Thursday, February 24, 2011

More Internet Follies

Because Stan the ghost apparently ran off with the stopwatch I use to time my writing sessions, since I've cleaned all the areas where I've used it without finding it, I resorted to buying another cheap digital sports watch at Target (what the old one was). I had been using a stopwatch app on my phone, but I soon realized that doing so defeated the purpose of disconnecting from the Internet to work. If my phone was right there, it was too easy to check my e-mail or look up random things online whenever I got stuck.

Meanwhile, I've cleared up one set of Internet follies from last week, only to get another. I tried using a different e-mail address and was able to get a message through to the blog hosts for that guest post I hadn't been able to send. I don't know if my server was the problem or if by the time I resorted to using the Gmail address I was forced to get to access Android services on my phone the problem had resolved itself.

Now, though, I'm dealing with a case of mistaken identity. I got a Yahoo mail account way back in the Dark Ages, using just my last name. Since my ISP handles their e-mail through Yahoo, my ISP account is mapped to that Yahoo ID. I guess I was able to get that address because I was the first member of my extended family to go online. Anyway, this week I got an e-mail to that address from Dell, confirming my order. At first I thought it was some kind of spam, but then saw that the customer was some other Swendson with a mailing address in the town in Kansas that my grandfather was from, so I figure we're related. There's no way that address is their address, since it's mine and has been for more than a decade, so I guess when they typed it into the Dell order form they left out an initial, or something. Now, not only am I getting their order information, but I'm getting all the Dell marketing spam, and I can't find a way to alert Dell that they're sending the order information to the wrong address (though I did unsubscribe from the marketing e-mail). I tried replying to the order confirmation e-mail, but that came back with an automated "we don't check this mailbox" notice. The customer service contact involves a form that requires all sorts of stuff like your address and customer number. I'm certainly not going to put my information in there, since I'm not the customer, but it seems like impersonation to put the customer's information in there, and then there's no place on the form to say that the above information is actually incorrect. There is a place to modify the profile, but since I don't know the correct e-mail address, I can't correct it. You'd think they'd want to know if their messages weren't reaching the intended recipient, but they make it impossible to do a good deed and let them know. I'm a pretty die-hard Apple customer, but if I weren't, this experience alone would keep me from ever being a Dell customer, since they make you jump through so many hoops to contact them. I may resort to printing the order confirmation and mailing it to the billing address on the confirmation with a note that they might want to correct the e-mail address they gave Dell. I think this customer is a second or third cousin (possibly a son or grandson of one of my grandfather's brothers), but I've never met that branch of the family.

Argh. And now I just got the shipping notice and order tracking information. If anyone reading this is a Swendson who ordered a computer from Dell, you're giving out the wrong e-mail address. And if anyone from Dell is reading this, how can I let you know that you're sending customer information (including account info, mailing address and phone number) to the wrong person? As a warning to anyone considering doing business with Dell, from the looks of this, I could easily have changed the shipping information just by clicking on the link in the e-mail I received. I could re-do the entire customer profile, and in a way I have altered it as I set it so I didn't receive marketing messages, since that was the only way to keep them from coming to my address, and that required doing so as this customer.

The spam comments on the blog continue, though lately they're at least for the latest post instead of really old posts. I'm not sure what yesterday's post had to do with burning movies to DVD, but that's what the spam of the day was. The comments acted like they were asking me how to do this (because writing about fairy godmothers apparently means I know that), though the links in the post were to places where you could buy that software, apparently. Is anyone really stupid enough to fall for spam blog comments? If you're reading a blog and see a comment on something entirely unrelated, do you think it's a good idea to click on those links? You'd think someone would have to or they wouldn't bother continuing to do this, but I suppose it uses so few resources on their part to do it that even one or two responses would make it worthwhile. And I really don't see what the benefit is to spamming the entire Internet with e-mail in Russian.

1 comment:

Angie said...

I don't think you are a tweeter but I understand that Dell has a big Twitter presence and a customer service representative would likely respond if you posted this situation on Twitter.