Dell Recalls Tech Support From India After Complaints

In a move that could dampen the tech sector’s unbridled enthusiasm for low-cost outsourcing, Dell said it would stop routing some customer-support requests to call centers in India after customers complained about the quality of service.

Dell said it had received some complaints about the technical support through the overseas support center, with one executive saying that customers reacted unfavorably to the fact that Dell had changed how it handled those calls.

Newspapers located near Dell’s Austin, Texas headquarters reported that customers were complaining not only about having their calls answered by technical support staff who spoke with accents but also about receiving scripted responses to their questions rather than one-on-one support.

Dell’s own online user forum is rife with recent complaints about attempts to reach Dell for technical and nontechnical customer support.

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Tech support calls from customers with Optiplex desktop and Latitude notebook computers will now be handled from existing call centers in Texas, Idaho and Tennessee, the company said.

The affected products are sold largely to business customers. Dell said its call center in Bangalore, India would remain fully staffed, with some consumer calls still being handled overseas.

Dell is just one of dozens of companies that have used offshore call centers as a way to boost business performance by reducing the cost of customer support. The practice, along with outsourcing more technical jobs — such as software engineering — has come under fire from some U.S. workers’ groups.

Reason for Concern

Analysts said that the Dell example might give some companies pause, especially given the extremely competitive nature of the personal computer market in which strong customer service can distinguish one company from another.

“There’s only so much price competition that can happen,” Yankee Group analyst Andrew Efstathiou told the E-Commerce Times. In the case of computer sales especially, “the customer is also looking for the overall value and if there’s a sense that’s being eroded by a lower level of service, that’s a concern.”

Still, he said, the trend toward outsourcing is likely to continue and efforts in India and other overseas locations are already underway to address the concerns of U.S. customers to make them feel more comfortable with the support they’re receiving.

“Long-term, the economics make it something companies will have to do in order to compete,” Efstathiou added.

Complaints Aplenty

Customers on Dell’s bulletin board raised several complaints. “How do I know my credit card information is safe in India?” one customer asked. “Dell really needs to do something about this.”

Wrote another: “Because Dell has fired its American support folks and outsourced the deal to India, the entire concept of customer service is compromised.”


  • anyone have the Customer Service numbers for the United States? I AM so done dealing with INDIA, the customer service is POOR and now they have me with the advance resolution in INDIA, MY DELL inspiron was almost a 1,000 dollars and I have already sent it in for 3 repairs in the 1 year warranty. It still is not fixed, I AM so frustrated, I would like to talk to someone in the United States who speaks English! They want to replace my new computer with a refurbished unit and this is not expectable!

    • Language is not the only barrier.
      When you call into Dell, you expect to
      talk with someone who not only speaks English,
      but someone who understands you as an
      I recently had a problem with a system I
      bought from Dell dealing with the OEM
      software, and speaking with someone from
      customer care in India, they did not know
      what OEM meant, even though she worked for
      an OEM computer company.
      She probably does not even own a computer
      and understands the one she uses at work
      to the extent to get her work done.
      Not a good thing.
      And it’s a sad thing.

      • Hi,
        I see a lot of sense here in what comes to Customer Services and the growing trends of overseas outsourcing but I have also noticed that some of the posts are not objective and tend to throw it all at Indians and accents,I AM sure there are a lot of non-native English speakers in the world who are very proficient.
        Here are some of my observations:
        1- There is a huge lack of customer service culture in a lot of businesses and corporations that needs to be addressed whether the service center is in India,USA or Tuvalu Island.
        2- There are some good call centers in India achieving good rates of customer satisfaction , but of course their professionally certified staff will cost more than the average wage most US corporations don’t want to pay as they only outsource this to save as much money as possible.
        3- Tell me how many Corporations have actually spent on proper training for their call center and customer support staff lately?
        4- Help Desk and call center equipment and software do NOT have a magic button: "Click here for total customer satisfaction" it is people’s attitude that matters to customers but apparently most of the budgets are spent on buying Equipment and applications and little on professional training.
        I see a possible solution: is making sure that all the Help Desk, call center staff with direct contact with customers must have a certain degree of professionalism competency, ethics, standards and the proper language skills regardless of Nationality and location.
        How can we as customers be assured?
        Companies should only hire agents and analysts who are certified by an internationally recognized independent body like the Help Desk Institute HDI, and similar organizations.
        Afterall we just want good customer support regardless of its origin and location.
        Amr Selim
        Help Desk Consultant

        • sir , it was dell policy to routed calls to india , india is pioneer in technology but due to some limitations put by dell its support is limited .

          • In my experience, Keith, you could not be more wrong. I’ve owned Dells since 1994; tech support used to be great. Any problem I had got fixed fast with one call. Two years ago I had my first experience with a problem reouted to India or the Phillipines. Forget which. Both bad. The problem was not fixed. More than one hour on the phone. Since, I have NEVER had a question of mine resolved by Dell tech support. I have totally given up on it. I use Microsoft communities or Dell communities now. I repeat. I have never had a problem resolved via a call to a help center in India or the Phillipines. The call-taker are very nice and polite and they seem to try hard. But they never fix anything.
            PS– An Aol online help exchange of mine recently also was routed to helpdesk in India. One hour and 10 minutes on the phone. No help. Problem not resolved. Previously, eight years with AOL, every call got results quickly. Usually an easy fix, too. If help person knows what he/she is doing. Outsourcing help is customer-unfriendly. No more Dells for me until help actually helps.

          • Just wanted to let you know that HP has or is moving its support to India also. Gateway still has tech support in the states.

          • Yes, All the Dell calls are directed first to Ireland (hope so). Of course they are no good in English as UK / US people. But for EMC product they are very proficent for diagnosis / problem solving. But Dell product no way! Especially in India don’t think an help from Dell / HP / IBM.
            One thing is true, if you check the Dell publication contribution are done by Indian’s about 40%. This is MADE IN INDIA.

          • SIR , its not that we dont speak english , its only that most AM ericans dont want to listen , tech support have so much limitations , they can do every thing but dell restricts them in doing that due to the fact that tech support is free and some other supports where they want the customers to refer are paid supports .

          • the irony of things. I have just spent over 1 hour trying to get Dell to help me with a problem. First I get the Philipines and then India. Neither could help. Does not matter that I have extended warranty, they do not want to sent a tech to the house. So why did I pay for it? Never again will I spend my $ on Dell. I learned my lesson. To add insult to injury, they wanted to sell me more warranty..did they not understand the word NO?

          • Current Leak in Dell Vostro 1400!!

            I bought a Vostro 1400 in Oct 2007 in Singapore with a complete cover for 1 year. From the very beginning I was encountering problems with the laptop. The problem with my machine was that there is a current leakage from the USB ports, 1394 port and the outer body join of the laptop.

            At first my screen was replaced, as I had a problem with the display. Some time later when I discovered the current leak problem, I reported it to Dell customer support in India. They sent me a new hard drive, motherboard, mousepad, keyboard. I used the system for a few months, thinking the problem was gone. One day, I touched it barefooted and I realized that the current was still leaking. I used a tester to verify this. I again reported it to Dell and got the hard drive, motherboard, power cable replaced.

            Even after all this, the system is still leaking current. Dell doesnt seem to take responsibility of this. The warranty of the system would get over in 1 month, and then I would be left helpless.

            I want to know what is it that I can do to get the machine replaced, as they have almost changed everything in the system except for the processor.

            Do they have any ombudsman officer, who can help me with this, or any other contact whom I should write to and explain my plight.

            I AM currently in India, and I had got the laptop to India after 2 months of purchase itself.

            Please let me know as well if you have got any solution.

          • Dell’s senior repair supervisor failed to call me for about two weeks. By the time he finally did contact me I was essentially desperate to get my computer working again. As a result, I gave up on trying to get the computer replaced (and, by the way, I was advised that if they did replace it, I would only get a refurbished machine). Dell sent a new motherboard, new cpu, new HD and new power supply, essentially replacing the entire computer except for the case. The tech came a few days later with the materials and spent two hours putting it all back together. To my relief, the problems finally seem to be resolved. However it took Dell nearly two months to complete the process. I found their repair staff to be poorly trained and most actions are scripted. Despite the convenience of purchasing Dell products, they have completely lost this person as a customer, for good.

  • I think bigger companies should hire or outsource really good technical support providers. Technical supports are the extension of the company. How they treat the people reflects on the company itself. Better make a wiser decision the next time around.

  • A faulty dell System is sold to me and when I complaint about it, It is said that the there is no manufacturing fault and vendor provide you corrupted OS. How what should I do, I need complete refund. Its really annoying.

    Due to nature of my job, I have to purchase a new system. Now this is a useless curse on me. Help me in getting refund.

  • I tried to contact the tech support of Dell on my mobile from 10.10AM of August 18, 2008. Till 12.15 PM i was trying to get some tech support but all i got was the cryptic message "all the technical representatives are still busy, please stay on the line" Finally my flight was about to take off and i had to switch OFF. If Dell does not have any service representative then why this farce leading to expensive telephone calls?


  • Six weeks ago my Inspiron desktop began giving blue screens and other indications it wasn’t happy. I called Dell support, was dragged through their scripted non-help and ultimately led to the trough of reloaded operating systems. After hours of personal labor getting that job done, the problems immediately resurfaced. Dell’s recommendation: replace the hard drive. I waited five days for a tech to come do that job, then had to load the OS again. Halfway through the decompressing of the preloaded OS, it locked up. Dell recommended loading the OS from the disk, which I tried. More blue screens and crashes. Still no OS loaded. Further testing done by me, guided over the phone, led them to decide to replace my RAM and CPU. At that point I decided it was time to replace the computer. I was sent to a higher level supervisor over a week ago, and I have yet to speak with the man. I keep calling and the lower level techs keep assuring me the senior tech will call back, but so far he has not. Obviously this computer company has lost all sense of integrity and will go to any length to avoid providing any realistic service. They have already lost me permanently as a customer. I’m at a loss, though. Does anybody know of any class action lawsuits or other means to put pressure on Dell to honor their warranty?

  • Not saying Dells tech support isn’t good, they tech support in India I AM sure is quite intelligent its the fact that THEY DONT SPEAK ENGLISH that makes the tech support THE WORST!
    kinda funny but painfully true

  • My wife and I are planning on buying a new pc for home and work use. We were going to replace a Dell 450 with a new Dell 8300. Our biggest
    concern is having solid customer support to back our investment in a computer.
    So we have decided to purchase an HP. One posting on was from a guy who had purchased a Dell for his personal use, had multiple problems with Dell customer support in India so he returned the pc. He then purchase an HP and had a solid product backed by solid cutomer support.
    To the point: I AM not a life-long Dell backer and HP is just a solid company as Dell is, if not better.

  • Dell story is an exception to the rule. In general, the quality of support in India is as good as we get from technical support staff in the US.
    One should read the cover story in this week’s Business Week that is a very objective assessment of of how the brainpower of India is reshaping Corporate America and why US and India could become ideal economic partners in the new century.

  • As a first time,grey haired, retired new computer user,I purchased my first computer in AUG 03,knowing nothing about computers,but decididing it was time to catch up with the world (and my 6yr.old grankid).
    First few calls I was hooked up with someone in the U.S (apparently0 AND afterwards got the distinct impression that I was talking to India,as all techs had a heavy dialect accent,and while very co-operative,were very hard to understand-of course I didn’t help matter,admittedly not knowing what I was talking about!
    My point is that I just formally found out that Dells call center IS IN INDIA. It is very frustrating to deal with them.
    It’s a shame that a Co. that advertises a being American made etc. outsources it’s most important function to another country,especially with a langauge problem. It seems Dell got the message,but is only responding to the corporate consumer,leaving the individual to his-her own resourcces and frustrations.
    Am I correct in assuming that the "individual consumer" is still at the mercy of techs in India?? This is not a slam at a "peoples" but language difficulities.
    I paid for this computer with good old American (hard earned) dollars,and expect better treatment. Sorry for the rant,but had to get this off my chest.
    Will Dell eventually BRING ALL support back to the U.S.?

  • I sent this email to Michael Dell today:
    I’m very happy with my three Dell machines at home, excellent quality for the money.
    I was very interested to see that Dell was recalling some support from overseas, but not happy to see that you haven’t recalled ALL support, only corporate support!
    I have three Dells because lousy service from Gateway drove me to try Dell, and goodby Gateway. Recently one of the hard drives in a machine appeared to be failing and I went through a round of time-consuming calls with Dell support staff who seemed to have a hard time understanding or remembering what was said to them, or responding sensibly to that which they did understand. I eventually recognized that these individuals were overseas, apparently in India.
    Contratulations on taking action to rescue corporate support. However, be on notice that I will not buy another Dell machine unless at the time of purchase I AM assured that any needed technical support will be provided from personnel located in the United States.

  • I would like to see other companies follow the trend to bring technical support for North Americans back to North America. I worked in tech support for some time in Canada for a very large software vendor who opted to relieve Americans of their jobs and replace them with Indians. I, as a technician, could not make sense of most of the Indian support team – I feel bad for those who are new to computers. In summary – English speaking individuals deserve English technical support.

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