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The Maggi Debacle

The brand, Maggi originated in Switzerland and was acquired by Nestle. Maggi instant noodles are popular in India, Malaysia and Pakistan.

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The lab tests conducted on Maggi instant noodles showed that the monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead content in the instant noodles were beyond the permissible limit. In 2015, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued a nationwide ban on the manufacture, sale and distribution of Maggi noodles. Net profit of Nestle in that year fell to Rs 563 crore, from Rs 1,185 crore in the previous year.

For the first time in the age of social media, food related debacles were hard to go unnoticed. With the help of social media platforms, commoners are able to spread awareness about the quality of the products and services they receive. Today, it is easy to chance upon posts on Facebook such as a picture of an insect found in KFC chicken, using Pepsi/coca cola as a stain remover, and burning a piece of Kurkure crisps to show the presence of plastic in it.

Such occurrences have added a new form of pressure on the manufacturing conglomerates of India. The hashtag #MaggiBan surfaced on Twitter and the massive public relations disaster of Nestle in India took shape.

Faulty Tea Bag

I bought a packet of Tulsi Ginger Tea, manufactured by Organic India. The package was supposed to have twenty five tea bags however, I found that one tea bag was empty. I skimmed over the packet for the customer care contact details and immediately mailed them.

The very next day, I received a reply. The following are screenshots of the correspondence I shared with the customer care representatives of Organic India.

The entire process lasted less than ten days. I alarmed them about their faulty service on September 2, 2015 and I received a replacement box at my doorstep on September 12, 2015. They also threw in a few extra samples of their tea in the form of individual sachets, along with a brochure of Organic India products.

Faulty Hand Wash

On another occasion, on June 26, 2017, I purchased a 215 ML ‘Lifebuoy total 10 hand wash’. The pump system of the product had been jammed. I tried with all my might to make sense of the packaging, it simply would not budge. I gave it to two other people to do the deed but they too failed. On a good piece, the pump was supposed to immediately pop up and ready for use. By now, you know my drill. I found the mail ID for Hindustan Unielver Limited and explained the situation to them with pictures attached.

I present to you, the immediate response from them-

 

The representative was very apologetic and patient with the grievance, like how they are trained to be. She explained to me that a courier company they are associated with, will deliver the product. Within ten days, I was delivered a replacement product and handed over the faulty product back.

Tips to Blow the Whistle

1. Make sure you are an honest customer having an honest/reasonable complaint

2. You should have fully paid for the product and that it is not a stolen good or a good  that was purchased in the ancient past.

3. It is not necessary to keep a copy of the receipt of purchase since the place where you bought the product from is not at fault.

4. Taking a picture of the faulty product helps in keeping the complaint mail genuine and attention seeking

5. Try your best to mail or call the customer service on the same day you notice the problem

6. Always withhold from using the product unless desperate, till you receive the necessary acknowledgement for your complaint

7. Keep the product safe. Do not tamper with it since they ask you for the batch number

Take Action

In the pre-social media/ pre-Maggi debacle world, I would have been complacent and ignored the situation. As a socially aware citizen, I was intent on getting justice, irrespective of how minor the situation was. Yes, the case of that one empty tea bag or the hand wash that just wouldn’t open sounds ridiculous, but I had a greater agenda in mind. It is precisely the only way we as consumers can hold the manufacturing big shots accountable.

There is no fault in taking action for damaged packaging or missing content. I urge the consumers to speak out and take action. It paves the way for an effective relationship between businesses and the customers.

Make the ideal a REALITY! Stop feeling dissatisfied and resorting to “This is India” attitude and do something about it, you might just be surprised.

Demand better quality to see better quality, I say.

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