Add me to the list of unhappy Dell customers. I second your comments regarding Dell's customer service.
I recently purchased a 600M and while the performance is as expected, it does have a problem with the chassis design or heatsink as the left side of the touchpad gets uncomfortably hot after only 5-10 minutes under normal operation.
It has been sent in for repair and returned with the exact same problem. I received a replacement system today and guess what..same exact problem.
Getting the repair and replacement took several hours and several attempts to get in touch and stay in touch with a Dell representative. At one point I kept asking to speak to a supervisor, but think I was just transferred to another representative. The information discussed was not documented properly. They ask for your phone number and e-mail address, but I was disconnected a couple of times, but did they call me back?
I also found it frustrating that no one was able to provide a phone number to contact Dell Corporate.
Just my opinion, but I can't help but think the cost savings from outsourcing customer service to India will eventually have a greater impact on their home sales than their savings.
I do find it interesting that customer service and tech support for the business systems are fluent American speaking english personnel. That tells me that they look at the home PC market as a much smaller, less important than business systems. Guess what Dell, home users become business users.
Also, how can Dell get away with stating they offer a "21-day trial period" when the evaluation period starts on the ship/invoice date? With the UPS 3-day option, that is technically only an 18-day trial period. Even if the priority or overnite shipping option, it is still only a 20-day trial period. Isn't that false advertising?
I attemted several time unsuccessfully to return this Inspiron 600M within the trial period, but I either was on hold for an hour only to get transferred to a different department and/or disconnected. I also tried the Dell Chat, but when I did get connected to a representative and explained what I wanted, the chat was terminated.
I am extremely disappointed with Dell and feeling the heat on my left hand everyt ime I use my new 600M just reminds and reinforces my feelings about Dell, not to mention when I make the monthly payment.
Ohh man, let me tell you my side of the story.
I had an Inspiron 9300 totally custom with all top of the line, and the price tag $4800.
First the design makes it look very cheap, second the DVD burner (which I advise anyone do not buy one of this brand) was NEC and it took somewhere between 1-2 hours to burn a DVD which I found outrageous, and the third is that the Ultra X Brite display they offer you it's not exactly that ultra, the image is not that crisp (comparing with Toshiba Qosmio it's just a fake shadow).
So I called the technical guys and they send me a new laptop with offcourse the same problems.
Called again the technical guys and they implied that it's actually my fault because I am not used with the software (wich by the way I am doing video editing for 5 years now) and blahaa trallaalala, but I told them straight that their "plastic case" will be returned (that was on 32 day that I bought it). Ofcourse they try to tell me that it might not be possible but I told them that I will file a complaint with Better Business Bureau, Consumer Protection, and any other association that protects consumers from being ripped off. They accepted it right away.
As for asking for supervisor forget about it they always hang up on me. I even filed a complaint online with Dell. Do you think they ever replied? No.
So I will say to everyone,
BE AWARE, BE VERY AWARE OF THE DELL QUALITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE !!!!!!!
Every year I have more and more trouble communicating with Dell tech support, they are unable to listen and speak clearly, they just pass you to another rep, which means longer on hold. And ultimately you never get the support we used to get 17 years ago when Dell was an awesome company that employed Americans.
Seventeen years ago an average notebook sold for $2,000-2500. There was plenty of room for support in that figure.
Today an average notebook sells for $500-700. Some of that price drop is due to technological improvements but more is due to shorter warranties, limited support and of course off-shoring consumer-level support (business support is still available in the US, though at extra cost).
Not coincidentally, the company with the "best" support sells an average system for much closer to what others did in 2000 -- and not surprisingly, it can afford US-based support (that's Apple).
Bottom line: just as is the case with airline seats, you can pick your level of service -- and pay accordingly.
You don't get high-end support with any consumer-level system any longer unless you pay for it.