You’ve probably heard about the crappy customer service in Saudi-Arabia before. Disservice, un-service, no service, customernoservice..WHAT service?
To give you a better idea of how things work (or don’t work) in the Magic Kingdom, read this experience with SAMSUNG Saudi Arabia customer services. More specifically Samsung in Riyadh and their washing machine maintenance and repairs. UPDATE: Since this post was published, I’ve tried posting it numerous times on Samsung Saudi Arabia’s Facebook page, Samsung KSA on Twitter and every time instead of someone contacting me and apologizing (at the least), the Samsung people have just deleted my comments! And then blocked me too. Same happened to friends who tried to post on Samsung KSA social media accounts complaining about their service. I think they owe us a new machine after putting us through living a month without a washing machine, with a newborn baby and a 1,5 year old, and both babies sick with vomiting and diarrhea.
Sometimes I’m lost for words when describing these things. It makes my head hurt and I can feel how my brain cells are slowly dying from trying to handle the ultimate stupidity. I try not to think about it too much in fear of permanent brain damage.
Let me tell you that writing this post literally made me sweat in agony. Experiencing this in real life however was something else altogether. The customer service here can only really be understood by someone who has had the “privilege” to experience it.
Like those moments when you called the plumber to come “plumb” something, he comes and pours water on it and says “ma’m it’s plumbed”.
Read our ordeal with our broken Samsung washer-dryer.
The Curious Case of Samsung Godfathers and Washing Machine Eating Mice of Saudi Arabia
Our a little bit over a year old Samsung washing machine breaks. An error message appears on the computer screen when the machine tries to start rinsing cycle. I inform my husband. We suspect a problem with the drain or filter. Husband calls plumber and cleans filter.
Plumber arrives, checks drains. Pours water in them. “Kulu kweis. Mafi mushkila.”
Husband calls Samsung maintenance service telling them our machine is broken. They promise to send “someone”.
The first Samsung maintenance dude arrives. Cannot diagnose problem, finds no issues, machine appears to be working when he checks. Note he checks the machine with no laundry in it. DUH!
An hour after his “check-up” I run a cycle of laundry, it happens again, husband calls him to come back. Dude says he will come back Saturday and order the spare parts to fix the computer board. As if the problem is in the computer screen itself and not the actual machine. Silly me for thinking that when an error message appears, it means there’s a problem somewhere else. The maintenance dude naturally knows what he is doing right. RIGHT?
After about 192 calls to Samsung that week the same dude finally comes and changes the computer board. They test it, now with laundry inside (which my husband insisted to put in) and it seems to work. Charged 700 SAR for all this.
I start doing laundry. The same freakin problem comes up and I scream a little bit inside. I am starting to have a huge pile of laundry by now. The laundry room has started to stink.
Husband calls Samsung and says the machine is broken again. “We will send someone” they say.
The someone comes after about 36 phone calls to Samsung asking when is mr. Someone coming.
He tries to check the machine, opens up the backdoor and takes some wire out.
Diagnosis: The lock and the computer board has to be changed.
Excuse me? Samsung dude #1 already fixed it and we paid for it.
Dude #2 says when dude #1 changed the computer board he should have also changed the lock because if he doesn’t they’re both going to break.
OK so you’re telling me he kind of un-fixed it? Like, as in BROKE it more?
Dude #2 leaves saying he has to now order the spare parts from somewhere (maybe somebody will hand carry them from China, on a donkey?)
Husband calls Samsung, nobody knows anything.
Laundry room has now started to seriously stink. Stink as in MOLD, MILDEW stink. Plumber comes. Says the nasty smell is coming because we’re not using the washing machine which normally would flush the drains. Pours water on drain, leaves.
Thank you Samsung for the lovely TOXIC home odors.
The same dude comes back again after a few days with a co-dude. They change the computer and the lock. Next he cannot locate the wire which he had removed the first time for reasons not understandable to people with logic. (try looking in your arse perhaps? ) After an hour searching an area of about 3 square meters they finally relocate the mysterious wire. Dude #2 puts the thing back in.
Machine does not work.
Another two hours goes by and either dude #2 or #3 can figure out what’s actually wrong with the machine.
“Too much work, can’t be done here” he says. “we need to take it to the workshop“.
Husband says sure, take it. “Oh but we don’t have a car big enough to transport things in.”
Wait a second, WHAT? You’re telling me you’re a maintenance dude for SAMSUNG which mostly makes large home appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators, and you drive around in what? A Morris Mini or a Toyota Corolla? Somebody please tell me this is a joke right?
They leave and say “someone” will call you tomorrow.
Big surprise! No news from Samsung! Husband gets upset and refers to Samsung customer service as “piece of crap”. He calls them to schedule a pick up. Samsung Riyadh say next available appointment is following Monday. This is totally unacceptable after waiting two weeks already and especially after the unprofessional maintenance disservice. Husband demands to talk to manager. “No manager here sir”. Husband asks to leave a message for the manager to call him on Saturday.
The smell of mold in the laundry room is getting stronger and stronger. Plumber arrives. Pours water in drains and also on the floors. Smell of mold then spreads to entire apartment.
Toddler is now down with a bad flu and vomiting all over the place.
Saturday rolls along.
Husband receives SMS from Samsung Saudi call center saying your appointment has been CANCELLED. Husband goes nuts. Is now referring to Samsung maintenance as “piece of s**t”.
Calls Samsung, asking for maintenance manager. The employees at call center are all Saudi females with the same default replies:
“we don’t have a maintenance manager, only a call center manager”
“we can only reach the manager by email”
“I will send the manager an email and he will get back to you”
So to reach these mysterious managers (all Saudis of course), who seem to enjoy the status similar to some sort of untouchable, unreachable “mafia Godfathers”, the call center ladies have to send emails.
Nobody knows where these “Godfathers” are located or what they look like.
The Samsung Godfather then either gets back to you, or doesn’t, depending on his mood or how busy he is with his other ahem, “businesses”.
Later that day, the phone rings. Lo and behold, it’s the SAMSUNG Godfather. He listens to my husbands complaints and promises to call back. The Godfather named Raed Al-Something NEVER calls back. He probably got busy smoking cigars or just didn’t bother.
The toddler is very sick now, vomit and diarrhea is everywhere, no washing machine. Funtimes!
Husband calls Samsung customer service call center everyday, over and over. Same monotonous replies from the call girls. No signs from Godfather.
Baby is still sick.
Plumber arrives to “flush the drains”. This time is met by crazy Finnish woman who tells him some facts about plumbing, drains, mold, moisture and health. After the Plumbing-101 quick course the plumber laughs in disbelief but does what the woman instructs him and opens the drain up. He tries to remove the mold and then pours Chlorox in the drains. The smell is gone but is replaced with dangerous chemicals.
Fed up and furious, husband decides to locate the secret office of the Godfather. He goes to the Riyadh Samsung maintenance manager in person on Wednesday morning. Husband is now referring to Samsung customer service as “piece of *#%# s**t”.
The Godfather, Mr. Raed Al-Hamaad is smoking cigars in his office when husband enters. It is hard to see the Godfather from all the smoke in the room. The Godfather seems very pre-occupied and doesn’t look up from his computer screen the entire while husband rants about our situation. He only nods and writes something down. I guess he was busy reading emails.
The same day around 2 pm someone calls saying he’s on the way to pick the machine up. Really? Could this be it finally? Did the Godfather push some buttons?
The Samsung dude #4 asks for directions and husband explains the way to Diplomatic Quarters. The dude does not know where it is. The hero gets lost and calls husband. They try to figure out where the dude #4 he hasn’t the slightest clue where he is. Husband spends the next hour on and off the phone trying to locate the hopeless case. The Samsung dude is Yemeni so his understanding of Arabic is not the problem.
It’s 4 pm now and we do not know where he is nor does he know where he is, other than it’s bound to be somewhere in Riyadh. Husband asks the Samsung dude to stop somewhere on the side of the road and give the phone to someone around him. He does this and then husband tells the random person on the road that this clueless dimwit needs to be sent into the DQ. Turns out the dude was right next to the gate all along but didn’t realize (or know how to read).
A stubborn camel would’ve made it from the SAMSUNG store into DQ by this time.
Husband specifically instructs the samsung dude what to say when entering at the gate and IF the security doesn’t let him in, to STAY at the gate so husband can fetch him. It’s now nearing 5pm and there’s no sign of the dude, husband calls 15 times in a row before he finally picks up.
The dude left. Went back to the store. AFTER 3 HOURS OF DRIVING AROUND YOU FINALLY FOUND IT AND THEN YOU LEFT? O-M-G.
Turns out the Godfather had not sent one of his official men but an Iqama-less random Yemeni dude to us. Which the gate security naturally turned away. Husband is now referring to Samsung customer service as “%$#@ piece of *#%# s**t”.
Husband leaves to Samsung store to kill people but on the way there Mr Someone calls him says we are on the way. They actually come, make it inside the gate and have a big enough car to take the machine. “A few days”, they say.
Newborn baby is now sick. Smell of mold still lingering in the house. Smelly laundry in the baskets and on the floors.
Plumber comes and says “you need a washing machine”. You don’t say??
Saturday rolls around again, husband calls and Samsung says tomorrow, inshallah. We’ve all heard that before. The next day it’s still being fixed. Same thing the next day.
Without asking if anybody is actually home, another Samsung dude calls in the middle of the day and informs they’re on their way to bring the machine back.
Machine arrives and the dude starts checking if it works. I tell him we need to put laundry in it and wait the entire cycle to see if it works because the problem arises when it’s full of water and clothes.
He doesn’t get it and keeps pressing on the buttons. I try to explain again, this time speaking veeryy sloooowly. Now he thinks I don’t understand how a washing machine works and starts explaining the process in full detail. I give up trying to explain and hope for the best.
Out of interest I ask him what caused the problem in the machine. He tells me it was…..
wait for it…
A MOUSE. A mouse that had chewed up the wires in the machine and gobbled them all up. EXCUSE ME? A mouse ate my washing machine?
Wait a sec..You’re telling me a mouse entered my house? A house that’s full of cats? Wouldn’t they kill the mouse before it passed by all the delicious foods awaiting in the kitchen cupboards and made its way to the irresistible washing machine wire it was craving to chew on? Would it not leave droppings and some signs of itself?
Has anyone ever heard of a washing machine eating MOUSE before? I thought so. Do mice even live in Saudi-Arabia?
I felt so sorry for him for not coming up with a better excuse. It might have been more convincing had he blamed at least a gerbil because I had gerbils as pets when I was a kid and boy do they know how to chew things up. But a mouse? Get real dude. So DUMB. It’s like when a seven year old comes to his parents saying “a mouse chewed up my homework”.
I have a pretty good idea who “chewed up” that wire, Shamsung!
Well at least the machine seems to be working now and I don’t know what we would’ve done without our amazing friends and neighbors who helped us do the laundry during this whole anguishing ordeal.
What words would you use to describe this service?
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Hello there! I’m Laura, the founder of Blue Abaya- the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia, established in 2010. Travel has always been my passion- so far I’ve visited 70 countries and I’m always on the lookout for new adventures inside and outside of Saudi Arabia!