Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Tech support ramblings...

Dell support sucks. Period. I've been trying to get a laptop at work fixed definitively for about two months now. We started with a laptop that had broken latches, a loose hinge, and PC Card slot doors that had fallen off. Our Top Gun Developer Guy is brilliant, but he abuses his machines horribly.

No problem - Dell is willing to fix things for free. Yay! So they send out a technician, after drop-shipping us a replacement screen (apparently it's not worth their while to just replace the latch. Whatever.). He shows up, replaces the screen, now the new screen doesn't work at all - all we see is backlighting.

This is not good. The tech calls Dell, and finds that now screen modules are backordered. So we go from a working, battered laptop to a dead laptop. Three weeks later, the replacement replacement arrives. The tech returns and installs it, all is now good. Right?

He forgot to take care of the PC Card doors, and he neglects to but the screwcovers on the new screen. It's also a little misaligned. So for the last three weeks I've been trying to get Dell back. So far no luck.

Dell's not the only company with issues, though. We have mainly bought Gateway systems over the last year or so (mainly because of Dell's ongoing support problems), and they were great until we bought a pair of Solo 9500 laptops. Both laptops have issues with random keyboard/mouse freezes when plugged into their docking stations. We bought these for Developer Guy and myself. When it happened to me, I could close the lid to sleep the laptop - I'd get the keyboard/mouse back when I then re-opened the lid to wake it.

Developer Guy can't do that - he uses Windows 2000 Server as the base OS on his laptop, which does not suspend. So we tried Gateway support with no success, tried the latest BIOS, brought the local SE in to help debug it, no luck. Finally, Developer Guy came up with a fix - he now uses a USB keyboard/mouse (with legacy support turned on in the BIOS), and that works for him. No PS/2 port splitting to deal with that way.

I, however, am determined to get this fixed right, so I spend oodles of time on the phone with the senior support folks. Finally, they make plans to have me send in the laptop/dock for testing. I grab a spare desktop PC, move my data over to the new one, and prepare for the promised contact for shipping materials and info...

Which never comes.

You know, it's real frustrating when tech support is this bad. Now I have to waste time chasing two vendors instead of one, and I'll be wasting more of the vendor's time trying to chase them than they would be wasting if they just did things Right to begin with.


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