Saturday, January 02, 2010

Be an alert consumer: जागो ग्राहक जागो

We’ve been watching जागो ग्राहक जागो (consumers please wake-up) campaign. How often do we fight to get an issue resolved? It takes little extra effort to get a faulty product/poor service corrected. But most of the time we prefer write off the losses and move on, mainly due to laziness or for want of time/proof/lack of knowledge.

This post presents few incidents where me and few people I know got some poor product/service issues fixed. Not that we’re perfect people who never suffer a loss-the only idea behind this post is to exhibit that we can get compensated for a faulty product/poor services-most of the cases all we have to do is just ask.

1. Faulty Colgate Zigzag toothbrush

A Rs 20 Colgate Zigzag medium soft toothbrush, which I’d purchased sometime back proved to be of very inferior quality. Lots of bristles came off right on first use.(refer image) I could have thrown it away and used another one, but felt like complaining. I promptly wrote to email address that was mentioned in the packet: consumeraffairs_india@colpol.com However, after few days and several attempts, Gmail informed me that delivery to this email address has failed permanently.faulty-toothbrush

As a next step, I took it to the departmental store where I had bought it. Luckily it had store sticker on it. Without any hesitation store manager asked me to pick up some other toothbrush. All I had to do was surrender the product and give a written complaint, which I happily did.

2. Unwanted Oil Change at Honda Service

Manoj Bhat, an engineering student in Bangalore shared an experience yesterday regarding his bike service. When he gave his new Honda Unicorn bike for its free service, Service centre staff changed oil, billed him Rs 300 extra. Manoj found that oil change was not required for this service (as per specifications) and promptly complained and got this excess payment back. Honda guys missed a chance to make some extra money, but I am sure there’ll be many others who won’t be complaining. (An old post on Unicorn)

3. HSBC Credit card hidden charges

I suspect HSBC has got a dedicated department who’s sole job is to come out with innovative ways to rip off unsuspecting customers. Recently they introduced a policy wherein bank will charge Rs 100+ service tax if credit card payments are made via cash or cheque (collected from drop boxes/customer places). This new policy change was not communicated to me (bank claimed they’ve informed-I don’t have any alert on this in my email/SMS records). For October dues of Rs 218, I ran out of chequebook and went to their branch in rain, made cash payment for Rs 220. When I saw a Rs 110.3 charged in next month’s statement towards cash payment, I felt cheated. It was unfair that I was charged more than 50% penalty for the trouble I took in going to their branch all the way and paying in cash. If I’d been warned earlier or at least staff at counter had informed me while collecting money, I would have thought of some other mode of payment. Upon complaining bank refused to refund and I promptly opted to surrender my card. This is when wheels started moving and I was offered 300 bonus points, which are equivalent to amount I was charged in cash.

Earlier last year HSBC had charged Rs 3000 in annual service fee, which was reversed after a fight. HSBC is getting more and more secretive in its operations (sent mails records can’t be seen in online banking, old emails are deleted promptly after few months and so on) (an earlier post on HSBC)

4. Aircel poor customer service

Ram had a bitter experience with aircel customer service over faulty SMS settings. Very frequently, the SMS he used to send were not reaching the recipients and he was not getting any delivery failure errors. He would know that msg has not reached only during subsequent interactions.

He promptly called customer care and complained, but even after a month the issue was not resolved. Repeated telephone and email interactions with Agent Mr Soloman and Radhika, team leader Mr Vineeth didn’t result in anything useful. Finally escalation to a Senior Manager Ms Farah at Nodal office and a threat to sue them legally (for denial of service and failure to rectify it) ensured that concerned teams got on their heels. Technical people visited his home and have got this resolved for now. (Keep an eye on Ram’s blog as he may write about this in more detail)

5. Faulty electric heating coil

An electric heating coil (Rexona brand) which stopped working after 2 months was promptly replaced by store. All I had to do was take it to the shop, show the warranty card. Store owner asked me to come next day and next day I got a new one as promised.

6. Unwind Music school

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post how we’d to fight and collect our money back from Unwind school of music

There were several instances in past when I couldn't get my due compensations either because I was lazy to go and complain or couldn’t produce evidence (like a cash receipt/warranty card). Have decided to be more careful in 2010.

Also read be careful at supermarkets *

Wishing you all happy & prosperous 2010

27 comments:

Mohan said...

Nice summation of various products! Yes, a bit of awareness and pro-active act to complain against any such deviations needs a big boost in India. Most of the time, it is the let go attitude in us that kills the strong customer oriented service. Thanks for sharing all this.. i shall keep a tab on the oil replacement when the new Suzuki Access goes for a service ;)

Trails of a Traveler said...

Good that at least you had the refund in most of the cases. I had extreme poor experience with HSBC quite sometime back and had to surrender the card.

Shekhar Sahu said...

1)
My I ball pen drive was broken twice, that the model was made up of plastic, which was replaced twice and at the end i got pen drive with metal body.

2)
I was using unlimited Gprs @10 rs per day
the service was stopped and i was(all subscribers were) migrated to new plane @10 per day with 3mb download limit :(
without my permission. I wrote an email to TRAI but got no response :(

Mridula said...

On the other hand I have had real good experience with my HSBC Power Vantage account but could have been because of having an extra ordinary relationship manager who has now moved on and become an AVP!

Good work Shrinidhi.

Anonymous said...

Интересно написано....но многое остается непонятнымb

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hello Anonymous, I translated your comment and found that it means "Interestingly written but much remains unclear"


Можете ли Вы мне более конкретно, что не ясно?
(can you be more specific what is not clear?)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Mohan,

Agree. All the best for your Suzuki access service. How is Santro doing?

Ram,
Hmm. Sad.

Shekhar,
Good to know the second one. About GPRS plans, did you shift to some other plan?

Mridula,
Good that your relationship manager has become AVP...
Now I know whom to contact for escalations next time HSBC tries to trick me

Logesh TamilSelvan said...

i have lot of bitter experience like this..
especially with SUN Direct and Mahindra Scorpio service..

Subrahmanya Bhat said...

I had a bad experience with my icici bank card(With debit card itself !!)..compare to this nationalized banks are much better . Thank u Mr. Srinidhi for useful post.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Subrahmanya,

I guess this is your first comment at my blog. Welcome and thanks for sharing your experience

Logesh,
Try to complain and get compensated. You can write in your blog what exactly happened-people may offer more help.

hari said...

The thing is we need more stronger consumer protection laws and also awareness in India.

The recent interpretation by the High Court in excluding telecom services from the purview of the CP Act is a backward step.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hari,

I wasn't aware of that High court interpretation. Thanks for informing

Allan Bosco Valdaris said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sameer said...

Valid points. Usually we all come across this, but doesn't bring it up. When I read about the Honda issue, I remember about the cheat done by Chennai Jai auto service center guys, while servicing my bajaj discover. My fuel gauge worked funny like going to the maximum as soon as I turn ON the key, even though the tank is empty. I asked them to check it while giving my bike for servicing. But it was unattended. Then while taking the bike, I asked the service person to look into this. He brought the bike back in 5 mins, saying the issue was resolved. When I turned ON the key the gauge doesn't move. My fuel tank too was almost empty so I went. But next day when I filled my tank, I found that the gauge doesn't move. What that person did was, just removed the connection of the gauge and gave the bike. That was very big cheat. How do we consider such a huge cheat to customer? I found an email id of higher executives and sent an email angrily. I got calls from the executives as well as from the service center. They came to my house took the bike and brought back it in 30 mins after rectifying.

Manjunath said...

Please never change engine oil at Honda service centers and never leave your vehicle for service or repair after warranty period there are notorious in charging heavily for the spares and lubricants they haven't replaced...

I know so many friends who own honda activa, duo and unicorn who was shaved after the free services are over....

I found a person bashing Honda service center manager for billing 4k and 6k on first and second service after free services(warranty period) fortunately he reduced the bill to 1.5k apologizing him

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Shrinidhi Hande said...

Sameer and Manjunath,

thanks for your detailed comments. Even I'm not that happy with Jai Bajaj's services.

Allan Bosco,
I've approved your comment submitted at correct post and am deleting it here

C.V.Varun said...

Honda does that 300 oil change to me every time i leave it for service.

Manoj said...

@ C.V Varun,
Check you mannual. I guess it compulsory only for the 1st and 3rd free service. During the paid services, I guess its enough if you change once in 2000km or so. During the paid services, you are the one who says what to do and what not to. They cant question you.

Srikanth said...

You are lucky to get it with just a written complaint. i had to send a legal notice that I will go to consumer court to get back extra money charged by makemytrip.com for an air ticket.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Online cos are much difficult to handle compared to ones which have physical presence..

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bhanu said...

Consumer Court can not acts as a court they are FORUM means tribunal, Court words means that a premises where third party evidence is required for further proceedings, but in Consumer Forum no evidence is required and if the 3 party evidence is required then they also transfer the case accordingly to the Civil Court. Visit: www.consumercourt.in You can find all the related information on Consumer Forum like judgments, Consumer protection act and Rules & Address.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes, I've seen consumercourt.in doing some great work in this regard

VIJAYARAGHAVAN.S said...

Hi,Good expose of the brands that give us customers a ride and get back a rap for their violations. We have to be united against these bandits and be aware of the dangers and avoid pitfalls. Be informed! fight back for our rights and do not back off! I feel Herohonda is way better than Honda in service..It sure pays to be alert! Keep it up!

Panna said...

Can anyone tell me to whom i should address (on behalf of HSBC Bank)by post for attending consumer court case, filed against HSBC Credit card dept. Pune

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Panna: address to their India Corporate office (guess it is mumbai)

VijayaRaghavan:
Thanks for the comment. Sorry for the delay in response

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