Croma Anna Nagar is a disgrace to the Tatas.
On December 29, 2010, I go to check out the New Year’s deals at the store. The salesman Adaikal Raj tells me he can give me a Samsung 3D LED TV 40 inch (MRP Rs.1,19,990) + Samsung 3D player (MRP Rs.29,990) + 3 Blu Ray Glasses + 3 Blu Ray Titles + HDMI cable + Wifi LAN Adapter AND a 22 inch Sansui LCD TV – all for Rs. 1,10,000.
It was a great deal no doubt. After checking with other stores (Sony had a similar offer for 1.2 lakhs minus the free 22 inch Sansui TV but they were giving 10 Blu Ray titles free and how I regret I didn’t take that offer!), I went ahead with Croma because it was closer home and I could always head there if there was any problem with my purchase. My parents were moving away and I wanted to give this to them as a gift for the new house. Which is part of the reason I wanted the best TV in the market.
Finally on January 2, 2011, I paid for it – 1.1 lakh rupees. Swiped my card for half the amount and took a loan on the rest and Raj promises delivery by January 14 because the product is out of stock. Had he told me earlier, I wouldn’t have waited till the evening of January 2 when New year’s deals end in most stores in the city. I would’ve just bought it from another store. I was visiting the store the third time now (my first visit was enquiry, second was to confirm the deal and the third was to make the payment), so I just went for it.
On January 14, I visit the store for the fourth time to remind them about the delivery because nobody answers the Customer Care line. On January 15, they tell me they don’t have stock of the 3D Blu Ray player. So how will you give me a demo for my 3D TV without a player, I ask. They have no answer. So I insist them to bring a demo player along.
The three 3D titles I was promised turns out to be a 3-in-1 title full of documentaries. I get both the TV sets. The 3D Blu Ray player was out of stock and it turned out that the HDMI cable and Wifi Adapter were accessories that came with the player. So I got only half of what I was promised.
Raj over the phone promises to deliver a Blu Ray player on January 17 (Monday). I wait for a full week before putting pressure on him because my parents tell me they may just pass on a faulty demo piece they have. I visit the Anna Nagar store again on January 23 (my fifth visit) to check on the status and Raj tells me that he’s expecting stock in four days.
On January 30th, I visit the store again for the sixth time because Raj does not answer my calls. I’m told he’s on leave and speak with Venkatesh from Customer Care who is visibly amused by this problem. He stifles a laugh on hearing that Raj hasn’t called or returned calls. He assures that I will get my player in a week. Not too convinced by Venkatesh and his body language, I ask for the Department Head, someone who will take responsibility.
Shahul Hameed, who identifies himself as department head, volunteers and assures me that I will get my player in a week. I had billed on January 2 and it was going to be a month. Give me a voucher for the MRP, I ask. He guarantees it. If it does not come in week – by February 7 – I will give you a voucher for the MRP, Shahul Hameed promises. Why just a week, I will wait ten days – till February 10 – and if I don’t get a player by then, give me a voucher, I say. He agrees.
On February 5, I get a call from Croma saying they got stock but they don’t have anyone to deliver the product. The gall! First, they don’t deliver on time and then they want me to come and pick it up. So I visit Croma on Feb 6 (for the seventh time) to collect my Blu Ray player. I find the packaging suspect and tell Venkatesh about it. He assures me it’s a brand new piece and tells me I can call him if it isn’t. I get home and take pictures of the packaging because I have a hunch they have given me a used piece.
I open it to find the Blu Ray player with the packaging – WITH THE DISPLAY FEATURE CARD GLUED TO IT, with scratches, with the base of the player discoloured, indicating it has been used before.
I call Venkatesh and tell him about this. No response for half hour. Then, I send a text telling him I would complain if I don’t hear from them. In the text, I identify myself as a journalist which is probably the only reason Shahul Hameed called back. I tell him I have studied mass communication and know the difference between a sticker and a display card. Shahul Hameed tells me he’s sending Raj home to attend to the complaint. He asks me to mail him pictures of the player and I do that.
Raj comes home, apologises for not taking calls, tries to convince me it is not a display piece until I show him all the scratches and the discolouration of the base. He apologises again, promises to report back on it and tells him he would give us a fresh piece when it arrives in a couple of days. I tell him I had visited the showroom seven times and I didn’t intend doing more and I expected him to follow up and keep me updated on this.
I wait till February 10 before I go to meet Shahul Hameed at the store (visiting it for the eighth time) at around 8.30 p.m. since I have not heard from anyone from Croma since Raj’s visit. I’m told Shahul Hameed isn’t there. Nor is Venkatesh. Nor is Raj. And the salesman promises me that stock will arrive in 3-4 days. I text Shahul Hameed and ask him to respond. I wait for an update till February 15. No response.
45 Days after billing, I finally lodge a complaint online on the Croma site. My complaint number is 163/150211/Led/150255.
But for the call on February 5 and the call in response to my text on February 6, no one from Croma has never even called me in these 45 days to update me on the status. And I have visited them eight times already!
A 3D TV is of absolutely no use without a 3D player. You can imagine how angry I am.