When buying a major item like a car, a new PC or an appliance, most of us always consider what kind of warranty is being offered. The longer the warranty, the more likely we are to consider buying the item if it meets our needs.
In my time living in the Philippines, more than a decade already, I can recall dealing with warranty issues three different times.
My first warranty experience in the Philippines involved the warranty on my automobile, a 2000 Mitsubishi Adventure AUV (Asian Utility Vehicle). Anytime you purchase an new automobile, invariably there will be things that need adjustments, or parts that may fail within the warranty period. When I had such issues, which were actually very few, I always received excellent service from the Mitsubishi Dealer in General Santos City, where I purchased the vehicle. In terms of the quality of service, and the treatment we received, it was at least as good as a car dealer in the States would have given us, and we were always very happy.
My second experience in dealing with a warranty issue was not as good, though. In 2002, I purchased a CD Writer for my computer. I bought a high end one, one of the higher priced units being offered at Columbia Computer Center in Davao City. I used the CD Writer for only a month, and it quit working. I removed the unit from my computer and brought it to Columbia Computer Center for service. The unit had a 1 year warranty, and it was a major brand, although I do not recall the brand name any longer. Columbia Computer Center sent the unit to a service facility in Manila. Although I kept calling and visiting the store to check on the status of my unit, it took 11 months before I got it back. When I tool it home and hooked it up, the CD Writer still did not work. So, let’s see, I used it for one month, and it was in the service facility for 11 months, so the 12 month warranty had already expired. I went back to the store and explained that the unit still did not work after warranty service, and they basically told me – “too bad.” So, basically the warranty was useless, even though this was a high end major brand name product. At that time, about 8 years ago, a CD Writer was not cheap either, although they sure are today. I had no choice but to throw it away.
Back in February, I bought a new PC, and also a new 22″ Samsung Monitor. I loved both the PC and the Monitor. Without a doubt this was the nicest Monitor that I had ever had for a PC. I use my PC extensively, it is my business, and also my lifeline to the outside world, so owning a high quality monitor was something that I thought would be worthwhile for me. I had a bit of a hassle buying the monitor, but I considered it all worthwhile, because when I finally was able to purchase it, I really loved it, and felt that the quality was very high.
Back in mid-July, though, I came into my office to check my e-mail, and the Samsung monitor did not work! I tried all kinds of things to check it, but could not get it to function. I even hooked it up to a different PC in case the video on my PC had quit working. All of this, though, was still not able to get the monitor working. The next morning, we contacted the store where I purchased the monitor, and they advised us that since the monitor was 6 months old, it was still within the warranty period, which was 1 year. They advised us to take it to the Samsung Warranty Center, and told us the address where we could find the Samsung Center. We took the monitor to them on July 24. They told us that since it was a warranty issue, they would work on the monitor right away for us. We called 5 days later, and they said that they were waiting for a new main circuit board from Manila. We called again in about 5 more days and they told us that the monitor was fixed and ready for pickup. I was very happy.
When I sent my niece to pick it up, though, they told her that the monitor still did not work. They said that they were in error when they told us that it was ready for pickup. They advised us that if the monitor could not be fixed within one more week, they would give me a new monitor. By the end of that additional week, they were still unable to fix the monitor. So, at that time, we asked where we should go to get the replacement monitor, but they told us that before they could give us a new one, they had to “get approval from Manila.” Hmm? They said nothing about that earlier. They told us that it would take up to a maximum of two weeks to get the approval required, but no longer.
Over the weekend, as two weeks had already passed, Feyma called to inquire about the replacement monitor. Remember, by this time, they had my monitor for one month already. They advised Feyma that they still had not heard from Manila, and it would not take much longer because all that was required was an e-mail from the Manila Samsung Philippines Headquarters. Well, an e-mail only takes seconds to transmit, and they already had been waiting for two weeks! Why should more time be needed?
Over the weekend, I filed a complaint via e-mail with the Samsung Headquarters in Manila, and I also posted a message on Samsung’s Worldwide Facebook page, explaining the situation. So far, no word from Samsung, though.
At this point, I am starting to think that my warranty experience with Samsung is going to be the same as what I experienced with that CD Writer years ago – they will keep dragging it out and end up giving me back a broken unit with the warranty expired. Is this the way that manufacturers deal with warranty issues in the Philippines? Samsung is a major worldwide company and they should take care of their customers, but at this point, it appears to me that they don’t care about their customers.
We shall see what happens as time goes on. At this point, however, I am left unimpressed with how manufacturers handle warranty situations in the Philippines.
Update: Apparently, somebody at Samsung Philippines reads LiP. I got a phone call from Samsung in Manila today. They mentioned this article, apologized to me for the problem, and told me that the new monitor was approved for me earlier today. They told me that they only have to work out the logistics of getting the monitor to me. We shall see what happens!