A trend which has grown out of all proportion over the last several decades is the phenomenon of sales. But in this instance I am not talking about the regular transaction of buying and selling goods. I am talking about the sell at all costs phenomenon which has taken over all aspect of our lives.
When we used to buy something, there was an almost cast-iron agreement that if you had a problem, the company would do its utmost to fix it. This no longer applies. The focus is on “get the sale” and basically after that, all bets are off.
I am going to use the cell/mobile phone as a classic example.
Think how many phone companies/brands there are on the market today. All pushing us to buy, then to upgrade, then to get add-ons, then to upgrade again. We follow this blindly (not all of us), but when you say “excuse me I have a problem” then you will see the phenomenon come into play.
Answers: “Please call our hotline” “You have to take the unit back to the store where you bought it” “You only had 7 days replacement” “You will have to send the unit to our service centre in the South Pole” (at your own expense)(joke). “Sorry sir this model is out of date, but If you upgrade to our latest model, we will offer a replacement” “Did you drop the unit? This constitutes wear and tear, and is not covered by your warranty” “There are some scratches on the unit, we think you have abused the unit” ” Can you wait until our manager is in the office?” ” That model was on our promo, and the warranty is different”
These are some of the answers which we are greeted with when returning a phone which is actually defective or has a genuine problem. They also have contracts which are about 10 pages long, written in a font which is only readable under a high powered microscope. Then they ask you “Did you read your contract sir?” “You must report all problems within 12 hours after receiving the unit. It clearly states this on page 7”
What they actually mean is that you are not going to get anything back from us if we can help it. They will ask you if you want to upgrade to the newer model (which of course you must pay for), then we can take your old phone and give you a discount on the new phone (which you don’t want or need).
Calling the “hot line” is probably the most frustrating part of the whole process. This is now automated, and you have to listen to options and press numbers or key in your cell number until you get to speak to a “real person” NOT. Usually at the last stage where they say “one of our representatives will be with you shortly, we value your custom”(bullshit), then the line goes dead, and you have to ring again and repeat the whole process. The purpose of this is to get you to give up in frustration. If you do get through, don’t dare “raise your voice (even though this is the 3rd time you have called and have been on hold for 30 minutes), as this will be met with a disconnected call.
Warranties are also becoming shorter and shorter. Many companies now only give 6 months warranty, whereas before 1 year was the absolute minimum. This also enables companies to “shorten” the warranties if you have to have the unit repaired. ” We will send it to our service centre, it may take up to 3 months” “What about my warranty?” ” Sorry sir but the fix time is not part of the warranty” “So I lose 3 months of my warranty?” ” Yes”
The next time you purchase something electronic, or electrical, look at the terms and conditions carefully, ( if you happen to have a high powered microscope on your person), you will be very surprised at what you are getting, or not getting.