Consumers say air conditioner manufacturers’ after-sales services are expensive and broken
June 13, 2022, New Delhi: Once consumers buy a white product, the majority of them realize that after-sales customer service is the most important thing, especially when it comes to products such as air conditioners (AC ). India’s residential air conditioning market is estimated to be around 5 million units per year, according to media reports, citing industry experts. Actual sales are expected to beat all expectations and as India grapples with a prolonged heat wave. Temperatures in the nation’s capital and many cities in northern, northwestern and central India have hovered between 44 and 50 degrees Celsius this summer.
According to independent research estimates, 24% of Indian households own an air conditioner or cooler, with the majority of them in Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Puducherry, Uttarakhand, among other states. Nearly 40% of households that own air conditioners or chillers are based in urban areas and 16% in rural India.
Undoubtedly, India has a huge base of middle class consumers who buy electronics like AC based on its usefulness, functionality and sometimes after sales customer service. However, this year, LocalCircles has received a large number of complaints against air conditioner manufacturers indicating that they are extremely slow to respond when it comes to after-sales service. Some consumers went so far as to buy a new air conditioner because the after-sales service and warranty process of the AC brand was unresponsive or not working.
LocalCircles conducted a study to understand how Indian consumers got their air conditioner serviced after facing technical issues. He researched whether they prefer to get their AC serviced from the manufacturer or from local suppliers, as well as the reasons and the price they paid for it. The survey received responses from over 42,000 responses from 302 districts in India. 65% of respondents were male while 35% of respondents were female. 42% of respondents were from Tier 1, 29% from Tier 2, and 29% from Tiers 3, 4 and rural districts.
76% of consumers who own air conditioners do not have them serviced by the manufacturer/company service due to the high cost, complicated contact process and time it takes
The first question asked consumers, “Why don’t you usually have your home air conditioner(s) repaired through the manufacturer?” In response, only 18% of consumers said, “I have them serviced through the air conditioner manufacturer’s after-sales service.” However, 29% responded because of “(1) High cost”, 1% said “(2) Takes time” and 7% said “(3) Complicated contact process”. Breaking down the survey, 10% cited reasons “1 and 2” among the above options, 8% answered “1 and 3”, 3% answered “2 and 3” and 18% stated all reasons “1 , 2 and 3”. 6% said it “never occurred to me”. Overall, 76% of consumers who own air conditioners do not have them serviced by the manufacturer/company service due to the high cost, complicated contact process and time it takes. This survey question received 22,000 responses.
High cost is the number one reason consumers who own air conditioners do not have them serviced by the manufacturer/company
If the reasons given by consumers are rated in order of priority, the results indicate that 65% do not have their air conditioner serviced by the manufacturer/company due to “high cost”, 36% said due to “complicated contact process” and 32%% said it “takes time”.
According to a LocalCircles survey conducted in January 2022, consumers cited the economics of after-sales service and brands’ warranty or service processes being broken as the main reason for buying a new device or gadgets. , although they have 3 or more of these products at home that are less than 5 years old in need of maintenance or repair. The same survey suggested that the country lacked adequate standards to assure consumers that the maintenance and repair of their home appliances would be monitored.
2 in 3 consumers who own air conditioners say that the service arm of the air conditioner manufacturer charges 50% or more than local suppliers to provide service/repairs
The next question asked consumers: “What difference do you find in the cost of maintenance/repairs between the after-sales service of the air conditioner manufacturer and the local supplier?” In response, 23% said their fees were more than 100% higher than local providers. 12% said it was “75-100%” better, 32% said “50-75%” and 12% said “25-50%” compared to local providers. Only 15% of consumers said “it never occurred to me”, while 6% could not say. The results suggest that 2 out of 3 consumers who own air conditioners say that the after-sales service of the air conditioner manufacturer charges 50% more than the local supplier to provide service/repairs. This question received 20,891 responses.
In summary, 76% of consumers who own air conditioners do not have them serviced by the manufacturer or company service due to high costs, a complicated contact process and the time it takes. Additionally, 2 out of 3 consumers say that the service arm of the air conditioner manufacturer charges 50% or more than local suppliers to provide service/repairs.
The need of the hour here is for the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to issue standards for air conditioning maintenance. The second action needed here is the CCPA guidelines under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 which govern how devices should be maintained i.e. the stipulated response time for response to complaints, problem solving, resolution process and financial penalties if an air conditioner manufacturer fails to provide replacement parts and service. within the warranty period. Some consumers via LocalCircles have also demanded an end of life date concept for these expensive white goods so that the consumer knows in advance when purchasing a product how long service and spare parts are taken supported on the product.
LocalCircles will forward these collective findings and recommendations to the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Department of Consumer Affairs so that the respective rules for responsive after-sales service can be issued.
The survey received responses from over 42,000 responses from 302 districts in India. 65% of respondents were male while 35% of respondents were female. 42% of respondents were from Tier 1, 29% from Tier 2, and 29% from Tiers 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted through the LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.