Chronicles of Deepa: The Wardrobe, The Dresser and The Side Table

Last month we went to an exhibition held at the Chennai Trade Center. We had been toying with the idea of buying a wardrobe since I needed more storage space. The exhibition was selling furniture on discount. We went to the Zuari stall and after much deliberation chose a nice four door wardrobe and a dresser. Purchases over Rs. 5000 had an attractive "buy for so-much and get this free" offer. And so we also got a side table for free. The Zuari guys said that they needed about 10 days before they could make the delivery. Since we had to dispose of our old cupboard and dresser, this suited us fine. So we paid up the full amount, took our receipt and invoice and headed home pleased with the purchases we had made. That was on 7th June, 2010.

That was the beginning of a month of sheer torture and extreme stress.

About 12 days after we had made the purchase, I received a call from the dealer. One U.M.Retail Pvt. Ltd informing that the items were ready and would be delivered in a day or two. My husband and I quickly made arrangements to dispose the existing furniture. So there I was, sans cupboard, with all my clothes heaped on the bed. My toiletry items were dumped on a stool with a 100 year old mirror propped against the wall (the mirror is another story).

Two more days passed by without a peep from M/s U.M.Retail Pvt Ltd. So my husband called and they assured him that the furniture would be delivered that day itself. Another three days passed by. On 25th June, I called the shop again. I was told it MAY be delivered that day. I lost my cool and gave the guy a yelling. The guy said he would check with their warehouse and get back to me in half an hour.

Never trust a vendor when he says he will call back. An hour went by and he didn't call. I got angrier by the minute. I called back and gave the guy a dressing down. "I have paid full money for this furniture. That means you have my goods in your possession and are willfully not giving it to me. That is a clear case of theft and fraud. I will report you to police". This seemed to cow the down the guy and he gave me the number of their distribution manager Robin. I called Robin and once again faced ambiguous assurances. I had to do an action replay of the previous dressing down. Robin finally admitted that the wardrobe was not in stock and they would not be able to deliver the furniture before Monday.

That was a bit of a problem since I was leaving town on Sunday and my husband would have to hold the fort till Thursday. Easier said than done. He does not handle stress or vendors very well. Outlining a strategy, I told him to use sheer aggression to get our work done. "Keep calling them every hour. Use different phone numbers. If you're calling Robin at one time, call U.M.Retailers next. Harass them into sending the furniture". With that, I left the city.

My husband and I were in touch over phone to discuss developments. He was forced to remain at home in anticipation of the furniture's arrival. On 28th June there seemed to be a glimmer of hope. It appeared that the furniture would be delivered that evening. But alas, our hopes were dashed to the ground. Robin called me to say that the stock had still not arrived and hence delivery that day would not be possible. I told him that I was traveling and he should speak directly to my husband. Robin quailed at the suggestion. "No madam! I'm afraid to speak to him. Please inform him yourself!!" Stress levels hit an all time high when I delivered the news to my husband. He had taken leave that day and put off some visa processing work for this.

After several hundred more phone calls and still more (empty) threats, the furniture finally arrived on 29th June at 9pm. Oh Joyful day! But wait... A new shock awaited us. The dresser mirror was broken.

My husband refused to go back to yelling and threatening Robin on the phone. So I had to take over. Another 6 days followed filled with daily phone calls and entreaties. Sometimes there was no labour to make the delivery and sometimes no truck was taking a route that would bring a replacement dresser to our home. The dresser was finally delivered today at 6pm. We're hoping it will be fitted tomorrow.

I don't understand what went wrong. We paid full money upfront. Had all the required paper work. Had purchased from a reputed company. Despite all this we were practically held ransom by the dealer. At every step their inefficiency was reinforced. I must have spent at least Rs. 1000 in phone calls alone! And I'm not counting the mental stress and harassment we faced due to all this.

I do not know whether Zuari is aware about how unprofessional U.M.Retailers Pvt Ltd is in its dealings with customers. I plan to get in touch with the PR department and put in a written complaint about this dealer.

Hopefully tomorrow, this time, my dresser would have been fitted and life can go back to normal. But, like Robin said during one of the innumerable calls I made "Invoice No. 132? I will never forget it!" Neither will I Robin. Neither will I.

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4 Responses to Chronicles of Deepa: The Wardrobe, The Dresser and The Side Table

  1. RGB says:

    And what about the "free" side table? Was that intact, or did they just dump some old furniture lying in the warehouse? So much for "customer is king" theories, huh?

    We sent our refrigerator to the service centre and are still waiting to hear from them. Umpteen reminders (in person, call, email, snail mail) and over 2 years later, we've written off the refrigerator (maybe they're doing R&D on the specimen)and gone back to our routine with a bigger, better one (can't say better yet, bcoz only when something goes wrong can you judge their service!).

  2. Deepa says:

    Two years!! Surely you jest?

    The side table was fine. Only its colour clashes with the rest of my furniture. But beggars can't be choosers.

    Henceforth, when people say trhat private sector means more efficiency, I will have a hearty laugh. From furniture companies to courier companies all are tarred by the same brush of inefficiency and unprofessionalis. Not to mention idiotic low IQ staff.

  3. Awwww! What an experience... one you'll not forget for a long time to come...

    Perhaps... if you had not made the (full) payment in advance... things would have worked differently...

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