Veneta Misery - Customer Apathy
By: therightopp | Jan 22, 2011 11:55 AM
(Updated Mar 06, 2011 09:36 AM)
Let me start by introducing myself. I am a Director at a Fortune 50 company, based in Mumbai, part of the services industry, and I run a 1500 person, Rs. 400 crore business vertical. In my professional life, I see a lot of things that go wrong. So generally, I believe I have a lot more tolerance for lapses, human errors, or organisational faults than much of my peer group. Over the years, I have encountered various consumer issues, but by and large they get fixed in due course and I have never felt the need to really share bad experiences with anyone. But my god, the folks at CC India - the Veneta folks in India take the cake. A few years ago, we were privileged to purchase a flat in a prime Bandra, Mumbai, neighborhood. We revamped the entire flat, exhausting our personal savings, into furnishing the flat to our specifications. A modular kitchen was a key decision and we made the rounds of Poggenpohl, Hacker, and Veneta. Had finalized on a lovely Hacker kitchen but in a stroke of illl luck, then decided to save a few lakhs and go with Veneta. And got started down the route of Veneta apathy and misery.
Purchase: Kitchen design process was ok. My spouse is extremely well versed in matters reference interiors so we were quite clear on what we wanted. Plus we had already gone through the process with the team at Hacker. So after a few iterations we settled on a kitchen design. Cost - approx Rs. 14 lakhs. They wanted most of the money upfront and everything before delivery. We agreed to most of their terms, wrote out these huge cheques, and agreed on the delivery period (3-4 months if i recall).
Post Purchase: Complete radio silence immediately after cheque encashment. The kitchen was coming from Italy as were told, so we didnt follow up either. Closer to the date of installation, we casually enquired on how our kitchen is doing. To our shock, we learned that the order hadnt apparently gone. Why? Apparently, we had made a small addition to the design post order so an additional payment of i think Rs. 20,000 odd was pending. But why didnt anyone tell us? Well, they did try calling us at home a few times but no one answered. Did they think about sending us a letter or email to follow up - they knew how critical delivery was to us (we were paying high rentals in an alternate place till our house got done up). Well, they didnt.
Anyways, Veneta completely washed off their hands and refused to take any responsibility on this debacle. So grudgingly, we pushed the delivery back another 2-3 months.And I cannot even begin by describing the arrogance, apathy, and attitude of the executive who was dealing with us through this nightmare. And anyways, I dont want to - this is not about treatment by individuals who are harder to manage - it is about the service standard, values, and philosophy of the organisation.
Installation: The kitchen finally landed up and they quickly started making calls on charging us demurrage if we dont install it. The irony - even now, I am laughing as I type. We were sorting some matters with the building society so work had stopped for a bit so there was some delay in installation. Dont recall if we ended up paying demurrage or not - but it was choatic negotiating with them. But anyway, the kitchen - with a dishwasher and oven supplied by Veneta was installed fairly seamlessly - one of the bright spots in the experience.
After Sales Service: This is the single biggest reason I might caution anyone against Veneta. Once the cheque clears, they apparently simply do not seem to care. Within 18 months of installation, their dishwasher broke down. Had costed me close to Rs. 1 lakh (you have to buy their appliances if you want them within the kitchen - or so we were told.). It was around August 2010 when I called the Veneta folks to come and take a look. And I have been calling them since...
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