Dell, Oh! Dell - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 5:13 pm Thread Starter
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Dell, Oh! Dell

Just venting here a little.

Some of you may remember the failure of our primary server for this community in March last year. It was a simple failure, completely compounded by ineptitude of the third party vendor Dell used for service. We ended up with no less than 6 attempts at repair, mechanical damage to components as the ‘technician’ removed and installed them. The end result was that they managed to destroy the O/S and data on the server as well as rendering the data on a separate disk array unusable. Dell ended up having to replace that system.

A condensed explanation of that mess is in this thread.

Last year I needed to replace my laptop. Because Dell offered a very nice slim laptop with LED backlighting, despite our prior troubles, I decided to give them a shot again.

Last weekend the backlight failed on the display. The computer was still operable with an external monitor and the image could be seen on the laptop’s display under bright light – it just had no backlight. I chose LED backlighting because it should be more reliable, have greater longevity, has a wider color gamut and uses less energy. So much for the reliability

On Monday I contacted Dell support. They created an repair incident for me, dispatched parts to their service agent and promised a call on Tuesday to schedule on-site service. The technician called me early Tuesday, gave me a time window for the repair and met the timetable.

I showed the technician the failure mode and he proceeded to replace the display. Then things deteriorated. He replaced the display, but now in addition to there still being no backlight, there was no display at all on the laptop. We hooked it to an external monitor and the computer still functioned normally. He contacted Dell technical support ho (he claimed) told him to move a “strong magnet” around the upper left of the screen because it might have a stuck lid switch. When I pointed out to him that the computer still “woke up” when the lid was opened, certainly proving the lid switch was fine, he told me I just “didn’t understand” how these things work.
He left my office with the working laptop for about five minutes, then came back and proudly explained that Dell was wrong, the lid switch is actually under the left palm rest and that he had tried the magnet there, but the display still wouldn’t come on. The really scary thing is that the hard drive is right under that left palm rest. He handed me the laptop back and left. Just after he left I turned it on and hooked it to an external monitor. There was an awful clatter from the hard drive and Vista indicated that the O/S had been damaged by an improper shutdown and asked if I wanted to “Launch Startup Repair”. Not a good sign. Long story short the computer will now not boot, the Startup Repair does not change anything and a low level diagnostic of the hard drive shows unrecoverable read errors as well as extensive seek errors.

I know and most of you know that modern hard drives are well shielded and very immune to electrical or magnetic interference, but to put a “strong” magnet directly next to the top of the drive and to carefully move it around the drive cannot be too safe. The failure mode of this drive coupled with the coincidence of his having waived the magnet over it only five minutes prior makes me very suspicious that the magnet damaged the drives critical servo tracks. While there is the possibility that we experienced a head crash at the very moment he waived a magnet over the computer, I would bet the odds of that happening are astronomically high. It is very rare to see head crashes in hard drives any more, most failures we see are not media related as often as they used to be.

Now Dell wants to replace the system, but it will take “up to 21 days” to receive the replacement. So I am going to be without a highly utilized tool for upwards of 4 weeks and be forced to completely re-install and activate a large quantity of programs as well as to restore data from a backup. This will be very time-consuming. Added to this is the fact that I have spent 2-3 hours on the phone or chatting with Dell support to get this far.

This is really no way to run a company. It is clear to me that Dell builds a decent product, and is making a great effort at improving customer service, but the company they use for their service is simply not up to the task. My company has quite a few Dell products and they all perform to the level expected of them. Unfortunately while failures are infrequent, Dell’s third-party service company has completely dropped the ball at every instance of service we have required. Dell could have mitigated my frustration by replacing the computer in a timely fashion, but suggesting that it will take three weeks to replace this unit, where I can purchase a new one and have it delivered early next week, certainly does nothing to reduce my ire.

So, for those of you that are frustrated with BMW, just be glad it is not sold by Dell and supported by QualServ. I have had much better results with my BMW products and have received competent and reliable service from BMW of Denver on the rare occasions I have needed service. I am not specifically promoting BMW of Denver, the vast majority of BMW dealers I have dealt with around the country have been competent and effective.

Randy Prade
Aurora, CO

Just ride it!
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post #2 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 5:32 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy
So, for those of you that are frustrated with BMW, just be glad it is not sold by Dell and supported by QualServ. I have had much better results with my BMW products and have received competent and reliable service from BMW of Denver on the rare occasions I have needed service. I am not specifically promoting BMW of Denver, the vast majority of BMW dealers I have dealt with around the country have been competent and effective.
Me, I am just happy BMW does not run on Windows Vista...! Too many lockups and crashes...!!!

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post #3 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 5:48 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zippy_gg
Me, I am just happy BMW does not run on Windows Vista...! Too many lockups and crashes...!!!
While I hate to buck the stream of M$ bashing, I am very happy with Vista. Not that it is without issues and knowing that the code is way more bloated than it needs to be, but it has been reliable for me. I cannot say the same about Vista x64. After a year I 'downgraded' my home system from Vista X64 to Vista x86 and find it much faster. Having used Vista since the final release candidate, I have yet to experience a single lockup or crash on any of the three machines I run it on.

Again, I am far from being a fan of M$, but it is ubiquitous and there are many business applications that I use which only work in a Microsoft environment.

What do I know, I still use WordStar in a DOS window to edit code and still remember many CP/M system commands

Randy Prade
Aurora, CO

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Meet Riley

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post #4 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 7:39 pm
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Dell

I had problems with Dell a couple of years ago. I had an eighteen month old computer on which the cooling fan had failed. I phoned Dell(UK) and they said as it was more than six months old I would have to phone "their" parts number. I phoned the other number and was told £91 for a replacement. At the time I did not know how much the fans were in other places, and figured they must be charging the proper price. I swallowed hard and paid for this highly expensive part. A few days later it arrived. I installed it , wondering about the apparent dust on it., and it didn't work.
I phoned them again and they said they would send another fan and collect the old one. Thinking again of the dust, i asked if they were sure it was a new fan they had sent.
" Yes sir, it it is new. It's refurbished"
"Which is it?" I asked "New or Refurbished"
" Yes sir, it it is new. It's refurbished"
"Has it ever been installed in another computer?"
"Yes Sir."
" Well if you'd care to get your dictionary out you will realise that makes it SECONDHAND, not new."
I didn't get any further that day but they sent me another (secondhand) fan., and didn't collect the original one.
That didn't work either. I called them and told them to refund my payment and collect their two faulty fans. So, they me another one. I told them to collect the fans within seven days and refund me.
Meanwhile having done some more research I bought a fan (NEW) for £4.00.
When I chased the refund they told me to put the fans in the bin as it wasn't worth their while to collect them (supposedly £273 worth of stock??). The payment was refunded.
A few months later I recieved a bill for the £91 again. On phoning them I was told the fans hadn't been returned, therefore I was being charged. When I told them that the fans were still in my possession and awaiting their collection, the attitude changed and they agreed to cancel the invoice. I told them if I heard from them again I contact the Office of Fair Trading.
I will NEVER buy from Dell again.


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post #5 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 8:35 pm
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What do I know, I still use WordStar in a DOS window to edit code and still remember many CP/M system commands [/QUOTE]

Hey another Wordstar and CP/M guy. Those of us leftover from those days have to be as old as dirt.

Bruce
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post #6 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 9:08 pm
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My company is starting to look at Dell



I think I better start looking at another company

Just Go
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post #7 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 9:17 pm
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Dude

Probably why there is no "It's a Dell Dude" running around anymore. My company uses Dell's exclusively. As a matter of fact I'm typing this reply on my Dell laptop. Their laptops and desk tops function pretty well but the servers are a bit touchly to say the least. We've had servers that never coughed during their two year tenure and several that have died with months. Go figure.

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post #8 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 9:18 pm
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Oh, MAN. I can feel your pain. Clueless (field) techs, where did I see that before? Oh, yes DELL. As far as I am concerned when our main server in CA goes off warranty it will be replaced by something that is CERTAINLY *NOT* Dell.

I have seen many, many field techs, and so far I have found only on company that seems to always have intelligent techs in the field that know and understand what they are doing. You got to pay a little bit of a premium price, but I'll take the premium price any day when compared to techs that actually destroy things. As evidened in the case of this web sites main server, or Randy's laptop.
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post #9 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 9:55 pm
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I have a desk top made by Allienware and love it. When i had to use the tech support to ask a question it was great, they were in Florida, answered the phone quickly, were very helpful and I could understand them perfectly. Last year I called for a question and found the tech support took a long time to get to me, they were hard to understand did not want to help me cause I was out of warranty, very much by the book. I found out they had been bought out by Dell, then moved their tech support to India. It reminded me of my expierence with AOL.

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post #10 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 9:56 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy
What do I know, I still use WordStar in a DOS window to edit code and still remember many CP/M system commands
Ever use or remember "k_edit"? It was the DOS version of the VM/CMS editor - pretty powerful.

Ted

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post #11 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 10:01 pm
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Hi Ted, light still working?

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post #12 of 19 Old Feb 6th, 2008, 11:35 pm
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Yes sir - so far so good! The weekend after installation rode to San Diego to visit an old college bud, came back at night - huge improvement! Up until this past week haven't had much time to ride, and when I did have time it was raining! But, since last Friday have managed to put almost 400 miles, mostly running errands to the valley during the day !

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post #13 of 19 Old Feb 7th, 2008, 8:38 am
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Randy,

You need one of these. Solve all of your problems.


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post #14 of 19 Old Feb 7th, 2008, 8:58 am
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mirrors my experience

and that is why I do not purchase Dells.

I went to Gateway 2000, and have been very satisfied with the products, and level of service. All of tech support is North American based, most of it is the Dakota's.

I have 15 gateway rack servers, and well over 100 workstations inhouse. As well as 25 or so laptops using a mix of RPC/HTTPS or VPN to access my Exchange 2003 servers.

My sales rep treats me excellent, and I get replacement laptops and desktops (or Profiles!) shipped out the same day with no charge overnight. They pay to ship the dead system back with a prepaid label. The old system goes into the box, and UPS or FEDEX ground picks it up. No muss no fuss!

This is a business account, not any of the systems that you would see at Best Buy or Circuit City......

YMMV, but I am happy....

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post #15 of 19 Old Feb 7th, 2008, 10:01 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy
I have seen many, many field techs, and so far I have found only on company that seems to always have intelligent techs in the field that know and understand what they are doing.
Care to share the name of the company? Or is that a trade secret?
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post #16 of 19 Old Feb 7th, 2008, 10:32 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mconlogue
and that is why I do not purchase Dells.

I went to Gateway 2000, and have been very satisfied with the products, and level of service. All of tech support is North American based, most of it is the Dakota's.

I have 15 gateway rack servers, and well over 100 workstations inhouse. As well as 25 or so laptops using a mix of RPC/HTTPS or VPN to access my Exchange 2003 servers.

My sales rep treats me excellent, and I get replacement laptops and desktops (or Profiles!) shipped out the same day with no charge overnight. They pay to ship the dead system back with a prepaid label. The old system goes into the box, and UPS or FEDEX ground picks it up. No muss no fuss!

This is a business account, not any of the systems that you would see at Best Buy or Circuit City......

YMMV, but I am happy....
I experience the same level of service with HP servers.
Dell tried to get their foot in the door and I was asked to evaluate a 1U server... The thing flexed! The chassis was just like a cheap clone! The tiny wires inside reminded me of the PC clones I was building in the late 80s... WTF? I am very happy with HP.

Gilles & Kathy
BMWMOA# 154719
IBA# 71594
2011 Ostra Gray RT
06 Mercedes-Benz E350 Estate (parts and people hauler)
2012 BMW X3 (parts and people hauler)
86 Porsche 911 Cabriolet (my "new" baby)



For her I climbed the highest mountain!
For her I swam across the deepest ocean!
For her I walked through the largest desert!
And then she left me... She said I was never home!!!


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post #17 of 19 Old Feb 7th, 2008, 11:07 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTPenguin
Care to share the name of the company? Or is that a trade secret?
What, Uh?, No, no secret. I thought I said it. SUN Microsystems has ALWAYS had reliable and knowledgeable field techs.

Maybe thats because they run the service organization themselves.
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post #18 of 19 Old Feb 7th, 2008, 11:56 am
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And as a shameful plug, rack mounted Intel, and all the rest of the up end UNIX and z Systems are managed by IBM's service force. Unfortunately, that doesn't cover laptops and desk tops.

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Have you
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bmwlt.com lately????



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post #19 of 19 Old Feb 7th, 2008, 12:56 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveDragon
We must have a different Support Company than you Randy.
I certainly hope so. I would be curious if it is QualServ - that is who mucked up our server and my laptop. I am surprised that Dell used the same entity for both.

Randy Prade
Aurora, CO

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