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For the last two years all my online purchases have been mostly limited to one website – Amazon. Anything from consumer durables to electronics to even pet accessories – my search would always begin at Amazon and most of the time, would end at Amazon.

A lot of the times it was mostly due to the extremely competitive and affordable prices, and the fact that I had the unbeatable 2 Business Day Prime service kind of made other options obsolete.

Coming to the current situation, a recent decision to upgrade my laptop and purchase a new gaming laptop threw a lot of open deal options across Amazon and a mix of retail websites and multiple brand manufacturer websites. I finally narrowed down the options to a particular Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (7559) model and I primarily had two options

  • Amazon.com: Go for a relatively costlier model (by about ~$50) with a confirmed shipping date of 1st Aug (Monday) and an assured 2 Business Days delivery on Wednesday
  • Dell.com: Source the laptop directly from Dell and save ~$50 using a coupon while delaying the delivery by an additional 1-3 Business Days but with a confirmed shipping date of 1st Aug (Monday)

I went ahead with the Dell option. And so started the dive down the Dell rabbit hole.

  1. Early Monday morning, I see the status as ‘Confirmed‘ but with no shipping details. Also the shipping delivery timelines says 7 Day Delivery.
  2. I decide to check with their customer care and connect with their live chat service. After a wait of about 15 minutes, and a short conversation of 2 minutes, I’m told to reach out to the Call Center (1-800-247-2076) for details. Why have a ‘Live Chat Service’ if you can’t help I wonder!
  3. I then try the call center and am put on hold for about 30 minutes. Finally I get connected and after a minute of conversation, the rep hangs up on me. Incredible!
  4. Meanwhile I drop a tweet to @dellCares on Twitter commenting about my ridiculous experience.
  5. I try again and this time I’m luckier; I get connected to a rep in about 10 minutes; he informs me that the order is on ‘Hold’ status; and apparently some verification check didn’t go through. He suggests that I didn’t mention if the laptop was to be used in US or outside US, and probably they put the order on hold!!!
  6. I ask him to cancel the order immediately as the Amazon option comes back to my mind. Do note I could still avail the Wednesday delivery timeline if I order before lunch. He cancels the order and I get the confirmation immediately.
  7. Meanwhile @dellCares tweets back to me asking me to DM them the order number
  8. Then I discover that there is a 10% discount and free 2 Business Days shipping offer for registered Dell Advantage members. The registration is free.
  9. Again I ignore Amazon and go for the Dell option, registering myself as a member and going for a similar order. The website gives me a shipping date of 1st Aug and a 2 Business Days delivery service. I make sure to check if there is any verification check I need to validate – no such thing. I go ahead and submit the order.
  10. A short while later I check the order status – same result. Status as ‘Confirmed‘ but with no shipping details and 7 Day Delivery timelines.
  11. I call up the customer care again. This time I get a better rep who assures me that he will send a request to the concerned team to remove the hold and informs that he’s upgrading my order to Next Day Delivery at no cost. True to his word, I get a service request number on my email.
  12. I check my order status – unfortunately it still reflects the 7 Day Delivery status.
  13. I also DM @dellCares  my order number, my service request number and info on my ‘Hold’ status
  14. @dellCares DMs back to me with a different Customer Care number (1-866-383-4713) for ‘Order Verification Team’. Seriously Dell, do I need to go through your entire organization to get my order shipped? And what’s the use of having a twitter handle if you can’t help resolve the issue right there?
  15. I call that number; and after a 10 minute wait time, I reach a different rep. He takes down my order number and informs me that the order is on ‘Hold’ till the payment happens. I tell him it’s a credit card payment and that I can already see the pending transaction on my credit card statement. He curtly cuts me and says until the transaction is confirmed they can’t do anything, and cuts the call.
  16. My order status still says ‘Confirmed‘. My shipping date is still blank, and my shipping method still says 7 Day Delivery. I have spent almost the entire morning on calls and discussions with no clear resolution.
  17. I realize that the quickest response I can get is to cancel the order – no questions asked, and the confirmation is immediate! All other alternatives seem to have long wait times with no clear resolution. How ironic!

 

And this is my situation even before the laptop has reached me!!! God help how my experience is going to be once if there is any issue with the laptop! I’ll keep this post updated with how the rest of the experience goes.

Edit: Finally Dell shipped the laptop by late afternoon. It’s going to be a 2 Business Day delivery, so the Next Business Day upgrade wasn’t honored. Anyway I’m happy they didn’t screw it up any further.

Not a really happy experience, but I’ll take a happy ending nevertheless. All’s well that end’s well!

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