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Reasons to buy printers from Dell – are there any?

Issue #0937/2 – As we’re just in the throes of launching into a series of articles on reliability, printer downtime, hassle and customer satisfaction, current experience on buying from Dell is appropriate! While some Dell printers can be less costly to own and operate than other brands, others are not and the whole customer experience angle may not be all that we might desire as Dell takes almost a month to deliver supplies!!

In the early part of December we bought a Dell 1235cn colour laser multifunction printer for a test programme. We also bought a Samsung CLX-3175FN – identical devices, both manufactured by Samsung and with Dell even shipping Samsung’s SmarThru document management software with its 1235cn.

Dell 1235cn and Samsung CLX-3175FNDell 1235cn and Samsung CLX-3175FN

In addition, we needed a batch of supplies (as you do with a printer!).

Point 1
Buying the Dell 1235cn direct from Dell would have cost £299 (all prices quoted without tax). From a reseller, I was able to buy it for £243! The identical Samsung CLX-3175FN cost me £218 – and who knows whether I might not have been able to dig around and find a reseller that would save me even more money.

So, buying the Dell printer from Dell costs a whopping 37% more than buying the identical Samsung printer from a reseller!

Hardware Purchase

Dell vs Dell Reseller vs Samsung Reseller

Point 2
Although Dell toner tends to be cheaper bought direct from Dell than through a reseller, the equivalent toner for the Samsung machine can be as much as 19% cheaper than buying Dell toner from Dell and 28% cheaper than buying Dell toner from a reseller.

As all cartridges (CMYK) cost the same, there is no need to break the following chart down into individual colours and, because yields (K-1,500 pages; CMY-1,000 pages each) are also the same for both Dell and Samsung branded cartridges, there is no need to compute any CPPs from the prices – all are direct cost comparisons.

Cost of Supplies

Dell vs Dell Reseller vs Samsung Reseller

Point 3
Delivery and availability? From Dell? Abysmal.

The order for supplies was placed with Dell on 9th December, 2009 and the confirmation indicated a delivery schedule for 18th December (7 working days). This in itself seemed poor when I can usually reckon to receive deliveries of supplies either next day or, at worst, within three working days.

Once the delivery had not appeared on Friday 18th December, when Monday 21st arrived I interrogated the Dell web site to find out what status was being quoted for the order and found that the scheduled date for delivery had been put back to 24th December! So, I contacted Dell’s online Customer Care service to express dissatisfaction and to ask if the order could be brought forward. The answer was that the revised date for delivery was 24th but that they would do their best to bring it forward.

Today, Wednesday 23rd December, I have received an email from Dell with another update on the expected delivery date – Monday 4th January, 2010! But, again, expressing the hope that they can beat that expected date.

This means that the order will have taken 3½ weeks to fulfil – IF Dell is successful in meeting the latest expected delivery date.

I need these supplies for a test programme, a business might be in urgent need of the supplies to raise invoices, submit quotations or proposals or deliver materials to a customer.

Printer downtime of 3½ weeks is just not satisfactory under any circumstances and in the case of a delivery of supplies, totally and utterly unacceptable.

Choice of printer and supplier is crucial to being able to run an efficient business operation and will determine an organisation’s overall Total Cost of Printing, perhaps varying it to the tune of 30% or more.

If Dell is unable to deliver, and the hardware is so much more expensive when bought direct from Dell than through a reseller or an identical (or equivalent) machine bought elsewhere, then I can see no reason at all for buying Dell at this point in time.

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