Dell Responds to Support Sweepstakes Uproar: We Need to Get Better

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Dell Says It is Sorry

Following our report on Wednesday about Dell Support using fake sweepstakes to hawk warranties, a number of other outlets jumped on the story. Today, Dell responded to the controversy by posting a public mea culpa on its corporate blog. 

"The problems Laptop Magazine faced while trying to get basic support simply should not have happened," Dell Chief Blogger Lionel Menchaca wrote on the Direct2Dell blog.

Menchaca also wrote that the he checked with the support team leaders and verified that they do not "tolerate the use of daily drawings or other one-time offers as part of the support process." He said that the company has reminded its support techs of this policy and continues to investigate the incident where an undercover LAPTOP reporter called support and was told he won a daily drawing that let him purchase a $500 extended warranty for the low price of $317. Dell is also offering refunds to customers who purchased a warranty as a result of a sweepstakes offer and want their money back.

Despite the apology and promise not to use the sweepstakes tactic, Menchaca said that the company has always and will continue to market extended warranties and hardware upgrades to users who call for support. "It is true that our support agents are encouraged to provide details regarding warranty extensions in those situations when customers are near the end of their warranty period or are outside the scope of their hardware limited warranty," he wrote. 

Menchaca also wrote that Dell's support reps should have provided better answers to our questions and provided bullet links to answers about how to use finger swipe on the touchpad, how to back up using Dell DataSafe and how to improve battery life. He also provided a prominent link to the Warranty to show that software issues are not covered. 

In our tests, Dell's web and social-media support were solid, but a set of links wouldn't help someone who called for tech support on the phone, and that's where Dell fell way short. Hopefully, Dell will take this opportunity  to improve the quality of its phone response. We'll be watching.

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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  • Neil McCubbin Says:

    The horrifying anecdotes surprise me.
    I have a small business, and have bought about 2 Dells/year for 15 years or so.
    We have consistently had great service on the phone.
    Of course, your criticisms seem to point to a recent and drastic decline.
    I paid for "gold support" on my most recent personal machine (now 4 years old) , and support has been excellent, as recently as yesterday .
    Last year, Dell sent a tech to us on a yacht in 5,000 miles from home to fix an issue, and he even replaced a case damaged physically by my stupidity.
    On the other hand, a neighbour who bought a very low price Dell a year ago had to fight (verbally, she is good at that) to get good service, but she did get it.
    Let's hope Dell gets back to good service soon

  • Not Phil Says:

    Dell is my worst computer experience ever. Even in this latest story they admit that your call for help will be manipulated into an attempt to sell you something.

    The truth is the majority of people calling tech support are doing so because they're not computer literate. These same people are easily scammed with 'warranties' and 'virus' information.

    Dell's actions are fraudulent and criminal. This is a company that needs to die.

  • Brent Says:

    I have found this very useful. My mother had purchased a Dell a few years back and had some nightmare support problems, but I wasn't involved in any of them, so wasn't sure whether it was her or them. She swears she will never buy a Dell again. I am about to go out and purchase a laptop and although some of the laptops being recommended to me are Dell, I think I have decided against that.

    Thanks for the warnings!

  • SJM Says:

    Indian outsourced tech support is most likely the problem. A few weeks back, one of my clients was having a problem with his Dell laptop, He called tech support and they told him he had a virus. For only a nominal fee (couple hundred bucks) they would give him 5 virus removal calls over the next year and this would count as the first one. he was suspicious so he told them to call back - they never did. He then called me, I looked at it - no virus, not even a sign of a virus. All he needed was an IE setting tweaked and he was back in business. At the time, I contacted Dell HQ and spoke to a C level exec. They were horrified that this was occurring, They genuinely seemed clueless of the issue (clueless C level execs - go figure) and contacted me several times over the next seeral days tracking down the offenders and attempting to clean up the mess. I suspect that the outsourced support guys are running their own "retirement" programs.

  • Bobby Says:

    Dell=junk. Junk hardware, junky, bloated software, junk customer support, junk warranties. When you buy cheap stuff, you get cheap stuff.

  • Bill Dow Says:

    Dell has been calling us several times a week to try sell an extended warranty on a laptop purchased only two months ago. This seems to be desperation tactics to increase profits. Of course we aren't buying.

  • John S Says:

    Speaking as a former Dell employee I can tell you this is just the tip of the Iceberg as far as scams from Dell Inc.

    I worked in the Tech Support Call Center in Round Rock (back when Dell still hired Americans) in both the Consumer and Small/Medium Business ques. Let me assure you, Dell is involved in me dishonest dealing than IT can even keep up with.

    Things are bad at Dell, and will only get worse as long as Michael Dell continues to steer the company into profitless field of endeavor while ignoring Dell's core customers.

    At a time when Smartphone and tablet sales are booming, Dell has halted production for the Dell Venue and Venue Pro phones, and the Dell Streak Tablet. Instead investing money into the "Cloud" which most industry experts are now critizing for it's multiple security issues and questionable reliablity.

    One expert has even predicted that Dell is doomed, and won't survive the decade.

    With Michael Dell at the helm, they should just remain the company "Titanic".

  • JDE Says:

    Dell used to have some of the best support in the industry. Now they have some of the worst.

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