I would say Dell Warranty Service sucks but that would give “sucks” a bad name.

A couple of days ago one of the Dell PCs here stopped working abruptly with a brief blue screen and then a full instant power down and the absolute refusal to power up again.  After checking the usual suspects (opening the case clearing dust and letting the system cool down) the problem persisted so it was time to give Dell Technical support a call.

What’s the Frequency Kenneth?

dell_webThe first step, of course, is to get the phone number to call.  A trip over to support.dell.com reveals a website that looks like it should be quite helpful, yet in reality tries to make it difficult to find something as simple as the phone number to call for technical support.

If you fall into the trap of clicking on Technical Support here they will try to get you to do anything except talk to a live person.  The first step is to find your “Service Tag Number” which is attached to my Dell account (I have two Dell PCs under warranty).  When you enter the Technical Support section the first thing they do is ask for your Service Tag Number.  They could just provide a dropdown field with your existing systems and their service tag numbers but where is the sport in that?  Instead you have to either find the small tag on your system or find the spot on the Dell website that shows your service tag numbers.  I chose to find my tag number on the web site (hint: not the correct choice).

The technical support page offers to find your service tag number but that only works 1. If you are using Internet Explorer (and not Firefox as I do) and 2. If you are using the computer that you need technical support for (which, when you think about, isn’t likely)  I’ve put a big red arrow on the image below showing you the actual choice you should make to determine the Service Tag number of your system.





Once I had the service tag number I copied it into the box and went on hoping I could talk to someone at tech support.  However I was instead lead to a troubleshooting wizard.  See if this intro doesn’t make you pee your pants:


Hand Tools?  Removing and Replacing Parts?  Reinstalling Windows and Drivers?  That’s right Grandma now stop complaining and get out your soldering iron! To actually talk to someone (which is what I wanted to do in the first place) you can click on the “Contact Us” link.  Well to be fair you won’t quite get to talk to someone yet but this is the correct next step.


After you click on “Contact Technical Support” above you are taking to this screen:


Did you think I was exaggerating that they make it as difficult as possible to talk to a technical support person (and spoiler alert: once you do talk to them you’ll wish you hadn’t)?  After you click on Call Technical Support (shouldn’t this be on the FIRST PAGE?).  You’ll need to enter your Service Tag again.  You did write it down didn’t you (I hadn’t).  Well you do remember what page to go to to get the list of service tags again don’t you (I didn’t):


After you’ve entered your Service Tag again you will be shown a simple 11 digit number.  Memorize this number because the tech person you are about to speak to will want it (not really)


You’ve done it my good man!  You are now ready to talk to technical support!  Simply call their technical support phone number (keep that express service code available!) which is:


Dell Technical Support:




and you’ll be speaking to someone in India very shortly (that’s not a joke).  And what’s the first thing they ask you?  If you answered express service code then you are wrong.  Try your Service Tag which is of course not re-displayed on the final contact screen from the website (hahaha!) so you must go back and find it again.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

All the Things She Said, She Said (Finally on the Phone with Dell!)

Once I got someone on the phone and described the situation with my PC to them they started having me slowly disassemble my computer.  Now you may misunderstand that to mean “open my computer case” but that was merely the beginning of me taking every component out of the PC (at their request, one by one) trying to make the computer turn the solid yellow light on the power button into some other color light (presumably green).  After about 30 minutes I had two SLI video cards, a soundblaster card, 4 sticks of RAM and three ribbon cables sitting randomly around me.  That’s right, the only thing left attached to the motherboard was the power supply and the CPU and the symptoms were still the same.

The last step for her was to have me remove the ribbon cable from a daughterboard that connected to the power button (as if the power button was somehow the culprit).  I suggested that it looked like this would cause the light to go out completely when we tried again.  It did.  Five more minutes on hold and she “dispatched” a tech person to come onsite (because I have one of those 7 days a week onsite warrantees) and gave me this dispatch number.  This was at about 7 or 8pm on August 18th.  When the 20th rolled around and I hadn’t heard anything I called support again and asked.  The person there said that the tech hadn’t received the part (in this case the motherboard and power supply) and expected it Friday night (yes, she said he expected it at night which I did think was strange) and that because I had Saturday/Sunday coverage that he’d call on Friday and come out on Saturday.

He didn’t call, he didn’t come and after a call today the parts are still out.  The hollow shell of my Dell computer (which used to be my sole work computer) sits near its cards and cables and waits for some dude to come over and do major (replace the motherboard in someone’s house?  This I have to see….) work on my kitchen table or something.  I’ll post an update when this issue is finally resolved but even now it’s clear that their service is pretty poor and that’s definitely disappointing considering the fact that it used to be pretty good.


No comments.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.