Friday, August 31, 2012

The saga of the chimney

One of the appliances that we inherited from the previous owners of our present house was the chimney. It was a Faber make and one had heard of them and it seemed to be alright. So we stayed with it. It wasn't very effective though and never seemed to do its job particularly well. I thought I would have it serviced and diligently called up the service center.

You know how all these domestic tales go but still, stay with me.

Two men landed at my doorstep. Madam, chimney service karenge, they declared and got right to it. I left them to it and got busy with other stuff. Minutes became hours and the afternoon gave way to the evening and they were still there. I started suspecting that they wanted to sublet the kitchen. I went into the kitchen and discovered to my abject horror that they had broken the glass that covers the lightbulb of the chimney. Much consternation followed. I refused to sign the papers and asked them to return with the glass and replace it.

They promised to do so.

They left.

One year passed.

Someone called me from Faber many months down the line. Hallow, they bellowed, are you happy and delighted with the experience with Faber? Not at all, I pleaded, the chimney is hardly working and nobody had come back with the glass. Oh, ok, we will send someone. Well, obviously nobody came.

The chimney gave up completely.

I decided to give it another shot. Fortunately in my obsessively organized way, I had recorded the complaint number and what-not. Normally, that is the loophole they catch you with. Haw, complaint number nahin hai? Then down with you, moronic customer.

So, yes, armed with the complaint number, I braved the good people at Faber once again. The woman at the helpline took my details and sounded really bored. Look, just get in touch with the service center directly, she suggested. I wanted to ask her why Faber had spent such a bundle on setting up a helpline but let it go.

I called the service center and told Sharad (I had asked for a NAME because NAMES MAKE PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE) my tale of woe. Sharad was very annoyed with me. What is this, madam, he told me. More than one year has passed and now you are coming to us with all these complaints. Had I been the person of yore, I would have lost my temper truly at that moment but I didn't. I told him that I would be grateful if he could overlook this lapse on my part (yes!) and send someone to fix the goddamn chimney.

A person landed up. I took his name down. Gaus Siddique.

Gaus got down to work and spent time trying to fix the errant chimney. Then he declared that the chimney was done for and it was time to buy a replacement.

All right, I conceded and shelled out good money to buy another chimney and availed myself of an exchange offer of some kind.

Old chimney out. New chimney in. Govind was the name of the person who put it in. AGAIN, LET'S NAME NAMES.

All is well?

Not really.

You see, last night, something terrible happened. At about ten in the night, I decided to make myself some Bournvita. Then, remembering the calorie count and so on, I decided against it.

I stepped out of the kitchen, went into the living room and the next thing I know, there is a loud crash. I rushed to take a look and there, the chimney has fallen down, denting the stove, breaking plates, shattering things. It is a heavy old thing and I can only thank my stars that my babies were not in the kitchen as they often are, specially when I am baking.

My diet saved me.

Mom and I spent the next hour picking up the pieces.

This morning, I called up the service center. Bored lady told me she'd send someone.

And guess what, Govind lands up again, chewing cud like a benign cow and looking very happy with himself.

Are you the one who had put this in, I asked.

Shayad (maybe), said he, looking most insolent. My blood began to boil.

How can this just fall down, I asked.

Arrey, ab ho gaya toh ho gaya, he tells me. Sau mein se ek ho jata hai. So basically, one in every hundred Faber chimney is expected to fall down.

Get the hell out of my house, I told him in no uncertain terms. And don't show me your face again. He left.

We took the time to inspect the holes he has drilled into the wall to fix the chimney. And you know what, he made them too large and then tried to make the screws fit by stuffing twigs (probably taken from a broom in my kitchen) into the holes. Obviously, the chimney couldn't rest on the loose screws and just came crashing down.

My mind is buzzing with the what-if scenarios since then.

Dear Mr Ravi Gupta, LinkedIn tells me you are the Managing Director at Franke Faber India Ltd. If you are reading this, please consider this an open letter to you. I hope someone, your PR department perhaps, will bring this blog post to your notice. My readers and I would be very interested in hearing what you have to say about this.  


darkandcomic said...

That's damn scary! I can imagine how much scarier the possibilities are for someone with kids.

I have a huge problem with service people who have this "ab jaane do na" attitude. They behave like it is uncool on our part to be pissed off about loss of our time, money and of course, patience in dealing with their stupid service centers. Had to tell off a Vodafone service fellow (habitual offenders, I know) for similar reasons last week. "Modem kharab hoya rahega, shayad" for a modem the same guy installed less than a month back. Will remember me and the decibel my voice can reach for the rest of his life.

swapna said...

I have taken the liberty to tweet it .... I had a similar experience so just spreading the word around :) hope its all right !

Prats said...

More than the cost of chimney and the stuff broken it was a safety hazard. An accident could have happened because of their carelessness.

This is totally unprofessional, I am never buying a Faber product after hearing this experience of yours.

Anonymous said...

Terrible..and a tragedy averted narrowly.
I remember that you wrote about Hafele too, once. Makes me think that these companies pay so little regard to service that they undo any good their marketing does.

-Chai Tea Latte

Indian Thoughts said...

All i want to say is thanks for sharing ur experience. And thank GOD that everybody is safe.

Choxbox said...

EGAD. I have the verysame Faber chimney thing also inherited from previous. Also been meaning to get it serviced. Even have phone no. of service centre somewhere.

Now I am wondering. Can I be the next sau-me-ek specimen?

Scary. Thank God the babies were not around.

dipali said...

Oh my God. Thank goodness no one got hurt. You should sue them.

Parul said...

darkandcomic...Oh yes, I find most MNCs have failed terribly when it comes to delivering a good after-sales experience. The only exception that pops up in my mind is Asian Paints. I am a big fan.

swapna...Of course. Thanks.

Prats...Correct, that is what is giving me sleepless nights.

Chai Tea Latte...Oh yes, my litany of woes with these companies is ongoing.

Indian Thoughts...I have always been one for sharing my experiences! Let's spread the word, yo!

Chox...Be very, very careful, you.

Dipali...That's another hassle, no?

Unknown said...

My 2 cents Put it on their FB page too

May be it will help.
I have a feeling that many of these MNC fail miserably at post sales service simply because they would have outsourced it to some other company that does a shitty job of training its personnel.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with Faber (not quite as dramatic)& out of sheer exasperation, I wrote to Faber Switzerland on their website. There was plenty of prompt action after that ... maybe you could try it too!

Ekta said...

Try here, perhaps?

mim said...

i bought a new chimney last month. the installation guy didnt turn up. and boy am i glad.

i read this and covered my chimney with a tablecloth and am pretending we didnt buy it.

did you see this..

Parul said...

Unknown...I did and it really helped. I am going to post an update soon.

Anonymous...I did that too. Thanks for the tip.

Ekta...Saving for future reference.

mim...You can run but you can never hide! I did read that and I have to agree. It's a pretty dismal scene.