Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ordering A Dell Desktop In Peru, Beware!

I just went through yet another horrible experience here in Peru.

I've been shopping for a good new computer for a couple years now. I wasn't able to find a price I liked or a company that I was confident with. So I never made a purchase.

Recently Dell opened a Peruvian version of their website which allows many of their computers and monitors to be purchased in Peru (but not accessories). I was really excited by this as I had used Dell in the past (in the US) with good results. So I got my computer setup with their website and all the parts and options I wanted no problem. There weren't any warnings and everything looked good. The price ended up being around $2500 and $2700 after 'Shipping and Handling'. Great, so I sent off the order.

Everything in the US worked well and the machine was built, tested, and sent out on time. The estimated delivery date was June 6th after ordering on May 15th.

Problems started once the machine got to US customs. Dell used DHL as their carrier and that was a major mistake. Dell also did not provide me or DHL with the proper customs documents (In Spanish). And it took a week to get Dell to provide them.

But most of the real problems came from DHL. They stalled and bumbled almost every step. They asked for me to fill out 4 documents, then after days passed, I had to fill out more documents, then it just continued. They didn't seem to know anything about dealing with Peruvian customs. I had to fill out over 15 different documents, many of them multiple times because DHL did not provide any sort of instructions. In the most extreme case, DHL rejected my document because it had the word 'monitor' in it. They claimed that this was not in Spanish and told me to resubmit the document in all Spanish. Of course 'monitor' is a valid Spanish word and DHL just failed high school. This sort of thing happened repeatedly over more than a month. If I requested an update or information about how things were going, I often didn't receive a reply or only got it after a delay of 2-3 days.

I had worked with FedEx on various occasions in the past. I always had to fill out paperwork and such, but they always sent me the entire set of documents on the first try. Not like DHL sending a couple documents every few days for weeks on end. Also DHL often wasn't clear about what they wanted and when I asked if they were waiting for me to provide more info or more documents, I often didn't get a response as days passed.

Then came the money issue. I had already paid Dell $190 in 'shipping and handling'. Dell's documents and website indicated that I would have to pay 'customs duties' and nothing else. But then DHL demanded that I pay them over $1000 for customs. Only $600 of this was for the real Peruvian customs. $150 was a 'commission' paid to DHL. Another $250 was shipping, storage, paperwork fees, and 'general expenses'. I complained to DHL about it and they didn't have anything to say. I called Dell about the problem and they told me that their computer system was down 'all day' and that I would have to call back later.

I finally paid the outrageous and poorly explained fee. This could only be done in BCP and when I asked about paying by credit card they only replied to me with their bank account # and bank name. With FedEx I was able to just pay by credit card over the phone, simple.

It took another 2 weeks for them to finally get the machine through customs. Then one day DHL called me and said that I needed to pay an additional $800 in expenses beyond what I had paid before. I asked why and they just said that I could read the paperwork when they brought it to the house. They said they would deliver everything in the morning of that same day (call was at 8am). Their driver didn't show up until after 2pm.

Then the paperwork was just a huge mess of multiple documents with different charges and no where to really see it all in one place. So I had to sort through it all, standing outside my house for an hour. Finally after multiple calls to the Arequipa office for explanations and reviewing the documents, I figured everything out. They were charging me ANOTHER $150 'commission' without explanation. They were also charging me more shipping, storage, and 'general expenses'. When asked why, they just said 'more expenses beyond what we charged before' pretty much no explanation at all. I finally just paid the fee just to get things over with and get my damn computer that they had been holding hostage for over a month. The final delivery day was June 22nd, almost a month late.

I had to pay the driver for DHL in the street the last $800. He could barely do the basic math needed to make change (took over 20m). He also could not provide a proper receipt so I had to make due with him signing and dating a piece of paper with a pen.

I contacted Dell Support about these problems and they just said that they didn't know anything about it. They said they would 'take my comments into consideration in the future' but that was it. They didn't offer to help with the problem or remedy it in any way.

So anyhow, I unpack everything and get the computer setup. The monitor and desktop work great. But I'm careful to check the voltage requirements on all parts. This is when I find that the speakers only support 110 V. Why would they send me brand new 110 V speakers to Peru? They should know that Peru only uses 220 V.

So I contact Dell support again. This time they tell me to talk to tech support. So I contact tech support, after a few exchanges they tell me that they cannot do anything and I need to go back to Support. I contact support again (getting upset), and they tell me to just get a converter from 220 V to 110 V. I say that this is their mistake and that they should have to at least pay for my converter, but they reject that. They say that Dell does not carry any 220 V speakers at all, for any country. So I ask them to make a big warning on their website so that this doesn't happen to more people and suggest that they start to find some 220 V speakers as Peru is 220 V only. They say they will 'take my comments into consideration'.

So yet another problem with Dell that they cannot resolve. I know that they just entered into the Peruvian market, but I still expected them to do things correctly and not fuck everything up like a Peruvian company.

I will never again use DHL and certainly will never use Dell International sales again. The whole process was a massive frustration and was full of over $1800 in 'hidden charges'. If it isn't fraudulent, it's about as close as you can get. If anyone has a lawyer who is experienced in Peruvian customs and shipping laws, I am looking for one to investigate DHL's 'hidden charges'.


Mark said...

WOW!! You must have one of the most expensive computers n the world!!!Hopefully you got one that will last for YEARS!!!! I personally won't buy from Dell just for that reason, no care and no concern for their customer's problems. Hope you have better luck with your car !!!!!

Splaktar said...

It actually is cheaper than the last Dell machine that I bought in the US (even after customs and shipping). But that was about 7 years ago. That machine lasted for 4 years as a solid gaming machine and I only had to get rid of it to move to Peru.

About the car, I called on Wednesday at noon and they said they would give me a call back about the status of the car. It's been 2 days now and still no call. So I'm going to keep calling today until I find out what's going on. It should be fixed as it's been 14 days and they told me it would be done in 10.