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Dell screws up huge

Today I dealt with a screw-up so huge that I'm amazed it even happened. I've bought several things through Dell over the years and they have never screwed up. That record was broken today in such grand fashion I'm still scratching my head over it.

Being that Dell does read blogs and takes them seriously, hi Dell! Here's my order number for reference so you can look this up yourself: 873761765.

Okay so here's the deal. On September 8, 2009 I purchased two items, one being a Nintendo Wii system and the other a Wii Fit with Balance Board. The Wii system arrived without issue. The Wii Fit never got here. Why it never got here is enough to drive anyone to drink.

After the Wii system arrived, I called Dell Customer Care and asked them why the Fit didn't show up. I was informed that the item was on backorder but would arrive before September 30, 2009 at the latest. I was told this verbatim. Being that Dell ships things quickly, I figured I would have the shipping information in a few days for the Wii Fit. So I waited a few days, called and requested a status update. I was told it was still on backorder, would arrive before September 30 and I would be notified by email when it shipped. I waited a few more days, called again and was given the same response, again promised I would receive an email when shipped.

Today is September 28, 2009. No email from Dell. I go to check my status order online via the Dell Customer Care system. The order vanished. Poof! Gone. (It may be back in the system now but when I checked earlier today it simply wasn't there.)

I call Dell Customer Care.

This is where it gets ridiculous.

I am told that the supplier that Dell uses for the Wii Fit with Balance Board no longer manufactures the product and that Dell cannot ship it to me because there is no way to get it. Then they asked if I would like a credit back on my DFS account (I purchased this entire order thru DFS.) I agree. The rep on the phone seemed really anxious to get me off the phone.

Let me spell out what this means:

Dell supposedly had a problem with a supplier. That's fine because that happens from time to time. But the order to the best of my knowledge was eliminated without my consent. And chances are very high if I didn't call, they would have never credited back my DFS account. In addition to that, I was lied to. Twice. I was told twice verbatim that I would get my Wii Fit and Balance Board before the 30th. That was never to be.

Being I don't trust Dell Customer Care at this point, I call Dell Financial Services, because DCC already lied to me twice. They had a supplier problem. Did they resolve it? No. Instead they threw their hands in the air, said "Screw the customer, just ignore him until he calls and complains, then kill the order" and made absolutely no effort to make good with another supplier.

I speak to a rep from DFS. He asks me if I received a confirmation number from DCC stating that I would receive a credit back to my DFS account. I informed him the DCC rep said no such number to me.

The DFS rep states he will 3-way call and listen in while he calls DCC to see if I can get my confirmation reference number to ensure my DFS account will be credit back.

At this point it gets comical.

On the first attempt DFS makes to get DCC on the line, I get a DCC rep, and that rep hangs up on me. I'm not joking. I state my name, my order number, tell him I need the confirmation reference number that I will have my DFS account credited back, the DCC rep panics and hangs up.

On the second attempt the DFS rep makes, I am bounced around and transferred six times because absolutely nobody on first tier DCC had any clue how to handle the situation. Every time the DCC rep picks up the line I am asked who I am. I state so. I'm asked what order number it's in reference to. I say 873761765. Then I'm asked how they can help. I tell them, mentioning I want my confirmation reference number for the DFS credit-back. Then I'm bounced over and over.

FINALLY after the sixth bounce I am transferred to a guy who says yes, my DFS account will be credited back because Dell couldn't get the Wii Fit and Balance Board to me. And for whatever reason this guy sounded really nervous. I have no idea why because at no time did I even raise my voice. No yelling, no screaming. All I wanted was a confirmation reference number.

I ask the DCC rep for a reference number so I can confirm the call took place. He says that they're going to credit back my DFS account. I say that's fine, but I want a reference number. Again, DCC rep says I will be credited. At this point I had to get a little stern and said, "Sir, I understand I will be credited, I want a reference number so I know this call took place."

Finally I got it: 645937061

Whom would I reference this number to if I had an issue? I HAVE NO IDEA. Is this a DCC reference? Is this a DFS reference? No clue. But what I have is better than nothing.

I then ended the call peaceably because I knew that's all I was going to get. Now I'm crossing fingers they follow thru with it.

After that I called Wal-Mart Store #2740, asked to speak with the electronics department to see if they had any Wii Fits in stock. Guess how many had. FOUR. They don't seem to have any magical supplier issues. I drove on down and bought it. Done deal. Yes, it cost me $96 after tax which is almost $20 more than the price I would have paid thru Dell, but I couldn't get the darn thing any other way.

Dell Customer Care has absolutely no clue how to handle supplier issues correctly whatsoever because they are way too "married to the script," so to speak. Sure, they're great at processing orders, but when a supplier problem happens, blammo, your order is screwed up, you get ran around on the phone and their support system completely and utterly fails. The chain completely breaks, and that's just sad.

Add in the fact that DFS had to chase DCC just to make them do what they said they would, and that adds in even more insult to injury.

I can deal with the fact Dell had a supplier issue.

I can deal with the fact the order had to be canceled due to a situation out of their control (supposedly.)

What's unacceptable is being lied to. And I was. Twice.

I'm not one of those blowhard-style typical "I'm complaining for the sake of complaining" customers, because I have worked help desk before and know how it is. I understand what the reps must go thru on a daily basis. It wasn't the reps that failed here, it's the way Dell handles supplier issues. Whoever is at upper crust at Dell really needs to train their reps how to handle supplier problems better, because at present the way it's done is absolutely broken.

My first suggestion? TELL THE CUSTOMER when there's a problem. Email them. Don't wait for angry customers to call.

Dell, if you read this (and I'm sure you will,) zero-balance my DFS account or send a big fat coupon to me. I think I've earned it.

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