Dear Faber,

A letter that I just sent to Faber HeatKraft India, manufacturers of kitchen equipment. [EDIT: if the letter is cropped on the right margin, try reducing the font size. Unfortunately this seems to be a problem with blogger, or at least this blogger theme.]


Date: February 11, 2009

To:
Mr [name deleted]
Asst Manager Customer Care
Faber Heatkraft
Pune.

Dear Mr [deleted],

Many thanks for your letter of February 9, 2009, as well as the cheque
refunding us the cost of the Faber HeatKraft dishwasher that we had
purchased on December 30, 2008. As you required, we have signed the
letter, after making several annotations that you would have noticed
and that we explained to your company representative who visited us.
In particular, we accept that — subject to the cheque being credited
— this is a full and final settlement of the issue, and binding on
both parties, and commend you on the relative speed with which it was
arrived at.

Below I discuss several pertinent points in your letter. First,
however, let me observe that I claim copyright on my text, as your
firm does on all e-mails sent by you. Nevertheless, I hereby grant
permission for VERBATIM reproduction of the ENTIRE TEXT of this
letter. Indeed, I propose to reproduce it myself: I believe it may be
useful to some prospective customers of your company. Respecting your
copyright, I will not quote your letter, except for a couple of short
sentences where needed and in contexts that, I believe, are protected
by “fair use”.

Let me first summarise the situation to date, to refresh your memory
and for the benefit of any other readers of this letter.

1. On December 30, 2008, we were persuaded by your representative at
Rathna Fan House, Chennai, to purchase a Faber Heatkraft dishwasher
(model WQP12-9011B). We were told that it would be delivered on
the following Monday, January 5, 2009.

2. After much delay and telephonic discussion, the machine was
delivered at our residence on January 12, 2009. Installation was
promised the same day or the next day.

3. After further delay, which included discussion with your office in
Pune, the machine was installed on January 20, 2009. The
installation occurred later than scheduled, on a working day, and
therefore the machine was perhaps not perfectly inspected and
tested.

4. On the night of January 24, the machine ceased to function.
January 25 (Sunday) and January 26 (Republic Day) were holidays.
Your engineer arrived to inspect it on January 27.

5. On January 27, as we were inspecting the machine, we as well as the
engineer noted the following details:

a. The “date of import” for the machine was stamped as June 2005.
The date of manufacture was unknown but could well have been
over 4 years prior to purchase.

b. At least one screw was missing, and there were signs of rust.

c. Water was leaking from the machine.

d. We had previously observed that the manual accompanying the
machine was for a different model (WQP12-9213).

We promptly informed both you and your office in Chennai by
telephone, and sent you an e-mail the same day, and a speed post
the next day. We failed to receive any acknowledgement.

6. On January 31, we spoke to you and you claimed that the matter had
been resolved and the decision communicated to the Chennai office,
who claimed they were waiting to hear from you. You moreover
seemed ignorant of the missing screw, rust and leakage. We
therefore e-mailed you photographs of these as well as of the
import date, and got a rather non-committal acknowledgment.

7. On February 3, we phoned you and were told that the matter was
still pending.

8. On February 5, we decided, on advice, to consider legal options
under India’s consumer protection laws. We telephoned your dealers
in Chennai, Aaa Pee Enterprises, to confirm their mailing address.
A little later that morning, we got a telephone call from you
telling us that the Chennai office had been instructed to give us a
full refund. You refused to convey this information by e-mail.

9. On February 6, not having heard anything further, we sent your
managing director a registered post, for which we have received the
acknowledgement.

10. Finally, on February 11, we received the refund cheque; but
accompanying it was a rather illuminating letter that we were
required to sign. It is this letter that I would like to discuss
below.

You open the letter by observing that you disagree with us that there
is any defect in your products. We did not claim a manufacturing
defect. Actually, our objection was being sold a 4-year-old machine
under the belief that it was new. But we are happy to know that you
believe the machine defect-free.

You observe that the timer knob was broken after “several” (actually,
three) successful uses of the machine. (You say that we claim it was
broken; we made no such claim, and you must consult your engineer.)
You suggest, though we specifically denied it several times, that the
timer knob was wrongly turned anti-clockwise. It is possible that we
did this while sleepwalking, though neither of us has a history of
such an ailment.

You mention that the “manufacturing year of the machine cannot be
co-related with the future performance of the product”. I am sure
materials scientists everywhere will be interested by the information
that materials, even rubber and plastic materials, suffer no
degradation despite four years of warehousing.

You observe that service was available under the one year warranty.
We should of course have been happy with the fact that, in January
2010, we would have had a five year old machine that was no longer
covered by warranty. And even if frequent repairs were required, it
would have been a pleasure to call your service agents repeatedly,
taking time away from work.

You observe that we failed to note the missing screw on delivery, on
January 12. Apparently we should not have waited for the installation
personnel (who arrived on January 20) even though we were strictly
told not to unpack the machine in their absence. We should have
insisted on unpacking it on delivery and examined it for defects on
the spot. Your future customers will find this information
particularly valuable.

You observe that missing screw or “water clogging” can be “resulted
due to mishandling of the product”. What we reported was a water
leak, but it is interesting to know that screws in Faber’s products
can disappear due to “mishandling”. We additionally reported (and
sent photographs of) rust, which you don’t discuss in your letter. We
assume that this means rust is normal and expected in a
freshly-delivered machine.

What entirely puzzles me, however, is why you chose to refund our
money. Our advice had been that, under Indian consumer protection
laws, selling a machine imported in June 2005 as new would be a
deceptive and unfair trade practice; but you seem to be arguing very
strongly in your letter that you have no obligation to do anything
more than service the machine under the terms and conditions of the
warranty.

I can only imagine that you foresaw that we would waste our time on a
losing case, but out of a gesture of kindness, decided to save our
time and refund our money. For this we are extremely grateful to your
good self.

With best regards,

Rahul Siddharthan



Note: the lack of acknowledgement of the speed post mentioned in point 5 may not be Faber’s fault. This was the shipment that I mentioned previously, and I am happy to report that, as of today, it finds itself in Talwandi Bhai, according to the online tracker.

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10 Comments

  1. Aargh. The Kraft don’t Werk very well.//who knew buying a dishwasher required knowledge of copyright laws, consumer law, material science and of course, letter-writing?

    Reply
  2. sheesh. you’re lucky it got sorted out so quickly!

    Reply
  3. km, sb: yes it was remarkable how quickly they voltefaced after realising that we were serious about consumer court otherwise. But if they had accepted the inappropriateness of giving us an ancient machine, or even merely given us the money without the accompanying letter, I wouldn’t have written this letter, much less blogged about it.

    Reply
  4. Rahul: on mozilla I find that I am not able to read half of every sentence as the right margin somehow wipes it out. When I look at it on “show original post” on the commenting page, the full letter appears but the missing material as half a life below. Please fix this and then delete this comment if you wish. In any case, I am happy that you got the cheque back, although I am sure you would have preferred a working and reliable dishwasher! Best, Anant

    Reply
  5. Anant: I already mentioned the missing half line thing. It’s a problem with blogger beyond my control, the workaround is reduce the font size. I don’t understand your second sentence. Anyway an alternative is cut and paste into a text editor or word processor, you should see the whole thing then.

    Reply
  6. Rahul: it is not very important. However, here is an extract (the first para of the letter as read on the commenting page after clicking show original post):Many thanks for your letter of February 9, 2009, as well as the chequerefunding us the cost of the Faber HeatKraft dishwasher that we hadpurchased on December 30, 2008. As you required, we have signed theletter, after making several annotations that you would have noticedand that we explained to your company representative who visited us.In particular, we accept that — subject to the cheque being credited– this is a full and final settlement of the issue, and binding onboth parties, and commend you on the relative speed with which it wasarrived at.”I guess these are the many joys of blogger.

    Reply
  7. Anant – the extract is accurate. What’s your point?If you find the language cumbersome, that’s a problem with what we wrote, not with this posting. The letter as quoted is verbatim (using the HTML PRE tag) except for removing the name of the customer care manager.

    Reply
  8. Rahul: no, nothing like that. On my browser at home I could hardly read any of the sentences. I did not realize that changing the font size could have helped. So, in order to read the sentence completely I had to go the commenting page and use the “show original post” which then displayed every line, but indented in a peculiar way. In other words, I found a way of recovering every sentence, but not by changing the font size. Best, Anant

    Reply
  9. faber saga continues, its a gas hob i purchased on 02 dec and its lying in a corner with jus 1 day of use.. 1st 2 defective knobs that were so at delivery itself and then burner grid broke. what was cooking, 1 litre milk!!!!Rahul can u advice how to go about the consumer court channel? – Meer, Chennai

    Reply
  10. meer – you can try talking to Consumer Association of India, Vettuvankeni or any other consumer organisation (a list is here).

    Reply

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