A decade or so ago, online shopping and associated e-commerce services were unheard of in the country. This has changed over the years as internet penetration continues to grow, in addition to the launch of local-driven e-commerce systems that want to replicate services offered by the likes of China’s Alibaba and U.S.’s Amazon.
Some of these businesses have been instrumental in shipping global products to our doorsteps. This has been achieved with reduced bureaucracies that were a pain say half a decade ago. The entire exercise is as simple as installing an extension on your Chrome browser and waiting for your item to come home – at a premium, though.
In line with these benefits is a primary issue that some of our favourite shops such as Avechi are yet to nail; customer service and a timely fix for faulty products. I mention Avechi because I have a two-year relationship with them, and have made several trips to their care center station I’m literally their buddy int their Kenyatta Avenue shop.
Before I divulge my strained relationship with them, let me make something clear: we are not slandering or badmouthing their services because it is our moral responsibility to let you know of these things. It is a positive highlight because after a bad experience with their technicians (more of that in a moment), I still purchased a TV from them. Whether that is childish naivete, trust or Stockholm’s Syndrome is entirely unknown to me, but I had a shred of hope that future correspondence with the team would be better. It hasn’t.
I purchased my trusty Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X from Avechi for obvious reasons. First and foremost, they (Avechi) do not charge users prohibitively or exploitatively for products that do not retail locally on official channels. Secondly, they have some nice devices on their shelves, including OnePlus phones. In fact, Avechi is the only service that stocks such popular but locally-unavailable devices in a timely manner (they already have the OnePlus 6 in store). They also ship across East Africa on a fee, which is still cheaper than picking the device from their shops for people outside Nairobi.
So, a couple of months down the line, the Redmi 4X power button failed. I had to apply a considerable amount of energy to register a response. It was a bad experience, and since I had a warranty (it has since expired), I went to register my complaints to their care centre. That was in October 2017. According to the technicians, the replacement part was unavailable at that time, meaning they had to make an order. Understandable, of course, as that is how such premises operate. In November, the part shipped in, but it could not fit my phone. I’m a man of restraint, so I let the matter slide. December kicked in with no new developments.
Come 2018, I was starting feeling that the technicians were feeding me with fibs. For instance, the people who manufacture the parts were supposedly on holiday in China, which does not make sense because, come on – Xiaomi depends on such facilities to facilitate warranty fixes and faulty devices. People who work in such companies hardly take a break else their businesses go under. A couple of more visits to the shop were met with the same response, so I capitulated to my ordinary life.
My plan was to keep off their facilities because I felt they did not like my face anymore.
Come the Smart TV
In early 2018, my forgetful mind archived the bad experiences and guided me to their retail shop at Moi Avenue. I picked a Skyworth smart television, and barely a week later, the device started switching itself off. I have a little knowledge about such behaviours, so I passed the information to their support team. After a couple of tests (I doubt they did anything to the device), they communicated their findings – that my TV was okay, dispelling my observations because I like to whine too much (they did not say that exactly).
After taking it back, TV doubled up on its switching-off spree.
Long story short, they still have it after leaving the bewitched machine at their doorstep. And quite franky, I will probably never take it home unless its logic board or the TV is replaced entirely.
Almost nine months later, they finally fixed the phone (today, actually). I appreciate the effort, but that is a very long time to address a small fault.
I hope the TV receives a better treatment because I honestly don’t want to go back there, ever -again!
Several of our readers and friends have expressed their experiences with the retailer. The stories can be found on our forums, here and here.
To recap, we are not slandering Avechi – they just need to do better, which is possible owing to its reputation and the fans it has amassed over the years.
We will be gald if you share your experiences with us in the comments section below.
By Kenn Abuya @techweez