Business Ethics - an Oxymoron?  

Posted by Ray in

I brought a HP dv2000 series laptop a couple of years back and until recently it was working fine. But these days, it takes several attempts to boot the system. Even if it boots up successfully, the built-in wireless card doesn't work and after a couple of minutes the screen freezes displaying a weird distorted pattern of lines and grains.

A bit of googling revealed that there are many other folks with the same problem. The problem lies in the motherboard and over-heating of the NVidia graphics adaptor. HP has acknowledged this issue and has offered a HP Limited Warranty extension that expires after 24 months from the original purchase date. I came to know about this only after I started googling the issue. My laptop model and serial number qualifies for this limited warranty extension, but HP never communicated this to me even though they have my email address.

Unfortunately my laptop started giving trouble only recently and I'm well past the 24 month period. A call to HP was of no help. I tried to explain them that they had sold me a faulty product and that they are obliged to replace the motherboard for free. But they said that I do not qualify for the free service because I had purchased my laptop in Aug 2007 and hence was not within the 24 month period. Still I insisted that the laptop was OK during those 24 months and only recently it started giving me trouble. They failed to understand and accept my reasoning and said that they could service the laptop for ~$250. I understand that these days the life of laptops ismuch shorter, but still being asked to pay $250 for repairing a faulty product that was sold begs a dose of common sense.

I'm not surprised anymore by these tactics. One of the main reasons for the economic downturn and the recent financial turmoil was that business was being conducted with absolutely no ethics.

Mahakavi Bharathi once said:
"தனி ஒருவனுக்கு உணவில்லையெனில் ஜகத்தினை அழித்திடுவோம்"
(Even if a single man is to starve, let's destroy the world)

May sound like the words of a communist. But these companies should apply the same concept to their customers. Even if a single customer is genuinely unhappy or dissatisfied, money earned like this is as bad as money stolen.

1 Apology Down....1000's More to go  

Posted by Ray in

The wise men at the Cuddalore municipality have dug up the excellent roads the highway department laid just a year ago to lay down the underground sewage pipes. Now there is no road at all. The motor vehicles puff up a big cloud of pure dust everytime they use the non-existent road. A couple of weeks back, one evening I was walking along the road and one of those asthma-inducing, lung ailment friendly clound of dust was slowly dis-integrating, one of my high-school teachers, Mr. Anbazhagan appeared on the other side. Though he recognized me, he couldn't recollect my name.

As I approached him, I automatically folded my hands across my chest as any elementary school student would do when he sees his teacher. Mr. Anbazhagan, was very strict and taught Botany for us. He later left the school and is now a lecturer in a college.

After exchanging greetings, we chatted a little about the school days. He kept pulling my hand down, but every time he did so, my hands automatically went back to the default folded position. He said that one of the best things that can happen to a teacher is seeing an old student who still has some respect for the teacher. As he mentioned that I asked him if he was in touch with Mr. Palani, my Math teacher. He replied in the affirmative saying that they both worked at the same college now. Hearing that, I asked him to convey my apologies to Mr. Palani for I was a menace in his class. Mr. Anbazhagan said that it was OK and that it was common for students at that age to be mischievous. But I reiterated that I owed him an apology for all the trouble that I caused during his classes. If not for Mr. Palani's help and guidance, I wouldn't have scored the 80% (not great in Indian standards) that I did in my +2 exams.

I was thinking of apologizing to him ever since I joined BE in Annamalai, but never got to meet him. Atleast now, even though it is not a personally conveyed apology, I atleast did so through Mr. Anbazhagan, another teacher.

Mr. Palani - please accept my sincere apologies.

Now that my mind weighs lesser by one apology, I feel a bit better. Still owe 1000's more.