Update (October 27, 2020): Microsoft says “care for your Surface is as easy as 1-2-3”. It has added a separate image for ‘Surface care’ in their Surface Pro 7 listing on the Amazon India website. It explains the steps needed to get your Surface repaired as well as mentions the customer service contact. Seems like the company has taken our feedback, and it is working on improving its after-sales service in the country. Kudos, Microsoft India!
Original story (September 18, 2020): It’s no secret that Microsoft manufactures excellent hardware with its Surface product line. The Microsoft Surface Book is a one-of-a-kind product and the Surface Pro lineup is an exhilarating hardware experience. Nobody comes close to the way Microsoft does things with those two products. The 2-in-1 Surface Pro series is one of the best, if not the best in its segment. But what’s a device without proper customer care or support?
About two years ago, I was in the market to purchase a 2-in-1 for my freelance and college work. I purchased the Surface Pro (5th gen). It was my dream machine at that time. There was no decent competitor to this form factor. I spent every penny I earned from months of freelance work on my dream machine. You see, Surface products are a lot costlier than the US in India. For instance, the $799 Surface Pro 7 is selling in India for over Rs 90,000 (~$1,226). Hence, it was a costly purchase. However, I loved working on it. It was a delight. In fact, I wrote why I loved working on the Microsoft Surface Pro.
However, now that I look back, I can say that I spent a lot of money without thinking it through. My thought process at the time of purchasing the device was, “Who cares about customer care, it’s Microsoft! The product will last. I won’t have any trouble with my machine.”
But I was wrong. Very wrong. After about 20 months of use, my Surface Pro’s kickstand gave up on me. A couple of days ago, I closed the hinge after work, as any normal person would do, and the right side of the hinge popped out. I had no clue what had happened. After all, there was no pressure applied to the thing! And, there I was, with a $1,100 machine that broke within two years of use.
Now, any machine can break. It’s not a problem (unless it can’t be repaired). It was what followed that troubled me. It’s been two days since I’ve been trying to get to Microsoft support, but the efforts have only gone to vain. The tech giant has absolutely no customer support in India. I went to the Microsoft contact us / support page and contacted support, which opened a virtual assistant.
I requested repair or replacement of the product, which took me to the ‘Start a Service Order’ page. On this page, Microsoft asks you about your problem and asks you to confirm your shipping address. This is where the process ends. The company doesn’t accept an Indian address since there is no support for the country. It says, “We’re sorry. The accessory or device you are requesting is not available. Please contact Microsoft Support for assistance.” And, it goes back to the Support page.
The process to find Microsoft customer support in India is frustrating. You are left abandoned if your $1,000+ machine breaks. There is no one to help. You can’t contact anybody.
Now, I’m left with a broken kickstand on my Surface Pro with nobody to go to.
In my experience, the Microsoft Surface Pro isn’t a reliable machine. If you are spending above Rs 85,000 ($1,150+) on a product, you naturally expect it to last for at least three years, and not give up on you in the middle of a workday! It’s sad when this happens. But it’s worse when it occurs to a product from a company you trusted, and worst if it was your dream machine.
I don’t, (no, I can’t) recommend you buying a Microsoft Surface product in India because if something happens, you are left stranded. There’s no one to help, and you’ll end up deserted. It’s not the products that are bad (they are excellent) but it’s the Microsoft after-sales service that is pathetic. So do yourself a favor, and don’t buy Microsoft Surface products in India.
Disclaimer: This is my experience, and it’s not extending to the line-up. Mine broke, doesn’t mean yours will too but I’m putting it out there.
Update: I called the support number 18001021100, and the customer support rep was very good. However, my product is out of warranty so now I have two options, either pay Rs 31,423 (~$427) for a refurbished Surface Pro (5th gen) replacement or buy a new device.