Monthly Archives: January 2014

Jaguar customer care and service

Published January 13, 2014 12:37 pm

The handle / lever for the health jet in the bathroom broke down. It was from Jaguar. I went around the local market to get the part. but none of them have option to buy only the handle. I can only purchase the whole jet. One shop referred me to call jaguar customer care and mentioned that they only can provide the part during service.

I called the jaguar customer care (1-800-121-6808) and put the complaint. Technician came the same day and replaced it for a nominal cost. I was really impressed by the timely service by Jaguar.

Customer service post the purchase of the item is very critical to establish the brand. Jaguar seem to do an excellent job at it.

I dare – by Kiran Bedi

Published January 11, 2014 11:35 am

WP_000023 (2)I read through auto-biography by Kiran Bedi this week.

Atypical of auto-biographies I have read so far, this one is written in 3rd person except few places where 1st person is used. Kiran is trying to reflect though her life and give reader a factual view. but this makes the book dry at times. Her life is full of exceptions – be it education, sports, marriage, managing traffic in delhi or IG of Tihar jail. She takes different stand on these subjects which is much different than an average person. I personally liked her “tootan” example when she bans the tobacco in Tihar prison and all prisoners revolt. Whenever a old habit is challenged, tootan is the pain one faces for couple of days to break from the habit. This is something I will remember long time after I have read the book. It also protrays how good administrators don’t only know their subject but are street smart to handle real life issues day and day out. I have skimmed through some pages when I did not have patience to go through all facts.

In summary, if you like reading auth-biographies to know more about personality and interested in taking a closer peek in her life – book is worth a read.

Selling used item on in India

Published January 9, 2014 12:47 pm

Like every one else, I have listed my used items on to sell. Some of them got traction; some got sold. but some of the costly or rare items like my iRobot Roomba did not get much traction there. I had been pondering over selling it through but was not ready enough to spend the time to understand the process.

Especially the task of shipping was not clear to me. How would I pack and ship the parcel if it is sold? I see the item come packed in the nice package when I buy items on ebay. There was no information on the net about it. I started contacting some of national courier through their phone numbers and website.  This was to find out whether they assisted in safe packing the parcel.

I contacted Aramex first by registering on their website as seller. Information there was not much useful since I was not an ecommerce business as such. All I wanted to do – was ship some of the used items – that I sell through ebay. I read negative feedback on net about them as well on justdial. I contacted DTDC/DHL/Bluedart. None of them could provide assistance in packing the item. ebay would not assist in logistics unless you are a seller with volume. Eventually, It boiled down to that I have to handle the packing myself and ship through a nationalized courier.

I enquired about rates. They are really high. DTDC is around INR 130/- per kg. and add to that risk surcharge of 3% of the value of the item. DHL is even more costly. Bluedart – I did not enquire. I am also not sure if they have standard rates. I suspected that franchises have some leeway in price per kg. Two different DTDC franchises gave me different cost per kg. Since this is not a ongoing business for me, I simply picked DTDC franchise with lower price tag and did not do more research/negotiation in selecting courier.

Ebay has max shipping price per category of product you sell. I could not put more than INR 399/- for example for my product. I had two options now – increase the price of the product by expected shipping price or incur additional loss of the amount when selling the used product. I decided to incur additional loss of 1k in my case since the higher price tag will make the item less attractive for the buyer.

There is one more thing. Ebay requires you to update the shipping details once the item is sold through paisapay. There is a list of empaneled couriers in the list there. I decided to not use any other courier for two reasons – 1. The item was costly enough to not save few 100s in shipping for the cost of shipping quality. 2. For the first sell, I did not want to go out of the book for anything in ebay process.

I hand delivered the parcel – to the DTDC franchise office. On the way, I wanted to check the option of India post – express parcel. This option is lucrative as the rates on the website are quite nominal. 1) the service was not available from my nearby office. 2) India post does not allow electronic items through speed post or parcel 3) India post – Express Parcel was not on the empaneled courier list in ebay site. I dropped the idea of shipping through India Post.

Packing was one more important thing. After I received the ebay sms – that item was sold, I have to arrange for packing the item. I needed this bubble wrap paper to safe pack. Luckily I have not thrown the cartoon in which I had received the item earlier in my purchase. otherwise, I need to purchase the cartoon also. I saw on DTDC site some mention about packing solution later with different size cartoon also. but I did not need it. I went around stationary shops in local market and luckily found bubble wrap 2mtrs. I came back home and packed each item properly  in the bubble wrap and placed in the original box. The product is costly product. I could not afford any damage in transit. I had the cartoon packing tape at home. I put that around the package to close all openings.

DTDC challan that is given to you – has many fine prints about risk coverage. I read them overleaf and ensured that franchise filled all items in the challan. It mentioned that the risk coverage lapses if the option that risk is covered by ‘carrier’ VS ‘owner’ is left blank or the declared value of item is left blank. I got it filled. It is also good to check with franchise whether air cargo or surface be mode of transport. He then told to me that he will try to get it through air cargo if it can be done under the price paid. You would wonder why there is no standardization about the price per kg per mode. Why the if. but that is what it was. Franchise will ship the item to the central hub (terminology used by franchise). I checked with him how he will transport. I also wondered whether the insurance covers for that leg of the transport. but I have to given in and not bother about it. He said you can start tracking the item tomorrow morning. Next day morning – I could track the item through DTDC site!

I have interacted with the buyer in the meanwhile giving him update yesterday and today. After the consignment status is available on the DTDC site, I have updated the shipment details in ebay site. Ebay site is integrated with the empaneled courier backend. It now shows inline tracking status of the item. For example – it is in transit now in Bangalore.

Ebay calls you to verify the mobile number and your registered address once you start selling the item first time. That is you become a seller also. It is good to update your registered address to your latest address. Ebay customer support has unique way to get contacted. You have to go here and then pick an category, click contact us which gives u a 1800 number and a code. You need to dial that number and key in the code followed by # sign to reach a support executive. I could not find the category for my query. In that case, I have pick an category nearest to mine. Dial the number and request the executive to transfer the call. That worked! One time the executive was very curt and not helpful. On other occasion, he was really helpful and took time to answer general queries of a first time seller – like What fees will be deducted, How payment will be remitted to my bank account? When will it come to my account?

I forgot to mention that I have setup paisapay for my seller account. That required entering some of the bank account details. It was straight forward. Other thing was listing your item – I searched for similar item on ebay and clicked link ‘sell similar item’ below it. That helped me get started. I picked the item specs from a link and put the link in the description instead of copying all the description. I explained other things that a buyer will be interested when purchasing a used products – reason for sale, condition, wear and tear to ensure full transparency, original purchase price apart from my sale pitch and good title and sub title. With that, the listing went online. It is good to change the listing duration to at least 30days for additional cost of INR 3. otherwise, the item gets delisted after 7 days.

I could see the stats of views of my listing through myebay dashboard under all selling. One other thing that interests any seller is the ebay fees. It varies it seems. What I understood is that it is around 5% for paisapay. You don’t have choice but to use paisapay if u are a new seller. There is a final value fee. This is shown when listing the item. There is additional fee of INR 3/- if u list the item for more than 7 days. You sell price will be list price – ebay fees.

Regarding remittance, I came to know the process through ebay support. That is:

  1. Ebay gives order of 7 days to buyer to confirm whether the item is received.
  2. After 7 days, he get a reminder and additional 5 days.
  3. If no action on buyer during this time – seller gets the paisapay payment released
  4. if positive action on buyer – payment is released earlier.
  5. remittance is done through Thursday and Monday payment cycle.

My first sale is done. Item is in transit. Payment is not received yet. Will keep you updated on the same. Did you sale a used item as individual (not ecommerce shop) on ebay? What was your experience?

Update: Buyer did not understand how to update the item receipt on ebay. That kept me waiting for the payment for some time. Eventually, buyer updated the item receipt and paisapay remittance was done. Deductions were the paisapay commission. I have to pay the selling fees separately which are presented in my ebay-> selling ->account tab.



Using iRobot roomba 560 in an Indian home

Published January 9, 2014 10:23 am

WP_001937In my effort to automate the house chores, I had gone with the instinct last year and looked for solutions to automate home cleaning – sweeping and moping. Note: all the data in this post is roughly 1 year old. For this, I had purchased iRobot Roomba for sweeping.

First the preface. It all started with the maid issues typical of middle class house hold in India. Absent, leave extensions without notice, and frequently in a month. I tried to solve that by getting a robot to do the chores. For the research, the reviews on were very helpful. The customers have written very detailed feedback there for the products. After seeing the stats 1) How many years the product has been in market 2) total number of reviews 3) reviews after a year+ of usage – I got essentially which robot technology is mature enough to give me bang for the buck. My priorities included:

  1. It should not take too long to clean a typical bed room.
  2. it should suit Indian house hold means tiled (not carpet) floor, cleaning dust well, do good job at cleaning like corners etc.
  3. maintenance should be contained to less than 5-10 minutes after cleaning.
  4. automation that u can switch it on and forget about it. it should find it’s way around obstacles.
  5. it should not make too much noise that it distracts me and other family members.
  6. In one charge, it should clean at least two bed rooms.
  7. life time of at least 3 years.

This required going over the reviews, critic reviews, watching few youtube videos, reviews after a year. I found that Roomba was mature enough. There were people in western countries like USA who have purchased multiple roombas to automate full house cleaning. It has been in market for long. There were users with year plus usage with decent reviews. It is not supported by iRobot in India officially. but I could find seller on ebay global who was selling 220V ready Roomba with additional 7 spares free to make the deal lucrative. It would cost be 32k. Money was not trivial. I sat on it for 1-2 week.

There was one more robot I researched. That was for moping. Without that, the automation was incomplete. There were multiple options. I looked into scooba and evolutions robotics mint. I was not convinced that they were mature enough and give maintenance free quality moping. I finally decided to go ahead with robot only for sweeping and purchased iRobot Roomba 560 220V ready from ebay.

I had consulted but did not bring my family in confidence before the purchase. They won’t agree for the price paid. Robot arrived through blue dart within 15 days of purchase. I was excited. I charged it over night and put to use in one bed room in the morning. I observed that the more the obstacles; the more the time taken by Roomba to finish. I put the chairs etc on bed and sat on bed watching the little robot making various motions – spiral, corner cleaning, exploring the room. The fun was nothing less than playing a video game over weekend!

Roomba did a great job of going over the room and picking fine dust, hairs etc. quality of cleaning was really good. It took order of 40 min. for the room. My family argued that they can finish in 10 minutes vs 40 min. of robot going round and round. but every change is not accepted easily. The thing is – robot is taking its time – not you time. You can lock the room and forget about it. u can even go out for shopping and come back home to see that it has returned back to base station charging itself. then, you can move it to other room. For the home living area, I tried to limit the area for cleaning using virtual wall and closing the doors. I have to experiment early in morning when other family members were asleep or late night.

The quality of cleaning was superior than manual cleaning done using the broom. There was no human to be monitored. It approached all corners, even areas below the table, almirah etc. It ensured that performance was consistent day over day and did not need monitoring. I kept using robot 2 days a week.

To clean the robot, I have to reverse it and put it on a cloth to avoid scratches. Take out the two brushes opening the cleaning compartment below.  Slide eject the storage box by pressing the button and dump the dust in the dustbin. Open the filter in the storage box, dust it and wash with normal water. Remove the small plastic parts on sides of the brushes carefully, wash them with water and put them on a desk to dry. Put the machine on the base station to charge. Next day morning, assemble back the brushes with gears, filter in storage box, put back brushes and storage box in the robot. After learning the technique, it took order of 5-10 minutes to clean the robot.

I would recommend to keep the base (charging) station against a wall. otherwise, the robot struggles to return to base station since it slides. Use a cotton cloth – typical we use to dust our cars. That ensures robot in dust free, and scratch free. It is good to have a brush; kind of brush we use to reach computer keyboard gaps. I had used that to keep robot clean. I have also been disciplined to clean the robot after the run – not let the dust lie in the robot for days. Also charge overnight which I read somewhere gives better battery time for next run.

I could not recruit my family to use the robot. Hence, after some days – it lied unused. It remained so for a year plus since I thought it came to use on crisis times when maid help was absent. Eventually, I decided to sell it on ebay as used item in excellent condition since it was idling.

In summary, it’s a good product. If u want to automate few things on your plate, you can consider this. If u want to automate on behalf of your family, it is good to recruit/sell them on the device first. If u have stable maid help or happy to help yourself with house hold chores, that’s best; you need not add one more gadget to your life and eco-system. Last but not the least, check also the latest robots in the market if u go for a buy.


  1. A search on youtube will help you see iRobot Roomba 560 in action.