Dell tells its techs “Don’t help customers remove spyware.”

Dude, you’re not getting any help!

At least not if the issue you’re calling Dell’s help desk over is spyware on your PC. According to the latest Spyware Weekly Newsletter from the folks at the following email was sent to all help desk techs at Dell:

Subject: Spyware: What we can say to the customer

Dell does not support or endorse the use of spyware removal programs.

NOTICE: Use of spyware removal software may conflict with user license agreements of other applications installed on your system. Please consult your user license agreements for further information. Dell does not endorse the use of spyware removal software and cannot provide support on these products.

This means we do not take callers to or, nor do we recommend spyware removal programs, nor do we advise callers on the use of spyware removal programs. This includes using phrases “We don’t support the removal of spyware, but I use…”

Please reply to this e-mail to indicate that you have read and understand this information.


This has to be one of the stupidest decisions I’ve heard of. As a PC Tech for The Automotive CompanyTM it wasn’t uncommon for spyware on a user’s PC to be the cause of some of the odder problems they were experiencing and simply removing it from the system in question often cleared the issue up. Considering that most spyware installs itself with no real notification to the user that it’s happening (if there’s any mention of it, it’ll be buried in legal-speak in the click-license during install) and the fact that often spyware will not uninstall itself even if the original application it came with is removed this means Dell is basically saying they’re more concerned with making spyware pushers happy than their own customers.

The sad thing is I used to recommend Dells to folks who wanted advice on a good PC to buy mainly because of Dell’s previously excellent technical support. Seems it’s been slowly going downhill over the last couple of years and this is just one more strike against them.

Update: Meanwhile, companies like AOL are announcing plans to offer customers software to help fight spyware. For all the bad rap that AOL takes for being the home of the clueless computer user (and I’ve certainly done my share of AOL bashing) they seem to be listening to their customers and making good decisions.

5 thoughts on “Dell tells its techs “Don’t help customers remove spyware.”

  1. Thanks for this post. I won’t be getting a Dell laptop when I buy one now. That’s a crappy way to deal with the Spyware issue.

  2. Intersting note regarding Dell and spy ware… Thanks to you I just installed and ran a spyware remover and found NUMEROUS events. One of which, called “Alexa” came with the following info: Method of Infection:The Alexa toolbar is bundled with Windows XP, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, and with some new Dell computers. The toolbar is also available for download at Alexa

  3. I have to say I hate all the privacy invasion though what I’m wondering is why there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of public outcry over this considering the size of dell and how you’d think many people would like to speak against some “man”. Makes me wonder if some people are considering privacy an old fad.

  4. I think its a VERY GREAT decision on Dell’s part.
    And NO, I don’t work for Dell.

    Most spyware issues are the customer’s fault and not fault of the computer. 

    These are the type of people that click on ads, or everything else, or are lured easy on the internet.  Some of these folks install certain “cute” software intentionally which places spyware on to the machine.

    These type of problems is what overloads Dell’s call centers and caused long hold times for it’s customers calling in for legitimate reasons.

    Adware and Spyware sucks, but it shouldn’t be on the burden of the Computer Manufacturer to have to fix this.  If anything if Dell did support adware removal, the answer to customers should be to just use the System Restore Disk that shipped with the PC to restore and format the system back to the original state, since this is the easiest way for the majority of customers to fix it.  Since some spyware tends to corrupt Windows anyway, that would make sense.

  5. Most spyware issues are the customer’s fault and not fault of the computer.

    These are the type of people that click on ads, or everything else, or are lured easy on the internet.  Some of these folks install certain “cute

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