Excuse me while I have a quiet rant!

Last year when we had finished changing the house with the addition of a posh new kitchen, I wanted to ensure I did as little washing up as possible, so we decided to buy a dishwasher. My English experience also told me that, perhaps a little counter-intuitively, it would be environmentally beneficial, saving on energy and water in the long term. I am not sure how long that saving will take to offset the manufacturing ‘cost’ in environmental terms. Perhaps we might get to find out soon if new software developed for calculating carbon footprints becomes more widely used…. But that’s another story…

For our Brazilian dishwasher we chose a Brastemp model because Brastemp is a top brand here (subsidiary of Whirlpool, based in the USA) and we have a Brastemp cooker which works fine. Sadly we have been let down very badly and the image has become severely tarnished … I will edit the saga to ensure it fits this journal post but it really is a SAGA – capital letters version!

We bought the equipment at the end of May 2011 but it was only installed in June 2011 prior to our wedding on 1st July and was only used a couple of times before we left for England in mid-July and then, of course, we went on to New Zealand for our extended ‘honeymoon’ watching the Rugby World Cup (Fatima enjoyed New Zealand a lot and began to like the rugby too, bless her!)

We got back here at the beginning of November and the dishwasher was used a few more times through November and early December (perhaps twice a week, maximum) but it stopped working before Christmas 2011. Because it was the holiday period it was January before we could call anybody out to look at it…. That process took longer than it should but we tried to be patient (we ARE living in Brazil after all, so my English impatience was reminded!!)

Brastemp use subcontracting service engineers – saves them having a large employment roll, of course, so we duly got in touch with the local service as directed and waited for them to come. They did not come for the time or day they said and we had, naturally waited in….but, of course, that can happen anywhere…. So we had to make another appointment and another couple of weeks went by…. But we ARE living in Brazil after all….

They arrived, identified the error number (which we had told them anyway on the phone, error number 4) but then said they did not have the appropriate part on the vehicle! Sigh!!

And we would have to wait for that to arrive ….so we made another appointment on the phone because, of course, the man in the van could not make an appointment, because we live in Brazil and problems of corruption (?!) mean that one has to deal with systems on the phone rather than directly with people.    Sure, so another wait and another appointment. Be patient!

This time they came on a day when Fatima is not at home – she does, after all, work for a living – and I do my best with my pidgin Portuguese. The engineer fits the part he has brought with him and tells me “It is all fixed now and is fine”. Sadly, I take him at his word and do not insist on him waiting to demonstrate the truth of his statement, so I guess you already know what is coming next….??….Yes, indeed, when I try and wash a few dishes after he has gone I hear the swishing of water going into the machine and wait in anticipation of clean dishes….only it doesn’t ‘do what it says on the tin’ and I have to take the dirty dishes out again and wash them by hand.

So, Fatima gets home and tells me that I “….should have waited for the engineer to demonstrate it worked. Now we will have to wait ages to book ANOTHER appointment and by that time the machine will be out of its guarantee period so they will say we have to pay…you should have waited!!” It should be noted that all the above took us from end of January until the end of April and the guarantee was dated 30th May 2011.

No they won’t!…I shall insist they honour the guarantee….the service so far has been hopeless!” I declare bravely!

YOU may insist…. But it is ME will have to TELL them because you cannot speak enough Portuguese!!” Fatima remonstrates with me! Sadly true! I can understand quite a lot of Portuguese but I have to think too long before stringing a sentence together to be able to use my English Impatience to any effect when dealing with errant companies, or workmen, or …. anybody at all really! Very frustrating!!

So this time we try to telephone to Brastemp directly because the service company very often has a “busy” signal when you phone them and when the “busy” signal ends you try again and there is no answer! Clearly the service company is just a small business and does not man the phones all the time…..we do live in Brazil after all!

Fatima has a series of long frustrating calls with Brastemp Call Centre getting precisely nowhere and I keep saying “You must insist on talking with a supervisor or a manager, because we are just being given the standard company answer that we must simply wait to be contacted by the service company…!!

I have tried but they just tell me they cannot put me through!” she says in frustration “YOU try!!”….so, of course I have to try! By this time I have thought through some telling sentences of Portuguese and my indignation has fuelled my determination to make progress.

I use my “telling” sentences up within the first two minutes of trying (they are in fact very short sentences because my linguistic skills are still limited!!) and I make precisely no progress with the very uncharming lady at the call centre. I try for a few more minutes with various versions of my “telling” sentences but in the end I have to give up without getting past the call centre lady. I do manage to establish, by luck from something that she says, that they ARE recording our complaints on their company computer, so we can probably eventually manage to prove that we have been complaining since January without resolution and the guarantee will still be honoured!

Eventually Fatima does get a confirmation that “…someone will call back within three working days…” But they don’t and we have to go through the Call Centre routine again….and again….and again….

We do then manage to get the service engineer company to call again and this guy says we need a new motor as well as the part that was first put in…but, of course, he doesn’t have one on the vehicle….”You’ll have to make another appointment!

ARRGGGHHHH!!!”   SO THAT’S WHAT WE DO!  Beginning to get quite stoic about this by now because, after all, we do live in Brazil!

Eventually, eventually, we get a confirmation that Brastemp WILL honour its guarantee, even after the end of May and that the service engineers will come and take away the machine to replace the necessary parts and bring the machine back to us if it works – we had insisted by this time that the machine was not living up to its “fit for purpose” requirement and that Brastemp should simply supply us with a new machine.

They took the machine away in July and we received a “cast iron guarantee” that it would be back with us by the 15th of August 2012….As I write this it is the 20th  … OF SEPTEMBER 2012…so we are now trying to call Brastemp again…and again…and again and three times we have been told someone will call back within three days or twenty four hours but no-one has. We have already threatened to take legal action so this is the penultimate  action before we resort to the law….in the hope that Brastemp may respond to the possibility of worldwide publicity which targets their “good name”…but if they don’t you cannot say they have not been warned.

With apologies to my regular readers for a rant at Brastemp’s FAILURE OF SERVICE but, after all, we do live in Brazil!

I shall be emailing my blog to Jeff Fettig CEO of Whirlpool and João Brega who is responsible on the executive committee of Whirlpool for their Latin America companies, including Brastemp, I wonder if they will respond…they can comment on my blog, of course, and I might ring them back within twenty four hours, …. or I might not?

If I could get an email address for the CEO of Brastemp, here, I would send it to him or her as well but so far I cannot find that information because, after all, we do live in Brazil!?


About Keith Melton - Green Lib Dem

Retired English liberal environmentalist living in Nottinghamshire; spent six years in Brazil. Author of Historical Novel - Captain Cobbler: the Lincolnshire Uprising 1536. Active member of the Green Liberal Democrats - (pressure group in Liberal Democrats) - was Founding Chair of GLD in 1988
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