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Horrifying experience with cell phone shop- what would you do?
I was wondering if you tell how you've handled such situations as this in the Philippines that make me steaming mad.
The other day, I took my cell phone to a shop in the mall to fix the security code. After they fixed it and reset it with some software, a red square appeared in the top left corner of the screen. When I asked them what that was or how I get rid of it, they didn't try to explain anything and just took the phone and hooked it up to the software again.
After asking them several times what they were doing, the guy finally mumbled something about "reprogramming" it, not even looking at me, as though I were supposed to just remain silent.
While waiting I asked, "Wait a second, that's not going to erase the memory is it?" Without any verbal response, they removed it from the cable and checked the phone memory. All my contacts and addresses were ERASED!
Immediately they kept trying to retrieve it from the SIM (they tried to save all the addresses on the SIM earlier, I saw) but for some reason, the SIM card's memory was empty.
After a while, they gave up and just handed the phone to me. I tried to retrieve all my contacts too, but to no avail. In addition, all my files, pictures, and precious saved messages during the past year, all IRREPLACEABLE, were ERASED AS WELL!
Upset and shocked, I asked them, "Why didn't you ask me first before erasing my phone? That is a serious mistake! If I were a businessman, you could cause me a lot of damage! In my country you would be sued!"
They had nothing to say, and could think of nothing to say either.
I was dumbfounded and didn't know what to do. They just erased my phone without permission, wiping out lots of precious files and phone numbers that are irreplaceable. So what am I to do, just walk away?
After a while, I asked the tech guy, "Hey bud, aren't you even going to apologize or say you're sorry?" trying to control my temper.
He turned his back to me and just ignored me. So I repeated the question, demanding an apology with an insistent tone. He continued to ignore me. While I was wondering whether I should cause a scene or get angrier and louder, a girl waiting nearby told him to apologize and he finally did.
I always hate that a lot of Filipinos do not apologize when they screw up or cause you damage. They merely forget it ever happened and that's it. They don't even offer to compensate you in any way. Where I come from, if you make a mistake, esp a big one, you owe the person an apology. But here, they just deny it and forget it. That has always ticked me off and almost gotten me into some fights, as I feel highly insulted when they do that. Wouldn't you?
What I don't get is how things like this are handled in a Filipino corporate setting. If a Filipino worker in a company screws up and causes the firm some damage or loss, how does the manager trace the fault or accountability if no one wants to admit fault or even discuss it period? Anyone know?
The guy even tried to excuse himself by mumbling that he told me in advance, which is a total lie.
Not knowing what to do, as all the staff there were trying to forget the incident and doing other things, such as closing up the store, I left, wondering how they could do such a horrible thing and then act like nothing happened, leaving me with nothing either.
Before I left, I told them that I wasn't going to pay the fee since they erased my phone's memory without permission. One of the guys said ok. So we left.
Now my question is:
1. Should I go back to the mall, find the business office, and try to get in touch with the owner of that cell shop, since the workers probably won't let me contact him? If so, do you think that would accomplish anything?
2. When people are screwed over or suffer some loss here due to negligence, is there a law that says they are entitled to some kind of compensation? If so, would that apply in my case?
3. Do we foreigners have a right to demand an apology when someone screws us up? Why do I get the sense that they don't think they owe an apology when they mess up, at least not in the same way that we would feel obligated to in the West?
4. If you live in the Philippines or are from there, how have you handled such situations like this here?
Now let me note though, not all Filipino customer service is like this. I've gotten splendid service before where everyone was cheerful and willing to quickly to anything to please you. But other times, they just sit there looking at the TV or computer and ignore you, don't even look at you, and I have to ask them every question 5 or 10 times cause they keep refusing to answer or provide irrelevant answers, which is annoying as hell. I don't understand how they can be that rude or clueless or have such horrible communication skills. Somehow, they don't feel the need to provide a direct answer to your question, but instead just say whatever they think. I've even seen such staff in travel agencies, where one staff is very helpful and communicative, but the other is the total opposite, and the bad one never gets fired. Weird.
Thanks for reading this.
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There are SIM card data recovery programs avail. You'd need an USB SIM card reader. Just Google for info.
Even if the data recovery doesn't work, you can at least use it to back up your cell phone data for the future.
For those in the States -- let me put in a plug for the Apple iPhone, every time you hook it up to your PC, it syncs data with iTunes and all your contacts and photos/music are backed up to your HDD.
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