This sounds like outsourcing taken to a bad extreme:
The reader was in the market for new Veritas Backup Exec software and was exploring his supplier options. "Dell offers a product called the Dell PowerSuite Veritas Backup Exec Server," the reader wrote. "It appeared to include several of the Backup Exec options we needed at an attractive price. Unfortunately, my quest to find out exactly what it includes proved to be an exercise in futility. I spoke with four different representatives at Dell, three of them sales reps and the other from tech support."
While some of the reps he spoke with had thick accents, the real problem was that none of them seemed to have any information. "What did I learn from these four people?" the reader wrote. "Absolutely nothing. I spent 90 minutes on the phone on hold and got nowhere. The sales reps just read the website to me over and over again. I guess they assumed that I couldn't read it myself. I explained to them exactly what I needed to know in terms a child could understand and they still could not grasp what I was saying. I got so aggravated that I finally hung up. Miraculously I got a call back five minutes later and spoke to another rep, but he turned out to be no more helpful than the others. After fifteen wasted minutes he told me he would research it and call me back."
The thing is, it's very, very dangerous to push a core function (like sales) out. Why? In order to sell, you need to have committed people who want to sell your product, not time-fillers reading from a script. There's a secret underbelly to outsourcing support as well - it makes all your post-sales customer contacts suck, which in turn lowers the liklihood of a future sale. There are at two companies that have hurt their chances of selling me a new product because of that - the outfit that now owns Replay TV and Symantec.
With Symantec, I wanted to renew my anti-virus subscription, so I went to their website. As it happens, I made a mistake on the form and got a renewal key for the wrong product. I was willing to cut them some slack since it was my error, but I ended up talking to people who I could barely understand - and it was also clear that they could barely understand me. Once it became clear that I had the wrong key, they got me a good one. The entire experience would have taken minutes (instead of over an hour) had I been speaking with someone who understood what I was saying
I'm sure that outsourcing tech support saves money in the immediate "balance sheet" way. What I'm also sure of is that it costs future sales to existing customers, as they get frustrated and angry dealing with a communications problem they didn't ask for.