So far 2014 has been an interesting year for me — our hot-water system suddenly stopped working last week. Thankfully, it happened during a heatwave in Adelaide so Yani and I didn’t actually mind taking cold showers especially when the minimum temperature only went as low as 31C. The repair cost me $245 for the time that the gas-fitter used to clean up the water heater and changed three spare parts that he said were faulty. Admittedly, the water heater was last serviced in 2000, way before I bought the house so it was way overdue for a thorough service. He tried to convince me to buy a new unit, which would cost me $1485 (YIKES!). I said I would need to save some money first and would take the risk of just fixing this one.
Our Samsung SmartTV also stopped working three weeks ago, only seven months after we purchased it from Myer. Apparently it just stopped working suddenly while Yani was watching it in the living room. Of course I was frustrated and disappointed, since the TV is still relatively new! I had a lengthy Facebook discussion with a friend from work who suggested that I ask a new replacement since it is well within my rights and that it is spelled out in the Australian Consumer Law. Well, the guy who took my call said that he wasn’t authorised to give me a replacement, and that he would send it to the service centre anyway, if I proceeded. So I contacted Samsung’s LiveChat, and was advised that I should send my TV to TeleFix, a local TV repair company and thankfully, it’s pretty close to where we live. That was three weeks ago. Almost religiously, twice a week I called TeleFix to check the status of my TV – initially they said that they were waiting for the parts to arrive from interstate. Even after the part arrived, they were still painfully slow. Yesterday I got a call to inform me that even with the new PCB (Printed Circuit Board), the TV wouldn’t work, and that they would have to order more parts, and that I would have to wait longer.
I was fuming at that stage and had to try hard to maintain my composure. I told him that I would want a new TV – saying that I thought we had built a quality product that would at least last a lot longer than the competitors and certainly not within seven months! I also mentioned that I don’t want a refurbished TV as a replacement (i.e. somebody else’s TV that has been fixed and resurrected) – I want a new one. I know that directing my anger at him wouldn’t solve my issue so I asked him to process my request to get a new TV and thanked him for his help.
I also followed up through Samsung LiveChat again, and the lady who helped me mentioned that I should just ask TeleFix to forward the job details and that a new department would “contact me” within 3-4 days. I told her that I sensed a corporate fob-off and that I would’ve liked a better customer service, at least somebody who would take ownership and said that she would note my request and that as soon as the job details are received, and if approved, a new TV would be sent within x days. I don’t want any further further bureaucratic contact mumbo jumbo.
I know that the more exposure to the issue, the better for me – so I have tweeted about it and have also directed my query at Samsung Australia’s Facebook page. They asked me for my contact details and the detail of my product, which I have forwarded. Since they have built an expectation that they would help me and contact me with a helpful follow-up, let’s see if they deliver their promise.
So let’s see — water heater and TV. I also have to pay to get an annoying washingtonia palm tree removed from my side yard, as the gas company meter man complained that he shouldn’t be expected to peer through thorny palm stalks and that I have to have it removed. A company that specialises in palm tree removal told me that it would cost me $450 to have it removed. Extra YIKES. I thought about hiring a chainsaw and doing it myself but I think there’s a limit to my current manly man skills. Haha. Thankfully I mentioned it to the guy who does our lawnmowing, and he said that he could do it for considerably less amount of money. Still, it would be an unexpected expenditure.
So, with all those whinging, I am going to take the 52-week Money Saving Challenge. Let’s see if I can stick to the plan and have some extra cash at the end of the year … the plan’s pretty simple: you just need to do weekly deposits that correspond to the week number. So in the first week of the year, you’d deposit $1, second week: $2, and so forth. I didn’t start from the first week, admittedly – so I deposited $21 yesterday and would pick up from the sixth week of the year ($1 + $2 + $3 + $4 + $5 + $6 = $21). If I stick with this, at the end of the year, I will have $1,378 ‘extra’ cash + any interest that I earn as well. Sweet.
I suppose I just need to maintain a good sense of humour in all of these situations – and a heart full of thanksgiving. Heck, Job experienced a lot more when the things that he had were taken away from him, and he had a lot worse experience! My issues are nothing compared to his, or compared to others in hospitals facing serious health issues, or those who just lost everything due to flooding, earthquake, volcano eruptions, and so forth. God’s grace for me is new every morning and He is ever faithful in every situation. It’s all about maintaining a healthy perspective in the midst of whatever life throws at you!