July 2, 2010

THEY USED TO BE KNOWN FOR QUALITY: The ignominious fall of Dell. My experience with Dell has generally been good, and in fact, my old Dell Inspiron 700m laptop still works, though it doesn’t get much use anymore. Others, however, have had less positive experiences.

UPDATE: Reader Anthony Williams writes:

I work in the IT department of a private college, where all of our staff and faculty computers are Dell Optiplexes. I’ve worked here for ten years, and I well-remember the GX270s and 280s. However, my experience with them does not square with Bill Snyder’s rather harsh report. We did have a number of GX270s fail (and some GX280s, but mostly the 270s), and I talked to Dell customer service a number of times about them, as did my colleagues on the Helpdesk. It was the customer service representatives who first told us to look for bulging or leaking capacitors, and who told us they were seeing a problem with those motherboards. In every case, they quickly sent us a replacement board (with an on-site technician) with a minimum of fuss, and the replacements all worked perfectly well. A lot of our GX270s and 280s failed, but I don’t think it was anywhere near 97%.

Dell is a big company, and I’ve found the quality of their customer service varies dramatically between representatives. Some are quite knowledgeable, and others…well, aren’t. It’s certainly possible that some customers got good service (as we did) and some got poor service (as the University of Texas apparently did). Nevertheless, my first-hand experience with this particular problem was quite positive. We informed them of the problem, and they quickly fixed it. That’s the service I expect from any company who warranties their product.


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