Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor date update on my Inspiron 1521 order

Well, the customer center is not open on Labor Day Weekend, but sales chat is. I guess Dell needs to keep selling to new customers, but feels no need to service existing clients during the holidays. I teased some more information out of the following CR today:

13:09:10 ME
Initial Question/Comment:
13:09:15 System
You are now being connected to an agent. Thank you for using Dell Chat
13:09:15 System
Connected with BE_RR_Rep_James
13:09:20 BE_RR_Rep_James
Howdy from Round Rock, TX! :)
13:09:20 BE_RR_Rep_James
My name is Coy and I'll be your personal sales consultant here at Dell. Just in case we get disconnected, save my email address – it's
13:09:20 BE_RR_Rep_James
What can I do to assist you with your purchase this afternoon?
13:09:28 ME
13:09:33 ME
Please check on order # : 409820366
13:09:47 BE_RR_Rep_James
Ok, give me just one moment
13:09:54 ME
I have received conflicting information from chat and by e-mail about production and delivery dates, and would like more accurate information.
13:10:15 ME
I was told by one of your customer reps that it would ship on 8/20/2008, but now it's 8/31/2008, and still no show.
13:10:30 BE_RR_Rep_James
for future reference you can go to to check on the status of your order
13:10:54 ME
I see, pls check it for me.
13:11:20 BE_RR_Rep_James
I am
13:12:35 BE_RR_Rep_James
Your current estimated ship date is 9/04. All this information should be reflected on the website for future reference
13:12:45 ME
What's the reason for the delay?
13:13:45 BE_RR_Rep_James
Delays in manufacturing, what specifically I don't know. Probably had some parts that were backordered
13:14:25 ME
Can you deduct the $25 shipping fee from my payment since the laptop is essentially 2+ weeks late?
13:15:00 BE_RR_Rep_James
No sir I can't. The website clearly states that all shipping dates are just estimates
13:15:36 ME
Very convenient for Dell, since the company can simply just keep backpedaling without making good on promises to deliver.
13:15:50 BE_RR_Rep_James
Actually that's not true at all
13:16:05 ME
My laptop has been delayed 3x, how is that now true?
13:16:10 BE_RR_Rep_James
If an order gets delayed by a certain number of days we are required by law to cancel the order
13:16:14 ME
Your customer service centers also have no answers.
13:16:20 BE_RR_Rep_James
and refund the money
13:16:35 BE_RR_Rep_James
I have answers
13:16:53 ME
What stage of production is my laptop currently at then?
13:16:59 ME
And what parts are causing the backlog?
13:17:40 BE_RR_Rep_James
It's at manufacturing station 5100
13:18:15 BE_RR_Rep_James
It doesn't say, but usually its AMD that is causing the hold up because they get behind in production of their chips
13:18:24 ME
The AMD64 chip?
13:18:55 BE_RR_Rep_James
Yes, that would be my guess, since none of Intel machines are on back order
13:19:42 ME
Is manufacturing station 5100 located in the U.S., or abroad? I ask because I want to know if 9/4/2008 is a realistic ship-out date for Dell, or if they will send me a 4th delay e-mail with still no firm dates.
13:21:01 BE_RR_Rep_James
It doesn't say
13:21:08 BE_RR_Rep_James
It is in production though
13:21:08 ME
I see.
13:21:33 ME
Are you able to tell me "% complete" or some kind of metric like that, so that I know how far along it is?
13:21:52 ME
I just need to know something, because I am without a laptop right now until this order comes in.
13:23:06 BE_RR_Rep_James
It doesn't give me that much detail, it just shows that its in production at station 5100 and is esitamted to ship out on 9/4 with an estimated delivery date of 9/9-9/11
13:23:21 ME
All right.
13:23:37 ME
Ship out date is when Dell sends it to the carrier like DHL or Fedex, right?
13:23:46 BE_RR_Rep_James
13:23:50 ME
13:23:53 ME
Thanks for the help.
13:24:02 BE_RR_Rep_James
No problem ME, have a good one!
13:24:11 BE_RR_Rep_James
If you need anything else just shoot me an email at
13:24:12 ME
I've called in after each of the 3 delays, and you're the first person to provide me with some inkling of real information.
13:24:22 ME
So I thank you for that, and wish you a good labor day weekend.
13:24:31 BE_RR_Rep_James
:) Glad I could help
13:24:31 BE_RR_Rep_James
You too!
13:24:35 ME

So apparently my laptop in still in production at the nebulous "production station 5100." I googled this and got zip. If this production station is located abroad, I'm thinking I probably will see another delay from 9/4 pushing it back to 9/15 or something. Apparently AMD parts of backordered.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Inspiron 1521 ordered from on 8/5/2008 delayed 3x and still has not arrived

Here's the skinny:

I ordered a "Inspiron 1521- AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-60 (2.0GHz/1MB), Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition SP1" from on 8/5/2008, and was given a shipping date of 8/20/2008. I figured that 15 days for them to build my laptop was reasonable.

Here are the specs of my order:

Inspiron 1521 - AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-60 (2.0GHz/1MB), Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition SP1

-- Inspiron 1521 --
-- AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-60 (2.0GHz/1MB)
-- [222-8596]
-- 2nd Processor --
-- Ruby Red
-- [313-5437]
-- Memory --
-- 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz
-- [311-7198]
-- LCD Panel --
-- Glossy, widescreen 15.4 inch display (1280x800)
-- [320-5380]
-- Video Card --
-- ATI RADEON® Xpress1270 HyperMemory
-- [320-5378]
-- Hard Drive --
-- Size: 160GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
-- [341-4701]
-- Operating System --
-- Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition SP1
-- [310-9073]
-- [420-5769]
-- [420-6436]
-- [420-7027]
-- [420-7622]
-- [420-8566]
-- [420-9100]
-- [420-9106]
-- [420-9128]
-- [463-2282]
-- Network Card --
-- Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
-- [430-0493]
-- TBU --
-- Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 8.1
-- [420-7468]
-- CD / DVD writer (DVD+/-RW Drive)
-- [313-5165]
-- [420-8183]
-- Sound --
-- High Definition Audio 2.0
-- [313-4783]
-- Wireless --
-- Dell Wireless 1395 802.11g Mini Card
-- [430-2680]
-- Camera --
-- Integrated 2.0M Pixel Webcam
-- [320-5737]
-- Office Productivity Software (Pre-Installed) --
-- Microsoft Works
-- [420-8051]
-- Anti-Virus/Security Suite (Pre-installed) --
-- McAfee SecurityCenter with anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, 30-Days
-- [410-1160]
-- Battery Options --
-- 85Whr Lithium Ion Battery (9 cell)
-- [312-0501]
-- Warranty & Service --
-- 1Yr Ltd Warranty and Mail-In Service
-- [960-2780]
-- [983-3060]
-- [987-5417]
-- [987-8159]
-- [990-7989]
-- Dial-Up Internet Access --
-- 6 Months FREE EarthLink Internet Access
-- [412-0934]
-- DOMS Camera Mod --
-- Ruby Red color w/ 2.0M pixel Camera
-- [320-5469]
-- Label --
-- [310-8628]
-- DataSafe Online Backup --
-- Included 3 GB DataSafe Online Backup for 1Yr
-- [420-7091]
-- [420-7092]
-- [987-4817]
-- [988-0099]

On the morning of 8/20/2008, my order still showed as "in production," so I used Dell's sales chat to see what was up. Here is the trasncript of my chat with "BE_RR_Rep_Hugh":

10:15:39 AM Customer ME
Initial Question/Comment:
10:16:42 AM System System
Thanks for choosing chat for your Dell Purchase needs. A chat agent will be with you shortly.
10:18:50 AM System System
Thanks again for your patience. Chat agents are eager to help you with your purchase, so stay on line and the next available sales consultant will assist you.
10:20:15 AM System System
You are now being connected to an agent. Thank you for using Dell Chat
10:20:15 AM System System
Connected with BE_RR_Rep_Hugh
10:20:15 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Hugh
Hello, and welcome to Dell's Sales Chat! My name is Hugh.
10:20:22 AM Customer ME
Hello Hugh.
10:20:26 AM Customer ME
My order # is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
10:20:35 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Hugh
Just in case we get disconnected, save email address - it's How may I assist you with your purchase today?
10:21:12 AM Customer ME
My order was supposed to ship today, but it still says "in production." Can you provide me with more information than this? What's holding up the process?
10:21:45 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Hugh
let me look into this for you
10:21:52 AM Customer ME
All right.
10:22:00 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Hugh
thank you
10:22:10 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Hugh
just one second please
10:22:24 AM Customer ME
10:22:50 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Hugh
it is showing today as the ship date, so it should be out the door sometime today
10:23:09 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Hugh
so, give it through the rest of the day
10:23:20 AM Customer ME
I see. Will I be receiving an e-mail when it gets shipped and the shipping number from the courier you use?
10:23:26 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Hugh
and maybe check a little later today
10:23:30 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Hugh

Shortly after this, I received an e-mail from saying that my order had been delayed, even though "Hugh" said that it should ship on 8/20/2008:

At Dell, our customers are our top priority and we regret when we are unable to ship our products by the original estimate provided. Although we anticipated being able to ship your order sooner, we are experiencing an unexpected delay and have adjusted the estimated ship date as reflected below (see Revised Estimated Ship Date). We value your business and appreciate your patience.

Now my ship date had been moved back to 8/27/2008.

I used Dell chat again and "BE_RR_Rep_Noelle" could tell me nothing except that my ship date was estimated at 8/27/2008. I told him that I did not pay $25 in shipping so they could deliver it to me 2 weeks later. I asked him to refund me the $25 that I paid but to continue to producing and shipping the 1521 to me. He said that Customer Service at 1-800-624-9897 could help me with this. He said that they could give me a case number that Noelle could then help me with.

I called the Customer Service number and spoke with Dell Representative Gaurab (employee number: 137941) and he told me that "Due to the nature of Dell's business, we cannot give you exact production or shipping times, those are just estimates." I asked him what was holding up the process and he said he couldn't answer that. When I asked him to take $25 off my order price because it was being seriously delayed, he said he could not do that, and replied in an annoyed voice: "If you don't like it, you can cancel your order." Gaurab did not give me a case number, and I had to pointedly ask him for his employee number before I could even get that.

I continued to contact Dell Chat, whose agents provided me with no answers. I also clicked on the link to check my order status everyday, and was surprised to see on 8/26/2008 that they had added some information to my account telling me that if I did not approve of "all future delays," my order would be automatically canceled. I received no e-mail warning of an automatic cancelation. Since I had already put in so much time customizing my laptop and speaking to all these Dell representatives, I grudgingly pressed the "I agree" button agreeing to all future delays.

Right after that, my order was delayed for the 3rd time to 9/4/2008. I contacted Dell Sales Chat on 8/27/2008 and spoke with "BE_RR_Rep_Christopher_W:"

10:27:23 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Christopher_W
not sure.. you can call customer service do you want that number?
10:27:59 AM Customer ME
I called them before, they didn't provide any details.
10:28:09 AM Customer ME
The shipment has been delayed 3 times, surely you must know the reason?
10:30:38 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Christopher_W
i do not... unless it is the AMD processor?

He hinted that the AMD processor was on backorder, and I asked for more info, and then he simply dropped the connection. Thanks, Christopher, for nothing.

I talked to some friends that have had many experiences buying corporate from Dell, and they told me that AMD processors were probably the culprit. So I contacted Sheila at Dell Chat this time:

10:42:49 AM Customer ME
Initial Question/Comment:
10:42:54 AM System System
You are now being connected to an agent. Thank you for using Dell Chat
10:42:54 AM System System
Connected with BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
10:42:59 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
Hey Welcome to Dell Sales Chat! My name is Sheila, and I'll be your personal sales agent. I can be reached at if we happen to be disconnected. How may I assist you today?
10:43:18 AM Customer ME
Please check order # xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
10:44:05 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
sure one sec please
10:45:55 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
its in production, the estimated ship date is 9/04
10:46:20 AM Customer ME
Have you been experiencing a shortage of AMD processors?
10:47:20 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
yea, we don't sale them any can also call 1800-433-9014 to check order status
10:47:50 AM Customer ME
I see. And that is the reason why my order was delayed 3 times?
10:49:50 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
I am not able to see that kinda information, I think its because of the lack of the AMD processors. They are only in retail now
10:51:01 AM Customer ME
Are they going to cancel my order if they cannot mate a processor with the rest of the components?
10:51:12 AM Customer ME
I need to know because I've already waiting 3 weeks.
10:51:31 AM Customer ME
I'm sure you can understand the frustration if I have to wait another month after that and still get zip.
10:53:10 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
I can give you the # to see if you can further investigate, 1800-624-9897
10:53:49 AM Customer ME
Is that just the customer service number? I tried them Monday and they didn't help me.
10:55:00 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
is there a reason you choose the AMD processor?
10:56:27 AM Customer ME
I prefer AMD.
10:56:40 AM Customer ME
I've used Intel before and had very many reliability issues.
10:57:00 AM Customer ME
I also build custom white-box systems for myself, friends, family, and colleagues and always use AMD chips.
10:57:18 AM Customer ME
Usually they're cheaper for me and for some graphics applications superior to Intel chips (in my opinion).
10:57:37 AM Customer ME
Since I can't build a laptop, I wanted one with an AMD chip in it made by a systems integrator like Dell.
10:58:26 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
I am probably not suppose to say this but, retail Dells, have AMD processors
11:00:17 AM Customer ME
I don't quite understand what that means.
11:00:35 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
dells in walmart and bestbuy
11:00:38 AM Customer ME
So "retail Dells" have AMD processors, but built-to-orders don't, or something like that?
11:00:43 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
have AMDs
11:00:49 AM Customer ME
OK, I see.
11:01:01 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
yea, we stopped having that option recently
11:01:04 AM Customer ME
So what are the consequences for the built-to-order that I paid for?
11:01:21 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
you can cancel it
11:01:39 AM Agent BE_RR_Rep_Sheila
since its still in production, you wouldn't be charged anything

Hmm, the first real information out of these people are repeated phone calls, chats, and e-mails. So Dell gave me the option to build an AMD64 Inspiron 1521, but decided that it didn't want to make them anymore, but was happy to take my money anyways, and then wants to cancel it?! I honestly do not know what kind of 3-ring circus they are running.

At present, I'm hoping to receive my notebook by the middle or end of October 2008. I will post blog updates here everyday detailing my chat and telephone conversations with these wonderful & helpful (I'm being facetious) people.

I remember when Dell used to be respected for their service and quality. I honestly don't know what happens to that. IF I receive my Dell Inspiron 1521 from, it will be my last order EVER with this company. They don't respect their customers and would rather put up roadblocks to problem resolution because it saves them a few bucks. In this economy, companies cannot thrive on such a lack of service. From now on, I'll be buying Acer, Asus, or Gateway. Those Taiwanese companies know how to make a mean laptop and they charge less for it.