I normally only write about food-related items, but this has gotten me so upset, I’ve decided to put this out there.
By day, I’m a computer programmer. I am an employee of a contracting company. Next week, my current contract is ended and I’m going to be starting one that requires me to work from home. I like working from home, but I need to fix my set-up a little bit. I got very used to having two 24″ monitors and I’m very productive with them.
I’ve been a satisfied Dell customer for probably at least 7 years. Over the years, I’ve purchased at least 3 laptops and 1 desktop from them. I never had an issue with my warranties or anything and their customer service has always been excellent. So it was only natural that when I purchased the monitors, I purchased them from Dell.
A few days ago, I purchased two 23″ monitors that pivot and are height adjustable. (The 24 inch monitors were almost twice as expensive, so what’s an inch?) I logged into my Dell account, purchased the monitors and paid for them with my credit card. I got the order confirmation and later that evening a notice that the items were shipped and I would have them this past Friday.
Normal transaction I thought. Until I received the following:
Being a reasonable person, I checked my credit card out on-line and noted that it had been debited the correct amount. I’m also very leery of doing anything with a credit card with a company when they initiate the contact. So I contacted the Dell on-line support chat and was told that everything was fine and the system had shipped and it was on track to be delivered on Friday. When I asked why I might have gotten the error, the service representative told me that it was probably a system error.
Well a system error didn’t explain the fact that I got two harassing voice mail messages to my home phone that night. The messages were from the same person who purportedly sent me the first email, basically threatening me with cancelling my order if I didn’t contact him. Since I had a reassuring conversation with the on-line representative and this seemed to be related to my credit card, I ignored the voice mails (one was at 9:30 at night by the way).
At this point I began to believe that this was a phishing scheme from someone inside Dell to get my credit card information. After all, why would someone be telling me there is a problem with my credit card, when it’s already been charged and the item was shipped?
I sent an email to the representative the next morning saying:
Actually that is not true. My credit card has been debited the correct amount and I was notified that the packages had shipped. Tracking with UPS shows them out for delivery.
I also spoke with a Dell representative yesterday afternoon who confirmed that there was no issue with the order.
I’m not sure why you are contacting me both via phone and email, but please stop.
After this my monitors actually arrived and I figured that all was well. Not the case. Here is where it gets really weird.
I get another email from this guy saying:
Thank you for your email , Appreciate your call to dell . Yes the packages have been sent out for shipping however they await my authorization for delivery . Every shipment before it is delivered has to be confirmed with the account holder for the sake of security of our customers . Please provide me a phone to be able to reach , I would need less than 3 minutes of your time to verify this and authorize delivery of this product . Request your assistance.
Thanks and regards ,
Note a few things, one he doesn’t call me Sandra, he calls me Shayna. I used to have a domain called shayna.com which I sold last year. I never used the name Shayna on the Dell site. My last email address with them had a shayna.com domain, but I changed it to a purchasing email account I set up in gmail.
Also note the threat to stop the shipment and that apparently he needs to personally authorize each and every delivery through UPS before they will give it to the person who purchased it. Also by this time, I also had the monitors in my possession. So really, truly not true. I’m even more suspicious now because what he is saying doesn’t at all relate to my experience. So I write back.
I was pretty busy yesterday so couldn’t do this immediately and before I could do this, I got a phone call from someone purportedly at Dell who told me I needed to verify information. When I told them I wouldn’t verify credit card information and that the amount had cleared my credit card company, he told me it wasn’t about my credit card. (Oh no? What did that first email say?). I asked him what information needed to be verified and he wouldn’t tell me. Instead he gave me a number to call. So why the heck is this person calling me to tell me I need to verify information and won’t tell me what information I need to verify and requires me to initiate another phone call for this verification. At this point I’m pretty upset.
Then he tells me that if I don’t call the number I will be blacklisted at Dell. He goes on to tell me that my warranty on these monitors will be for a year. The order indicates 3 years. So the implication is that if I’m black-listed, my warranties will not be honored. On items I paid for! Including my laptop.
I’m still wary of simply calling this number. So I go back to the Dell online support chat, at which time the support person tells me that she can’t open my account to look at it, its been locked by the Verification Department. She gives me the same number that I got before, but at least this time, I actually believe the number is a part of Dell.
So I call, and at this point, I’m fuming angry. Why is my account locked because I didn’t kow tow to some unknown person who wants my credit card information over the phone when the credit card has already been charged and the purchase was made? The same person who sent me the original emails takes my call and tells me that he holds any order with a gmail account. Apparently, it wasn’t my credit card at all. Dell is discriminating (or at least this guy is) against gmail accounts. But he lied, the first email said it was about my credit card.
At this point I’m so angry I can hardly speak. He keeps telling me he did nothing wrong? Oh really? He locked out my account, threatened and harassed me via email and phone because he didn’t like the fact that I am using a gmail account. I ask to speak to his supervisor. He kept trying to stop that and I simply kept interrupting him until I finally (after 15 minutes of listening to him defend himself) got to a supervisor.
The supervisor tried to defend the original person. Apparently, if I had only called them straight-away and given them what they wanted (which they had no right to ask for in my opinion) everything would have been okay. He also told me that they didn’t verify based on previous history, but only on the current order. Considering all the information was the same for shipping and billing as in all the previous purchases, this might have been a clue? I told him that while they might be black-listing me, that at this point I would also be black-listing them. I asked what he planned to do to keep me as a Dell customer.
“All I can do is apologize”, he said. I asked to be kicked up to someone who could do something. So along came the floor manager, who actually admitted that the whole thing was their error and apologized and told me my account was no longer restricted. But really, at this point, are canned apologies enough? I asked him what he was going to do to keep me as a customer. Apparently he isn’t able to do anything but apologize. So I asked him to give me to someone who could.
I then got foisted off to another “floor manager” who basically said the same thing the previous one did. There is no attempt to fix this, there is no attempt to tell me they will look into their policies. Just a “I apologize”.
All these interactions were with people with Indian accents. So I’m assuming all of this was outsourced to Dell’s call centers in India. Apparently no one there can rectify the mistakes they make and someone in a foreign country has to power to threaten and harass me and to restrict my account. I was promised (after an hour of having this escalated) that they are going to get someone to call me today to try to appease me.
I don’t know what it will take to make me happy. Part of me is ready to send these monitors back, but then again, how hard will it be to get my money back? At the least I’d like to see a change in Dell’s policies that allows something like this to happen at the whim of someone who simply doesn’t like gmail accounts.
What do you think should happen?
I received two phone calls from Dell yesterday (both from India). The first one was a total wash, it was a manager who basically just reiterated that they apologize, but could do nothing. And apparently wasn’t really concerned enough to do anything else about it.
Thanks to the advice I received here, I sent some emails yesterday. So the second call was actually in response to the email I sent in which I said:
For the full story, please see my blog at http://healthyfoodnaturally.com/2012/06/23/im-black-listing-dell-computers/
I have been a satisfied Dell customer for over 7 years. Last Wednesday I purchased 2 monitors. They were shipped promptly and arrived on Friday. Thank you very much.
On Thursday I received a notification from Dell (emails attached) stating there was an issue with my credit card. I checked with my bank, the charge was submitted by Dell and subsequently cleared on Friday. I contacted your customer service (chat logs attached) and was told there was no issue.
I received several emails from the same person (xxx_xxx@Dell.com) telling me the order would be held without verification. He also told me (after I received the monitors) that he had to verbally authorize deliveries with UPS. All of this sounded very strange to me and I refused to give any verification information.
I then received a phone call from a man last night who told me that unless I verified my information I would be black-listed with Dell. I told him I would not verify credit card information since the charge was valid and had posted. He told me it wasn’t credit card information, but something else and refused to tell me what it was. He also implied that the warranties I hold (for the monitors which are 3 year and my other items would not be honored). He told me to call the number on the first email.
I went back and contacted Customer Service chat and they told me my account was locked. They gave me the same phone number which at least relieved me that the communications were actually coming from Dell. When I finally got to “Stephen Daniel” at your outsourced call center, he told me it wasn’t about the credit card information (which the email clearly states), but was because I was using a gmail address and that he always verified gmail addresses.
All my information with the exception of the email address has been the same since I began buying from Dell. The email address was changed because I had sold my domain (shayna.com) which was where the old email went to and switched exclusively to gmail. I cannot believe that Dell would regularly restrict transactions on the most popular email domain on the web.
I was escalated to 3 managers (one who called me back today). All were Indian and I believe from your call center. None of them were willing to do anything other than simply apologize to me. I am very concerned that this is some sort of identity theft situation coming out of your identity fraud group. The whole thing doesn’t make sense unless placed in that context.
I would like to speak to someone from Dell USA with authority to handle this issue. As of right now, I have no intention of purchasing from Dell again, nor can I recommend your brand. The chances of being harassed and possibly lied to are just too high.
The person who called me told me that he was from the Executive Customer Support Team.
He basically told me that the email I received that the issues were with my credit card was sent in error, and that the entire issue was my email address. He said he would try to take steps to see that never happened again.
He offered me a $50 credit to make up for the issues. But at no time did he deal with the issue of the phone harassment or the fact that I was told I would be black listed or that they did lock my account.
A friend was over at the time of this phone call and she asked me what would make me satisfied and I realized it’s not the money. I was happy with the price of the monitors and I’m not looking to get them for free.
I said something along the lines of I’d like to have their policies and procedures for verification clearly spelled out and for them to adhere to them.
She said, so if they said “We are sorry this happened and to make sure this doesn’t happen to another customer, we will take steps A-Z.” and I realized yes, that’s what I want.
- To investigate my actual complaint instead of simply trying to placate me with words and a small amount of money without actually doing anything to improve their systems.
- To make sure that the threats from their people to their customers stop.