It's a bad time out there. You know, the so-called American 'hero' companies of 5-years ago suddenly take their profits and run and aren't fit to scrub out our recycle cans anymore.
We've got the United Airline CEO bleeding corporate pension funds while in terminal bankruptcy, taking multi-million dollar bonuses while trying to screw flight attendants and reservation agents who aren't looking the least bit stress-free and fit to fly the Untied Skies these days. There's just too much corporate bad boy (girl) business to scorn all in one post, but there's one that's really burning me up.
It should be easy enough to upgrade a computer, throw support toward the private sector and enhance your own personal productivity especially when you're a home run business. Well, that's what I thought when I was tempted by last Xmas' computer specials by Dell Computer. Heck, they practically made it essential that you financed it with them there were such sweet deals -- it seemed.
So you're going along, minding your own business when you start getting peculiar calls from India in the middle of the day inquiring how you're liking your new laptop. At first it seems kind of nice, like extending a piece of customer service -- a long extension, but apparently Dell finds it more attractive to support the Indian economy than the U.S. labor force. Truthfully, I didn't know that when I bought it or it WOULD have made a difference for me. But, what the heck, it was a good deal and I'm just one small sale and so what! Right?
Just wait, though, until there was a significant misunderstanding of the terms of the sale because of later add-ons (like printer cables!) that apparently messed up the original 1-year until payment was due with Dell Financial. OK, fine. But now the
telephone calls had become aggressive, bordering on what we call here in the U.S.A. as 'hostile.' Imagine then you're getting calls from 7:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night on the rate of one every 90 minutes, repeating your story and asking each to document it on their database so there won't be more calls. And then imagine the Indian voices shouting at you, becoming insulting in tone -- you will finally decide as I did that old Michael's company has now seen its better days because after 10 years of solid Dell business from my family, they won't ever get another nickel out of me again!
Trying to reason with one of these "Dell Financial Services"
callers from India is unnerving. They demand personal information -- all of which we're told and are smart enough not to reveal nowadays. Oh, how they'd like you to give them your debit card or something like that to start deducting away, oh yes sirree! And when you try to tell them that they must not call you again because your blood pressure is going through the roof, they insist they won't stop! You ask them if they know U.S. Consumer Protection Law; "No," they say, so you encourage them to become familiar with it because you know consider them Harrassing you on behalf of Dell and you will file complaints with the state Attorney General and better business bureaus. They hang up on your ear loudly.
I of course had mailed payment (with US priority mail) to good old Carol Stream, Illinois, Dell Financial's home address for payments, but decided to call them up and give Customer Service a piece of my mind. I mean, did they know they had a brigade of Indians out there verbally assaulting Americans over a few dollars in a manner that's inconsistent with American law?
Imagine my big surprise when the unsympathetic Customer Service agent informed me that these people were NOT Dell Financial Services employees AT ALL, but outside collection agency contractors in India! (He essentially absolved Dell from responsibility for their mis-behavior. How convenient that 'they' should be victims too, huh?)
I mean, for heaven's sake; if Dell needs a collection agency for my A+++ credit payment of what was then a few bucks then why not give the business to some Illinois company so they don't have to lay-off their workers? They would probably have a set of laws taped up over their desk and at least have a brief training on politeness and what not to do as well as how to get the money. However, I was REALLY ticked off that these callers had misrepresented themselves distinctly as Dell Financial employees when they're not (according to the Customer Service supervisor). I feel they routinely commit consumer Fraud by scripting these Foreign Workers this way (or looking the other way once they know that this is what they're up to)!
I asked that U.S.-based Customer Service supervisor to write up an incident report of my complaint because I felt that Dell had really violated my trust as a loyal customer. As for the Indian collectors? Well, it's one thing that their technical workers are answering all of my questions when I call in; it's a bitter pill to swallow that we apparently can't find nor hire enough U.S. workers for Dell to hire (low enough pay?) to perform this job. But don't tell me that they can't get a collection company, an automated collection system or people working at home trying to rebuild their lives in post-hurricane Florida, for example, who couldn't use the helping hand of a job from a company like Dell.
But just like all companies have their moment in the sun and then seem to fall and burn to a crisp for one reason or another, at least we'll know that when Dell takes a last ride into the sunset it will because they steered their ponies that way. . .although in this case it will be 'that-a-way' -- to a land of the rising sun.