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Comments on Wednesday 5 May 2004:
The fan I bought with which to fix my laptop wasn't any good. Though it had the same dimensions as the original, it had fewer screw-holes, aligned differently, and one corner was insufficiently curved to fit. So I sighed, and ordered a whole new graphics card from Dell (because they won't sell just the fans).

Now the story gets extremely boring, as if it wasn't boring enough already. Dell won't just sell me a part over the phone, nor via their website - no, I have to phone them and then they'll email me a quote. The quote will be attached using a stupid format such that Eudora realises there is an attachment but doesn't detach it. This attachment is also sent zipped (for optimal spam-filter droppage) and in PDF format to make sure you can't easily work with it.

Three failed emails and a failed fax later, I eventually managed to get a copy of the quote via a Yahoo account. To work with it I had to load it into Photoshop and treat it as an image, which at least worked out okay. I then faxed it to them by printing it to the fax driver straight from Photoshop.

I had opted to pay using BPAY - an Australia-specific payment method - because it seemed likely to be simplest, and the alternative was faxing credit card details which just seems nasty. Of course, seeming likely to be simple, it was, of course, obligatory that it be screwed up by the vendor. The quote had given me customer reference number "391". Attempting to use this caused the response "invalid customer reference number" (which is good, at least, in preference to "okay, you can pay someone else's bill or something").

So I called Dell again about this. They said to call a different number. So I called the different number, and was delighted to be met with "please call back during normal business hours". I had started trying to purchase the part at 2pm; it was now 5pm.

Finally, today, I redialed this secondary number and was given the proper customer reference number, a ten-digit beast that didn't even begin with 391 but 393. Goodbye $380, hello working-properly laptop... In 10-15 working days.

The most annoying thing is the refusal to sell replacements for the actual broken part. I suppose it's better than "laptop normal" which is "broken part? You'll need a whole new laptop", but still, surely fans should be replacable, as probably the most likely component to seize up. But then, who'd pay $500 for an extended warranty if they let you fix things yourself for less than $300?

Making the whole experience worse was that nearly every person I talked in the course of the five thousand calls had a fairly thick Indian accent, such that spelling anything out absolutely required "charlie tango victor" format, and even then there had to be three repetitions in either direction.

By way of revenge for that, today when I called, I called with a mouth full of pie. Perhaps coincidentally, today the call was resolved successfully in under two minutes, rather than taking three hours. So if you ever have to call Dell's customer service lines, do it with a mouth full of pie. [10:18]

Nameless
what type of pie was it?

RavenBlack
A cornish vegetable pasty. I'm not sure that isn't an oxymoron, but regardless, that's what the pie was labelled.

AttackOfTheSpam
I wish they sold pasties in the States. I've really no idea what they are, but they sound somewhat tasty, if fattening. It's a good thing I've built an immunity to fat via daily consumption of my mother's cooking.

Earthworm Fanatic
They do. At least in......... someplace where I was at the age of........5. They also had these cool outdoor Shakespear plays.

AttackOfTheSpam
Nowhere in Texas, then. Or perhaps they have them in Dallas, which is my closest real city? I should have looked today. Knowing my father, we won't go back into the city until it's time for the annual Beer Festival once more.

MorbidCorvid
Earthworm, if you ever do remember, please tell. I need a break from all the American... ness...

Kain's Son
RavenBlack I sympathize with you. I recently had myself pulling my hair out over an ink cartridge i needed to get replaced. A Damn Ink cartridge. I believe it would have been easier buying a new printer....
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