The elusive prize. A Dell Vostro V130.
Following is a letter I recently sent to the Board of Directors of Dell…
To whom on the Dell Board of Directors this may concern,
I’m writing to seek an advocate at Dell and/or assistance in processing the following…
In late February 2011, I participated in a Dell contest to promote your new Vostro V130. This contest was coordinated through your Chicago agency Promotions Group. I was one of two winners chosen to receive a new Vostro V130. As one of those cliché people who “never win anything,” I was more than excited to have won such a great prize.
I was immediately contacted by Sally* from Promotions Group* who acquired my W9 and Disclosure form and informed me that it would take 2-3 weeks before the unit ships to me.
Three weeks later I emailed Sally asking if she had a ship date or tracking number. She said there had been a hold-up adding a warranty to the unit and that Dell was trying to figure out a work-around. She also said that someone from Dell would be in touch with me regarding the details.
Two days later I received an email from Lynn* (Dell Senior Consultant, Digital Marketing). She was very polite in informing me the unit she had received for the contest was a pre-production sample and is not covered under Dell’s warranty. She apologized, stating that this was not known at the time of the contest. She went on to add that if I “do not feel comfortable accepting this laptop ‘as is’, please let me know and I’ll do my best to make other arrangements for you.”
My exact reply was:
– – – – – – – – –
Thanks for the email and for explaining the situation. To be honest, I’m not 100% comfortable with a non-warrantied pre-production sample… so I would be interested in learning what other arrangements could be made. If you could please let me know what options I may have, I can make an informed decision (I still might decide to go with the Vostro).
– – – – – – – – –
She said she understood and to give her a day or two to flesh-out some options and get back to me. That was on March 24th.
On March 30th, I emailed Lynn checking in for an update. No reply.
On April 12th, I emailed Lynn again checking in for an update. This time I cc’d Sally from Promotions Group.
Sally replied saying that Lynn will be in touch with me tomorrow (April 13th) to discuss.
On April 15th, Lynn emailed apologizing for her lack of communication and for the wait. She said she’s been having trouble getting approval to get me a new system (with a warranty), but that she thinks she is close to a resolution.
On May 3rd I wrote Lynn (and Sally) again asking for an update, since I hadn’t heard back.
Lynn replied quickly saying that the order made it through approvals on April 26th, but there was no delivery date set and the system said “In Progress.” She said she would let me know as soon as she knows anything further.
On May 12th I wrote Lynn for an update. No reply.
On June 3rd I wrote Sally asking for her help, since I was not hearing back from Lynn.
Sally wrote back apologizing profusely, shocked that it has taken this long, stating that she assumed I had already received the prize.
The next day, Sally called me and offered to mail me a gift card on behalf of Promotions Group to apologize. It was a very kind gesture on their behalf, but they shouldn’t really be the ones apologizing, should they?
On June 14th, Sally wrote again saying that the computer system still says “In Progress,” and that Lynn had reached out to her to say she would be in touch shortly.
On July 8th, I emailed Sally asking for an update. No reply.
I went on to post two pleas for help on the Dell Facebook page. One was deleted by your Facebook administrator. As an executive in a digital marketing agency myself, I can assure you that this was very poor social-networking form for any corporation, large or small.
I also posted on your support page which promised a reply within 48 hours. Needless to say that it’s been over a week without a reply.
On July 14th, yesterday, Sally replied to me. Stating that they are “EXTREMELY sorry!” She said that she asked Lynn about it last week and sha was told that Lynn had been in touch with me and that the order was moving along… Lynn has not been in touch with me. The last contact I heard from Lynn was on May 3rd.
Throughout this entire process I’ve also tried calling Lynn and she has NEVER answered the phone. It always goes to her voicemail – most of the times I had decided that leaving her a voicemail would be pointless.
This morning someone on Facebook suggested that I email the Board of Directors, and so here I am.
Please note that I have been extremely gracious and patient throughout the past 5 months. I’m not kicking and screaming, demanding my prize. More than anything, I’m just confused on how it seems to be so incredibly difficult for you to purchase your own product from yourself. It’s mind-boggling actually. Especially considering you’re not even advertising the Vostro V130 anymore. Is it already obsolete technology?? I hold no ill will toward Sally or the Promotions Group. In my estimation, they have done everything in their power to move this process along.
I respectfully ask for a positive intervention into this scenario on behalf of the Dell Board of Directors.
Thank you for your valuable time in reading my email.
* The names Lynn, Sally and Promotions Group are fictitious names.