Wednesday 20 February
In April 2007 my old computer broke down and I needed a new one. I am a painter. I live permanently in the small island of Gavdos together with 35 other inhabitants. I need a laptop that does not require a lot of service, because we live in an island and we cannot bring the computer back to the store. Most of the year there are only two boats a week. If my computer is not functioning I will have to miss it for one or two months. I use the computer to store the pictures of my paintings and to create and update my website www.anthony.gr .
It might be relevant to know that I have more than 30 years of experience with computers. I started in 1972 during my graduation at the technical university as a civil engineer and worked afterwards as a computer expert for the European Union in Brussels during the seventies. Since then I had my own firm developing software for a wide range of computers and operating systems. For medical reasons I had to stop this work. I became a painter and I went to Gavdos.
A computer for me is an ordinary tool, nothing special and it has to function properly like everything else. It can happen that some part is failing. This is the reason that companies give a guarantee mostly for one year because if the tool has a badly functioning part it will most probably start to fail during the first year. A guarantee shows that the firm has so much confidence in the product that they can give a guarantee. The machine will not fail. It will be clear that I can not use an unreliable computer.
I went to Vasilis Tzounaris of Radio Gavdos FM and he told me to buy a computer from e-shop. We ordered the computer over Internet. E-shop accepted the order. One week later they phoned Vasilis and told him that they did not have a particular computer in store. They suggested us to use another one that was better and more expensive; 80 Euros more. The communication with e-shop was done by Tzounaris, because his Greek is better than mine. Three weeks later the computer arrived in Gavdos. I paid 821,43 Euros.
I was happy with the computer although the mouse did not functioned properly, the package lacked documentation and one of the three USB-ports was placed upside down. This did not bother me. I always use my own wireless mouse, I’m experienced with Windows XP and I have no problem to plug in a USB- cable upside down. After several months the battery started to malfunction. It means that sometimes it does not load or sometimes you don’t see whether it is loading or not. It seems to me to be caused by a bad contact. Also this failure did not make it impossible to work with the computer.
On 3rd February 2008,when I was in Amsterdam, I found out that a number of keys of the keyboard did not function any more.
On 6th February 2008, the computer did not start up anymore and I lost three months of work, pictures and documents.
On 11th February 2008 I bought in MediaMart in Maastricht a Chinese laptop for 399 Euros. This computer has a bigger screen than the e-shop computer of 820 Euros. If the e-shop computer had not broke down I would not have bought the Chinese laptop, but now I was forced to do it because I cannot miss the computer for one day.
On 18th February 2008 I arrived in Athens. The day after I phoned to Vasilis Tzounaris to ask for the address of the supplier. He told me that I could find e-shops easily on the internet. I discovered that it actually is a big organization with shops all over Greece and even four in Athens. I went to the e-shop in Stournari street with the computer. This is where the story starts.
Wednesday 20 February
14:30 I show the computer to the man behind the counter. He checks the date of sale and confirms that the repair is under guarantee. But he tells me that I have to wait five days before they can look at the computer.
“Why?” I wanted to know. I wanted to leave for Gavdos on Saturday 23st. “Where do you have this service? In Japan, Korea?”
The man says: “In Menidi”
“Where is this?” It turns out to be a part of Athens.
“Can I go there” I asked.
“Yes” the man said.“When you go there it will take only four hours before they can look at it”
I left the shop in Stournari street and two hours later I arrive at the e-shop service centre in Menidi.
16:30 As soon as I enter I get a very strange feeling. I see nobody working! They stare motionless to their screens and nobody takes any notice of my presence. After five minutes it seems as if they wake up and then I find out that nobody speaks English. (A computer firm where nobody speaks English? It is like …….) I explain the trouble in my own primitive Greek and the man behind the corner says that he will fix the computer the next morning. “OK” I said, “this is the number of my mobile telephone. Call me back tomorrow morning when the computer is ready and most important, make sure that the data on the broken computer is not lost. This data is essential for me and for my work”. They confirmed this and I went home.
Thursday 21 February
9:00 No telephone.
11:00 Nothing. I call e-shop but I get nobody on the phone.
13:00 I get a phone call from somebody of e-shop speaking to me in Greek. He tells me that I will get a new computer in a new case. There was nothing wrong with the old case. Components were failing but the case was OK. I could not understand what the man was saying as most computer terms I know are in English. I told him that I would ask my friend Vasilis Vaitsis to call him back in half an hour.
13:30 Vasilis calls the man that identifies himself as Mr. Kondos. Mr. Kondos told that I would get a complete new computer but there where two possibilities: They repair the computer under guarantee. Or they offer another computer that is much better but also more expensive. In that case I have to pay the difference. I choose the first option. All I want is a functioning computer, nothing more, nothing less.
13:45 We call back, choose and ask if they will take care of the transfer of the data from the old to the new computer. The man declares that this will cost us 30 Euros. As we don’t have an alternative we cannot do anything else but agree. But it sounded very strange in my ears. Let me try to explain you why. I use an example. In this example I will use a car as a metaphor of my laptop.
Suppose I buy a car. And one chair is placed upside down, parts of the dashboard are not functioning, sometimes I have no electricity and one day the car does not start at all anymore. I bring the car to the garage. They tell me: “You will get a completely new car.” When I ask them if they will transfer the gas of the old car into the tank of the new car they tell me: “Yes, we can do this, but it will cost you 30 Euros.” It sounds very strange, doesn’t it?
My friend Vasilis is talking to Mr. Kondos and stresses the fact that I have to go to Gavdos and that I have to catch the boat in Piraeus on Saturday 23rd February at 21.00. Mr. Kondos promises us that everything will be ready the next day, so that if I want I can even take the boat one day earlier. But he also says that in order to open the data in the old computer he needs to know the serial number of the operating system. The computer they have does not have the sticker of “Windows XP” with the serial number. “No problem” I say, “I have the sticker and I can give you the number.” He says that he does not want to have this number. “Why not?” He says that maybe this number belongs to another computer.
What does he suggest here? He suggests that I am a thief, that I illegally use the operating system of another computer. I get a very weird feeling around the whole business. These people are amateurs. They know nothing about computers. They are lazy, bad mannered, incompetent and they suggest illegal behavior of their clients. Mr. Kondos could have found the serial number in their own invoice in their own administration. All computers all over the world that run Windows have the Windows sticker on the back. My computer was delivered by e-shop without that sticker. Instead they did stick it somewhere else so that I could not use it anymore. Now I have a question: “Does e-shop have a preconceived strategy not to include the sticker on the back of the computer in order to harass the client when he comes back?” I get the idea that there is more trouble ahead.
The example of the car again:
I order a car.
“Is it a good car?”
“OK, sell me that car”
One week later: “We don’t have the tires that you want. We have other tires. They are better but you have to pay more” What can I do? I agree and pay.
Half a year later the car breaks down. They say: “We can give you a better car but you have to pay more” I don’t pay more. Then they start to suggest that some parts of the car are not original but stolen from an other car………….
Anyhow Mr. Kondos promises to call me back next morning when I can come to collect my computer.
Friday 22 February
11:00 Vasilis calls the service department. They don’t pick up the phone.
13:00 Vasilis calls again. Nobody there.
14:30 We call many times. The service department is empty. We call the general number. Nobody picks up the phone.
16:30 Mr. Kondos calls and says that in order to do the transfer of my data he needs to know my password. I knew, but the whole day I could not find a single person in the whole organization to give the password. It is clear that Mr. Kondos lied the day before when he said that the computer would be ready the next morning. It cannot, without the password. Mr. Kondos promises to call us when the computer will be ready.
19:30 Mr. Kondos phones and says: “It’s OK. The computer is ready.”
Saturday 23rd February.
14:30 We, Vasilis and me, go to Menidi. For me it is the second time. I really hope it will the last time. First they want me to pay 30 euro’s for the transfer of the data. That is what I do. All I get is the receipt. I cannot check if the data is really transferred and whether it is transferred correctly. After one hour I receive the new computer. I ask them:
“Is it OK?” They say:
“Yes, what else?”
“Can I check it?”
“For sure” I open the laptop, press the power button and wait. Nothing happens.
“The computer does not work”
“Lets have a look. Maybe you do something wrong”
Two ‘technicians’ look at the computer and conclude that the computer is working but that we cannot see it because the screen is not working. They say: “It is not a problem. We will fix it for you in fifteen minutes” We wait outside when one ‘technician’ passes by and says:
“The computer was all right when we checked it but it broke down five minutes later” It sounds to me as just another lie. But what if he is not lying? Would you consider a computer, that breaks down in five minutes after assembly, a reliable computer? We wait outside for half an hour and hear nothing. When we go inside they tell us that they cannot fix it. “What is this?” I ask “You promised to deliver a reliable computer yesterday morning! In four hours I have to take the boat in Piraeus “ They ask us to wait another five minutes to see if they can fix it. We wait ten minutes. No computer.
“Wait five minutes more” I don’t want to wait five minutes more. I want to file a complaint and ask for the boss. They give me a small paper with the name: Telemachos Triadafilides and his telephone number 6937009701. They tell me that I can take the boat tonight and they will send the computer to Gavdos by Courier. It only shows that the man shows as little of Greece as he knows of computers. We leave the shop. Mr. Triadafilides does not answer the phone.
Sunday 24 February
11:00 The phone rings. Who is calling? It is Mr. Triadafilides. I ask him if he speaks English. He does! I ask him if he is responsible for the service department in Menidi. He is! I tell him about the trouble. He tells me that he is now at home with his daughter but that tomorrow morning he will find out what went wrong and that he will call me immediately afterward. I wish him a nice day with his daughter. I’m happy that I finally found someone in the organization that speaks English and who will take action.
Monday 25 February
No phone. I decide I want my money back. I have never seen such an unreliable Computer dealer in my life.
15:30 Somebody calls me:
“Your computer is ready”
“I don’t want your computer. I want to speak to your boss”
Tuesday 26 February
I am exhausted. Contact with e-shop has taken so much time, attention and emotion. Vasilis and me go to the e-shop service department for the very last time.
14:30 We arrive. The computer is ready. (Sorry reader. I know you had to read this before. I know it is getting boring. By now you know what is happening. So I’ll skip it all together)
We leave the shop with again a different computer, again with many new failures but with my data.
Suppose I buy a car. Let’s say a Mercedes Benz. After half a year the car breaks down. You bring it to the garage. They will repair it. You get a phone call of someone telling you that they don’t have Mercedes any more and offer you a Volkswagen instead. When you come to collect the car it doesn’t drive. They say: “Sorry, come back Monday”. On Monday they offer you a Lada. Have you ever heard of such a garage?
I copy the data to the Chinese computer while drinking with my friends. After twenty minutes the job is done. I don’t need and I don’t want the e-shop computer anymore. Compared with the Chinese computer the e-shop computer looks cheap and functions badly.
I want my money back
This is what I see when I start the last computer that e-shop gave to me.