Ordering from the Dell Outlet

I ordered a laptop from the Dell Outlet a few days ago. The Dell Outlet has a well known issue in their system: a package’s order status will correctly move to Shipped when the package is assigned a FedEx tracking number and moved to the loading dock but the carrier and tracking information will forever say Data Temporarily Unavailable. I say FedEx because most of us using the outlet will also opt for the free 3-5 day shipping which, in 2009, is provided by FedEx Ground for United States shipments.

Knowing that they use FedEx, you can look up the information without calling up Dell customer service. How do you do this? When you placed your order, you should have received an order number. If you don’t have the information handy, login to the Dell site under the My Account link (usually on the top of the page on the Dell site). Then, look at Order Status and select your order. You should eventually see a page with this information on it:

Order Information
Customer Number: 99999999
Dell Purchase ID: 200043XXXXXXX
Order Number: 729877XXX
Order Date: 4/29/2009
Order Status: Shipped

(yes, the Customer Number, Purchase ID, and Order Number have been edited.)

Copy the Order Number and head over to FedEx’s site to their Track by Reference page. You probably don’t have and definitely don’t need an Account Number, so skip the first field. Then, put the Order Number into the field labeled Enter reference. For the approximate ship date, enter in the Order Date-accuracy isn’t important since the date is only used to scope the reference/Order number to a subset of all FedEx shipments. Set Destination Country to United States and put in your zip code/postal code in the Destination postal code box. Lastly, click on Track and you should see your Dell Outlet item on your PC.

Of course, you can also call up customer support at Dell, but do you really want to wait for an answer when, through this method, you can easily compulsively check to see if you new laptop|netbook|PC is at your door yet? I know what I did!

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