Have WiseTechie.com email ?
Login Wisetechie.com email


Feb 20

iSmooth 3ft lightning cable

In the May of 2014, I had bought a lightning cable (ignore image, for representation purpose only) from this seller  called AFFLUX on Amazon.com. Incase you get bored and don’t read further, don’t buy anything from these guys. They are a third party seller on Amazon.com

It was an iSmooth iPhone 5s charging cable (3ft), not very expensive, however the cable was always very buggy and often would complain that the accessory is not supported. I battled through it, standing on one leg, re-attaching the wire etc. every time it would happen. However as time passed the wire became more and more unreliable. So much so that it became impossible to recharge using this cable.

I remembered that the cable was iSmooth’s and on their website they claimed a 10 year warranty on their cable products. So I tried to get in touch with AFFLUX through Amazon asking them if they can help in this matter. To my surprise they did not even reply to my complaints.

Next, I contacted ISmooth who offer the warranty, they asked me for the invoice from Amazon and promptly told me that they will not honor warranty as AFFLUX is not an authorized reseller and they are following up with Amazon and AFFLUX. I am currently following up on them regarding a replacement since their warranty terms don’t mention anything about purchasing from them only. However not much I can do if they refuse since its too small for small claims.

I filed a return request with Amazon and this time AFFLUX was super fast, they immediately declined my claim and as the return period had passed Amazon was cool with it. So I am in this bind, the manufacturer says the sale is unauthorized and the seller is AWOL and only responds when I file a claim. That too in the negative.

Anyway I contacted Amazon and they told me since this is by a third party seller they cannot refund me the money but have offered me a promotional credit. I will follow-up with ISmooth and update the thread on that replacement. They have however claimed that the super buggy cables are bound to go bad again.

In the meantime, be careful when buying stuff from Amazon’s third party sellers. This was a fairly low price item but I doubt Amazon would refund $500 after 9 months in such a situation. So that’s the lesson learnt.


Jun 02

Tropicana with worm

Its been an interesting week for Tropicana India in social media. A couple of days ago I saw a friend had shared a photo of Tropicana’s Guava Juice 200ml tetra pack with what seemed to be a worm coming out of the straw hole. Its hard to tell from the photo whether its a worm, a baby snake or just clay someone put there to claim some fame at the company’s expense.

I went onto Tropicana’s facebook page today, and its full of ‘concerned’ consumers posting how they will never purchase Tropicana juice again, a mini PR disaster to say the least. However I found Tropicana’s calm handling of the issue praiseworthy. The responses posted by them on Facebook do narrate that the brand showed concern at the complaint and is taking steps to figure out what went wrong. Whether it results in anything worthwhile from the brand is to be seen or will they just try to stifle the flame.

They cannot blame packaging here. Something which Cadbury had done during the worms in chocolate scare as they use Tetrapack which is globally known to be a multilayered impenetrable aseptic packaging for food items.

We will keep you posted and in the meantime, empty your Tetrapacks into glasses before consuming to avoid becoming an accidental non-vegetarian.


Oct 25

If you have ever read this blog, you would have seen me giving 5 stars to Indigo airlines for exceptional on-time performance and great staff, unfortunately since then its been downhill with bad experiences all the way. The staff in more than 1 instance have been rude, un-supportive and outright rigid. I will recite a few instances here on why I will probably never fly Indigo airlines again. Keep in mind, in each instance I am in touch with an actual person and have complained to Indigo. I always believe in helping companies improve, but then again some companies simply don’t care. To give credit where its due, I have always found their cabin staff to be top notch and polite.

Instance 1 (The case of time changes , again and again) – I had booked my tickets a long time in advance, then Indigo airlines changed the time without telling me. Ofcourse the new time didnt suit me, so I got the tickets changed. Now again the new time was changed however this time I was left hanging without any support, the time change put my plans at the destination in a soup.

This was the first sign of red tapism and fine print being shoved in my face. I was told since the time of the flight was not changed by more than 2 hours, I must pay for the change. This was the weekend before Diwali/Holi I think, so the fare difference was outrageous. So I had no option but to swallow Indigo’s change in time and make alternate arrangements at the destination. The call center staff was totally unsupportive and refused to transfer my call to a supervisor.

Instance 2 and 3 (Rude Airport Staff) –

#2 I am not sure if this problem is limited to Indigo only, but their airport staff is extremely rude. On 1 instance there was a huge line at the checkin counter for a Monday morning flight. I asked an Indigo lady to help me checkin as the window would close in around 10 mins for the flight, she told me to stand in line rudely. Sure enough, 5 minutes left and no change in line. I decided to plead to people who were nice enough to let me through and I checked in just in time. Wrote an email to Indigo and all they did was gave me an assurance matter would be taken up. Next time I flew, I saw the same lady, still rudely herding people.

#3 Around 35 minutes to scheduled takeoff I get a call on my cellphone informing me that I was the ‘last’ passenger on the flight. Which would have been fine if I had not seen 4 other people just in front of me at the gate.

Then the lady goes onto ask my location, I let her know I am in the terminal and heading to the gate, she goes onto be a wise guy and tells me the terminal is very big (like I didnt know) and she wants to know my specific location. Upon telling her she rudely tells me she is going to close the door in 1 minute and disconnects the call. Being on time is a wonderful thing indeed, but you know whats more wonderful, being courteous to passengers. Upon boarding the bus with more passengers I could see more people seemed agitated with the lady’s behaviour. When I told the lady I would be complaining against her, she totally ignored me. Obviously customer satisfaction and customer service are secondary to meeting that target of closing the gate.

Instance 4 and the last straw (Damaged Luggage)  – Here first and foremost I would like to add that I didnt complain at the airport for 2 reasons, firstly I didnt notice the damage to my bag there and secondly I was not aware of any rule which mandated me to do the same. From the email exchange with Indigo, apparently there is a terms of carriage which says I am not to be helped because I didnt complain. Anyway the long and short of the matter is , I was travelling very heavy and paid a huge amount of money for my luggage, that didnt dissuade the Indigo staff from breaking one of my suitcases. Upon emailing them, the same canned response that their airport team has been notified. When  I asked them to help repair the suitcase, they again hid behind fine print and told me that they cannot compensate me due to the terms of carriage. Heights of red tapism again. I told them that private companies do stuff for customer satisfaction and more so those in hospitality sector, but apparently not this one. I was told they cannot go against policy for me. Yeah right. My new policy is to never fly Indigo from now on.

Indigo Baggage Damaged

Baggage damaged by Indigo on HYD-DEL sector.


Sep 15

standard-chartered-bank-logo

I have been a Standard Chartered Manhattan Platinum card customer for over an year now, the limit which the bank gave me was Rs.x, x is approximately 1/4 of my monthly in-hand salary. Since I got the card I have been surprised about how they arrived at the limit.

I had 2 other credit cards, one of which I have since surrendered. The limits on those were 2.5x and 10x respectively. Of course I know it’s the bank’s prerogative on assigning me a limit, but sometimes its just so ridiculous that you email the bank and ask for a review. Well the 1st time I emailed them, I was asked to email after six months. And when I emailed them after that , they gave me the same lecture about bank using some process blah blah !

Wow, SC really does something different in calculating the limits. The sadder part is that despite all my efforts, I seem to bump into customer service folks who seem to be inherently stupid, don’t make sense and will write anything to close a ticket. It’s the same copy paste lines, this time I got a reply in record 10 minutes from their second level customer care, this shows no research while responding to customer requests, just respond back with the template you have and close the ticket.

Please note I have impeccable credit history with ZERO defaults ever. Someplace somewhere, Standard Chartered bank’s marketing guys are coming up with awesome products while the customer care department is cutting costs and ensuring that customers don’t stick with the bank.

Why do I still stick with them ?

Well they do have a good product, however the lack of service will I am sure one day force me to severe all ties with them and never return to them ever again.

Can you tell us why their customer service sucks ?

Certainly,

1. I ask them to increase my credit limit via their SR system, no response for days. Then when I email them, I get a mail its not approved. Push them a little more and they say its been raised. Then when I send over my income documents, I don’t hear back for some time, another person now tells me the increase was never approved.

2. I redeemed some rewards which includes bonus Vodafone talk time (don’t take it, it’s a pain to redeem), the vendor doesn’t recharge my phone, I complain to Standard Chartered bank and lo and behold, they ask me to call Vodafone up which is a 4th party to all of this drama. I mean, I cannot even swallow the stupidity of the response.

Ref : xxxx

Dear Mr. Sud,

This is with reference to your e-mail dated July 21, 2012.

As informed earlier, we request you to contact M/s Vodafone directly for further assistance.

We regret any inconvenience caused to you in this regard.

Assuring you of our best services always

Yours sincerely,

Sriram Ps

Officer – Customer Care

And there are more instances, every time I am forced to write to their customer care, I feel like banging my head against the wall.

Advice to Standard Chartered folks : Pull your socks up, there is only so much bullshit a customer would take before leaving your bank.


Sep 10

Flipkart_india_logo

If you watch TV these days, you couldn’t have missed the new Flipkart television advertisements. In the ads, children play the role of grownups and praise Flipkart’s awesome service. However one ad caught my eye, because my experience was a complete 180 degrees from what the ad portrayed. Here is the sort of brief, a child (posing as an adult), tells about how he bought something over the weekend and was impatient to receive it. He contacted customer care and they expedited his delivery or so and he got it on Monday morning. Woohoooo ! Flipkart understands his impatience.

Wait, am I blacklisted that my impatience was met with canned responses and no such understanding ultimately leading me to cancel my order ?

I had to goto USA and for the same needed some TSA approved locks which aren’t broken by the TSA during luggage inspection.

Naturally I searched online and since Flipkart had it listed, I ordered. The delivery data ‘just met’ my requirements so I emailed them confirming the delivery date and what followed was a series of canned unhelpful replies and broken promises unlike what the ad shows :

My Email 1 :

Hi,
I am leaving the country on the night of 13th June, could you please get me an accurate estimate of shipping date for this item ?

Their Reply 1 :

Greetings from Flipkart!
Order Id : xxxxxx
Product : VIP, TSA 3-Dial Combination Lock, TSA3DCBLBLK, Black, Safety Lock, Safety Lock & Strap
We would like to inform you that your order for the above mentioned lock is in the process of fulfillment.
The order would be delivered to you by June 13, 2012. Once the order is shipped, you would receive a shipping confirmation email with tracking details. However, we regret to inform you that will not be able to expedite the delivery as the order would be delivered by the above mentioned date.
We request your understanding and kind cooperation in this regard.

My Email 2 or 3 :

Would have appreciated if you actually read my email instead of sending
another copy paste reply identical to previous one.
Please read my last email and respond.

Their Reply :

Greetings from Flipkart!
Order Id : xxxxx
Product : VIP, TSA 3-Dial Combination Lock, TSA3DCBLBLK, Black, Safety Lock, Safety Lock & Strap
Please be informed that the above mentioned product is available with us and we are currently in the process of procuring the same. This is expected to be delivered to you by June 13, 2012.

And their next email totally blew me away by telling me that there would be a delay of 5-6 business days :

Dear Customer,
Greetings from Flipkart!
Product : "VIP TSA 3-Dial Combination Lock (Black)"
This is to notify you that the shipment of the above mentioned product may be delayed by an additional 3-5 business days.
We are doing our best to deliver the order as soon as possible and will keep you informed if there are any further updates.

—-

As you can see, they didn’t understand my impatience <actually genuine need> and probably lied about their stock status to me and didn’t eventually deliver my order in time leading me to cancel.

After this email I cancelled the order and vowed never to trust them on stuff I need urgently. Promptly went to Shopper’s Stop and bought another brand’s lock for a lesser price serendipitously.

Why I Posted this now : Because their ad is misleading and actually creates an impression that they care about customer needs while shipping.procuring. the truth is that they will ship ASAP stuff which is with them in stock but their CS is unable to even respond personally to people asking for delivery date confirmations and in my case the CS gave me wrong commitments which they were unable to keep eventually. They just depend on luck to meet customer impatience in my experience.


Apr 28

Just got a job at a MNC in Hyderabad ? Transported or shifted your out of station car to Hyderabad ? Heard horror stories of being stopped by RTO staff and getting your papers and worse, vehicle seized ? Need to pay road tax or get your number transferred.

Well, same was the case with me. If you are planning to use your out of state vehicle for more than a month in AP, then its necessary to pay road tax. The procedure to pay road tax is pretty simple, don’t be put off by horror stories.

I stay in the Gachibowli-hitech city area. Now I have been to three RTA offices, RTA Attapur, RTA, Kondapur and RTA, Khairatabad also. I found the Khairatabad office to be the most hopeless and useless. There is such a huge crowd there and the officials were very busy that they barely have time to answer any questions/queries.

So here is what I did step by step, if you have a NoC and need to get your number transferred then there would be an extra step after paying Road Tax. Before getting the NoC, do find out the RTA name. A NoC in Hyderabad RTA name doesn’t work in Rangareddy District except by going to Khairatabd RTA , a step which you don’t want to take.

1. Head over to Kondapur RTO in your vehicle, as soon as you enter, look around for someone in khaki uniform and tell him you need to pay road tax.

2. He will take you to a room which has space for 2 officers, the officers in my case were very polite. They created a check report for my vehicle and impounded my DL.

3. This check report is what you need alongwith your vehicle RC copy and invoice, head on over to the Attapur RTO

4. Ask the relevant form for road tax payment from one of the shops below, the RTA does not have any form in stock (maybe it’s a way to scam).

5. Fill up most details in the form, rest details would be filled in my the clerk who would calculate the tax needed to be paid. Ensure the vehicle value he takes is correct and does not include road tax already paid in home state.

6. Get the road tax value cross verified from the administrative officers who will double check using the original invoice.

7. Once 7 is done, you would need to get a draft made for the road tax amount and there is another small fee (230 I think) which you can also pay by cash.

8. Once you get your draft goto the same counter, the person there would issue you the coveted green receipt, take a few copies ,keep the original safe and drive around with a copy for the RTA folks on the road.

Since I paid the road tax, I have been stopped twice Smile , the penalty is much more if you bring your car in and pay road tax much later.