Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Which I Shouldn't Even Bother

In March of last year, I bought a new laptop. I bought it through Dell, and in the interest of saving a few bucks, I opted for a more beefed-up netbook. I don't regret my decision at all, although it took a while to get used to the drastically smaller screen size (I went from a 15-inch to a 10-inch) (also, that's what she said). 

Because I bought a netbook, that meant that there was no disk drive built in. Not having an external CD drive already, I bought one straight from Dell because they said it was directly compatible. Even though I purchase most of my software through the internet (thus no CD to install), having an external drive to rip CD's onto my computer or play DVDs was important enough for me to shell out the extra money for it. 

Looking back on it now, I laugh at the fact that Dell said this drive was "directly compatible". In the year since I bought it, the disk drive hasn't worked correctly a single time. For the purpose of being specific (and in hopes of getting the attention of the company who manufactured it), I bought an I/O Magic IDVD8P DVD-RW/CD-RW. Quite simply, it's a piece of junk.

From Day One, it hasn't worked right. Every time I try to burn a disk, it spits it out halfway through (that's what she said), saying some sort of error had occurred. This happens no matter what program I use to burn the disk. Winamp, Windows Media Player, iTunes, nothing. Even burning a data CD or trying to run a program off of a disk doesn't work. I've wasted so many CD-Rs in trying to get this damn thing to perform its one and only function, but it always, always fails.. 

I spent some time researching the error messages I was getting, and tried to update the device drivers on my own. I tried plugging it into different USB ports (that's what she said) to see if I would get any better results, but no dice. I even tried switching out the cable that runs from the device to the computer, and still nothing. Frustrated beyond the point of concern for my ego, I finally threw in the towel last week and contacted Tech Support.

I foolishly expected results. 

Through a series of e-mails from a guy who calls himself Ronny, I have gotten exactly zero steps closer to resolving the problem. Instead, I've had to download two diagnostic programs and provide him with the basic information about my system setup that I provided already when I sent my initial request for help. I've tried pushing him for some actual suggestions on how to resolve the problem, but I'm beginning to think that "Ronny" is no more than some guy copy/pasting tips out of the online product manual. 

What is it going to take to get some actual help here? Do I need to sacrifice a virgin? Shave my head and make a sacred potion with the trimmings? Sell my soul to Simon Cowell so he knows how it feels to have one? Do I need to do a little dance, make a little love, and get down tonight? Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, Ronny, just help a brother out.

I'm beginning to think I shouldn't have even bothered. I probably should just write this off and go buy a new drive. Sure, I'll feel bad about the eighty bucks I pissed away on the one I have currently, but at least I'll finally be able to burn a fucking CD. 

Misery loves company, so in the comments, share with me your tech support horror stories.


garciagirl82 said...

Yes Dell! Their computers aren't too shabby, but their accessories are pieces of crap. Went through one all-in-one printer, had nothing but problems, they replaced it with a printer that had the exact same problems. No help with the error messages every time I tried to contact them.

Kat said...

Oh don't even get me started. Lets just say my husband refuses to call Dell or HP for tech support now, it's MY job.

Moonspun said...

Thankfully I've got nothing to share. I've got a macbook that (knock on wood) is doing just fine. Although the "free printer" that came with buying the computer? Love Cannon, but not the way it sucks ink like a thirsty man in the desert.

Mwa said...

Computer hell - aaarghhh!

Luckily I have a computer whiz as a husband (I think that is his exact job description), so I've not had such a horrible experience.

I'm still here... said...

First, let me praise you for channeling Mr. Michael Scott. I bought a Dell computer ONCE because it came w/ a free digital camera and I could add a $100 printer/scanner/fax for just $20! It never worked and all my scans looked like something Picasso would have painted. Talking to tech support for 45 mins resulted in me losing my mind and reminding him that I wasn't the problem. After being sent to Tier II support and getting major attitude from some pizza-faced kid, I went postal and threatened to shove the scanner up his college ass. Good times.

Shantanu Rathore said...

Even if you sacrifice a virgin, tech support will probably say that you did'nt do it please sacrifice another one..

you can either sue them...or get a new drive...and if you know someone who has an external drive then just borrow it for some time and try it on your netbook...or try out the shitty drive on someone else's netbook just to confirm its 'shitty'ness....i guess you've already done just go for a new drive (but not before some serious market research)

Hoping to see you burn some CDs soon....Cheers!

Mystern said...

You know I actually posted about this subject exactly on my blog. The difference is that I posted from Ronny's view.

TechnoBabe said...

No horror stories here. iMac here. Love it. Sorry to hear your frustrating story. To not be able to burn CD's would drive me over.....

Aunt Juicebox said...

I have had my Dell laptop for almost 5 years, and have worn it out, and it STILL keeps on ticking. However my husband's which is not as old, and was a more expensive model, already had the dvd burner go out on it. We had to buy an external burner, a Light Scribe, which we've had for about a year, and IT is already acting wonky. We also have an external hard drive and that thing has been awesome, but lately has been making unhappy noises, so we got another one just this weekend. My issue is always effed up cell phones. My BB's trackball doesn't always want to work right away, and NEVER works in camera mode.

Heather said...

I had a Sony Vaio for a while and the disc drive was also a piece of shit. Half the time it wouldn't even recognize that there was one. I like to play computer games so it was quite a problem. I just gave up on it after months of trying to fix it.

Everyday Goddess said...

Never a Dell.

That's all I'm going to say.

Or, Never Adel.

That's what she said?

girlvaughn said...

For some reason when I have problems it doesn't even occur to me to call a helpdesk..I just try to resolve on my own until it's fixed... or until I am ready to break it and buy a new whatever.

that said, I haven't had a single problem on anything since I switched to a Mac. I have a Dell laptop at work and it's a sad sad computer.

ND said...

Long story short, I discovered my that DVD drive on my beloved laptop was broken over the winter break. I went to copy files onto a disk, and the drive made some weird, "WRRRRRRRW" noises, then flashed a fatal error message. After several attempts to fix it (meaning I had the then-husband attempt to reinstall the drivers), I decided that it was going to take professional care to get my drive back in working order. This wasn't a problem. My computer is only a year and a half old (I had gotten it on some hard earned grant money) and I had a 3 year warranty through Best Buy, so I packed up my computer and drove it over to the sadly-named Geek Squad. They assured me that fixing the drive wouldn't be problem, and that after shipping it off to the factory to have it repaired, they'd run their own tests and "optimize" my computer before giving it back to me.

Fast forward. I got a phone call from the Geeks letting me know that my computer was ready to be picked up. Happily, I drove over to Best Buy and anxiously waited in line to retrieve my beloved machine. One of the Geeks marched out of the back room carrying something that .... vaguely resembled my computer.... if my computer had been through a war zone without a case .... or run over with a car. He plopped it down on the counter and proceeded to get my paperwork. "Um," I started. I looked at the then-husband. I was alternating between panic and anger. I chose to quietly ask, "Is this my computer?" Adam and the Geek looked at me. "No, this is definitely not my computer. See, my computer wasn't this horribly disfigured." It looked as though they had used the top of my computer as a skateboard. It was completely covered in scratches. I gingerly touched the scarred body of my once beautiful computer, turning it slightly so that I could see its front. The entire front, left side was smashed. As in, I could see the motherboard through what used to simply be a pretty casing over the speakers and the media card reader. And they expected me to take it back.

It's sort of like if I took my car in for an oil change, and the mechanic gave it back to me with a huge dent on the front corner panel. "Yeah, well... I had a little accident while I was test driving it, but you know, I did change the oil!" Honestly, did they REALLY think I wouldn't notice the massive damage they caused? What the fuck? As I told the Geek Squad guy, "I could have drop kicked the computer without your help. I sent it off to be fixed not to be further broken."

It took 6 months, 8 thousand unreturned calls to the corporate office, an attempted pay off of $150 gift card, and finally a trip to a different store to finally get the computer replaced.

ND said...

P.S. I really didn't mean to post a blog as a comment to your blog!!

Kael Hunt said...

I would commiserate, but I'm too busy laughing at "that's what she said." The Hubby and I love "The Office."

Rebecca Knight said...

Dude. Ask for Ronny's supervisor and your money back :P. That sucks!

Briar Rose said...

You are not alone!! My hubs bought me a 10 in mini laptop in May for our anniversary and got the "compatible" CD drive to go with it so I could use my school programs with it, um, yeah, has not worked right a single day!!! It is just sitting on the shelf in the box. Laptop works marvelously though! And was a lifesaver when we moved and were going around looking at rental houses! But the CD drive, piece of JUNK!

WebSavvyMom said...

-->My husband is a network administrator and if I even dare ask for help with my Dell laptop he says, send me a HEAT ticket. Guess how well that goes over?

Anonymous said...

i live in denmark. i was booking flights around europe for work and using a danish credit card to pay for flights in danish currency. i kept receiving emails with my itinerary, but these did not have the amount paid on them (for work reimbursement). so, i contacted delta using the online chat support option. after they sent me the same itineraries without the amount paid, they wanted me to call the 'toll-free' number to america. although it's 'toll-free' it's really not when you have to call across the pond. so she gave me a danish number to call, explaining that i could not book flights online thru delta from europe, even using a european card. so, what's the use??? before i got around to call the danish number, a receipt showed up in my inbox. guess the online support didn't really know what was going on.

similar story with sprint. but this time, the customer service rep at the 800 number couldn't find a payment on my account, and told me to go to a specific store. the store manager could find it (by giving him the EXACT same information). so what's the use of the 800 number c.s.r.??

greetings from denmark (well, currently in amsterdam for a work thing - one of those delta flights)!

Jennifer said...

I hate Dell with a passion--their laptops, their computers, their equipment... Everything.
Sorry you're going through this crap...

Is there anything else you can purchase that is compatible?

Alan said...

I guess I could read through every comment but so you know...I did the EXACT same thing and had the EXACT same issues. But get this...I had an extra cable lying around that fit the dell port exactly so I used it instead of the cable that came with the CD/DVD external drive? And it works great now.

Go figure.

Nicki said...

i'm sorry for your troubles but so excited that somebody else automatically thinks "that's what she said" in everyday conversation. sometimes it's painful to restrain myself (yes, that's what she said) from blurting it out!

and i'm a 37-yr old woman!

Melissa said...

GAH! FIOS tech support is touch and go. Some of these kids just dont want to help you. I had my computer not talking to my router, which blew. It worked fine the day (and months) before. Called tech support and the kid was all like, oh, your computer doesnt talk to our routers, they do not work together. I am all like, dude, they have been speaking for months, they have been going steady, I dont think they had a fight or anything, and he is all like, no, they never spoke, our router thinks your computer is ugly and hates its guts, and I am all like whatEVER.

So I hang up and get another dude, and he is all like, oh, let me send this signal thingy out, then you press the reset button. And my computer was all like so there old tech guy, you bitch, your router DOES think I have a nice ass and likes my signal.

Aunt Becky said...

You mean the help-LESS desk? Heh. YEAH. Exactly.

Sandy said...

We don't have enough time.

Vanessa said...

Dude! The solution is simple.


Badass Geek said...

Garciagirl82: Their printers suck.

Kat: HP's are far worse.

Moonspun: All printers use way too much ink than they should.

Mwa: I'm pretty computer savvy, but this thing is just above me.

I'm still here: Absolutely.

Shantanu Rathore: Thanks!

Mystern: Oh? I'll have to check it out.

TechnoBabe: It really is frustrating.

Aunt Juicebox: I've never had a problem with Dell computers. It's just the stuff they sell along with it.

Heather: I'm about to give up.

Everyday Goddess: Dell's are good machines, but there are exceptions to that rule, I guess.

Girlvaughn: I tried everything I could before contacting Tech Support, believe me.

ND: Holy Cow. What an ordeal!

Kael Hunt: The Office is my oxygen.

Rebecca Knight: I'm about to that point.

Briar Rose: It really is. I'm sad I wasted the money on it.

WebSavvyMom: Not very well, I'm assuming.

Anonymous: It's always an experience, asking for help, isn't it?

Jennifer: Probably, but I want to exhaust all my options before shelling out MORE money.

Alan: Yeah. I tried that. No dice.

Nicki: TWSS is my life-blood.

Melissa: Internet tech help is just as useless.

Aunt Becky: Pretty much.

Sandy: Indeed we don't.

Vanessa: Mac's aren't the solution to every PC problem. In this case it's not the computer, it's the peripheral.

...Gabby? said...

I agree with Moonspun on both counts (all three if you count the knocking on wood part). And hello! The price here on ink cartridges is 25€...each. "Thirsty man in the desert" indeed...and apparently one with champagne tastes. Ouch!

As to the help desk. Try doing all of the interactions in French! And if you want some sort of reimboursement...feggedahboudit.

Good luck in your little corner of Dell.

Phoenix said...

I'm technologically retarded, so just about everytime I boot something up I'm in tech-hell. And the worst part is that I'm absolutely sure it's 98% me, except for when it's NOT me which only further confuses me because it's almost always me.

So I can't win. Which is why after the Cylons take over I'm gonna be gleeful when we all start going back to sending messages via carrier pigeons. Or Raptors, whatever.

Chibi Jeebs said...

Ah, Dell. I purchased my first laptop (my first computer) through them because I had *no* clue what I needed or what I was doing. After building the machine over the phone with some dude and asking REPEATEDLY if I'd be able to get online without being plugged into anything (heh, see? didn't even know what to call it), I ended up with a laptop with a wireless card slot, but no card. (Oh, and did I mention that they sent me two of the same half of the power cord? So I couldn't even TURN IT ON when I got it?)

After numerous calls and being put on hold and cut off and told I had to hang up and dial a different number, I finally got a person who unfortunately dealt with my built-up wrath: I told him that if they didn't send me a ($100) wireless card at no cost, I was sending the whole thing back for a full refund.

I had a wireless card and the other half of the power cord within three days.

(I was also dumb enough to order my second laptop from them... hehe)

Chris Mancini said...

tech support?! customer service?! I'm not sure that I know what you're talking about.

abrandname said...

That's what she said!

Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight?

You had me rolling man....geez you are destined for a writing career! I know it.

I have so many nightmare tech support calls that I could not remember one. I used to be customer service for Dell! Yeah, I LOVED it!

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