Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Easy as Dell

My colour laser printer won't start. I need a Dell technician. Apparently the local printer doctors can't get Dell parts.

First, I try a number in the phonebook and get a phonebot that demands a 7-digit extension (!) and which hangs up when I go for the "hit zero repeatedly" trick, or enter seven digits randomly, hoping for a score.

Then I spend literally hours talking with several clueless Dell call-centre folks about the problem.

The first keeps running away for five minutes or so, then returning to thank me for my patience. It appears I am out-of-warranty. I'll have to pay for the servicing. No problem.

She wants to "troubleshoot." I say, "That's easy. Won't start."

"Did you try another outlet?" (Good grief.) "Yup."

All I want is the name and telephone number of a Dell technician in Ottawa. Sorry, that's confidential. But one will be telephoning within 24 hours.

Uh-huh. I find that a little iffy, so I try another Dell Canada number that I'd stored. I repeat my request: name and number of an Ottawa technician. After being confused for five minutes or so, the call-centre person gives me a number to call. It's the one by which I have just reached her.

I hang up. A few minutes later, one of them calls back, wanting to give me a "dispatch number." What for? I ask. Silence, and more confusion. She wants to give me a part number too, and I ask how the heck she could possibly know what part was needed. She gives me yet another Dell Canada number to call.

I call it--the "out-of-warranty service department"--and repeat my question. The person is utterly helpless in the face of my request for a local technician's coordinates. He passes me on to someone else, who suggests that I telephone the "out-of-warranty service department."

He then connects me back--with a person who tells me that this information is not available.

Then this new gentleman informs me that he is with the ink-jet service department, not the laser service department. This is nearly at the two-hour point.

I give it one last try. I am disconnected, try again, and somehow get connected to a laptop person, who--after considerable back-and-forth about sending my printer to Newmarket, Ontario, and like that--says he'll connect me to an on-line technician. Hey, the morning's shot anyway, so why not?

I spend a happy few minutes listening to various useless recorded messages from Dell, and then a fellow comes on who says he can send me out a technician, if I'm still within warranty. I say that I thought I was calling the out-of-warranty service department.

"Oh, I see. May I have your service tag please?" He wants to give me yet another number to call, but then he says he can send out a technician all by himself. One will be contacting me within 24 hours. (See above.) He asks a lot of questions, and then we are disconnected.

We're now at the 2.25 hour mark. Easy as Dell.

Will the phone ring? Your guess is as good as mine.

We shall be returning to regular programming shortly. Just let me calm down a little.

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