Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cherry Mobile: Poor Choice that Treats Consumers Poorly

I bought my Cherry Chat Candy Ch@t last February 14, 2012 during their 3-day sale. It was working fine without any detectable problems. Then it started to have problems with charging. Even after 4, 6 or 8 hours of charging, it would not charge to 100%. And after removing my charger, the phone would immediately report a much lower percentage than what it was reporting while plugged. I tried to put in a similar although non-Cherry Mobile branded battery, fully tested with the same output and capacity, and still had the same problems with charging.

I brought the phone to the Manila Service Center on the 28th at 5pm. I fully explained the problem and the CSR took note of this as "not charging problem". I expected that the phone will be diagnosed fully by the time I returned to claim my phone on March 1. I waited for about an hour because they were still "testing the phone". After this unreasonable wait, I was told that it was a problem with the battery that came with the phone and that it will be replaced in 2 to 3 weeks. I could not believe that the unit does not have a problem too - using the other battery still brought up the same problem. The technician did not even do a software reprogram or replicate the problem himself. I suspected (correctly, as you will read later) that all testing (unit, battery, charger) was done in the hour that I was waiting for the phone. The CSR also said that since the other battery I used was not an approved accessory, my argument was not valid. I told the CSR that I will be buying a new Cherry Mobile-branded battery to test.

I brought the phone back with me and bought a new battery from the same Cherr Red Enterprises store in Robinsons' Ermita where I bought the unit. I charged the phone for about 25 minutes and instead of adding to the percent charged, the battery charge actually depleted while plugged. I was irritated by this so I returned to the Service Center and showed them what had happened. Ms. Aira Baning attended to my problem and after checking with the technician, whom I later found out was Mr. Patrick Palaganas, she said that I should follow the recommended initial charge time of 4 hours while the phone was turned off. This was a ridiculous recommendation since the phone should still charge the battery regardless whether it was turned on or off; it was the only time I had heard that recommendation in the era of Lithium-Ion batteries.

I gave them the benefit of the doubt and followed their advice. Despite their advice, the phone that was off and plugged was still depleting the battery charge instead of charging it. I was so incensed so during my lunch break today I returned to the Service Center to talk to Ms. Baning and to the Operations Manager, Allan Paguio. The standard reason why I wasn't able to talk to Ms. Baning's direct supervisor, Mr. Paguio, was because he was busy. I also asked to talk to Mr. Palaganas, who admitted that there was incomplete troubleshooting for the phone. This incompetence has caused me great anguish, since I did all the things I know of to test the phone before bringing it to the service center: Reset to Factory Settings, change batteries, try another charger -- all to no avail.

I called the Service Center on March 2 and I was told that it was the phone that had problems after all. This after 3 hours of having the phone stay in the Service Center.

I wrote the above paragraphs and sent it as an email to the Operations Manager's email address that was given to me (allan_paguio147@yahoo.com). I did not receive any reply. I called in and was told that they were reviewing the situation. I emailed again, disappointed about the total lack of decency to at least acknowledge my email. I also was able to find Mr. Paguio's Facebook profile (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000222348558) and sent a message there. Still no reply.

I asked for my phone to be replaced with a better, working model. After two days of vague answers, I was told by Ms. Baning that company policy demands I pay additional if I am going to upgrade. A personal visit to the Service Center on March 6 had me talk to Mr. Palaganas, who said he will do everything in his capacity to help me. Apparently this does not include exceptions to company policy. I have surrendered my phone, box, charger and extra battery in the mistaken belief that they will replace my phone as just compensation to the incompetence and defective workmanship I encountered.

This is a continuing exercise in poor customer service, where I have been inconvenienced, humiliated, exhausted, and frustrated by the inability of the two frontline personnel (Ms. Baning and Mr. Palaganas) to escalate this to their supervisor Mr. Paguio. The consolation that they offered me was a refund for the unit and extra battery, which would still be processed within an indeterminate time period. They said that Mr. Paguio tried to call me, which he did but once (as a missed call). Since his call showed up as an unregistered number and he did not bother to introduce himself via SMS, I did not bother to follow the call up.

I have watched a clip on TV Patrol before, where someone was complaining about the poor customer service he received from Cherry Mobile. This was in December 2010 if I remember correctly. Fifteen months later, Cherry Mobile still hasn't gotten their act together. I am thankful for having found this forum to share my experience with Cherry Mobile, and I hope that readers would share this with others to prevent them from making the same mistake.

I regret to have chosen poorly, but I do not deserve to be treated poorly.

UPDATE: I have already been contacted by representatives from CM Service after reading the carefully-worded narrative I have written. I hope they improve their service protocols after reading this.

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