A few months back, I had complained to the IFB about the loose contact of the programming switch, in my washing machine. I had to manually push it to the next step of washing. Sometimes some funny 'dud dud' sound was also coming from it. The next day, a technician came from their local service center and said that the timer in the machine and some two other parts needed to be changed. It would be in my advantage if I took an 'AMC' - annual maintenance contract, with them. All these parts were covered in it and I need not pay the service charges too. We agreed and signed the AMC. He said that he could fix the parts after 45 days of the signing of the contract. He pulled some wire and fixed the switch for the time being and said that the machine would work for sometime without any problem. I paid Rs. 2,173 for the maintenance and Rs. 1,800 for a bottle of water purifier, which he said was good for the machine because our water was slightly salty.
The machine was working fine and I forgot to call them back to fix the timer. The technician had pulled some wire for fixing it temporarily and because of that, the 'rinse hold' button was not working, which was not a big problem.
Then, in January, I thought that before the AMC expires in June, it was better to fix the timer and the 'rinse hold' button, which they had said were covered under AMC. Then the problem started.
I complained on 27th Jan.'10 to their customer care no. The female repeated the complaint - washing machine, Senator Aqua-energie and I corrected my address also, which had been recorded wrongly (even after this correction, whenever I gave a complaint, which must have been nearly 10 to 12 times, the wrong address was in their record - call centers, huh!). The next day a person called from the service center asking which type of 'micro-wave' I had and what the problem was with the gadget! I said that I had IFB micro-wave, but it was working fine! He said that he was asked to fix the micro-wave in our house and not the washing machine! He asked me to complain again! Call centers, huh!
It was done again on 30th Jan.'10. After many queries from the service center, a technician came, checked and said that he would come the next day. After repeated complaints, a person came and after checking the machine again, concluded that the timer he had brought was of a different type! Again after repeated reminders, a technician came and changed the timer and switch. When he came the machine was half way through a wash cycle. He had stopped it and fixed the timer and then switched it on. He took my signature for 'the satisfactory completion' of the problem and left. Within a minute or two, a big sound came from the machine and fumes started coming from the back of the machine. I switched the main switch off and called the technician back. He said that he would go and send a senior technician to fix it. This was on 17th Feb.'10. A technician came and declared that the PCB board had got burnt and since they didn't have it in stock, he would come when he got it.
Then the row of our complaints to their service centers went to dead ears. Somebody said that the complaint was 'closed'! Then some 2 persons came and just 'checked' without opening the machine and asked me to sign a paper where it said that the 'problem was solved to my satisfaction'! When I asked why I should do that, he said that if the current complaint was closed and a new complaint was given, the problem would be solved within 24 hours. The bottom-line was they would ask me to pay for the new PCB board (around Rs.2000, it seems), which got burnt because of their mistake in fixing the timer. I came to know it later on that the wires were connected wrongly. Obviously, I didn't sign their paper.
Then we contacted their Head Office and after repeated complaints, they sent some technicians on 12th March, '10 and fixed the PCB board and now, the machine is working fine. Our complaint had reached upto the director level, I was told. The franchisee for the local service center was sacked too.
Huh, this post has become very long! Even now, my next washing machine would only be IFB , the current one is 8 years' old with not a single complaint before this one. A technician said that this machine does not need AMC at all, because very rarely they attend complaints for this particular brand esp. IFB Senator.
I came across a work sheet of a technician which he had dropped near the machine, it said 'senorita' instead of 'senator'...call center's mistake or the service center's!
The lesson I learnt from this episode is 'Do not go for AMC for gadgets of reputed brands, just pay for the parts or exchange for a new one!' My machine was working fine even before changing the timer, so, I feel the service center had asked me to go in for an AMC, saying that this expensive part had to be changed, which was not necessary, just for getting the AMC money. Hope the IFB Company will look into these flaws in their 'after sales service' facility, they are offering, while selling their machines.
Edited to add at 9.35 pm.:
When the 2 technicians came and 'checked' the machine and asked me to sign the 'job completed' form, the conversation went like this:
Tech.: Do you have an AMC?
Me: Yes, till coming June.
Tech.: Why don't you renew it now itself, because the company is going to hike the charge by Rs.600/-after June (exactly June!)!
The machine is under repair and they are not bothered to make it work within the stipulated time of 24 hours, they are worried about the AMC renewal for the dormant machine!
I have written a complaint with all these points to their Head Office, too.