5….fun fun fun.


  25. meritt says:

    I’m SOOOOOOOOOOO sorry.

    I’ve also spoken with those _________’s in India. I get so incredibly pissed I cannot even start as it’s a topic that I will end up raning and raving about, it will almost bring me to tears and it ruins my day.


  26. Lori says:

    We bought a Dell for our Church about 10 years ago. It worked great. So well, that we decided to buy one for ourselves. Not a good idea. It didn’t work right out of the box because they had not plugged the wires or whatever is in there into the appropriate slots. I sent it back. I then found out that when you buy a personal computer for home use from Dell it goes through little or no quality control Purchase one for a business and you get a little more QC. Purchase one for the government and it goes through a few more QC steps. This information came from a former DELL salesman. Never again with the Dell. And, when you buy your next computer, don’t get one with the Sempron AMD processor either–it is a piece of crap too.

  27. Beth says:

    I know you probably want to get the most out of your warranty, but maybe it’s time to pay a local to fix the machine? I used to deal with those Indian service centers, but now I try to get local help — much less frustrating. So sorry you’re still having problems with your computer!

  28. Katie says:

    I really, really(!) want a laptop but I’ve heard so many horror stories from all brands. Guess I’ll just stick with my computer my husband built 3 years ago.

    Hope your computer is fixed soon!

  29. paisley says:

    All of our computers at work have had multiple power supply issues AND replaced motherboards.

    GRRR.. all Dell.

  30. Mel says:

    I have an American friend in the call center biz. He says that when you get a foreign customer service rep that you are having trouble understanding you should firmly ask “Can I speak to someone on your American team?” or “Could you put me through to a call center in the United States?” or something along those lines. Eventually they will patch you through — I tried it with my DSL provider and it worked.

  31. Mama T. says:

    Someday when I have some extra cash and can buy a laptop, like in the year 2015, I’m getting a Mac.

    I was a Mac person, strayed to the dark side of the force when I bought my Sony Vaio, and now, I am ready to join Luke, Obi-wan and Steve Jobs on the good side of the force.

  32. Keith says:

    You think you got problems?! Try having three hundred fifty of these lemons around. Whoop! Oh, sorry, no email for the whole company for a few hours - we’re chatting with Vishnu from Mumbai!

  33. crystal says:

    Mumbai is 10.5 hours ahead from the EST. Subtract 1.5 hours, flip your am/pm and there you go. It doesn’t necessarily help (as in, the tech reps aren’t necessarily better in the daytime or nighttime). Anyone who has finished high school speaks English, as all education in the country is about half in English starting in primary grades and completely in English by high school. However, the Indian accent is tricky, and we talk waaaaaay too fast for them.

    The issue with Dell Gold or Premium or whatever is that it’s only available to businesses. And the people who work in the American call centers are reading out the same manual and will tell you to do the exact same thing.

    I realize it’s easy to mock the country and the people, but as someone who’s been to India and seen the vast chasm between the wealthy and the poor, it’s really difficult not to call you guys on the disrespect. The people you’re talking to on the phone are just doing their jobs.

    They’re diagnosing your computer out of a manual. When customer says this, tell them X. It’s likely that you know more aobut computers than they do, as the cost is rather prohibitive. Just ‘cuz they use one at work doesn’t mean they have one at home. However, unemployment is a big enough issue that a call center job is considered very desirable.

    The best analogy I can come up with is that I teach 5th grade. Your asking the person on the other end of the line a deeply technical question is like someone coming into my room and asking me to help them solve a calculus problem when I’m covering coverting fractions to decimals. Sure it’s the same field, but asking them to do more than their job isn’t any different from asking me to teach calc.

  34. bombaygirl says:

    I guess it is inevitable that every blog I read has an “Indian-bashing” post, with the ubiquitous indian-hating lurkers de-lurking to call us the _____’s from India. I wish those posters wourld learn how to use their apostrophes..but I guess that is too much to ask of _____s for whom English is their one and only language! Morons, or should I say, Moron’s?

  35. bombaygirl says:

    Now I’m sure they will pick up on my slip-up and comment on “wourld” instead of “would”…

  36. Hollie says:

    A good friend of mine bought a $3500 lap top from Dell and it crashed the day after it arrived. The warranty covered it, but they made it difficult for him to use it. He had to go through several people to finally reach a “supervisor.” Once he got to the “supervisor” he told them he wasn’t used to paying $3500 to get fucked. It was hilarious.

  37. Dee says:

    I must be one of the lucky ones. I’ve had a Dell laptop for a little over a year and haven’t had a bit of trouble with it.

  38. Lani from The Wooden Porch says:

    We had the EXACT same problem with Gateway. It turned out a piece of our computer (inside the part area, don’t know the term, Hubs is the computer nerd, I just blog) was missing. He literally had to take it apart, take a picture of it and email it over before they finally believed him.

    Then it crashed just outside of warranty.

    I am happily telling you this from my brand spankin’ new iMac.

  39. Personal Chef to 2 says:

    I really feel your pain, Chris … I was up til 1am last night trying to figure out why my 1yr old Dell desktop computer will not upload pics from my camera anymore. I’ve tried EVERYTHING, even system restoration which caused more problems. However, I’m convinced it’s more of an Explorer 7.0 problem vs the computer itself. So tonight? I’m uninstalling 7.0, reinstalling the Kodak camera software and crossing my fingers.

    I found it funny to read this entry today! ; )

    I should add that when I bought this thing I had a media card reader in it. Basically never worked right - tech guy came and replaced the motherboard as a solution. It worked for 2 days and then quit again. So now you can see why the camera software not working is a HUGE PROBLEM. Grrrrrrr

    Please note - I may be buying a MAC very very soon.

  40. peepnroosmom says:

    Oh you poor thing. I have talked to the people in India before. They try really hard to speak English, but they just don’t quite get it. Sigh.

  41. Kristin says:

    I’ve been checking Dells out online. I have an ancient Compaq at home that has been on its last “cord” from the first month. I use a MAC at work. It’s not bad, but I’m not certain I would like it for home use. My trick for getting someone in English that has worked for me is writing down the numbers for each prompt in the automated systems (ugh), yell at the person foreign to the English language to get a new job, hang up, call again and do it all over again.

  42. Nicki says:

    I am telling you Mac is the way to go. I was a pc person. I resisted the change. That is until my husband insisted I get a mac. I love my mac. The ilife programs are sweet. My blog page is done for me in iweb. Every program I have runs better, even when I run Virtual Pc with windows 95. The windows programs run better. No upgrades in a year. Still runs like a dream. It doesn’t crash, lock up…etc. When you tell it to force quit something…guess what…it actually quits it!! I have had to restarted it twice except for the occasional upgrades. I was amazed. My kids love to play with the built in web cam.

    Sorry, sorry…I know…I have a small love affair with my Mac. I sometimes get carried away. My husband is aware of my feeling.

    Good luck with your Dell. I hope they fix it soon.

  43. Elizabeth says:

    Hmm. I don’t think that the posts of people frustrated with customer service reps they can’t understand (not the same as saying “can’t speak English” - because they usually do speak English - just hard to understand like some Southern dialects are for me - and I have heard from same southerners that I am hard for them to understand) and service that gets ones hopes up but doesn’t work can be considered India-bashing. It’s poor customer service bashing, and *that’s okay* because that’s how we get the system to improve. I also work in the contact center field, and more and more companies are gaining the ability to identify a particular rep you have worked with. It’s all developing technology. Gather in all of the suggestions and do your best.

    I have always had great luck with my Dells, but terrible luck with IBM. My employer has just switched to HP after having Dells for years - don’t know if that’s service or price, though. I do notice that the Mac lovers of the world do all sing with one voice, though, and find that awfully tempting.

  44. erica says:

    I have so many problems with Dell it’s not even funny - I loathe them. Their customer service? HAH! What a joke! My 1yr old gives me more coherent answers than they do. They had the nerve to NOT send me any bills for almost three months, even though I called every.single.month and complained…and then when I *finally* got a bill from them, they were charging me $30/mth in LATE FEES because the bills for the previous months had gone unpaid!! When I called their billing dept (also in India) they gave me the run around, hung up on me then called me cellphone and were very hostile, but also called me during THEIR after hour period so I couldn’t call back til the following day…and then they kept telling me if I wanted those late fees revoked, I’d have to talk to the accounting department. My head swam with the idiocy. I could NOT get anyone who spoke english on the phone and the “supervisors” were complete jackasses.

    Good luck with your system!

  45. Amy says:

    I work for a bank and our tech people are in India. I am in Tennessee. Southern does not translate well. I called in an order to hook up an existing printer and they sent me a whole new one! I feel your pain. :)

  46. liz says:

    Write a letter to the president of the company. Seriously. At this point they owe you a whole new computer.

  47. Polly says:

    I am with Kristen. My “old” 5 year old Dell desk top has been great. I’m afraid to even think about a new one now.
    And Chris, I agree with Amy. Write a scathing letter and maybe you’ll at least get some good service if not a replacment computer.

  48. Anne says:

    wow, usually when I have a tech out to fix mine its fixed. The techs that have come here always check it to make sure it works before they leave

  49. Brigitte says:

    I bash the Indian tech-support people, but it doesn’t really matter what country they are from - the main problem (out of several) is the language barrier - I’ve had the same problem years ago with “customer service” right in this country, when they were speaking with a mexican accent.

    I just wish the companies would figure out that if your customers are primarily english-speaking, then one of the prime directives of customer service is to be able to communicate with them!

  50. Computer Guy says:

    As a technical sales person I would never suggest buying a Dell. If you want something to work buy a Lenovo Thinkpad. Dell has horrible customer service and buys the cheapest components they can which is why their price is low. The problem is you pay for what you get.

    Next time stick with Lenovo or HP. You might pay a little more but you wont have to deal with the nightmare of overseas support and even more important, something like a motherboard dying for no reason.

  51. zookeeper says:

    ALL computers have problems. My mac has been out of commission for a year. Why? Because my then 3yo tripped over the power cord while running thru my bedroom and yanked it off the ottoman. So the cord broke off- prong stuck inside. This happened just outside of warranty. Alas, local computer guy says the funny thing about macs is the motherboard has to be replaced because the power outlet is attached to it. WTF! Because some crappy power cord broke off I now have to replace a perfectly good motherboard?! And local computer guy said he can’t do it- it has to go back to apple. Well, apple wants $100 just to send me the box to ship it to them and them ship it back. Not including labor or the cost of the motherboard. I’m going to get a second opinion, but if it pans out the same I’ll just wait and buy a new mac because the new ones are smarter- their power cords detach magnetically so they won’t break off like mine did. Hmmm…I think this is just apple’s way of making all of us with old ibooks from a year or two ago buy new ones. Oh- and I should add that my mac - my original one- completely died. On the 2 or 3rd repair they decided to replace it. So this is my 2nd mac.

    Our gateway has gone in for it’s 5th repair now, under warranty. Best Buy says they should just replace it this time. We’ll see.

  52. Melanie says:

    That’s what happens with our Dell, too. It’s not the crappiness of the computer so much as the non-English-speaking-ness and complete ineptitude of the so-called “customer service” people. Plus one of them once hung up on my husband after yelling at him and calling him names. We got some free stuff out of that. I’ve also discovered that if you owe them money, they start to speak better English - the more money, the more the English improves. So if you want customer service, don’t pay your Dell bills for a while and pretty soon you’ll get to talk to an American.

  53. Suzanne says:

    My husband is a computer repair tech and we both diagnosed an issue on our DELL computer. I called up dell and said hey listen this is the problem. The guy argued with me and THREE HOURS LATER he agreed that my initial diagnosis was what was in fact wrong and sent out the replacement part.

  54. Belinda says:

    Hey, get this–you’ve been directly responded to, by name, in the comments of my post here:
    Go get ‘em, Girl!

  55. Heather says:

    Five years ago, I had to call and cancel our AOL service. Holy hell! Have you ever had to do that?

    This is how it went…

    Me: Hi, I want to cancel my service, please.

    AOLCSR: (in VERY HEAVY Indian accent) I am please to inform you that AOL has a new program that may be able to help you out.

    Me: No thanks, just please cancel my service.

    CSR: AOL has a new feature for online enhancements, let me renew your service, please.

    Me: (ahem) noooo, please just cancel my service.

    CSR: Okay, thank you. I will now help you renew your service, offering all that AOL has to offer.

    Me: (WTF??) No. No. No. Do you understand No?

    CSR: yes

    Me: Then cancel my service.

    CSR: Would you like to renew on your same credit card information?


    Hang up, repeat with another 4 reps until I am now screaming and demanding a supervisor.

    I seriously dont think they understand half of what we are saying to them.

  56. krishnan subramanian says:

    i was going through all the mails written here.

    It is the problem of American Culture, to look down upon anybody who is not an american.

    Indians speaks english better than an average american. All the guys in the call center hold a graduate degree and have their own pc at home

    the component that goes into the pc or laptop are manufactured by American company like Intel / AMD , HDD BY SEAGATE , western digital and assembled in TAIWAN OR CHINA .







  57. Norm says:

    Hello, I see ths site must have been made on a mac. W00T!! I love mine and I just now had dell send a guy out to replace my LCD. The parts wont be here for a few days but I am getting them. Sorry to hear of your woes about dell. I am a Technician and a Computer forensics student and when I told him what was wrong and what it would need to be replaced and he came back, we are going to replace your LCD. Finally they do have brains. Listen to the guy that does this work and trow that manual you have in the trash. Nice site.