Please Note: This is an article from Dec 2008. We have been informed that since then, Reliance Digital has had strict measures in place to ensure that such incidents do not occur and that customers are of utmost priority there now. They have also put in a complaint mechanism in place to ensure proper customer support. We can also confirm that our last few visits to Reliance Digital were pretty good. Furthermore, our recent experiences at Croma haven’t been very good. We will be publishing another article on the same when we have enough information. Woikr recommends that readers keep this in consideration when they read this article. (February 2, 2012).
Below are my experiences at two of the mega consumer electronics stores in India. One of them also includes a short trip to Sony World. Hopefully this will help you choose where to go next time you are out to buy any electronics item.
I wanted to buy NFS Most Wanted game DVD for Xbox 360. I went to Reliance Digital first. I found the DVD on the shelves, however, the price was too high (2510 INR). I knew that the price of this DVD was reduced to 1299 INR by the publishers some time back. Wondering why the latest price wasn’t reflecting on the product, I reached out to the sales guy who was supervising the DVDs section.
Me: The price of this DVD is printed as 2510 INR. However, I believe this has been reduced to 1299 INR. Can you please confirm this.
Sales Guy: (Completely un interested) Sir, the price is whatever is printed on the DVD. If the price changes, we update the price sticker accordingly.
Me: I understand. However, can you please use one of your computers to find out the latest price of this DVD. If you offer me the new lower price, I will buy this right away.
Sales Guy: (Still completely uninterested) took the DVD from me and went to the cash register, did something there and came back to me. Sir the price on the DVD is right. This game costs 2510 INR only.
Me: Fine Whatever.
I went to the nearby croma store. I saw the NFS DVD on the shelves. I flipped it over to see the price tag. It also had the old price of 2510 INR. Dissappointed, I was about to put the DVD back on the shelf when a sales guy approached me and asked if he can help me.
Me: (with little hope) I believe the price for this DVD has been updated. Can you please find out the new price?
Sales Guy: (took the DVD from me) told me to wait. He went to one of the cash registeres and came back in a minute. Yes sir, the price of this DVD has been reduced to 1299 INR. Would you like to buy this?
We wanted to buy a Sony Home Theater (Model Number: DAV 777. Price 29990 INR). We went to Reliance Digital and asked for a demo. There was another Onkyo Home Theater package available for 21000 INR with a Sansui DVD recorder free. We decided to check it out. The sales guy asked us to sit on a couch and popped in a DVD in the player and hit the play button.
Me: (after a few seconds of nothing happens) Is something wrong?
Sales Guy: Please hold on for a minute sir, I am connecting the cables.
Me: (frustrated) Aren’t they supposed to remain connected?
Sales Guy: Yes sir, but we sold off the TV which we were using here yesterday. This is a new TV and the cables aren’t connect to it yet.
Sales Guy connects the cable and plays the DVD.
Me: (after a minute) Looks like you connected the cables wrong. I can’t seem to notice any positional audio. It sounds like Mono audio is coming out of all the speakers.
Sales Guy: Impossible sir, I have connected all the speakers properly.
Me: Hmm OK. Then lets go to the Home Theater room and watch the Same disc on another Onkyo system.
Sales Guy plays the same DVD on an Onkyo 7.1 channel system.
Me: I still can’t seem to feel the positional audio. Are you sure the settings are fine?
Sales Guy: Absolutely sir. I have personally connected all the cables yesterday only.
Me: Fine. Let’s check out the Sony DAV 777 then.
Sales Guy takes us to the Sony setup and pops in the DVD into the system.
Me: Why is the screen blank?
Sales Guy: I am sorry sir, but the LCD over here was also sold off yesterday. This is a new TV and the cables aren’t connected yet.
Me: Lemme help you. I went to the setup and tried to help them out. And what I saw was utter horror. The sales guy had connected the Home Theater to the TV using a coaxial cable (the cable TV’s cable) and was trying to tune the TV to receive the signal from the Home Theater’s DVD player. I asked him why isn’t he using a component or HDMI cable.
Sales Guy: (ignoring my question) Sir, the connections on the Onkyo system you were checking out have been fixed. Please come and have a look.
Me: (after watching a few minutes of playback off the demo DVD) Are you sure you have connected it right? I still cannot feel its Dolby 5.1. And why is the picture quality so bad?
Sales Guy: Sir, I assure you that it is connected right. Regarding the picture quality, it depends on the DVD.
I leaned over to look at the connections. And what I saw filled my heart with utter horror again. They had connected the player to the TV using a single yellow AV input (RCA). No wonder the picture quality was so bad.
Me: You seem to have connected the TV using a standard AV cable. Can you please use component cable or HDMI?
Sales Guy: Sir we do not have those cables for display purposes.
Me: Fine. Lets go back to the Sony’s booth then.
Sales Guy: I am afraid that we do not have that model in stock sir. There seems to have been a price hike by Sony and the models are out of stock right now.
Me: Fine. Lets try at Sony World.
We went to Sony World. They had this awesome Home Theater room with all the systems neatly connected to the display using good quality component and HDMI cables. We watched a couple of demo scenes and listened to some songs and finally decided that we will buy the DAV 777 model.
Me: What’s the final price for DAV 777?
Sales Guy: Its 29,990 INR sir
Me: Any discounts or gifts?
Sales Guy: I am afraid not sir.
We tried to make some calls and locate a dealer having old stock with the older (lower) price tag, but couldn’t. We went back to the showroom to buy it at the MRP and found an uncle negotiating with the sales guy.
Uncle: The croma people are giving a 5% cash back. If you can give some discount, I’d buy it from you.
Sales Guy: (whispering to uncle, trying to avoid us) Please hold on sir, I will definitely do something for you.
Me: Hmm. 5% discount sounds good. We should try out at croma.
Sales Guy: (still avoiding us) Sure go ahead.
We went to croma but couldn’t find DAV 777 on display. We could find all the other models though.
Me: Do yo have the DAV 777?
Sales Guy: (after checking all the display models) Looks like we are out of stock sir.
Me: Is the 5% cash back applicable on home theaters?
Sales Guy: Absolutely sir. Its for all the products available here.
Me: If you can arrange it for me, I will buy it right away.
Sales Guy checks his computer and tells me that he can get it for me tomorrow if I make the payment today. The price is 29,200 INR (that’s 700 bucks lesser than anywhere else).
Me: Any gifts or offers?
Sales Guy goes in and gets me a pack of James Bond movies (Casino Royale full movie and Quantum of Solace promo disc).
Me: (sounding greedy) Cool. But this probably comes free with Sony. I need something more.
Sales Guy goes in yet another time and gets me a small handbag. Its a pretty cheap one and from a different brand. But hey, its free !
We finally got what we wanted and that too at a lower price than other places. The key takeaway from this experience is that its best to negotiate with the retail stores sales guys. They have a lot of margin in these products. Also, it is always a good idea to ask for gifts/offers during festive seasons. They usually have gifts in stock throughout the year but are hesitant to give it to every other customer unless they specifically ask for it. Also, visit a few of these stores before you make your final purchase. Most people just go to a single store and purchase the item right away without even wondering if it might be available at other places for cheap. Remember, they are sitting there to make money.
In the above two scenarios, croma proved to be the best in extending courtesy and staying on top of the market in terms of price and availability. The sales guys were also well versed with the home theater equipment and knew much more stuff than the other two places.
And last – please use your judgment when going to Reliance Digital for buying Audio Video products. I am not sure how much credible a store can be if it cannot even afford quality cables for its display equipments.
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