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Archive for January, 2009

Just a cry for help!
If you have had some bad experience with the Nokia Customer Care, leave a comment.

If you can help me by getting my phone fixed under warranty, please, please do let me know.
My phone *IS* actually under warranty but those dumb nuts at the Nokia Care Center are out to rip me off!

Thanks again.

If you do not fall in either one of those categories above, you can safely skip this post.
Though a dig post would be useful ;)

Here goes:

Nokia is an excellent phone company. It really is.
We have had about 6 Nokia handsets in our house – and all of them have been rock solid and given brilliant performance – even under severe conditions.

I just love the UI of the phones. They are not over the top – just simple, intuitive and gets the job done bloody well. I’m a fan for life and would not dream of getting any other phone.

But that’s where the honeymoon ended a while ago.
God forbid something happens to your phone – you will be at the mercy of one of the worst customer care units you can experience in your lifetime. Even the government run BSNL customer care units are friendlier and more informative than the morons that populate the Nokia Care service centers.

I purchased 2 Nokia E51s for me and my dad last Feb in 2008. The phone is a gem.
It’s a perfect business phone and there is nothing that you cannot do on it. I fell in love with it the moment I read the feature list on the back of the box.

However, this phone has also been the reason for much pain and suffering.
In June the same year (2008), the message key of my phone suddenly stopped working. It just wouldn’t respond. I ignored the problem as I was not using that key anyways and continued to use the phone – I was able to live with it.

The problem really took off later when by September 4 of the number keys stopped working completely. They would start responding erratically every now and then – but mostly they wouldn’t work at all. So, I was stuck with a brand new 15,0000 bucks phone with the number 5, 6, 8 and 9 keys not responding at all. I could not message any longer – nor could I add contacts to my address book or even dial numbers not within my address book.

I decided to take it to one of the Nokia Customer Care centers (Kaustubh Telecom at Golibar Maidan) in Pune. After checking the piece, to my utter shock and surprise, the guy informed me that the phone was no longer under warranty as the problem I was facing was due to water getting into the handset.

I assured the engineer that no such thing had happened as I was extremely careful about keeping the cellphone dry. It had never gotten wet in the rain and what he said was impossible.

When I told him to show me the water damage, he refused to do so.

He however told me that he would try to fix my phone using one method which would cost me 350 bucks. The other method would be to replace my keypad which would cost me 1200 bucks. I opted for method 1.
He took the phone inside, tried something but could not fix it.

When I later called the manager of the shop and asked him to fix my phone under warranty, he started arguing with me. He hung up on me yelling that his engineers were trained and if they said there was a water problem, there was one.

I left the center completely disillusioned. When I got home, I realized that the engineer had even managed to crack the body of my phone by screwing in the screws real tight.

I kept using the phone as it was – just receiving calls and making calls using the address book.

I later learnt that there were a number of Nokia Care centers in Pune and that Kaustubh Telecom wasn’t the only one.
I decided to go and try another one – at F.C. Road.

On showing the handset there, the engineer informed me that the base plate of the keypad has been scratched by a very sharp object and hence will need to be replaced.

This will definitely not come under warranty as there is a physical damage to the internal parts.
On informing them that I had shown it to Kaustubh Telecom – their own Care Center branch, they told me to take it up with them – which I am sure is going to be of no use.

One more shocking thing is that these Nokia Care centers refuse the warranties of 90% of the phones which come to them on the grounds of water seepage.

Their modulus operandi seems to be:

  1. Accept the phone under warranty.
  2. Open it up (or pretend to do so).
  3. Report a water problem and then charge the hapless victim large amounts of money to do nothing at all.

I am completely angry and disillusioned with this entire episode and my faith in Nokia has gone down quite a bit. Not because they make bad phones – but their after sales service is so pathetic that you would be better off throwing off your 15K phone and getting a new one than get aggravated and cheated in chasing around these Customer Care people.

This is definitely one place where Nokia can learn a lesson or two from the Sony Erricson guys and Motorolla guys. These people atleast honestly repair your handset if it is under warranty even if they charge astronomical sums post warranty.

But I guess it’s the model which Nokia has chosen to follow – that of franchising the service.
There is no non-static room to speak off – their engineers work out in the customer area, they (engineers) also seem completely uneducated, freshly graduated students and their main goal seems to be “ripping off the customer as much as they possibly can”.

I bet they even have a “Ripper of the month” contest going on to see who can extract how much money from an unsuspecting customer.

Feels like your dentist doesn’t it? But believe you me, this one is a lot more painful.

My advice now is – buy a Nokia phone if you really need to – but pray that nothing ever happens to it.
That will probably be your worst nightmare!

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After a lot of thought and deliberation and musings, I have concluded that:

“The value of a life is directly proportional to the number of people it touches in a good way and inversely proportional to the number of people it touches in a negative way.”

When you are gone, the summation of the loss which a number of people feel is equivalent to the value of your life.

Any thoughts on this?

[Update 1]
Modified the definition to take care of all the bad guys :)
See comment 2 below.

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I have off late started judging businesses depending on their parking policies.
No seriously! If you see some of the extreme arm-twisting techniques and prices some of these malls use, it’s unbelievable.

Firstly, charging for parking is illegal (I think) and yet everyone does it!
But if you think about it, we Indians being the free-loaders that we are – would just abuse free parking and I know tonnes of people who regularly do it.

C’mon – haven’t you gone and parked at a mall – just to go somewhere else nearby.

So, after a lot of thought and consideration, I kinda agree being charged a nominal fee for parking my vehicle.
But at the same time, the price should be justified.

The places and policies that top my list are:

1. Crosswords (at Sohrab Hall)
They have reserved FREE parking for people visiting crosswords. All you need to do is – on your way back, get the ticket stamped which says that you were in the store.
This seems completely justified – considering the amounts they spend on reserving parking slots for their customers – the least people can do is visit the store and see what they have on offer.

2. Inox (Free parking for 30 minutes)
Inox charges 10 bucks for bikes and 20 bucks for cars – completely justified in Pune – and this also seems like the norm.
However, what I really like about them is that they have 30 minutes of free parking. (This was an hour earlier but I could live with 30 minutes)

What this does is – gives you enough time to hop into the theatre and buy some tickets or grab some lunch at McDonalds without paying the equivalent of your Mc Donalds’ meal. If I am watching a movie for a couple of hours, fine – I agree with being charged – but theatres shouldn’t charge people for coming and buying tickets!

3. Pune Central (Parking charges redeemable during purchase)
Pune Central charges you for parking – but you could exchange the ticket inside when you purchase something.
This seems kinda harsh – considering that you may not like something and still be paying just to browse around the store. (Hey! Wait a minute! Shouldn’t stores be making it more conducive for you to browse around?)

Anyways, so yeah! What Pune Central does seems pretty just to me.
Actually Dorabjees in camp does the same thing – but you need to purchase a minimum amount of things (I think 100 bucks) before they will re-imburse you for the parking. Not entirely fair – but still okay sometimes.

Now for the worst offenders!

1. E-Square
Nothing – and I mean nothing beats paying 40 bucks for parking your car. I have noo idea what these guys do to your car. 40 frikkin bucks for parking! I could put a litre of fuel in my car for that amount and drive half way around Pune.
Totally sadistic, arm twisting tactics (and there is no public parking available near E-Square for miles!!!)

This is one of the reasons I really hate E-Square and avoid going there.
(The other being the weird seat arrangements and the crowds – but thats for another post)

2. Ishanya, Nucleas, Gold Adlabs, Lifestyle, etc. etc.
(And every other place which does not re-imburse you even on purchasing)
Ishanya and I however have a special history …

When Ishanya opened sometime ago near my house – I thought it was fabulous!
The mall was gigantic – you could get anything there, spend a good couple of hours just browsing around and even the parking was free. (and they have ample parking believe you me)

However, I was in for a rude shock one day when I drive in and am charged for parking which is not even redeemable.
The worst thing is that Ishanya is literally in the middle of no where and you have no option but to park your vehicle inside. Its like paying 20 bucks for an entry ticket to the museum!!!

Anyways, I came back and shot an email to them complaining about it.
To my surprise, the next day, I received a call from their head of operations (signing the email as President, ThinkingSpace Technologies has an effect sometimes) who assured me that they would start the redeemable policy soon and that they were charging parking because people would park their bikes there and go off someplace else.
(Yeah right! If you’re in the middle of nowhere, where do you think I’ll go?)

Anyways, its been a year and more since, and still nothing has been done.

However, I have stopped visiting Ishanya.
Result? I try and buy whatever I need from local places around my house. Ishanya being the last option.
(I dunno – I just somehow feel cheated going there)

To cut a long story short, I do empathize with businesses and their problem with free-loaders parking in places reserved for customers – but these businesses need to come up with more amicable solutions to this problem.
Charging monstorous amounts for parking is just going to hurt your business.

I love what Crosswords is doing – but I also understand its difficult to implement.
But I’m completely cool with the Pune Central approach too. (Redeem parking when you buy)

I actually have a better idea!
Redeem double the amount of parking when you buy something! (Applicable over a certain limit. For below the limit, just redeem the amount what you paid for).

Here is wishing some sense manages to creep into the heads of people making such idiotic decisions (especially the ones from E-Square) and hoping that ’09 is a brilliant and fun-filled year for everyone!

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