Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ballseye's Gun Shots 76 - A Hornady Reloading Kit... on its way to me from MidwayUSA. I finally got around to ordering a reloading kit after many, many months of procrastination. If I remember right, my son gave me cash toward a reloading kit for my last birthday present and let me just say I am already at least half a year closer to my next birthday.

Anyway, here is a pic of what I ordered, and a link to the site where I ordered it:

Not a bad deal as far as the price goes, even their regular price at MidwayUSA was less expensive than the regular prices at most other companies who offer it and this was on sale at Midway - such a deal!

I know that I will need to get quite a few ore items before I can start reloading but my not ordering them yet is not due to procrastination but to finances. I need to spread out the cost over another month or two. So next month I will order dies, shellholders, bullets, primers, powder, maybe a case trimmer, maybe a balance scale (since I have heard little good about the electronic one that comes with this set), another reloading manual (from a different company like Speer) and whatever else I find out I will need to start reloading for .35 Remington and .223 Remington, maybe 9mm too.

I figure I ought to be underway with reloading by September. I also figure it will be a good pastime and that in the long run I will save money by reloading instead of always buying new ammo. It will take quite some time to get back my initial expenditures, which I figure will be around $600 (and that is without considering the cost of a reloading bench) but only time will tell how long that actually will take me to achieve.

All the best,

Oh Dell...

...what has become of your customer service?

I ask because I recently received an order from Dell that apparently was due either to credit card fraud or to a screw up at Dell. It was probably credit card fraud, but I can only say probably because no one, not at American Express or Dell seems to know for sure.

It happened this way:

American Express calls me and leaves me a message saying that they suspected fraudulent use of my credit card. I called them back and they explain that there were two charges of $1 each, another for about $180, another for about $179, and yet another for about $980. They explained that the two for $1 each went through as did the one for about $180. The other two were blocked because a fraud alert was somehow triggered. The three large charges were all made at Dell. One of them, for software, had the package sent to me. What apparently set off the fraud alert at American Express was that maybe (and MAYBE is all American Express could say) the person ordering used my real address first to try and hoodwink Dell into thinking it was really me ordering and then used a different mailing address for the other two large dollar items hoping Dell would allow the orders. By the way the two fraudulent $1.00 orders were made by the bad guy to see if my card number was valid and they were made to some other online businesses; for some reason though I do not see that activity on my American Express account, nor do I see the two large amounts that American Express declined but I suppose since they declined them that would be normal.

When I spoke to someone in Dell Customer Support I was told that yes one order had been made and shipped to me but there were no other orders placed regardless of what American Express said. Funny because the next day I received an automated call from Dell telling me to immediately check my email for important information because my "bank" had not allowed the charges to go through for my recent orders. I checked my emails but had nothing from Dell about this. I suppose the guy who made the fraudulent orders maybe also gave Dell a phony email address for me that would route emails to him regarding these orders. Of course, this could all have been due to some glitch at Dell in that maybe someone legitimately placed some order and the orders got charged to me because of computer error; the Dell rep said that was possible but he could not check to see if it was actually what happened. I tend to think it was fraud as American Express surmised.

As for the orders, Dell seemingly allowed the orders but American Express caught two of them and denied the charges, then called me to ask about all of the charges including the one for the dell order that had been (or was being) sent to me. I affirmed to American Express that I had not made any of the orders. American Express cancelled my card and sent me a new one. I got it the 2nd business day. American Express is tops in my book.

As for the order that went through, I called Dell and tried to explain, to a Dell Customer Support Person, that I had not placed the order, it had been fraudulently placed and they should make arrangements to have the item returned to Dell (after I would receive it) at no inconvenience or charge to me. The first guy to whom I spoke must have been somewhat akin to a rock with ears and lips - or maybe to a Mr. Potato Head. He just did not get it and had to have someone else come on the line with me. After that, during the next 2 weeks, I must have written at least 10 emails to Dell and made at least 15 calls to them and received even more emails and calls from them than I sent or made. Finally, today, 2 weeks and 3 days after day one of this mess, I found myself sending the package to Michael S. Dell, the CEO of the company, along with a 3 page letter of complaint.

Why the letter? Because the knuckleheads at Dell first insisted I bring the package to UPS for a return and emailed me a link to a UPS return label but the link did not work. Then they said they would do it again but I had to physically bring the package to UPS. Otherwise, if I wanted them to arrange for UPS to pick it up they would charge me $10.00. It took about a week before they realized I should not have to go to UPS and that UPS should come to me to make the pick up and it should not cost me a penny. Okay, they agreed to that and I tell them and email them to have UPS come to my work address and they say okay. Then they gave me a return authorization number and said I need to call UPS to arrange a pick up time. Sounds good almost.

I called UPS, asked them to set up a pick-up time and the lady at UPS asked me for the tracking number she was sure Dell must have given me. I replied something like: "No, Dell did not give me a tracking number, they gave me a return authorization number." She said the authorization number does not come up in the UPS system and asked me to read the tracking number off of the original package since it was a return. I read it off but also explained the original shipment had gone through FedEx. She said UPS does not handle FedEx returns and laughed. I had to call and email Dell and call UPS several more times after that trying to get a tracking number out of Dell for the pick-up and to arrange for a UPS pick-up time. Each time, Dell told me I do not need a tracking number to arrange a pick-up time and, each time, UPS said I did need it. In the mean time, UPS came to my house 3 times and to my office 2 or 3 times looking to make a pick-up. I was not in the office when they came because I had not been expecting them since they would not let me arrange a pick-up time without the tracking number. Of course, I also was not home when they there because I work and that is why I had asked Dell to make sure to have UPS come to my office. My apologies to UPS but really, it was not my fault that Dell gave you bad info. Finally, on Thursday Dell again sends me an email saying I have to go to UPS to drop it off or be charged a $10 fee.

I then arrived at the end of my patience but declined throwing the package into the trash which was a thought that had crossed my mind. Instead, I typed up a letter of complaint detailing this whole affair. It was 3 pages long. Yes, I know, way too long but it explained everything in detail. I got around to sending it out today to Michael S. Dell who is the CEO and founder of Dell. It should arrive at his address on Monday. I figure he may never read it but maybe by some twist of fate it will arrive on his desk - still stapled to the original package containing the software - and he will read it. If I receive a reply that he read it and is aware of the problem it will have been worth the money it cost me to send it to him and insure it. If not I am out $1.80 less than the $10 that Dell wanted to charge me to have UPS come to pick it up since it cost me $8.80 to ship it via the post office. Hopefully, regardless of who receives it and reads it, Dell will arrange the refund to my American Express account.

And to think, I was recently considering making a purchase from Dell of a new XPS 9000. Not likely now. My opinion of this whole mess = I will reserve final judgement until I get a reply from Dell but, for now, it surely seems their customer service is in the crapper.

All the best,
Glenn B