Friday, May 20, 2011

What not to do when things don't work

Allow me to vent a little - again. For some reason, even though I have lived in India for almost all my life and have experienced hundreds of times the fact that people, even those who don't know the first thing about how to do their job, will try to fool you into thinking they know what they're doing and mess up things even further and even charge you for it, I still get taken in and end up trusting fools and getting screwed again and again. Wow that was a long sentence. But I'm already feeling better.

Here's what happened. My AC stopped cooling. We looked at the yellow pages and called an "AC Guy." The AC guy came, looked expertly at the AC, pulled out a couple of meters and things to hook up to the compressor to figure out what's wrong. He confidently announced that my compressor was fine but the condenser was gone and also the gas needed refilling. It would cost about 2500 bucks. I told him to go ahead and do it. He did it, tested the AC for about half and hour, and went away with the money. That night, the AC didn't cool again. Next morning, the guy comes back and announced it's actually the compressor that's gone. This is where I started becoming stupid. I gave him the benefit of doubt that he didn't pick up the problem the first time. So I asked him to change the compressor. The choice was between a new one for 5500 or a used one for 2500. The new one came with a "warranty." He came in with an unbranded compressor which looked new enough but in a random cardboard box. I'm still very mad at myself for not throwing him out when he came in with that shady looking thing. Anyway, I'm embarrassed to report that I allowed him to install the new compressor and paid him for it. He went away with the money, handing me an even shadier warranty card which he probably printed at the local cyber cafe. Long story short: ACs not working, guy has disappeared, isn't taking his calls, we're all feeling very stupid.

Very expensive lesson learnt: Don't call random AC guys from the yellow pages. Call the AC company customer care and have them do the work, even if it costs more. Once you've had some quack come in and mess with your AC, you void any warranty you might have and also have no control over what they're doing to your expensive appliances.

But I'm not hassled because of only one bad experience with unprofessional and downright stupid people. The next silly thing I did is lock my cupboard and lose the key. It's a regular wooden cupboard with a godrej lock. My carpenter suggested the best way would be to call a key maker and get him to make a key for the lock. I drove around looking for a key guy and found one sitting at the turning to South City II on Sohna Road. He came in and rattled around for half an hour and announced that he couldn't make a key since it was a godrej lock and the best thing would be to break the lock using by inserting a chisel into the key hole and hammering at it. He assured me this wouldn't damage the cupboard. I was stupid enough to believe him. Again. He hammered away and then announced it couldn't be done unless I cut the side of the cupboard or something like that. Thankfully, my husband, who is a little better at judging people that I am, arrived at the scene and sent the key guy on his way.

Finally, my carpenter was able to break the lock and we were able to open the cupboard. My happiness at getting all my clothes back after almost a week of trying was short lived. The key guy with his over enthusiastic and what-have-I-got-to-lose hammering had pushed his chisel through the lock and then ripped the laminate of the shelves inside. A part of his chisel was embedded through my shelf and into the drawer below such that when I tried to open the drawer, the entire side of it ripped because of that chisel. I now face at least a couple of thousand bucks of repair work, and the hassle of getting my cupboard shelves redone.

What was I thinking, letting some random guy do this to my cupboard. I know it's my fault for allowing this, but on a defensive note, how would I have known that this guy who is making a living out of making keys and breaking locks really knows nothing and couldn't care less?

Lesson learnt: I don't know. Don't trust random key guys? Call Godrej? Trust your instinct if the guy doing your repairs seems a little dumb? Be less stupid?

Venting has helped. Now I need to figure out how to get my AC and cupboard fixed. I think I'll get to that after a few days and live in a hot room for a few days because I'm just about done with repair people for a while, thank you.


Pankaj Batra said...

It happens with us every now and then.

Thinking that, it will save time and money, we generally look for mechanic around our area and get work done from them. But in the end most of them do the shoddy work and always go by Juggads.

It happened to me also multiple times, it was our Inverter that was screwed by one of the self acclaimed expert electrician.

Esha - People for the Blind said...

big OUCH!

Anu said...

Hi Manika, I have reading your blog for a while now n its quite interesting. Thanks for sharing the ggn tit bits.

Treat your mistakes as lesson learnt but I guess yours was an expensive affair.
A big punch on the face of that idiot. Thanks for sharing.

Manika said...

Thanks, Anu! It really was an expensive lesson, but at least I'm pretty sure we've learnt it:-)

Angel said...

I enjoyed reading this , keep writing !