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What it's like to buy from Dell

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What it's like to buy from Dell

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Over the years I've purchased a number of systems from Dell, but only two or three a year. Every time I buy one, however, I swear I'm never going to do it again. And then I come back, because Dell makes a good PC and I know the support will be there when I need it. But the buying experience is unpleasant, and I thought I'd take a few minutes to explain why - just in case anyone at Dell cares.

It takes too long. Today I spent more than an hour ordering a Vostro 460. Why? First, because I have no idea which PC to buy - even though I know what I want. Optiplex or Vostro? There is no easy comparison about which one to buy. So I went onto chat. Best I could tell after talking to a Dell rep, they're the same PC except for the case, and Optiplex seems to come with more warranty. But then, so does Vostro if you choose to upgrade...

But based on that conversation, Vostro seemed to be my best option.Now, 260 or 460? Again, no online comparison. I knew pretty much what I wanted, so I went the "shopping list" route, specifying the processor I wanted, memory, hard drive, etc. My search results were fairly evenly split between 260 and 460, with probably 8 or 10 results. Every result matched my criteria.

This is where the Dell site becomes really insidious. You have to go down every path, and try to figure out which one of these marketing-driven packages will work best. Some, for example, offer only Pro support packages. Others offer included software, like Acrobat X. Some offer options (like memory) that others don't. Some offer deeper discounts between two almost identical configurations. Thing is, you have to go all the way through the configuration, see the price, and then go down a different path to see what a different model costs that is hopefully closer to what you really want.

That's just in the small business section. If I pop over to Enterprise, I get a completely different set of configurations and pricing for the same PCs.

I encountered some programming bugs on the Checkout screens, so I needed to Chat with a support rep again, but I'm willing to forgive the occasional software issue. It's annoying, but I've been in this business a long time and know how things go.

Still, it took more than an hour to buy a PC for a new employee, even knowing in advance what I wanted. I have other things to get done today. Even so, I've taken a few extra minutes to provide some feedback in hopes of improving my next buying experience.

PLEASE make it easier.Please give me a simple configurator - like in the old days before the sales and marketing departments went berserk - that allows me to start with an easy to understand PC class, then allows selection of processor, memory, etc. depending on which class I've selected. Please lose the stupid restrictions based upon which path I took. Just let me peacefully - and quickly -  buy the PC I want to buy. In other words, please make it easy to do business with Dell. I bet you'd sell more stuff.

Thanks for listening.


All Replies
  • agreed

  • I totally agree!!

    I have been with Dell for many years and the "new" ordering web site has been giving me pause about continuing.  The system is much more complicated than need be and prevents me from customizing the system as I want. 

    The diversity of laptops, (i.e. business vs home models) with no explanations merely confuses and discourages one from pursuing possible purchase since there is no way to discern the differences and relative value for the intended purpose.

    Dell, it's time to go back to basics or Apple will begin to take over your business segment. 

  • Agreed, it's still no better. I don't understand why the differentiation using names like vostro and astro or whatever, just sell boxes based on specs please, and let us compare them. Don't offer options on one line but not on others. Don't give configurator errors that something doesn't work with another component, but then not give us alternatives or how to fix. I usually just ask my rep and they get back to me with what I want right away, why can't online ordering be as easy?

  • Totally agree - and just to add - 

    Why can't i buy a desktop with windows 8 pro 

    Better yet - i am sure i can but i have spent hours trying to figure it out and it can't be done...