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Popularity 3Viewed 6476 times 2014-3-15 18:46 |System category:News| cleaner, couple, really, China

I bought a really great Phillips vacuum cleaner a couple of years ago from a major electrics shop you can find all over China.  There's nothing wrong with it, yet, but I soon realised that eventually the filters would wear out and need replacing, so I thought I'd better get some before the model was outdated and hard to find.  I went back to the shop, only to find they were totally uninterested in helping me to do this. I asked them what their view of after-sales service actually was and they acted like they were deaf.  To get rid of me, a saleswoman went off and brought me back a label from a Phillips shaver that had a Shanghai address on it and told me to go there.  This was a dedicated electrical appliance chain, a big one with half a dozen big outlets in this small city alone.  Clearly all they want to do is sell stuff, not support their products once the money has been paid.  I won't be going back there.  

I also bought a Midea water machine that filters,  heats and chills water, this time from a supermarket.  The fan on the chilling side failed pretty quickly, so I went back to the supermarket and they referred me to a local Midea repair and parts supplier (where I also get new filters from every year.)  A repairman came to my home and fixed the machine.  It didn't last long either, but who needs chilled water anyway? The machine is still going fine apart from that. 

I bought a Lenovo laptop from a local "electronic city" shop (dozens of private small companies vying for customers in one building) and one night in the middle of a Skype conversation messages starting arriving saying my hard drive was soon going to die and I should back everything up.  I thought I'd been hacked and was being lured to send all my info to a nefarious site who would suck my bank accounts dry, so I ignored it.  A week later, my hard drive died - ONE day before expiry of the warranty period.  I went back to electronic city to find the shop and those first people had gone and their replacements, even though the same brand, were not taking responsibility; but they did tell me where Lenovo had their customer service centre.  There was a problem because the first people did not give me a real fa piao, just something that resembled one.  It seemed they would not honour the warranty, but as I sat and waited and suggested that I clearly bought the laptop on that certain date and their records could easily verify it, they finally agreed to repair it, which they did.  It seemed they were doing me a favour rather than supporting their product and serving consumers. 

OK, three examples on the topic of consumer rights - China is improving a lot, but still has some way to go. If you buy Chinese products, luck is on your side because most of them have local customer service centres or recommended repairers.  If you buy international brands like my first example, you are dependent on whichever centres that company has set up (it seems to me).  I believe that good consumer protection should require any shop that sells an appliance to provide the parts or else get them in when consumers need them, rather than send the consumer around the country.  Maybe I should have inquired about it first and not bought an appliance that didn't have a local service centre, but that still requires the consumer to look after themselves (buyer beware) rather than shops being of service to consumers.  

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report voice_cd 2014-3-15 19:29
Thanks for sharing your story here! We have highlighted your story to the homepage.
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-3-15 19:34
"I bought a really great Phillips vacuum cleaner a couple of years ago from a major electrics shop you can find all over China." SO, YOU CLEANED UP!
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-3-15 19:44
Some good examples. Have a look around such stores selling electrical/electronic stuff. Take as a example an electric shaver. The stores often have a wide range of brands, but look at the tiny area that sells replacement foils and cutters. Often hardly any on display - perhaps one or two models. So the chances of getting such when needed are pretty slim. Some models though are so cheap that it is assumed you will buy the whole razor again from new. It is not all bad though. I had a digital camera that developed a fault with one button. The store I got it from had no idea - even like I must have broken it! A local friend found one camera repair place. Amazingly they could fix it for 100 rmb. They did. China does have places that can fix broken mobile phones, replace watch batteries and straps, etc but they are not official and of course they will charge something. Yet, if it works it is better than throwing away. Of course this is NOT true after-sales service and that is your point I know.
Reply Report Maierwei 2014-3-15 20:52
You are such a foreigner. Why take any appliance for maintanence, of course you need to buy a new one!!
Loved your post, and felt secretly happy that it's not only me who's experiencing this kind of things... Sorry for the time&effort you spent though. Maybe they're doing this so that people give up and buy new ones?
Reply Report msbom 2014-3-29 19:22
Thanks to the commentators. I have been away.  Ha ha Maierwei - my Chinese friends always laugh at me too and say TIC.  (This Is China).  Ditto when I stamp my feet when being nearly knocked flying off a pedestrian crossing.  I took a trip to Europe with a Chinese tour group (it was really cheap), and apart from eating Chinese food twice a day - at least breakfast was gorgeously European - a major highlight was when we crossed streets.  A bunch of us would appear in Luxembourg, say, at a pedestrian crossing and the cars would stop.  My fellow-travellers, mostly retirees, would all ooh and aah, wave nicely at the drivers and comment to each other, "The Europeans are so polite!"  Of course, if all the cars stopped for pedestrians in China, the traffic wouldn't get very far as the pedestrians never stop appearing.  It's my policy to slowly wear away at it.  If you do nothing, nothing will happen.  Little by little, everyone likes good service, consideration, kindness.  It spreads.  So I should stop stamping my feet in the street and glaring.
Reply Report msbom 2014-3-29 19:27
Colin, I hear you. I have had my toaster repaired and promised 6 months more life, and ten years later, it's still working!! The shoe repairer near my building can fix anything leather - handles that have fallen off my briefcase, shoe heels approaching 45 degrees of wear, he'll have a go at anything.  He charges hardly anything.  The woman who replaced my beach bag zip put in a far more beautiful, tougher one.  And don't get started on tailors ... they are amazing. Not all though.

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  • IN CHINA'S GOLDEN TRIANGLE 2014-6-7 08:15

    laoren1234: I heard Kinmen is famous for its liquor, Kinmen Gaoliang. Did you have a chance to try it?
    Yes, laoren, but I tried it long ago and found it's not my favourite. There were giant bottles here and there marking the site of factories of the famous gaoliang from Jinmen. Many people carried it home with them.

  • IN CHINA'S GOLDEN TRIANGLE 2014-6-4 08:45

    Thanks for sharing your story here, we have highlighted your blog.

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