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.