Saturday, April 21, 2007

Buying a PC from Dell Canada

I just wanted to blog about this experience with ordering a PC from Dell. As many folks know or should know, Dell sells online and through the telephone directly to the consumers. There are no storefront or retailers hawking Dell products (maybe not entirely true as Dell have kiosks in some shopping malls) but the main sales channels for consumer products are through their website and telephone sales force.

In early March this year, there was a deal for a Dell desktop E521 with AMD dual-core processor and a 22" widescreen LCD monitor for just slightly over CAD$800. I went through the process of customizing my PC (type of CPU, memory, HDD, etc.) , entering the discount code given and paying for it. Final confirmation was to be sent to my email account. Well, nothing happened over the next couple of days; no e-mail and I had no order number. I phoned their telesales and checked with the sales representative on the status of my order. Nope, I was told that no orders were in the system that matched my mailing address or even my name. I was worried since the discount code was only valid on a short period and was told to place my order again which I did and gave a ball park figure for the price that I recalled from placing the online order. I got my system delivered about a week later which was quite surprising as I had expected it to be longer.

The kicker was a month later, I got a confirmation e-mail from Dell Canada telling me that my online order has been received and is now confirmed. Wait-a-minute, how could that be? Somehow my online order has been sitting in limbo for a month and nobody knew? Wow, Dell must have some server with serious memory cache (that can keep at least a month's worth of data). To make a long story short, I was told that it was too late to cancel the order as it had already shipped (took them 3 days to assemble and ship - damn quick, I must say) and I am to refuse delivery so that the shipment will be returned and my credit card credited with a full refund when the shipment arrives back at Dell. That one took about 2 weeks to happen as the courier company had to try three times to deliver the package before affirming that it is undeliverable.

All-in-all, the end results was good but not prefect as I still ended up paying about $70 more for my PC than I would have if the online order system had processed my order in a timely manner (a month is just too, too, too slow).

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