Kent: costly products, miserable service

coffee_compRecently I had a pathetic experience with Kent maintenance service in Bangalore which I think I should share for a open discussion and general awareness. I own two Kent Grand water purifiers and 6 months from the second purchase I am wishing I went for some other brand for at least one of them.

When I bought the second purifier I was sold an extra external filter at Rs. 1600. I was never told that it has to be washed every month to keep it working. Had I been told that I wouldn’t have even considered buying it because I do not have time to clean the filters every month. Anyway, post the purchase I learnt that Kent will provide service only if the customer requests for one. So I gave them a call after 6 months for necessary maintenance. What happened after that was beyond my imagination.

  • The service guy called me 4 times during an important meeting for directions to reach my flat. Till date most people could find it easily but he couldn’t. During the third call he even asked me if I can speak in Kannada or Hindi because he doesn’t understand English well. I chose Hindi as I can’t speak Kannada.
  • My wife was home and she showed him the purifier. He started complaining about the condition of the external filter and told it has a warranty of 6 months if washed every month, otherwise 5 months. As we haven’t cleaned it every month it will not work correctly and we must replace it. If we don’t there might be issues such as the purifier might burst!!! My wife called me up (I am still in the meeting) and I was quite agitated. I told her to instruct him to clean the external filter and not bother about replacement right now.
  • Once the meeting was over I called my wife and she told that the service person just washed the external filter and left. He has also written the words no warranty in big letters in my purifier warranty book.
  • I called him up and asked him what happened. He told that my wife told him to clean only the external filter and leave (my wife said later that there was no discussion regarding that). I asked him whether he should clean the filters inside the main purifier or not. He replied that they don’t need cleaning within 1 year!!! Instantly knew he is lying and asked him his manager’s number. He said he won’t tell me. I asked him his name. Again he declined. Then I told him that I have his number and I will speak to Kent helpline about this incident. He asked me what I can do about it. I replied that I can ensure he loses his job. He seemed to be intimated by that and told me that he is near my apartment and asked me what I want him to do. I told him to return to my flat, clean the internal filters as well as fix a noise problem that I have. He did accordingly and left.

Some open questions for Kent:

  1. Is it really difficult to train your servicemen in business etiquette? Don’t customers who pay around 15K for a water purifier deserve that?
  2. Do you think that your customers have the right to be told clearly external filters have a warranty of 6 months if washed every month and otherwise 5 months? It is meant for use and throw every 5/6 months.
  3. Is the warranty of your product dependent on an external filter that customers purchase separately when your servicemen come to install the purifier the first time?
  4. Can the purifier really burst? I think people should avoid buying Kent in that case to be safe from such an accident for any reason whatsoever.
  5. Is it the duty of your customer to tell your servicemen how to do proper cleaning for the purifier? Don’t they know the right thing to do for their product?

I wish I never trusted Kent.

Beware of credit card payment default

cool_penguin_smallThis article is intended for the credit card users in India. Here is an instance of credit card payment default and the penalty charged thereafter. If you think that penalty will be charged at the rate of 36% simple interest per year you are mistaken. Go through the article to get an idea of the factors involved in the penalty. All amounts mentioned are in INR.

A credit card holder had to pay a bill of 88K out of which he paid 60K within the due date of bill payment. His expenses in the next month was 16K. When he got the bill he found that he was charged a penalty of 4.4K which seemed too high for a single month to him. When he called up the customer care he was told that a compound interest has been charged at a pro-rata basis based on the full 88K INR plus the expenses in current month on a per-diem basis. He tried to point out that he made a payment of 60K within due date last month. So why would he be charged for the billed amount of 88K? But it was of no use and surely there is some clause in place to cover that.

The point is – NEVER default a credit card bill due date if you are not willing to pay a hefty penalty. Credit cards are sometimes necessary but keep an eye on the payment deadlines.

Another side-effect of using credit cards is that you tend to go on a spending spree and spend much more than you usually do with a debit card or in cash. In some cases holding credit cards seem like a self-esteem booster. If you ever went to an IT organization picnic you might have already played the game where they ask – who has most number of cards in his pocket? Holding an unnecessary number of credit cards doesn’t add any value to you. You are just borrowing from more banks.

Gokarna, Karnataka

The Trojan Horse: key holder hoax

coffee_compGot the following alert mail in office today:

SECURITY ALERT

Information reaching Police formation indicates that:

There is a syndicate of criminals selling beautiful key holders & other small table top items at Petrol Stations (we are told that it all initially started in Mumbai but have now spread across to other cities too). They sometimes parade themselves as sales promoters giving out free key holders. etc.. Please do not buy or accept these key holders no matter how beautiful they look.

The key holders have inbuilt tracking device chip which allows them to track you to your home or wherever your car is parked . The key holders are very beautiful to resist. Accepting same may endanger your life. All are therefore requested to pass this message to colleagues, family members and loved ones. Be on guard.

While we are still evaluating on how authentic this information could be, its still better to alert everyone in your family , friends , relatives.

The perfect Trojan Horse! Watch out.

Gas check hoax and few issues, Bangalore

coffee_compI had another bitter experience in Bangalore today. It’s a fine lazy Sunday afternoon in Bangalore and I was enjoying a movie when the doorbell rang. I opened the door and a guy told that he has come for checking the gas. I was occupied by the movie. However, my sister was also there in the flat and I unwittingly let him in without checking his ID first. The guy went to the kitchen, started checking the gas connection, the burner etc. After sometime he pulled off the gas tube and told the tube was not a quality one, it’s local made. I told him that I bought it just 3 weeks back from my gas agency and I will check with them to get a replacement. To prove his point further, he plugged the tube back in, twisted it hard and deliberately damaged it. I was shocked! I asked him whether he deemed it fit to ask for permission first before damaging someone else’s property but he seemed confident enough that he did the right thing. He repeatedly asserted that the old tube will still work fine! He also suggested that I use black tape to wrap the hole he has made and it should be fine. Without wasting any more time I asked him to give his ID card so that I can note down the details of his agency. The details I noted down are:

Agency – Sri Sai Krupa Agencies
Agent – Mr. Basawraj
Jaynagar //didn’t note the rest of the address as this is enough to track on Google
Mobile – 9900448708
Landline – 08032412361

I called up his agency and told the incident to his boss and demanded a replacement of my tube. He didn’t agree at first but when I threatened to call my lawyer and sue them he gave in and we negotiated on a new tube at a discounted price. Beware of this trickery when someone comes to your house for a gas check.

While we are at it, let’s talk about my private gas agency – Agni Gas from Domlur area. When I requested for this old tube the lady in reception asked me whether they shall send a Suraksha tube or local made one. I asked for Suraksha tube. When the delivery man came he told that there was no tube for me and brought a local made one. My old tube had worn out and I had no other choice but to take that as I couldn’t risk waiting another month or so.

Now comes Agni gas pricing strategy – there’s none :). One of my acquaintances in the same locality got it for Rs. 830 or 840 last month while I paid them Rs. 960 for the same. The previous cylinder also cost me more than Rs. 900. I asked one of my colleagues who is using Jyoti gas and he has paid 1050 last time he had a refill!!!

What I can conclude from all of this is that there is NO infrastructure or guideline in Bangalore for opening private gas agencies. There is no fixed rate, no process in place. The same applies for autos as well. I remember an auto driver demanding that he can choose any route he wishes as I am paying the fare by the meter. It seems to me that commodities or services in Bangalore sell at a much higher price thanks to unregulated overlooked logistics than any other metro in India. I heard some argue that the rate of income is more for software engineers (who actually have contributed a lot in the development of Bangalore) here. Well, that comes at a high cost if you have any idea of the effort a dedicated engineer needs to put to do his job – definitely costlier and more important than distributing gas or driving an auto; and there is no question of earning more than the exact price.

Total Mall, Bangalore hoax (?)

coffee_compAbout one and a half weeks back I went to Total Mall (Murgesh Palya, Bangalore) with my wife and sister (a very rare occasion as we are skeptic about mall culture). We did a little stray shopping and I paid using my credit card. Last Friday I received a call and a lady informed that my number has been selected for a lucky draw as I have done shopping at Total Mall. She also wanted to know whether I am married or not. Today noon I received a call from a Bangalore number and the guy said that my number has won the draw and I am entitled to win a prize worth INR 30K consisting of 3 items – 1. a holiday accommodation voucher worth 25K INR, 2. a one day privilege pass and 3. a kitchen set. He confirmed once again that I am married and then requested me to reach a location at Outer Ring Road beside the Intel office to take the prize by 19:30 today. He also gave me his number and sent an SMS with the same details from another number. As it was not possible for my wife to go today I called up the guy after sometime and asked him if it’s OK for me to go alone with any document proof that I am married. He said that I must go with my wife or alternatively some other couple can also go on my behalf and collect the gifts. I was doubtful when he said this. He called me once again around 16:20 in the afternoon and asked me if I could find any couple. I was very suspicious by then. I searched Google and found that there are other instances of similar schemes and people were convinced to pay some amount for trips they never enjoyed or lifetime free Country Club cards in the name of Total Mall, Garuda Mall lucky draw etc.

I suspect that Total Mall has leaked my information to third party and they in turn are arranging all these stunts on unsuspecting people. This is exposure of confidential information without consent and definitely punishable under law.

Next time you reveal your details in a shopping mall please think twice. However glamorous they may look it’s all about business without any value.

Get BMTC bus information, Android

android_compI had to travel far this weekend. As always, I had trouble finding which buses to take. This new Android app suggested by a friend came to my rescue – Bangalore BMTC Info. Just type in the source and destination and you will get a list of all the available buses. As far as I have checked, it is very thorough and I could get all the bus stops I tried.

The same developer also has bus information apps for Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

Carnivàle 2012

coffee_compI will remember Carnivàle 2012 organized by office for long. The venue was Grand Castle beside Palace Ground. The events were well-distributed this time and none of them were boring. The onset of the Annual Fest of 2011 lacked excitement due to prolonged and continuous performances by kids and some of them not being so interesting. This time the events were mixed nicely. The anthem was a new addition and was definitely a nice touch. It’s good to see the efforts of our colleagues succeed. We left the audience a bit early to finish the dinner early. Unlike last time, dinner started early this time and it was good for people with kids or who were using office transportation like us. The non-veg meal was delicious and sumptuous. Too many dishes to try out. However, justice was meted out by my empty stomach. Skipped the rice and tandooris altogether to get a taste of all the non-veg items and got stuffed soon. Desserts and ice-creams were excellent. I was afraid of getting drenched during return because of the heavy downpour that started in the evening but the rain had stopped before we got down from the office bus at 22:30 so the ending was sweet too! The bus dropped us a little far from the usual stop but a small walk with the family on the way home from a party is always so refreshing and enjoyable… loved the whole evening!!!

A small incident: During the program, suddenly my wife pointed out that a small kid (hardly able to walk) is banging on my chair from behind and calling – Papa, papa… She asked – Who is this kid calling you daddy? I tried to send the kid back to her mom but he didn’t seem to be deterred. My colleagues joined in with my wife and I was in a really awkward position. I had a hard time convincing them that I was clean ;). I even heard one of my colleagues saying – Wherever he goes, he leaves a mark behind in Hindi. Well… every dog has its bad day! 😀