On Friday, my laptop died. It was an Acer. The screen was damaged. Replacement cost of cracked screen is more than halfway to the cost of a new laptop. So I decide I will support the new Ubuntu Dell Laptops.
I go online to Dell's Website and go to the Ubuntu page. I choose the E1505n. I upgrade to a GB of Ram, I get the Nvidia 256 MB graphics card, I get the DVD burner optical drive. So far so good. I am happy with the default processor and the screen. Now, another driving factor is that Dell has the nifty cool complete care (tm) plan. With this bad boy, a random brick can fly through the air, hit my laptop, shatter it to threads, and Dell will cover it. Think of it more as an insurance plan than a service plan. I have a friend with 3 kids who has had to take advantage of it not once, but twice. Both times Dell took care of them no questions asked. Now, the first time the Dell laptop had XP on it...the second time..gentoo. Still, no problems here.
So, I decide to get it....just in case I get burned twice.
On June 2, I get an email telling me my order has been acknowledged and I will get another email shortly giving me a order number (I also paid for next day shipping). Well, the rest of June 2 and all of June 3 goes by. No new email. I check my spam folder...nada...just the usual assortment of male enhancement and refi deals. So on June 4 I call Dell. They can see no order...they can see they debited my account...but no order. Hmmm...confusing. Very sorry, sir. Let me talk to my supervisor, please hold. She has no explanation for the lost order, but she will reprocess the order and I will get my next day shipping for free since I lost time. YAY!
But wait! When we "build" my Dell, there is no longer a Complete Care (tm) plan for Ubuntu. She puts me on hold. She find out that my order was bumped out since they changed the policy on offering Complete Care (tm) on Ubuntu Dells. Why? She puts me on hold. Now comes the fun.
"Sir, Ubuntu is a third party software and applications come from sources not from Dell."
"Vista is a product of Dell?"
"No sir, but we have a relationship with MS."
"So you do not have a relationship with Canonical, the commercial company that sponsors Ubuntu?"
"Hold.........Yes we do, but the software for other things comes from third parties."
"So what if I buy a game for a Vista laptop from Best Buy? As that is a third party software..does that invalidate a Complete Care (tm) policy?"
"What if I download an update from Microsoft to keep my Vista Current, how does that differ from an update from Ubuntu other than the fact the Ubuntu update actually helps my system?"
"I do not know sir. See, sir, Linux comes from all over the place and as such cannot be supported."
"I believe Redhat and even Microsoft differ with that opinion. I am not looking for support, that is another option I can click on another screen in your website. I am looking for protection from bricks. The laws of physics do not differ from one OS to the other...do they?"
"Talking to your superior will not help my cause, do you have the phone number and email address of an executive do you?"
She gave it to me. I wrote an email. I expressed my concerns politely and professionally.
The person I contacted replied to me the following:"Mr. Green,
Thank you for your note and a chance to solve this issue. I am about to get on an airplane, but will get your issue to our executive resolution team. They should be able to resolve. If you are not satisfied, please do not hesitate to contact me again.
Thank you for your business.
I will be honest, I thought I was being tossed about like a hot potato. Earlier this morning I received a phone call from an executive in the resolution team by the name of Diane. She was very professional. She said she was unaware of the policy change. She discussed the issue with her peers and they do not understand the logic of this policy. She agrees that the OS does not have any bearing on hardware issues covered in the complete care (tm) offering. She is going to move further up the food chain to investigate this (along with the reduced normal warranty) and call me back later today.
I am actually beginning to get hopeful here. I will say that no one at Dell that I have spoken with has been rude. They have all been professional, but I need to keep going up the chain until this can be offered to Ubuntu Dell consumers again. I will keep you all updated.
I would like to thank Fabian at Ubuntu for passing this up the food chain to Canonical, the Ubuntu community, and the idea share community.
More to come,
Follow-up to the story
I received a follow up call from Diane from Dell on my way home from work today. She told me that when I had called, the assumption was that marketing had made a decision. However, since she agreed with me, she was not in her words, "tell a customer who wants a service from us that he cannot have it based on a theory." She pushed my case up to a VP who got back to her ten minutes after they released the the press release regarding their explanation. I do not know why I was told what I was told in the initial call. Simple fact was, everyone was polite, everyone was professional, and they responded in my (and all Ubuntu buyers) favor. My new Dell is ordered and should be here soon. Today, they earned my money.