Recently released survey reports indicate that India has experienced a relatively high rate of tech support scams at 69% – among the highest in the world, 31% of Indians have lost money to a scam. And more and more of these scams are being encountered by customers looking to service their home appliances.
For every chore in our home today, we have an appliance – from dishes to laundry, from cooking to cleaning. Our trusted refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, microwave ovens, air conditioners and more keep our lives running smoothly. One can easily imagine the inconvenience caused when appliances break down. Or conversely, we buy a new device and want to use it immediately. So it’s no surprise that consumers are looking for ways to get the fastest after-sales service possible. In the age of the internet, that usually translates to a few quick clicks on a popular search engine. In most cases, things go well – we book a service call from the company who quickly dispatch their authorized technician and we perform the installation or service. But there are also a growing number of customers who are victims of easy fraud.
Here is how most of these cases occur: Fraudulent service centers pose as authorized service centers for popular brands and then display their own numbers on search engines. Customers in a hurry confuse this with the company’s service number and book a service request. Post this, they may fraudulently charge money and provide no service, or they may sell fake spare parts, send incompetent technicians who are unable to fix the problem but charge the consumer for the visit, and instead of repairing the machine they damage further. Customers also risk security by inviting unscrupulous agents into their homes and sharing their mobile phone number, address, etc. During this time, the company’s warranty on the machine is no longer valid because the consumer has used a third-party service. A portion of reputable brands face continuous lawsuits against these fraudulent agents, but the easy anonymity provided by search engines becomes a major hurdle.
To avoid falling into the trap of such scammers, Godrej Appliances shares some simple tips for consumers to protect themselves.
Look for the brand’s authorized service centers: Instead of looking for after-sales service numbers online, first find the brand’s after-sales service contact number on the product itself. Almost all reputable companies list toll-free support numbers on their products and have active call centers in multiple languages to provide their customers with greater convenience. Keep the official toll free/WhatsApp number saved in your phone book or download the brand’s official mobile app which can help you contact the nearest authorized service provider. Despite this, if you need to search for the service number online, limit yourself to searching on the brand’s official website only and do not rely on the results displayed by a search engine.
Reputable brands invest heavily in delivering excellent service – this involves training technicians, investing in IT infrastructure, building a network of service call centers and vendors authorized services, etc. Device performance is greatly impacted by the quality of installation and service, and consumers should avoid the temptation of cheaper or faster service promises and opt only for the brand’s authorized service, for their safety. also.
Attention to detail: Most consumers fall prey to scams because they don’t notice minor deviations. These setups often trick customers into creating fake websites trying to replicate brand names, sometimes using the brand logo and diverting the call to their own numbers. Watching out for errors can help consumers identify phishing websites. First, customers should perform spell checks to authenticate the information link, beware of distortions and adjustments in the spelling of the brand name, and be suspicious if you see a site with poor communication. Check the domain name, make sure the website URL says “https” (not http) and should have a lock icon.
If you contact the service centers of a reputable brand, you will receive the contact details of the visiting technician which you must verify with the technician’s identity card. Before letting the technician into your home, ask for his identity card. Also observe if the visiting technician is wearing a uniform. Most brands also supply branded or logoed spares, packed in branded cartons to show authenticity.
Beware when you are asked to pay up front: When you are asked to prepay for service or repairs by unbranded or unknown service people, you should be careful not to fall victim to a common scam. Likewise, consumers should beware of bogus phone calls stating that the product’s annual maintenance is due and asking for money before the visit. They might claim that a trained technician will come to the spot to fix the problem after you pay some fees. If you end up paying in advance, they might take the money and disappear. When you pay an amount at an authorized brand service centre, as soon as the amount is deposited at the service centre, it is entered into the system and you should receive an SMS from the brand detailing the amount you have paid. On the other hand, the authorized service providers issue an invoice for the service provided and take the client’s signature after the completion of their services, which is recorded and tracked timely by the brand to avoid any discrepancy. Some of them also provide code posting or feedback link service. If there is a discrepancy, you can log in and have it processed.
It is important to keep the above aspects in mind because once you fall prey to a scammer and make payments, it becomes extremely difficult to get redress. Such cases have happened in big cities and small towns and damage a brand’s reputation in the minds of consumers who blame brands for poor service, but more importantly, jeopardize consumer safety. . So be smart and vigilant, because these simple precautions can go a long way to keeping your family safe.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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