After-sales and maintenance services are problems that continue to plague consumers

The condition of after-sales services and Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC) in our country is deplorable. When we, as consumers, endow a substantial sum on an appliance, we expect a reasonable degree of unremitting utility from the same. The utility depends not just on what the machine gives, but also on the services put in to extend and enhance the value derived from it. However, cases such as Shwetha Vasudevan’s stand as a glaring example of how bad the system is. Shwetha Vasudevan bought a much-sought-after brand of air-conditioner from a well-known dealer a few years ago. The AC was at its best then, of course — new broom sweeps well! Past the warranty period, heavy promotion techniques were adopted by the company to make her sign an AMC. Shwetha signed the contract by making a substantial payment. Little did she realise then that the contract would turn out to be unilateral — with the payment alone being remitted time and again. There was no response from the other end, and if there was one, it turned out to be unsatisfactory.

Shwetha was under the impression that once she entered into the contract, whether there was a complaint or not, service would be extended periodically. However, when the service personnel did not turn up even after four months, she telephoned the authorised service centre and after repeated calls, she was surprised to be told that technicians would attend only if there was a problem. Later, when there was a snag in the appliance, despite many calls nothing materialised. Meanwhile, the appliance developed a problem that resulted in a minor fireOnly when Shwetha averred to approach the consumer forum for deficiency in service and compensation did the company take measures to resolve the issue.

Such extremely flawed approach of the companies / manufacturers, not only defeats the purpose of AMC but also increases chances of mishaps. Businesses should come forward with a move to provide proper after-sales and AMC services to consumers.

(The writer works with CAG, which offers free advice on consumer complaints to its members. For membership details / queries contact 24914358 / 24460387 or helpdesk@cag.org.in)

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