The Kenwood Saga

It has been a week of follow ups. And most of them didn’t make the cut. So, when I was pondering what on earth to blog about today, I thought I would share the story of my late waffle iron.

Some time in 2014, we bought a Kenwood sandwich maker. It was one of those convenient, albeit not sophisticated, models with interchangeable plates. I am not a fan of multi-tasking equipment, because the functions tend to be mediocre at best. [This is not of course a stricture on all multi-function equipment, as I would happily swap a limb a KitchenAid if my mother hadn’t issued an moratorium on any and all appliances till I find a place to put it.]

I was happy to have the Kenwood sandwich maker though, because it was an easy appliance to use. The waffles turned out fairly all right, if not crispy. They took an inordinate time to cook though, and that was rather tedious. Because of said tedium, I put off making waffles for many a moon.

Last week, my mum made an amazing salad. And because she was hogging the stovetop, I decided to make waffles as an accompaniment. It was a good decision; they turned out pretty well.

However, on the last batch, I put in too much batter. The waffles cooked for a while, and then the machine just turned off. I assumed it was the thermostat, but it wasn’t. The machine wasn’t turning on.

We waited for it to cool. Nope. We gave it a few days. Nope. It was time to call the service centre. Now, the shop from where we purchased the appliance had shut down. So that option was out.

After a lot of Internet searching, I found a call centre number. I called. They didn’t answer. After racking my brains a little, I placed a work order with Housejoy, a home services company. I selected the ‘grill’ option under the ‘oven’ category, and I still got a surly, unpleasant, unhelpful sod of a serviceman, who manhandled the appliance, even as he proclaimed he only fixed microwaves. He was one of the few people I have met in my life that I have wanted to punch hard. Anyway, I digress. [I didn’t punch him. But I am frustrated enough by his behaviour to decide never to use Housejoy. Ever.]

A little fed up, I tried the helpline again. And this time, I got through to an agent. He took down my details, and said that a service engineer would call in 48 hours. I was given a number too. He only cautioned that spares were taking time to source, and I might have to wait awhile.

About a day later, a nice lady from Chennai calls to confirm the time for an appointment. She repeats my address back to me, and says the service engineer would call before coming. So far, so great!

On the day he is supposed to come, the engineer does call. And says: “Hi, I’m calling from the Kenwood Service Centre. We have stopped servicing Kenwood appliances.”

To say I was taken aback is an understatement. I called the helpline and found out that, yes, the service contract from these third party providers had indeed been pulled. This is a service company known as Jeeves, by the way, not Kenwood Service Centre. Ah.

Next, I called a service number for Kenwood audio components, hoping they would have a current number. The very nice man told me very kindly that, while this was indeed the case a few weeks ago, the numbers had changed and they had not received the new information. I asked him whether the distributor would have this number, and he agreed that it would be a good idea to try them.

Then I looked for the distributor’s number, and I found one for a company called Matrix. The receptionist gave me a mobile number right away, saying that it belonged to the executive dealing with Kenwood. Great. I rang him up, and he told me that his company’s contract with Kenwood had ended in 2013. Another company had taken over the contract, and he could give me their number instead.

He also told me that while they were the latest distributors, their contract was also up. There would be a chance that they would refer me back to him, in which case please tell them that I got their number from him.

Slightly bewildered, I called the latest distributor’s executive. He confirmed that the Matrix guy was telling the truth, and that Kenwood had pulled all their contracts – import and service – from India at present. There was a renegotiation phase currently underway, and I would need to wait a few months for an authorised service centre to come up.

At this point, apart from the Housejoy douche, I had spoken to a series of nice, polite, and highly apologetic individuals. But my waffle iron wasn’t getting fixed. So now I have to lug it to the nearest electrical shop, where it may or may not get fixed.

A minute of silence for the dearly departed.

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