Friday, May 06, 2005

An Open Letter to Michael Dell

Mr. Dell,
Hi, how are you?
I really like your company, I do. The computer I'm at right now is a Dell, my laptop is a Dell, and I work on a Dell. Nevertheless, I'm sick and tired of the calls from your financial division. Fortunately, I don't get them at home, but I do get to deal with them at work. Our payments aren't always at Dell on the due date as a result of our A/P cycle, and that's where my beef comes in. Almost immediately after that due date passes, one of your Indian reps gives me a call asking where the money is. I proceed to give him/her the check information, including what check number it is and when I sent it out. Of course, it takes several minutes to get things right, because the reps you hire don't speak good enough English, or else they aren't used to American accents, but that's beside the point. For most companies, that would be enough. They say thanks for the payment, and end it there. For your financial division, however, that's just the beginning. They then proceed to press for an additional payment to "save me from finance charges." After all, you can't wait for the check to be processed through your mail department - it's got to be right this second!
I give your rep the information to the bank account, because 200 dollars being late by a day or so is just murder for a company with $50 billion in revenues. It takes several minutes because I have to keep repeating myself, trying to speak as clearly as possible so that I'm not misunderstood by your guy in Bangalore. Finally, the transaction's done and I don't have to pay interest, right?
Wrong! I now find out that on my next bill, I'll be charged a "convenience fee" of $15 for the privilege of not getting charged late fees. Strangely, that $15 fee is more than I would have paid in interest. Also interesting is that I'm actually saving you money by doing it this way - it costs between 1-5 dollars to process a check and only $.60 to do an EFT. Therefore, I'm being charged for saving you money. Strange how that works, isn't it? Take the charge off my bill, stop bugging me, and maybe give me a new computer with that Pentium Extreme Edition 860, and we'll call it even.

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