Leica Poor Customer Service/Communication

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by alejandro_quintanar, Jul 18, 2003.

  1. I bought my Leica M6 TTL 0.72 in Dec-01 new to get the
    Passport protection. In the time I've had the camera I've already
    had to send it in three times for repairs. I've never mistreated,
    dropped, abused or misused the camera since i've owned it.
    The first time I sent it in was to repair one of the strap lugs which
    became loose and came off. The last two times has been for
    the same problem. There are bands of overexposure that occur
    only under certain circumstances-shooting directly into the sun
    or changing the lens in bright sunlight. The streaks or bands are
    only there under those specific circumstaces and differ in degree
    based on the amount of direct sunlight that hits it before the film
    is advanced. I detailed the problem and included prints and
    negs and my own guess (integrity of the curtain compromised)
    and sent the camera to NJ to be repaired. I trusted them to take
    care of it, sent it away and got it back about a month later with a
    repair invoice detailing that the problem was due to an
    improperly polished pressure plate. The matter was taken care
    of-or so I thought until I got back a couple more prints and noted
    the same exact problem. It had not been fixed-NJ misdiagnosed
    the problem. I sent the camera back to NJ addressed directly to
    the head M-repair tech. A week later I letter requesting my
    approval to send the camera to SOLMS for repairs. Estimated
    repair time 2-3 months. I had to explain the whole story for a
    reason:Leica customer service sucks. If I had been allowed to
    speak directly to the tech the first time this problem might have
    already been resolved. The secretaries at NJ told me that they
    do not take calls. If I want to ask the techs a question it has to be
    through the secretary. One week and 5 phone calls later the
    secretary only told me that the camera had to be sent away
    because they have more sophisticated technology for
    diagnosing the problems. The first time I asked to speak with a
    supervisor I left a message in a voice mail box and never got a
    call back. When I called back about a week later asking to speak
    to that person I was told that they had retired. I asked to speak to
    the new supervisor and was put through to one of the
    secretaries that had been so rude to me. After she told me that
    there was nothing she could do about anything she put me
    through to another voicemail box to leave a message that i'm
    sure will never be returned. Almost one-fourth of the time that I
    owned this camera, in the first three years, it has been in the
    repair shop. I just want my camera fixed right and back in my
    hands so that I can get back to work and so I don't have to spend
    my time leaving messages that will never be awnsered for
    ghosts. Buyers beware!!! I'm still waiting.
  2. It's obvious that you bought the camera from a Leica US Dealer since it has
    the Passport warranty. Your first step should have been to request that your
    dealer send it to Leica for you. After your first problem the dealer's Leica Rep
    should have been involved. I am a US Leica dealer and have never had a
    problem, including two consecutive defective MP's sold to the same guy, that
    the rep could not get resolved for me quickly and fairly.
  3. I feel badly for you but as mentionned above, the key is the REP.
    All Leica repairs are not equal (fact of life, sound familiar?) The
    reps usually get things expedited and do speak to the techs. I
    have had my camera problems and since my dealer, Ken
    Hansen, has retired, I cringe at the thought of future repairs. Oh
  4. Ah the old "Leica sent the camera away" story. I know it well.

    They lost my M4-2 for 6 weeks... and I overheard a conversation that I wasn't supposed to hear.

    Something like... Well why isn't it back yet? <pause> What do you mean they didn't get it!!?? <pause> Ok, I'll tell him we're still working on it <picks up phone> Blah blah blah

    The phone support gals up there in NJ area rude, crass, curt, short tempered, scripted, and totally customer unoriented.
  5. Just so you feel better, I'll mention that Nikon's repair service really blows, too. They seem to be illiterate, since my carefully written letters never have any bearing on the actual "repairs" they do to my gear.
  6. Your story is standard procedure for Leica NJ; great cameras & lenses, totally incompetent service from NJ.
  7. I'm sorry to hear that Leica's repair shop in NJ apparently hasn't improved since the 1980s, when I sent two M-series Leicas there. Both times, the cameras came back to me with the original problems unrepaired. Both times, it took a second trip to the repair shop to get the jobs done right.

    There are some very good independent Leica repair services, but I can understand why you want to take advantage of your Passport warranty by using Leica's shop.

    Strap lugs are a known problem with the M6. A few years ago, a Leica repairman told me that earlier strap lugs were made of softer metal that tends to wear through because of friction with the metal strap rings. To prevent this, Leica switched to a harder metal for the M6 lugs. But the harder metal doesn't conform to the curved ends of the camera body as well as the softer metal did, so they tend to come loose. Light leaks are an early warning that the lugs are about to pop out, he told me.

    It's not a universal problem. I have two M6 bodies about 12 years old and the strap lugs have never come loose. (Knock on wood.) The only failure I've experienced was a few years ago when the film counter in one M6 wouldn't return to zero after reloading film. I sent it to D.A.G. in Wisconsin and he quickly repaired it.

    I don't use my Leicas as heavily as many people -- I'm an amateur, not a pro, and foot injuries have slowed me down since 1998 -- but except for the film-counter problem, my M6 cameras have been very reliable.

    Note that changing lenses in direct sunlight isn't recommended with any camera, and particularly not with a rangefinder camera that has a cloth shutter, as the Leica does. I shield the camera with my body when changing lenses.
  8. I would be upset if this had happened to me! Since my Leicas are well past the warrenty date (the newest one I have is a IIIg) all my servicing has been done at DAG. Not one problem with Don!

    I have been thinking about a new MP but given NJ ability to provide great customer-no-service, a used M3 sent to Don sounds like a better deal.
  9. There is still a reasonable supply of M2, M3 and M4 cameras available as well as IIIfs. As long as Gerry Smith at Kindermann, DAG, Sherry and other independent repair folks are around there should be no problem with finding a Leica and keeping it in good repair. I do not believe that any photographer has the obligation to keep Leica Solms or Leica NJ in business. Perhaps it's time for the "market economy" to flex a little muscle. The lugs on my 45 year old M2 are still in great shape, and I've used it with a Visoflex, bellows and lens. No light leaks either.
  10. Alejandro,

    I'm sorry to hear your experience was poor.

    Having sent mine in through the very competent dealer Bob Davis Camera in La Jolla, California, i have been fortunate to have very good service from New Jersey.

    Might I suggest leaving a message for the National Sales Rep, or the President of Leica USA?

  11. What good is the "Passport" warranty if the U.S. repair centre is so inept ?
  12. Sorry that you experience such problems. Here in Leicaland, I was more lucky: on my M6TTL, the meter broke down, and the Leica store where I bought it sent it to Solms by courier (I live in Frankfurt, which is actually quite close to Solms, about 1-2 hours by car). My shop told me that it might take 4-6 weeks based on their experience with Solms, but then Leica Solms told me it should only take about 2 weeks as they happened to be not that busy at that time. Shortly after my M6 arrived in Solms, I could follow the progress in the Internet, on Leica's Web Site with the serial number. Within less than 2 weeks, I got it back. Then, for some reason I first thought the RF might have been knocked off a bit during shipment, so I called Leica, was quickly put through to one of the Leica technicians who very patiently and very kindly answered all my questions, and we actually had a nice chat. My M6 was in very good shape when it came back from Solms: they cleaned the view finder (there was quite some dust in it, all gone), adjusted the RF, adjusted the shutter (now even the 1/1000s looks very accurate), and the film advance feels much smoother as well. Good luck with your Leica!
  13. I'm sorry to hear of your troubles. From my experience, I can say that when they send something to Germany, it will be fixed to your satisfaction. Sometimes, the fix results in more attention being given to a camera than while in the process of being built.

    I had a crooked hood on a 35/2 Asph. They sent it to Germany (2-3 months!). I happened to mention that the lens cap falls off all the time. They put on a new hood and a new lens cap. I think the older 35/2 Asphs (I bought mine in Dec 2001) have the flimsy hood and cap.

    It is very idiosyncratic, but such is Leica. I hope you are happy when your camera eventually gets back in your hands. Please let us know.
  14. <<I am a US Leica dealer and have never had a problem, including two consecutive defective MP's sold to the same guy>>

    I'm going to archive this on my HD, along with the posts from Marc about the 2 defective MP's he returned, for when some apologist asks me to prove in writing that the MP really stands for "Muchos Problemos".
  15. Just for the record, the problem with the two MP's were identical and the serial numbers were within 500 of each other. When the film was advanced from THE ADVANCE LEVER IN position the film would begin to slip when the transport was 75% completed. When the film was advanced when THE LEVER WAS IN THE OUT position it worked perfectly.
    Made a bunch of guys with similar serial numbers real nervous until they'd seen several rolls of film.
    Personally, I'd recommend that all inquiries to Leica NJ be directed to Roger Horn who is the President of Leica USA. In regard to the comment about the rudeness of the people at Leica USA all I can say is that they ARE in New Jersey. Paul in Ohio
  16. I have a first batch M6 (<1000) from 1984, w/o strap protectors. I use a strap and cannot see any wear to the lugs; they seem to be lined w/harder material than the lug itself.
  17. I sent my Leica Digilux 2 for repair back in August 2007 now already almost the end of Dec and I still haven't get my camera back yet, 10 days ago I gave them a call, they said next week, today I call and they said they haven't got the part to fix it yet. Isn't that something?

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