Dell Warranty Spam

Written by Nexcerpt on December 14th, 2011 in Dating & Online.
Tags: , , ,

Over the years, my companies have bought dozens of servers, workstations, and related devices from Dell. Those machines have worked quite well. We ran them hard for years, around the clock. We eventually gave most of them to a friend who repurposes the big boxes for a church network, and the small boxes for kids who can’t afford (but need) a way to do schoolwork online.

I’ve never needed or purchased (or regretted the lack of) any extended warranty.

After being such a great customer, can Dell really not excuse me from their infernal maintenance upselling spam campaign?

To those who have been through support or service hell with true consequences — for mission critical hardware, or essential network access — this tale will at first seem trivial. If you’ll read through all the loops here, though, you may join me in asking: what does this reveal about Dell’s internal culture, or management style, or business priorities?

If Dell can’t solve this service problem, how could we expect them to solve a hard service problem?

In 2009, I bought several new Dell servers, to upgrade the entire network and database infrastructure of Nexcerpt, which had been running on the same half-dozen servers since 2001.

Upon that purchase, Dell immediately replaced one power supply. (One dual redundant unit was dead at first startup; the other was fine.) For two merciful years, as the servers ran quietly, Dell, too, remained silent.

Then, on 2011 Jun 16, I received this notice, from “Jannie” (no last names, please), which Jannie also cc’d to Jannie’s manager, “Ice” (I am not making that up):

I am writing to inform you that your Dell system/s currently under service contract will be expiring soon.

I have attached a report of the systems with expiring service contracts accompanied by Pricing/Quote (per request) for your reference.

This may assist you in budgeting and planning your system coverage needs.

Thank you, Jannie, but… actually, I made no such request. As if to subtly confirm that fact, the promised report was not attached.

I continued being distracted with real work; Dell went quiet again. That is, until 2011 Aug 08, when Jannie wrote:

I would just like to make a follow up regarding the warranty on your Dell PowerEdge 2900.

As I check your account, it is not yet updated as of this time

Any feedback on this ?

On 2011 Aug 22 I replied:

Your email of 16 Jun 11 referenced a pricing report, which was not attached.

Please forward that detail for our review.

On 2011 Aug 23, Jannie sent along that quote, saying:

Below is the 3 and 4 years QUOTE/PRICING.

On 2011 Aug 24 (knowing the servers likely will be replaced before those years pass), I tried to close the cycle:

That’s a bit pricey for our needs; we won’t be renewing.

On 2011 Aug 24, Jannie teased:

Just to be safe, why not extend it for 1 year?

I responded immediately:

If more pricing options exist, they might have appeared before now.

Please: more concern for ~my~ business, and less for that of Dell.

On 2011 Aug 30, Jannie again sent me the same “follow up” note Jannie had previously sent me on 2011 Aug 08.

Twice. Seven minutes apart.

Moments later, I replied to Jannie and cc’d Ice (Jannie’s manager):

My concerns? So far…

The initial inquiry did not contain the pricing report it said it would.

When I requested it, you offered 3 or 4-year options; I declined over price.

You then revealed there were ~other~ options, but didn’t offer pricing.

I summed up my concerns in my note last week, to which I saw no reply.

None of this reflects well on Dell, or suggests we would want your help.

Do you have a business proposition? Could you send complete details?

On 2011 Sep 09, Jannie helpfully wrote:

I am getting back to you with 1 & 2 years QUOTE.

Oddly, only this quote (and the first quote, from 2011 Aug 23) ever mentioned my company name, or customer number. The servers’ serial numbers appeared in several messages (because… we all have our server serial numbers memorized?), but otherwise I saw no data to differentiate my message from the many other copies of it.

Within the hour (still not enamored of the pricing) I replied simply:

No, thanks.

On 2011 Sep 19, Jannie sent me nearly the same “follow up” note Jannie had previously sent me on 2011 Aug 08, and 2011 Aug 30.

On 2011 Sep 26, Jannie again sent me the same “follow up” note Jannie had previously sent me on 2011 Sep 19. But, at least this time seven days had passed between the two identical messages, instead of only seven minutes.

On 2011 Oct 03, Jannie sent me nearly the same “follow up” note Jannie had previously sent me on 2011 Aug 08, and 2011 Aug 30, and 2011 Sep 19, and 2011 Sep 26.

On 2011 Oct 10, Jannie inquired:

Do we have updates on your warranty renewal for Server/s?

What would be the best time to call you so we can finalize it?

Let me know your concerns

I immediately shot back (cleverly reusing my carefully considered response from one month ago):

No, thanks.

Two minutes later, Jannie’s second copy of exactly the same inquiry arrived.

On 2011 Oct 17, Jannie sent me nearly the same “follow up” note Jannie had previously sent me on 2011 Aug 08, and 2011 Aug 30, and 2011 Sep 19, and 2011 Sep 26, and 2011 Oct 03.

Within the hour, I replied to Jannie, and cc’d Ice (and bcc’d a lifetime friend who for years held a senior marketing position with Dell):

“No, thanks.”

I sent you that message a week ago; I’m confident it arrived.

Since 1996, I have bought only Dell products to power my online services — perhaps $200K in hardware during that time. I have recommended Dell to many other CTOs and business owners.

The warranty renewal approaches stumbling into my mailbox for the past several months have been an embarrassment to your company. Multiple copies of the same note, even after I’ve answered; promised quotes omitted; lower cost alternatives obscured.

This wastes my time, and shows scant interest in my actual needs.

Given Dell’s bumbling approach to this warranty cycle, it appears that customer service is now secondary to some other agenda (or confusion) there in Austin. I may recommend your hardware again — but I will do so with a warning not to expect competent business support.

On 2011 Nov 11, Jannie sent me exactly the same note from 2011 Jun 16, to wit:

I am writing to inform you that your Dell system/s currently under service contract will be expiring soon.

I have attached a report of the systems with expiring service contracts accompanied by Pricing/Quote (per request) for your reference.

This may assist you in budgeting and planning your system coverage needs.

Again, I had not requested any quote; again Jannie omitted the promised attachment. Consistency!

On 2011 Nov 15, Jannie wrote to offer:

I tried calling you a while ago but you were not around so I left a voice mail

I would like to follow-up if you already have a decision on this?

Within the hour, I wrote back to Jannie (and cc’d Ice, and bcc’d my management friend) with a copy of my previous note, saying:

Please see my note, about my ~previous~ note, about my *previous* note, below.

Imagine my great joy, when on 2011 Dec 13, I opened my mail to see:

My name is Gustavo and I’m a member of the Extended Services Team here at Dell Inc.

My records indicate that your maintenance plan is set to expire soon or has already expired.

Twenty seven minutes later, Benjamin also weighed in (following in Jannie’s well worn footsteps):

I am writing to inform you that your Dell systems currently under service contract will be expiring soon.

I have attached a report of the systems with expiring service contracts accompanied by a renewal quote (per request) for your reference.

This may assist you in budgeting and planning your system coverage needs.

True to form, as all Ice’s direct reports do, Benjamin omitted the promised attachment, which Benjamin claimed I had requested (though I had not).

Then, six hours later, from “Dell Services” (Dell’s version of Anonymous?): “Your Dellâ„¢ Service Contract is Expiring.”

That email went on to assert the optimistic notion that — perhaps if I have been a very good boy and Santa’s elves perceive my goodness just so:

…you will no longer receive service and support assistance…

Is there any chance that’s true? Will Dell ever stop providing me this level of service, and extent of support assistance? Dare I dream?

 

Comments are closed.



Recent Posts and Other Categories