Dealing with Dell -- Or Not.

You get what you pay for. And with Dell and most other mass-market companies, that's not much when it comes to support and service.

I recently had a customer who wanted a floppy installed in their Dell. In a standard computer, that would not be a problem. But Dells are not standard. A standard floppy won't fit. It can't be mounted and even if it could, it wouldn't mate with the front panel because the panel doesn't have the standard opening.

So, I reluctantly contact Dell to purchase the required special parts. They don't want you to call them. It's even hard to find an email address. You have to use on-line chat, which ties you up in front of the computer waiting for their replies.

Here are the original unedited chat logs: (No attempt made to clean up my typos, cut-off sentances, or duplicate replies due to the slowness of the chat program response. Everything is "as it happened.")

From: Dell Inc. [noreply@dell.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2006 6:42 PM
Subject: Dell Chat Session Log

This is an automated email sent from Dell Chat. The following information is a log of your session. Please save the log for your records.
Your session ID for this incident is 4864273.
Time Details
07/12/2006 05:04:55PM Session Started with Agent (Jagroop_0124988)
07/12/2006 05:05:00PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Thank you for contacting Dell Technical Support. My name is Jagroop Singh and my rep ID number is 124988. May I have your telephone number, along with the area code?"
07/12/2006 05:06:23PM Pete Newll: "I want to add a floppy drive to this computer. Becaue of the Dell case design I can't just add a standard drive. I need mounting hardware and specific drive that will match up with the front panel. Pleas provide me with the cost for these items"
07/12/2006 05:06:32PM Pete Newll: "315-376-8879"
07/12/2006 05:07:18PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Sure, I will glad to assist you with this issue."
07/12/2006 05:07:22PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Thank You."
07/12/2006 05:07:44PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Meanwhile, I would like to inform you that you might get an invitation to participate in a survey at the end of this session. You will be asked to rate our interaction on a scale of 1 to 9 with 9 being very satisfied. In order to participate in the survey"
07/12/2006 05:08:31PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "How are you doing today?"
07/12/2006 05:10:01PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Could you please provide me the shipping address and telephone number, mentioned at the time of system purchase?"
07/12/2006 05:10:58PM Pete Newll: "7182 West Rd Lowville NY 13367 315-376-4472"
07/12/2006 05:11:39PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Thank you for the account verification."
07/12/2006 05:12:27PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "As per the records with me you have Dell Dimension 4600 and operating system Windows XP Home installed on your system. Am I right?"
07/12/2006 05:12:38PM Pete Newll: "yes"
07/12/2006 05:14:10PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Pete I would like to share a very important information with you that currently your chat has been routed to the dell technical support where we help customer to troubleshoot the issue regarding dell computers and as you want to purchase a new floppy driv"
07/12/2006 05:15:27PM Pete Newll: "I don't need troubleshooting just info needed to purcuase a floppy drive"
07/12/2006 05:16:01PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Sure, I'll provide you all that information you need."
07/12/2006 05:17:41PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "I am going to send you the part number and that you can refer to the sales person and purchase for your system compatibility."
07/12/2006 05:18:02PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "The part number for the floppy drive that you can installed is Y2162."
07/12/2006 05:19:07PM Pete Newll: "OK and I need the bracket that hangs below the 5 1/2" optical drive bays"
07/12/2006 05:19:26PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Okay."
07/12/2006 05:22:49PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "It will be easily slide inside there so you no need of bracket and part number I had send you is for the exact floppy drive that compatible for your system."
07/12/2006 05:25:28PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Not to rush you, are we still connected?"
07/12/2006 05:27:02PM Pete Newll: "OK then it musthave the mounting tabs built in to the assembly or that part number must be a kit that includes the bracket becausa a standard form factor 3 1/2" floppy drive could not be mounted."
07/12/2006 05:28:45PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Pete, no need to worry what the part number I gave you is compatible for your system and it will installed in your system and no need of bracket because it will fix inside by sliding inside."
07/12/2006 05:28:54PM Pete Newll: "Please connect me with or tell me how to contact the sales department. Can I contac t them by email or do I have to telephone?"
07/12/2006 05:29:59PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "You can contact them telephone or you can contact them by chat also, however if you want I can connect you there right now."
07/12/2006 05:30:53PM Pete Newll: "please connect me but give me the number just in case."
07/12/2006 05:31:00PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Okay."
07/12/2006 05:32:23PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Please make a not of the telephone number 1-800-915-3355."
07/12/2006 05:32:29PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Please allow me 3 to 4 minutes while I generate a case number for you."
07/12/2006 05:35:31PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Besides this issue is there anything else related to Dell Hardware, I may help you with?"
07/12/2006 05:36:59PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Thank you for staying online. I have included your Case Number #138252145 to reference our interaction today. Please keep this on file; it will assist you when contacting DELL. Thank you for contacting DELL Technical Support and allowing me the opportuni"
07/12/2006 05:38:04PM Pete Newll: "no just connect me with parts sales"
07/12/2006 05:38:08PM Pete Newll: "thanks"
07/12/2006 05:38:23PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Sure."
07/12/2006 05:38:29PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Most Welcome."
07/12/2006 05:38:33PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "If you still feel that there are additional DELL Technical related that need to be addressed, please contact us again at 1-800-624-9896 or Click on "Chat with Dell Technical Support" at the following web page and enter the Service Tag."
07/12/2006 05:38:33PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/en/chat?ac=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs"
07/12/2006 05:38:56PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Have a great day and Thank You for Choosing Dell Technical Support."
07/12/2006 05:39:19PM Agent (Jagroop_0124988): "Pete, shall I transfer to sales department?"
07/12/2006 05:41:22PM Session Ended
If you require further assistance, please visit us at support.dell.com

From: Dell Inc. [noreply@dell.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2006 7:07 PM
Subject: Dell Chat Session Log

This is an automated email sent from Dell Chat. The following information is a log of your session. Please save the log for your records.
Your session ID for this incident is 4865069.
Time Details
07/12/2006 05:45:37PM Session Started with Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea)
07/12/2006 05:45:43PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "Welcome to Dell Sales Chat. My name is Rhea. I’ll be your personal sales agent today. How may I help you with your purchase?"
07/12/2006 05:47:27PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "still there PEte?"
07/12/2006 05:48:04PM Pete Newll: "I need to install a floppy drive in a Dimension 4600 service tag # 15GWM51"
07/12/2006 05:48:11PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "ok"
07/12/2006 05:48:16PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "let me check that out."
07/12/2006 05:48:58PM Pete Newll: "According to agent Jagroop_0124988 the part number is Y2162"
07/12/2006 05:50:41PM Pete Newll: "This will have to include the mounting kit since there is no standard floppy mounting rails. The drive must also have the exact eject button and door configuration since the front panel does not have a standard 3 1/2" rectangular opening, only a slot."
07/12/2006 05:51:30PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "you can get Dell Part#: 340-8287 External Slim 1.44MB Floppy Drive - USB."
07/12/2006 05:51:40PM Pete Newll: "Please confirm that the mechanical configuration will match exactly, and give me a price, shipping, tax if applicable, etc."
07/12/2006 05:53:30PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "We don't have an internal floppy drive only and external drive."
07/12/2006 05:53:34PM Pete Newll: "I don't want an external drive. I can get one of those at WalMart or from onr of my distributors or on line at Newegg.com. I would not have wasted time getting a part numbe from Dell for an external drive. I want the internal drive that should have come w"
07/12/2006 05:54:36PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "I would love to give you an internal one but its not in stock, its not available."
07/12/2006 05:55:20PM Pete Newll: "OK then I just wasted 45 minutes."
07/12/2006 05:55:40PM Pete Newll: "THen I just wasted 45 minutes contacting Dell."
07/12/2006 05:55:48PM Pete Newll: "Bye"
07/12/2006 05:56:17PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "We apologize for the inconvenience, I suggest that you try to call and check if its available there."
07/12/2006 05:57:41PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "Still there?"
07/12/2006 05:57:53PM Pete Newll: "yes."
07/12/2006 05:58:12PM Pete Newll: "Call where? Give me the number."
07/12/2006 05:58:28PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "Electronics & Accessories 1-800-9153355 Extension 726-3805."
07/12/2006 05:59:40PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "still there Pete?"
07/12/2006 06:00:27PM Pete Newll: "do they have an email address?"
07/12/2006 06:00:49PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "None yet."
07/12/2006 06:01:22PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "Is there anything else I may help you?"
07/12/2006 06:01:32PM Pete Newll: "I don't know if I will waste any more time with Dell. I'll just get an external drive locally."
07/12/2006 06:03:08PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "If you'll get an external drive, I suggest that it would be Dell so that it will have warranty."
07/12/2006 06:04:32PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "still there?"
07/12/2006 06:05:33PM Agent (BE_Rep_Rhea): "I am not receiving any response from your end. I will end this session to attend to other customers. Thank you for using Dell Sales Chat. Again, this has been Rhea. I enjoyed talking to you. Have a nice day."
07/12/2006 06:05:35PM Session Ended
If you require further assistance, please visit us at support.dell.com