I bought my first music system 27 yrs ago in 1990. It was a Philips Stereo set DR 481. It was special because when every other music system was making 8 to 12 W, this was a 32W power house which could blare mind boggling sounds of Oye- Oye, Jumma or Hawa hawa with panache. It looked something better than this
After the initial glee was over, I found that the songs started crying. I figured out that the rubber belt Philips used to couple the motor with cassette driver had gone loose. After the first repair, I figured out how service the set myself. I could notice that Philips with all its glamour had poor attention to reliability of its components.
I moved out of Calcutta city in 1994 and thereafter, I just had some small emotional weakness for this brand. In the economically emaciated state of Bengal, Philips was the only international brand manufacturing. The only other brand was Britannia. I held a belief that I must support the economy and jobs of my state by buying their products.
In 2004, I got married and some of the friends gifted us a 800 watt Philips audio system. As usual it delivered good sound for few months and then
- The cassette player stopped working. I took it to Philips authorized center . They charged Rs 1000/= for repair which worked only for 15 days
- The CD player stopped reading CDs in another few months.
- The remote failed in an year and
- The physical buttons on the system are a pain to operate.
Fast forward to 2016, I was looking to buy an LED tv for my parents’ room. I had considered Samsung, Sony, and Haier and suddenly the shopkeeper started pushing a Philips model. I was not sure that I should. Philips in electronics had become an obsolete brand and no one would trust them to deliver reliable products in the age of Chaebol (Samsung, LG) and other global products. The regional head of Philips was in the shop and he tried to convince that I should bet on the TV set. However, the arguments he made were not convincing. I decided to buy a more trusted Samsung for a higher price.
April this year, I was flying out to Minneapolis, USA for a critical business assignment and I had an irrepressible need to buy a sport Bluetooth headset. The wired headset which came with my iPhone 6s+ were hopeless. I spent more time putting back into my ears than focusing on my runs (8 to 10K every day). I went to a Reliance mart and suddenly saw a Philips sports headset (SHQ6500).
With black and fluorescent green it reflected good European design. I checked the price tag of Rs 3000 and it appeared reasonable. After some thought, I decided to buy it oblivious that it will give me nightmares.
First few days, it served well as it paired well with my iPhone instantly and the quality of music was good. The frustrations of dealing with a bad product was just about to begin.
- If it paired with iPhone, it didn’t pair with my iPod touch
- If I tried to pair it with my iPod, after 10s of install, uninstalls, it won’t pair with my iPhone.
- If it got detected on iPhone, it will not pair with my Windows 10 Dell notebook or with my Mac Mini.
- I started having low expectations from the product and started using it exclusively with my iPhone. I felt cheated. Bluetooth pairing with eligible devices is not a rocket science.
- Suddenly in the third month, during a workout, I heard a lot of white noise on the left speaker and it became persistent. After a day or so, the left speaker was dead.
- I went to Reliance store and asked for replacement. They argued with me for 3 hrs on why it’s none of their responsibility to replace the headphone. I argued strongly and finally, they agreed to work with Philips to replace it.
- For a month and half, I was without a headset and finally a replacement came.
- I was happy for few days as my jogging routine resumed.
- Few days into usage, I suddenly realized that the sound on left speaker disappeared. There is nothing I can do for it. I do not have energy to go all the way to Phillips service center in Bangalore. The cost of my 2 hrs is more than the cost of headset. I can’t even throw this piece out…
- The only thing I can do it: Resolve never to buy a Philips product again and urge each one of you to never buy a Philips product. The frustration of following up is not just worth it.
Conclusion: In this age,
a. Do not ever buy a product from a manufacturer who is not in Top 3 of its category.
b, Read blogs about a durable product before buying it. Getting after sales services is a pain and not worth in a traffic nightmare city like Bangalore.