As soon as Mrs. X and her husband stepped inside the flagship electronic store they went straightaway to the home appliances section. Having lived up with the idiosyncrasy of their old mixer-grinder for some months they were looking forward to replace it with a new food processor. They both had spent considerable time thinking over it. Mrs. X, being an accomplished homemaker and an excellent cook knew exactly what she wanted. On the other hand, Mr. X, who was tech savvy, was looking at the mechanical aspects.
At the store the eager sales person showed them the entire range including the one, which, according to him was their latest model.
“The food processor looked beautiful,” Mrs. X thought, hardly able to contain her excitement.
“Unlike others it did not use belt drive,” Mr. X noticed, a glint filling his eyes. The company had not only priced it competitively but, what was most important, had features and functions Mrs. X wanted.
But they had one doubt lurking in their mind. After sales service was an unknown territory. Taking solace from the fact that the company had a reputation they decided to overlook another fact that it had entered the home appliances business only recently.
“Things hardly go wrong these days,” the technological man murmured justifying their choice. “After all their old mixer-grinder was still holding up after serving them for more than a decade, and except for some minor repairs carried out easily at their neighbourhood shop, had stood by them in good stead.” Whispered Mrs. to the man, keeping her voice low so that other shoppers do not overhear them. Brushing aside their reservations they went ahead and bought it.
Their fears come true
One month after the warranty had lapsed the motor refused to turn on. Taking it to the electrician, who had been helping them fix their old mixer-grinder, they were in for a shock.
“The spare part of this particular model is not available locally. The company has made use of a new design even for the basic parts.” The mechanic informed. “Perhaps a policy to make customers visit their service centres even for mundane repairs when the product was out of warranty.” He added as an afterthought.
Left with no option Mr. X carried it to the authorized service centre, where the courteous staff after checking the appliance informed him that the part, which needed replacement, was not in stock and it would take 7-10 days to reach them.
A week later they get a call that their food processor was ready. Having paid the bill, which expectedly was on the higher side, they brought it home. But their happiness was short-lived.
Back to square one
5-6 months later the motor again stopped working. About a month later it still waits at home biding the time when any one of the two would be free to take it to the service centre. Meanwhile Mrs. and Mr. X have bought another basic mixer-grinder after doubly ensuring from the local seller that it confirms to the universal design, that its parts are easily available and that it can be repaired at any shop.
We sincerely wish that you do not suffer like Mrs. and Mr. X and therefore, before you buy a home appliance ask yourself these questions:
- How popular is the particular model (higher the popularity easier it is to source spare parts)
- Service terms and conditions (whether it is on-site or you will have to carry it to the service centre)
- Sales persons in their zeal to clinch the deal often make big commitments (try to verify their claims)
- In case of on-site warranty confirm service charges, cartage, turnaround time, etc.
- Distance of service centre from your home/office
- The tentative time they take for routine repairs
- Try to ascertain the availability of spares
- User experiences and references (if possible talk to your local technician on the practicality of buying a particular brand or model)
- Whether it can be easily repaired at your neighbourhood after the lapse of warranty
Keeping these points in mind it will no doubt lead to many years of fond association with your home appliance. Nothing can be more relaxing than the satisfaction of money well spent.
(Names changed to protect the privacy)