Dell Next-Day Service Not Next-Day in Practice

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I pay good money for a service contract for our Dell computers, which in my case is provided by Unisys. They used to be pretty good at giving you the next-day service that you pay for, but it seems to be getting very hard to get next-day service recently. Obviously they can't give you next-day service if you call on a Friday night or the day before a holiday, because the technicians aren't working on weekends and holidays. But I'm talking about calling up early in the day in the middle of the week, getting scheduled for the next day, and then getting assigned to a technician who refuses to rearrange her schedule to fit mine, when there's really only about an hour in my day when I can't do it.

I have a 10:00 appointment today. It's going to take me five minutes to get there. It should be about 45 minutes long. It will take about five minutes to get home. Even if it goes long, I should be home well before 11:30. So I was hoping Dell would put me in the 1:30-5:30 slot for service today, and I was expecting to be able to change that when they called to ask me what time would work for me. What's the point of asking me if a time will work if they're unwilling to change it? The service desk person had me talk to the technician, who said it won't fit her schedule, and I'd have to talk to the service desk people again. I did, and they said only the technicians can change it. There's no way even to move me to the later slot. I have to wait until tomorrow, and tomorrow I have the same problem. I need it to be later in the day tomorrow too. At least they let me schedule that.

This could easily have been avoided if they'd asked me when I could be available for the technician to come before they assigned me to a technician and a time slot. I never used to have a problem with this. If the technician scheduled me for a time I couldn't keep, I'd be moved earlier or later in the day, as long as I talked to them when they initially called me to verify the time. If that technician couldn't accommodate me, they could assign it to a different technician as long as they knew before the technician had gone out with the parts. Now they seem to assign a time and a technician, verify it with the customer as a formality, and then move you to the next day in violation of the contract if you can't conform to the schedule they didn't bother to confirm with you before they assigned you. This does not count as next-day service. If it happened one call in ten, I wouldn't be very upset about it, but this seems to happen to me just about every single time. It happened last week, and it had to be delayed two days. I think something like that also happened a little over a month ago.

After three calls to the scheduling desk personnel and two to the technician, I finally got someone to tell me that I can call the number they had me call and influence my schedule before the parts get shipped (i.e. the day before but only once my dispatch has taken place to be in their system). They don't normally even give you that number until you get your first call from Unisys (in the morning), when your time is assigned already. So maybe I now have a way to ensure that my next-day service really is next-day, but the information required to ensure such a thing is hardly available to most people calling in service requests, and I wouldn't have thought such a thing was necessary.

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