Tag Archives: bad customer service

Dell, Reddit and Customer Focus

Reddit is a site for what’s new and popular on the web (votes by the user community rate web links). That user community is highly skewed toward software engineers who are a bit irreverent (as some of the language in this post shows).

Today Reddit linked to: Introducing the Dell De-Crapifier… [the broken link was removed] which is essentially a tool to help you get rid of all the extra software you get with the Dell computer. Dell gets paid by software companies to pre-install software on the computer (Google may pay $1 billion over 3 years).

It’s a very dissatifiying experience to pull a brand new computer out of the box and be spammed with a bunch of trial software. After removing all of the crap, ([which] took a significant amount of time) it booted much faster and performed like it should. I kept thinking it would be nice to have an automated way to remove all this stuff. Thus was born the Dell De-Crapifier script.

Now, to be fair, I know most all of the major PC manufacturers have similar practices of installing trialware. I would suspect they don’t make any profit on the hardware (or even a loss) and they make their money on the kickbacks from the software companies. I don’t know.

The comments to the post are full of gems like:

Why not demand a better product from OEMs rather than cleanin up their crap for them and letting them continue to give customers what they don’t want?
It’s the OS that sucks.

Try a Linux machine that doesn’t need this crap.

Reddit is full of software people who don’t like Windows (Linux is their OS of choice). They take every opportunity to disparage Windows.

How do you use this? I just bought an Inspiron 6000 and want to murder it but then I came across this program.

Yeah the tool is not something most can really use easily.

Anything similar available for a Hewlett Packard. I’ve got tonnes of pre-installed stuff on it and boot time is paaaaaaaaainful.

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Customer Service is Important

Topic: Management Improvement

Double Trouble, Don Oldenburg, Washington Post:

Digging into the details, Stevenson, a mechanical engineer, did a double take at what looked to him like a double charge. Verizon was billing his sweetie for the local plan, for the new regional plan and also for a la carte services that are included in the regional plan. Sorry, wrong numbers!

He called Verizon to complain. “The customer service representative said that they knew they’ve been having an issue with their system double-billing,” Stevenson said. “When I asked if they were taking any steps to remedy this by notifying their customers . . . or refunding money, they simply said ‘no,’ that most people call when they notice that they’re being overcharged.”

What do I find most surprising about this? That the customer service representative actually said they were doing nothing. The idea that they would choose to do nothing is not that surprising to many, I would guess.
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Price Discrimination in the Internet Age

Re: Boing Boing post – Why HP’s region coding excuse is bogus

There is a simple method for large multi-national companies to use to protect against currency fluctuation. They can use foreign exchange futures to do so. Companies do this all the time (some also chose not to for their own business reasons). “Foreign Exchange is the largest of the global financial markets. Daily trading volume in the currency markets is estimated to be 1.1 US trillion dollars.” – Smith Barney Citigroup [broken link removed]. Some companies choose to speculate on the direction they believe exchange rates will go (either directly, or by not hedging when they believe rates will move in their favor and hedging when they predict doing so will benefit them).

In fact the United States government gives beneficial tax treatment (60% of profits are classified as long term capital gains, regardless of the holding period, thus reducing the taxes owed) to profits from “futures” trading. The reasoning is that creating a market for companies to hedge their risks is so important we must provide tax benefits to create a market for this activity. Some may think that the special tax advantages are more likely due to large payments from lobbyists to those who write the tax code than the merits of such tax law. In fact I may be one of them. Farmers often use futures contracts (on, for example, wheat or corn) in much the same way that companies can use future currency contracts to hedge their risks. That point is mentioned by the lobbyists, I would imagine.

The argument that you need to cripple products by geographic area to cope with currency fluctuations is false. It might be that a company wants to practice Price Discrimination (definition from US Federal Trade Commission [broken link removed] or from the Digital Economist [broken link removed] ) to charge more where they can get more and less where they can get less. In the view of such a company, the internet, and other factors, have made it increasingly easy for people to buy in the low cost region and resell the items in the region where the company wants to charge higher prices. If you want to keep practicing price discrimination as a company you have to erect barriers to the free trade of your products by your customers.

Reimporting drugs is another clear example where companies try to use price discrimination – to charge US consumers more than Canadian consumers. Drug companies have successfully created legal road blocks to those trying to get around the geographic price discrimination. However, since lately those responsible for enforcing those laws have not been very eager to do so you can imagine the drug companies would like a drug that only worked in the country it was purchased. Another example of price discrimination are the regional versions of Windows.

I happen to believe companies should have the right to practice price discrimination. And in fact they should have the right to make products that have replacement parts that have been crippled to work only in products sold in specific countries. I would rather deal with companies that were trying to provide me more value not less. So I would be reluctant to buy from companies that practice such anti-consumer behavior. And luckily the internet and blogs are making it very difficult for companies to hind such practices. My guess is once attention is focused on such practices some companies will take advantage of such behavior by pledging “to do no evil.” And those companies will gain customers. The process will be quite a bit more confusing in the real world but that is how things will play out in the long run.

Hedging Currency Fluctuations: