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PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 March, 2007, 12:00am

The column for anyone fed up with bureaucracy, frustrated with delays or furious with poor service. Tell us your complaint and we'll try to fix it ...

Internet user Ms Hsu of Yuen Long, a customer of Hutchison Global Communications, asks why she was asked to pay for a broadband service she did not get. In September, the broadband service at Ms Hsu's home broke down.

'I had been waiting for over a month for their technician to come and sort out the connection problem in my estate. After numerous phone calls, letters, e-mails and false promises, there was no technician, and the problem was never solved.

'So I asked for a termination of their service. Initially, they didn't respond to my request. So in early October, I had to recruit another company's service. However, HGC, after learning of my situation, demanded a full payment for their 'service' from September 2006 to July 2007, which fell into the contracted period.'

Ms Hsu said the long battle with HGC left her feeling 'helplessly vulnerable'. 'We can respect the spirit of a contract as long as it is fair to both parties involved. Yet as consumers, we don't seem to have the right to rid ourselves of a poorly executed service without having to pay a dear price for it. I am proud to live in a lawful city, but HGC's broadband service and its staff really shocked me with their hooligan-like deeds. Could the company justify why such unjust contractual terms should be deployed?'

Ms Hsu also wanted to express her thanks to the Consumer Council in assisting her and many other victims with such conflicts.

HGC said that although Ms Hsu, under the sales agreement, should be required to pay the outstanding contract amount, the company had taken her case as an exception and reached an agreeable solution with her. A spokeswoman apologised for any inconvenience caused.

She also explained that after the first unsuccessful home visit by a technician, the company repeatedly attempted to arrange onsite checking but failed to contact the customer. 'Before we succeeded in doing so, the customer decided to change the service provider and demanded an early service termination before the contract expired,' she said.

Mr Wild of Pok Fu Lam was unhappy when the refrigerator that arrived at his home was not the one he wanted. After realising he had ordered the wrong model at a Fortress outlet in Tsim Sha Tsui, Mr Wild was wondering whether the electrical appliance supplier could help him swap it for another one.

'On February 27, I bought at Fortress in Ocean Centre a Samsung 'Side by Side' refrigerator. On March 3, the fridge was delivered to my flat and I noticed that the doors were not of the model I had ordered. But since the delivery man told me that the doors can be exchanged and the fridge is a very big, bulky item, I decided to keep the fridge and talk to Fortress about an exchange.

'Later, I realised that it was I who had made the mistake when ordering the fridge at Fortress' Ocean Centre branch. Since they didn't have any fridges on display, I ordered from the catalogue and mixed up the 'Glass Aqua Silver' with the 'Glass Mirror' model.

'So I called Ocean Centre and explained my mix-up. After uncountable calls and long discussions, a manager called me, saying that it was the company's policy and nothing could be done in my case. I ordered the wrong doors and therefore it was my mistake.

My request to put me in touch with her managers was rejected by her and she explicitly said there was no one else besides her to make a different decision, and that was the end of our conversation.

'I myself worked for many years for a major European retail company and know how important customer service is to maintain your customers. I could guarantee that without hesitation or questions asked, I would get the doors exchanged with any European or North American retailer.'

The customer relations department of Fortress said they were sorry about the inconvenience caused to Mr Wild, but they would not be able to have the fridge swapped according to the company's policy.

'It would be possible for him to change it for another one if he had raised the requirement on or before the day when the product was transported to his home. After that, we will only help customers to swap the products with quality problems,' a spokesman said.

He reminded consumers to take care when making orders.