Rant - Why Dell can go to hell
You may ask how and why Dell chose to police the AC adapter used to power its PCs? The how is a small wire in the hollow of the adapter plug that sends a identifying signal to the motherboard. The why is profit; a genuine Dell recharger runs $70, while an identical aftermarket charger (except for the tattletale circuit) is a third that.
So I break down and spring for a new Dell charger, only to find that it, too, is not recognized by my Dell laptop. Then the "product support" fun begins.
First, like the good computer consumer, I search the Dell support articles, which, of course, are of no help. When I search the Dell Forum though, the customer-to-customer chat site, I discover hundreds of other users have experienced the same problem, and the general solution seems to be a motherboard replacement. $$$$. Of course, the easy solution would be for Dell to rewrite the operating software to delete the authenticity barrier.I call Dell, attempting to ask what I consider a very simple question: is there a software tweak that will fix this issue? However, I end up in Dell Hell, populated by customer service reps with accents I have trouble deciphering, but unanimous in their dedication to prying a year's worth of extended warranty out of my pocket. As I work my way through the maze of reps, each professing to handle an aspect of the business but all focused on selling me a contract, I quickly realize that I've become dead to Dell one second after my warranty expired.
The reps don't even listen to my question, but, like wind-up dolls, resume their warranty pitch whenever I pause. Finally, after talking to half the population of Hyderabad, I'm hooked up with Dell's pay-as-you-go tech support. While on hold, I'm pitched on Dell's new, upgraded support which promises to hook me up with a North American that is highly trained in Dell support- for an additional charge. How absurd is that?
The pay-as-you-go rep tells me that it will cost $49 plus tax for me to consult Dell's Inspirion expert. I question why I would pay so much to be told that I need a new motherboard, but she convinces me that the problem could stem from other, less expensive, reasons, so I bite the bullet and pay the $49. The tech person I'm then forwarded to takes all of two minutes to diagnose.... ah, you knew this was coming. A trashed motherboard. He doesn't, however, know how much it would cost to replace, so I'm forwarded to yet another department, where I cool my heels on line for half an hour before I learn that it will cost me $350 to repair.
Perhaps all computer companies are this lame, but I fail to see how. Incompetence and customer disservice of this magnitude is surely world-class.