Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dell refunds my 4.99

I received an email today from Larry the consumer advocate at Dell informing me that my 4.99 charge will be reversed. This is good news in a lot of ways. First of all, it fixes a wrong. That was my main sticking point. As anyone who reads this blog knows, the one thing I care passionately about in the world is fairness, and charging me this fee was NOT fair.

Second and most important, those of you have been following this will see that Dell communicated with me through my blog. It was worthless to call customer service, but it was way worth it to put the problem on my blog. This shows me that Dell cares enough about its reputation to at least have a Google alert for dell complaints, or whatever technical means they used to find my complaint.

This is a good step forward in rebuilding the trust we once had for a company that started out making it possible for the average person to connect to the Internet with plug and play computers that didn't require a whole lot of technical knowledge. I have to give them credit for that, and over the years I have sent them lots of business for this very reason. As I mentioned several times, I never had a problem with the product itself, just the lack of service that came with it in most every department where they had to rely on outsourced labor.

There are still some issues to be worked out, such as "the records" showing I ordered the memory card and camera on separate days. This is simply not true and smells of someone, probably our inflexible "friend" in India trying to cover his own ass. I'm still working on getting that "mistake" corrected. Again, for no other reason than fairness. I am an honorable person and I expect others to be honorable too, especially when they are taking my hard-earned money from me.

Finally, this whole experience is a lesson for Dell and other companies who rely on outsourcing to save some bucks. I know for certain it cost them my friend's camera purchase. That's over 3,000 dollar they lost trying to save 4.99. I know for certain that the bad taste left by incompetent customer service people has left a lot of people angry at Dell and other companies to the point where they simply don't buy from them anymore. And at a time when these same companies are begging for some kind of stimulus package so they can stay in business, will they finally realize outsourcing is costing them more money than it is saving them? Will they bring those jobs back home and finally be able to provide the kind of customer service that Larry was able to provide because he is located in Texas?

I would hope so because as a consumer I want to be respected for buying from a merchant. And because I use a camera in my work, I need to be able to buy a good one that does what it says it will do, comes with all the extras I need to make it work better, and especially I need a decent and reliable customer support system that understands the way to keep me happy is to listen to and address any problems that arise during the purchase, delivery and use of their product. Only then will the word "repeat customer" show up more frequently in their order reports.

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