Update to my Dell Hell Story

The original story was here.

Summary: Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet dies a few weeks after buying it. I go through hell trying to get it serviced, more hell, more hell, some social media people try to help, kind of reinforcing the part that bugs me (that baseline service is broken and this shouldn’t require social media cowboys to fix).

Update: They let me know what broke the unit. Know how pretty much everything charges off USB these days? Because I didn’t use the DELL SPECIFIC charger that came with the device (as opposed to the other 3098101984 around my house that I use to charge every device in my house besides my children), that’s what broke it. The device somehow was fussy enough to care that I didn’t use the one that came in the box.

I have a Motorola MotoX phone – will take whatever USB charger is laying around.
I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – - will take whatever USB charger is laying around.
I have an Amazon Kindle Fire HD – - will take whatever USB charger is laying around.
I have a Nokia Lumia 900 – will take whatever USB charger is laying around.
I have a Kodak Play video camera – - will take whatever USB charger is laying around.
I have an iPhone 4s – fussy as all hell, but only because of the charger end.

So, I said thanks for the update. Keep the tablet. I don’t want it any more. If it’s that fussy, it can’t live in my world. Can you imagine having two cables in your bag because every device BESIDES the Dell Venue 8 Pro doesn’t care, but I need to bring with me the Dell Venue 8 Pro charger?

At this point, maybe I’m just grumpy. I am grumpy. I’m grumpy because Dell’s customer service was broken. Because it took tons of people via various social channels to handle what should’ve been reasonably baseline conversations.

But now I’m grumpy because of that answer, too. I’m grumpy because if I understand the feedback sent to me via Twitter, because I’ve still not received ONE SINGLE EMAIL FROM DELL OFFICIALLY VIA THEIR SERVICE DEPARTMENT, suggests that their device is so fancy baby fussy that it can’t use the same chargers that I share around all my other devices without issue.

So, that’s that. Anyway. On to other more interesting stories.

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  • http://www.takoyaki.org barron

    That’s unfortunate. I am able to charge mine with any of the chargers I have (Samsung, Kindle, generic). Sometimes it’s an older charger that is out of spec that can damage modern devices. I once had an old feature phone charger that used the same micro-usb port, but wouldn’t charge newer devices correctly. Whatever the case, I can feel your pain and frustration. Getting the run-around from customer service sucks.

    • http://stevenwb.postach.io/ swbuehler

      I hesitate to use older chargers on newer devices because many newer chargers have logic built into them to manage the charging cycle and avoid overcharging the device. More and more though that’s been a function of the _device_, not the _charger_.

  • http://about.me/sueannereed Sue Anne Reed

    I’m a huge fan of Dell, so when they did the Streak tablet I got one, plus I really wanted a tablet that was 7″ not iPad sized. They discontinued the line and then about a year later came out with the “venues”. It’s a great little tablet aside from two main problems — it has horrible battery life (especially for a tablet), and it has a “special charger”.

    It’s currently collecting dust, and I bought a Kindle for Christmas.

    • SURVIVOR OF DELL PC, poor tech

      I’m a survivor of dell products & services for years now, LITERALLY SURVIVOR, HA. Anyway, only knowing DELL PC, I jumped ship into unknown territories and bought an Apple IPad with no training experience or otherwise. I don’t like change, but when dell was done cleaning out my wallet and patience, all I had was CHANGE, literally, haa.. Anyway, learned the iPad in a week, EASILY,!!, love it! Customer service is great too. Nothing bad to say except once bitten, twice shy, ha… I’ll never go back, to DELL HEXX anyway…IMHO… :-) Good luck with your kindle, heard great things about them too…:-) but an apple a day keeps the VRUSES AWAY, HA,! :-)

  • http://thefranchiseking.com/about-joel-libava-the-franchise-king The Franchise King

    Fantastic, Chris.

    No one wins.

    All you wanted was a device that worked…normally.

    JL

  • http://brightideas.co/ Trent Dyrsmid

    Chris. I love it! It totally blows my mind that huge corporations don’t “get” that when they piss people off, those people are going to talk about it on social media and their blogs – and that the damage done by that FAR outweighs the cost of doing whatever is needed to turn an angry customer into a raving advocate.

    Just imagine if an actual person from Dell had called you to apologize for the trouble and to send you out a new tablet.

    If they had, you’d likely be raving about it via your platform(s) and then many others would share/retweet, etc….and the CPM for all that love would be near zero.

    Duh.

  • SEOChemist

    Had a similar problem with HP recently, 5 years ago got two great laptops, spent the same amount for one laptop three months ago, shipping was heavily delayed, keyboard is terrible, trackpad is a little unresponsive, and the fan just died. Very disappointed, going somewhere else next time. I’m thinking Samsung or Sony.

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  • http://www.friendsfoodfamily.com Tricia White

    It’s about communication. I had some issues with Verizon and my data plan. I just wanted someone to explain why I was going over – An explanation…period. What I got was a sales pitch, I needed more data and a snippy sales rep. I’m with you Chris, I love finding the good things about a product or service, tell the world how great it is. I don’t like to dwell on the negative, I don’t want to be grumpy. It’s sad that companies don’t get the customer service piece, it ultimately drives the fate of any business.

  • John Baronian

    If that excuse was true, and its not, that’s an engineering issue not a customer service issue. If that were the case Dell would have a 10% failure rate per week (assuming people charge 1-2 times a week and thats based on the rate I use various chargers) Thats called a Class Action Lawsuit.

  • http://thetopfivepercent.com/ Stephen W. Anderson

    Frankly, I have never understood why companies want to go unique for commodity design instead of modular. If they had spent the same amount of time and resources designing a fabulous device in the first place, or a spectacular keyboard, that would be impressive. But specifically designing the charger so that your machine breaks if it uses a different THAT FITS (caps for emphasis) guarantees obsolescence in the shortest amount of time possible.

    Sorry can’t write more right now, I have to go watch my videotape on my Beta Max machine.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Beats me. Their story, such as it is, is that their chips are so futuristic that they need very special power specs. I can KINDA get it. Just doesn’t make it useful to me.

      • http://stevenwb.postach.io/ swbuehler

        Apple makes the same excuse about the SuperDrive, that it needs more voltage from the USB port and therefore it *only* works on their machines. Something I find strange because I can hook up any other USB optical drive to my machines without a problem.

      • http://thetopfivepercent.com/ Stephen W. Anderson

        Making a product unique can work for building brand loyalty, but I think there are better ways to do that rather than make their product breakable during a normal sort of operation. They are betting a lot that people are going to love their product so much that they will give up convenience just to use it.

      • Brian

        It’s worth noting that the Dell, Mixx, Asus, etc. Baytrail devices are essentially using hardware designed by Intel. I’d likely believe the power port is Intel specced as well. This is the reason that they don’t have a video out port, or a separate power port. These were designed as secondary devices by Intel, so that they can’t be a primary device. This was admitted by Intel.

  • http://stevenwb.postach.io/ swbuehler

    Companies like to go proprietary so they can continue making money off their devices after the sale. However, apart from the iPhone/iPad and my cameras (the latter because they use an SD card I can remove and slide into my computer, so a cable is irrelevant), I avoid any device that doesn’t have a standard connector for the simple reason that I’ll probably lose their cable within the first week of having the device. My geek bag has three USB cables (one for each kind of plug) or even better, one cable with changeable plugs.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      I know. Sony used to do that to me. Remember how they’d never ever use a memory device that worked with anything else?

      • http://stevenwb.postach.io/ swbuehler

        Sony still does it with their cameras (my DSC-WX9 uses a strange connector), as does Nikon. Fortunately those use SD cards I can remove and slip into my Mac.

    • Brian

      Actually a lot of companies go with proprietary components not to screw customers, but because they can specifically engineer the component(s) to function in certain ways.

  • http://scrapsofmygeeklife.com scrappinmichele

    Dang. I have the same Dell tablet, so I guess I better find the original plug because as you said…..I normally just use whatever cord is closest. Ugh!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Yep! They were VERY clear that I’m voiding the warrantee.

  • http://dougterpening.wordpress.com Doug (Terp) Terpening

    This whole charger thing is crazy. If Apple wasn’t so good, I’d drop it just because of the charger pain.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Same thing. I had an Apple hell problem with that.

  • Matthew Cheyne

    To hell with Dell. There is a reason why Apple has such a massive following and Dell does not. It comes down to making products for people with people in mind and servicing them after the sale in the same way.

    • Douche

      apple sucks….but youre your so hip and cool cause you use a apple so at least you have that going for you turd

    • Brian

      I use Apple, and Windows based devices. Apple has similar weird issues. For example…I’d recommend not using the iPad wall charger with the iPhone, it actually has been known to damage iPhones. And the iPhone wall charger will charge the iPad significantly slower. I’ve personally tested the second issue, and it’s true.

      Other issues are the Macbook power cables being incredible fragile, and easily damaged. No device is perfect, or company is perfect.

  • http://stevenwb.postach.io/ swbuehler

    I used to work on Dell machines when I was doing tech support for a short time, and their business systems (the Latitude line) was really good and very easy to fix, so when the time came for my wife and stepdaughter to get laptops we bought them both Dell Inspiron 15s. Since then the stepdaughter’s died completely and my wife’s is having random touchpad and keyboard issues.

    That said, when I was looking for a Windows tablet I came across the Acer W3-810 and it’s been running flawlessly; they’ve come a long way from the pieces of crap they used to be.

  • http://twayneking.blogspot.com Tom King

    More like the Secret Service Department.

  • http://twayneking.blogspot.com Tom King

    Part of the problem is that the industry has yet to fully standardize the power supplies and batteries they run on. Voltage and amperage have to be the same between power supplies and chargers, not just the plug on the end of the cord. That’s why some power supplies have odd shaped connectors. If they really wanted to help us, every computer should have a standard 110v plug-in and an on-board transformer. Those take up a lot of space though and would make the machines bulkier. The only cure for that would be standardization of power input across all platforms, but as one government official told me about a solution we came up with for a community transit problem, “It’ll never work for two reasons. (1) It’s too simple for bureaucrats (tech guys) to get their heads around. (2) It makes too much sense. (3) What politician (company) would take credit (make money) for it?

  • Terry Simpson

    It is always the simple ability to say “I understand that you have a problem with our service – and we will fix that.” Combine that with “We think you deserve better than the product you received, would you be willing to try again and we will send another.” Simple- easy – and it costs them nothing to do that, and everything if they do not

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  • Jan

    have you thought about the fact that maybe the phones will take wathever charger is available from 0,2 A to 2A but the Tablet will need at least a 2A charger?
    However a lower Ampere charger shouldn’t break a tablet but just refuse to charge.

  • Brian

    Yeah. I get mad when I have to use a mouse, and a keyboard on my desktop. I mean come on…my laptop has both on it. And I get even more mad when I move the mouse, and I don’t see the interaction on my iPhone…seriously I need to use a different screen?! I seriously don’t understand you getting mad at Dell, because you clearly did something wrong. Obviously you should use the same power cable that came with the computer you bought. This was your fault, and you should be angry with yourself.

    Dell may not have handled support appropriately, but the root cause of the problem was an error on your part. It should be common sense not to use a different charging cable. The first world problem of you being inconvenienced having to carry two cables is incredibly petty, and really it has always been the case….and likely will be the case for the foreseeable future. I’d recommend not using the same cable for all your devices, because even though they look the same…differences do exist. It’s entirely possible that you are damaging the other devices (battery, port, etc.) and don’t know it.

  • SURVIVOR OF DELL PC, poor tech

    SURVIVOR OF DELL HEXX..a few seconds ago
    I’m a survivor of dell products & services for years now, LITERALLY SURVIVOR, HA. Anyway, only knowing DELL PC, I jumped ship into unknown territories and bought an Apple IPad with no training experience or otherwise. I don’t like change, but when dell was done cleaning out my wallet and patience, all I had was CHANGE, literally, haa.. Anyway, learned the iPad in a week, EASILY,!!, love it! Customer service is great too. Nothing bad to say except once bitten, twice shy, ha… I’ll never go back, to DELL HEXX anyway…IMHO… :-) Good luck with your kindle, heard great things about them too…:-) but an apple a day keeps the VRUSES AWAY, HA,! :-)