A customer had sent a fax message to a machine manufacturer that, while installing a new machine, they had found that an important part was not working properly. They requested the machine manufacturer to rectify the machine immediately by replacing the defective part under Warranty.

The manufacturer’s Service Engineer visited the customer’s factory the next day. He inspected the malfunctioning part and the rest of the machine, and asked the customer’s machine operator a few questions. While he was clicking photographs of the machine, the customer’s General Manager came to the machine and asked the Service Engineer when the defective part would be replaced. The Service Engineer replied, “The part is not defective, sir. It was damaged in an accident in your factory. So, you will have to pay both for the part and for the labour.”

The General Manager angrily said, “There was no accident. The part is defective and must be replaced under Warranty.”

The Service Engineer replied, “Sir, please see the physical damage on the malfunctioning part. There definitely was an accident. I asked your machine operator whether the main motor had tripped after the collision, or whether it had remained on. He thought it was a routine question, but it was a trap! He replied that the motor had remained on, but he had shut it using the Emergency Stop Switch a few seconds after the collision. Doesn’t that confirm there was an accident, sir?”

This post, based on a true incident, is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda (Prompt: the post must contain, ‘it was a trap!’)

15 thoughts on “Trapped!

  1. Law comes heavily on ‘suppersio veri’ – suppression of truth and ‘suggestio falsi’ – making a false statement. The Big Boss is guilty of both.. He least expected the operator come out with the facts in response to what seemed routine ‘enquiries’ and this doesn’t amount to a ‘trap’ by any stretch of imagination!

    • It’s not difficult.

      Even before he visited, the Service Engineer was pretty sure that the customer was making an unjustified Warranty claim by suppressing some fact. He was totally sure about it when he inspected the machine. To ensure that the customer could not deny that an accident/collision had taken place, he also got the machine operator to confirm the truth. In short, he kept his cool (this is most important), obtained undeniable proof calmly and methodically, then confronted the customer.

  2. If they had just told the manufacturer the truth, the manufacturer would gladly have done the repairs with a nominal charge I’m sure. I’ve had this experience too & on truthfully saying that I had made a mistake they said, “No problem, we’ll get it fixed at no extra cost to you.”

  3. After working long enough, one learns to ask such questions that seem innocent but are actually a ploy to get the truth. I believe that it is the result of many such people abusing the warranty service to claim what was damaged by them to be replaced for free (be it office or home).

  4. Smart service engineer. 🙂 We’ve heard of many hushed up accidents that we taught our engineers to unearth – it was part of our weekly training 😀 To ask the right questions. What a good example for the prompt.

  5. serves right for trying to cheat! skills like this always come in handy and saves us frm lots of loss! wish i cud learn dat too

    • Swathi, as I stated in my reply to Rekha’s comment, it’s not difficult. you have to keep your cool (this is most important), obtain undeniable proof calmly and methodically, then confront the customer who’s trying to cheat you.

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