Thursday, February 13, 2014

Should you buy a Micromax?

Perhaps I am unfortunate and have ended up with a bad handset but nothing can excuse the terrible service Micromax offers its customers. If you are thinking of buying this phone (or any of the other Micromax phones on offer) I would advise you to reconsider and explore phones (or TVs or whatever else you are considering) from some of the other established manufacturers out in the market.

To give you more background (and this is just a sob story, so expect a lot of whining and a lot of complaining), I spent a lot of time researching the web for reviews and tech specs of all the budget phones available in the market. I have to admit, given my budget constraints, the Canvas HD was not my first preference and the reason I purchased it was because Lenovo phones weren’t quite as popular and because I had my reservations on the quality of service they might afford, if and when needed later. The underlying assumption was that the significant client base that Micromax had garnered would imply a reliable and wide base of customer service. Boy was I wrong on all counts.

After buying the phone in April 2013, my wife used it for a grand total of 2 months after which the touchscreen stopped responding. Happily, we found a service center not very far from my wife's workplace but that was where our happiness ended. The trip to the service center involved a 4 hour wait (I kid you not!), just to get the phone inspected by the engineers. The sheer number of people waiting to submit their Canvas HDs was rather disconcerting. Nonetheless, the hopeless optimist in me hoped that the phone would not spend more than 15 days in the service center, as assured by them. Foolish and naive me.

Repeated visits to the service center to enquire about the status of repairs were always greeted by "We'll call you with an update." Like a fool in love, I kept waiting for their call, not knowing that this relationship was doomed and I was being stood up. My wife though, is smarter than me and after three months of fighting and abusing and cursing and following up with customer care over twitter and email, she finally had the phone in hand.

Note: Time since phone has been purchased: approx. 5 months, time we have had it, approx. 2 months.

So, cheerfully, we took charge of our beloved phone, almost ready to forgive and forget. This story though, has no happy ending or a happy between or a happy before-the-end or anything to do with any joy what so ever, so you might as well be prepared for more sobbing.

The phone had several signs of physical damage, on the metal band along its edge and disturbingly, the menu options at the bottom, which were near transparent. Another argument later, they begrudgingly took it back and we were returned a better looking phone, IMEI updated on the original bill, et al.

We kept the phone in the box, intent on using it after we had the screen guard and case in place. Given our white-collared slavery though, we weren’t able to put the necessary protection in place for a few weeks and when we did finally have everything in place, we realized that the earpiece wasn’t functioning. Moreover, put the phone to charge and it would shut down. (Check the video here:

Once again, we faced the daunting task of spending a few hours at the service center. This time though, I decided to be smart and choose a different service center, to hopefully have a better experience. (Keeping with the theme of this story though), "SOB!"

The service center informed us that the IMEI on the bill and that of the phone was different and they couldn’t accept the phone! We made our way back to the original service center, who said that it was an honest mistake, promptly changed the IMEI, stamped the bill and took it in for repairs, in the first week of November. After waiting patiently (If you are looking for some positive, you can take one here: I am a more patient man thanks to this experience!), we finally called up customer care, fought to speak with some seniors and asked them for a speedy resolution. The day was 30 Dec 2013. We were assured of a resolution within a max of 10 working days.

Today is the 13th of Feb, 2014. Needless to say, no response and I have absolutely no idea of what they have done with my kidnapped phone. Sigh.

I have recently approached the consumer forum and shall definitely be pursuing legal action. Should you still buy a Micromax? I hope you can answer that question yourself.

Oh! And just to sum up,

Number of months since purchase: 10,

Number of months of use: 2,

Number of months of repossession by Micromax: 7.

I haven’t begun counting the interest they owe me on INR15,250 that I paid Micromax to hold my phone hostage (Weird kidnapping this, the ransom was paid beforehand!)

In case you are a die-hard Micromax fan though, I have all the electronic records of our email conversations with Micromax and the recorded voice calls of all the customer care assurances. I'll gladly let you verify them for yourself.