A disgruntled Dell partner has spoken out after struggling over the course of two months to secure a refund from the vendor over a misplaced order.
Dennis Armstrong, managing director of Hampshire-based Dell Registered partner CCL, ordered £2,500 worth of licences from the vendor through distribution, but later realised the order was incorrect.
On discerning the mistake, Armstrong asked Dell to either cancel the order or credit his account with the amount – as the licences he bought were useless to him and the customer – but the vendor refused, insisting his mistake was not its fault.
He claimed Dell's internal system should have picked up on the error but did not on this occasion.
Armstrong said his two-month battle to resolve the issue highlights that the high-level channel commitment espoused by founder Michael Dell is not filtering down through the organisation.
"They're saying it is my fault and there is some element of truth in that, but I am meant to be a partner," he said. "Michael Dell is saying partners are so important, but when push comes to shove, they drop you in it.
"It took ages to get through to the right people and get an answer - it is not easy to communicate with Dell. It's not the money that is the point, it's the principle. They are telling me to bugger off and there is no escalation process [for complaints]."
Armstrong said he has had particular trouble tracking down the relevant staff members to talk to in order to resolve the situation.
"This started two months ago – it took this long to get Dell to admit the licences are wrong," he said. "It could be £20,000 or £50,000 – it is the principle more than anything."
Another Dell partner, who preferred to remain anonymous, said he had had similar issues with the vendor when trying to solve a customer issue and agreed that its top-level, pro-channel strategy does not always come across to some partners.
"I ended up cold-calling Dell to find out who I needed to talk to," he said. "On LinkedIn I sent InMails to people asking if they can help and they replied putting me in touch with the right people eventually. It's contradictory."
Dell declined to comment directly on the partner's case but said it is highly committed to top-quality channel service.
"At Dell, we are dedicated to our customers and ensuring they receive the outstanding experience they deserve, whether it's via a partner or direct from Dell," a spokesman said. "The channel is a key focus area we are investing in, and we are constantly looking for opportunities to build on the success of our PartnerDirect programme.
"While we won't comment on individual cases, Dell values all feedback and will work closely with partners and distributors to ensure that any customer issues are resolved."
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