Why Avechi Needs to Get its Act Together Before it is Too Late

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Avechi

A decade or so ago, online shopping and associated e-commerce services were unheard of in the country. This has changed over the years as internet penetration continues to grow, in addition to the launch of local-driven e-commerce systems that want to replicate services offered by the likes of China’s Alibaba and U.S.’s Amazon.

Some of these businesses have been instrumental in shipping global products to our doorsteps. This has been achieved with reduced bureaucracies that were a pain say half a decade ago. The entire exercise is as simple as installing an extension on your Chrome browser and waiting for your item to come home – at a premium, though.

In line with these benefits is a primary issue that some of our favourite shops such as Avechi are yet to nail; customer service and a timely fix for faulty products. I mention Avechi because I have a two-year relationship with them, and have made several trips to their care center station I’m literally their buddy int their Kenyatta Avenue shop.



Before I divulge my strained relationship with them, let me make something clear: we are not slandering or badmouthing their services because it is our moral responsibility to let you know of these things. It is a positive highlight because after a bad experience with their technicians  (more of that in a moment), I still purchased a TV from them. Whether that is childish naivete, trust or Stockholm’s Syndrome is entirely unknown to me, but I had a shred of hope that future correspondence with the team would be better. It hasn’t.

Background

I purchased my trusty Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X from Avechi for obvious reasons. First and foremost, they (Avechi) do not charge users prohibitively or exploitatively for products that do not retail locally on official channels. Secondly, they have some nice devices on their shelves, including OnePlus phones. In fact, Avechi is the only service that stocks such popular but locally-unavailable devices in a timely manner (they already have the OnePlus 6 in store). They also ship across East Africa on a fee, which is still cheaper than picking the device from their shops for people outside Nairobi.

So, a couple of months down the line, the Redmi 4X power button failed. I had to apply a considerable amount of energy to register a response. It was a bad experience, and since I had a warranty (it has since expired), I went to register my complaints to their care centre. That was in October 2017. According to the technicians, the replacement part was unavailable at that time, meaning they had to make an order. Understandable, of course, as that is how such premises operate. In November, the part shipped in, but it could not fit my phone. I’m a man of restraint, so I let the matter slide. December kicked in with no new developments.

Come 2018, I was starting feeling that the technicians were feeding me fibs. For instance, the people who manufacture the parts were supposedly on holiday in China, which does not make sense because, come on – Xiaomi depends on such facilities to facilitate warranty fixes and faulty devices. People who work in such companies hardly take a break else their businesses go under. A couple of more visits to the shop were met with the same response, so I capitulated to my ordinary life.

My plan was to keep off their facilities because I felt they did not like my face anymore.

Come the Smart TV

In early 2018, my forgetful mind archived the bad experiences and guided me to their retail shop at Moi Avenue. I picked a Skyworth smart television, and barely a week later, the device started switching itself off. I have a little knowledge about such behaviours, so I passed the information to their support team. After a couple of tests (I doubt they did anything to the device), they communicated their findings – that my TV was okay, dispelling my observations because I like to whine too much (they did not say that exactly).

After taking it back, TV doubled up on its switching-off spree.

Long story short, they still have it after leaving the bewitched machine at their doorstep. And quite franky, I will probably never take it home unless its logic board or the TV is replaced entirely.

Aftermath

Almost nine months later, they finally fixed the phone (today, actually). I appreciate the effort, but that is a very long time to address a small fault.

I hope the TV receives a better treatment because I honestly don’t want to go back there, ever – again!

Several of our readers and friends have expressed their experiences with the retailer. The stories can be found on our forums, here and here.


To recap, we are not slandering Avechi – they just need to do better, which is possible owing to its reputation and the fans it has amassed over the years.

We will be gald if you share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

12 COMMENTS


  1. I share the same regrets with you. My Redmi 4X crushed after the normal updating in Jan 2018. I took it to their service centre and they were unable to repair it but they advice that they were to ship it China and it was to take 2 months. 5 months down the line, the phone is still in China.


  2. Their selection of electronics, especially smartphones, has always been very attractive and at unbeatable prices, but my gut instincts have always held me back from shopping with them. Their website’s half-baked look at that time didn’t help things either. Customer care is a weakness of many promising establishments, especially in the budding e-commerce sector. I wish they realised just how important good customer relations are.


  3. Looks like there is a very good business opportunity here. Somebody will just come up with an Avechi clone with better customer service and Avechi will go the Kodak way. There’s just something about Kenyan businesses and kienyejism especially once they bag a few customers. I have similar experience with a local web hosting company. I keep regretting why i could not just stick with akina hostgator and bluehost.


  4. They should work to maintain a good trust relationship with customers otherwise,they are on the path to doom…I had seen some stories on Ktalk forums as well while looking to replace a phone and although they had the best deal for the phone I wanted,I just chose the second option, Jumia.Please,all Kenyans setting up online shops,don’t let us down and even create a bad reputation for online shops as this will restrict the very good future we are heading as Kenyans.The negative attention will attract ‘bad’ legislation e.t.c which is bad for all players(customers and businesses)


  5. Ah the mess that is Avechi. Was referred to them last year and I was pleasantly surprised to see they had the item I was shopping for at a competitive price. Since I needed a couple of units I corresponded with their team over whatsapp and the rep(s) on the other side was not helpful at all, the phone lines were always engaged. We went back and forth over several days. A simple, straightforward process took days. Eventually I ordered and come delivery day, nothing happened. Upon following up I was notified (2 days after I was to have taken delivery) that the items were out of stock, never mind that their system accepted the order. Yet a few more days and I was informed I would be notified when the new shipment arrived.I never was. Glad I did not make the purchase.
    Definitely never going back. Such a hot mess, Avechi.


  6. I doubt someone from Avechi will come and leave a comment on this article/forum, so I will offer my services freely here as the devil’s advocate. Please be kind.

    Well, I have bought several items from them – Xiaomi Mi 4C (that I spoilt – deleted the OS partition while factory resetting it for sale, without having turned on developer’s option and the phone’s bootloader locked. Xiaomi won’t send me the token. Yeah, that’s as bricked as they come), Xiaomi Redmi Pro (that I sold off successfully – thank God), and Xiaomi Mi A1 that I currently have. Three fantastic phones that each served me very well. I also picked a Xiaomi Mi Band 2 that works well too.

    While all this is happening, I am, and I suppose we all are, happy with the bargain prices that they offer. I sometimes look at prices on offer at Avechi and wonder where/how they break even – shipping costs, taxes, company overheads, etc taken to account. Perhaps they – Avechi – are taking off a bit too much off the price to have some cash float around to stock and run/maintain a proper repair shop.

    I have been careful with my devices and have been fortunate enough to avoid trips to their care center. But at those prices, and taking into account risk they take in bringing in devices that otherwise would be unavailable and without support from those OEMs – Xiaomi in my case, I can’t help but wonder if it is expecting too much from them to also offer tech support on their (in my opinion) marginal profits.

    Again, be kind. I could be mistaken in my argument – correct me if you may.


    • If you read the piece, we mentioned that this is not a slander. Our point is that electronics cost a lot of money, and they are in the business of selling these devices to us regardless of their business model (which is to bring locally unavailable items, and sell them at a steal). There is no excuse of being lax should any of their wares fail.
      As you may have noticed too, I gave them a lot of breathing room. Were it a malicious rant, this post would have gone live months ago, but I understood their challenges up to the point where things got out of hand.
      You wouldn’t want such a thing to happen to you. Worse, Avechi does not give loaner devices, so there is a good a chance someone like would have purchased a new phone (which was not in my budget) if at all the 4X failed completely.
      So yeah, we are kind.


      • Ken it’s like you read from my script, I bought a xiaomi redmi note 3 pro in early 2016(feb), the volume button failed by July 2016, took a complain to them, they promised to fix it once they hard the parts, never got back to me. I ended up fixing it my self after I had enough. I decided to give them another chance and bought my mum a huawei. The flash stopped working and was followed by the rear camera, they took 8 months to fix it. Now am a bit skeptical about them, I thought I was the only one with such an experience,( coz am among the unluckiest people you’ll get to meet) I surely hope they improve.


      • I think we both are on the same page about this article not aiming to slander. Your words were kind.

        When I asked for kindness, it was for my role as their self-appointed devil advocate.

        I was merely trying to explore reasons for their poor service record, my suggestion being a really trim margin of profit (given their prices vis a vis other market places), to budget a worthy service center.

        In my humble opinion, I believe they ship in quality devices that would otherwise be out of reach, and at really low price points. That latter decision is what I believe creates the problem with parts availability. Remember, these products are not officially available in Kenya and East Africa in general, and that extends to their support. Avechi have offered to ship in and even repair these devices. All this still at basement rates.

        If they increased their prices, I guess they could make enough money to stock their service center with these replacement parts (which cost money to buy, ship and store). But no one here wants a price increase, so we might be stuck in this sort of vicious cycle for a while, until our living standards have thusly improved to allow for bigger budgets.

        These are my assumptions. I accept that I may be wrong.


  7. God bless you for writing this article! I was seriously considering buying earphones from them. I’m very sad the eCommerce scene in Kenya has been a business boom for fake electronics and refurbished phones/devices. There is zero accountability by eCommerce companies (including Jumia). They don’t even have a returns/refund policy to guarantee that you are purchasing an original item. Worse still, their websites filter out bad comments. In my opinion, these eCommerce companies should be called out more often.


  8. Personally I think they sell good stuff at an unbeatable prizes, but this website of theirs just sucks!! poorly done and sometimes unavailable, rather unresponsive. I think they can better than that.

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