Thursday, January 24, 2013

Buying a Notebook in Thailand

There's always a Catch to Good Deals

Is this a scam? Depends on how you take it. Depends on your mood and your bias towards things in Thailand.

I was at IT City. I was looking for a notebook with very specific specifications for my work. 1600 x 900 resolution at 14", i5 and above, must be Windows 7 (now all of them are coming with Windows 8), memory and hard disk I have no concern of as I can upgrade them myself. I learned it's very rare to find 14" notebooks with that high a resolution, people here don't do much serious graphical work that needed portability. Anyways, there I was, speaking to a salesman who sold me a "clearance" stock notebook that's still on Windows 7. The newer Windows 8 model cost 36,000 Baht. Mine cost 28,000 Baht. Grab. Paid in full, to collect my notebook the next day.

When I collected the notebook, the special VGA cable that was promised to me, not included (my notebook comes with a special VGA connector that needed an external converter to get it onto DB15 VGA). I had to order that myself in a last minute dash to another store before it closed for the night. And so I brought my notebook home to discover only late in the night that there was a dent. The box looked suspiciously old, and the notebook did not have all the protective lamination attached. In Thailand, all goods are entitled one-to-one exchange within 7 days of purchase. So off I went to IT City the next day.

"But i told you this is clearance stock" the salesman said.

There is a difference between selling me a clearance stock and stock which had been damaged, a display set, a used set or whatever I countered. I demanded an exchange.

"We have no more this model, you have to get the Windows 8 one, top up 8,000 Baht extra". That's when I blew my top at the shop.

He went to look for his manager. I mellowed down. He returned to tell me he would offer a full refund. I told him it's simple to resolve the issue, IT City takes the notebook in and send it for repairs, change the dented keyboard, win-win situation. No, IT City does not send notebooks for repairs he highlighted, I have to do it myself. And so off to the service center I went.

"Warranty does not cover physical damage" the service center said, and then added "It will be chargeable". I told them my situation, I told them my whole ordeal. People are nice if your are nice to people to begin with. They brought me to a corner and whispered to me to declare the keyboard as faulty, they will replace it. Wow, karma, I must believe in it. I once helped a customer worked things out by maneuvering the grey areas in my course of work, now someone is helping me.

As notorious complaining Singaporeans, we would treat the whole situation at IT City as a big below the belt scam and the set the place alight in our fireball of loud complains. I tend not to now. Instead, I blame myself for being careless in this whole episode and being a cheapskate buying clearance stock. The outcome turned out good at the end. Me here, blogging on my new notebook.

And here's a previous entry about my trip to the service center, where I encountered someone that was really pissed with the brand of product which I bought.

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