Empty warranties

Mahfuzul Haque  writes how year-long warranty terms provided by some sellers of PC hardware, accessories and other devices in Dhaka are nothing more than empty promises

015In the twenty-first century our life is virtually impossible without the help of technology. We cannot imagine our lives without a personal computer, internet, mobile phone, oven, washing machine, fridge, mp3 player, TV set and so on. When one forgets his mobile phone at home or when the personal computer suddenly breaks down, life seems to come to a standstill.
Latiful Bari, an MBA student from the University of Dhaka, ran into such a problem when his computer monitor suddenly crashed around midnight last year. The next day, he went to the shop from where he had bought the monitor at IDB building in the capital for replacement as the year-long warranty period was still valid.
The shopkeeper then informed him to come after seven days. When he went there a week later, the shopkeeper asked him to wait another week as products were unavailable at the time.
On the third week, when Bari visited the shopkeeper again, the latter tried to extend the date again. ‘I was in deep trouble in absence of my computer; I could not do my academic work,’ Bari informs. Then Bari requested the shopkeeper to allow him a temporary replacement until the real one reached. ‘As I am the regular customer of the shop and bought several items from there, the shopkeeper provided me a temporary replacement,’ Bari says.
After almost one and a half months, he was called to collect the replacement.
016SM Mahmudul Hasan bought a computer hard disk on December 18, 2014 from another shop in the IDB building. His hard disk went out of order in May 2015. As he was allowed a year’s warranty, he handed the crashed one for its replacement that very month. The shopkeepers asked him to wait 10 days for the replacement.
Hasan went there on the stipulated date but he was not given the replacement. On June 11, he again went to the shop but the shopkeepers told Hasan that they can not replace the product as the manufacturer has stopped its supply.
Clearly upset, Hasan told the shopkeeper that he would publish the ‘harassment’ in the media. The shopkeeper requested Hasan not to do so and within ten minutes he was given a replacement, Hasan shares.
Hasan alleges that the shopkeepers have products in the stock but they always try to harass the customers by violating the warranty procedure.

Most devices now-a-days are sold to the customers with a particular period of warranty meaning the customers can demand replacement if the given device goes out of order within the time span of warranty.
For improving the service quality, Bangladesh Computer Samity declared on December 1, 2014 that the customers will be allowed a maximum one year warranty for all computer accessories. But most consumers have alleged that the warranty procedures are not being followed by most traders.
Mainul Islam, a banker in the capital, bought a pen-drive from a shop located at Multiplan Centre in the capital in January this year with a one-year warranty. But the device was out of order after three months forcing Islam to go back to the shop. ‘I went there four times to have it replaced. But I was asked to wait,’ he says.
‘When I last went there in June, the shopkeeper finally told me that he can not give me a replacement because the manufacturer of the device has stopped its supply to Bangladesh,’ Islam shares with New Age Xtra.
Islam later searched the market to find the product of the same brand. That is when he realised that ‘manufacturer stopping supply’ was just an excuse by the previous shopkeeper in a bid to not honour the warranty.
Mir Hasan Abdullah, a third year student at the University of Dhaka, also faced a similar experience when he returned a computer mouse he bought from a shop at Multiplan Centre. He did not receive a replacement despite visiting the shop a number of times.
An owner of a computer accessories shop at Multiplan Centre divulges that there are some traders who adopt such unfair means to cheat the customers.
Abu Hanif Md Mahfuzul Arif, president of Bangladesh Computer Samity, says that each and every customer can claim the replacement if the device cannot function within the warranty period. ‘It is the customers’ right,’ he says.
For the improvement of the service in the country, the BCS has instructed all traders to allow maximum one year warranty for all computer accessories, he says. It will be unfortunate if any trader denies replacement and the BCS looks into such cases if they receive complaints, he informs.