Lack of em­pa­thy in Philip­pine busi­ness

The fact that con­sumers need to get an­gry and beg to have their rights re­spected is a de­press­ing re­al­ity many of us face.

Business World - - OPINION - By Rafael Lorenzo G. Cone­jos

“SIR, you need to wait for your re­place­ment.”

The sales lady said. And I couldn’t have any of the dozen or so new ones lit­er­ally be­ing dis­played for new buy­ers even though the re­place­ment was go­ing to be ex­actly like the ones on the shelves be­fore me. Nev­er­the­less, I didn’t say a word be­cause this is the Philip­pines and things take un­nec­es­sar­ily long all the time. It didn’t help that by some strange co­in­ci­dence, there were two giddy guys pay­ing for the ex­act same key­board. And there I was, with the de­fec­tive one I had just bought two weeks ear­lier, be­ing treated less of a cus­tomer sim­ply be­cause I al­ready forked my cash over to them.

In July of this year I bought an ex­pen­sive key­board from Data Blitz as an early birth­day gift to my 29-year- old self. The sales­man told me be­fore buy­ing it that it could take up to 2 weeks for a new one in case there was a man­u­fac­tur­ing de­fect and so I knew what I was get­ting into even though the re­ceipt it­self or the war­ranty card doesn’t say any­thing about this lim­i­ta­tion.

When I had to re­turn the key­board to the store be­cause the “z” key was no longer func­tion­ing, the sales lady said that they needed to send it to their ser­vice cen­ter to ver­ify my claim. Some­thing which could ob­vi­ously be tested right then and there at the store with the very same com­puter they used to test the one they gave me when I bought it.

A week later I called the ser­vice cen­ter and I was told that they would be re­plac­ing it with a new one and that I should wait for it to ar­rive at the branch. I hap­pened to be in the area two days later and I stopped by the branch to find that there was ob­vi­ously no short­age of stock of the key­board as I could clearly see sev­eral new ones through the glass win­dow even be­fore I en­tered.

And that was where I was yet again re­minded of how strin­gent their pro­to­col was that I was en­ti­tled to only the new re­place­ment key­board which was be­ing brought over at an un­de­ter­mined date. It didn’t mat­ter that it was more prac­ti­cal and more sen­si­ble to just be given any of the ones they had in stock and just have the “re­place­ment” serve as a way of re­stock­ing the store. I mean, if it was in­deed sup­posed to be a new one al­to­gether (which it was when I fi­nally did re­ceive it), why would it make a dif­fer­ence to them? In fact, I would be in­debted to them for help­ing me save a third trip of com­ing to their branch.

I left the store feel­ing beaten and cheated.

The only thing I could think about was the 80 or so video game boxes which I have amassed from their stores ever since I was 10. The fact that Data Blitz would rather have prod­ucts in re­serve for new cus­tomers to buy rather than help­ing out a be­reaved one who al­ready paid high­lights a com­mon stain in Philip­pine busi­nesses. And that is the lack of em­pa­thy when they

dis­re­gard the feel­ings of cus­tomers who must go through this dance of un­nec­es­sary pro­to­col when they al­ready de­serve re­spect for choos­ing their busi­ness over oth­ers.

In­fu­ri­ated, I called the ser­vice cen­ter again and told them that I have bought al­most ev­ery sin­gle video game I own from their stores over the course of two thirds of my life. And that it didn’t make sense for me to wait for a spe­cific re­place­ment when any of the dozen or so they had at the branch would do. Con­ve­niently dur­ing the phone call, the cen­ter told me that my re­place­ment “had just ar­rived” at the branch I had left hours ear­lier.

The fact that con­sumers need to get an­gry and beg to have their rights re­spected is a de­press­ing re­al­ity many of us face.

On the same day, Ace Hard­ware told me that the vac­uum cleaner I bought less than 3 months ago could take up to 1 month to re­place or re­pair and also re­peated an oral war­ranty lim­i­ta­tion, like Data Blitz, not found any­where in the doc­u­men­ta­tion and which ac­tu­ally runs counter to the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ war­ranty of the vac­uum. The Con­sumer Act of the Philip­pines pro­vides that breaches of war­ranty must be com­plied with within rea­son­able time. Surely it is within rea­son to ex­pect Data Blitz to al­low me to pick up any stock they have of an item they’ve al­ready agreed to re­place. Hid­ing be­hind in­ter­nal pa­per­work which clients are not a part of doesn’t form last­ing bonds. Say­ing sorry and own­ing up to it does.

Busi­nesses aren’t sup­posed to get it right all the time.

And one of the great­est op­por­tu­ni­ties for them to ce­ment a re­la­tion­ship with a cus­tomer rests on how they make things right when they make the in­evitable blun­der. It’s a chance to take ad­van­tage of an emo­tion­ally charged mem­ory but mak­ing it pos­i­tive. Sadly, while I prob­a­bly got my key­board back quicker, I would rather it came back with­out me hav­ing to fight for some­thing I was al­ready en­ti­tled to.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.