Micromax customer care: a tough life experienced by Amitabh Singhal

Micromax is the second largest smartphone vendor in India. But customer care team at Micromax gives bad experience to some mobile phone customers.

One needs to remember that Micromax is currently run by a team of highly respected professionals such as Chairman Sanjay Kapoor, ex-CEO of Bharti Airtel and CEO Vineet Taneja, ex-head of Samsung Mobiles, among others.

GizmoLead.com did not receive formal comments from Micromax team for this article.

The following article is written by a senior telecom professional in Delhi – name is available at the end of the article — after experiencing tough times to repair a new smartphone from Micromax.

My wife’s birthday was approaching 12thFebruary, 2014. As is usual, there was a bit of excitement among the children to think of an appropriate and useful gift for her. One of my wife’s closest childhood friends ‘conspired’ with my children to gift a decent mobile phone for her.

They found the smartphone will be the most appropriate gift for my wife considering the fact that she was using a feature phone all these days, and it’s time to upgrade to a smartphone, keeping with the times. At the same time, considering the limited usage profile, they decided that no fancy brand was needed (read – it would be needlessly expensive), but the phone itself should be of decent built and sound quality.

The friend suggested a Micromax model with a sufficiently large screen, Android platform, almost all high features and functionalities and a decent price tag to boot.

On 10th February, 2014, we purchased Micromax A-94 (Mad) series, which cost Rs 9,500 and duly presented to my wife on her birthday.

Micromax Canvas MAd

The first six months went well enough, but in August 3rd week, (less than 7 months) one day my wife said the phone has suddenly gone on the blink, and she can’t get it powered on. As usual, we called Micromax customer service numbers, and we are directed to visit a customer care center in person to get it repaired.

The real joke starts from here – I visited a Customer care center located behind Atta Market/Vinayak Hospital in Noida. At about 12.30 pm, I was quite horrified to see a huge waiting throng of people, but nevertheless was given a token. I was told that there are approx. 50 people before me so my turn will come 3 hours later.

I came back 4 hours later and still the expected wait was 1hr 30 mins, but then someone at the center told me to try a new Service Center in Sector 22, Noida, Delhi NCR, India. I drove there and am pleased to see a flower bedecked office (inaugurated a couple of days back) and just about 4-5 people waiting.

Joy turned to frustration, when I saw 4 people in a cabin entertaining only one customer at a time. It seemed like one will make an entry in the system, the other will hear complaint, and so on and so forth. When my turn came, I explained what happened. The phone was sent ‘in’ for a check and I was told to wait again. After about an hour and half of waiting and upon asking, I was told the system is down, no idea when it’ll be up again and they can’t generate service job sheet, since they have to keep the phone for about 10 days to replace some parts.

When I asked what will happen if the system remains down till evening, those guys said (of course not very politely) we cannot help it and I better wait. I suggested they give me a manual job sheet, which they refused, telling me they have no time to waste on me and I can go somewhere else if I want to. What followed was a bit of a slanging match, where after heated arguments, finally they give me a manual receipt.

We received no call from them and after calling two three times in the next 25 days or so, phone was still not repaired. Reason – parts are not available. Last of August, I went over personally and demanded to see the phone. It was not repaired of course, so I suggested that I deserve a replacement.

I am very rudely told that replacement is done only within 4 days of purchase and that’s their policy. I told them I want to take the phone back unrepaired and I want a copy of the job sheet as well so I can make complaints. The staff then threateningly told me ‘do whatever you can’ and you can neither take the phone nor the job sheet and no copy is allowed to be given.

So finally, I got out of the service center, took the picture of the job sheet on my mobile and returned to retrieve the phone in exchange for the original manual job sheet.

On 1st October my wife and daughter on the advice of friends deposited the phone at Lajpat Nagar service center. They say they’ll not replace, but only repair, warranty period notwithstanding. On 13the October, service center called us to say it’s repaired, come and collect it.

My wife and daughter drove there all the way only to be told that the phone is not repaired and that someone provided false information. My daughter asked him if a customer should be made a fool off like this, the response was – “no Madam, we (micromax service center staff) are mad to entertain you.” Today, on 29th October, a month later the phone is still there and both wife and daughter have just left for the place to see if it’s repaired.

Meanwhile, I’ve taken to Facebook and Twitter, some of them directly to the Micromax CEO’s twitter handle, to vent my frustration on the poor, shoddy and rude behavior of the customer service, in addition to the real problem of the phone not being repaired for over 2 months and even after going through 3 service center experiences and of course they’ll not replace, no matter what the warranty card says.

On twitter, I was asked to write my experience to a Gmail account, about what happened to my phone. I did so, hoping to hear from somebody. Nothing till date. I again wrote a post on their Facebook page and again an anonymous mail from there – asking me to write about my experience. The only difference is the mail is actually polite, saying how sorry they are about what we’ve faced and whether I could write to them what happened.

Conclusion:

In a nutshell, once you have paid for and bought the product, no promise of prompt service, replacement during warranty, etc., can be relied upon. These are false promises. You encounter long queues, rude staff, and as far as the company is concerned, it suddenly turns faceless and some random anonymous instructions endlessly asking you to repeat your experiences, but no matter how many times you do it, no one calls and no one takes onus and responsibility to provide you the service you pay for.

The owners and CEO of these companies count the cash, but they care a damn for after sales service. Looks like they don’t even care about being bad mouthed on the social media. And this is symptomatic of not just Micromax, but of many other companies, where individual customers are left to their devices to wage lonely and expensive battles against corporate giants, to demand and get their due. Last resort is of course to go to Consumer Court, but then that’s another 2-3 years of harassment that costs the consumers in terms of time, money and endless frustrations.

I do have the other side perspective as well, where I spent many years working for corporates selling goods and services to customers. Senior leadership in most cases do not, repeat do not, want to hear bad news, negative reports are not welcome, they are busy making ‘everything is great’ reports for the top management and therefore, they just cannot dirty their hands dealing with the muck that customer service can be. It’s mostly outsourced and it’s their problem.

A big reason for this ‘customer be damned’ attitude is consumers in our country have rare or no access to consumer platforms who can take up cases on their behalf, independent consumer movements which relentlessly fight for consumer rights are virtually non-existent. Everyone in consumer awareness business will tell you your legal rights, provided you can establish yourself as a genuine purchaser and complainant and then to go to court. What they don’t or cant help you with is the years and enormous drain on your time and efforts and money that court cases take to fight.

I think, we do need to build some powerful consumer movement platforms, who can strike fear in the hearts of sellers, who sell defective products and then make the consumer run around without prompt redress.

Note: His problem has been solved after reaching to the PR team of Micromax.

Pix source: jharkhandbihar.com

By Amitabh Singhal, founder and former president of ISP Association of India
He is also Governing Council Member of Digital Empowerment Foundation
editor@gizmolead.com

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