First let me say, that I have three Dell machines: a PowerEdge Server, a Dimension and an Inspiron and I have had very little if any problems with them at all. They are great machines and I used to highly recommend them but recently....
I recommended that my daughter purchase a Dell instead of going out and buying one of the nearby clone machines. Sure it will be a little more expensive but it's a good name and you'll get it in about a week. Total time to arrive? Over a month. Dell ordered, canceled and re-ordered, recanceled and then finally re-ordered the machine. The machine finally came in and everything was good - or was it?
On my Dimension (received late last year/early this year), we received PowerDVD and were able to watch home copied DVD's that we had copied onto the local hard drive. One such DVD was of a dance recital that our daughter really enjoyed. Burned it onto a DVD and gave it to her so she could watch it. HER Dimension came with PowerDVD only it's a crippled version. This isn't even like a 30 day trial crippled version but a version that will NOT play locally stored DVDs (VOB files). Oh I know, I can buy one for $14.95 - that's crazy. It seems like SOMEONE is missing the boat here (don't even get me started on how Microsoft should be supporting VOB in their Media Player directly). Of course, there's nothing to be done except to get the right version but the "purchase and follow-up" experience for one of their customers is now a frustration, instead of a joy.
A colleague at another company has been ordering Dells for years. He was recently told that their account would now be handled by an Account "executive" who would be able to give them priority service instead of having to order through the regular channels. He tried to contact his Account Rep. Four days and still waiting for a return call or email...
These are little things and hopefully isolated issues. There are others:
and here: http://www.resellerratings.com/seller1867-p5-s4-d1.html
But little things have a habit of turning into bigger ones...I hope Dell gets themselves straightened out... I would hate to see a company that made a name for providing exactly what people wanted turn bad..