Friday, July 02, 2010

Alghanim Electronics is turning into a Baqala!!

I'm not one to complain much (well, I am, but only when it's applicable!), but it really pisses me off when a big local company treats the consumer base like crap! On top of that, they put on a 'holier-than-thou' attitude when some of us complain about their lousy service, or their ripoff warranty plans.

Case in point: Last year I bought a pair of Wansa split A/C unit from Safat Alghanim In Rai,  one larger than the other. Over the weekend the larger unit failed, so I called up Alghanim's Maintenance Division  on Sunday morning (June 27th) to come in & take a look. I was informed that they would pass by that afternoon, but had in fact promptly arrived the next day, on Monday June 28th (!)

After a detailed site inspection, the team of Asian technicians informed me that the Compressor had failed, and that it would cost me KD 100 to fix (I bought this unit for KD 159  just a year ago, mind you!), but if I provide them with a proof of purchase which proves that I had put out an extended warranty on the Compressor, they would only charge me KD 45 (!) So I paid the KD5 inspection fee and waved them on their way.

NOTE1: A KD159 unit has a compressor that costs KD 100 to replace, and took just over a year of regular operation to fail. Consider that it's a Chinese product designed to fail every year, Alghanim would make KD225 from a warrantied sale, or KD 500 from a non-warrantied sale during the course of a 5-year warranty program, which I think would be this product's life cycle anyway. Hats off to the genius that thought of this investment.

Being the careless organizer that I am, I hadn't kept the invoice from last year, so I drove to the Safat Alghanim right after they left, where I originally bought the units & asked for a copy from the very kind Kuwaiti young man in charge of customer service there. While there, I took the opportunity to vent my frustrations at him, and was impressed at how well he took my comments and attempted to calm me down. 

NOTE2: Interestingly, the Alghanim Maintenance SQ levels mandate that they give the customers a timeframe of 3 calendar days to respond to a call for assistance, which to me is like saying, 'Screw you, We'll be there when we're good & ready!', while maintaining that they strictly conform to high SQ standards!

Anyway, the moment I walked out of his office, I called the Alghanim Maintenance , explained the situation again about the faulty compressor, and how i was required to get a copy of the invoice and again asked them to send over a team to fix my Compressor again. The guy on the phone told me that they would send someone over 'tomorrow', which was three day later, on Thursday (now it's 1st June, exactly 5 days since my first phone call). 
With a copy of the invoice in my hands, I explained yet again how things came to be, only to be told that they would charge me KD 45 (no new news!) and that it would be next Saturday, as the weekend was just behind the corner!

Needless to say, I was fuming! So I asked the two tekkies to wait, called Alghanim Maintenance & asked for someone responsible to speak to. The guy on the phone forwarded me to the GM of Split Unit Division, I'll call him Mr. Mohammed Abdulla (I have his full name, as well as that of his Lebanese Superior, but I'll keep that info to myself for now). Anyway. the moment Mr. Mohammed picked up, I gave him my name, and explained the situation to him in detail and then asked him whether he considered this situation acceptable, to which he gave me a very transparent Customer Service type response that he doesn't, naturally. 

Up till this moment, I was being optimistic as best as I could, right up to the second I asked him to issue an order to get my AC fixed this afternoon, to which his reply was a half-hearted fix-it, "I'm sorry, but it's impossible to do that. The best I can do for you would be tomorrow morning", and for those of you not keeping track, that would make it a Friday.

This man wants me to bring in a team of technicians into my home on a Friday morning to fix my AC! And he wanted me to be thankful?!

At this point, I lost all optimism, and clearly informed him that if the Human race was able to reach the moon in a space ship, he could very well pick up a phone and expedite a 'paying' customer's request for assistance, especially one who'se been jerked around for five days straight! The next 4 minutes was a shouting match between me and him, with the tekkies looking at me from under their eyebrows in shame. I don't want to go into the details of what was said, or how the guy misunderstood everything that was told to him, but I will give you a snippet:

ME: Please stop shouting.
Mr. MO: I'm not shouting, you are!
ME: I'm shouting because you are...
Mr. MO: I'm not shouting, this is my natural voice!
ME: Well, then, this is MY natural voice too!
Mr. MO: Well then, we're all speaking in our natural voice then!
ME: I'm asking you to be polite and respect yourself and your customers
Mr. MO: I am respecting myself, I haven't been swearing at you, have I?
etc. etc. etc...

This is from a "General Manager" working in the Alghanim Engineering Group. I've had a more constructive conversation with my 3-year old just one hour earlier, for God's sake!

Anyway, to summarize, right after this shouting match, the impossible happened, and two (yes, TWO, four bodies!!) arrived and repaired my AC. I paid them and thanked them. So much for 'impossible before

Ironically, one of them tried to defend Mr. Mohammed by explaining to me that, in all his years of service with Alghanim, he hadn't even spoken to the man. Mr. Mo, to him, was a very polite and respectable man. That may be so, I thought, but the man I spoke to on the phone needed a course in Customer Service like a garbage collector needs a shower!

Finally, to summarize; It took me five days, 4 phone calls, 2 visits by three technician teams, and a shouting match with a rude and immature GM and KD 50 to replace a 1 year-old AC compressor under warranty! As for my future electrical & electronics needs, I'll be looking elsewhere like Eureka or Al Babtain Electronics. Even Al Andalus Trading Co. sounds more appealing right about now!

Well done Alghanim Electronics, well done indeed!

1 comment:

Touché said...

That's some experience, what kind of warranty is that!!! I thought the default was 5 years warranty for compressors!! and you had to pay KD45!! what's the point then of the whole warranty!!

Well that's why I never approved extended warranties with them, if it shall work for a full year for the price I'm paying then by the following year I'd rather buy a new one (keeping in mind this applies to the cheap end products line)

I suspect other retailers are much better, it seems like everyone is flowing the same scheme.