November 16, 2011

The case against being taken for granted by Jordanian establishments (Third installment): LG dealer "New Vision"

In this iteration of the CABTG series, i will share my recent experience with LG electronics' new distributor in Jordan; New Vision.

As any bonafide consumer would do; i answered the sudden impulse urging me to get up and buy me a new screen instead of my perfectly usable old one. and so i did on a Monday, i bought a 55 inch'er from said established, bundled with a 3D blue ray player & set of unusable 3D glasses.

I was promised a 72 hour delivery time frame, taking us all the way to Saturday; which i was Okay with, yet the showroom staff refused to take my address or give me expected time of delivery; stressing that the delivery team would contact me on the day of delivery. I must've been in a jolly good mood after answering my capitalistic tendencies; i budged in.

Saturday late Afternoon; i missed a call from a number that later turned out to be the delivery team; i returned the call an hour later, he informed me that he wouldn't be able to deliver today because i live far away and that i'll have to wait until tomorrow. Knowing that he wasn't speaking on any authority i called the showroom and informed him that if I don't receive my set tonight i will come to the showroom and cancel the purchase, i was promised a call back which didn't happen.

Naturally, i went to the showroom and demanded a refund for the undelivered goods; the showroom manager; a typical salesman, pleaded with me not to cancel the purchase; and made personal promises that my goods will be delivered the next day; first thing in the morning, again it seems i was still enjoying a mellow kick from the deceitful rewarding feeling of making a purchase, and budged in.

On Sunday morning, not exceeding my expectations, the delivery didn't happen by the time i was promised, and again; went to the showroom but this time i was angry; the first time around i would've taken my money and left probably willing to come back for another purchase; this time i was pissed off, even the nice showroom manager didn't attempt to talk me out of it!

The manager informed that since i partially paid for the goods by VISA, he was unable to refund and thus I had to go to the company's HQ down the road and talk to the finance manager, my instinct was this is wrong; but i accepted and made my way to the HQ.

It is rather interesting for me to observe how i was suddenly turned from being a customer to a visitor in an office building not ready to receive customers; i felt i was falling between the cracks of their business process; or lack there of.

The finance manager asked me why i want the refund, and i was explicitly clear that it was because the failure to deliver the goods on time TWICE; he dismissed it by saying that one day worth of delay isn't considered a delay; he took the liberty of assuming how valuable my time was.

I reiterated that i'm not in a business negotiations and that i demand a refund, and the only reason i am here is because i was instructed to come here by the showroom and all i need now is a committed date to receive my refund by.

He called in a colleague of his; asking her about what she knew of my "case", she repeated to a degree of accuracy the events that led to me requesting a refund, he asked her if I had any other motives; in fact he asked her if i had any ulterior motive for "creating this problem"?

I interjected declaring that LG & New Vision already consumed allot of my time and again demanded a clear date for getting my refund which he refused saying that his company will end up having to incur the 3% Visa surcharge if they process the refund and negotiated with me that if I accept deducting it he will process my refund -for the undelivered goods- promptly! Refusing to negotiate my basic right; I barged out of his office feeling utterly insulted and reaching out to my phone to call my lawyer.

The nice lady who was summoned by the finance manager followed me to the staircase; and asked me to calm down and apologized repeatedly pleading at one point that "he's just a finance manager; and this is how finance managers are like"!

I explained to her that I'm not even suppose to be in the company's HQ for what otherwise should be a simple customer-care case solvable from the showroom, and that this tactless person was disrespectful by not acknowledging their company's failure to deliver; assuming my time is of no value AND negotiating the amount of my refund!

I left confidently without agreement on refunding or delivering the goods because I knew i can afford the cost and time to get my money through the long legal process; and because i have direct contacts wit LG's regional office (LG Levant) in case Jameed hits the fan; but i imagined if I was just a normal hard working customer who neither can afford the time or cost of this; I would've been left with one of the following options:

Accept being taken for granted, putting up with late deliveries and failed commitments, and wait until the delivery is made OR Negotiate with the finance manager on the 3% Visa charge and get whatever I manage from this company the sooner the better!

An hour later, i received a call from a very nice and tactful person; who identified himself as the company's operations and maintenance manager; and said he was informed of my case and pleaded on personal grounds (again) to accept his sincere apology and allow him to send a team to deliver and install the purchased goods within an hour.

Realizing that though i can afford not to budge in, i opted to do just that; i have far too many things on my mind; i can do without another, and i also feel bad about engaging the legal system over such pity cases..

The nice guy called once again to double check that everything was alright; sending with the delivery few extra goodies to make it up for me; but being the person I am; the story couldn't end just like that.

At night, i sent an email to my senior contact at LG Levant office; explaining all the above; and how the whole experience was bitter and that it highlighted a failure in the business process and demanded an apology from the finance manager or his superior along with a straight forward summary -that you will find below-

promisingly i received a prompt answer from him; and promised an answer from the appropriate person within New Vision within 24 hours, which i did; and it was again the nice lady i encountered earlier; who sent an apologetic email that completely overlooked the fact that her company failed to deliver on time TWICE; and that i was insulted (negotiated with & almost interrogated) by their finance manager, simply citing "an error by their logistics partner" and that they "in good well" delivered and installed the set the same day of my escalation!

And that was the last time i heard from either of them, it is fair to assume that LG Levant considered the case closed; the goods were delivered AND I received "a response" from their distributor, why would i possibly feel bitter or pissed off; right, right? I'll tell you why LG Levant & New Vision:
  • Assuming that 72 hours is an acceptable delivery time frame, they failed to deliver by then, not once but twice! Why should i trust their warranty and after sales promises thereafter?
  • Refusing to take down my address and giving an approximate time of delivery is a common mistake among retailers; because delivery becomes subject to a phone call with the delivery team which is a recipe for misunderstandings and unmonitored customer experience.
  • There was no clear refund policy or process, at least in my case of a failed delivery of goods, i found myself having to hustle with HQ for what is otherwise a very obvious and straightforward thing to happen.
  • And even when i fell between the cracks of their system (or the void of its non existence) I wasn't treated as a customer; but more like a supplier or a visitor dealing with employees who are not ready or trained to handle paying customers!
  • As for negotiating the 3% VISA surcharge! Come'on.. it's utterly ridiculous!
  • It is nice to have tactful and nice employees, but to have the system depend on them being nice to cover up for business failures, to the extent where they have to plea on personal basis to cover up; that's pathetic.
  • And finally unable to issue a proper & straightforward apology by the offending employee or his superior is a catastrophic failure.
I tried to be as objective as possible, i layout the story not only to exert pressure on both LG and its new dealer in town to look into how I ended up with such bad experience, but also because i believe with more aware consumers; the bar on customer service will be up'ed in our locality.


Ahmad Humeid said...

Moral failure. Business failure. Human failure. This story has become so common in the country across the board. I advise: keep pushing for apology. Inform LG Levant and even Korea. More and more people should vocally fight this culture of incompetence and carelessness.

hallouleh said...

Good to see you writing in your blog :), i believe one has to take it easy on customer service in Jordan, it is a hopeless case, let alone the feeling of the value of time (تاخير يوم او يومين، شو يعني؟ ) this is a common phrase that you hear very often. I agree with Hmeid, that more people should voice out loudly their concerns and hassles in this respect.
I wonder when would we start have a more respectful customer care policies and procedures.

Seif said...

السّلام عليكم :)

ما حدث لك من سوء معاملة شركة مبيعات في الأردن قد حدث لي و لغيرنا في الأردن و الوطن العربي . لكن هذا لا يبرر خطأهم !

لكن لأنّ العالم أصبح " حارة ضيقة " و الجميع أصبح " يعرف بعض " و بإستخدام التكنولوجيا المناسبة ، يمكن أن نبدء التغيير نحو الأفضل :)

أقدم لك أحد الحلول الجميلة لمشكلة خدمة الزبائن حول العالم :

إذا قررت أن تستخدم الموقع أعلاه ، أرج منك أن تخبرني حتى أضم صوتي لصوتك هناك :)

Shombe said...

Don't call me sheikh...still there?
A lot of good bloggers are leaving the scene to pursue better jobs in jordan...good luck in your life.