How Dell sells tablets for NVidia

Or, ‘How Dell annoys its customers and enables its competition’

All I wanted was a mid-sized tablet for hanging out at breakfast & on the couch/in bed — and also take notes with a stylus,  since I hate transliterating my awful handwriting after customer meetings. (I love my Surface Pro 2 but it is a bit heavy.) I had a $100 Dell promo gift card from a previous purchase which would expire on 7 Dec. I ordered VenuePro 8 5000 (64 GB, 2 GB RAM, sounded boss) on 9/30. The stylus arrived in a couple days, the tablet showed arrival of 12 Oct. Checked 12 Oct, showed status ‘canceled.’ No explanation nor email from Dell as to why. On Chat, 13 Oct, waited 50 min to talk to someone who re-ordered the tablet. assuring me it was still an orderable product. It was due to ship on 10 Nov. On 11/5, I see it is again delayed, by 7 days, to 11/12. Back into chat (after a 40-min wait); I ask for reason why & get “you went thru small/medium business, call another number” which after a 40-min wait is very annoying. On 11/12 I see it is again delayed by another week. I gave up on them ever sending it, or it getting canceled and my promo card expiring useless.

At this point, I have to call Dell again, wait 40-ish minutes to cancel order because you cannot cancel an order online. This is ludicrous as it would simplify life & lower costs for both Dell & their clients. I ask to make sure the promo card can be used for another order — on a different tablet, but one which Dell shows as ‘smart buy’ with a ‘shop today’ date. It also does not use the stylus; now I have a $35 stylus I do not need but cannot return, since >30 days, have to call yet again, wait ~40 minutes, and get approval to return the useless stylus.

I try to order the other tablet, but no joy as the promo card shows ‘previously used’ and I call again and they say ‘wait 48 hours for it to be released.’

The next week, after the 48-hour wait, the promo card is still locked & by the end of the week I have to call Dell (Again) to get it unlocked, however that Friday they are having a “one hour team meeting” which lasts the whole day and I cannot get through. Nice.

That next Monday, the first ‘helpful’ (read: totally demoralized) Dell customer frustration agent does not listen to my request & immediately switches me into a “how to purchase Dell product” phone tree, so I call in AGAIN and get another wait before the damn card is unlocked. Hey I know it is the middle of the night in Bangalore and it’s tough on those call-center folks working nights so here’s an idea Dell: HIRE AMERICANS or CANADIANS to cover North America customer support.

On this day, 11/16 (note this is now 6 weeks after I first tried to order a tablet). NVidia announces the re-release of Shield tablet at $200 and on the morrow I order one of those instead of the (second) Dell tablet, having given up on Dell. I of course have to call in and cancel the order, after a hefty wait. The stylus on the NVidia isn’t active and it isn’t great at note-taking, but I’ve since got a Samsung Note 4 as my work phone, which does the note-taking job just fine, I’m no longer jonesing for the tablet to take notes. The NVidia comes in 4 days. Nice.

I finally use the promo card on an unrelated item on Dell.com, making sure it says a delivery date which is in the next few days.

Time spent waiting for Dell: 8 calls or waits on chats averaging 40 min each.

My son’s Galaxy Tab just went belly up. Guess who’s gonna get the call? NVidia….

This is NOT a Dell tablet. Wonder why...

This is NOT a Dell tablet. Wonder why…

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About H.W. MacNaughton

Technologist and communicator. Into technology, jazz, Formula One, sci-fi and any good writing about real stuff.
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