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Amazon customer service – It doesn’t get better than this!

The Kindle!

The Kindle! (Image courtesy- Amazon)

I’ve just experienced what might be the best customer service in my life! It is definitely the best so far. The story goes like this. Eyeing an eReader for a long time, I had ordered a Kindle back in November. Since I one of my friends was travelling to India from the US, I got my Kindle delivered in the US. Once I laid my hands on it, it was definitely one of the most prized gadget I ever owned (yes, there are emotions involved).

The Kindle worked flawlessly for a couple of months and I kept reading on and on until that day! Yes, I was travelling to Riyadh and had put my Kindle inside my bag. When I took it out, I saw my screen frozen with some horizontal and vertical lines on it. That was it. My Kindle was broken. And my heart as well. I was in such a state of shock that I didn’t even bother to contact the customer care to get it repaired. Since the Kindle was damaged because of possible baggage mishandling, there was no way I could dream of a warranty claim.

After about a month, once I gathered myself, I simply called the Amazon customer care from India to check on the options of getting it repaired ( of course at my cost). It was like a routine call and little did I expect that it would turn out to be the best ever customer care experience I have witnessed to date (and possibly will ever witness). I explained my situation. And the executive on the other side listened to me patiently. Once I was done he said, let me see what I can do for you. And beyond that, it was like a charm. I can keep writing about it, but let me be precise for the readers:

  • Amazon offered me to *replace* my Kindle free of cost under warranty.
  • Amazon offered to ship my Kindle free (priority International shipping) to India (note that my Kindle was shipped to the US originally.)
  • Amazon agreed to bear the custom clearance formalities, custom duties etc.

As if the above was not enough, Amazon agreed to pay for the shipping charges incurred to ship my defective Kindle back to the US.

I have no words to appreciate this gesture. Kindle is by the the best eReader out there. I might have purchased a new one even if Amazon did not offer a free replacement. But they did. And I am a customer for life!

I have my new Kindle already with me. Amazon has not just replaced a piece of hardware. It has given back a lot more which I can’t even explain.

Thank you Amazon!


Update: I have stopped tracking this post. But it seems that Amazon is still amazing people with its customer friendliness! Here’s a more recent experience from one of my colleagues:

The Rare Case Of Replacing An Out Of Warranty & Broken Kindle (For Free)


‘The’ Jabra Halo review

Jabra Halo

Jabra Halo

It has been a while since I have been using ‘the’ Jabra Halo bluetooth stereo headset. I thought to quickly share my experience with it so far:

The technology

While the bluetooth communication technology has come a long way, it has to cover some ground yet. It may be perfect for a wireless mouse, keyboard or file transfer (slow though), it warrants an improvement as far as stereo audio streaming is concerned.

Having said this, unless you are an audiophile, the technology will not fail to impress you!

The goods

  • Seamless pairing with the phone. I have never had issues.
  • Can pair simultaneously with two devices. I am frequently connected to my phone as well as the PC simultaneously without any issues. Whenever there’s an incoming call, it takes priority.
  • Crisp and clear stereo sound quality. Decent bass.
  • The touch sensitive audio control works like a charm. I really like this feature.
  • Very comfortable to wear. Stays on unless you are running around.
  • Decent backup. I’ve tested it for 6 hours at a stretch and it has not failed. Practically it will deliver good music at medium volume for about 6 hours on a single charge. For me this is sufficient, even if I am travelling.
  • Fast charging time (2-2.5 hours)
  • The ability to listed to music through the wire makes it double up as a standard stereo headphone. And boy!, you need to listen with the wired option to realize how good these headphones could perform!
  • Works well with Skype as well as other voice calls through the PC.
  • The noise cancellation microfones works well.

The OKs

  • The grip on the head is good, but could be a little better.
  • The inner lining material could be improved.

The not-so-goods

  • Sometimes, I’ve experienced loss of audio streaming for a few seconds during stereo playback. This happens when I am streaming music from my phone. Haven’t faced this on my PC. So possibly this could be an issue with my phone.
  • Windows bluetooth connectivity sucks. I frequently face bluetooth service crashes. Again, the Jabra Halo is not to be blamed.
  • While the hinged design  makes it very portable, it feels flimsy.  Haven’t faced any issues yet, but it does need care.
  • If you use Skype, be careful! I used to face frequent bluetooth stack crashes on my PC. It took me long to figure out that Skype also tries to use the bluetooth interface directly along with windows and there’s a conflict which causes it to crash. I am yet to find a workable solution for this, though I haven’t spent enough time.

I guess this  would be helpful to some people. I am looking forward to the bluetooth 3.0 version to possibly bring the stereo bluetooth experience comparable to the wired options.


My experiences with HDFC #1

While I can write a long post on my experiences with HDFC, let me just mention a couple of interesting ones today:

    Internet banking seems to be down for the last couple of hours at least. This is what they have to say:

” Banking Account related features on NetBanking are temporarily unavailable. Please try again shortly. Credit Card Enquiry, Demat and Debit Card details would continue to be available. We regret the inconvenience caused.”

These outages are happening too often at HDFC. And last time (a few weeks ago)  the system was ‘temporarily’ unavailable for over 48 hours. Wow!

A couple of years ago I came to know that I have become a ‘Classic’ customer and I have been appointed a personal banker to help me with any issues and also assist me with some of the privileged facilities. I’ve had various horrible incidents ever since I got into the privileged banking services. The personal banker changes every other month. Anyways, this is what happened today:

  • I get a call from the personal-banker number:
  • “Good morning Mr. Amit Sharma, this is Neetu calling from HDFC, your personal banker.”
  • Of course with the changing bankers I don’t remember their names now. However what a personalized service!  My personal banker personalized my names as well!
  • ” Good morning, I am Amit Srivastava and not Amit Sharma”. “Alright sir, I will update my records”. What the hell??
  • ” Sir I just wanted to check if you are facing any issues with your HDFC deemat account?”
  • ” I do not have any deemat account with HDFC, and I DO NOT need any personal banker. Please downgrade my account. I was happy with the standard account”.

Do these banks ever wonder what impact a poor customer service can have? It is better not to have customer service than to have a horrible one.

I am sure I will face more such funny personalized banking services from HDFC. I will share them here for sure.


The Dell Vostro 1500 Review

The Vostro 1500 The Vostro 1500

 I recently got my hands on a Dell Vostro 1500. While detailed reviews can be obtained by a bit of googling, I’ll quickly put my views.

Guys it’s heavy! So if you are planning to buy a pair of dumbbells you can safely drop that idea as you wouldn’t feel the need for it once you get a Vostro! Jokes apart, it is definitely on the heavier side but has a solid, built-to-last kind of feel.

This is what I have:

Processor : Core 2 Duo 1.6 Ghz


Graphics : nVidia Go 8400m (Dedicated)

And the remaining standard features which Dell ships it with.

The performance is pretty good for most of the applications I’ve used so far, which include some demanding development environments. So I would say from a developer’s perspective, it gives a decent performance and should continue to do so for some time to come (till the environments get more demanding!).

I had opted for a glossy screen (Dell calls it True-Life) and I must say it’s better than some of them I’ve seen to far. As in, it is not glossy enough to the point of seeing my own face while working (though you can use it as a mirror if you turn off the screen for a while)! The display is pretty sharp and clear. Also the screen is easy to clean.

The keyboard is nicely laid out and is convenient to use.

An important feature of Dell Vostro is Media Direct, which allows you to play media without having to boot the machine. And to help the cause, the media controls are provided at the front (along with the speakers too!). So without opening the screen, you can listen to your favorite music! Cool isn’t it? Well its not straight out-of-box and you need to configure it esp. if you have played around with the default partitioning and re-installed the OS.

It came shipped with Windows Vista Basic and rather than adoring it myself, I would safely pass it on to:


Now the best part is that I was able to install Ubuntu Linux 7.1 Gusty Gibbon without any fuss and with a little bit of research got the sound and the infamous Hibernate/Suspend working on it. Though I may be lucky to get stuff working relatively easily, but I can safely say that the hardware is supported and you can make things work with Ubuntu 7.1. I’ll try and cover these in separate posts.

Ah, how can I miss this one! It seems that the designers of the Vostro Series were inspired by Forensic Sciences. No matter how clean you make your hands before touching the top panel to open the laptop, your fingerprints are bound to be inscribed on the so called matt finish. And then you have to really work hard if you want those to disappear from there. Probably this is the only thing which irritates me and I’ll have to learn to live with it.

But all in all, I am quite satisfied with what I have. I would rate it 8 out of 10.