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I have often (as have all of us, I’m under no grand delusions here) suffered at the hands of the ineptitude of large companies. I understand the rhetoric of the executive class when they say things like “expanding our relationships with small business” and being “customer responsive”. I’ve been there, I’ve written the press releases. I know that nobody at big companies actually mean such hokum.

I have now been attempting to buy a number of DELL 24″ flat-screen monitors for the staff here @ Something Simpler for nearly a month now. My first order was placed via Dell Canada’s web site on January 5th.

Here’s my letter to Dell:

If you’re listening, Dell, which I doubt, my first order, #196489702, was initially delayed for credit card verification, which I provided, and then was spontaneously dropped with no explanation or notification. It wasn’t until I called after two weeks of no word or sign of any shipment that I discovered what had happened (sort of)…

I spent an hour on hold and speaking to a number of service representatives, none of whom could tell me when I could get my monitors from you and thus have my original order filled. I was informed that, even though I had successfully responded to their attempt to confirm my credit card information, the order had been spontaneously cancelled. A kind but hapless customer service rep identifying himself as Amir said that he would call me back in a few hours to let me know when I could get my order re-shipped, and of course he never did.  The order had vaporised.

A couple of days later I found a special via RedFlagDeals on similar monitors, and placed an order, #198744807 on 1/22/2008.  Today, they finally arrived (or so we thought).

The boxes looked a tad small for 24″ widescreen monitors. It turns our that what arrived today were the correct quantity of eight 20″, not 24″, monitors. Ironically, the waybill which specifically listed the correct model number was tucked in the side of one of the boxes. Are times really that tough for you, Dell? Did you think I wouldn’t notice? So, off to call you (or customer service, at least) again.

First of all, the 1-800 number listed on the Waybill: “ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CALL 1-800-847-4096” has been disconnected, or at least is not reachable from the Rogers Wireless network. Once I called their main customer service number, it took ANOTHER hour of talking to three different customer service representatives, sitting on hold, and even being hung up on once by Dell’s IVR system, to get the correct LCD displays shipped to our company. I now have to cool my heels another few days to see just how badly You can mess up my order this time — as far as I know I am still no closer to getting what I ordered way back on January 5th.

I then sent you an email via your web site venting my frustration. I did some search for your executives, hoping to appeal to them directly for assistance, but found them to be very well-insulated from the faceless hordes of your peasant customers — blissfully unaware, in all likelihood, of the misery we suffer at your indifference and scorn. No luck there either, I guess.

So, Dell, I’m sorry … we’re breaking up. I’ve been good to you over the years: I’ve given you lots of spending money, and you’ve given me reasonably high-quality products at generally good prices. When things started going wrong, I tried to reach out to you to tell you how I was feeling, but you didn’t want to listen. I called, I emailed, but all I got were robot responses (and a litany of case and incident numbers). But you lost me on the relationship. Too bad for you… I’m a pretty good guy.