No medicine for broken tablet

I wonder if Samsung and their agents care about their clients or know anything about customer service?

Their now former public relations company, reputedly one of the best in the country, are also top spin-doctors, and before they became ex, took weeks to respond to media queries.

In the past I have had several complaints about Samsung and some I’ve highlighted: one was about a faulty TV that they refused to replace, which was clearly in breach of the CPA. In another, the PR, in a one-liner, said Samsung would replace the battery and referred the customer to the Ts and Cs on their website.

Dumisani Nyathi of Thornton has first-hand experience of Samsung’s attitude.

When I first referred his problem to the public relations consultancy in Johannesburg, there was no reply.

I asked what was happening and the account executive apologised and said her husband was in hospital but she would come back to me. She didn’t, and when I sent another prompt, she told me the person who deals with it was away. Then there was silence.

When I reminded her a few weeks later, she told me her agency no longer handles the Samsung account.

No company cuts its ties with its PR without giving them fair warning. Perhaps that’s why she couldn’t be bothered.

But let Mr Nyathi, who came to me as a last resort, tell his story.

Mr Nyathi said that in August 2015 he bought a Samsung Tab 4 from Telkom at Parow Centre but a year later the device wouldn’t power up. “I put it on charge from 8pm but the next morning it still wasn’t working and I went to Telkom who told me to take it to Samsung at Century City. The technician said there was an abnormal drain on the battery and he would have to book it in for repair,” Mr Nyathi said.

Smartlab gave him a quote for R1 117 for a new battery but as they had replaced the motherboard which was still under warranty Samsung wouldn’t give him another battery because the guarantee had expired.

“I rejected the quote and went back to Samsung Century City where they said I should email their complaints department, which I did. I told them the warranty expired the day the device broke down, and because it was evening I couldn’t take it anywhere to be repaired and had to take it to the agents first thing next morning. The technician said there was an abnormal drain on the battery and as I am in the industry I know any abnormal drain will cause the battery to short. The new motherboard caused the battery to short circuit thus shortening its life.

“From my experience a faulty battery will not just stop working, it gives you warnings and unless you charge it constantly it will become flat in no time. There were no such warnings on my tablet. I believe the motherboard is the problem,” Mr Nyathi told Samsung’s complaints department who confirmed that a senior consultant would contact him. Nobody did.

A few days later Samsung asked for Telkom’s details which Mr Nyathi supplied.

When Mr Nyathi hadn’t heard from Samsung he told them in November 2016 he would take legal advice to resolve the matter as they have had ample time (more than two years and counting) and they haven’t done anything.

But it was like water off a duck’s back.

Then he contacted the National Consumer Commission (NCC) on November 24 and though he was given a reference number and told the investigation would take 60 days, they were also strangely silent.

On February 13 this year he called the NCC to ask about the status of his case but he didn’t get a reply.

Mr Nyathi eventually asked me to help.

“I have wasted more than 60 days thinking that my case is being attended to but it seems that this has not happened and I’m sure it will prejudice me, losing the claim, or worse, my device. I have exhausted all avenues. Please help.”

All this time Mr Nyathi’s tablet has been at the Smartlab centre. In my book that’s not so smart.

As I explained, Samsung’s spin doctors, and by extension the person who was dealing with it at Samsung’s office ignored my emails and they were copied to her.

That’s where the matter rested despite phone calls to Samsung’s head office, no one could put me in touch with the right person.

But not so long ago Mr Nyathi told me: “I received good news from Samsung and they will be replacing the device.”