Damn 206-415

Is anyone else as annoyed/surprised as me about the fact that my blog has basically been taken over by a discussion (if you could call it that?) of this 206-415-xxxx thing?

The main post about me being annoyed/confused by the phone call currently has over 45 comments! What sucks, though, is that most of these comments are of little help. Mostly it’s just some random person from Anywhere, U.S.A. throwing in a “me too!” And really, nobody cares, right?

For the record, I have taken no action. I haven’t gotten one of those calls for quite a few weeks now, so I’ve basically given up. I’ll leave it to all of these other people to contact the FCC and whatnot. Plus, the calls I am getting are different than the calls they are. The people posting comments are the dumbasses who call me back saying, “I’m calling you because your number showed up on my caller ID.”

Anyway, these comments have been discouraged me and sorta suppressed my desire to post anything more meaningful. I know it’s stupid, but it’s discouraging when the most popular post on your blog is about something so inane.

I’ll work on getting over this ego-blow, though. I promise. In the meantime, go ahead and reflect on the 206-415 nightmare that seems to be afflicting people coast-to-coast.

Dell Sucks

Dell Inspiron 1150
In November 2004 I purchased a new notebook computer. I had always used desktop computers in the past, but figured that it was time to get a nice, portable computer. I didn’t even contemplate where to get the computer — I immediately went to the Dell site and bought a Dell Inspiron 1150 (note the review on that page — not by me — about how it died within four months… I should’ve researched more).

For the first couple of months the computer was great. I got to watch Sex and the City on my airplane trip back to Minnesota. While at home, I was able to sit in the living room, watch cable TV, and do some work without having to sit behind a huge case and an even huger monitor. I loved having a notebook.

Then sometime in March or so my notebook started having problems. If I had a bunch of applications open (Photoshop, Trillian, Internet explorer — not a lot of applications, but whatever…), the computer would automatically shut itself off, causing me to lose my work.

When I rebooted I got error message #M1004 saying that my computer had overheated, and that I should check to make sure that there isn’t dust in the fan or something blocking the flow of air. Check. No problem with that. I even used some condensed air to clean the fan. No help.

Prior to buying the Dell, I had known that Dell was pretty notorious for bad service, but I guess I had no idea.

I called tech support to let them know about the problem I was having. They, of course, told me to check the fan and the flow of air. Then they had me check my BIOS version (of course I had the latest — I’m neurotic about having up-to-date software). After trying a few other things, they concluded that I needed a new motherboard. The guy on the phone started taking my information so I could send it back. I was excited. My computer would finally work! Then he said, “Actually, let me put you on hold.”

He came back a few minutes later to inform me that my warranty had expired last month and that he was sorry and had to transfer me to the out-of-warranty service department. Oh, and this was on a Saturday.

The out-of-warranty service department, of course, was closed.

Being that I am a pretty resourceful guy, I figured that I could try to solve this problem myself. I went to get thermal paste (you put it between the CPU and the cooling unit/fan in order to help the CPU stay cooler). I also raised my computer up using a slinky so that the bottom wasn’t touching my desk and so the fan was totally clear. This helped for a while.

Then the last few days Seattle got a little warmer. And now my computer is dying more frequently than ever.

I just called the out-of-warranty service department to see how much a new motherboard would cost. They said $499. I said for that price I could get a new computer. She said, “Yes, but it wouldn’t be Dell quality.” And I said (and trust me, I’m usually not an angry customer…), “I hope it’s not Dell quality. This is ridiculous. I’ve had it for less than a year and it’s basically unusable!”

I tried to somehow get them to work out a deal, but had no luck. The best she could offer was for me to send it in to “the depot” for $199 and they could maybe determine that it is a problem with the fan or adapter — which, I feel confident to say, is not the problem.

I explained to her that I purchased a Dell because of their reputation for good quality and whatnot. I never would’ve expected that a new computer would go bad so quickly. That didn’t help.

She, again, offered the “depot” option for $200, to which I said, no, that is half of a new computer, so what is the point. At that point she said there was nothing else she could do and we got off the phone.

I think I have two options to pursue:

  1. Call again and see if another representative can help me, and then talk to a manager if that doesn’t help.
  2. Write a letter explaining, more thoroughly and eloquently that I buy new computers once every two years or so and that many people ask me advice when purchasing new computers. I will never recommend a Dell — and, in fact, advise not to buy Dells — when people ask my thoughts on computers. (As a side note: when I went home for xmas last December, my mom wanted a new computer. I tried to talk her into a Dell, but she wanted it immediately and went with a Compaq. Also, my aunt recently purchased a Dell desktop on my advice. And finally, my sister is looking to purchase a new computer soon.)

What I really want out of the deal is a new notebook — this one, clearly, sucks. But if that isn’t possible, at least replacing the motherboard would be reasonable, I think.

I’m not very good with customer service stuff, so if anyone has advice on what I should say/do that would be awesome.

DW-uhhhh

I learned last night while watching The West Wing that there are only three words in the English language that being with DW: dwindle, dwarf, and dwell (and, of course, their variations). Inspired by this knowledge, I created the following poem:

The dwindling dwarf dwells
Dwindle, dwelling dwarf

The dwarf dwindled in the dwelling
Dwarves dwell in dwindles

They dwelled and dwindled while dwarfing
Dwelling dwarves dwindle

And to illustrate:

A B C
A C B
B A C
B C A
C A B
C B A

206-415: Revisited

For those not familiar with my strange and creepy, though potentially funny in certain circumstances, telephone nightmare, things have started up again. In the last 12 hours I have two received calls from people claiming that I called them. Well, I didn’t. Someone with a 415 number did, not my 412 number.

I did some detective work, and looked up the npa-nxx information. Apparently the person at 415 gets service from some Marathon Communications, which looks rather sketchy to me, but I am probably biased.

As for the two calls in the last 12 hours, one is from Louisana (318) and another from South Dakota (605). I am really tempted to start posting the numbers of the dumbasses who “call me back” solely because “my number” (which isn’t even my number, which is 206-415-xxxx) just in case they do this to other people they can get busted.

I don’t know. This is just weird.

206-415-xxxx

In case anyone wonders, my phone number is 206-412-xxxx (yes, I am intentionally x’ing it out). Apparently there is someone with the phone number 206-415-xxxx that calls a lot of people… and doesn’t leave messages (i.e. the number shows up on people’s caller IDs).

So for the past few weeks I’ve been getting random phone calls from people (all across the country) calling and telling me that they were returning my call. “Huh?” I ask. “I saw your number on my caller ID… I am returning your call.” “But I didn’t call you…” “Well I have your number on my caller ID…” “What phone number do you have?” “2-0-6-4-1-5-x-x-x-x” “Yeah, that’s not my number. I’m 4-1-2.” “Oh, sorry…”

Seriously — conversations just like that numerous times.

On Tuesday I got a call at 7:30 a.m. (I wake up at 9:30 a.m., so this was quite early). I got a little upset: “Why are you calling me?? I’m 4-1-2!!” “Oh, sorry…” “No, why? How did you mess up the 5 and the 2?? This happens all the time! I want to know what happened?” “Sorry, I’m not sure. Goodbye.”

Argh!!!!

I honestly feel like I’m in a movie and/or there is some conspiracy trying to make me crazy. I have tried to call this 206-415-xxxx number and it is always busy.

My working theory is that this phone number is hooked up to a modem or fax machine that is constantly calling random numbers… then the people see it on their missed calls list and somehow call me back.

The thing is, if the number is on their caller ID, how are they always messing it up and calling me instead of who really called? I understand that 2 and 5 can look somewhat similar on an LED screen… but still!! Argh. This is driving me insane. So I guess the ultimate evil scheme is working? Grrr….

Update: September 26, 2005:
I am turning comments off. This has become nothing more than a “me too!” fest.