Thursday, February 2, 2012

Air-Conditioners: the Voltas experience

It is that time of the year when we, of the middle class, run to buy the Air Conditioners hoping to be able to cash in on an off-season discount.
Well, we had done the same the last year at this time, buying two ACs, one for self and one for son's room.
After a diligent research for a month, my son assured me that  the best product is a 1.5 ton Whirlpool Master Mind. We have a Whirlpool refrigerator which has been working silently and efficiently for the last 7 years 
Despite these two factors in favor of a Whirlpool product, I went for the 1.5 ton Voltas Vertis saying that it is a known product; it has been around for the longest period known; it is recommended by people who have been using it for years etc...
I guess these are signs of my growing old when I rely on the safety net of 'tested' rather than the 'unknown and untested'
Now came the ordeal of having them mounted. 
Be prepared for a lot of noise, dust and dirt for at least 5 hours and the cleaning that you are left with at the end of the work. There is dust everywhere. So I covered the beds, my desktop everything with a dust cloth before the work commenced. We had two sets of mechanics representing each of these companies and also two sources of noises of drilling emanating from two different rooms. Also if you aren't careful, they will leave the drilled holes agape.You need ensure that they seal those holes.
We barely managed to have food amidst all the noise and dust. At the end of the day when they left, I simply collapsed on my bed feeling drained from all that noise, clutter and chaos.
This is not the end of the story. In less than two months of use, in the middle of the night I woke up to a tremendous noise. Heart beating wildly, I started looking for the source of the noise and realized that the noise was emanating from the AC. Startled and fearful, I switched off the AC first and went out to the balcony to examine the reason. I found nothing in the darkness. The next day we found that one of the wings of the fan had broken and hence the noise.

The one-winged fan

What we found when it was opened

The damage done by the broken wings of the fan

Broken into smithereens
In the peak of summer (in May 2011), sweltering for lack of an AC, I sought a quick resolution to the complaint. We had first called the show room where we bought the AC. They connected us to the service center.  They sent some mechanics home who asked me for the service certificate. I didn't know that when the people had earlier come to mount the AC, we were supposed to collect a service certificate for the work done. They refused to repair the AC without the service certificate. We then called the Voltas show room in Hyderabad. The next day, they sent the mechanics with a fan which looked all rusty and dirty like it has been used for years. Fortunately, they found that the fan didn't fit in this AC. They went back and again there was no response. I again called and this time escalated the matter to their supervisor/manager. The third day they returned with a new fan of the right fit.

The new fan

I have no clue of the quality of the new fan...again a piece of plastic.
Now that the guarantee has expired, if I lose the fan again in two months, I do not know how much the replacement will cost me.
The Whirlpool in my son's room purrs on silently.
The Voltas in my room makes the noise of a tractor so much so that one of the guests in our house could hear it in the next room and was unable to sleep because of it.
Better be safe than sorry. You decide what you want to buy.
After Sales Free Service:
Just happened to view this in a mouthshut review. Wish I had seen it earlier.  The guy who wrote that review did not tell how the service was done. Let me tell about that as well. Two guys came home and first asked for the now-famous service certificate. I had it ready this time. Now they asked for a cloth. I wasn't prepared and searching for a dirt-free old cloth took time. In almost the time taken to search for a rag, the service was done! They dusted the indoor unit and cleaned the filter. The filter is nothing but a sieve. I could have easily removed, washed and replaced it. Mugs of water were poured on the outer unit and wiped. All this took less than ten minutes. So it is better not to waste your time waiting for these guys to turn up. You can clean it better yourself.


Anonymous said...

So true of the general condition of service. The Tatas are letting their name down. I think you must write to Ratan Tata to at least let him know. I am sure he would care more than some of the others in his company would.