Customer service

CTP OFFICIAL LOGOThis is the tale of my latest customer service saga.

You know the ones…where you have a complaint about a product and you embark on a journey which involves a seemingly endless series of phonecalls & broken promises?

But before I tell my tale, let me be clear on one thing…I am NOT writing this post expecting to get anything, because I actually accept that my product was broken and not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

What has me up in arms is the fact that Samsung knew my product was broken and not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty on February 19th, yet on March the 5th I had to go find this out for myself, so who knows when they would have gotten around to telling me.

Now they will tell you that this was not their fault, rather that of the repair company to whom they had outsourced the work. And THIS is why the story qualifies for this blog.

Here in Ireland we don’t complain about poor customer service nearly enough.  We don’t even complain about the fact we don’t complain nearly enough.  This has made the businesses that provide these services extremely complacent over the years, and this experience with Samsung is just one of many for me, so I have to assume it is one many have endured.

We are just talking about a tablet here.  Of course there are far worse things happening in the world, and in many ways I’m going way OTT by calling this a “saga”.  On twitter this story would be worthy of the hashtag #firstworldproblems.

But all I needed was a phone call or email, even if it was a couple of days after that February 19th date.  We regret your tablet’s damage does not fall under warranty, sir, we will return it to you at the earliest available opportunity.  In that case, if I came on here and bitched and moaned about them, it would be nothing but sour grapes.

So again I should point out that this is not what I am doing here, because I’m pretty sure that is the premise that many businesses would try to establish over a case like mine, which in turn is why I would be normally be reluctant to share the story.

This practice of outsourcing is fine to an extent, but if a business is in any way worth its salt it should at least accept ownership of a situation, much as I accept ownership of the fact that I didn’t purchase an extended warranty with the tablet that would have meant it would be replaced whatever happened.

Not only was it two weeks between the repair company posting notice that my tablet wasn’t covered and my discovering it for myself, I was actually in contact with Samsung during that fortnight and they knew nothing about it, so when I alerted them to that fact, I really don’t think I should have gotten this response :

“I am sorry with the issues regarding a repair on your device. As our service centre has deemed your device as Out Of Warranty, then I would advise that you contact them directly.
I have provided you with their details below…”

My issue was with Samsung.  I should only ever have to deal with Samsung.  For them to resort to blaming other companies (or sometimes, though not in this case, they single out individual employees) is nothing short of cowardice in my mind, and certainly doesn’t reflect the prestige they display in their advertising.

I made it clear in my contact with them that all I was looking for was two answers: (1) When am I getting my tablet back? and (2) What was the reason for the delay?  Had they provided answers for this, I would have cried no harm, no foul.

But to be given no explanation, a terse non-apology and instructions to go and contact the repair company myself is tantamount to being shown the finger.  And I’m pretty confident that this isn’t an isolated incident (with businesses in general, not just Samsung), not to mention the fact that there are those out there who actually ARE entitled to something in return who don’t get it.

Several people I dealt with along the line were fine, especially those on the phone.  My conclusion is that at eventually somebody got involved with my case who either (a) was too scared to be the one to tell me that my tablet wasn’t covered, or (b) didn’t consider me to be worth bothering about since I wasn’t going to make them or their company any money.  And I’m not sure which of those two scenarios is worse!

I could rant for much longer but I won’t.  I will tack on the timeline of my experience to the end of this post, but I certainly don’t expect you to read it, though some of it really does represents the customer service version of the Keystone Cops! JLP


Jan 30 – made original query

Jan 30 – 1st contact from Samsung (email) , told tablet is still under warranty and once I provide certain details it can be collected for repair

Jan 31 – Send details as requested

Feb 2 – Receive phonecall from Samsung, told it will be collected, and that I would be contacted before collection. (note – there was initial confusion over my phone number, in my first query I had given the wrong one, my fault)

Feb 11 (approx) – Receive phonecall from Samsung, unaware of 1st phonecall. Afterwards I receive 2 separate text messages that the job had been cancelled but assumed they were in error.

Feb 12 – receive text message : “Thank you for contacting Samsung. Your customer reference number is 2116741756. Our Authorised Service Centre will contact you to arrange an appointment.

Feb 13 – After returning home from being out, I see I have received a note through the door that Nightline had been to collect tablet without having contacted me first. I ring straight through to Samsung and I’m told they will definitely be there to collect the following day, so I change my plans so I can be there.

Feb 14 – Nightline collect both Tablet & charger.

Feb 17 – Receive phonecall from Nightline asking if I have tablet to be collected. I tell them they have already done it.

Feb 19 – I check Samsung website using reference number I was given – it says “cancelled by agent”, so I contact Samsung again by email expressing my concern

Feb 20 – receive phonecall re-assuring me it was technical error and that my order had been passed on to an “escalation team”, I am asked to provide tracking number from Nightline just in case

Feb 24 – Further to previous phone call I pass on the tracking number (delay here was my fault, couldn’t find docket)

Feb 25 – receive phonecall confirming that nightline had indeed delivered parcel

Feb 28 – I receive text message – “SOCIETE BOULONNAISE D’ELECTRONIQUE has been unable to contact you to arrange an appointment regarding your Samsung GT-P3110, If you require any further assistance please call 0330 726 7864 with reference 2116741756” Nobody had been in contact since Feb 25. I ring the number and am told they will look into it, later that day they say they have been on to Fonfix and someone from there will contact me

Mar 5 – Still no word since last Friday, so I go onto Fonfix website myself and discover (see screengrab) that status has been “awaiting reply to estimate” since February 19.

fonfix screengrab

Also Mar 5– I send email to Samsung including this timeline up to and including the above screengrab, requesting answers to two questions : 1) When do I get my tablet back? 2) What was the reason for the delay?

Mar 6 – receive email reply from Samsung tell my they are sorry and that I should contact repair company myself

Mar 9 – I compose blog post rant to make myself feel better. It works a bit.

Mar 10 – Samsung reply via twitter saying they will “look into my case”

Mar 14 – having heard nothing I emailed the repair company as suggested by Samsung. They have no record of my tablet.  So I ring Samsung and I was probably too polite but I let them know that all I want is my frickin tablet back.

Mar 20 – Tablet & charger are returned, with no notification that I am to expect a courier, so I may have missed them.


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