Solat Telecoms & my TECNO Phone: Who protects Nigerian tech consumers? [Ayodele Olofintuade]

Solat TECNO N9

I’ve heard horror tales of people buying phones and having to replace it or repair it by themselves within a few months after purchase, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that it would happen to me. I usually assumed it was due to the fact that Nigerians are rather fond of buying second hand ‘American or Britain Used Phones’.

In the latter part of 2013, I decided to buy a tab, so it will aid me in my work life. I wanted something inexpensive that won’t give me problems. A friend had just bought a TECNO N9 version 4.2.1 and was full of praise for it. I was going to buy a Samsung but it was totally out of my price range, so I went to the shop where I usually buy my phones, Solat Telecoms, and bought it. It worked beautifully until I dropped it and the screen cracked.

The following week I took it in to Solat Telecoms and was informed that the screen will cost me about N17,000 naira if I decide to fix it. I found the price outrageous, so I asked for the price of another one and the manager told me about the TECNO Phantom T9, a new product. It was smaller than the former one and had the latest android version. I fell in love with it and purchased it on the spot.

My trials didn’t begin until three months after purchase. I had used the phone earlier in the day and the battery was rather low, I decided to charge it. To my dismay, after it showed that it was fully charged it refused to come on despite persistent booting.

Since it was a weekend and it was already late, I decided to take it in the following Monday. I got a pleasant surprise the following day, a Sunday, when I switched it on and it worked. I thought it was just a glitch. I used it for the whole of Sunday and then the moment of truth came after I finished charging it and it won’t come on.
The following Monday I was at Solat Telecoms, and explained the trouble to the Manager who had personally sold me the phone, to my surprise he advised me to take it to TECNO’s Customer Care, my experience there is another story entirely. I swallowed my misgivings and headed for the place. The lady at the reception took one look at the phone, without even opening it and told me I need to return in 8 weeks. I was still reeling from surprise when she also informed me that my tab had no warranty! Why? She claims there’s supposed to be a seal in a particular location on my tab and it wasn’t there, she says she’s sure the tab had been opened before AKA tampered with.

I immediately returned to the shop where I purchased the phone and explained my dilemma to the manager, who followed me back to TECNO, he spoke with the young lady who had sold the phone to me, they asked me to return home and bring the box in which the phone had been sold to me. It was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard, the question is why would you need to check from the box when I have a warranty online that can be easily traced by Solat Telecoms?

The following day I returned to TECNO office where I was informed that the charging port of the phone was spoilt and the motherboard and the battery. When in actual fact I had fully charged the phone without any problems. I returned to Solat and was pretty upset when the manager accused me of tampering with the phone. It was the most ridiculous thing as he knew as well as I did that he was lying. I created a ruckus and the manager eventually called in the manager of their main office in Mokola whose name was Tunde.

After pleading with me to calm down, Tunde said that he had already checked my warranty, but to get the phone back I needed to pay TECNO 10,000 naira. I told him I had no intention of doing anything of the sort, and that in actual fact I want a replacement for that phone because I suspected that Solat had sold a refurbished phone to me as new.
He asked me to return in two weeks. I was out of town and was unable to meet their two weeks offer, so I went to their office today and met with Tunde the manager. He told me that the phone was still with TECNO, but that I will need to pay 10,000 naira so they can give me a new one.

I reminded him that he told me three weeks earlier that TECNO will collect that same amount to fix the phone. I was so upset as he took me to TECNO office and wasted my time without any conclusion to the matter, he eventually turned round and told me that the fault was from me, that it was physically damaged and I asked him how, he said the charging port was spoilt.

I pointed out the fault in his reasoning that the damage to the charging port is mine since their manager at the Oremeji branch had informed me that the phone probably just needed its battery boosted when he tested it, I also told him that the manager charged the phone in their office.

He got angry and told me that except I paid the 10,000 naira there was nothing he could do about it and walked off, leaving me on the shop floor.

I asked around for somebody else in authority who I could speak to and explained everything to the man who appeared to be in charge of the engineering department at Solat Telecoms.

The man listened to me and asked me to return on Wednesday the 9th of this month (July).

My questions: who’s in charge of quality control of technological imports into Nigeria? Secondly, are there any agencies concerned with customer care and ensuring Nigerians are not being shafted out of their hard earned money by charlatans posing as vendors?

I sincerely hope that Solat Telecoms will do the right thing by me and replace my tab.

MOBILITY has copied Solat Telecoms Ltd so they have the opportunity to respond to this complaint. – Editor

4 comments

  1. the consumer protection council is supposed to be in charge of quality control but due to Nigerian factor such is not the case.

  2. Judging from the story i think the solat telecoms is at fault as they might have sold a refurbished phone to you since the tecno people claim there was no warranty on the phone.

  3. The same thing was going on with the S9 Tab which I find rather appalling considering the fact that it BARELY outwits my phanthom F7( note that I’m currently running a custom ROM on the phanthom though… But still) . back to my story I had to literally remove the SIM CARDS and memory card before it would boot else it would end in a boot-loop. Personally, I think its a glitch from Tecno and they should have taken the blame for such, not overlooking the fact that SOLAT should have had some kind of warranty though… Babe I think you got no choice other than either paying the 10,000 or getting a new and better Tab… Believe me I know how frustrating Tecno(or is it Carl care) could be when it comes to repairing or replacing devices. Though if you wanna wait, feel free babe.

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