Mar. 22, 2017

Computer Technical Support

I bought a computer several years ago. For the most part, I love it. I bought a two-year warranty to go with it. Thirty days after the warranty expired, I got locked out of my computer. After doing its weekly reboot, the screen remained blank. The hard drive would not come back up.

In order to get into the set up, I had to press one of the “F” key; there were two prompts to choose from - believe me, it was appropriately named. I had three seconds to decide which F-key to press before the screen went totally blank again. Once I finally got to the set up screen, it asked for my password. I didn’t have a password. A total of an hour later, I ended up calling Dell’s tech support line.

Jamie, a computer technologist from a fine Hindu descent, was happy to help me. He explained: it was a very easy problem to solve. “Reboot your computer,” Jamie instructed. I explained what happened when I rebooted. “Uh-huh, I see what you’re saying. Do it again.”

I rebooted again. “It’s doing the same thing I told you it would do,” I said exasperated.

“Do you see the prompts for the F-key?” he asked. After confirming I do Jamie said, “Catch it!”

Two reboots later I was finally able to get the right F-key. “Now it wants my password. I don’t have one.”

Jamie instructed how to create a password. It didn’t help me get in. Jamie gave me many instructions, none of which helped me to get in. Three hours later he says, “Oh, I see here your warranty has expired.”

“Yes, about a month ago.”

“Okay, I know what to do now. You have to extend your warranty though if you want me to continue.”

“What,” I yelled into the phone.

“Yes, this is a warranty issue,” Jamie explained. “You can pay $89 for a thirty day extension and I can fix it or you can pay $179.99 for another full year. If you do the 30 day warranty and the problem happens again after expiration, you’ll have to pay for it again so, it’s best to go for the whole year.”

What was I supposed to do? I could not sell on eBay without my computer. I could not write, promote my writing, communicate or anything else without my computer. I felt I had no choice but to pay up. I paid for the 30 day warranty since it was all I could afford and barely. 

Jamie went through the back door and “fixed my problem.” It took him five minutes once I paid up. He explained it was a “safety mechanism” in case someone stole my computer, this way they could shut it down and the would-be-thief would not be able to access any of my data. That protection ran out with the warranty.

“Really?” I said to Jamie. “But, I didn’t have someone steal my computer and yet, you just shut me down. I guess that means Dell was the thief then, huh?”

“Oh no,” Jamie insisted. “Dell is a top brand computer; we do not steal people’s computers. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“Uhm, no. I think you managed to extort enough of what little bit of funds I had. Thank you for screwing me though, even though I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as you did.”

Once back online, I ranted and raved about it. Two other people told me they had the same problem with their computer and vowed they would not ever buy another one again. They, too, had paid the extortion fees.

Twenty-one days later, my computer locked me out again. I tried my password a couple of times and it didn’t work. I was still locked out. I called Tech Support back and this time I spoke to a lovely Hindu man named, Cliff.”

“What do they do,” I asked Cliff. “Stick names in a hat and let the tech support team draw names and you got stuck with Cliff?”

“Yes, Cliff is my name,” he said with an accent that sounded as if he were the Indian character from Family Guy.

I explained my problem to him. He too noticed my original warranty had expired and tried to get me to purchase the extended warranty package. “I already did!” I yelled at him.

“When? I do not see where you purchased it,” he denied.

“I bought it three weeks ago today. You didn’t even wait for it to expire first before you locked me out again. Now you’re trying to extort even more money from me!”

“Oh, yes. I am sorry. I see now but this is another warranty package you need to purchase.”

“I’m not buying another thing, Cliff, if that is your real name. But I will report Dell for extortion.”

“Yes, Cliff is my name and I am sorry Miss but our system will not let us fix it until we have been compensated,” he explained. I admit, he did sound convincingly upset.

“Go through the back door,” I instructed.

“I don’t know what that is.” Even after I patiently screamed at him what a back door was and its purpose, Cliff said, “We do not use back doors.”

“Bullshit! The other tech who pulled the name Jamie out of the hat went through the back door and fixed it the last time.”

We went back and forth. In the end, two hours later, I slammed the phone down on Cliff while screaming at him what an ass he was and threatened to go eat a hamburger in his name. I was naming his sacred cow burger, C-L-I-F-F, in his honor!

My husband and I decided we’d go eat breakfast and then come back and tackle the problem again. Maybe by the time we got home, I would be calmed down enough to deal with another name from the proverbial tech-support-hat.

We had left the computer screen up with it still asking for my password. When we came back, my son was sitting at my computer looking things up from the internet.

“What happened?” I asked coming in and seeing him. “Did Cliff decide to help me so I wouldn’t eat a hamburger in his name?”

My son looked up at me quite confused. “What? Who is Cliff and why are you eating hamburgers for him?”

“Never mind. How did you get the computer back up?”

“I typed in your password,” he said, still confused.

“Holy dairy cows! What is my password? You would not believe the morning I’ve had,” I exclaimed.

After telling me my password (which was what I had been typing in) he said, “It’s case sensitive, Mom. You had your caps lock on.”