On Monday, Paul Thompson wrote about a refund (or shall we say dividend) that he gets every Christmas from his Electric Co-op. When I read Paul’s story, I decided that I just had to write about my Christmas Refund experience this year.
Over the past 3 or 4 months, I have been wanting a nicer cellphone. I had a fairly decent one, a Samsung Galaxy Y, which is an Android Smartphone. But, I wanted one with a bigger screen, something that I could use as a replacement for two of my current devices, my phone and my tablet. Why carry two devices when one will do the job? So, there were two phones that I wanted were either a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or a Samsung Galaxy S3. Both phones have around a 5″ screen. Problem is that each of these phones runs around P30,000 to P34,000. That’s about $800 or so. There was no way I was going to spend that kind of money for a cellphone, though. So, I figured that I would wait until the prices fell, but my problem was that the most I would pay would be maybe about half that amount. It would take a long time for the price to drop that far, I though!
Well, in November, I started hearing about a new cellphone company called Cloudfone, which is a Filipino company. They purchase cellphones from China and re-brand them to the Cloudfone brand. I saw one model that they had which is the Cloudfone 500g. I fell in love with it. It had a 5″ screen, and all the features I wanted. The price? P6,999. That’s about $175 or so. Wow, I could not believe it. I read lots of reviews online and they were all good. A few days before Christmas, I sent my niece to the mall with the money to purchase the Cloudfone for me. An hour or so later she came home, Cloudfone in hand. I had a new Christmas present! I played around with the phone for a few hours, and I loved it.
Upon seeing my new Cloudfone, Feyma played with it a bit and fell in love with it too, so the next day, we bought a second one for her Christmas present. Later in the day, we decided to get a third one, as my niece would love to have one and it would be useful for her work (she works for me). So, all in all, we had 3 new Cloudfone 500g’s under the Christmas tree. When Christmas came and we all opened our new phones (my niece was very surprised, she never expected to get one of these), we were all very happy with our new gadgets! After a few hours of setting up everything, importing all of the data from our old cellphones, etc, and time playing and testing out the Cloudfones, there was trouble in paradise.
Trouble in Paradise
What was the trouble? Well, Feyma discovered that the camera on her new phone did not work. I told her she better take it in and get a replacement unit. You don’t want to wait too long, because here in the Philippines it is only for a few days after purchase that they will replace the item. Refund? Ha ha. Forget that! It will not happen. So, Feyma was off to the mall (can you believe the malls are all open on Christmas day?) to get a replacement for her Cloudfone. While she was gone, I got a call on my cellphone. I went to answer it and found that my new phone could not be answered! No matter what I tried, it just kept ringing. Soon the phone crashed and I had to start it again. I started testing it and found that indeed, you could not answer the phone! Oops! Another defective Cloudfone. Feyma got home and I told her of my problem. We tested her Cloudfone and it was the same as mine, you could not answer the phone!
We next checked my niece’s phone, and everything worked fine on it. She was happy about that, but I was thinking that I gave her the wrong phone… that one should have been for me! 😉 Just kidding. So, anyway, out of 3 Cloudfone’s purchased, we had two defective units, and one of those defective phones was a replacement for another defective phone! Ouch!
Next, we went to the dealer and told them that we wanted a refund. They fought that very hard. They said they would think about it and call us the next day. The next day, they texted Feyma and told her that we could exchange for a different model if we wanted (didn’t mention anything at all about a refund). Feyma told them that we did not want any other phone, if the Cloudfone could not be provided in working condition, we would just stick with our Samsung phones. Didn’t hear anything back. The next day, Feyma called the store and talked to them. They were very reluctant to give any refund, so Feyma got the phone number for their Corporate office here in Davao, and called to speak to somebody higher on the ladder. After explaining the whole situation, the person at the Corporate office agreed to give Feyma a refund! So, the next day, Feyma went there, and a refund was actually given!
In my 13 years of living here, this is the first time I ever remember being able to get a refund on an item. Feyma was persistent, though, and demanded the refund. She got it. Kudos to Feyma for that.
Is business changing in the Philippines? Are companies more likely to give refunds now, based on our experience? I don’t think so. If they were more willing to give refunds, they would have done it without having to climb the corporate ladder in seek of our money back. But, I guess this shows that persistence can pay off, at least in some cases.
What about the phone? Well, I went back to my Samsung for a while, but ended up buying a phone similar to the Cloudfone. This is a Cherry Mobile Titan with a 5″ screen, Android 4.0 and all the features I was hoping for! I’ve been using it for a few days now, and so far everything is working as it should! To be honest, I love it!