My little corner of Dell Hell

published: Tue, 19-Jun-2007   |   updated: Fri, 5-Aug-2016

If you read back though a few posts, you'll notice that I bought a Dell XPS M1210 notebook. Nice and light, speedy, even though I had problems with Vista on it.

UPDATE: read this blog post if you must, but please note that it's all been sorted out. The following day, as well. It was due to a spam blocker, and your humble diarist over-reacted. Sigh.

All in all, with all the upgrades I had loaded on it, I spent nearly $3,000, a nice chunk of change. And, no, Developer Express didn't buy it, I did.

So imagine my surprise when, a month ago, I received a "Thank you card" from Dell, a gift card pre-loaded with $70, and thanking me "for being a valued Dell customer." Hey, that was nice and totally unexpected and it made me feel good about my purchase (I hasten to add that the notebook I bought my wife a couple of years ago is also a Dell). The only downside, as it were, was that I had to spend it at screenshot
It's still available!

OK, no problem, I went online and ferreted around looking for something I needed. I ended up on this page. Then, as now, the page stated that it would ship within 24 hours, and the price was even $10 dearer back then. A nice 8GB CF card for my Canon XTi would do very nicely thank you and so I ordered it with free slow shipping and paid the excess with my credit card. An email came confirming the order. Lovely jubbly.

Then a few things happened in my life and at work, and I just forgot all about it.

Last weekend, I suddenly remembered this order and realized that it had never arrived. I went online to check my order. Canceled, said the web site. No reason was given; instead it stated that I should contact customer service to find out why.

So today I contacted customer service. I used Dell Chat to be all trendy 'n' all. OK, also to make sure I got the transcript; some things rub off on you when you're married to a lawyer.

06/19/2007 01:01:23PM	Julian Bucknall: "My order number 673302603 was 
   cancelled. No reason why. No email to me saying it had been cancelled"
06/19/2007 01:01:35PM	Julian Bucknall: "Why was it cancelled?"

My chat buddy, Savitha, verified who I was and did some research.

06/19/2007 01:09:51PM	Agent (Savitha N): "The item is no longer available 
   with Dell that is why the order was cancelled."

I was working and so didn't notice the reply straight away. When I did...

06/19/2007 01:13:12PM	Julian Bucknall: "Problem is, the item is still
   available for sale on"
06/19/2007 01:13:29PM	Julian Bucknall: "It was one of the first things
   I checked."
06/19/2007 01:13:53PM	Julian Bucknall: "Also I used a Dell gift card
   in the ordering. Is the gift card still valid?"
06/19/2007 01:13:54PM	Agent (Savitha N): "I have checked the reason
   for cancellation and that is reason mentioned."
06/19/2007 01:15:23PM	Agent (Savitha N): "I apologise if you have used
   the gift card it is not valid to use it again."

At which point, I was starting to boil inside.

06/19/2007 01:18:05PM	Julian Bucknall: "What? Let me see if I
   understand this. I use a gift card from Dell (which was a thank you
   for ordering a $3000 XPS notebook) for an item which is still on the web site, but which on ordering is no longer available and so
   the order was cancelled. And I can't reuse the gift card anymore?"
06/19/2007 01:18:38PM	Julian Bucknall: "That's unbelievable"
06/19/2007 01:19:35PM	Agent (Savitha N): "I apologise for the 
   inconvenience caused."
06/19/2007 01:19:49PM	Agent (Savitha N): "We will not be able re 
   activate the gift card."

At which point, I decided to end the chat. Getting angry about a gift that was snatched away didn't seem like the right thing to do. I've worked customer service and tech support in the past and I know yelling at Savitha wasn't going to help. I'd just feel bad about it afterwards. Plus, it's not as if I'd really lost any money; just a gift grabbed back before I could enjoy it.

But you know the whole episode has left a bad taste in my mouth. Why? First because they couldn't be bothered to email me to say the order had been cancelled. They certainly had my email address: the order conformation was emailed me. So someone cancelled the order and then didn't bother informing me. You'd a thunk I might have wanted to know, perhaps?

And, don't forget, I'm a "valued Dell customer".

And second because it just looks like Dell never wanted to redeem the card in the first place. Let's see: the item could be shipped within 24 hours, but wasn't. It's still on sale on the site — at a cheaper price, natch — yet it's no longer available with Dell. The gift card's legalese seems to indicate that if I don't get what I ordered the card would be topped up again, but it hasn't and, according Savitha, won't.

My wife's notebook is due for replacement early next year. From the viewpoint of my little corner of Dell Hell, I'll be shopping elsewhere. If Dell can't take care of the little things, why should I allow it to take care of the big ones?