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Feb 20

 

SR-64HXA

Sony in a move that has been criticized around the Internet have released a revolutionary new product (yeah right !) , its a $155 64gb micro SD card which Sony has annotated with ‘For Premium Sound’.

I love to do reviews however I will never spend $155 on this piece of shit. The for ‘premium sound’ seems to be the only USP for this overpriced gadget. How much a micro SD can really improve the quality of sound is anyone’s guess. Every time I head ‘for premium sound’, I chuckle a little.

SR-64HXA_pkg

I remember when I was a kid, we would go to buy a TV in India, Sony’s Trinitron would be significantly more expensive than say an Akai TV, but we would buy the Sony for quality. Then a few interactions with Sony’s super duper shitty customer care in India and we promptly switched loyalties. We don’t blindly buy stuff just because its Sony. I am still a bit ashamed to say we have a Bravia. But in the US we have a Sharp Aquos LED TV. Sony should realize it cannot milk customer sentiment by launching such products at obscene price levels. During a good sale in the US, you may get a nice micro SD card for $15-20 from Amazon.

SR-64HXA_Adapter

However coming back to the point, Sony is a company with lots of legacy and the burden of being a legend. Lets hope it innovates instead of launching these products aimed at gullible people with deep pockets. The loot starts on 5th March 2015.

Also don’t snicker at this article if you bought a Bose/Dr.Dre headset, you are also a gullible person with deep pockets :)


Feb 19

One of my friends recently posted about Transferwise. As a NRI who often has to send remittance to India for various purposes, I was intrigued. For our readers I did the grunt work to find out why this service is buzzing.

So here are my findings :

Its a money transfer service which seems to be headquartered in Estonia from the founders of Skype (claim on every page). I wished to try it out to see if it supports my debit cards. After going through the process I noticed a few things. 

Their exchange rate is competitive, slightly better than Xoom but worse than RIA and Western Union.

I prepared all the details of my transfer entering the recipient’s email address and account information and on the payment information I was surprised to see the method of payment. They want you to actually wire them the money in Estonia. WTH !

Not only would the international wire cost you more money from your bank, wiring money to a third party into a non-escrow account is never a good idea. Yes, the Nigerian prince, I know your game. I also dont see checks and balances of validating who sent the money. Imagine I signup etc. and a terrorist then wires the money, perfect hawala. I wonder if the company addresses identity questions and source of wire transfer some other way. I really hope for the sake of the world that they do.

Another problem I noticed was that the company has a text box for remittance reason to India, most other companies has a list of options in drop down which I think is what it gets classified into at RBI.

Anyway, long story short, I chickened out. Its a billion dollar startup, so chances are you would be ok. However I just cannot wire money to a random bank account in Estonia. Also I fail to see how transferwise makes an iota of sense of non-Americans and NRIs and PIOs in USA. Other sites even without the crappy wire transfer are net green when I compare what value I get in terms of final INR (Indian Rupees received). So even though Transferwise showed a better exchange rate for (USD-INR), the fee made it such that western union turned out to have better overall money in INR.

If you are looking to send money to India, I would suggest using one of these 3, most of these are fee free and do not have bad exchange rates. I usually use whichever is cheapest that day.

Xoom , RIA , Western Union

Ria Logo

Western Union Logo

xoom logo

Since these are affiliate links, you get some bonus for your first transfer anywhere in the world for signing up using the above links. If you have any experiences good or bad to share while sending money using the above links whether to India or elsewhere, let us know in comments. Non Resident Indians and everyone else is welcome. Also let us know if you have any question regarding these services to transfer money to India.


Feb 17

I just learnt today that TopCashBack has an Indian subsidiary. To people who may not know, TopCashBack is a site which gives you cashback for your regular shopping when you click via the website while going to the merchant.

So for example if you want to buy a pizza from Dominos and get extra cashback, do the following :

  1. Goto TopCashBack, signup or login if already signed up..
  2. Search for dominos and click on the link TopCashBack gives you
  3. Then use that window to purchase the pizza. If all goes well a few weeks later you have extra cashback in your account post the clicks.

And to my surprise out of all the stores I shopped in the past week it had cashback deals on each of them. And I am not kidding, here is the proof :

1. LensKart.com – Bought some lens solution for my brother here. Post purchase realised that I could have got Rs.120 cashback  had I clicked through via TopCashBack ( for a purchase between 500-999 rupees. Other offers on LensKart :

  • Online Purchase of orders over Rs.1000 ₹ 320.00
  • Online Purchase of orders below Rs.500 ₹ 56.00
  • Online Purchase of orders between Rs.500 and Rs.999 ₹ 120.00

2. Dominos India – So I had a pizza craving, later I realised I could have made Rs. 24 on the Dominos India order had I ordered via that.

3. Paytm – If you are recharging your phone, get Rs.8 back on a minimum recharge of Rs.20

Apart from this there are offers of cashback on FlipKart, Amazon India, SnapDeal, Myntra etc. also . So if you like to save moneyvia cashbacks , signup through one of the links above.

These are affiliate links, but I get something only if you save Rs.500 over some time which I guarantee you will if you use it for all your online shopping.


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.


May 28

image

Since time immemorial Red Bull has been the unchallenged energy drink in India. A few more players came, Cloud 9 etc. , but never was the launch threatening to its position in the market.

A few days ago, Tzinga contacted me and asked me if I would like to sample their new offerings, being a tech junkie who stays awake coding, I happily accepted the invitation and agreed to try out their energy drinks.

The first thing that hits you when you start looking at Tzinga is the pricing, it isn’t the same super expensive pricing as the Red Bull cans, its pretty cheap, priced at Rs.20 it can easily be a replacement to the Soda Pop you would purchase at the theatres.

The drink comes in 3 flavours with lots of natural ingredients and Ginseng.

It comes in three flavours. I liked Tropical Trip and Mango-Stawberry flavour the best, the mojito flavour of Lemon and Mint was only ok for me. But then your taste may vary Smile

Overall, The drink does give you a good buzz and is an excellent replacement for the expensive energy drink. The low price is like ‘Sone pe suhaga’ Smile with tongue out

[rating:4]


Apr 17

I was casually doing some idle surfing on the Internet when I remembered a bad incident I had at a Reliance Fresh store, the cashier had deliberately not applied discount for a discounted item and later on much pushing he applied it. Anyway there were 1-2 more instances when I was disappointed by their services so I decided to complain online.

If you follow our blog regularly you would know that we very often bring up the ground realities up to senior management of companies so that they can attend to matters.

This is where the trouble starts :

I couldn’t find any email address for reliance retail nor a feedback form. That is probably THE most shocking thing for a company in the service sector having retail outlets. I couldn’t find a way to contact a senior person in Reliance retail to look at my complaint. As I investigated further I could literally see thousands of complaints people have posted  against Reliance Fresh and other Reliance Retail outlets at generic consumer complaints websites. These vary from overcharging, hoarding, loss of articles kept with security guard to even more serious ones like misbehavior, selling of bad quality (rotten) food items etc.  Even they were victims of the fact that Reliance Retail doesn’t seem to have an easily accessible CRM. A number of people did try and complain via the store root but hit dead ends.

It doesn’t give me particular pleasure to make this post, I am also a shareholder in RIL, albeit only holding a few shares. Just hoping that this post catches the attention of some higher up in Reliance Retail and they come up with a customer relationship solution that’s much better. At this point anything would be better than the no customer care we have.

Do you have a good or bad experience at Reliance Retail (especially Reliance Fresh)  stores to narrate in comments ?