How Good IS Nikon Service - Part II

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bgelfand, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. On 4 July I posed the question to this forum "How Good is Nikon Service" . This post will be a partial answer to my own question.

    On 2 July I had called Nikon and requested instruction to send my camera to them for service – a simple clean and inspect. They responded with an e-mail that contained a link to their Online Service Form. I generated the form, and after reading the replies to my original query on, I shipped the camera to them on 13 July. According to the FedEx tracking information, they received it on 16 July.

    On 20 July, I received an e-mail from Nikon acknowledging receipt of the camera, and estimating the repair cost at $126.50, including return shipping. Although I could access the Service Order on their web site, I could not access the page to accept the estimate and enter a credit card number. I called Nikon Customer Support; after spending 10 minutes on hold, I accepted the estimate and provided a credit card number. The phone center person processed the card; the charge was accepted. Over the next few days, I watched the status of my order change to "Shop" and finally to "Bill". The status remained "Bill" for a few days, then changed to no status. I checked my credit card online and saw a pending charge for the repair, but not a final charge.

    I called Nikon, and after spending 10 to 15 minutes on hold, reached a person. He checked the order and said the charge had been rejected by the bank. I gave him another card number, which was accepted. Next, I called the bank. My card was good. The bank’s fraud routines rejected the charge due to "errors on the merchant’s side". Over the next few days, I watched the status chance to "Shipped". Although there was now a link for shipping information on the Web Site, clicking on it produced no tracking information.

    Late in the afternoon of 12 August, the doorbell rang; UPS had a package for me from Nikon, El Segundo; my F100 was back. I opened the package, put the batteries in the camera, attached the neck strap, took the body cap off to attach a lens, but could not. The focusing screen had come loose and was bouncing around in the camera body. Had it damaged the mirror? I do not know. I removed the neck strap and batteries, replaced the body cap, and called Nikon.

    After another 10 minutes on hold, I explained the problem to telephone support person. He apologized for the problem, told me to send the camera back to Nikon, and e-mailed return shipping labels. The next day, I took the package to the nearest UPS Store and sent the camera back to Nikon, with a letter explaining the problem and requesting the camera be thoroughly examined for damage.

    This morning, the doorbell rang. It was UPS with my F100. This time I took the body cap off first. There was no loose focusing screen. I replaced the body cap; installed the batteries and neck strap, and mounted my 50mm f/1.4D lens. When I looked through the viewfinder, I saw two dark gray spots – one at 1 o’clock just outside the center weight circle, the other at 4 o’clock just beneath the right hand focus point. I changed lenses, mounting my 35-70 f/2.8D. The spots remained, as I though they would.
    Once again I called Nikon. After another 10 minute wait (at least this time they changed the music), I explained the problem to a nice young lady. She put me on hold and consulted her supervisor. They decided I should talk directly to El Segundo and gave me the local telephone number for the Nikon repair facility.

    I called El Segundo and spoke to a gentleman in Technical Support. He e-mailed me another set of return labels. This time the camera will go to his attention; he will walk it to the technicians. He said I should not have to return the camera twice. My reply was, I should not have to return it once; it should be fixed correctly the first time.

    At this point, if I had to answer my own question – how good is Nikon Service – the answer would be not very good at all. The camera should have been properly assembled before shipping the first time, although I suppose it is just possible the focusing screen was knocked loose by very rough handling by UPS. Any camera returned for a problem should be thoroughly checked by quality control; there is no excuse for the second problem – the spots in the viewfinder. These are not small spots; they are not difficult to see. To the contrary, they are obvious. Nikon needs to pay attention to detail.

    Nikon needs to add people to their telephone bank. There is no reason to keep customers on hold for 10 minutes every time they call in. I called at different times of the day; each time I was kept on hold for over 10 minutes before I spoke to a human being. On the other hand, El Segundo answered promptly.

    Oh, well, the camera is on its way back to El Segundo. Perhaps the third time will be a charm.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Brooks, since you asked, I hope you don't mind me giving you a very direct answer.
    While there is probably no excuse that your F100 was returned for the first time with the focusing screeen loose, that is a user-exchangable part. When I bought my F100, I also got an E screen and replaced that immediately. You could have just put that back on yourself and, while the screen was off, also blown away any dust inside on the prism.
  3. Hi Shun,
    I do not mind your direct answer at all; I welcome it.
    Yes, I realize the screen is a user replaceable part. I did not know if the loose screen had bounced about in transit and damaged anything else in the camera; the mirror is silvered on the front and is easily damaged. If there was any damage, I did not want Nikon to suspect I had caused it attempting to install the screen. I felt it was prudent to return the camera to Nikon in the same condition that I received it and let them take care of any damage. Mirrors are expensive.

    From a practical point, the E screen comes with a set of tweezers to accomplish the replacement. No only do I not have those tweezers, since the house fire all my tools are in storage save a Swiss Army Knife I always carry with me. Yes, it does have a set of tweezers, but ...
  4. "possible the focusing screen was knocked loose by very rough handling by UPS" You may be right. And while Nikon was possibly/probably not at fault for the mishap, they took the camera back twice at there expense and corrected the probems at no additional cost to you. I give them an A+.
  5. "I give them an A+." I give them a C- at best.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Tim, it sounds like you are not familiar with Elliot's posting yet. I think he was merely having fun with Brooks (and everybody else).
  7. Actually I was quite serious. Nikon did after all take care of Brook in a professional matter. As many are aware, not all companies do. I have never had any issues with Nikon's service department myself.
    I have had numerous dealing with Nikon service in Melville as I had to send more than a fair share of equipment to them. They have always taken excellent care of me and my gear and except for 1 occasion where a need part was out of stock, I have always had my repaired item returned to me within two weeks.
    My best service experience with Nikon Melville service was the repair of a defective [expensive] lens that they repaired for me without cost even though there was no warranty on it. While I realize not everyone has perfect experiences with Nikon's service department, most do. Was there really anything Nikon did incorrectly with the OP's repair?
  8. Hi Elliot,
    I agree Nikon is attempting to correct the situation.
    Could UPS rough handling have caused the screen to drop out? It could have, but the probability is not high. After all, the new camera was shipped from Japan to the U.S. distributor, then to the retailer, and finally to me. The screen remained firmly in place. It is more likely that the screen was not fully seated after cleaning - the catch did not go "click". It is an understandable error, but one that should not have occurred. Shipping the camera with two gray spots clearly visible in the viewfinder, after the camera had been sent back to correct the focusing screen problem, is less understandable. Quality control should have gone over that camera with a fine tooth comb.
    I would agree that Nikon should get an "E" for effort, but a much lower grade for achievement. I am fortunate that I am an amateur and do not need the camera.
    I am glad to hear you had a good experience with Melville. The restoration company will send my Coolscan V to Melville for cleaning. They are "the only game in town" for scanners; El Segundo does not work on them. The local Nikon authorized service center informed me that Nikon does not train independent service technicians to service scanners.
  9. I stick with my C- grade in this particular case. I have only had to send one camera back to Nikon (D70 for BGLOD) and they took care of it properly (A+). They messed up in Brook's situation and should make it right by not charging him for any of the work they did or the shipping charges. They probably won't but they should!
  10. I know it has been a long time but the very first time I shipped something to them (El Segundo) was my D3 and the Nikkor 200mm/2 lens. Mind you, the total cost of those items (at that time) was close to US$10K. Well, they misplaced one item.
    Here's the original post ... I was very displeased, to say the least. If I ever I have to send my items in for service again, I will definitely ship it to NY instead so that I can compare the difference in service and quality control.
    Part 1
    Part 2
  11. I recently had a good experience with Nikon service in Melville. My D70s developed problems with inconsistant exposures and then it stopped recognizing any CF cards. I sent it to Nikon to get an estimate as it was just outside the Nikon extended warranty. They fixed the camera and it seems better than new. They also honored the warranty.

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