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Joe in Shelbyville, Tennessee listens on WTN 99.7 FM and asked: “I got lifetime support on my computer that I bought from QVC. Lifetime Support told me to call Dell. Lifetime Support and Dell both have Chinese or Bangladeshi or somebody that answers the phone every time and I can’t understand them. What can I do to get hold of Dell so I can get a new hard drive?”
Joe, there’s not an awful lot you can do about the call center you’re routed to. Last we heard Dell did have a US based call center for business users but, even if that’s still the case, they won’t take your call as a consumer.
If you want to bypass foreign tech support, you best bet may be to go on their website and use the live chat option. The person on the other side will likely still be in Bangladesh or wherever the workers you’ve been talking to are, but they will be typing instead of speaking, and they should be easier to understand.
Other than that, you probably won’t have many options, except for maybe having someone else call them for you. Unfortunately, consumer-level call centers are usually the first ones that get outsourced.
Your problem is going to come in establishing the warranty status on your computer. Dell has automated systems in place to order warranty repair or parts on a machine that’s still under their warranty, but you’re going to have to deal with a human being to get this QVC “lifetime” warranty deal straight.
Most computer makers are relying on the fact that hardware improves so much, so quickly, that people with a computer just a few years old want to replace it with a newer, faster one, and long-term support has become a rarity. They’re relying on the commoditization of the personal computer.
We wish you the best of luck!
Ben in Palestine, Texas listens on 1450 KNET and asked: “My wife is looking for a new laptop and it’s mainly gonna be used for pictures, photoshop, things like that. and probably shopping. Maybe a little for school. I have no idea what to get. Any help would be appreciated.”
Storing lots of digital images and running Photoshop pushes you right out of the bargain or “value priced” laptop category. Digital images take up storage space and Photoshop requires a decent processor and a fair bit of memory to run.
Now everything else you mentioned, shopping and a little schoolwork, could work with almost anything, whether a lower end Windows laptop, or even a Chromebook. The latest Chromebook models are, or will be shortly, compatible with Google Play Store to download and run Android apps, including the Microsoft Office apps, and that seems to be the break point between Chromebooks and Windows laptops. “Can it run Office? No? Then it’s not a real laptop.” But for $250 to $350, once you can run the Android version of Office, a Chromebook can be taken more seriously.
But since you mentioned those digital images and Photoshop, let’s confine ourselves to machines that can handle those tasks. For around $500, a Lenovo ThinkPad 13 is a good choice. ThinkPads have excellent keyboards, great for doing lots of writing, although the trackpad on the ThinkPad 13 is a bit wonky. Performance won’t be anything to shout about, but it can run Photoshop on Windows 10. Storage could be an issue with just a 128GB SSD, however. You might have to offload some of those photos.
Step up to $700 and you can look at the ASUS ZenBook UX305. It has a much faster processor, more memory, and more storage with a 256GB SSD. The keyboard isn’t as nice as the ThinkPad’s, but it’s plenty good and the screen on the ASUS is sharp looking.
For around $900, you can check out a higher end Windows laptop like the Dell XPS 13, or you could even go macOS and get her a MacBook Air. You’re still looking at 256GB SSDs for storage, but both of these higher end machines have enough memory and processor oomph to run Photoshop very smoothly.