Same old story.
I’ve purchased thousands of dollars worth of APC uninterruptible power supplies over the years, I really like them, and consider this to be a default brand.
But two-three years after purchasing one, you need to consider replacing the batteries. The consequences of not replacing the battery smell bad; when the battery cells break down, circuits get shorted out, and you get a burning smell.
So…latest and greatest is one we purchased three years ago from Dell. Turns out it is an APC 2U rack mount Smart UPS, with a Dell part number. The “replace battery” light has gone on. After some investigation, the online manuals suggest that this happens two months or so before the battery needs to be replaced.
My first attempt to order a replacment from PC Connection fails. I got the 1400 VA size correct, but a 2U UPS has skinny little batteries that lie on their side, and they are actually enclosed in a sort of drawer that slides out of the UPS.
Like the good citizen I am, I attempt to use APC’s web-based tools to determine the correct part number and item. (When you are ordering batteries to be shipped, the cost adds up.) How is the the customer experience screwed up? Let me count the ways.
1. Even though this is a recent unit, the model number does not appear on the web site.
2. Even though the model number starts with DL (for Dell…get it?) the model number does not appear, although there are several other similar part numbers.
3. If you try to send an eMail, through the form, the eMail form bombs
4. If you try to to the “online chat”…the chat doesn’t work (nobody is at home…even during both normal business hours eastern time, as well as evening hours and weekends eastern time.
5. After you try the chat, and it says nobody is available to chat, the third time finally allowed me to send an eMail.
6. To India. The kind person was sorry, but he wasn’t able to answer my question, but he would send this to his supervisor.
7. Who didn’t exist, or didn’t write back, or whatever… (I waited a week).
The story does have a happy end, and a suggestion.
Avoid steps 1-8 ENTIRELY. Just call the battery replacement hotline at 1(800)300-7141. Within five minutes, a cheerful, competant person will tell you that the thing you are looking fir is called an RBC-24. with a suggested retail price of $259.95 (Although it did take a few minutes because he said “the system is slow today”.) Bingo.