Noises in the night – how to complain about a faulty product

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Monday 11 July 1664Pepys hears noises at night and fears for burglars. This is a long entry and a good read. Click on the link.

As I have said before in these bloggs, knowledge is for passing around, for circulating, for sharing. What is the point in keeping things to yourself?

Today I took delivery of a 52 cc petrol strimmer. There was a minor manufacturing fault meaning that I could not put the strimmer or bush cutter head on. in addition I could not fathom out how to put on the harness, one of the subjects where it’s easy if you know how. I called the service number to be told by a voice that my call would be recorded for health and safety, training, quality, you name it, purposes. In other words, don’t lie or abuse the staff otherwise it will be used against you.

This advice may be hard for people to take, but try not to complain and certainly do not raise your voice. The more you do this, the less corporation you will get, not more. A good basis for starting a conversation is to seek information about something you do not understand or are having difficulty with. The person you are speaking to knows far more about the product then you do and the tone of your voice should acknowledge this. Imagine that you have assembled most of the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle but you are lacking one or two pieces. That sort of thing.

I make a practice which I highly recommend of always asking for the name of the person you are talking to and noting the time and date of the call. I wrote my problems down. I was told by ‘the voice’  that the support team were busy serving other customers. I was invited to look at the website to solve my problems or leave a message after the tone. A fraction of a second after the tone  sounding, the phone was cut off and I had to redial. This was not the friendliest of starts. Next time I rang I got through and I told them that their mailbox was probably full or that the leaving the message facility had been turned off and it would probably be a good idea to fix it.

I try to bear in mind that staff are answering queries all day, probably interspersed with trying to do other work, and their head is full of a dozen things that need to be done,  waiting for calls back, making a mental note to do something when they have a moment, not to mention the intrusion of their own personal matters which pop up from time to time. The device I bought was about £70 which is bargain basement so they don’t have money to pay staff to lounge around doing nothing.

It is worth bearing in mind that if the relevant staff are busy, the call will be put through to a secretary or anyone who happens to be there. Before starting a conversation I’d tell them exactly why I am calling in this case to say “I have a technical question about the strimmer you just sent me”.  This avoids being asked to wait and listen to endless music while the person finds someone who can answer the question.   It should be pretty clear from the tone of voice on the phone whether a person knows what they’re talking about or not so don’t waste time with the wrong person.

When I eventually got through to the right person I did get a sensible and positive approach. I was told about a facility on the website to explain how to put on the harness. It was very good indeed and made up for the dreadful Chinese to English translated manual. I wish all those firms could have an English speaking – and thinking – person actually check this printed material, making sure the print is large enough to actually read.

The main problem I had was that I had to put an Allen Key  through a hole which in my version of the machine did not exist though it did on the diagram. I tried not to be sarcastic and say for example ‘I think I know what a hole looks like’.  After confirming this three times that there was no hole and after a discussion it was agreed that I drill a hole through the metal. I asked them to make a note of it on the file because any interference with the machine for whatever reason can invalidate the guarantee.  What came across loud and clear was that the two people, Dave and Sebastian, were dedicated to their trade. Good on you guys. Thanks for being positive and upbeat.

In considerable heat, we sweated our way through five hours of clearing a jungle. I managed to smash my mower blade into two halves  due to a sawn off metal washing line pole 2″ long cunningly concealed in the grass. The lady we were working for was not able to walk so I took pictures on my Galaxy and showed her what we achieved in the garden. I like to avoid arguments and disagreements  wherever I can and go the extra mile to show the customer that we have done a good job.

The daughter came along to inspect and we encouraged her to use the newly mown lawns for social purposes and celebrate what was actually quite a nice garden.  Interestingly, there was no smile or thanks. It’s difficult not to take this personally. Since we have cleared the garden as per the instructions it’s not that we have done our job badly. Maybe the daughter herself was so unused to being thanked for the efforts that she has made that she doesn’t know how to give compliments any more.

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