A while ago someone passed this video onto me and I watched all 26 minutes or so of it. I never thought I would find myself in that situation, but today I did. Here’s the story… Thursday is about the only day that I watch TV. I also usually bring my laptop downstairs so I can do some other things while watching TV. But this time, it could not connect to my network. I go through some standard things to see if I can get it to connect (scan for networks, disable and enable the card, turn off wi-fi and then turn it back on) but none of those works. Since I had also been having some intermittent problems with my speakers, I figured I would check the cables that are in the hinge of the LCD. Sure enough the wireless antenna cable had been cut. Extended warranties are usually a rip off, but in the case of laptop computers, I’m all for getting as long of a warranty as you can. So back when I bought this computer, I got a 4 year warranty.

So on Thursday evening I called up Dell Support. In 95% of the times I’ve had to call Dell Support, I already know what the problem and solution is, however they are usually required to walk you through different diagnostic things. This time I was sure to specify that the problem is a broken cable so any diagnostic regarding the wireless is sure to fail since the antenna cable is broken. Surprisingly, the guy decided within 30 seconds that a replacement LCD assembly needed to be shipped (he was correct and that’s the outcome I expected before I called). However, he didn’t want it to be user serviceable, so he was going to ship it to a Dell Certified Technician who would preform the work on the laptop.

So this morning, the Dell Certified Technician showed up and began working on my laptop. I was busy with other things at work so I left the technician to work on his own. Normally, I would expect that the technician should have been able to replace the LCD screen and verify that all is working within 10 minutes of beginning. Well about 20 minutes pass and the guy is still “working” on it. I walk in and the guy is doing stuff to my hard drive and proceeds to tell me that I have a major software problem (I don’t). At this point I get a little mad. The guy was supposed to be fixing a hardware issue, but is browsing around my hard drive to find what he says is a software problem. (I realize I should have logged out before I gave it to him, this way, I would have to type in my password before he could have done anything.) I told him it absolutely isn’t a software problem and that I am pretty competent when it comes to computers so he should double check his work. I press Function+F2 which is the hotkey to enable the wireless on my computer and it doesn’t do anything. I tell him at the least, that light should turn on and off. The guy then says it won’t do anything unless there is a wireless signal detected (also a lie the guy just made up). I said I can get another laptop and show him that there is a wireless signal in this room. He doesn’t believe me until I get another laptop and show him that there is a signal and that it can connect to the network. Then I show him that pressing Function+F2 should turn on and off the Wi-Fi status light on the laptop regardless of presence of a signal. He tells me that I should call Dell and report the problem. I tell him that I won’t do that because it is supposed to be the technician to report any additional problems that did not get fixed on the service call. I tell him that he needs to double check his work. At this point the guy gets mad at me and says to give him 5 minutes and he will fix it.

Well about 10 minutes later he comes in and asks me to log in. (He has called up Dell Support.) So I go to type my password and nothing happens. The keyboard is total unresponsive. The guy then proceeds to tell me that I have a bad keyboard. I’m like, it worked this morning, so I seriously doubt its the keyboard. At this point the guy has proved to me that he wasn’t all that competent to be working on my system. I turn the system off and say lets check that you reconnected the keyboard. Well it turns out he did not. This is the most probable explanation to why the first time I tried Fn+F2 the wireless did not enable. I hadn’t tried typing anything else so I wouldn’t have caught it then.

Well the moral of the story is that after watching that video and having first hand experience, I don’t think I can trust anybody but myself to work on computers. I can only imagine how somebody who doesn’t know much about computers getting taking advantage of or their solution taking a lot longer than it should take to get resolved. What’s crazy is that this guy really had no reason to do that. He wasn’t getting paid by me (maybe Dell pays him more for each additional trip he has to make to get a problem resolved, I don’t know). For example if he said the problem was with the motherboard or the wireless card, Dell would just send a replacement one at no charge to me since the machine is still under warranty. So it would seem pointless for him to do anything but fix the problem.

In the end, I told the guy I was sorry if it seemed I was angry at him. The system is now working the way it should, so its pointless to stay angry. (Though the next time I have Dell work that they say they need to send a technician for, I will probably request that they not send this guy.) Dell also usually sends a follow up survey, which I usually ignore, but to protect other people, I will be honest about how I felt this guy was not competent enough to be performing this work. Anybody else have any good or bad stories about their experiences with computer support like Geek Squad?

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