Image courtesy of www.topnews.in
Dear Fashion PULIS,
I thought of sending you this story while I was reading your blog. The post where you showed the SM price tag scam inspired me to write my frustration regarding the customer service of Swatch.
It has been a week of feeling frustrated over the after-sales service of Swatch for me. I am from Iloilo, a province from the Visayas. I bought a Swatch March of last year when I went to Cebu. After a few months of use, I observed that gave me the wrong time from time to time.
When I went back to Cebu October last year, I had the watch check by the store. The lady checked the battery and it was fine. She advised me to leave it for 3 weeks for observation. I did not agree because I had to go back to Iloilo and they refused send the watch via LBC after the 3 week observation period.
The watch got permanently busted last February 2011. By busted I mean no movement for the second’s hand. I called the Manila Swatch service center about it. They said they will check the watch provided that the three conditions will be met:
1. Hand in the watch personally or through someone I know.
2. Leave the watch for 2-3 weeks for "proper" observation.
3. Pick up the watch from them after the 2-3 week "proper" observation period.
Since I had no way of going to Manila and I do not know of someone I could ask to help me fulfill the 3 condition, I felt no reason to despair because I had another full year left of warranty.
The lady who took my call also gave me hope when she told me that she understood that I could stay longer than 3-5 days if ever I go to Manila. I believe she said that she could bypass the rules and give me special consideration. After the phone call, I was still hopeful and decided that I would just wait for the time when I have a scheduled trip to Manila.
I was happy when I heard that my tita was scheduled to fly to Manila on May 28, but she will just stay there for just 3 days. Before she flew to Manila and go to Swatch, I made sure to call the service center. I informed them about my situation and the fact that I can't leave my watch for 2-3 weeks. I just did not want to leave the Swatch there in Manila and get it from them after a year or so.
After the phone call, I got the impression that Swatch will accommodate my request. So when May 28 came, my tita personally hand in my Swatch to the Glorietta store. They discovered that the battery was busted but since they ran out of battery that morning, my Tita had to leave the watch. They also told her that after they replace the battery, they need to observe it for 3 days, in time for my tita's flight to Iloilo.
Three days later at 5 PM, my Swatch was released. They told my tita that just by replacing the battery my Swatch will now work fine. The Swatch was set at 5:15 pm. It was placed inside a case before it was handed to my Tita.
Believe it or not, I got the watch at 5:15 PM the following day. I was thrilled because it gave me the correct time after months of frustration! However, I noticed that although the time was right, the seconds hand did not move one nanometer. What are the chances that the watch was ok the 3 days while it was under the custody of Swatch and it just got busted again when it was handed to me?
Once again I called the Glorietta branch and they did not know how it could happen. As far as they know, it was working perfectly when they gave it back to my tita. They spent the whole 30 minutes of NDD call explaining the policies of Swatch to me. The lady I was speaking to asked their head office if they could offer a solution. She told me minutes later that there was nothing they could do unless the 3 conditions they told me before were met.
I let the weekend pass, and decided to spend another NDD call to their head office. The Swatch guy (I know his name, but I doubt if it's important to refer to it) told me that they couldn't do anything unless I complied with their policy. As far as he is concerned, I am no longer entitled to feel frustrated or think of them as anti-consumer since necessity left me with no choice but to pull out the unit only after 3 days. Also, as per policy and SOP, they have fulfilled the correct after sales support. He did give me an email address though where I can send my letter of complaint. I have sent the letter for quite some time but I have received no reply from Swatch.
It's just so frustrating and this is why I decided to write to you, hoping to get my story published and circulated online. The Swatch that I bought might not be expensive, I may not have connections. I have no value to them, so I do not matter? I know that they have all the money to get celebrity endorsers, do some CSR and charity works to show an image of an upright, credible, community-oriented company, but they have forgotten to offer good after sales service to a loyal customer.
I had my first Swatch 18 years ago when I was in grade 1. When it got busted, I bought a different brand of watch since Swatch was not available in Iloilo. I wore the watch from Grade 6 till last year when I finally bought my first Swatch using my own money. When it was still working properly last year, I couldn't think of buying any other brand of watch but Swatch. I have a total of 4 Swatch (only one left working properly), and each has a sentimental value to me. I never buy anything if it does not have value to me. This is why I going through great lengths to voice my frustrations.
I know I am just one person. And my cause is hardly anything significant or controversial. But here I am, attempting to help improve the quality of customer service we have here in the Philippines.
Maria Frances Anne Lorena
P.S. Calling on Swatch, please feel free to email your side of the story to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will publish it as soon as I receive it.