A Freak's fight to get his faulty equipment replaced beyond warranty

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Ipod blues annihilated

Imagine, you buy an expensive car ( For say Rs 1 million)… in normal usage( No accident, no crash) condition it breaks down in 6 months and fails to start.. You approach the manufacturer… he looks at it .. and realizes that the car cannot be repaired. He offers you a new car.. As a consumer you will be delighted to drive a brand new car as replacement and think that the customer relation is great … the company is very caring of its customer.. You will feel you made a great decision of buying car from that company… probably, you will go back home and tell all your friends and family about how good and responsible the company is…. More and more people hearing this, will be tempted to buy that car.. Probably this is not the best thing that can happen to you or your circle of friends…

The replacement car again fails in approximately another 6 months and by that moment, initial warranty of one year is over (Rationally assume that you spent 2 months litigating your first replacement… You want to get it repaired.. you go the customer care.. The Company representative smiles crookedly, and says …Sir, your Honeymoon (Warranty) is over… now, can you forget about this car …. It cant be repaired.. “Well! I can be kind to you.. my dear customer.. I can give you a new car… But give me Rs 1 million for this replacement”… You feel cheated , dejected and zapped You wonder whether this manufacturer did enough design and testing before selling this car which he calls a miracle of design and the world is on its feet in its acclaim… You feel like fighting this company which fleeced you; which is a billion times more powerful (Financially) than you…or feel like giving up the fight coz you as professional do not have much time to wage a legal battle ..

If you think this fiction … take a look … replace that car by an music player and Rs 1 million by Rs 10,000 and you would be surprised that fiction transforms to reality, the product and company which emerge are Ipod and Apple computers.. You start getting echo of numerous blogs across the globe –‘the biggest threat in this world after Bill Gates is Mr Steve Jobs’.. and this is a real incident which happened.. The customer thought, he could not possibly fight the financial muscle of this company.. but he could not fight his conscience too, which was preventing him from giving up… Peeved he thought of, writing blogs every where… sending his story to newspapers, filing a case in consumer redressal forum… send linked email to all his friends across the globe so that people get the right information about the so called great product… Or should he send it to rival Microsoft … and enjoy the mudslinging they do to each other (MS is currently pitching Zune against Iphone).. .

What he did was …. He sent this mail to Asia Zone manager of Apple.. Who finding it tough to handle, escalated the case to Australia. The company was shaken at the prospect of this story going to media and suggested that the customer speak on their two Toll free numbers.. The first number was accessible only by MTNL landlines(Which are like searching a needle in Haystack in this age of Telecom corporatisation). The other number he tried 12 times a day was always connecting to silence which only were adding to his STD expenses and futile efforts… He finally thought of giving up futile calls and requested the company to call him back instead. The company told him point blank that they do not have policy of making outbound calls to customers.

Frustrated, he knew pleading was not taking him anywhere and decided to file a case in Consumer Court on the following day…He also told the company about the same.. Barely , few hours had passed ,that company woke up to the threat of litigation and cost associated to it ..it called up the customer and said they were making an exception and promised replacement of his ipod without any cost .. even though it was outside the initial warranty. The ipod came delivered to him in 2 days flat.. So a great fight for consumer right once again had a happy ending. Hope , people reading this will feel inspired to take up big fights with great organizations when they think they can exploit citizens

Also a few conclusions from the story :

As consumers we should never let our expectations drop .
Consumer courts are the weapons in hand of people and empower them to give fight to company of any size.
There is enormous power in writing and possibility of putting explosive writing on huge display canvas drives the message to those who really need it.
You can use Media power to your great advantage.
The companies are very vulnerable to ‘Loss of credibility ‘ and would always break their own rules to protect their good will..

So when you feel , you have been wronged with.. take the fight to the Hilt ..and I am sure you will win , the way He did



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