Dell PC -- Are they what they used to be?!?!?!?!!?

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Darren Yatadooet, Apr 17, 2004.

  1. I own two Dells, a laptop and a desktop. The desktop is four years
    old, and other than a burned out DVD drive, hasn't given me much
    problem until now. The laptop also has been pretty good (although it
    was a replacement for another that was DOA).

    My desktop is now giving me trouble (namely, the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH
    and the failure of several programs (internet explorer being one) to
    operate. When I thought about getting a replacement, naturally I
    considered Dell. However, as I began researching models, I saw a
    disturbing trend. It seems that many Dell fans are turning against
    them for both a reduction in quality of their products, and the severe
    turn in the level of service they provide to their customers.
    Reseller ratings, which granted is less than scientific, seems to have
    them at the bottom of the barrel, and several posts here say the same.

    Sooooo..... I have a few questions.

    1) What, honestly, is the state of Dell's customer service. Is it so
    bad you'd never buy again? Is it marginally worse? Is it a case of
    bad experiences outweighing the good on the internet because people
    are more likely to post complaints than good experiences?

    2) Are Dell computers being built worse than they were before?

    3) If not Dell, who? And I'd like to know this from people who are
    former Dell owners. I prefer an online or store bought PC, because I
    don't know of any locally owned businesses that have a reputation for
    building decent PCs. I have priced systems on ibuypower.com,
    abspc.com, and of course, Gateway, Sony, HP, Compaq, and IBM.

    4) Given the backlash against outsourcing of Customer Service, does
    anyone perceive that service is actually improving?
     
    Darren Yatadooet, Apr 17, 2004
    #1
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  2. Darren Yatadooet

    Tom Scales Guest

    Well, be prepared for varied opinions. I will be accused of being a Dell
    supporter (which I am, and doesn't seem so bad to me).

    To summarize:

    1) The products are outstanding. As with any company shipping this volume,
    they are not perfect, so problems can occur
    2) Service is seriously inferior to what it was 5 years ago, primarily
    because the competitive price pressure has forced most machines under $1000.
    For that money, they could not afford the level of service previously
    provided when most machines were $2000+ (nor can any other vendor)
    3) Of the major vendor, Dell's products and service are still tops
    4) You will receive a number (I suspect) of very negative comments here.
    Take them with a grain of salt, as this is a forum for people with problems.
    Very few happy people come here, except those of us that are regulars,
    trying to help.

    Go for it. I recently purchased a Dimension 2400 (to add to my Dimension
    8100, pair of Dimension 4550 models and an Inspiron 2100 laptop).

    Tom
     
    Tom Scales, Apr 17, 2004
    #2
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  3. Darren Yatadooet

    joe_tide Guest

    I agree with Tom. I have 5 Dells in my house right now and I also bought a
    Dell for my daughter and her husband. My son has 2 Dell desktops and an
    Inspiron laptop at college with him. I have gone through two Dells that I no
    longer have.

    I buy them for the quality and the fact that they are as inexpensive as any
    others. I can't build one as cheaply as I can buy a Dell. If you are buying
    a computer based on service, you may look for a long time before you find
    something that will suit you.

    Are they what they used to be? Better. Is the service the same as it was a
    few years ago? Definitely not.
     
    joe_tide, Apr 17, 2004
    #3
  4. Darren Yatadooet

    PC Medic Guest

    I have been working with PC's since 81 and have always built my own (for a
    time had my own PC business).
    Recently I needed a PC quick with no time or ambition to gather up the parts
    and build my own I ordered a Dell 8300. I did this based on two things,
    standard components and the fact my brother had two he has never had
    problems with. Well I received it and couldn't be happier. As for the
    customer service side, can not give opinion there as have not had to use it.
     
    PC Medic, Apr 17, 2004
    #4
  5. Darren Yatadooet

    MrMike6by9 Guest

    I debated for a while but am now sitting in front of my 4th personally owned
    Dell computer. (The rebate check arrived yesterday.) I could not find
    another brand that seemed to offer as much for the money without buying into
    other issues. At work, we've only purchased Dells for a couple of years now.
    We would now have several thousand at least at our site alone. No system
    maker is perfect and price pressures will make even the best cut corners to
    reach certain price points. Many people advocate build your own or support a
    local "screw driver shop". Unfortunately, economies of scale will have a
    major influence on the price worthiness of these options as well as the
    overall reputation of that local shop.

    Good luck with what ever you decide but it might be helpful to keep in mind
    that computers are more like commodities these days than they were 5, 10, 15
    years ago. It's more often the OS and the applications that are the cause
    of dissatisfaction than hardware issues these days and hardware is easily
    changed with many alternate choices ... unless it's a Mac, but that's
    another story.

    YMMV
     
    MrMike6by9, Apr 17, 2004
    #5
  6. |
    |I have a few questions.
    |
    | 1) What, honestly, is the state of Dell's customer service. Is it so
    | bad you'd never buy again? Is it marginally worse? Is it a case of
    | bad experiences outweighing the good on the internet because people
    | are more likely to post complaints than good experiences?
    |
    | 2) Are Dell computers being built worse than they were before?
    |
    | 3) If not Dell, who? And I'd like to know this from people who are
    | former Dell owners. I prefer an online or store bought PC, because I
    | don't know of any locally owned businesses that have a reputation for
    | building decent PCs. I have priced systems on ibuypower.com,
    | abspc.com, and of course, Gateway, Sony, HP, Compaq, and IBM.
    |
    | 4) Given the backlash against outsourcing of Customer Service, does
    | anyone perceive that service is actually improving?

    I have two. A Dimension 8200 and an Inspiron 8500.

    The 8200 has been running 24/7 (with the exception of a power outage or two)
    since July 2002. I ran the laptop for 30 days without shutting it down when
    I first got it. Both get a lot of use.

    On the dimension I had a few BSOD problems when I first got it while using
    fullscreen streaming video. (like news from MSN) Updating the video drivers
    from NVidia solved that problem. The only other problem I've had with the
    desktop was a video card fan (GeForce Ti 4200) that became intolerably loud.
    I sent an Email to Support, Dell sent one back instructing me to
    troubleshoot the problem, I replied with results of the suggested
    troubleshooting and a couple of days later I guy showed up at my door with a
    new video card in hand. I've added a DVD writer, a second harddrive, a
    memory stick reader, a Dazzle digital video bridge, a wireless mouse, and a
    UPS (serial cable for automatic shutdowns) and all have been completely
    reliable.

    On the Inspiron I've not had to contact support as the machine has been 100%
    trouble free. (with the exception of a self induced problem where I moved an
    entire directory of .inf files by mistake whilst getting used to the
    touchpad) :) I did make a repair myself to firm up the keyboard.

    In my case quality has been such that support has not been an issue. The one
    support request I have made was handled without incident and in a timely
    manner. OTOH I'm not the type of user that would be likely to call my PC
    vendor for software support. Thankfully I'm generally able to puzzle
    software problems out. If I did need software support I'd certainly seek out
    other avenues such as the Newsgroups and peer forums. I do see where the
    language barrier could be a problem calling overseas support for subtle
    software problems. "While on Ebay I tried to order a pair of paring knives
    to pare my pears but there is a problem with my cookies" does not translate
    near as easily as "Monitor exploded."

    Would I buy another? I'm currently considering a baseline unit for my son.

    If not Dell then who? I think Dell could safely go with the advertising
    slogan- "Dell, We suck less."

    My previous computer (now passed down to the missus) prior to the Dells was
    a Gateway 500Mhz. PIII which is still going strong BTW.

    --
    FWIW

    D

    I'm not an MVP a VIP nor do I have ESP.
    I was just trying to help.
    Please use your own best judgment before implementing any suggestions or
    advice herein.
    No warranty is expressed or implied.
    Your mileage may vary.
    See store for details. :)

    Remove shoes to E-mail.
     
    HillBillyBuddhist, Apr 17, 2004
    #6
  7. Darren Yatadooet

    Tom Almy Guest

    I don't know what it "used to be". I've bought 6 Dell systems in the
    past three years for myself and others. Even back then people were
    complaining that Dell computers and Dell service wasn't what it used to
    be. However with the tech support I needed on two systems and Customer
    Care on a third, everything was handled fast and efficiently and in two
    of the cases Dell went beyond what they had to do to fix the problem.

    Experience with Sony and HP has been worse. But I wouldn't hesitate at
    buying an IBM Thinkpad.
     
    Tom Almy, Apr 17, 2004
    #7
  8. Darren Yatadooet

    Colin Wilson Guest

    My desktop is now giving me trouble (namely, the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH
    BSODs are often caused by a software problem rather than a hardware
    failure. Have you scanned for spyware / malware / used the internet
    explorer repair tool etc to see if it helped ?
     
    Colin Wilson, Apr 17, 2004
    #8
  9. I'm perfectly happy with my Dimension 2300 quality wise. My only experience
    with Dell customer service was asking advice on how to disable the built-in
    video so I could install my own PCI video card. The web-based customer
    service responding to my question was fast and accurate.

    Paul Riemerman
     
    Paul Riemerman, Apr 17, 2004
    #9
  10. Being in denial about the state that Dell are in is not something you'd
    normally expect someone to brag about
    I'd disagree with "outstanding" and you've clearly killfiled anyone who
    dares to post negative Dell comments otherwise (if you'd read them) you'd
    realise it's when "problems occur" that Dell's customer service is found
    lacking
    Biased speculation as per your admission that you're a Dell supporter
    Why take them with a grain of salt and not at face value Tom? (serious
    question btw)

    Is the opinion of people who've been rear-ended by Dell any less valid than
    those who've had good service? (another serious question)

    Or should those of us who *have* been rear-ended start screaming "troll" at
    anyone who's been lucky with Dell?

    The simple fact is: a company the size of Dell *will* (through business
    volume alone) royally shaft hundreds of thousands of consumers every year.

    Yes or no Tom?
     
    Glenn Banwell, Apr 17, 2004
    #10
  11. Darren Yatadooet

    Acadia Guest

    Very well put, Tom. I will probably NOT be getting another Dell but it has
    nothing to do with feelings toward Dell, I just want to try something
    different. For what its worth, I follow 3 magazines that review the big pc
    companies on a yearly basis, Consumer Reports, PC Magazine, and PC World.
    All three always have Dell at or near the top for building quality
    computers, along with IBM and Apple. But all three magazines have reported
    Dell slipping with tech support and customer service after the sale.
     
    Acadia, Apr 17, 2004
    #11
  12. Darren Yatadooet

    Tom Scales Guest

    I'm not going to bother to reply to your specific questions as you're just
    trying to start a fight. I did want to comment on one statement though,
    because it made me laugh so hard:

    "The simple fact is: a company the size of Dell *will* (through business
    volume alone) royally shaft hundreds of thousands of consumers every year."

    If Dell royally shafted literally hundreds of thousands a year, two things
    would happen. First, this newsgroup would have thousands of posts a day of
    complaints, not a few a week and two, they would long be out of business.
    As for my comment about their being the best, read the following post.

    I am surprised that you imply I claim everyone is a troll. I don't. Even
    when I think they're position is startlingly unbelievable, I make an attempt
    to help. Others may make that claim, not me.

    It's particularly interesting that rather than posting your experiences with
    Dell, you felt the need to attack me. Certainly makes me believe your
    position.

    If you re-read my post, I was very clear that I believe Dell's support has
    slipped. I do believe, and most studies back me up, that they are still the
    top of the heap.

    And I like my Dells. So?

    Tom
     
    Tom Scales, Apr 17, 2004
    #12
  13. Darren Yatadooet

    Mark Guest

    Just bought an 8300 after 6 years of good service out of my old Gateway.
    They beat the promised delivery date by about a week. The color on the
    monitor (M992) was poor and I had a new one delivered the next day (after
    Dell promised 7 days). I did have to go through some useless testing with
    Tech Support, but I expected to have to play by their rules for service.
    Only had one other (software) problem that I could have probably resolved
    here, but wanted to give Dell support another try. Again resolved on the
    first call in about 15 minutes. Both tech support calls appeared to be
    Indian accent, but no complaints with quality of service or being able to
    understand. So far so good as far as I'm concerned. I did buy the Express
    Support option ($79) because of the service complaints I've read about.
    System appears to be more cheaply made than the old Gateway but the new
    Gateways I looked at were also (and it was significantly cheaper for that
    matter). Almost bought the Gateway for the Country Store service so good
    thing I passed on that. Some of the other HP's and Sony's I looked at
    "looked" more solid, but the price was significantly higher and most
    articles rated there over all quality, including Tech Support, as
    significantly worse. Unless you're willing to build your own, Dell still
    seems to be the best game in town for now. Unless you're in a hurry, watch
    the offers from Dell. I haven't been able to spec out a system equivalent
    to mine for less than $250 more since I bought it.
     
    Mark, Apr 17, 2004
    #13
  14. I buy Dell servers, desktops and laptops for various clients, and have done
    for years. The quality now is as good as it ever was. Yes, occasionally
    parts fail; if the machine is under warranty, I arrange repair or
    replacement, and out of warranty I buy whatever is required.

    The service of Dell support *has* dropped considerably; to the point where I
    now buy my machines with the minimum warranty; I save the money and put it
    towards any required repairs. Having said that, I do occasionally have to
    contact them. As long as you realise that they are human as well, and are
    polite to them and answer the questions, no matter how infuriating they are
    to you, you'll get the resolution you need.

    In terms of alternatives, I have sites with HP/Compaq desktops and servers
    which are very much equal to Dell in terms of performance and stability. IBM
    would be nice, but are still too expensive. Sony are expensive and fragile,
    with worse service than any other manufactuer in my personal experience.
    Gateway are a joke - how can you consider any company a player when they
    pull out of entire continents with little notice to end-users (I've just
    vetoed a client purchase of eMachines equipment, simply because it's owned
    by Gateway).

    HTH,

    Pete.
    Derby.
     
    Peter Connolly, Apr 17, 2004
    #14
  15. Darren Yatadooet

    GHalleck Guest

    <<snipped>>

    While the questions and concerns are valid, if Dell were not
    that good of a company, then it would be disappearing out of
    existence. It has survived along with another company with a
    good reputation, viz., IBM. As for competitors, E-Machines
    has acquired Gateway and Compaq was absorbed into HP, for
    examples. We are custom OEM builders but if the client wants
    an off-the-shelf system to modify, we choose only Dell. Just
    look at how clean and well-designed is the interior of a Dell
    right off the assembly line.

    The real issue that needs to be addressed are the stop errors
    themselves. What OS? What types of Stop errors are reported?
    Even with stable OS's such as Windows NT/2000/XP, blue screens
    will occur. The causes range from hardware to software; worms,
    viruses, trojans, etc.; unsolicited/unsupervised Windows updates,
    driver file updates, and so on.
     
    GHalleck, Apr 17, 2004
    #15
  16. Actually I wasn't, they were genuine questions.

    Flame wars are for bored teenagers.
     
    Glenn Banwell, Apr 17, 2004
    #16
  17. Darren Yatadooet

    BigJIm Guest

    Dell is probably a little better than most other companies.
    I have a Dell laptop and I like it, the down side is, their support has been
    out sourced to India.
    If you know a competent person with knowledge about computers, have that
    person build you one.
    Use good components and your problems will be minimal.
    In other words, don't cut corners!
     
    BigJIm, Apr 17, 2004
    #17
  18. Darren Yatadooet

    Tom Scales Guest

    Then re-read your post. Perhaps you were channeling a bored teenager.
     
    Tom Scales, Apr 17, 2004
    #18
  19. Darren Yatadooet

    Cynthia G Guest

    I like my Dells too. (Dim4550 home - has given me the most upgrade
    headaches - some have been self-inflicted - but I've forgiven it,
    DimLxxx and 2 Dim2400 at the office and a XPS T800 that I passed to my
    sister). All work great. After many years of constanly crashing local
    store built PCs, he finally listened to me and bought a Dell, nary a
    problem, my Boss is now very pro-Dell and has 2 at home. If he has paid
    for 5 of them the price / value ratio must be pretty darn good.

    I've only called tech support twice. 1st time - I don't even remember
    why, a while back was perfect. Last time - a few months ago was
    pathetic, but I knew what I was getting into and just repeated myself
    many, many times until I got what I wanted. My biggest problem, which
    took 2 months to resolve was getting them to send me a purolator
    envelope for the dead DVD+RW drive.

    My first PC was a Compaq. Their service hit and miss - occasionally
    brilliant and occasionally clueless and incredibly rude. PC was pretty
    good though, still works OK for my brother-in-law. The proprietary
    stuff lost me though. I shudder to remember what I went through to get
    1) rails for an internal drive and 2) get a 4 drive screws removed with
    a very expensive and unique to Compaq screwdriver, so I could move it to
    my new Dell.

    BTW, all this experience is Dell Canada.

    Cynthia
     
    Cynthia G, Apr 17, 2004
    #19
  20. Darren Yatadooet

    Paul Knudsen Guest

    I'm guessing you are a user who does not need a lot of hand-holding.
    It's true customer service if not as good as it used to be. If you
    think that will matter to you, consider a custom build.
     
    Paul Knudsen, Apr 18, 2004
    #20
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