Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Consumer fights back! - 2

Consumer fights back! was all about how a consumer did not give up fighting for his rights, how he waited patiently to get a rotten piece of cloth changed. Well, in this case, this consumer was none other than me.

I was asked to wait for 10 days (for what?, read Consumer fights back!) but I waited for almost twice of this time. When on 11th day, I gave a call to the shop manager of Genesis, Basics to know the status of my complaint; he demanded more time to get it fixed. So, I gave him a call after 3 days and again he started reasoning with me for more time. Now this was enough to freak me out. I directly dialed the head-office number in Chennai and queried about the proceedings of my complaint. My phone call was routed a few times (wasted 10 minutes of out-station call) before I got the right person on the line. When I asked him about my complaint, he said that T-shirt was fine and the disappearance of color was the style. He said that they made that cloth's material deliberately like that. I was not only surprised but completely freaked out. People never stop justifying. They keep arguing until you lose your cool or just agree with what they are saying to put a full-stop to the matter. But I was as hard a nut as he was and after dragging the talk for another 10 minutes, he got convinced to change it one more time. But I would have been happier if he had simply accepted the fault.

I called up the shop manager and apprise him of the situation. He again demanded some more time based on some incomprehensible reasons. So, I went to the shop on the coming weekend and chose a white shirt with a price tag of 800 INR.

The Shop manager asked me to get any other piece of same price range (my pervious purchase was of 700 INR) but I did not find anything good in that range. Actually, I did not want to buy any other color except white from that shop because I wanted to cut down the chances of fading to nill. So I finalized that white shirt. When he asked about squaring off the balance, I reminded him about the phone calls that I made to him and to his head-office, the number of times I had come to his shop to get the T changed etc, which was sufficient to make him quite. So I stepped out of the shop with another piece of cloth with a higher worth and with a color that I like. I have worn and washed the shirt a few times and faced no problems.

All in all, I won the battle against a not-so-easy-to-handle company that definitely wasted my lot of time and efforts but could not break my spirit to fight. I want to thank friends/colleagues/people who read Consumer fights back! and encouraged me to continue my fight.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Air Conditioner: Rent or Buy

In Delhi’s scorching summer, anything that can beat the heat is an air conditioner. This is what I thought near April and decided to rent an air conditioner (Yeah! You can rent anything you want here, but this is not always a wise decision. Read further to know why). So, I paid 5000 INR to a local shop and this guy fitted an AC in my bedroom. It was supposedly a fair deal because I was given the authority to use it till October end, which means, I will be its proxy owner for a time period of 5-6 months and if anything (except some physical damage) happens to it, he will repair it (Although there was no written agreement or warranty). It worked fine for initial one month, although the cooling was not that well as it was an old AC but it was sufficient for my small bedroom. Then, on one not-so-fine day, it broke down. It felt like a thunder bolt in the middle of heavy rains. It stopped working when I needed it the most, in peak summers. Since, I had a verbal agreement with its owner, so I called up this guy and described him everything. He assured me to make it work that day only. He made promises and said soon he would send some technician to take care of it. I was not pretty sure but I thought that he agreed upon it so he would certainly do something to help me (The temperature must not be less than 35C – 38C during nights, so I desperately needed it to work).

I waited for the technician and kept on waiting. He did not show up the whole day. I was really upset with AC’s owner. So, I called this shop owner again and asked about this guy. He again made a few promises and I, again started to wait. Two days went by and this guy did not show up . Third day after waiting for almost whole day, out of pity or anger or may be, out of frustration (I am not sure to describe that emotion) I switched the AC on, with a hope that some miracle will turn it on and astonishingly the miracle really happened. I cursed the owner of the machine and thanked God for that much needed miracle. And when everything went fine, suddenly this technician showed up. I did not waste more than 2 minutes on him and showed him the door.

Then I thought about my decision of renting an AC. I paid 5000 INR for it, when the AC is not good, I am only a proxy owner, it does not come with any warranty and it is pretty hard to deal with these local dealers. Whereas, if I had bought a new AC, that would have cost me around
12000 INR. But it would have been in the best conditions, would have come with a company given warranty and I would have been its owner for its entire life (not for some months). Moreover, it is easier to deal with company people rather than some local shop owner.

I realized that I made a terrible mistake. Because while renting it, I was primarily thinking about saving my money but in fact, I did not save anything; instead, I wasted my hard-earned 5000 bucks. In any case, I will have to go for buying an AC next summer (I don’t want to rent it every summer) and AC’s prices will not go down at least, that means I will have to make an expense of equal or more money in a year’s time. And, it is almost impossible to make 5000 bucks or more with my saved 7000 bucks within a year (at least, by legal means).

Had I seen a little further, I would not have made this mistake.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Consumer fights back!

I always wondered whenever I saw somebody complaining about a product or an item, that he/she had bought and it turned out to be a loss. I always felt what they were thinking when they were buying it? Couldn’t they figure out what it would turn out to be? And then it happened with me (God has his own ways of teaching you a lesson). First thought that came in my mind was, I should not judge others’ perspective with my limited understanding of the situation.

Two weeks back, I bought a T-shirt from
Genesis, Basics for 700 INR. I was happy, as usually I become whenever I buy something good and worth my money. I wore it once and then gave it to my maid for washing. When I saw it after one wash, it made me sick. It seemed like it was bleached at different places. The beautiful green color of it turned into dull yellow at several places. It made me furious and I called up the shop manager (I always keep the bill for initial few days). I conveyed to him the whole situation and he asked me to bring it to the shop. Next day, I did the same thing. The shop manager said that he would call me up the very next day with a solution. I waited for his call whole day but he did not give a damn to it so I had to call him up in the evening and inquired about it. He asked me wait for another 2 days, which I was not ready to do. I told him to return my money because few of my friends, with whom I discussed the story, did not have a good experience with this brand. And after dragging the matter for another couple of days, he changed it. This time he gave me same kind of T but with different color, since he did not have the color that I previously bought so I had to adjust with it. I warned him that if this turned out to be in the same way, I would come back to you.

Reluctantly, I wore it once or twice and this time, just to give it extra care, I washed it with my own hands. It doesn’t mean that my maid is not good at washing but I was just being cautious.

When I saw it, I was shocked and much more furious than previous time. Same thing happened to it again. Its chocolate brown color disappeared from certain places and it looked like as if I had been wearing it for ages. I called up the shop manager but he refused helping me. I was really disappointed with his behavior. He said that he had already changed it once and now, he couldn't be able to help me anymore. This was ridiculous, he sounded to me as if it was my fault that I bought from his shop and now, I have to face the consequences. I googled with the brand’s name and found their
website. I mailed the whole situation at the address mentioned in it but, as I reckoned, it bounced back (I don’t understand, why they mention an email id when they, actually, don't care about it). Well, I called up at their head-office in Chennai and registered my complaint. After a few minutes, I got a call from the shop manager and sudddenly he started pleading to me to return it to him ASAP (I don’t know what head-office guy told him). He said, he would send it to their head-office and whatever they decide, will be handed over to me.

I have returned it to the shop manager and right now, I am waiting for their so-called verdict, for which I have to wait for another 10 days. But I am more than sure that if it doesn’t fall in my favor, I will again fight back. I will register a complaint in the
consumer court because nothing can deter me from fighting for a valid cause.

I know 700 INR is not a big amount but it is not small either. Moreover, when I pay for something, I must get the value worth my money, at least, not less if not more.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Police : Savior or Enemy

India, I think, is one of the very few countries in the world where people refrain from taking police help. What might be the reasons? Well, there are plenty. I, personally, consider them the second most corrupt department (first place goes to politicians). They intend to favor the power (read rich). They harass people and try to keep them scared because this is why, they believe, they are given that Khaki uniform. In fact, people feel reluctant to go to the police for petty crimes (and sometimes for bigger crimes as well) because they know that instead of helping them, policemen will try to make the most out of the situation and they can fall prey for this opportunity for them. They hardly pay for any utilization of public transport (I have witnessed it once). Show them the right amount of money and they are ready to help convert a victim into a criminal and vice-versa. And they can even paralyze your mental stability to such an extent that you are forced to take the extreme step of ending your own life; and this is what I recently read in one of the newspapers (Times of India, June 11, 2008, Page 15).

This is a case of extreme perversion, coercion and negligence by the Chandigarh (Haryana) police. A married woman, Sarita is raped by two police constables. Now, when she goes to register an FIR against those two policemen, they threaten her of extremely bad repercussions. But she is determined to fight for her rights and goes to a person above at hierarchy. Again, policemen try to coerce her against filing an FIR by booking her husband in a motorcycle theft. And after dragging the case for around two months, Sarita (mother of two innocent little girls) finally ends her life by committing suicide, while her husband is still in jail for allegedly stealing a motorcycle.

Now, do you feel proud calling yourself an Indian?? Well, I don’t. Is this what we dream of India to be, where, the department that has to be most trusted, is the most distrusted one, where people feel scared of their own protectors?

Partially, we are also responsible for her death. Why? Because we refrain from raising our voice when a person next door is getting bullied by the police or criminals. And we forget that we can be their next victim.
Wake up people!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mockery of security

There is a puzzle for every one. Find out, which Indian bank ATM is this?

Did you guess it right?


OK... one HINT for you - See the door handle, now can you find out which bank it symbolizes??

Did you get it this time??

Still finding trouble in guessing??

OK..see the next image.

Alright! Basically, my purpose of posting this blog is not to entertain you guys or provide you some stuff to flex your brain muscles. I just want to show you that how easy a security-guard's job is, in India. When I entered the ATM, I shoved this guy so that it can embarrass him and remind him what is expected from his job, but this hard nut couldn't even feel anything. He was fast asleep as if government is paying him for it. I took money from ATM and came out of it but this guy didn't even see, in his dreams, that somebody came in. That time, I really thanked God that he is only securing an ATM not the border of the nation.

God bless this man!

Monday, August 13, 2007


I went to my home town last weekend and met somebody on the way. In train, when I adjusted my bag and sat on my seat, a lean and slender foreign girl came and sat in front of me. After a few minutes only, I started talking to her (It is my habit to talk to co-passengers, irrespective of their gender, to make my journey interesting). When I came to know that she is from France, my first question was, “Do you understand English”? How foolish…. Otherwise how could she have come to Railway Station alone (is there anybody in Delhi who understands French??). Anyways, after some time I got to know that her destination was AgraLand of Taj Mahal and mine was a little ahead of that. She asked me, “Whether this train ever reaches Agra on time”? It baffled me to my core, how could she say this despite being just few weeks old in this country. I queried it and she replied, some of her friends had come to the place earlier. I had to manage the prestige of my country somehow, so I told her, “The train always starts on exact time but sometimes gets delayed on the way”. Again, she countered me with a pinching reply, “In France, trains start late but they always reach on time”.

Casual talks were going on between us. Suddenly she saw outside of the window and again I was in an embarrassing condition because of people, who were taking advantage of freedom . I cursed my government, why don’t they just build public lavatories. I think, she could understand my embarrassment, so she gave me a little empathic smile. But before she could utter a word, I confronted her with a question, Florence (Nice name na??), what are the prime movers of French economy? And yes, I hit it. She couldn’t even understand my question. I had to re-iterate my question. Now, it’s her turn to turn pale. She started giving me all vague answers like vegetables etcJ. Can you imagine, a graduate person from a developed country doesn’t even know, what the forces behind their country’s growth are. It was my turn to look at her with a vague smile. Just to save herself, she asked me the same question and I gave her a 20 minutes lecture on Indian economy.

A gist - Indian economy is the world’s second fastest growing economy. We are hoping to grow by around 10% this year. Many sectors, like IT, Telecom, Auto Ancillaries, Engineering, Manufacturing and Tourism are boosting our economy and taking it to a new orbit. All the big companies of the world are trying to establish their businesses in India so that they can get a piece of this big chunk of growth. Developed nations, which never used to talk about India 10 years back, are now all praise to the growth, which we are incurring. And I finally told her, this is why you are here because you might have seen advertisement of Indian tourism department in your country and she nodded in favor. Now, she was totally bemused by all the facts that I opened in front of her and embarrassed because of her poor awareness of her own country. It made me really happy and put me and India in a better place that time. Rest of the journey, she didn’t talk to me or may be, she could not. Did I really careJ ?? We finally wished each other Happy Journey, when train stopped at Agra and I was really at peace till I reach my home as a PROUD INDIAN.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What you require to run a business?

Met an inspiring businessman few days back…a businesswoman rather. We, at our company are so sucked up that we never miss a chance to go out for any futile reason. I and some of my colleagues were out of office after lunch (just to avoid drowsiness) and went to a coconut shop (I am working in Chennai). The shop owner is a middle aged woman. When she saw an exodus of people coming towards her shop, we could notice a welcome smile on her face. She handed over a coconut to each one of us. After finishing the last drop of water inside that green piece, we asked her for money. She said 12 Rs per coconut. Since we were 10 guys, we handed over 150 Rs to her. Since she was not having change so she gave us 50 Rs back and asked to give it next time when we visit her shop again. And then she allured us by her coconut’s qualities and size. And then she said that soon the coconut’s prize is going to slash down due to some reason. (We could understand her because one of my colleagues and that woman speak same language, that is, Tamil)

I was totally awestruck by her buiness acumen and this was enough to bind us to visit her again. An uneducated woman, who, I think, might not have seen school, knows so much about business. She could have simply given coconuts and bidden us good bye or shouted on us for not giving her change but she was different. She knew how to run a business. I could simply conclude that to run a business, you don’t require any extraordinary education. That is why some of the most successful businessmen of the world are not the ones with highest qualifications. They all share two common passions, one to improve their level and two, to serve the customers in the best ways.