Step By Step Guide To Ordering A Dell PC: The Harmer In The Dell


Part 10

Now that you've run the gauntlet of the endless (and mostly completely outrageously overpriced) choices in building your Dell, you can now proceed to the checkout. Many people use the Dell site to buy their computer since the company is among the very few businesses in America that will still offer some level of credit. Even though they are currently charging almost 29% interest, many people are paying this much on their overdue credit card accounts, and getting a higher credit limit on a card these days is just about as easy as walking across the Grand Canyon on a tightrope while juggling alligators... so... Dell's 29% doesn't look that bad!

Do I recommend that you take on debt at an usurious 29% in the teeth of a recession cum depression? Not on your life. I've scrimped and saved and I'm paying for this system in full with cash that I already have set aside and will plunk into my Visa account within days of receiving the monthly statement. You won't catch me paying Dell's loanshark rates. But I recognize that for some people it might be worth it to stretch the payments out, even in this downwards spiraling economy, so Dell seems to be willing to extend credit to anyone who can fog a mirror.

Now the waiting starts. I have been informed that the system "should" ship 22 days from the order date. Now, I have absolutely no idea why it would take more than three weeks, but reminiscing to my last Dell delivery fiasco, I believe that I should consider myself lucky to get this system by the promised date.

The last Dell I ordered showed up about a month after the order date, and bereft of monitor. I hooked it up to an old monitor I already had and it wouldn't boot up, or do anything at all, not even light up or beep or anything! Not wanting to give Dell a reason to instantly void my warranty I didn't want to rip the side cover off and start poking around its innards until I spoke to Dell Tech Support. After almost half an hour of incredibly stupid questions like "Is the computer plugged in? Is there electricity in that socket? Are you hitting the ON button?" I gave up and slammed the phone down. I took my warranty into my own hands and pulled the side cover off. There it was: The power supply's main 20 pin connector to the motherboard... dangling totally free. Hmm... I wonder if that had anything to do with the PC not booting! DUH!

I plugged the connector back into the motherboard and it booted up perfectly, and although I had to wait another two weeks (and about a dozen phone calls where I screamed at the top of my lungs at the obtuse Dell agents who constantly wanted to "wait one more day to see if the monitor shows up by itself"), that Dell system, once I finally got it all together, worked flawlessly for a good long time.

So all I can do now is pray that the Dell Deities don't delay or lose or in some other way screw up my order. If it does work out properly, I'm going to be enjoying the benefits of an absolutely screaming fast system at a barely mid-range PC price. If it doesn't work out, then I guess I'll just be screaming at the top of my lungs at more Dell employees...

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Comments 6 comments

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

I've enjoyed your dell hubs a lot. I got a new Dell computer this time last year, and it took 6 days, and all arrived safely, together.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

LondonGirl, you're very lucky. That's much faster than most Dell deliveries, and that's when you get all the pieces at once, AND they work out of the box!

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 8 years ago from London

Yes, it all worked as well!

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

I'm still waiting for my system although it was set to be delivered yesterday... I'm trying to stay optimistic but we'll see... I'll definitely keep my readers posted!

aprado17 8 years ago

Good article, which enlightned me in some technical aspects. I indeed agree with you in that some of the options offered by Dell (such as online storage, home installing service and so on) are just plain stupid even if you do not have down/upload limits (mind you, other computer companies offer similar services so it is not Dell’s fault that they prey on the unconscious PC buyer). However, in general I have had a different experience with Dell: for starters, the fact that Dell offers silly options does not mean one needs to get them, just avoid clicking that little button. I should say I am no expert at computing, maybe closing in to advanced user. I just do the basic internet browsing, advanced MS office user, P2P, movies, music, and I am just getting into photoshop stuff (reason why I am upgrading to a new Dell machine).

The first and only PC I ever owned was (is !) a Dell Dimension 8200 (P4 @ 2GHz, XP, CD/DVD burner combo, 40GB HD and not much else). That purchase was in March of 2002 and it still lives on. I've never had a problem with it (I did have to upgrade from USB 1.0 to USB 2.0, otherwise it’s all original components in there and I only open the PC for cleaning once every two years). And I mean ever. I even shipped the thing from the US to Spain when I moved there (imagine, over one month in a container ship together with a lot of furniture and then being unloaded from the ship, loaded into a delivery truck god only knows what this PC has been through!). When I got it home the PC started right up. I’ve been a heavy P2P user for the last four years and the PC never waivered, always going strong. I have about 32 Gb of software installed, including recent engineering software (no significant amount of files in the C drive because I can’t even fit 10% of my music library in there) and it gets slow sometimes but it still manages to get through everything I throw at it. It is simply a very reliable machine. Oh, and I keep the really important stuff in an external hard drive and in my email (always safe & accessible everywhere I am). I’m not so much concerned with losing data: (1) my HD has lasted 7 years and still going strong and (2) I burn really, really important stuff on DVDs (lots of DVDs, but I just number them and keep an index, that simple).

Calling Dell sales or technical service is always a hassle but then again, what company’s customer service works like a breeze? Ever called a utility or phone company and got a competent person on the line the first time? Patience and stubborn politeness goes a long way towards getting what you want from customer service departments. Example: when I ordered the Dimension 8200 from Dell back in 2002 it came in three boxes (PC, monitor and speakers). At first, I thought Dell had misplaced my speakers so I called them and had them send me a new set right away. It took no convincing or half-hour calls. A week after I got my new set of speakers I found that the original set had been sitting in the mail room for quiet some time. So I got an extra set of speakers 'just for asking'.

Just recently I purchased a Dell Studio XPS (i7 940, 12Gb Trichannel RAM, 1.2TB (2x640) HD Raid0, TV tuner with remote, ATI Radeon 4850, Internal Wireless Card, no monitor, basic DVD burner, 7.1 Audio, Vista SP1) for a lot less than it is on their website (1435EUR). Not only that: right after I made my order I realized that Dell had (still has) a mistake on their website (this applies only to UK, Spain, and France sites. The US site is correct on this as of Feb 6th 2009) by selling 8GB DDR3 TRI-channel (not possible since trichannel requires multiples of 3). I called Dell and got them to upgrade me to 12GB TRIchannel at no cost. This only took three phone calls, a visit to Intel's website and an email to my sales representative. I say ‘only’ because from what I read in your article and elsewhere, it appears I am probably the luckiest person on earth when talking to technical service or customer service people. It was not effortless but I got compensation for Dell's mistake in just a few calls. If you get an incompetent person, which after all it’s what most of us half-expected to get when calling customer service - just be patient with them. "Screaming at the top of my lungs at" them can only be counterproductive to what you are trying to achieve and may be the reason for the frustration on both ends.

Your price comparisons are really good. Although I am not a gamer, an upgrader or a DIY-er. Personally, it would be more of a hassle for me to go out and get individual components than to have somebody build it for me. I acknowledge I am paying more for each component but my time in researching for components, installing them (if I even could in some cases) makes the deal not worth the try. Surely, anyone could probably build the same machine for less, but in this case, given what I am paying for a great system which I won’t have to upgrade in a long while, DIY Vs. Dell-Makes-It, if not even, are pretty close. And then again, I value my time, meaning I like doing other things more than I like spending a couple of hours to try to save 1, 5 or 10, or even 50 bucks on a component that I will then need to install. No comment on warranty issues.

In all, I could not agree more with you on the technical aspects of your article (to the extent of my technical knowledge) and the reasons behind your choices (except going and buying other individual components, but that is just me). However, in ordering from Dell, well, I have only had good experiences with their customer service. I also buy them cash. After all, it has taken me 7 years to get to the point that I need to replace the original… if you can’t save a few bucks in 7 years, well then, buy a cheaper machine o pay double for it (which is essentially what you end up doing if you finance it at 29% !!, 29% !! that’s illegal in some countries!)

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks for the indepth and great comments! Much appreciated. I've now received my Dell and I have to say that the product is exactly as advertised, everything works flawlessly, and although there was a minor video driver issue, it was readily resolved. Therefore for this particular purchase I have to confess that I have to give Dell an A!

And, BTW, my i7 920 system with 12 GB RAM is AAAAAAAAMAZINGLY FAST! Photoshop ROCKS on this system. It's faster than I could have EVER imagined. I really wonder what the point of the overclockers is for this CPU. If it was any faster it would fly off my desk! :)

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