Dell: This is getting ridiculous. Please fix.

by Lee Hopkins on January 2, 2009 · 11 comments

in customer service,tools

UPDATE 2: I received a call from Dell’s Yvonne Patze here in Australia – great result, details of which are here.

UPDATE: I rang Customer Service back and despite the best intentions of three different Customer Service Managers I refused to hang up and have someone call me back, but instead asked to be put back in the call centre queue until a technician was available. Eventually, Mr. Wai Kit was pivotal in helping put the whole sound input problem to bed, and he did it calmly and confidently. Brilliant service, Wai Kit – thanks!

Caveat: I haven’t tried the speech recognition engine yet as it is 5.30pm and Mrs BetterComms is home and quite rightly demanding my attention and assistance with prep for the evening meal.

dear dell, my notebook needs fixing. STILL.

My recording system on my Dell notebook is still not working, despite logging this as a problem probably two months ago.

My otherwise very happy relationship with Dell (I have bought several notebooks and a pda, and I’ve long recommended them to friends) is starting to unravel.

For goodness knows what reasons, ‘stuff’ keeps disappearing from my computer, and I don’t know whether it’s a Dell issue or a Vista issue…

First off, my notebook (an Inspiron 1520 with separate graphics card) wouldn’t record anything via the mic input. I confirmed that the headset microphone was working by using it on a couple of other computers, but the inspiron just didn’t like it. I tried using a Sony lapel mic, with additional amplifier, and the notebook would only ‘hear’ sounds if I held the mic right up to my lips.

So I rang Tech Support and they couldn’t supply an answer.

Shortly after that, my hard drive failed on my notebook. Sheesh!

After several mix-ups, including sending a repair tech out to somewhere in Sydney to fix it (he rang me trying to find my address; after about three minutes of confusion we realised that he was in Sydney and I was in Adelaide, 1600kms away). Eventually, the ‘next business day’ service I had subscribed to was ‘next three business days’ but I did get a new hard drive, although the technician took my old hard drive with him (standard practice, he said, and if I wanted to keep it there was paperwork I needed to fill in, which he didn’t have with him). He reloaded Windows Vista for me, but without the nifty Aero stuff which I had to dig deep, find and activate again.

Oh, and the technician wasn’t a Dell employee – he was a sub-contractor.

So then I am very keen to use Vista’s speech recognition engine to help me write my book, as the deadline draws ever closer and my panic levels ever higher. But STILL the notebook won’t ‘hear’ the microphone, any microphone.

But it gets worse.

Today I go hunting for the speaker icon on my notification bar and notice that it has disappeared. So too has the horizontal green volume bar that pops up when you push the volume buttons on the front of the notebook.

Figuring that it must be some ‘switch’ somewhere that has switched itself off, I right-click on the taskbar, select properties, and find the ‘volume’ and ‘network’ icons ‘greyed out’. WTF? Why can I no longer select them?

Okay, leaving that conundrum for a moment, I decide to record a quick video to vent my frustration, using the built-in webcam and microphone in the notebook. Only the webcam microphone is now not working. At all. There is no audio input facility across the entire notebook.

My internal stress temperature is rising…

I ring Dell Customer Support, get two people who both ask me for my service tag number (why do both of them need to ask me for it?) and get politely told by accents barely discernable as English that I will probably be contacted by a technician by close of business Monday. It’s now Friday afternoon and the ‘Deadline Clock’ is starting to tick as loudly as the Doomsday Bomb.

A shut-down and reboot fixes the ‘greyed out’ volume and network icons issue in my taskbar, so at least something is working again. But the horizontal green volume bar, the audio input issues and my anti-stress pills are still not working.

Please, Dell Australia, help me resolve this issue. Please. Otherwise I may never buy another Dell again and instead buy from my local computer shop where the customer service means I can walk in and they attend to me there and then, not 48-72 hours later.

  • http://www.stevedavis.com.au/ stevedavis

    Hi Lee. What a wonderful start to 2009! Anyway, given that Dell are Social Media Darlings (just ask FIR’s Shel and Neville) I am really keen to see what sort of follow up you receive from your blog post. Cheers, Steve.

  • http://www.stevedavis.com.au stevedavis

    Hi Lee. What a wonderful start to 2009! Anyway, given that Dell are Social Media Darlings (just ask FIR’s Shel and Neville) I am really keen to see what sort of follow up you receive from your blog post. Cheers, Steve.

  • Evan

    I have a 1520. Would you consider going to XP? If you do, I can Zip all the drivers I am using (I got specific instructions for downloading and installing drivers, so I got them all and numbered them 1,2, 3 since the order is important.) I got everything working fine – wireless, webcam and audio in skype, etc. The only thing I do not know about is your speech recognition.

    Aside from that, this sounds like you need to reinstall the audio drivers. I was in a similar place at some point. It can be fixed on your own, just with the drivers I presume. You can also search Dell’s forums as well as the forums for Notebook Review.

  • Evan

    I have a 1520. Would you consider going to XP? If you do, I can Zip all the drivers I am using (I got specific instructions for downloading and installing drivers, so I got them all and numbered them 1,2, 3 since the order is important.) I got everything working fine – wireless, webcam and audio in skype, etc. The only thing I do not know about is your speech recognition.

    Aside from that, this sounds like you need to reinstall the audio drivers. I was in a similar place at some point. It can be fixed on your own, just with the drivers I presume. You can also search Dell’s forums as well as the forums for Notebook Review.

  • http://mainestreet1.blogspot.com/ bob crawshaw

    Hi Lee

    I sense your pain…I was just about to purchase a DELL laptop for my son before he starts Uni. I’m not so sure now. Please keep the blogosphere posted.

    Regards Bob

  • http://mainestreet1.blogspot.com/ bob crawshaw

    Hi Lee

    I sense your pain…I was just about to purchase a DELL laptop for my son before he starts Uni. I’m not so sure now. Please keep the blogosphere posted.

    Regards Bob

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    G’day chaps,

    I rang Dell support back, refused to be fobbed off with a ‘we will call you back’ answer and stayed in the call centre queue until one of their technicians, Wai Kit, was able to take the call.

    He was brilliant and solved the sound input issue really quickly, despite me having spent about three hours today and a similar amount of time on previous occasions scouring the Dell support site for answers.

    I still have yet to test it all out on the speech recognition engine, but that’s for tomorrow… time for dinner and relaxation!

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    G’day chaps,

    I rang Dell support back, refused to be fobbed off with a ‘we will call you back’ answer and stayed in the call centre queue until one of their technicians, Wai Kit, was able to take the call.

    He was brilliant and solved the sound input issue really quickly, despite me having spent about three hours today and a similar amount of time on previous occasions scouring the Dell support site for answers.

    I still have yet to test it all out on the speech recognition engine, but that’s for tomorrow… time for dinner and relaxation!

  • Pingback: Dell Australia delivers on customer service

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins
  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

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