Somewhere around October last year, our refrigerator completed three years. None of us in the family had remembered the date of its purchase until we received a call from the manufacturer’s agent’s executive. Had it been a regular call generally enquiring about the health of the appliance – which is often made at odd hours by cold callers who speak in a monotone – I would have forgotten about it. This one, however, was quite interesting as the caller happened to be an experienced and persuasive salesperson who managed an opening for his pitch with an alarming warning: ‘I must tell you that your fridge’s warranty has expired...’ Me: So..? Caller: You will not be able to make use of our free services, and... Me: What do you mean by free services? We haven’t had anybody coming to give any free service in the last three years. The fridge does not need any service, I had thought, or does it? Caller: Madam, we had been calling often to ask if it was working fine. Had it not been running fine, we would have serviced it for free under the warranty. Me: Well, all your communication collateral and the supposed manual say that it is a ‘maintenance-free’ refrigerator. The salesman at the store had boasted about its longevity... Caller: Madam, salespeople mostly are not technicians and they generally exaggerate the brand’s claims. However, I have a special offer for you. Our company is offering an annual maintenance contract (AMC) for nearly half the price. So, at Rs 1,750 plus GST, you will have another year of extended warranty. Me: What else does this AMC cover apart from your calling to ask if the appliance is working fine? Caller: This offer is like insurance. We will pay for all important parts that may get damaged and we will not charge any technician fee while replacing the damaged parts. Me: What all parts are covered under this warranty? Does it cover vulnerable plastic parts, glass trays, rubbers, bulbs, etc.? Caller: No, madam, apart from the ones you mentioned, it covers everything else. Me: Everything else includes what? Caller: The most important part in your fridge is the compressor and then come its circuit board and coils. Me: But the compressor already has seven years of ‘guarantee’ – it’s written in the manual. Caller: Yes, you are right, madam, but circuits and other sensitive electrical parts are not covered. In case of voltage fluctuation, they can get damaged. These parts are very expensive; some can cost over Rs, 5000. However, in our AMC of Rs 1,750, they all will be replaced free of cost. Me: There’s a big sticker on the fridge that says ‘inbuilt voltage stabiliser’. There should be no question of power fluctuation damaging its parts. You being so sure of its possibility suggest that you are contradicting your company’s claims. Caller: Ummm... (after a two-second silence) actually, madam, the coil of the fridge is very sensitive. If it gets pricked or bent while moving, it can cause major damage to the fridge and... Me: The coil in our model is not open; it’s within the metal body. By the way, does your AMC cover the outer body repair, and any fixing of small dents and scratches? Caller: (As they say, offence is the best defence) Madam, it seems you are not interested in buying the AMC and just testing my knowledge or passing time. How can an AMC cover dents and scratches? Me: You seem to be getting offended by a customer’s simple concerns. Shouldn’t I ask what am I getting out of the AMC? Caller: Thanks for your time, madam. Please let me know if I can help you with some other information. Me: Well, there is this vegetable freshener that came attached with the vegetable box. Its label reads that it needs replacement after six months. However, despite many calls and reminders, we still have not received the refill/replacement for the same. Possible for you to arrange for one? Caller: Oh, I am really sorry about that, madam. The company has discontinued production of those fresheners. Me: Well I was told that it keeps veggies fresh and must be replaced half-yearly. Was that a lie? Caller: I am noting down your concern, madam, and will ask my senior to contact you as soon as possible. Still waiting for the call. What else?