I have a relationship with this wonderful country for 34 years now, in which I have lived full time here over 25 years and part time the balance. And WOW, competition changed everything as far as amenities and customer service is concerned (although still heavily dominated by the elite families) but not entirely, as the richest man in the Philippines, Henry Sy came from nothing (owner of SM Prime Holdings and malls), as well as Manny Pangilinan (PLDT), and John Gokongwei Jr. as who is a major owner of malls in the country.

With smart phones, laptops, and tablets, there are so many choices. The competition is fierce, although not quite yet like the 1st world, but major changes brought on by this competition.

Philippines, in the old days, when you drop your Coke at McDonald’s? Too bad.
If you take something home from a department store and decide you don’t like it? Too bad.

But TODAY, many companies and stores have become extremely customer-oriented when it comes to amenities that give perks to clients, providing customer care and satisfaction.

Why is that? Because competition rules and it drives the market.

For my wife’s birthday present, I got her a beautiful VAIO laptop for P37,000 (or approx $840).

For the first few months, there were no problems. Then a battery recall from the main office was announced, in which I gave the company credit for taking precautionary measures as such. I bring the laptop to their service center as was told a particular week to bring in: “Sorry sir, the batteries are not here yet.”

So then I ask them “Can you pick-up the unit at my place?”
“Sorry sir we cannot do that.

After a week, I was finally able to drop off the unit.

Suddenly, the electrical component starts to act up. The laptop will not turn on.

I sent my wife to have it checked and she went back and forth to a Sony store branch at the mall. Each time was a success, but after a day, it stops working again. We only had this unit for 4 months and all I can say is wow, bad unit.

The laptop then crashed, and Sony store advised that we bring it to their service center, which we did, and after waiting several days, we found out the motherboard had crashed.

Three weeks later, the main office said we can already pick up the laptop, so I went. It was a local holiday. They were closed.

Several days later, at my insistence, the unit was delivered to our Condo since I refused to go back to their service center.

On a parallel note, I have HP laptops and printers. I had bought one of the printers in the US. It stopped working one day, so I brought it to HP service center to have it repaired. They looked at the code on the unit and said my warranty is still intact after 11 months. They honored my warranty here in the Philippines even if it was bought from the US, and guess what? It gets better. When they could not repair the printer, they gave me a brand new one! Now that is evolution, and maybe the American headquarters want their reputation around the world as being honest and service-oriented. They have won me over. I walked in the door expecting to pay for repairs, but it turned out so pleasant.

Now back to our Sony Laptop, the unit is still fluctuating power-wise after the mother board was replaced. This unit is a lemon, as we call it or something for the junkyard. I asked for a new equal unit and the higher up executive (hiding and delegating down in their old style of doing business here), sent their clerk for the answer: A big NO.

As an alternative, I asked for a year warranty from the date the mother board was fixed. An answer came back as ANOTHER BIG NO. Best they could give was one month extended warranty.

I guess the Japanese head office doesn’t care, although I will send this article to them.

For all my time wasted and inconvenience, getting a defective unit, and using the old style of service of a very non-progressive company, I give Sony Philippines an F, and I advise that YOU DO NOT BUY ANYTHING SONY IN THE PHILIPPINES.

Get HP or SAMSUNG instead.