SFH Oil and Supplements : A curious case of a fake guarantee

SFH expanding to stronger, faster and healthier is an American company that touts a guarantee on every product on their website. Supposedly established in 2010 and with its office in ME, it has made a few inroads into the extremely competitive supplements market.

Every product is backed by 100% satisfaction guarantee of high quality products.

If, for any reason, you are ever disappointed in any item, we will gladly replace it or refund your product purchase price. Simply return your product within 30 days. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 1-877-682-9067 or email us at info@SFH.com

I used to be a fan of their recovery protein and their more muscle formula before they Beefed it up (quite literally). I also tried their fish oil which is extremely pricey but hey, for health one can splurge a little plus I always thought they were an ethical company. I used to love their peppermint fish oil flavor and decided to give their orange flavor a try. Big mistake, the orange flavor tasted like I was drinking crude oil or something. Totally yuck! In the meantime, my gym had replaced SFH with Ascent proteins as they had to stop recommending SFH.

I wrote to the company asking them to honor their 30 day guarantee on the product(orange fish oil) and the crudeness of the responses totally shocked me. They claimed they didn’t know who I was and they wouldn’t replace my products. If the place I bought it from didn’t honor the warranty, I was SOL. This is strange as the warranty is offered by the manufacturer and not the dealer. I have dealt with other warranties and never has a company been able to weasel away citing this kind of crap. I had even offered to pay one way shipping.

Anyway, I told them to invest in customer service and they never responded back. I have made a complaint via WA state attorney general and in general shared the feedback with Amazon from where I have bought products from SFH. This article is also a means to share with people what I went through and for them to know that the much touted guarantee may not be as rock solid as they thought it was.

Final comments : Avoid SFH  supplements, they are overpriced and the premium is not helping you get better service or quality of products.

Update : they responded to the WA State ATG notice with more lies:

Wisetechie’s return request was rejected for failing to provide proof of purchase. Our company policy is a 100% guarantee when the item is returned within 30 days from the order date when purchased directly from SFH.com. The product in question from Wisetechie was not purchased through our website but instead a third party retailer to whom the return should be directed.

Although an explanation of this policy was given at the point of inquiry, Wisetechie was unwilling to provide the place of purchase. Despite detailing instructions for a return, Wisetechie resorted to accusations, threats of a lawsuit, and social media defamation.

  1. They never asked me for the place of purchase, they told me to take it back there disregarding the fact that they are no longer selling SFH or willing to take it back.
  2. The guarantee on their website doesn’t mention its only for SFH.com

I never threatened a lawsuit, it was the opposite where i told them a lawsuit is not worth my time, this is what i had written.

Wow, what a bad way to write an email to a customer and provide poor customer service. You just lost a customer. Also going to share this on social media. For all the premium charged on your products, maybe you should invest in hiring better people to manage customer service.

Also, you claim on your site this warranty, this is illegal for you to deny exchange. I will be complaining to my state’s AG and also other consumer agencies so you end up on their lists and hopefully get penalized for unfair business practices. I would have sued if the amount involved was more.
Thanks
Someone should tell the idiots at SFH who obviously dont care about their reputation, lying to the Attorney General’s office is usually not a good strategy.

NRIs: Step by step guide to getting your old notes replaced at the Reserve Bank of India before June 30

We come back with another one of our PSA step by step guides which tells you how you can get your old notes replaced at RBI if you are a NRI (Non-Resident Indian). This is only valid till June 30, I had done this at the RBI a couple of days ago.

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Pre-Requisites :

1. You must be a NRI, if you went for a holiday, you are not eligible for this scheme.

2. You must have a NRO account.

3. You must not have deposited cash into your account during November and December.

4. Max limit of note change is Rs.25000 under this scheme for NRIs

Documents Required :

1. Copy of 1st and last page of passport

2. Copy of latest exit and entry stamp in passport

3. Copy of customs declaration form you have filled in while entering the country

4. Bank statement of all NRO accounts during the month of Nov and Dec 2016

5. Copy of PAN Card

6. Letter to be filled in at RBI requesting change of notes

You would need to know your bank account number, branch information and the IFSC code.

Process:

1. While returning to India declare the money you are carrying by filling up the customs declaration form. The desk for this purpose is setup near the red channel at Indira Gandhi International Airport.

2. Keep the declaration form in safe custody while exiting the airport.

3. Take God’s name and head to RBI, at RBI the guards will pretend to check your passport for entry and exit stamps, humor them. Obviously they dont understand how these stamps work.

4. Get a visitor’s pass made at the RBI gate, they will take your photo.

5. Enter the RBI premises, an awesome Sardarji was there who was checking documents during my time. Fill up the Letter for exchange and give it to the person checking along with all documents.

6. If everything is fine, you would be sent to another table who will recheck the documents.

7. If everything is ok, you will now be sent to counter no.42 where your form will be taken alongwith the cash.

8. I have no idea what they do now, I waited for almost an hour and at the end of it they gave me a form which acknowledged that they received the money from me. Apparently it will be deposited into my account in 3 months if they feel like it.

Conclusion

Like the government’s decision, the process is pretty arbitrary and opaque. However there wasn’t a lot of rush at RBI and the officials did seem to be polite so that’s good news. Even without the rush, it did take me around 2-3 hours to go through the entire process. Another good thing was that if you were missing a doc, they wouldn’t shoo you away like most government departments, they were actually giving you an email Id to forward the missing documents to.

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Uber Toll Saga Conclusion : Uber admits issues and to fix the toll bugs in the software for Hyderabad airport

 

A few loyal readers would remember I had gone on a crusade (sort of) against Uber and their excess toll charges on going to the airport in Hyderabad. After a bunch of to and fro and escalations and the fact that the article was trending on Ycombinator, Uber has finally come back with a sensible response which satisfies me. Uber has finally admitted that overlapping tolls were incorrectly collected by the app and they have temporarily modified their software to only collect the 1 toll which is legitimate till they can get a more permanent solution. They have admitted what I had been telling them from Day 0 that the tolls were overlapping and it was a bug in their software.

Its hard to make a multi-billion dollar company accept fault and make changes, but consumers when they unite can pretty much achieve anything. Thanks to everyone who supported me either by sharing the article or by up-voting it on various platforms. Here is the final response from Uber on the matter :

Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 2:52:28 PM · uberGO

Hey,

Thanks for writing back, glad to clarify your concerns better. Sorry about any confusion thus far. We’ve dug deeper into why this happened and figured that there was a technicality due to which a few tolls have overlapped and hence the repetitive toll charges. You should have been charged only INR 30 in this case.

Until we fix this issue, we’ve temporarily disabled all the tolls apart from airport parking fee and those to and from ORR to Shamshabad. That said, any and every toll charges that are liable to be paid to the competent authority will go there and we simply provide a platform for you to pay for them in a seamless fashion. We do not hold these charges as they are needed to be passed on to the authorities.

Having said that, we’ve dropped the toll charges completely. Also as mentioned earlier, feedback has been given to the support for the miscommunication and we’ve taken necessary steps.

So if you are taking an Uber to the Hyderabad Airport and you are charged the correct toll, don’t forget that it was a consumer who raised his voice and escalated till the voice reached the right people and the issue was fixed. And you’re welcome :)

Cafe Cockroach Day Slapgate update : Jaipur police to continue with arrest, CCD allegedly arm twisting customer to pull case

When you see the below video, you kind of feel its an open and shut case. A customer was recording the sorry state of a CCD outlet and a lunatic employee who had no business interacting with humans decides to slap him. One would assume the coffee chain would apologize, fire the employee for conduct unbecoming of their employee and life would go on. Except that it is India ! In a twist akin to Bollywood movies, the coffee chain files a false molestation case against the customer, refuses to apologize publically and tries to use the fake case as a bargaining chip(allegedly)  to get the customer to withdraw his original case against the coffee chain. I can see a Bollywood movie being written on this case (Cafe Cockroach Day).

However its not funny folks. A publicly listed company is involved here and their lawyer allegedly asked the boy to take back the complaint to remove the FIR. With such clear video evidence, the police is still proceeding to arrest him on the molestation charges and the boy’s life and future is in jeopardy. Meanwhile CCD’s employee’s (Priyanka Priyadarshini)  story goes something like this :

“Around 1pm on March 12, Verma and another person came to the café and ordered coffee and some beverages. When I told them that only coffee was available as the branch near Hawa Mahal was temporary, they got angry and Verma called me a slut and bitch,” the woman said.

“They returned after 20 minutes and started taking the video of cockroaches in the café. They also focused their camera on me despite my objection. I tried to grab the camera and in the process the mobile phone fell down from Verma’s hand,” she wrote in her complaint.

Now there is no way to ascertain if the 1st sentence is correct, it remains he said, she said. However the second sentence is clearly a lie. She slapped him, plain and simple, no she was not grabbing the camera, and she herself was recording him. Even if the 1st sentence is deemed to be correct, is calling someone a bitch or a slut a crime that merits arrest ? In the video, the person making the video seems to be talking calmly and respectfully to the employee so it seems less likely she was telling the truth. Also CCD has not released any video CCTV footage and neither has the employee was was also seen recording on her phone and then getting outraged when he proceeded to record her face.

So what can we do ?

I believe all of us have a responsibility here , there is nothing CCD loves more than their bottomline and their topline, so to make them do something you have to hit them where it hurts the most.

  1. Continue boycott of CCD outlets, I am not saying goto a competitor, but pledge not to goto CCD. They will notice the footfall drop.
  2. Write to Cafe Coffee Day customer care asking them to withdraw the case and apologize for the incident. Say that you are scared that they will slap a fake case against you and give you cockroach coffee.
  3. Engage in social media and use hashtags such as #BoycottCCD to put more pressure onto the coffee outlet to do the right thing.
  4. Delete and uninstall their apps on your phones and write a review which talks about this incident and your feelings about the same.

Today its this person, tomorrow it could be you.

Bizarre :Café Coffee Day employee slaps customer then files case against customer alleging harassment

This day just got even more bizarre. A sensational video has come out which shows a Café Coffee Day female employee slapping a customer when he tries to showcase cockroaches in the food storage area. In the video the customer claims that the lady was rude to him and as he shows her face in the phone, she slaps him hard and asks him how can he take her photo as if its a crime against the nation to do so. It was not as it he was making a lewd video, he was showcasing a genuine health hazard. Well a picture is worth a 1000 words and a video is worth a 1000 pictures:

Now the video is pretty clear and a case of assault should be filed against the lady at CCD. However in a disgusting turn of events, we were informed that a case has been filed by the lady from CCD against the customer for harassment. We all know how skewed laws are in India against men and one can very much imagine that this lady also is trying to use laws meant for protecting women to get out of this mess.

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In the meantime #CockroachCoffeeDay is the hashtag we want to trend. Meanwhile CCD has put up a notice on its official facebook and twitter channels promising an investigation but no apologies. As you can see from some of the comments on these posts, CCD seems to have acted in malice when the issue was first reported to them. It could also have been a tactic to prevent the customer from releasing the video to the media.

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Update – 29 March 2017

CCD has released a statement that it has ‘suspended’ the said employee. The statement still does not apologize for the behavior of the staff or the cockroaches. Also does not address the fake complaint by the staff.

“The lady team member referred here hails from rural Orissa and is part of the programme run by NGO Gram Tarang to uplift weaker sections of society and girl child specially. She underwent rigorous training on joining us to become a team member and was posted in Jaipur. As per lady team member, she had objected to her video being taken by the customer and her repeated requests were also not heard, thus invading her privacy. Till the time thorough investigation is being done, lady team member has been kept off duty,” it said.

Vigorous training does not seem to have helped here. Although its a noble cause, corporations need to be careful about who they hire for people facing roles. In this case the NGO as well as the company seem to have made a mistake hiring someone who appears to be mentally unstable into a job that often requires you to be extremely calm in difficult situations. Ironically the NGO Gram Tarang lists Cafe Coffee Day as a success story of its employment training practices. Hopefully this was just an aberration and the NGO is able to revisit their training and practices to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.

As for CCD, I don’t really have a lot of sympathy for them given their extreme reluctance to admit fault in the matter and their attempt to use the legal framework to cheat and deceive the customer.

Uber overcharges toll on a ride, thinks I am the driver when I complain, tells me to keep the extra money and forget about the overcharging

I was visiting Hyderabad after a few years last week and on the way back to the airport, I decided to hire an Uber since it was cheaper than Meru and others.

After the ride, the price seemed a bit steeper than what I expected, Upon looking deeper into the fare, I saw this 90 rupee toll charge which didn’t make any sense to me. I have lived in Hyderabad for around 4 years and also know the areas pretty well, there is only 1 toll on the route and nothing else. The driver only paid a toll of 30 rupees but I was still charged 90 rupees as the toll by the Uber app.

Now it isn’t really about odd 60 rupees on this 1 trip, but imagine that Uber is making thousands of trips everyday to the airport and possibly cheating riders of lakhs of rupees everyday. For me its also about principle, I don’t want to give Uber or the driver more money than what is due to them. You can find a screenshot with the excess toll highlighted in the screenshot below. My trip was from Radisson in Hitech to the Airport.

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I immediately wrote off an email to Uber asking for a breakup of the toll charged to me and an explanation of the charges. I got canned/copy-paste responses explaining to me what tolls were and the fact that Uber collects them but nothing that would actually tell me what the 90 rupees were for. After 4 tries, I decided to invoke the Uber Twitter team to help out in the matter. Usually social media has better teams assisting on issues. Upon escalation on Twitter, I finally got someone who is half competent to respond to my query and the response was funny, apparently Uber thinks I exited and re-entered the 1 straight road from Gachibowli to the Airport 4 times.

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Now it doesn’t take a genius to see that multiple roads are repeated above, basically 4 permutations of reaching from Gachibowli to the Airport. I responded on twitter on how this is obviously incorrect and am waiting to hear back. The toll combination doesn’t even pass the sniff test for coherence.

Additionally, armed with this extra information, I wrote off to the Uber support in the app telling them how obviously the toll charged is incorrect. Here is when things get surreal and funny. The Uber support folks thought I was the driver and not the rider. They actually told me to keep the extra toll money and forget about overcharging the customer. Wow ! So they just realized they cheated a customer and they are telling their driver to keep mum instead of refunding the extra money to the rider. You cannot make this shit up.

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We are therefore not making any adjustments so that you can keep the higher fare you received.

I had heard Uber had questionable ethics as a company, but this is beyond ridiculous, instead of admitting a mistake in their platform and refunding the excess money charged to a customer, not only are they making me run around and spend more money and effort on this than its worth. But they are also asking the driver to keep the extra dough and not worry about it being illegitimate gains. Had they refunded me and told the driver to keep the money, it would have been different, but they actually just cheated me in the process.

Lets ensure it reaches to the people who matter in the company so that the software issues are fixed and money is refunded to everyone who has been overcharged by Uber due to this toll calculation issue.

Update 1 – 27 March 2017

Till date I have received 8 useless responses from 1st level customer service giving me uninteresting facts about Uber’s service. Their 1st level customer service is seriously messed up.

Update 2 – 27 March 2017

Uber employees are now just closing tickets without responding (actually responding with a ‘M’) and pleas to escalate to supervisors have been ignored.

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Update 3 – 29 March 2017

So this really blew up, the site is slammed since yesterday with a ton of traffic coming from Ycombinator and Twitter and Facebook and Reddit. Thanks to everyone who shared this post. One of my friend’s who works in Uber also internally escalated this and we got partial resolution. The toll charges were in fact refunded to me but Uber continues to deny that they did anything wrong. They now claim that some hidden charges are there which every driver is paying. I have asked for a clarification on what that means since clearly there was no other money paid by the driver in the journey. I am yet to hear back on that, also no word on why the driver was asked to keep the money when support thought he was telling them they overcharged the customer or why support itself admitted due to technical issues extra toll was collected.

In conclusion, the image of Uber I had has been shattered even further, the site’s support team seems like a bunch of high school kids who don’t know what they are doing, there is no internal or external escalation mechanism in the company and the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. I have zero faith that the actual issue due to which the toll was incorrect would be resolved.

If I receive a response to obvious inconsistencies in Uber’s chain of events, I will update the post again. Thanks for all the support folks.