Dell Tech Support – Repeat stupid questions, wrong conclusion & then fobbed off

Dell Tech Support – Repeat stupid questions, wrong conclusion & then fobbed off

So my father in law had a problem with Dell laptop, bough just over a year ago – which I advised him to buy because I’d had good experiences with Dell.  Unfortunately, this back-fired spectacularly when something went wrong with it and we actually need support.

First off, I tried to diagnose the issue myself – the laptop was stuck at the Dell logo and couldn’t access BIOS or boot settings – literally dead in the water.

He contacted Dell support through their WhatsApp service and what followed was 3 hours of stupid questions where he had to repeatedly remind them that the system was unresponse. they asked him to remove the battery (its internal on this model) and myriad other idiocies (such as seeing if the laptop would boot up without RAM).  In the end, they concluded the motherboard was faulty and that he had to go to the retailer to get the problem sorted (despite there being an active warranty with Dell which he showed them).

Their conclusion about the motherboard being faulty was based on the fact that it wouldn’t boot with the SSD plugged in, I suggested maybe the problem was the SSD but they ignored this.  I then confirmed that the motherboard appears fine by booting in to Linux from a USB drive and accessing files from the HDD drive with no problems (so the SATA controller was clearly intact) and the laptop functioned perfectly.

I’ve put a full log of the chat here because I couldn’t believe how bad it was and will be picking this up with Dell:

21/12/21 9:25 – John: Hi, I am looking for support for my laptop
21/12/21 9:25 – Dell Support: Welcome to Dell Technologies Virtual Assistant.
21/12/21 9:25 – Dell Support: Please share your Service Tag or Express Service Code so we can review your system configuration.
21/12/21 9:25 – Dell Support: Watch this video for a quick walk-through to locate system Service Tag: https://youtu.be/xxISMlXqyVQ
Learn more about Dell’s privacy statement: https://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/uscorp1/policiesprivacy-country-specific-privacy-policy
21/12/21 9:26 – John: REDACTED
21/12/21 9:26 – Dell Support: Thank you for the information.
21/12/21 9:26 – Dell Support: Please select your issue from the following options: If your issue is not listed, could you please briefly explain your issue below? Type #️⃣ to connect with an expert. System is working slow System not powering on System not booting up Audio issues Keyboard issues
21/12/21 9:26 – John: System not booting up
21/12/21 9:26 – Dell Support: Thank you for contacting us. It appears you are experiencing a No Boot issue. Let us ask a few questions to assist you with resolving the issue.
21/12/21 9:26 – Dell Support:
Please confirm if this is a No Boot issue by pressing the Caps Lock key. Did the Caps Lock key light up?
Button 1: Yes
Button 2: No

21/12/21 9:27 – John: Yes
21/12/21 9:27 – Dell Support: Can you view the Windows login or password screen?
Button 1: Yes
Button 2: No

21/12/21 9:27 – John: No
21/12/21 9:27 – Dell Support: We recommend that you run an ePSA Diagnostics test on your computer to check for any hardware failures.
Note: This step may take 5 to 7 minutes to complete. Please skip the extended memory tests at the end.
Watch this video for a quick walkthrough:
21/12/21 9:27 – Dell Support:
We appreciate your patience while the ePSA Diagnostics test runs. After the test is completed, please confirm if the test passed.
Type #️⃣ to connect with an expert if you need assistance.
Button 1: Yes, it passed
Button 2: No, it did not pass

21/12/21 9:27 – John: No, it did not pass
21/12/21 9:27 – Dell Support: Okay. We will connect you with an expert now to assist you. We appreciate your patience while we connect you.
21/12/21 9:28 – Dell Support: Thank you for staying connected. I’m Pavan, and I will be assisting you.
Could you please elaborate on the issue you are facing?
21/12/21 9:29 – John: Hi Pavan,
Just a heads up, I am an IT engineer so you can discuss at a technical level.
The laptop isn’t getting past post, when I try and enter the bios, is just freezes saying ‘Preparing one time boot menu’ or ‘Enter bios’
21/12/21 9:30 – John: This machine has an SSD and a HDD, the HDD doesn’t sound good to me.
21/12/21 9:30 – John: I can try removing the HDD and seeing if that helps but need a service manual
21/12/21 9:31 – Dell Support: Thank you for the information. Could you please confirm have you seen any error messages?
21/12/21 9:32 – John: No there are no error messages, it just doesn’t get past the Dell logo on startup. Pressing F12 to access the boot menu just causes it to get stuck there.
21/12/21 9:35 – Dell Support: Could you please confirm is strucking at dell logo. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
21/12/21 9:35 – John: Correct
21/12/21 9:35 – Dell Support: Thank you for the confirmation.
21/12/21 9:37 – Dell Support: COuld you please confirm caps lock key LED working while turning it ON/OFF?
21/12/21 9:38 – John: Yes caps lock is still responding
21/12/21 9:40 – Dell Support: Let’s do a hard reset. Please follow the below steps for the same:

1) Remove any external peripherals connected to the laptop. (Including any docking station).
2) Remove the battery and then unplug the power cord from the laptop.

Note: If the battery is not removable, please continue the step without removing the battery.

3) Press the Power button for 15 seconds to drain any residual power from the motherboard.
4) Insert the battery and then connect the AC adapter to the laptop.
5) Press the power button to test whether the system will power on now.
21/12/21 9:40 – John: This laptop doesn’t have a removable battery
21/12/21 9:41 – Dell Support: Please skip that step.
21/12/21 9:42 – John: OK, tried that many times but the problems remains (obviously the system still has power though)
21/12/21 9:43 – Dell Support: Thank you for the information. Could you please share an image of the Dell logo?
21/12/21 9:45 – John: <shared an image of the logo – no idea what this is supposted to achieve>
21/12/21 9:49 – Dell Support: Thank you for sharing the image.
21/12/21 9:54 – Dell Support: Hi,
This is an automated message to share the service request number for your reference:12345678, for the Service Tag: REDACTED. Our experts will continue to answer your queries and assist you further until resolution.

Best regards,
Dell Social Media Team
21/12/21 9:54 – Dell Support: First, we need to identify if this is a hardware or software issue. The quickest way to do that would be to run the onboard Dell diagnostics. It would last about 10 minutes.

To run the diagnostics:
1. Power on your system from a powered-off state.
2. Keep tapping (tap-tap-tap) the F12 key the moment the system powers on.
3. Select Diagnostics and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the test.

NOTE: You need not run the extended stress/memory test for now, but please make sure the power adapter is connected at all times during the test.

Here is a short video guide: http://del.ly/61784JLD5a

You will get a validation/error code after the diagnostics are complete. Please share the code with me so I can review it and suggest what needs to be done next.
21/12/21 9:56 – John: I cannot run the onboard diagnostics, as I have said repeatedly, it is stuck and unable to access boot options
21/12/21 9:59 – Dell Support: I request you to do a hard reset. Please follow the below steps for the same:

1) Remove any external peripherals connected to the laptop. (Including any docking station).
2) Unplug the power cord from the laptop.
3) Press the Power button for 15 seconds to drain any residual power from the motherboard.
4) Connect the AC adapter to the laptop.
5) Press the power button to test whether the system will power on now.
21/12/21 10:01 – John: I have tried that, it’s the same step as provided before but as a I said, it has an internal battery so it still has power. Problem remains
21/12/21 10:02 – Dell Support: Kindly, are you able to toggle the caps lock key on and off? Also, are you able to see the dell logo with spinning dots or is the screen stuck at dell logo without spinning dots?
21/12/21 10:09 – John: Yes as I mentioned earlier, the caps lock key is responding. There are no spinning dots. Trying to access the boot menu or bios results in it getting stuck as “Preparing one-time boot menu”
21/12/21 10:11 – John: If you can provide me with a service manual, I can disconnect the battery and also trying disconnecting the hard drives.
21/12/21 10:19 – Dell Support: Sure.  Please check the below link for the manual. http://del.ly/61782JLEHI
21/12/21 10:23 – Dell Support: Please perform the below steps.
a. Check if the hard drive is detected in the BIOS: http://del.ly/61785JLE3L
b. Reset the BIOS to default settings: http://del.ly/61787JLE3F
21/12/21 10:29 – Dell Support: Please do let us know so we can guide you further accordingly.
21/12/21 10:29 – John: I cannot enter the BIOS!!!
21/12/21 10:29 – John: I have tried disconnecting the battery to do a hard reset, no change. I have tried booting with the HDD disconnected, no change
21/12/21 10:30 – Dell Support: Kindly perform a BIOS recovery and check if the system loads fine. Watch this video to learn how: http://del.ly/61786JLEXM
21/12/21 10:35 – Dell Support: Please do let us know the result so that we can guide you further accordingly.
21/12/21 10:37 – John: I ran the bios recovery, rebooted the system and have the same problem (stuck at logo, cannot access bios or start up options)
21/12/21 10:38 – Dell Support: We will now have to identify if this issue is caused by any of the internal components. For that, first, we need to remove the customer-replaceable units (CRU) from the system one by one. You could go through this video and try removing the internal components like the hard drive, memory module (RAM), and graphics card (if available): http://del.ly/61788JLEin

Note: Please test the system after removing each of the components to check if there is any change in the system behavior. Also, be careful while removing the parts so that there is no damage caused during the process.
21/12/21 10:39 – John: OK which units shall I remove?
21/12/21 10:41 – Dell Support: You could go through this video and try removing the internal components like the hard drive, memory module (RAM), and graphics card (if available)

http://del.ly/61788JLEin
21/12/21 10:44 – John: Yes but it doesn’t say which of the components to remove. The manual has everything in it, speakers, power port, heat sink, cpu, etc. Which ones do you want me to remove?
21/12/21 10:44 – Dell Support: Try removing the internal components like the hard drive, memory module (RAM), and graphics card (if available)
21/12/21 10:45 – John: OK done but obviously it doesn’t boot because it has no RAM
21/12/21 10:47 – Dell Support: I apologize could you please let us know have you removed the RAM?
21/12/21 10:49 – John: Yes I removed the ram and the laptop couldn’t display anything (presumably it’s shared memory with the graphics chip)
21/12/21 10:49 – Dell Support: Please reseat the Ram and check.
21/12/21 10:53 – John: RAM reseated, same problem. When remove the SSD however, I get much further and the system launches “Pre-Boot System Performance Check”
21/12/21 10:53 – John: Looks like the SSD is the problem, if its plugged in I cant even access BIOS
21/12/21 10:59 – Dell Support: Kindly allow me a few minutes.
21/12/21 11:00 – John: Thanks, this laptop is coverd by premium warranty with onside support, can someone come and fix it please?
21/12/21 11:01 – Dell Support: Kindly allow me a few minutes.
21/12/21 11:08 – Dell Support: Thank you for your time and patience.

We see that there is an issue with the motherboard.
21/12/21 11:10 – John: OK, even though bios works fine when the SSD is disconnected?
21/12/21 11:11 – Dell Support: We see that the system has a Dixon warranty please check with them.
21/12/21 11:14 – John: The system has support with Dell
21/12/21 11:15 – Dell Support: I can see that your system was purchased from Dixons who has their own Technical Support who can assist you in troubleshooting your system. You can call their number (+44) 0344 561 1234 and for reference, it is also included in the receipt or pamphlet that was provided.”
21/12/21 11:16 – Dell Support: I would like to tell you that Start Date of the Premium Warranty is: 2022-01-08 End Date: 2025-01-08
21/12/21 11:17 – John: OK but I still have a basic warranty with Dell, it says so on your website and states that it covers parts
21/12/21 11:19 – John: <shows proof of warranty>
21/12/21 11:21 – John: I’ve spent two hours helping you diagnose a problem with this laptop and now you want me to go to Dixons, despite your website clearly stating this device is covered by an active warranty which includes parts and technical support?
21/12/21 11:24 – Dell Support: I apologize I would like to tell you that we have checked with our team please contact Dixon support for further assistance.
21/12/21 11:27 – John: No, I have a warranty with Dell and would like you to simple send the required part. Why would I go to Dixon? I bought the laptop over a year ago from them
21/12/21 11:28 – Dell Support: I can see that your system was purchased from Dixons who has their own Technical Support who can assist you in troubleshooting your system. You can call their number (+44) 0344 561 1234 and for reference, it is also included in the receipt or pamphlet that was provided.”
21/12/21 11:28 – John: Can you please ask a supervisor to call me or email me
21/12/21 11:33 – John: I have called Curry’s (AKA) Dixons, they will not provide support because it was bought more than 12 months ago
21/12/21 11:33 – John: The warranty with Dell however runs until 8th Jan 2022:
21/12/21 11:34 – John: <Multimedia omitido>
21/12/21 11:36 – Dell Support: I understand, and I’m sorry about the experience you’ve had with us so far. I’ve prioritized your case and I’m going to have my supervisor review it to explore all the available alternatives. They will get in touch with you shortly.
21/12/21 11:40 – Dell Support: Hi,

I’m Chandra Kanthan, one of the Supervisors at Dell Social Media Support.

We checked the details, and the unit was purchased with default 1 year Dixon warranty.

We also see you have extended with Dell Premium warranty, but it starts from January 8th 2022.

As the current warranty is with Dixon, we kindly request you to check with them once and let us know, so we can proceed further.

Thank you again for your patience and understanding.

Best regards,
Chandra Kanthan G
Supervisor
Dell Social Media Team
21/12/21 11:43 – John: Dixons warranty ended on the 10th December, year after it was purchased. The Dell warranty continues until the 8th January, at which point it is upgraded to a premium one. Dixons will not provide support. I’ve wasted 2.5 hours answering the same questions over and over, I have disassembled the laptop and now after all that, you are trying to fob me off with Dixons. The ridiculous thing is, if I just wait 3 weeks, you will have to send an engineers here to fix the problem.
21/12/21 11:44 – John: Chandra, I am going to publish the full details of this experience on my very popular blog and write to as many Dell managers as I can find because this has been shocking.
21/12/21 11:48 – Dell Support: I apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. I would like to tell you that we have checked with our team please contact Dixon support for further assistance.
21/12/21 11:50 – John: Have you read my message? I cannot get support from Dixons because I bought it more than one years ago!
21/12/21 11:54 – Dell Support: Please do not worry we have checked the records we see that the Dixon warranty is applicable till 2022-01-07
21/12/21 11:58 – John: The motherboard is working fine by the way, I have just booted in to Ubuntu from a flash drive. The problem is the SSD as I said.
21/12/21 12:03 – Dell Support: I understand your concern. We request you to please contact the DIXON team.

Bob McKay

About Bob McKay

Bob is Director of Operations at Perfect Image, a full time father and husband, part-time tinkerer-with-wires, coder, Muay Thai practitioner, builder and cook. Loves love, tolerance and co-existance. Hates hate. Is aware of the irony of hating hate.

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