Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tech "Support"

This one is for all of you who have ever called tech support. Or customer service numbers for that matter.
I had quite the fantastic experience this week which I will painstakingly detail for you now in a minute-by-minute recap. Prepare to be amazed . . .
1:45: I realized that my power cord for my laptop (which I'm disturbingly addicted to by the way--one day they'll have to surgically remove this thing from my hands), had stopped working for reasons unknown. My laptop is under warranty (and it's pretty new) so I went up to the tech support office in the law building who promised that if there was any problem with our computers they would immediately take care of us if we bought the kind of computer they told us to buy at the beginning of the school year. I fell for it of course and bought the computer they told me I "just had to have!" When I approached the law school tech support to ask them about my problem, none of them made eye contact with me and one of them eventually told me that there was nothing they could do so I would just have to call Dell.
1:52: I got the phone number from another student who overheard me complaining and apparently had the same problem recently.
1:55: I sat down to call Dell and got someone named Austin on the phone. I generally really try to see the good in people and always try to remain polite on the phone no matter who I'm talking to. So now all my credibility will go out the window when I tell you that I discovered that Austin may be the dumbest living organism to EVER be employed by ANY company that has EVER been in existence since the beginning of time and maybe even beyond.
Austin: Hello sir and thank you for calling Dell. Can I get your phone number?
Eli: Sure. It's 801-123-4567
Austin: OK so that's 578-1121?
Eli: . . . no . . . 801-123-4567 . . .
Austin: OK thank you and can I get your address?
Eli: Could you repeat my phone number again for me so I know you got it?
Austin: . . . um. . . 71-34
Eli: OK, you are asking for my phone number right?
Austin: Yes sir. Now may I have your address.
Eli: First I would like for you to get my phone number correctly. 801-123-4567
Austin: OK thank you and your address?
Eli: What's my phone number Austin?
Austin: OK thank you and your address please?
Austin: And what's your problem today sir?
Eli: Well my power cord has stopped working and I need you to send me a new one.
Austin: OK sir so your computer is broken?
Eli: No my computer is fine. My power cord has stopped working.
Austin: OK sir. Can you please explain to me how you know the power cord is not working?
Eli: . . . I plug it in . . . and it doesn't work.
Austin: OK sir. So do I understand correctly that your computer is broken?
Eli: No . . . my power cord is not working.
Austin: Sir, how do you know it's your power cord.
Eli: Because the power cord doesn't work when I plug it in. I tested my computer with other power cords and it works fine with others.
Austin: OK sir. Do you think the problem may be with the power cord?
Eli: Yes
Austin: OK sir. Do you think the problem may be with the power cord?
Eli: Still yes.
Austin: OK sir. So your computer is broken?
Eli: . . . no . . . my computer is fine. I have a problem with my power cord.
Austin: OK sir. How do you know the problem is with the power cord?
Eli: . . . seriously?
Austin: OK sir. I will put you on hold for 5 minutes but probably 2 or 3 and I will find help for you but I will put you on hold for 3 minutes but I'm going to put you on hold now.
Eli: OK
Austin: but I'm going to put you on hold now.
Eli: OK
Austin: to help you. Probably 4 minutes OK?
Eli: OK
Austin: OK I'm going to put you on hold now.
Eli: I know!
Austin: OK just for 2 minutes. OK?
Eli: . . .
2:10-2:20: On Hold
Repeat the conversation from 2:00-2:10 EXACTLY but this time add a lot more irritation in my voice.
I give the address for the law school and ask them to send the power cord there. Then Austin explains 5 times that I need to send back the faulty cord when I get the new one. Austin asks another 6 times (I'm really not kidding on this one) if the problem is with the cord and how I know the problem is with the cord.
Austin: OK you should see that cord in a week or two.
Eli: Can't you send it faster?
Austin: OK you should see that cord in a week or two.
Eli: . . . What do you suggest I do until then?
Austin: Use your battery.
Eli: OK I have two hours left on my battery. That's not really going to last me for a couple of weeks.
Austin: Well you shouldn't have broken your computer. (For this I officially award Austin the tech guy the "tellin' like it is award.")
Eli: . . . Well you shouldn't have sent me a faulty product! Perhaps I should go advertise that Dell makes crappy merchandise.
Austin: OK you should see that cord in one day.
Eli: Thanks.
Austin calls my cell FOUR times while I sit in on the last 13 minutes of class that are left. Each time he leaves a message. Each message says the exact same thing almost word for word: Another reminder to send back the faulty cord when I get the new one and then another question about whether I'm sure it's the cord and how I know something is wrong (as if I was on the phone with him to answer the question).
Austin calls AGAIN and I answer this time.
Austin: I was just calling to ask you if you're sure the problem is with the cord and ask you how you know it isn't working.
Eli: ARE YOU SERIOUS!!!!!????
Austin: I'm sorry sir. Did I catch you at a bad time?
Eli: Listen Austin, I know we really hit it off on the phone before but I'm really not interested in maintaining this relationship if we have to talk on the phone this much.
Austin: . . . Sir I'm calling to remind you to send back the faulty cord when-
Eli: I KNOW!!!!!!! AAAAAHHHHH!!!!
Austin: Also sir, I looked at the address you gave and it can't possibly be correct because there is no street name here.
(I explain that the address is correct and not to worry about it).
Austin's supervisor calls me.
Allen: Hi Eli; I'm just calling to tell you that your order was cancelled because you gave us a fake address.
Eli: You have GOT to be kidding me!!!
Allen: Perhaps you could give us a real address and we'll consider resetting your order.
Eli: Allen, could you do something for me? Pull out the hierarchy list at your company, find your name, count about 13 people up from there and transfer me to that person. I know it's a long shot but I'm bound to find someone there that has the ability to help me without giving me an ulcer.
Allen: I understand you are getting frustrated. Perhaps you could just give me the correct address.
Eli: Allen, I gave you the correct address. That is all. Send the &$#% package.
Allen: OK but if there waaaas another address, what would it be?
Eli: Hmmm. . . lets see (I give him the same address).
Allen: I don't think the FedEx guy will find this address.
Eli: We're done here.
I received the package first thing in the morning. And yes, I remembered to send back the faulty product.
~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. SHUTUP!!! I was pulling my hair out just reading that! Wow...that is the worst customer support experience I have ever heard! I especially love the part about putting you on hold for 5 minutes but probably 2 or 3 minutes....and on and on...

  2. I'm sorry for laughing at your expense, but this story is freaking hilarious!!

    Maybe next time you shouldn't break your computer. Then you won't have to deal with the tech "support." :)

  3. But Eli, how can you be sure the power cord is broken. What gives you that idea?....Bahahahahaha!That is hilarious.

  4. Son, Being an It tech myself...I really assure you that not ALL techs are like the one you encountered at DELL...just most of them! So sorry for the frustration and good luck with your next call with DELL support ...I'm sure it will happen sooner or later. xo Mom

  5. PS your writing is getting better ad better! Mom

  6. So, I didn't quite catch what the promblem was. Is it your computer that is broken or the power cord? You weren't really clear.......anyway, I think you were a little hard on Austin!

  7. that was about the funniest thing i've read this week. thank you.

  8. That was classic Eli. love it! Hope things are going better for you this week!

  9. WOW.
    Do you think you could give me Austin's number? You see, MY powercord is broken too... and he just sounded soooo helpful.
    Sheez! Better luck next time ;)

  10. Eli, you obviously have a problem with your RAM. Buy it by the barrelful, and when you can no longer stuff any more RAM into your computer, wear the rest around your neck to ward off any more problems.

    By the way, I'm not sure what dreaming about my editing skills means about you, but I have an idea what being proud when others dream about my grammatical helpfulness means about me. My guess is that you just write way too many papers.

  11. I had a dell once and had the same problem with customer services. I don't think the customer services people could be more idiotic. I vowed to never get a dell again because they were such morons. I wish I had been more witty when talking to them so at least i wouldn't get so frustrated that I would cry out of intense anger. I'm glad you got your new cord but I'd recommend just never getting a Dell again. :)