11 Aug

Dear Nikon, Where is My Camera?

I recently purchased a shiny, new Nikon D5000 digital SLR camera. This was a brand new model, released in April 2009. I had been tossing around the idea of buying a new digital camera for quite some time, so when the D5000 was released I jumped on it immediately, buying it from Amazon the day it was released. I have been extremely happy with my new camera, up until a couple weeks ago…

On July 16, 2009, I received an email from Nikon, Inc., alerting me about a “service advisory” (aka, recall, see here) regarding my camera. Nikon requested that D5000 owners with particular serial numbers send their cameras in to get checked for a problem with the power switch not actually turning the camera on. I had not experienced any of these problems, so I was a bit hesitant to send my camera in for service basically due to the sheer annoyance of me having to be without a camera for an extended period of time (insert ominous music here). I finally decided that I [probably] wouldn’t need my camera for a decently long period of time (two weeks…Nikon shouldn’t need more time than that, right?), so I packed the thing up in a box, slapped my prepaid UPS label on it, and sent the D5000 to Connecticut. I should note that the only thing Nikon ever stated when referencing to the amount of time that it would take to get the camera fixed was: “Nikon will return serviced cameras to customers promptly, employing (whenever possible) transportation that limits transit time to two days.”

This is where you laugh and say “I know what’s going to happen next. Lepolt is going to need/want his camera before it’s fixed!” You and Murphy would be correct…almost as soon as I sent the camera in, I wanted to use it.

A little background: Seapine Software has purchased tickets to the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters Open for the past few years, and has graciously offered tickets to employees. I have graciously accepted said tickets, and have been able to see the likes of Roger Federer (Pics from 2007) smacking that little yellow ball around on a court in Mason, OH. I figured this year would be no different, so I put in my request for tickets. Again, Murphy’s interference: I wasn’t able to get tickets at the end of the tournament like I expected, but more toward the middle.

At this point I knew I was in trouble. My camera was in transit to Connecticut, I was in Cincinnati, and the tennis tournament was in a little over a week.

What do I do? I NEED my camera by Saturday! Let’s call Nikon. I’m sure by calling their 1-800 number I’ll be able to speak with someone that can tell me the whereabouts of my camera and when I can expect it to return. Right? RIGHT?!

<insert laughter>

This is where the fun begins…I called Nikon on Sunday evening and talked to Cynthia. I asked her where my camera was. She told me “it was out of her hands.” I asked how I was supposed to find my camera, and how I could get it back by Saturday. She had no idea. She did tell me that she would email the service facility, and she would email me their response by Tuesday.

It’s Tuesday. I’ve heard nothing from Cynthia. I’ll call back. This time I talked to a guy and had to explain the whole situation to him again. He told me right away that “it was out of his hands,” and “we (customer service) are not handling that.” I asked him if he knew where my camera was and he said, “it’s in Connecticut!” I calmly asked if he knew for certain that my camera was in Connecticut, or if someone else’s camera was in Connecticut. “Well, that’s where all the D5000 cameras are going.” I asked again where MY camera was. “Well, we don’t have access to that information.” I called BS and said there had to be someone there that knew what was going on. He put me on hold for five minutes…then hung up. Intentional? Probably. At least that’s the way I’ll spin it.

So I called back. This time I got to talk to Vinnie. I told Vinnie my sob story (for the third time) and mentioned how the previous support representative had just hung up on me, and how the first support representative had failed to follow through on her commitment. Vinnie really felt my pain. “It’s not funny,” he said. “I understand your inconvenience.” At this point I could pretty much recite Nikon’s whole script of how to deal with a frustrated/angry/jackass customer and knew that no one at 1-800-645-6678 would be able to do a damn thing for me. I told Vinnie that this whole situation was unacceptable, and that I was really starting to get angry due to lack of communication between Nikon and its customers, and Nikon between customer service and the repair facility. We spoke for about 25 minutes while I tried to get a loaner camera from Nikon and he read from the script which was full of “I’m sorry’s” and “I understand’s.” Probably to get me to shut up, he finally told me he was pretty sure (although he wouldn’t guarantee anything) that I would have my camera back in time. He was going to email yet ANOTHER department to see if I could get a loaner camera by Saturday. Again, he was “pretty sure” that I could get a loaner camera (but wouldn’t guarantee anything).

I’m not buying it for a second. No chance. Zero. I’m not getting my camera back or a loaner by Saturday. They’ll have to kick the thing out the door first thing Wednesday morning to have any chance of me getting it.

One interesting tidbit that I did manage to extract from Vinnie was that it could take five business days once they received the camera to generate a service order number, and they could work with me from there. Hmmmm. Five business days. This information would certainly have been useful BEFORE I sent the camera in! Stupid Nikon!!!

I realize that this whole situation is a little bit my fault…but when it really comes down to it, I feel like Nikon should have done a better job of everything! They obviously know how long it will take to repair a single camera, how many cameras they have sold, and how many cameras they could expect to receive at their repair facility. They could have provided me with a rough estimate of how long I should expect to be without my camera! All they told me was they would try to ship it back within two days wherever possible. That’s worthless to me. Unbelievable. I can send something in the mail and tell you that it will take 2-3 days to get there! The useful information is how long it will take them to fix once they have it…information they neglected to share. Oh well.

So, I guess we’ll just wait and see. Hopefully I have something to use come Saturday…Federer is in town.

8 thoughts on “Dear Nikon, Where is My Camera?

  1. (1) Canon.
    (2) You need to stop wasting your valuable time with front level tech support people who–as you pointed out–are only reading off of a script. You need to escalate your call to a manager who might be more intelligent or have more information. If that person doesn’t have information, ask to speak to another person higher up the chain. I always like to say “If you don’t know then I want to talk to someone who does” as angrily as I can.
    (3) If possible, get the direct number or extension for a person that you can call up again to get updates without having to re-explain the situation over and over each time.

  2. (1) Wondering if I didn’t screw up on that one. I’ll be sure to mention that to someone of more importance @ Nikon tha Vinnie.
    (2) Yeah, I know. I asked a few times to talk with someone who knew what was going on, and each time he game me more information. I’d draining. Irritating. Unacceptable.
    (3) Vinnie said he’s the only dude named “Vinnie” at Nikon…and he gave me a reference number. We’re practically homies at this point.

  3. This was a spectacular post. Not only have I been a long time Lepolt.com/blog/ reader, but I was just itching for a new blog (you can only read “Signs of Life” so many times.) This story had an attention grabber, ominous music, and a cliff hanger. I cannot wait for the followup post. Will Vinnie follow through? Will Jon ever get a loaner camera by Saturday? Be still thy beating heart…….

  4. I have a 5+ year old Cannon and had some problems with it last summer. I called a local camera shop, they said, ‘actually, your problem falls under a Service Advisory.’ Called Cannon. In 10 minutes had a free shipping label (and a very nice service rep). Sent the camera in, one week later had my old, fixed camera back. Working better than ever. Granted, Nikon sounds like a volume issue, I was just impressed that after the lapsed time, Cannon was still willing to repair free of charge (and not feed me the ‘too expensive to repair, we’ll replace with a referb model.’

  5. Jon, I’m pleased to hear about your services with the company who shall not be named. Had you neglected your need to ‘borrow lenses’ from friends who had nikon cameras and simply went with a brand leader (canon) this probably never would have happened. As CEO of canon I think learning moments like this are important to demonstrate who has the superior product line. In fact we are SO superior we humbly choose not to capitalize our name in blog comments.

  6. I think (canon) what you have here (canon) is a situation (canon) which could have been averted (canon) if you went with a company (canon) that simply makes a higher quality product (canon). Now, I’m not biased (canon) or anything, but I’ve always had good experiences (canon) with a small company out of Japan. Perhaps you’ve heard of them before: Canon.

    That, and you could always rent/borrow a camera from a friend ( or lensrentals.com ) for the event…If you do, get a Canon 🙂

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