How not to treat a customer – Mistral vs Microsoft

Bought a Mistral MSH1 Electric Shower Heater several years back at SGD$99, its warranty info stated that the product warranty is one year and five years for the heating elements.

I had one nagging problem a few months after the installation, the switch seemed to operate about the same temperature whether the positioning was at setting 1, 2 or 3. But since it is warm enough, I have been living with it for another 3 years. One fine day in Sep 15, the heater no longer heated up. I brought the unit to the customer service to check if it was the heating element that failed. The customer service place has moved, it was no longer at Eunos Technolink as indicated on the warranty card, I was thinking to myself it must be the rent that forced the company to seek a cheaper location. Alright, whipped out my phone and thankfully it was another 15min walk from that location. Upon examining, the customer service girl told me that it was the thermostat in the heater that failed, so no warranty and the service charge for the repair would be S$20 and the part $15. Yes it is 1/3 the price I paid for a brand new set, but first I had lost confidence in the product quality and the brand due to the setting problem mentioned in the beginning of this post and now the after sale service. Isn’t the thermostat not part of the heating element? Even if it is not, I really do not mind if they give me an old part for my effort to bring it to the service centre. I told them to keep the spoilt unit, hopefully they can recycle it and help to protect the environment.

I have another water heater unit CHAMPS Accord that is still working after 8 years. I will rather buy this unit instead of paying $35 for the repaired Mistral Unit. You know the installation cost will probably worth the price you pay for a costlier but more reliable unit.  This incident kind of contrast greatly with my experience with Microsoft Hardware, when my keyboard set broke down within the warranty period, the Microsoft team replaced the set upon checking the serial number and prompting some troubleshooting tips and promptly sent me a replacement unit with free shipping. I have bought not less than 10 Microsoft hardware products over the years since. Kudos to Microsoft and very likely no more Mistral product for me ever.

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