Well, my computer is dying, and I probably should've seen it coming. After making the mistake of buying a Dell computer, I had a hell of a time paying it off. And not because I was unable to make payments or because I'm a late pay. No, I had trouble paying them off because of Dell's incompetence and shady practices.
It started with their failure to pay my rebate when I purchased my computer. Here's how they set it up to work to their advantage. Rather than just give you a discount on the price of your computer, they promise you a rebate payable after you receive your computer and send in a rebate form. So you buy your computer and have 30 days to apply for your rebate. So you get your invoice, send in your rebate, and Dell tells you that you'll receive your rebate in 4-6 weeks. They don't explain why it takes one week to build and ship a computer, yet it takes a month to write a check and mail it, that's just how they do it. So I got my new computer, sent in my rebate application, and waited 4-6 weeks to get my rebate check in the mail. Six weeks later, I hadn't received my check so I got on the phone and called to see where my rebate was. I was told Dell hadn't sent my rebate check because they never received my rebate application. I was then told that I wouldn't be getting it because it was 6 weeks past the invoice date on my computer and the rebate had to be applied for within 30 days. When I explained that I sent in my rebate application immediately upon receiving my computer, I was told that it didn't matter, Dell couldn't be held responsible for lost mail. It suddenly made sense why it takes Dell six weeks to write a check and mail it. After talking around, I discovered that this isn't an uncommon occurrence for Dell and that pretty much the only way to guarantee that you get your rebate is to get on the phone a couple days after you mail in your application and stay on them until they actually process your rebate. So already I knew Dell and I weren't going to play nice together.
Little did I know the "Dell can't be held responsible for lost mail" defense would be a running gag in our relationship. In my entire adult, bill-paying life I have never had one company have such "bad luck" getting their mail. I've never had an electric bill payment fail to reach its' destination. I've never had a cell phone bill payment fail to reach its' destination. I've never had a student loan payment fail to reach its' destination. Even Time Warner, who almost tries to fuck up everything they do, seems to at least get their mail. Dell, on the other hand, seems to have a hell of a time getting their mail. 5-6 times over the course of my computer's payoff my payment check somehow didn't make it to Dell. As it certainly isn't their fault, they would naturally charge me a late fee which was almost always more than the amount of the minimum payment. This in addition to the fact that the post office seems to take much longer to deliver Dell statements than statements from other places. Other bills I usually receive 2 weeks or more before the payment is actually due. Dell statements, however, arrived one week or less before the payment was due, giving little time to return it in time to avoid a late fee, which was quite a big source of income for Dell over the course of our dealings.
Then earlier this year, I received a statement and decided to pay off the remainder of my bill. I made out a check for the remainder of my balance, sent it in, and high-fived myself for being done with them. But apparently that damn postal service had problems again because my payment allegedly was received one day after the due date, leaving me with a late fee and a balance composed entirely of that one late fee. Then the following month I didn't receive a bill, again I was assured because of the incompetence of our mail system. The thing is, I assumed I didn't get a bill because as far as I knew my account had been paid in full. So a month later I did get a statement, which consisted of an original balance for the amount of that late fee two months prior, plus an additional late fee on the late fee from the month I hadn't received a statement when I thought my balance was paid off. So while I thought my balance was at 0, it was actually at the amount of two late fees plus one month worth of interest on the first late fee.
Finally, however, after much fighting and corporate trickery, I got my account paid off and got clear of my financial obligation to Dell.
So they hit the switch at Dell headquarters to make everything stop working so I need to buy a new computer.
I swear to God, I thought this thing was a piece of shit before, but it's all falling apart faster than I can say "Piece of shit computer." At first, it was just little things not working here and there, but the problems have been getting worse and worse. Then, Friday, all at once, the computer stopped responding completely, my firewall stopped working, and my video card went ape shit. All in the same day. It's like when an old person's body starts falling apart all at once. Their teeth fall out, they get arthritis, they lose control of their bladder, they can't have sex, and they can't remember their own name. Well that's like my computer now. It's the computer equivalent of some old geezer with Alzheimer's. With hours of patient (read: yelling, screaming, and cussing at my computer) work I've been able to fix most of these recent issues, but it's clear that my computer's best days are behind it. So the search for a new computer has started.
But I'll tell you right now it won't be another fucking Dell. Fuck Dell. Fuck them up their big stupid asses.