What do you do with a warranty but stand by and wait

Have you seen how:

By Bikram Vohra (Between the lines)

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Published: Sat 27 Nov 2010, 9:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 10:29 AM

When you buy something expensive the word ‘warranty’ is always written in that ye old Gothic style to denote tradition and veracity and all those other fancy words. This is always designed to make the buyer feel he is dealing with people who are above board and rising in the mornings with the express purpose of helping you live a better life. They make you fill it in and sign it and then they stamp it and the commodity is carried ceremoniously to the car and you feel you are the man.

So when our home theatre system LCD XPT 52 bought during GITEX (because everyone buys at GITEX) developed a funny sound few days into the purchase and the virtual ‘surround’ reduced to a squeak we pulled out our glossy laminated warranty card and went en masse to the showroom from whence the purchase had been made.

The salesman said, it worked when we tested it.

I said, so, it isn’t working now and it is only two days old, this is a one-year all world warranty card written in Gothic.

Actually, it is Cyrillic, he said, it gives a more powerful impression, did you by chance drop liquid into the amplifier?

I said, as a family we were not inclined to fling liquids at items worth a king’s ransom.

He said, the domestic help maybe.

I said, our domestic help may not love us but the same goes for them, the fact is, it isn’t working and it is no fun having a home theatre system with FREE DVD if it doesn’t work.

He said, he would have to check with head office because this sort of thing had not happened before but to do so could I please fill in these forms.

I said, you never asked for forms to be filled when we bought it, in fact you said we had good taste. He said, office procedure, has to be followed you don’t want to be disqualified, do you?

Perish the thought, we said and sat down to the examination after sending the kids back to the house to read out the passport numbers and the visa expiry dates.

We have to get a letter from your sponsor, said the salesman.

My sponsor is in Canada, I said, I am not going to ring him up and ask him to confirm my existence for a home theatre system that is faulty.

We haven’t proved that yet, he said, it could still be your fault, you may have put it into the wrong plug point, we have to check out all these details.

I said, what is the use of this Gothic warranty…

Cyrillic, he said.

I said, you didn’t hear me, I want it replaced.

We do not do that, he said, we don’t replace, we send for repairs, while you contact your sponsor I shall process your papers.

What is this process nonsense, I said, it is not cheese, there is nothing to process, just change the flipping system, the warranty says you will replace the machine.

He laughed the laugh of the intellectual scoffing the ignorant unwashed and said, if you read the small print there it says after we have confirmed that the customer was not responsible.

So, how do you do that, I said.

Oh, we have to send a person to your home to interrogate all those who live in your home and then make an assessment by our Vigilance Officer.

I said, what about a lie detector test?

He said, that is optional but the company is thinking of implementing it for items above Dhs 7000.

I said, I need to speak to your boss, the top honcho, the number one man, capiche?

He said his name was not Capish, as far as he was aware there was no Capish in the office and in any case Mr Capish was not in the Warranty department and the boss had gone home for the day.

He’ll return on Sunday, he said.

Then he turned to me and added, let me ask you again, do you want to confess, it will be far easier for you, someone dropped liquid into the amp, tea, coffee, lemonade, one of the children…

Sunday has come and gone. The system is in the repair facility. And we wait at home for the Gestapo to call and begin the interrogation.

Bikram Vohra is Khaleej Times Editorial Advisor. Write to him at bikram@khaleejtimes.com

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