Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Canon cannot

My friend Mak Yuen Teen thinks that service in Singapore is really bad. In the Straits Times' Forum Page today (March 3), he related his frustrations with a telco. Later in the day he emailed me the following:

"I just bought a Canon scanner last week. It says if I register online, I will get 3 mths extra warranty. When I tried, the website does not recognise my serial number. I emailed their customer service last weekend and got no reply. From my experience, many companies give email contacts but never respond.

"I think it's because our CASE is kind of toothless. Even outright misrepresentation, consumers find it tough to get recourse. My view is that not only service is bad, so is ethics of our businesses. I'm not sure why we keep thinking we are fantastic on ethics."

It's a BOO-QUET for Canon.

The morning after I posted the "Canon Cannot" item above and sent the feedback to Canon Singapore, Ms Lynette Low, its senior manager, Customer Delight Management, called me on my mobile to ask for Prof Mak's contact number. As I did not have it, I gave her his email address instead.

A few email messages between the two parties ensued. In the exchanges, what I found most interesting was Lynette's assertion that the scanner which Prof Mak purchased was sold by the company's business group and therefore did not qualify for online warranty registration as it had not been set up yet.

Online registration gives the buyer an extra three months' warranty, but because Prof Mak's scanner was not considered a consumer product, it failed to qualify.

Obviously puzzled by her reply, Prof Mak wrote back:
"I bought the scanner at Challenger, a retail superstore. I have bought
other business products with other companies (like a high end Sony Vaio)
recently and there is no problem registering online.

"I am not sure how you differentiate between a business product and a consumer product,when both are sold at a retail store. And there is nothing that I can see in any documentation that says so. I was also advised to register online by the Challenger staff to receive an additional 3 months
warranty. I have now just sent in the hard copy of the warranty."

Realising that the professor had made a valid point, Lynette was quick to concede: "On the additional 3 months, I fully agree with you. Whether it is a business or consumer product should not matter to you."

Prof Mak gets his additional 3 months warranty. As for Lynette, I am glad that she responded so quickly to resolve the issue.

However, I am still wondering why Canon would want to differentiate between a business and a consumer product when it comes to a simple thing like online registration for additional warranty.

I also wonder whether other purchasers of "business products" who did not protest over the differentation would have got their additional warranty as well.

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