I purchased my computer mid-summer last year from Dell. They had a deal going where you could customize a computer to your liking with Windows XP and the ability to upgrade to Vista when you were feeling ready. The computer I had prior to this I had had for several years and only felt the need to get a new computer because it was a bit too slow for my liking. I customized a computer that would be significantly faster with a speedy processor and a generous amount of memory. I paid quite a bit of money for this but was satisfied that the customization would suit my needs.
I haven't used the computer very much as I have a Macbook that I use more often due to its convenience but on occasion I use the desktop for graphics editing and other projects since I find it easier to work with due to familiarity. A few days ago out of nowhere the computer froze within ten minutes of use and emitted one loud ongoing beep. I was forced to turn the computer off. I turned it back on, the same problem happened and I also noticed a sweet plastic smell emitting from the machine. I powered the machine down again and accepted the facts: something was wrong with my computer. By then it was late and I didn't feel like dealing with technical support so I put it off until the next day.
Upon waking I called technical support. First they had me run a diagnostics test on both the hard drive and the memory. Each passed after a nearly two hour test process. This is after the technician told me that by the way the test was taking so long it was more than likely a hard drive problem. The technician had me boot back into Windows and poke around for a bit. I did light stuff such as checking email, browsing the internet and letting a virus scan run. After fifteen minutes or so the technician suggested it was a software problem and transferred me to software. As I was on hold with software, the computer froze once again and blared out its siren call. I turned the computer off. By now I had been on the phone with the support for three hours and I was beginning to lose patience.
Software once again bounced me back to technical support. The new technician I spoke to had me boot up in Safe Mode and see what would happen. I did was I had been doing prior to this issue to see what would happen. For about fifteen minutes or so I played around in a graphics program with the tech on the phone. Eventually he told me that since it was working in safe mode it had to be a software problem and again was going to transfer me. That was the final grain of my patience slipping through the proverbial hourglass. I asked to speak to somebody else because I was unhappy with the treatment I was receiving. He put me on hold and transferred me to a floor manager. As I sat on hold, the computer froze yet again. The floor manager finally picked up and I proceeded to tell him how I was pissed off with their terrible service and how none of their jackass technicians could solve my problem. He apologized and told me he would dispatch somebody to come look at the computer and replace parts inside. He told me it would take two to three days. I was not pleased with this as I was sure that by now, I could have taken the computer to a local repair shop and had it fixed but because it was under warranty, I wanted Dell to make it right. But there was nothing more I could do.
Prior to calling Dell I had done some searching of the problem for myself and had run into two common occurrences for this problem. It was either the power supply or the computer was overheating. Since Dell had not been able to pinpoint the issue and help me, and was basically throwing new parts at me to shut me up I decided to run a test on it myself. I took the side off of the computer and aimed a fan at it on high power. I used the computer for a bit and sure enough, same problem. This, to me, seemed to confirm it was not overheating but was possibly the power supply, though the light on the power supply is green. I decided that since it was later in the day and there may have been a shift change in technicians, I should call and try again.
This time there was not a lot to be done, but the technician offered to dispatch a power supply for me as well and explained that normally they would do a system swap but because I had not had the chance to back up my files they would do their best to replace the parts. However, they intended to replace my hard drive as well and said that I could not keep my old hard drive. Now how they expected me to back up my files when the computer was freezing after ten minutes or so, and I could not keep the old drive is completely beyond me. I asked to speak to a manager once more. The manager informed me that I could keep my drive for ten days to back up my files, which pleased me.
The next day, surprisingly, a technician came to my house to replace the motherboard and parts inside. I spoke to him briefly about the hard drive and he told me that I could keep the drive, but it wasn't recommended. Then he asked me how I intended to back the files up anyway. I asked if it were possible to hook the drive up inside as a secondary so that I could access the files on it. He said no, it was not possible because he didn't have the right cables for that and that I would have to buy the cables separately. I got frazzled, but assumed maybe I could hook it up inside of my old computer to try to back it up - but this is not possible as they are different connectors. So there was no way to back my files up. The technician said I could keep my drive and he wouldn't replace it. He then proceeded to replace the inside motherboard, fans and memory. When he had finished he put it all back together, hooked it up to the power and turned it on. The light on the computer flashed amber. It didn't work. After some tinkering around, he told me it was not the hard drive fortunately, but that the replacement motherboard was dead. So they sent a technician to fix my computer with a dead part! I was enraged.
The technician called in to dispatch another motherboard. It was then that they told him that I had also had a power supply dispatched. He did not sound pleased talking to whomever he was. Still, he did his best and when he disconnected he informed me that the power supply should have been in to be replaced today and that if I was not called by noon I should phone Dell to see what was going on. By one today no one had called so I called in to technical support and asked what was happening. The technician told me that it usually takes two to three business days as I had already been informed. I angrily explained that the technician that had been here yesterday said that a power supply was being dispatched and should have been here today. He attempted to make it the technician's fault by apologizing that he had told me it would take one day and that he was making a note of it. He completely missed what I was saying, so I explained yet again. Then I told him I was pissed that it was another day and it was more than likely my computer would not be fixed until next week, as tomorrow is Saturday and Monday is a holiday. I am really f*cking angry that it will be over a week before my computer gets fixed though I realize there is very little the company can do about this. Perhaps if it were possible to take the computer while under warranty to an authorized Dell seller to get it repaired, I would not be in this predicament.
While it may not be intentional, every technician I spoke to sounded as though they were smug and talking down to me. This is because they are all like robots. Their first language is not English and so, when they read from their scripts they sound so unsympathetic and patronizing. It drove me insane. The technician who came to my house was a local guy so he had a bit more emotion and sympathy to him, but he did seem to speak to me in a patronizing tone as well when I was talking about my hard drive. Still, I let it slide. He also made a joking remark that I had a Mac too close to a Dell. Considering I have had the MacBook for nearly four years, I couldn't believe that bullshit. I proceeded to tell him that I had had my computer prior to this Dell for seven years as well. I am not someone who cannot use a computer responsibly. I know enough about them to take care of them, as well as other products I own and make them last so that I get my money's worth out of them. This computer however has not been so lucky. I am utterly pissed to know that with the money I dropped on this computer, I could have purchased another Sony Vaio or an iMac. In sum, Dell is a poor company with the shittiest customer support I have ever had to deal with.