Looking to buy a Sony smartphone from outside India? Think again! – Part 2

This post is a continuation of Looking to buy a Sony smartphone from outside India? Think again! – Part 1 and  if you haven’t read the first post, please read it before you read further.

I visited the Sony service center located in Jayanagar (the one diagonally opposite to Bajaj showroom) and got the token. After waiting for a long time, I found my token number being displayed and I rushed to the executive. I explained to her the whole situation and she was surprised to know that I used water to clean the phone. I told her that it was a waterproof phone and it had to withstand the water. With the surprised look still on her face, she proceeded to open the flaps and also checked for the IMEI number. She confirmed that the phone was water damaged and she said that the repair costs might be high. She then inquired about the place of purchase and the warranty. I told her that there wasn’t any warranty as it was purchased from a different country (the phone was however manufactured in April 2015). She checked the IMEI and confirmed that it was manufactured in the Hong Kong. She immediately said, “Sir, we are sorry. We cannot accept your phone for servicing, as it is not from India”. I was like, “So what?”. She said that there is no option (she showed me the screen as well) to accept the phone for servicing. The screen actually showed a message in red that he phone was manufactured outside India and therefore it cannot be accepted for servicing! The executive also cconfirmed that the phone cannot be serviced anywhere in India at any of the authorised Sony service centres. Wow! This was really annoying but it really does not make sense to question the executive. Her job was only to inform me that Sony didn’t “care” for their own brand of premium phones if they are bought outside of India.

Sony being a global brand, should be able to service their brand of phones. Of course the specifications are the same, as the specifications are based on the model number. Sony has released the phone in 2 variants – D5833 and D5803. The first one is for the Asian market and the second one is for the other markets. So there really isn’t an “Indian” version of the phone that has been released. So the phone that I am using, is the same phone that another person will be using in Hong Kong, or Japan or anywhere across Asia. Just to let you all know – The phone also works outside Asia with the only difference being in the LTE bands. So this was really an unacceptable move from Sony and is indeed disappointing to know. What about the money that I paid to import the phone? What am I supposed to do now? How will I use the phone again? Did I just lose 30,000 rupees in a couple of weeks? It was indeed disappointing and with no other go, I got back home thinking about the next step.

That’s when I remembered the movie ‘Never back down’ and got deeply inspired to look for a way – and I did! So I went back to a mobile shop that I visited about 10 years ago – That’s Rapid zone located in Jayanagar 9th block. I had been to Rapid zone somewhere during 2004 and that’s when I bought my first phone. It was a Samsung C100 that had GPRS and a lot of features. So with that, I went to Rapid zone and explained my problem. He was compassionate enough and agreed to help me out. He said we ll check for a solution before quoting a price. He asked me for a couple of days’ time. I said fine. I came back home “hoping” for the best.

So just like any other repair centres, couple of days’ became one week. Then one week became two weeks. I was tired of calling them asking for an update and every time I called them, they kept saying that the phone is still being checked. Finally when I called them asking for an update (and not them calling me), they said that the motherboard has to be replaced. They claimed that the phone had a water damage and they can’t do anything about it. So they estimated the cost to be 10,000 and asked if I was O.K. with it. With little to no option left, I had to say “Fine”. If not, I had to keep the phone in my wardrobe like a dummy mobile that you find in ‘The Mobile Store’ showrooms that are kept for display!

This time, I was told that it would take about 12 business days and “they will call me” once it is done. As expected and with no surprises, 12 business days became 24 business days and I had probably called them a dozen times asking for an update. They kept delaying and sometimes disconnecting my calls. Well, they are my “saviours” for now and I was all quiet. In fact I have to be. On one fine day, roughly after 5 weeks, “I called them” just like any other day and they said that the phone will be ready by tomorrow – and they gave me a 100 percent guarantee. That guarantee looked genuine when compared to their other “guarantees” that they gave me when I visited their showroom half a dozen times asking for an update – So dozens of calls and half a dozen visits + 10,000 rupees = getting back my phone.

One thing that really upset me was that they NEVER CALLED ME even a single time from the day I gave my phone to them. Trust me, only I called them asking for an update and they did not call me even ONCE. – Now I know why Amazon.com holds the No.1 position year-on-year for offering the best customer service, and no wonder they are in Fortune 25 and heading towards something great. Offering “basic” (forget good or great) customer service is not Rapid zone’s cup of tea.

I checked the phone and luckily, there weren’t any scratches or dents. I asked them how much I should be paying and they said 12,000! Well, I “believed” and heard them saying that it was 10,000 and now they increased it by 2000 rupees. They gave me an explanation which I did not understand and I was “missing” my brand new phone so much that I had no strength to argue. My ICICI Amex was geared up and had the credit for the debit, and I got the message that Rs.12000 was debited. I got back home and my phone was all ready – The motherboard or whatever they changed now had a different feel – I now have Sab TV and several Indian TV shows and music and content. The IMEI number itself was changed to 355xxxxxxxxx605 and this simply means that had I bought the phone from India, this is what I would have got! Wow! An Indo-Japanese phone!

The phone worked fine for exactly 2 days and on the 3rd day, the phone just got switched off. Just like that! The phone had about 66% battery and that kept me wondering what’s coming up! The phone did not turn on no matter what. I got back home, charged the phone, did some basic troubleshooting (volume button up + power button, volume down + power, press and hold power button and what not). Nothing worked, and I was disappointed. Rather, disappointed is not the word. I don’t know if there is any other word worst than that.

Something however made me feel that I should not be going back to Rapid zone again. I was so bugged with their behavior that I did not mind keeping my phone at home rather going to them and asking for help. With over 50,000 spent on the phone, I don’t think I was ready to spend more. It’s now been about 5 months since I bought the phone and I have probably used the phone for a month or may be less than that. For now, the phone is lying in the cupboard and I don’t know if I ll be visiting any other service centre for further help. With all this happening, Sony officially announced the release of Xperia Compact Z5 which now comes with 23 MP camera and a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 810 processor along with several other upgrades. Most importantly, they now made it official that Z5 Compact is “Water resistant” and not waterproof. So don’t even think of shooting your girlfriend under water – EVEN if it non-chlorinated swimming pool water or fresh water or rain water or R.O. purified water from Ultima!

But looking at Z5 Compact’s features, it’s hard to resist from buying it. O.K.my Z5 Compact, I am coming!!! I still haven’t learnt a lesson – Did you ask me if it is waterproof ?!????!!!!!???!!!!??!!