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Topic # 92870 8-Nov-2011 11:53 Send private message

If you or someone you know is considering buying a phone (or any other electronics) you should steer them well away from Tech Brands Pacific Ltd (www.techbrands.co.nz)

Here is what happened with my brother:
 
He found pricing for Samsung Galaxy S on Pricespy. Tech Brands had the best price.

He ordered new Galaxy S on their website and paid via internet banking.

The phone arrived promptly. He noticed box was not sealed but phone appeared to be new, and complete with all accessories. My brother emailed them to ask why the box was not sealed, and had finger prints on the screen. They responded that they opened the box to record the serial number and check the model number, and that this was normal industry practice.

After a couple of days he noticed that the phone got no reception outside of the city (where other phone had plenty of signal strength) or when close to a cell phone tower.

He emailed Tech Brands about this. They took a week to respond, and asked for the phone to be sent back for them to test it.

After another week, they emailed to say they would send a "replacement device". Suspicious of this wording, my brother emailed to confirm the "replacement device" would in fact be a new phone in a sealed box.

After a few days he received the "replacement device". The box was not sealed. Inspection of the phone revealed wear on the camera lens cover, and dust and debris inside the phone case. He immediately emailed them to say he wanted a refund, since he had paid for a new phone but had received second-hand goods, and provided his bank account details.

Later that day (no response to email) he went in to their Dunedin office (located at 150D Kaikorai Valley Rd), taking the phone with him.

My brother explained the situation to the girl at the front desk, and she said she would have to check with the manager and went upstairs. She came back down and said my brother could go up and discuss it with the manager himself.

Upstairs was the manager himself lounging in a large lazy boy chair, holding the phone. Feigning ignorance, he said asked if there was a problem with the phone. My brother explained that the phone he had received was not new, and he would like a refund.

The manager however, insisted that the phone was new. My brother persisted saying that it had obvious signs of wear, and  the manager finally conceeded that there had been a 'mistake by his staff'. He agreed to a refund a said my brother should send his bank account details. Of course my brother asked for a pen and paper and wrote down his account details there and then. Surprisingly, a refund was received that night.

It was fortunate that my brother was able to physically go into their office, otherwise he would no doubt have been fobbed off indefinitely. I encouraged him to lay a complaint with the Commerce Commission at least and possibly the Police (since it was fraud), but I don't think he will go to that effort.

He will flag them and post a negative review in PriceSpy, but they really should be removed from that site.
 
Obviously the explanation about opening the packaging is a lie because the serial number is printed on the outside of the box. My other brother recently bought a Galaxy SII from PB Tech (not Tech Brands) which was in a sealed box.
 
Regards,
John McKirdy

[Moderator edit (MF): removed names]

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  Reply # 542567 8-Nov-2011 13:31 Send private message

I'm not sure if you really have a case of fraud there. While they clearly had terrible service and I wouldn't buy anything after hearing that story I think trying you'd be hard pressed to claim fraud since no actual losses occured.

As for the no coverage outside the city - what network and actual handset model did you get? Your scenario sounds like case of buying a 900/2100 handset and trying to use it on XT which uses the 850MHz band with some 2100MHz coverage in cities.

 



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  Reply # 542584 8-Nov-2011 14:01 Send private message

I thought it would constitute fraud if they knowingly sold an inferior product to what the customer paid for (intent to deceive), whether or not any (non-trivial) losses were incurred in the end?

The first phone (poor reception) was a Samsung GTi9000m Galaxy S, serial number R2BB646683L.
To clarify, reception in the city was very poor - generally '1 bar'. Network used is 2Degrees (ie roaming on Vodafone in Dunedin and Oamaru and in between).

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  Reply # 542602 8-Nov-2011 14:25 Send private message

Skolink: I thought it would constitute fraud if they knowingly sold an inferior product to what the customer paid for (intent to deceive), whether or not any (non-trivial) losses were incurred in the end?

The first phone (poor reception) was a Samsung GTi9000m Galaxy S, serial number R2BB646683L.
To clarify, reception in the city was very poor - generally '1 bar'. Network used is 2Degrees (ie roaming on Vodafone in Dunedin and Oamaru and in between).


You did say that they said it was an error by one of their staff, and they did then refund it, so i don't really see what the problem is. People do make errors.


That said, it is relatively common for companies to send refurbished units when replacing something under warranty. I had a monitor that had a defect when I first received it new. They unit they replaced it was a refurbished unit. I asked for that refurbished unit to be replaced with a new one, as I had purchased a new one, not a refurbished one, which I could have purchased a lot cheaper. To their credit they did then supply me with a new replacement one which was what I ordered. Some phone companies do the same thing, if you have a phone that has a problem, it often gets swapped out for a refurbished one. Not sure if that sort of thing is allowed in all countries though.



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  Reply # 542616 8-Nov-2011 14:45 Send private message

mattwnz: You did say that they said it was an error by one of their staff, and they did then refund it, so i don't really see what the problem is. People do make errors.

It was not an error.
mattwnz:
That said, it is relatively common for companies to send refurbished units when replacing something under warranty.

As I described, my brother confirmed with them before they found a "replacement device" that he would receive a new phone, which is what he had just paid for.

I tried to write the story as matter-of-factly as possible avoiding too much emotive language, consequently I may not have conveyed the ill feeling that the manager of Tech Brands Pacific is a dishonest person (the staff merely do his bidding).

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