Dell Watch: The Amazing Disappearing Gift Card

Remember my $3000 paperweight with the cool Dell logo on it? The story isn’t over yet.

Indeed, I’ve never had such a highly concentrated collection of problems with a single purchase in my entire life. First of all, let me point out that after waiting for a replacement XPS 720 for a month, the new machine exhibits exactly the same bluescreen behavior as the first system. I’ve spent the last 2 months troubleshooting this system, and it still bluescreens on average once every 1.5 days. I’ll post more information about that soon — looks like I’ll be returning it to Dell for a refund, if they will let me. Jury is out on that right now.

But in the meantime, Dell has found another way to screw me!

When I ordered my original XPS 720, the Dell web site promised a $200 gift card with the system. To make a long story short, it never came. So about a month ago, I called Dell XPS customer service (which is awesome, because unlike standard Dell tech support, you always seem to get a North American call center rather than somewhere in New Delhi) and got a wonderfully polite, helpful person who promised to rectify the situation. She said that she would get my gift card sent out to me soon, but if I hadn’t received it by the time I wanted to place an order, I should just e-mail her and she’d credit my account $200:



Now, I wasn’t too enthused about relying on that offer of crediting my account, so I figured I could wait for the gift card to arrive before ordering my 500GB external USB hard drive.

A month passed, and no gift card. So I sent the nice lady an email to see what happened to it. I got this terse, gruff reply:


Wow. Dell customer service reps are no longer allowed to communicate with customers via email? That’s odd, because I still get this message in e-mails from Dell:


If they won’t reply to emails anymore, you’d think they’d stop asking you to, you know, reply to emails. But okay, fair enough — Dell is erecting even more walls preventing customers from getting a satisfying customer service experience, and they seem to take some perverse satisfaction in frustrating users in the process. Makes sense. Kids like to set ants on fire. It’s the same principle, I suppose.

So I called customer service, and was told that I didn’t qualify for the system because I ordered it over the phone. But I didn’t order it over the phone — I ordered it via the web!

Nope, apparently I didn’t. As soon as I talked to a customer service rep about the order several weeks later, it became a phone order. No one told me that by picking up the phone, I had suddenly forfeited $200. Lesson learned: Dell is evil incarnate. Now I know. And that external hard drive? Obviously, I’ll buy it elsewhere.

11 Responses to “Dell Watch: The Amazing Disappearing Gift Card”

  1. R-Bro Says:

    You totally need to take this case to Consumerist. Dell owes you $200. Are you gonna take this lying down?!

  2. Stephen Ryson Says:

    The second mail looks like a standard format. I work for a company called Kana and Dell is one of our customers. The second screenshot which has the Reply to this mail bit, is a Kana interface. So, I am guessing Dell’s C.R.M. (Customer Relationship Management) tool is designed to include this interface and the email must be automated. More importantly, what I see here in your blog is a rant ! A childish rant ! If you so badly want a performance computer, then go build one for your self. Instead, since you are incapable of doing so, you go buy from a company that actually does a good job at making these things and then bungle up your systems, because you are incapable of using them. I can one system failing due to bad components, but two ??? Hey wait a minute, I know what the problem is …. It is a Pbekac (Problem Between Keyboard And Chair) which is YOU ! What do you expect the system to do, auomatically control the mouse because you cant point and shoot in Crysis or do you want the keyboard to appluu course correction because you cant keep the car on the road in NFS? You moron. Go buy your self an H.P. Atleast you wont expect to see performance and they wont expect you to call because they know, you are born too dumb to even call.

  3. Stephen Ryson Says:

    Secondly what is wrong if your call goes to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or frigging Jamaica? You still don’t know how to use the computer. Secondly, those seemingly semi-educated people are actually a brighter bunch than you. They design the Intel chips we use, they program the Windows operating system we use, they write the code for the games we play, they make the PCBs for your micrwave, dishwasher and a thousand other things you use in you daily life, so what the hell is wrong with them answering the goddamn phone, they designed and built in the first place? We use their brains and register patents on our names and then go back and yell at them because we don’t know how to use the things they designed! Jeez, I am outtie………

  4. Dave Says:

    Thanks for the entertainment, Stephen. I am amused by your assertion that if I want a high perf computer, I should build one myself (which I have done in the past; I am quite capable); otherwise I somehow deserve a machine that bluescreens every time you insert a disc in the DVD drive.

  5. Mike S Says:

    Steve is an ass. He must be pretty insecure in his manhood because he works customer service - lol!

    What makes him think you don’t know “how to use” a Dell computer, Dave? Haven’t you written like 20 computer books and been on TV as a computer expert? Gimmie a break. lol

  6. Arbitior Says:

    Stephen Ryson = FAIL

  7. Sagres Says:

    Nice work! I’ll have to do a cross post on this one ;)

  8. Andrea Says:

    I got screwed out of a $150 gift card. It was never sent. I’m really beginning to hate Dell. This isn’t the first issue I’ve had with them.

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