7 Tricks and Traps in the Electronics Service Industry that you need to know
1. Keep your Proof of Purchase
2. Use a service provider who is authorised by the manufaturer
- The Proof of Purchase (POP) is the document you received when you bought the product (e.g. invoice, receipt, statement etc);
- Many manufacturers keep a database of when their products were manufactured in order to work out how old goods are, but that doesn't allow for time that the goods might spend being shipped to the retailer, or sitting in a warehouse. Other manufacturers rely on the POP to work out the age of the product;
- The POP is also the starting point for your rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act;
- Invariably, if we need to escalate anything with a manufacturer, the first thing they ask us for is the POP.
3. Don’t allow your Insurance company or Third Party Warranty provider to direct your repair to a poor quality repairer
- The most important factor in any repair is SAFETY! You and your family need to be sure that your product is as safe after repair as it was when it was purchased. Authorised service providers have trained in the safety precautions and use genuine parts;
- Authorised service providers have the ability to seek cover for repairs even if they are outside warranty;
- You don't want to waste money on a poor quality, unauthorised repair for your expensive equipment;
- If your repair has been performed by an authorised provider, the manufacturer will continue to support your product.
4. Not all repairers are equal
- Insurers are always looking for ways to reduce their costs (which is fair enough... after all, their savings result in reduced premiums), but that doesn't mean you should settle for an inferior repair;
- Many repairers do low cost, poor quality repairs using non-genuine (often secondhand) parts and poor quality methodologies (e.g. re-soldering circuit boards that are not designed to be re-soldered);
- As soon as a non-authorised repair has been done on your product, the manufacturer will no longer provide any support or assistance leaving you high and dry if you have any future issues;
- Cheap repairers don’t have access to the resources (service manuals, parts catalogues etc) to be able to provide a quality repair. They haven’t invested in equipment and training and it all adds up to poor service.
5. There are cowboys out there - make sure you know WHO is repairing your product
- There is a huge variation in the quality of electronic repairers in New Zealand and sometimes even the big ones provide poor service. There are repairers operating from their lounge or their garage, and others that don’t have anti-static equipment that is essential for all electronic repairs;
- Quality repairers will be authorised by the big brand manufacturers, will have top notch communication systems (web booking/tracking, email and txt updates), and will have dedicated customer service staff to coordinate your repair (usually techs aren't too good at customer service).
6. Just because your product is out of warranty doesn’t mean you can’t get assistance from the manufacturer
- Just because a repairer has a flashy website doesn’t mean they are a quality company – there are plenty of so called smartphone and computer repairers advertising heavily on Google and TradeMe who operate from their lounge or garage and provide inferior service;
- You need to be sure your repairer knows what they are doing and can be held to account if needed. Remember, you are sending your valuable device to this company so you need to know you can get it back in great order – there is no need for any repairer not to be totally transparent;
- Use Google Maps to check out where the repairer is located. If the address is a residential one, or the Street View images look like a dodgy location, alarm bells should be ringing;
- Make sure you can find out who owns the business. You can look up the company ownership information on www.companies.govt.nz . If you can’t find the company’s registered name on the website, stay away!
7. Ask if your repairer is using genuine, new parts
- Quality manufacturers and retailers want to be sure you will buy from them again so will often cover a repair even if the product is out of warranty based on the purchase date;
- You may also have rights under the Consumer Guarantees Act or Fair Trading Act;
- Service Plus is always willing to forward any requests to the appropriate party on your behalf;
- Sometimes, though, even we can’t achieve a result that suits the customer, in which case we advise the customer to get in contact with the Manufacturer or Retailer directly for assistance (we’ll give you contact details if you need them) as they often take more notice when the complaint is in the customer’s own words;
- Remember, if you use an un-authorised service provider, you will not be able to request assistance from the manufacturer in future.
- It's important that your repair is executed using genuine (manufacturer supplied) parts. This ensures a high quality, manufacturer supported repair;
- Sometimes repairers will use words like "OEM", "compatible", or "replacement" to describe their parts;
- If you're concerned, ask the repairer if they bought the parts directly from the manufacturer (or the authorised parts distributor);
- It is common practice in the electronics industry for manufacturers to refurbish unique and expensive parts due to supply constraints and cost (this is to ensure that repairs can be undertaken in a fast and reasonably priced manner). Generally there is no issue with this but we recommend only using parts refurbished through the manufacturer's authorised channels.