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Default Dell Tries To Resolve Best Buy Support Headaches - 05-12-2009, 05:12 PM

Dell Tries to Clean Up Dell-Best Buy Support Hassles - Gearlog

As a retired civil engineer and quarry administrator, my father is a typical user: savvy enough to deal with some technical issues, but unwilling to rip apart his PC to solve the problem. In other words, a perfect customer for Best Buy's Geek Squad.

But Dad faced a problem about a year after he purchased his PC: who handles a support call? When the power supply failed, Geek Squad took the case. But after Microsoft asked for the license key for his copy of Office that he had misplaced, the headaches began.

The process was typical: without clear, defined responsibilities for support, Dell support tried to hand off the problem to Best Buy's Geek Squad, who blamed Microsoft and Dell, respectively. Dad's currently stuck in a he-said, she-said situation that seemed to have no hope of resolving itself, until today.

The ray of hope? A change in Dell's public support policy, which the company put in place Friday night. Dell finally took charge and tried to create a process by which Dell-Best Buy customers could finally find some resolution.

"Dell has been selling systems at Best Buy for over a year now and to say that there has been some confusion on support is putting it mildly," Todd S., a Dell blogger, wrote late Friday. "Many Dell customers... were bounced around between Dell and Geek Squad when looking for support on their systems. There were many times were both Dell Techs and Best Buy's Geek Squad members were confused over which company was to provide the limited hardware warranty and tech support on these systems so I can imagine how frustrating it must have been for our customers."

"Thankfully, that's all ended," Todd S. wrote.

The Dell post provides a complicated list of who handles what. Basically, however, Dell seems to have made the choice of which organization handles support your choice, not theirs.

There's one important caveat, though: Dell advises that users register their Best Buy systems with Dell as quickly as possible, by visiting Dell's registration site soon after the purchase or by calling 1-800-624-9896. For customers purchasing a stand-alone Dell monitor from Best Buy you will need the PPID number for support, found on a sticker on the back of the monitor.

On a personal note, I'm not sure that this will do anything to solve my father's problem; Dell calls out media replacement as its own responsibility, but its support page only identifies OS replacement, not applications.

As always, time will be the ultimate arbiter of how this solution will work.

Here's my question, though: will this new support relationship simply transform Dell/Geek Squad support calls from a "hot potato" into a silo? In other words, will users have to choose Dell or Geek Squad to see a problem through? What I don't see in the post is any indication that a user will be able to effectively switch horses mid-stream: the ability to transfer support tickets from one organization to the other, or for any sort of collaborative support environment.

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