Sit down, put your slippers on and make yourself comfortable... this is one of those stories...
It started way back in October of last year when our DEC Plasma TV started giving us trouble. You'd turn it on and sometimes it would come on instantly, sometimes it wouldn't. Sometimes it wouldn't come on at all.
One Monday at the end of November, or the start of December, it conked out completely so I googled 'TV Repairs' and the first googlead was Mid City TV Repairs. Big ad, just down the road from here, they guarantee good prices... why not.
ASIDE: Google TV REPAIRS now, their ad still comes up, but click on it and you'll see their domain has expired... they do have this website though
I can't imagine the size of their new business cards...
Anyway, the guy I spoke to on the phone told me it was $80 for the quote and that includes 30 mins labour so, if they could fix it on the spot, that's all I'd have to pay. I explained they'd need to take it back to the shop and I described the problem as similar to a fluoro tube trying to turn on when the starter dies.
He came over, examined the set for a minute or two, then described the problem to me as similar to a fluoro tube trying to turn on when the starter dies.
I think he's got it!
I asked him how much the repair should cost (my quote) and he said it shouldn't be too much. I asked if it might be cheaper in the long run just to buy another, he said definitely not! He took the plasma away and said he should have it back in a few days.
Later, I discovered he'd left his entire toolkit behind. I called him and he came back to collect it. Reassuring me that the plasma would be returned very quickly as it was just a matter of replacing a part.
Tuesday, no quote, so I called him. He said it would be $600. I thought that was outrageous just to replace a part, so I told him to forget about it. He assured me it was a fair price (you note their ad says...
"***We will not be beaten in price, If you find another TV repair company in victoria that can beat our price, please submit their written quotation to our company and we'll beat them by 5%, otherwise we'll allow you to get your Television repaired by the other company - IT'S YOUR CHOICE! To this effect, we guarantee that we are the cheapest TV repair company in Victoria, Australia."
...so he said he'd get back to me. He called me back a short time later and said it was $450. I succumbed and told him to do the repair.
The end of the week came. I hadn't heard from them so I called them back. They said it was fixed and they were just running tests and could bring it over on Friday. I told them we were interstate Friday so we agreed it would be returned Monday.
He didn't show up on Monday so I called them on Tuesday. They didn't know who I was, which is never a good sign, and after lots of "What type of TV is it?" type questions we established that:
The part (a relay) had arrived and was fitted, but during testing it had exploded.
They had to contact the company to get a replacement part.
The company wouldn't cover the cost of the exploding part, Mid City TV did so they were already losing money on the repair.
As soon as the new part arrived and was fitted they'd call me. Should be ready my mid week, Thursday at the latest.
I waited again and called them the next week. Now it was getting close to Christmas. The story had changed.
The company (DEC) doesn't exist so the part is not available. No company makes that particular relay, so the TV cannot be repaired.
I was puzzled. If that was true, then where did they get the exploding part from? She put me on to the technician who was, as we spoke, looking at my plasma on the bench.
He explained that he could fix the plasma as he was going to modify an existing relay. So he could fix it.
Who was right? Could it be fixed or not? I asked to speak to the manager and I was put on hold. (Well, actually they just put the phone on the bench and I heard the technician telling the manager that I just wanted to argue, and the manager telling the technician that I was a magician and obviously thought they could just wave a magic wand and fix the TV).
The receptionist came back on the line and asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to speak to the manager and she said he was too busy to talk to me. I told her I could hear him badmouthing me with the tech and I didn't appreciate it. She said that wasn't important and asked if I wanted my TV fixed or not.
I said that I'd been told by her it couldn't be fixed and by the technician it could be fixed - who was right? She told me it was up to me.
I asked how long it would take as we had guests coming over and we needed the TV back before they arrived. She assured me it would be fixed well before Christmas.
On Feb 2 (yesterday) as I hadn't heard anything from them (and it was now over a month since they promised to return the TV) and the receptionist (a guy this time) said the manager wasn't in and told me to call back later. I asked him to take a message. He asked for my name, phone number and job number. I explained I hadn't been given a job number, or any paperwork at all.
No-one called back.
I called again today and, after the usual "What type of TV is it?" questions, here's what we established:
The TV was on the bench in front of the technician as we spoke.
In January a replacement part arrived (a power supply) but it was the wrong one.
They sent it back and are just waiting on a fax from the company and as soon as the part arrives the TV will be ready half an hour later.
They'll call me.
I'm not holding my breath...