back to article Brits' BORKED Samsung kit held up after repair centre slips into administration

British Samsung repair centre Samuel King Intelligent IT Solutions has gone under, leaving folks stranded without their serviceable Sammy equipment. The repair firm, which fixes mobiles, TVs, laptops and other Samsung tech, said on its website that it had gone into administration, without giving any further information other …

Unhappy

Drat and double drat!

Oh dear. I posted the missus' Tab 3 on Saturday as it won't power on (a common fault rectified by a battery pull I hear). Though I can't quite remember the address it went to, so it may have gone elsewhere. I'll have to check the Post Office reciept and also check Sammy's own online tracking for repairs. Fingers crossed on this one...

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Re: Drat and double drat!

Good luck !!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Drat and double drat!

Sounds bad/dodgy management practice if they've just declared bankruptcy and made a run for it.

I wonder if the director has jumped on a plane to avoid the shitstorm??

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Zot
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Re: Drat and double drat!

Let us know what happens, you'll probably need to contact the administrators, as others have said.

It might be 3 months though, or 6, or...

Hmm, well at least you can tell the missus you tried! :)

The damage is already done though, and she'll not buy a Samsung again.

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I read an entirely similar story about Dell yesterday. So which are the nice courteus prompt effecient companies? and do they make any good gear?

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Surprisingly, Acer has the best customer service IMO. When my laptop developed a fault, 2 years after the purchase date they sent a courier to collect it from an address of my choice, and then had it back to me within 3 or 4 days. Cant get much better than that.

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MrT
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Even better than that...

...Dell sent someone to my house when the Nvidia graphics card went in my (then) 4.5yr old laptop. Swapped mobo and graphics card, leaving me with one that had twice the RAM. I guess it helped that in the US that Nvidia had been subject to a class action for knowingly shipping faulty GPUs to big players like Dell and HP.

No Gregorian Chant CD or cat bra needed...

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That's because Acer have had a lot of practice repairing their 'goods' (obviously because they are such a big and successful company)

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"Cant get much better than that."

Onsite service.....

It does tend to cost more though.

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Ahhh Acer.... does their 'stuff' ever actually break?

Many moons ago I was working in the bell tower of a church installing some free space optics kit and dropped the Acer laptop I was using to set up the laser. When I retrieved it, despite falling approx 120 feet onto tarmac, it worked perfectly (once I popped the battery back in as it had shot out on impact) and only had a few scuffmarks, no cracks or breaks. Truely impressive build quality, considering that laptop casings and screen hinges on most other crap tend to crack and break just from being looked at funny.

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Pop goes Samsung's glossy image.

While subcontracting repairs is common enough, it doesn't seem to quite mesh with the global size and big-budget advertising of a company like Samsung.

But these companies aren't all that interested once they have your money and, presumably, the margins they allowed the repair firm didn't contribute much to its financial viability.

Where the product has been returned via a retailer, the responsibility lies with the retailer -- they should retrieve and repair or replace your property and try to reclaim any cost from Samsung using future orders as leverage.

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Re: Pop goes Samsung's glossy image.

A fair comment. My recent experience was the opposite. Bought a new HP ultra book which refused to activate. Went through the reset my PC (that is the new lingo for reloading the original image) to no avail so I connected to their web support portal thing. They* were utterly useless and just kept advising to reset the PC to see if it fixed it. The third technician to get involved even offered to "generously" post out a recovery DVD (all I needed to do was buy an external drive).

It wasn't until the local outsourced repair company got involved that the problem was fixed (and they actually turned up when they said and returned phone calls). The difference was night and day. So I guess YMMV.

*Yes I know the web support is also an outsourced company.

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Re: Pop goes Samsung's glossy image.

Once Apple have my money, they appear to want to give me excellent service even though it costs them. Why? Because giving me excellent service makes me more likely to buy more stuff from them. But then, Apple compete on quality, Dell and Samsung on price. I'd argue, however, that when you take into account how much extra you'd have to pay a third party to get Apple-level service on a Samsung or Dell product, Apple are price-competitive anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pop goes Samsung's glossy image.

To be fair, others aren't much better. I tried to the get the shattered glass back of a Nexus 4. I have shaky hands and didn't fancy messing around with a phone featuring plenty of glue so I phoned Google, who put me in touch with LG who put me in touch with their 3rd party repair company. They never answered the phone or replied to any email. Gave up in the end.

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@David Cantrell

Posting a non-invective comment about Apple on El Reg?

Not sure if that's brave or foolhardy. Anyway, prepare for the probable rush of downvotes - irresprctive of the cirgumstances.

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Re: Pop goes Samsung's glossy image.

" My recent experience was the opposite. Bought a new HP ultra book which refused to activate."

HP may well have been a highly regarded company in the 20th century.

Ever since the merge with Compaq, both parts have degenerated into suppliers of unreliable tat made by the cheapest supplier with HP's name slapped on top.

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Re: Pop goes Samsung's glossy image.

Haters can hate on Apple all they want, but the fact is that none of the Apple stores in my area have ever "gone into Administration" and none of my Apple kit has ever had to be serviced, including a re-conditioned Macbook Pro 2008 bought in 2011, a reconditioned MacPro that dates back to 2006 and was bought in 2013, two iPhones, and an iPad 2. I can't say that for any of the Dell, HP, Compaq, or IBM computers that I've ever owned.

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Re: Pop goes Samsung's glossy image.

I would say you were lucky then Gill. My experience of Apple has been entirely opposite. I think it's really luck of the draw with all manufacturers

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Re: Pop goes Samsung's glossy image.

That would be the same Apple, who had to be jerked into line by an Italian judge to give EU customers the 2 year warranty they are entitled to by EU law? And for free, not as an extra warranty-plan?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/02/apple_extends_eu_warranty/

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Re: Pop goes Samsung's glossy image.

I've had to replace the back panel on my Nexus 4 a couple of times, so believe me it's easy. Undo a couple of screws, lever the old one off then snap the new one on. Replacing the front screen is a different ball game, but doable (you need a new battery for that as the existing one is stuck to the screen and bends as you prise it off - it was that mis-shaping of it that lost me the first backplate as it cracked when I put it back on).

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"For a company like Samsung to treat any individual the way I have been given the runaround is a joke,”

Having to make 3 phone calls is hardly being given the runaround. They've also said they'll fix all of the devices for free providing they're still in warranty. What more does Steve want?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reg Reader Steve is a twit.

"A random executive PA at a large corporation is supposed to know that one of its independent third-party repair centres has gone under?"

If they're sub-contracting out all of their repairs to external repairers, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect the customer-facing staff to be told when one changes (or goes bust), as they're likely to get queries on it. Similarly, it wouldn't be unreasonable for the higher-level staff dealing with customer queries/complaints (assuming the "executive PA" falls into this category) to be told of situations likely to cause a large number of complaints, as escalated complaints tend to find their way to them ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reg Reader Steve is a twit.

Someones personal assistant is hardly 'customer facing'. Also they don't subcontract out all of their repairs, they do offer their own in house repair service as well but the turn around time is longer.

Steve is still a fool for taking his device to a repair centre which has as many disgruntled customers as satisfied ones. There are loads of reviews accusing the company of scamming customers, probably one of the reasons they're in administration

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Scourge of instant communications

People have come to expect instant answers to their queries and are very quick to vent their feeling or rage on social media if they don’t receive exactly what they feel they deserve.

It is [usually] sad when a company goes into Administration, the chances are the people running it didn’t want that to happen and for a smaller privately financed business it can be a devastating blow to the owners. There are also the staff who will be in a very unstable situation. Everything in their building will be locked down until the Administrators have decided who own it and what to do with it.

I don’t know what it’s like inside Samsung but it is quite possible that this is a very small portion of their operation. It may well take some time for the information to get around within the company and also for the impact on their customers and business to be understood. They will then have to allocate staff to understand and come up with a resolution. This all takes time, as does dealing with the Administrators.

If they were to tweet everything that happened within their company in real time then I expect their twitter feed would be huge and more importantly as their understanding of situations develop then their ‘news’ will also change.

How often have you seen initial news reports change as the real story develops? Often immediately spouting out statements is counter productive and I feel should be avoided.

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when will we know that it's safe to buy Samsung products again, and how will we know that the next repair center does not go bust in the future?

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Samsung in "Mega-Corp. doesn't care much about a lone, disgruntled user" shock!

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HP Repairs

Recent years I have been surprised with all the outsourcing, HP for instants use BT for repairs where as before it was I believe a proper HP engineer (Could be wrong).

If any companies have issues such as the service company or the company producing the tech quite often its the customer who gets the run-around.

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Oursourcing...

This is one of my pet bette noirs. "Oh, we outsourced that function... therefore if it goes wrong you should act as if it didn't". It's up there with "a supplier let us down - please give us a pass on this one as it really isn't our fault".

Yeah. I don't really care who ballsed it up - I have a contract with you and you alone and if you've a problem with a supplier you chose, leave me out of it.

I had all this shite from Comet (RIP) when my Telly blew up "Oh, you'll have to call this number.. and speak to our repair department"* - guess where I didn't go when I wanted a new Telly? right... guess who ended up in the dole queue a short while later? - right again.

* The words "Law of strict liabilities" sorted that out... Suddenly the manager COULD do something to help. He called them and arranged it for me. Which meant I had a contract with him, not them. Which turned out to be useful then they broke the telly they were supposed to be fixing.....

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Meh

Re: Oursourcing...

So, your supplier does not deliver a product, how do you solve that problem for your customer? Any takers?

But I agree we should get help from the store (seller) when the supplier provides a faulty product.

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Re: Oursourcing...

It should probably be pointed out (being an ex Comet head office goon myself) that the repairs department, incompetent as they were, were not actually outsourced. Supply chain problems for replacement parts were however endemic and so waiting up to a month for a relatively simple fix was deemed perfectly alright and within SLA (sorry sir, the parts aren't in yet. No I won't give you a replacement. No that's not how the Sale of Goods Act works).

That place going down the shitter was the best thing that ever happened to me.

AC for obvious reasons.

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Retrieval

It'll be interesting to see if Samsung can retrieve the customers products, at least any time soon. I have shut down more than a few companies, and I've never seen 3rd parties have much success in retrieving other people's property from within the closed company in a reasonable amount of time. Take all a big mess and the only people who might be able to sort it have usually been fired.

It sucks, sure, but one really can't fault Samsung too much in this. It's a terrifically horrible idea to tell people you're about to close up shop. The mess is always bigger than just shutting it down as a surprise. If you announce a closing all you've done is create a race where the first large creditor to call their debt gets everything and nobody else gets shit. The only way to prevent that is through surprise so you can use legal means sort it put as best as you can.

It's all very unfortunate, but the legal system in the EU and the US is most certainly structured such that being wildly irresponsible is the most responsible thing to do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Retrieval

You probably can fault Samsung over some of it. They outsourced the repairs to a third party company.. A company who apparently didn't have a good reputation or apparently a good business model either... That was a mistake on Samsung's part but we know what drove Samsung's decision : cost.. The cheaper the contract the more money we make.

It would seem.. Looking at things like Samsung Mobiles Facebook page that a significant number of outsourced Samsung repair shops are pretty poor.

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Re: Retrieval

Not 100% sure here, but isn't it the case that when a company goes bankrupt, any equipment in their possession becomes the property of the administrators, even if the bankrupt company wasn't the owner of the property to begin with. Possession being 9/10ths of the law and all that.

I remember when a large photographic chain went kaput, people who had placed orders and paid for equipment, lost out heavily. The administrators took both the money and auctioned the equipment to pay the creditors.

If the case is similar here, I fear for people trying to recover their equipment that was in for repair.

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Re: Retrieval

It's not so much that the 'stuff' changes owners, it's more that nothing involved has an owner until the court/administrators work out what belongs to who. That can be an extraordinarily complex mess. Even more so if records are kept in a co-lo facility on rented kit. They'll likely have financials on-site, and that's all the administrators are immediately interested in. Once they find that info they stop spend on everything else and that includes off site services and the information held there. If the administrators can find information regarding proper ownership they'll return the property, eventually...

Regarding the other comment above, Samsung can't be held responsible for the failings of another business. That business fought hard to win the Samsung contract. It's not like like there were any surprises, they knew exactly what they were getting into. They underbid competitors but didn't leave enough money for themselves. That's just bad business.

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Re: Retrieval

It's not so much that the 'stuff' changes owners, it's more that nothing involved has an owner until the court/administrators work out what belongs to who. That can be an extraordinarily com

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"Fire & Forget", or "Stuff into channel & forget"

nt.

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A different experience

When my daughter's Galaxy Note developed a fault under warranty, O2 who it was bought from, refused to accept it was a fault and tried to charge for repair. Samsung themselves sent a prepaid bag and repaired it under warranty and totally free of charge.

I managed to screw compensation out of O2 for all the hassle they gave us (long story!).

O2 permanently LOST 2 customers. As far as I was concerned, Samsung improved their already excellent reputation.

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"Haters can hate on Apple all they want"

So why do fanboys insist on being a remote Island unto itself.

Is George Bush now president ?

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Thing that bothers me...

The thing that bothers me is how it appears Samsung was unaware a business partner of there's went broke. Like, (for sake of argument, I don't think either is "on the ropes"...) if UPS or Fedex closed up shop, would Samsung US just keep trucking over pallets of stuff ready to ship and leave it at their doorstep? I do hope this works out for everyone with their Samsung stuff off in limbo.

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Good luck

They have my sympathies.

One of Samsungs service centres (not Samuel King) managed to totally lose my Galaxy S3 last year, it took two months from sending it off to get a replacement.

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Bigger Systemic Problems in Samsung's Support Operation

Samsung were invited to correct any in the following sad tale that they thought was incorrect or unreasonable but they declined to comment.

We were keen Samsung mobile users since the first Galaxy S, but as the buyer for our company, I am now blocking all orders for Samsung kit – the amount of time spent on support, even on warranty goods, is just too high and they have no appetite for remediating very dubious practices by their support contractors.

When they receive a phone and somehow lose the service request details on their system, they just put the device aside, despite the details and customer contact details being included with the device. The customer is expected to chase this to ground and resolve it.

But you rarely get through to speak by phone to anyone in less than 10 minutes; Anovo and Samsung play customer ping pong by each claiming the other is responsible.

They recently sent me a photograph of damage and demanded £158 for repair before they would do the warranty fix. I was certain there was no damage – I’d only paid to have that device fixed 5 weeks before. When they sent it back, the device back, the damage wasn’t present. A closer look at the photo of the previous damage showed that wasn’t damaged as claimed either. Once might be an accident but twice seems like a scam.

Samsung knows about it, and they don’t appear to be doing anything about it. Meanwhile, the insurance claim has resulted in our premiums going up by over £300 a year.

Escalating is just another invitation for exasperation – they send Anovo an email and wait 72 hours, but they don’t follow up, or get back to customers, when that period lapses. Any other company caught so knowingly delivering a really bad customer experience would show a little contrition, enough to show they take complaints seriously, but not Samsung UK.

What businessman can afford to spend hours a day on the phone trying to get basic warranty repairs done on staff phones? Learn from our mistake – avoid Samsung.

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