You may recall that on May 21st I posted Count on Dell to Fail During a Crisis and Swearing By-At Dell. On July 2nd I received my Dell Latitude D620 laptop back in working condition solely due to the exceptional service of Bill B of Dell in Round Rock, Texas.
After reading my blog (and I’m not quite sure how he came across it), Bill took on my case as his personal responsibility. He creatively arranged for the replacement parts to be sent to our NY mailbox for forwarding after I told him that Michael could install them.
That seemed like a workable solution until the box arrived at USAMail1.com (our mail forwarder) containing a warranty invoice declaring that the parts were worth $908.87. The customs tax on those FREE warranty replacement parts would have been about $150 in addition to customs “fees” (which seem to be discretionary amounts based on the whim of an agent), FedEx-Israel document processing fees (approx. $50) and the shipping expense of a 22 lb. box ($145). Why was I being charged at a 22 lb. rate for parts that weigh less than 3 lbs? According to USAMail1.com, I was being charged DIMENSIONAL weight because the box size exceeded some international mail standard (we’re talking about a motherboard and CPU fan here – certainly the box should have been smaller than a laptop box!) And then I would still have the expense of returning the broken parts to the US and bothering a family member to take off the outer wrapping and drop off the pre-addressed Dell package to a UPS shipping location. In summary, this free warranty service could have cost us as much as $500.
Michael sent out a plea for help to all the doctors we know who live in Israel and commute to the US for work – and Dr. M came to our rescue! We rented a car for a day ($50) and drove to his community to drop the laptop off with Dr. M’s neighbor because his family wasn’t planning to be home that morning.
Dr. M took the laptop with him to work in the US and Bill of Dell (whose signature line identifies him as a Digital Nomad) went to work at overcoming the next obstacle – his division isn’t really involved with warranty support, so he didn’t have easy access to dispatch a shipping box. While he was trying to work that out, I tried to obtain a FedEx laptop box from their affiliated shipping centers within a 25-mile radius of the hospital where the doctor works and was unsuccessful. The one that did have laptop boxes (24.5 miles away) wasn’t willing to ship it to Dr. M because I don’t have a FedEx account number.
Bill took the iniative to issue a special case depot repair order which dispatched a box and an airbill to return the system to the depot for repair. He then sent a replacement shipping label via e-mail to Dr. M with instructions to dispose of the one that came with the box and to ship the package directly to his desk for repair.
Bill received the laptop on a Wednesday morning and reported that the parts arrived on Thursday. When he went to swap in the new motherboard, CPU, CPU fan, and heatsink, he ran into a problem with the modem – the screw wouldn’t turn (“Some freak at the factory must have put a drop of locktite on it”, he reported). Bill ordered another modem, installed it and shipped the laptop back to Dr. M in time for his flight back to Israel.
Dr. M brought the laptop back with him and left it with his Mrs. B because he and his family were heading out on vacation. Mrs. B felt badly that Michael would have to spend so many hours and buses to get to their community and back and took the initiative to call friends to help us out. She managed to transfer the laptop to a friend who works in Jerusalem and Michael took a bus roundtrip (16.20 shekels, approx. $4) to pick it up. So in dollars this repair cost us under $60 and gave several people an opportunity to do mitzvot – living in Israel sure brings out the best in people!
And as for Bill B at Dell… in addition to excelling in customer service and compassion, he is a perfect example of why companies should let more of their employees telecommute – escaping from a cubicle helps people think outside-the-box. Thanks Bill!