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When Idiots Attack » Our Prime Assertive Customer Rights and How Salespeople Violate It

My jurassic Nokia phone has been with me for five years and already served its purpose more than it is bound to. Its hardware is now getting weird, so last Christmas, as a gift to myself, I decided buying a new Samsung mobile phone.

I grant you that the shop where I bought my phone is legit with official reselling rights, permits and stuff. However, my experience as a customer of that shop tested my temper, patience and my assertive customer right. At any rate, I hope that you can learn over my tales of woe, agree, disagree, defend, or commiserate as you see fit. Please note that it is not my intention to discredit any establishment – this is purely personal opinion on being on the receiving end of a lousy customer service. So with that being said, and without further adieu, let my rants begin!

Mega Exchange’s Mega-Bad Customer Service

I bought my new Samsung Galaxy S in a retail shop called Mega Exchange at SM Megamall Cyberzone because they offer the lowest price compared to other stores in Megamall. I definitely fell in love with my new “all-around” phone running on Android 2.1 (Éclair).

I learned that software upgrade for Samsung Galaxy S from Android 2.1 (Éclair) to Android 2.2 (Froyo) is already available in the Philippines via Samsung Kies but I’m having trouble downloading and installing Kies on my jurassic laptop so I brought my phone to Mega Exchange (the store where I bought it) and asked if software upgrade is part of the store warranty. They said it is not, but if I want to upgrade it, I have to pay 900.00 pesos for it. Whaaatt? I argue that that price is too much for a free downloadable software.
Mega Exchange re-tail store at SM Megamall Cyberzone where I bought my phone
Just around the corner is the Samsung Service Center, and they told me that software upgrade for my Galaxy S is FREE provided I have the original receipt. They checked my phone and sadly told me that they cannot do any upgrade on my phone because it is NOT NTC APPROVED (meaning it didn’t pass the National Telecommunications Commission inspection and I suspect it also didn’t pass Customs perhaps to avoid tax.) It’s what they called “puslit.” Damn!

This is the conversation I had with the Mega Exchange manager:

DAY 01:
Me: “Sir, Samsung Service Center refuse to do any free upgrade on the phone I bought here because it is not NTC approved”

Manager: “I’m not aware that some of our phones are not NTC approved. We just accept delivery from our head office, besides we offer store warranty.” {This is just a goddamn alibi – but still I didn’t switch off my diplomatic mode}

Me: “But you’re charging me for the software upgrade, which I am supposed to get for free. If you disclosed that this phone is not NTC approved, I will not buy it. Please upgrade my phone to Froyo.”

Manager: “Sir we don’t do Froyo upgrade here.”  {Liar Liar}

Me: “I talked to one of your technician this morning and told me they do Froyo upgrade for 900.00 pesos. Although I can do it myself, I don’t want to, because if anything happens I know your warranty will not cover it because, of course you will say I tampered with the phone’s OS” 

Manager: “Currently we don’t have the software for Froyo upgrade. We need to install it to our system.”

Me: “Installing Samsung Kies only took an hour, I’m willing to wait.” {The Manager didn’t realize I do research in advance}

Manager: {Whispering something at the technician beside him} “Sir we don’t use Samsung Kies, we are using different software.”

Me: “What software?”

Manager: “Sir, we’re not disclosing it to our clients”

Me: “Then problably it’s illegal. Anyway, I want a Froyo upgrade, can I have my phone upgraded today?”

Manager: “Sir, our senior technician who’s in-charge of upgrades is not on duty today. He’s only here every Saturday ”

Me: “Then I’ll be back Saturday”

DAY 02 – Saturday

Technician: “Sir, it will took one hour for the upgrade.”

Me: “Ok I’ll just leave my phone and be back after an hour”

{After 2 hours}
Technician: “Sir, we need another hour because we need new USB cable. The cable we have is malfunctioning.”

 Me: “What do you mean your cable is malfunctioning?”

Technician: “Sir, its resistor is defective.”

Me: “Look pal, I perfectly know what a resistor is. USB cables doesn’t have resistors. Just tell me if the phone you sold me is defective.”

{It’s damn obvious these guys is messing around, but I just took a deep breath to control myself. Lecturing the poor T-shirt-wearing soldering-iron-jockey would have been pointless because my goal is to have my phone fixed as soon as possible. But I'm not going to leave my phone to collect dust for a few days.}

After another long hour of useless fiddling and head scratching…

Technician: “Sir we can’t connect your phone to the PC. Our software cannot detect your unit. We need a few days to fix it”

Me: “Then the phone is defective. I need it upgraded today.”

Technician: “Sir we need to reformat it and flush the OS.”

Me: “I understand, but I need an upgraded and working phone today.”

Technician: “Sir, we have other customers requiring service and we need to download additional software for your phone.”

Me: “I need my phone today, Can I talk to your manager?

Manager: “Sir, our technician is finding ways to fix your phone. You need to leave it for a few days.”

Me: “Returning back here already cost me money and I already wasted my time here. If you can’t upgrade it today, then it’s definitely defective. Plus it’s not NTC approved. I need a phone today. Please replace it with a new NTC approved phone”

Manager: “Sir, we don’t do replacement, we will just fix it.”

Me: “I know my rights as a customer. You guys already make me look like a fool here. Our agreement is, you will fix it today in just an hour. You already wasted a lot of my time waiting here and giving me obnoxious alibis. You said you can fix it in an hour, then you said you need additional hours, and now you need days? I will not accept that defective phone. I need a new NTC approved phone TODAY.

Manager: “Sir, maybe you want other higher units. You just have to add a certain amount for it.”

Me: “What I need is a Samsung Galaxy S. I need replacement, and I need it today.”

Manager: “Sir you’ll need to add 4,000 pesos for the 16G Samsung Galaxy S, I’m not sure if we still have 8G Galaxy S today. {This is too much and really exasperating! Making sales to an already unsatisfied customer.}

Me: “Just tell me if you will replace it today or not. If not, you’re giving me no option but to file complaint to NTC, DTI or Customs! I want you to replace that defective phone and I want an NTC approved phone TODAY!” {I said it a little louder so that other customers around will hear it}

Manager: “I’ll see what I can do.”

The manager left the customer area and after a few minutes a saleslady handed me a new Samsung Galaxy S – brand new with official NTC sticker inside. They just let me leave without even saying “we are sorry for your inconvenience!”

The following day, I visited Samsung Service Center also in Megamall and got my phone running on Android 2.2-Froyo, upgraded for free.

This most recent experience teach me two things: the value of being well-informed and coping with other people through diplomatic verbal assertiveness. I understand that times are hard for many these days, and that retail shops in particular are feeling the economic pain, but selling non-NTC approved phones, probably to avoid tax and getting away with it is unacceptable. Most of the time, making returns is a bit more unpleasant, but it is our right as a customer.

Any thoughts? Or maybe you also have a bad Customer Service story to tell. I would really appreciate it if you could share highlights of it in my comments box.
Image source: Matt Tusenfot Familiar Faces II  

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