We’ve all experienced the pushy salesman trying to get us to buy insurance/extended warranties when buying goods in stores but now it seems Dell are taking this to the extreme.
Last month we decided to buy my little brother a PC of his own and headed over to Dell and so my story starts.
We found a Dimension 1100 with 512MB RAM, 80GB HD, CDRW/DVD combo drive, Celeron D 2.5GHz with on-board sound & video, XP Home and the usual keyboard/mouse combo for £144 (ex VAT). You can see the ex-VAT prices by choosing Small Business instead of Home.
Pushy web site
Dell show lots of attractive prices but the moment you hit Customize & Buy the tricks start as the price shoots up when they tack a 3 Year on-site service on.
To remove this massive increase some £80 on this system (40% of the purchase price!) you must expand the Cover It with Dell Support Services section and switch to No service upgrade selected – 90 Day Collect and Return service only.
It’s interesting to note that they refer to the standard warranty as “90 Day” when in fact it is a full year warranty. I guess they are hoping to scare people into shelling out for insurance.
Anyway, I had the spec I wanted and because the site doesn’t understand the VAT-free nature of the Channel Islands it was time to call them to try and order the system…
Pushy salesman 1
The moment I got through to sales I made it clear I was ordering from Guernsey and so would need the order VAT-free. I didn’t want to go through the whole process twice once with the wrong department.
My Indian sales representative took the details of the system I wanted to order – it took over 15 minutes to get the right system for the right price.
At least half that time was him trying to get me to not remove the 3 year warranty. Eventually he took my address details and said he couldn’t help me because they didn’t deal with the Channel Islands and that I’d need another department.
Exactly the problem I’d hoped to avoid with my first statement.
I asked which department and number I needed – he didn’t know. He did however get somebody to call me back. That leads to my next salesman…
Pushy salesman 2
My second Indian salesman couldn’t pick up the order from the first salesman so we had to start again.
If I thought the first salesman was pushy then the second one took the biscuit. Some of his phrases included;
- “What will you do if it goes wrong”
- “Listen to me” (x3)
- “If it is shipped back you will have to pay 50% of the costs”
- “It is just a few pence a day”
- “You can not fix it yourself”
- “Isn’t that a good deal for peace of mind”
- “It even includes accidental damage” (Err, so does my home insurance)
Anyway, eventually I had to be very firm with him and we proceeded with the order. He went through a similar thing with needing ink and a cable for the free printer – neither of which are cheap. In the end I told him to keep the printer as we didn’t want it anyway.
The order details were taken although I had to chase a couple of days later for email confirmation the system arrived and worked just fine.
I received an email saying I could rate the buying experience online. Needless to say I made my feelings on pushy salesman trying to offer support contracts known.
Today was the final pestering that would inspire a blog rant… a call from Dell asking how my Dimension 1100 is going.
Me: “Absolutely fine, no problems.”
Dell: “Oh, that’s good. You didn’t take the 3 year support, is that really what you wanted?”
Me: “Yes, absolutely.”
Dell: “Ok, bye.”
Well, okay at least he wasn’t pushy but how many times must I tell them no. By my count it’s at least 3 if you exclude the sales and after-sales rating web sites.
Are they worth it?
If you are really lost with PC’s maybe they are – but if you write software for a living and put your first PC together 10 years ago probably not.
My Hitachi TV came with a free 5 year extended warranty. It covered £140 of repairs when it decided it wouldn’t switch on any more – finding somebody to repair it was a whole other issue. My thanks to Sarnia Radio in Victoria Road for rising to the challenge and doing a sterling repair job.
I did once take out an extended warranty of sorts on a 3 piece sofa suit for £100 (less than 10% of the price) which included coating the whole thing with ScotchGard protector which has kept it totally mark-free for the last 10 years :) If you burnt or damaged it then the warranty would kick-in.