26 june 2018






school photos







           All original writing

           2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,            2018        Ian McLauchlin



While on holiday recently, and with nothing better to do, I started to fantasise about a new computer. One that wasn't chugging away at the limits of its processing power and memory. One that started up without the usual grinding sounds and one that cheerily wished me a nice day whenever I was within earshot.

BUT big downside. Getting it up to speed would take a lot of work . . . . need to think carefully.

Got back from holiday, and the devil settled comfortably on my left shoulder. How did he know my right ear didn't work?  . . . .

I'd had a Dell computer for 10 years and been pleased with it. Why don't I check Dell out again. Bit expensive but you get what you pay for . . . .  or not (see below).

So bright and early on Monday 21/5/18, having mulled it over all weekend, I ordered a high end black box complete with new monitor. The devil scampered away cackling, having done the deed and eager to mess someone else's 3 weeks up.

What follows is a chronological account of subsequent events.


Received Order confirmation email - unknown to me Dell split the order into large sum £A and smaller sum £B.


Robot phone call from Halifax credit card - do I authorise payment of small sum £B? Yes.

Turns out that Halifax had refused payment of large sum £A even though they had me on the phone to authorise £B when they could also have asked me to authorise £A.

Nobody told me.


I complained to Halifax.


Dell emailed to say that the order for the system had not gone through.


Monitor delivered (£B)    


I discovered that Dell had recharged £A after I'd spent 2 hours online, on the phone, and getting online access to my credit card account, trying to find what had been authorised and what hadn't. I tried to re-authorise £A . . . Oh and I lodged a complaint with Halifax.


System delivered (£A)  


Halifax complaints manager phoned at 8:30. Left a message which started “We have ways of catching you asleep . . .” I might have misheard that.  "You'd be upset if we'd paid £A and it was fraudulent." Yes but why hadn't you asked for authorisation when you had me on the phone? And why hadn't you told me that you'd stopped payment £A?

Halifax promised to pay me £C compensation.


I connected up the new system while still running the old during a transition period - so 2 computers - new one connected to new monitor and 1 old monitor. Old computer connected to other old monitor.

Blimey, new monitor shows up how poor the old ones are. Improved brightness, better colour range, much dearer. I know, I'll order a second new monitor.

Little did I realise . . . .


Monitor had increased in price by £26 over the intervening few days. Bugger.


I know, I'll see if Dell can match the price I paid a few days before. They must be glad of another sale. Yes they could, nearly. So I placed an order for a second monitor. I expected delivery within a couple of days, like the first. Silly me.


Got email with booking reference, delivery expected by 1/6/18.




Online chat with my good friends at Dell. "The order has been cancelled due to credit card authorisation failure." No, that was for a much bigger order last week and that was resolved. New order (£B +5) has been charged to my card and is sitting as pending, waiting for Dell to charge it.  "Ah you need to email your account manager and have a nice day."


Emailed my account manager. Nothing. Tried very hard to have a nice day.


I phoned Dell - as usual, near-incomprehensible indian accent, them not me - asked what has happened to my order, is it progressing, or not? And if not why not?

"Hello, I'm your new contact at Dell and all your contacts should now be through me. I'll do all I can to progress your order. The order number is X. Have a nice day." What, another one?


I emailed new Dell contact - "Order Status says: This order was changed or cancelled." What's going on?


I was within a whisker of ordering the second monitor from John Lewis when the phone rang:


New contact phoned from India. "Terribly sorry, trying to sort it, see. You'll get a feedback request where 0 is no good at all and 5 is very very very good. Please give me a 5. I'm transferring you to a customer care manager. Is it OK if I close the case?" Only if I receive the order. "Have a nice day."

It's now 2 weeks since I placed the second monitor order and Dell, bless them, are still desperately concerned about the sort of day I'm having.

11/6/18 12:40

Phone went. "Dr Ian, have a nice day. How can I help you?" Do you know the background to my problems with Dell? "No."

So I go through it all again. Ah, I'll transfer you to a member of our sales team. And again.

"OK I'm taking over your problem. What is it?"

And again.

"Right your first order was cancelled because we didn't get authorisation from your Credit Card company."

That was two weeks ago. Why didn't you tell me? "Mumble mumble." (I pay much more than £B+5 at Lanzarote airport for car hire, for example, with absolutely no problem. I don't believe the credit card authorisation story. Or else they're useless at using a card machine . . . )

"OK leave it with me. We'll progress the order and send you emails. HAND."

11//6/18 14:40

International call. "Hello, it's about your order number Y. We cancelled it because there was no payment." Why didn't you let me know a fortnight ago?

Look, let me give you the same credit card details again. Has that payment now gone through? "We'll email you. Have a nice day." I wish, oh how I wish . . .

11/6/18 14:45 email with Order Acknowledgement - note no order number yet, which is needed to track the order. Estimated delivery 14/6/18.

I expect my credit card to be charged at least twice . . . . and to be forced to have a nice day.

Do you think I dare go to the toilet before someone else phones to wish me a nice day? OK I'll risk it . . . .  

11/6/18 16:08

Dell international phone call. "Hello, it's your original contact here, Raj. Just to let you know I've closed the previous order number Y and here's a new order number Z. Are you happy with that?" I'll only be happy when I take delivery of the monitor and it works. "Please give me good feedback on a scale of 0 to 5. Have a nice day."

I did manage to get to the toilet between calls . . .


I checked with my credit card provider that the sale had gone through. It had. But the previous charge was still sitting there. What happened to the previous charge? Dell had entered the expiry date wrongly, it was then not authorised and Dell kept that a secret from me for a fortnight! How wonderful is that? Not very. If I had shares in Dell I'd sell 'em quick before anyone got wind of all this.

I really really hope that I'm not charged twice, once for each week's delay . . . .

Then got an email from the carrier saying the monitor would be delivered today! And sure enough IT WAS. Fireworks, streamers, and jumping crackers which just failed to knock the delivery man's eye out . . .

12/6/18 15:20

Raj phoned from India. “Having a nice day? On a scale of 0 to . . . .  “ I’ve really had enough for one 3 week period.

Any closing remarks? Yes, Dell could probably have saved itself money by shipping the second monitor free of charge . . .

And for my next trick Ladies and Gentlemen, roll of drums and cymbal crash, I'm going to get blood out of a stone.