Nikon USA long-term committment to D2H service advisory: A mixed bag

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by lex_jenkins, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. Note: See follow up reply dated 11/1/11
    If you're a regular reader of photo.net's Nikon forum, particularly on discussions related to warranty service, you'll probably recall that I've generally been satisfied with Nikon products in general and with Nikon USA's warranty service in particular. Because of my satisfactory experience I was inclined to be skeptical of the number of anecdotes about unsatisfactory service, reported here and elsewhere online. Regrettably, I'm now inclined to agree that it does appear Nikon USA's commitment to customer satisfaction has declined. However, mine is just another anecdote, and should not be interpreted as statistically significant.
    In summary, it appears that Nikon USA failed to honor their published commitment to long term servicing of a particular problem with the D2H/D2Hs. You can read relevant anecdotes from other D2H owners in these photo.net threads:
    Nikon D2Hs Error Message (2007)
    Nikon D2H - "ERR" problem (2009)
    And if you're not in the mood for a painstakingly detailed account and biased opinions that may ruffle some feathers, skip this entire thread.
    First, the positive experiences.
    Around 2000 I realized the time had come to replace my aging Canon FD gear. Switching to Nikon was the best compromise for my needs. I mostly used b&w film but anticipated eventually including digital. Being able to use most of the same manual focus lenses for both film and digital was a persuasive argument favoring Nikon. I still have no regrets about that.
    Until 2005 every bit of Nikon gear I had was purchased used, or received as a pre-owned gift (for which I'm very grateful). The first Nikon branded equipment I bought was the 28/3.5 PC-Nikkor - for a specific project documenting the use of petrified wood in buildings here in Texas - even before I owned a Nikon body. Within a week or so I added a very worn and dinged F3HP with MD-4 motor drive and 50/2 AI Nikkor. The F3HP and 50/2 continue to work just fine. The MD-4 is a little balky at times but I rarely use it anymore. Soon I added a like-new FM2N, in trade for my ailing Canon FD gear. Gradually I added several manual focus Nikkors, all purchased used, and received as gifts from family and friends various pieces such as an N6006 and 35-70/2.8D AF Nikkor. I kept a few adaptable third party lenses such as the Tamron Adaptalls and Vivitar T-mount type lenses, which I'd used for years with Canon, Olympus and Minolta bodies.
    In 2005 I added the first new Nikon equipment: a D2H, 18-70/3.5-4.5 DX Nikkor, 24-120/3.5-5.6 VR (which I should have kept - I really need that VR now), SB-800 flash and SC-29 flash cord. At the time I anticipated doing more freelance work such as school sports, which didn't pan out due to increasing disability from back and neck injuries experienced in a 2001 automobile accident. Since then I haven't purchased any other new Nikon gear and probably never will again since I can't justify the expense and have found that in general used Nikon gear is very durable and reliable for many years - more than good enough for my hobbyist purposes.
    A positive experience with Nikon USA warranty service.
    In 2006 my year-old D2H experienced a partial failure. Presumably the failure was related to Nikon's well meaning efforts at backward compatibility. That spring loaded AI coupling ring is still vulnerable to moisture (rubbery gaskets on the rear of lenses like the 18-70 DX do not help at all with this problem), and failed after I'd used the D2H for several hours in heavy fog with intermittent mist (not even real rain) while photographing a residential fire and Red Cross relief efforts. I dried the camera as well as possible under a fan, with a sheet of lens tissue over the mirror/shutter box. After a few days the D2H wouldn't work with my pre-G type AF Nikkors, but did function normally with G-type AFS and AI/AI-S Nikkors. Nikon USA fixed it under warranty, no charge, and even cleaned the sensor and camera.
    The only thing they neglected to fix was a single hot/dead/stuck pixel, which I had reported at the same time. Since then no additional dead pixels have appeared, and spotting a single pixel isn't much of an inconvenience. It's apparent only in a few photos and not a serious problem.
    That single experience with Nikon USA warranty service in 2006 was completely satisfactory. Communication was good, both via e-mail and on the telephone. I was able to speak directly with a service technician to clarify a particular problem. Turnaround time was 2-3 weeks, which was reasonable for my purposes.
    After that the D2H continued to work flawlessly until 2009, when it developed the "Err" message reported by other owners.
    The D2H "Err" problem.
    Sometime in 2009 I noticed an occasional quirk. When the D2H had been turned off for awhile - at least an hour - it experienced a peculiar glitch. After turning the camera on and taking the first photo, a flashing "Err" appeared on the top panel LCD and in the viewfinder display. However the view through the finder was not obstructed and the shutter was not locked open. Pressing the shutter release again cleared the "Err" message.
    The error was peculiar because pressing the shutter release a second time sounded as if the camera was making an exposure, but nothing inside the camera appeared to move. While it sounded as if the mirror or shutter had become stuck, there was nothing moving visibly inside when the lens was removed. But it emitted a sound very much like the mirror flipping and shutter cycling.
    Despite the quirk that first photo appeared normally. As long as the camera was left turned on, even if dormant for days, the "Err" message did not reoccur. It didn't seem to significantly disable the camera so I didn't worry about it.
    However by late 2009 I began seeing reports of similar or identical problems from other D2H/D2Hs owners. I checked the Nikon USA site and discovered Nikon had issued a Nikon D2H Digital-SLR Camera Service Advisory, which offered extended service to repair this problem without cost to qualified owners (of Nikon USA products) until August 31, 2011.
    By June 2011 the glitch in my D2H had worsened. The "Err" message would occur anytime the camera was not operated for a few minutes, even when left on. Every time this occurred I'd have to depress the shutter release button twice to clear the error. Turning the camera on and off, removing the battery, the various types of resets, etc., had no effect on clearing the problem. I was concerned the problem might escalate and completely disable the camera, so I decided to send it in for evaluation under the service advisory.
    The fuzzy deadline.
    However, my mom had surgery on very short notice in July 2011, along with subsequent complications that kept me busy for the next few weeks. It was the last week of August 2011 by the time I remembered the D2H service advisory, and August 31, 2011 deadline.
    What the heck, I thought - might as well give it a try. I sent the D2H via USPS Priority Mail, along with the form provided by Nikon USA for this specific service advisory. According to Nikon USA's website, my D2H was received and logged in by August 29, 2011. A squeaky tight fit, but technically within the deadline.
    For the next couple of weeks I was busy looking after my mom, who had numerous followup medical appointments after her July surgery and complications. It was mid-September by the time I thought about the D2H again. I realized I hadn't received an e-mail from Nikon - very different from my 2006 experience. On September 14 I telephoned the Nikon USA service department. The fellow I spoke with (nope, I forgot to get his name) said the technician could not replicate the problem I'd described on the form accompanying my camera. I offered to explain it by phone to the repair tech, but the fellow said he could not transfer me to speak directly with the tech. I tried again to explain the problem - specifying that it might be necessary to leave the camera turned off for an hour or two - and noted other instances of the same problem described by other D2H owners. He said he would ask the repair tech to recheck my camera.
    Again, I heard nothing from Nikon USA by e-mail or telephone. I sent followup e-mails both directly from my e-mail account and via the Nikon USA website. By October 6, 2011, it was apparent that my e-mails were either not getting through or were being overlooked or ignored.
    Upon checking the status on the Nikon USA website, I saw only a repair estimate of $420. There was no detail indicating whether the technician had determined the problem with my D2H was not eligible under the service advisory, or whether the tech had even seen my messages attempting to clarify the problem.
    Adding to the confusion, the messages I sent internally through Nikon's website, rather than directly from my own e-mail account, were not being copied back to me via e-mail. I had no way of knowing whether those messages were being received. I added a second e-mail address through which I could be contacted.
    To complicate matters further, by September 1, 2011, all indications that a D2H service advisory had ever existed were wiped from the Nikon USA site. I actually had to refer to Google cache and provide additional copies of the forms and URLs, in an attempt to remind the service department that such an advisory had ever even existed.
    Not that it did any good.
    Careless wording - my college technical writing adviser would be disappointed.
    In frustration, I committed a tactical error. Actually, two.
    The first tactical error: I began a reply stating that (paraphrasing), "obviously the D2H was not cost effective to repair at a cost of $420." I followed up with a statement reiterating my opinion that the camera should be repaired under the service advisory at no charge. I have to conclude now that the person who reads the messages at Nikon never read past my carelessly worded opening statement.
    On October 11, 2001, I finally received an e-mail from Nikon USA saying:
    (Note: Changed to paraphrase of e-mail, since Nikon prohibits copying e-mails from them to discussion forums. --LJ)
    The e-mail thanks me for contacting Nikon USA and apologizes for the inconvenience. The e-mail advises me that the service advisory for the D2H expired on 08/31/11. The e-mail further advises that since I have refused the repair Nikon will be sending the camera back to me within a week.​
    I replied with a reminder that Nikon USA had received and logged in my D2H on August 29, 2011, technically before the deadline. I received no acknowledgment of that message.
    At this point you may feel free to imagine the last of my brown hair bypassing gray and going straight to white.
    The second tactical error: I attempted to change my Nikon USA account to reflect my current physical address and preferred e-mail address.
    I attempted to send yet another message - via Nikon's website and my e-mail account - reiterating my opinion that the D2H "Err" problem appeared to be eligible for no-cost repair under the service advisory, and that I had not "refused the repair".
    The only response I received was an auto-generated reply indicating that the e-mail address I used was not the one associated with my Nikon USA account. And that was my second mistake - attempting to update my account mid-stream, while still trying to resolve a bureaucratic tangle. I tried again to update my Nikon USA account to reflect the appropriate e-mail address, but I suspected it was for naught.
    Sure enough, I heard nothing else from Nikon USA until my D2H arrived today, unrepaired, via UPS.
    After testing the D2H this afternoon, it's in even worse condition than I'd realized. Now the "Err" occurs every few minutes. I haven't yet determined the precise timing, but if the camera is left on but without depressing the shutter release every few minutes, the "Err" freeze-up reoccurs. Fortunately, it's still readily cleared by pressing the shutter release a second time.
    There's also a minor difference in exposures after the "Err" message is cleared. If a sequence of identical photos is taken, the first will be approximately 1/3 EV different from the subsequent exposures. Almost insignificant, other than a discomfiting reminder that yet another gremlin might worsen in the camera.
    Epilogue.
    My disappointment in Nikon's service won't have any material impact. A dSLR, based on decade-old technology, purchased new six years ago - long after the D2H was already yesterday's stale bread - is hardly worth the fuss anymore.
    And I'll probably never buy another new Nikon product anyway. Not because of this particular incident, or because of retroactive sour-grapes dissatisfaction. I'm still very satisfied with my older Nikon gear and can probably continue to use it as long as someone makes b&w film. But there's nothing in the Nikon lineup - or in the foreseeable future - that suits my current preferences for a digital camera. The only type of digital camera that appeals to me now is something like the Fuji X100 or X10. There's no indication, even through the most optimistically ardent Nikonista rumor generators, that Nikon will ever make a competitive enthusiast's snapshot camera until long after the rest of the industry has moved on to The Next Big Thing. So if Nikon has lost me as a customer, it's not due to this D2H kerfluffle. It's because my personal preferences in photography have changed and it's unreasonable of me to expect Nikon to pursue a niche market when they have bigger fish to fry.
    But I've learned a couple of lessons having read many anecdotes from customers who've purchased expensive Nikon, Canon, Leica or whatever gear.
    1. Never, ever spend thousands of dollars for expensive camera gear without some sort of rock solid assurance or insurance to protect your investment (if you're a pro) or your expenditure (if you're an amateur like most of us) against losses. While third party extended warranties are occasionally met with dismissive snorts of disdain by some, the cost of either an extended warranty or some other form of insurance may be worthwhile if the original manufacturer or authorized distributor defaults on their obligations or waffles on interpretation of written warranties, guarantees or other forms of assurance of customer satisfaction.
    2. Be very careful how you word your complaints. I usually am. This time I wasn't.
    3. Be timely. I was too distracted by my mom's health problems to follow up on the Nikon problem, especially when I should have realized something was amiss in communication.
    4. Know when to say when. In my case that means "Let it go." It really isn't a big enough deal for me to pursue any additional remedies. (Yes, I'm aware of the irony that I've expended a lot of time and effort documenting this whole affair.) I've hardly used the D2H this entire year. It's too bulky and heavy for my needs. If I use it again, it'll be for off the wall stuff like producing animated GIFs, and I might consider having it converted to IR.
    In the end, Nikon, you didn't lose me as a customer over this. I was already moving on. But now I can see why there appear to be so many anecdotes about customer dissatisfaction, having experienced it firsthand. There was a time when I'd have scoffed at most of the assertions I'd read online about declines in Nikon customer service. Now, if I was advising Nikon professionally as a consultant, I'd say it's an issue that needs to be studied and remedied, fast. You can't do much more than you're already doing to recovery manufacturing capacity, considering the setbacks from natural disasters this year. But you can reclaim your status as the leader in customer satisfaction among dSLR users.
    Satisfaction with Nikon equipment in general: B+, because one notable equipment problem in 10 years, considering how reliable my other Nikon gear has been, ain't bad at all. And you still have the best TTL flash in the industry.
    Satisfaction with Nikon digital cameras: B. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm nitpicking. But my decade old Olympus C-3040Z P&S digicam still works flawlessly and has seen rougher treatment, exposure to far worse weather, and a lot more use. That 2006 failure was related to the AI coupling doodad that's still vulnerable to damage from weather or moisture - because the rubber gasket on the rear of lenses like the 18-70 DX does nothing to protect that vulnerable ring. Mine failed after exposure to heavy fog and mist, not even real rain. It's an anachronism. Lose it. Canon bit the bullet years ago and cut ties to the backward compatibility. It's holding Nikon back now.
    Satisfaction with standard Nikon warranty work: A, but that's based on my 2006 experience.
    Follow-through on commitment to extended service advisories: D. If you can't follow through on commitments to support older equipment with known, documented flaws, don't bother to offer the extended service at all. It only makes you look bad. Frankly, I wouldn't have even bothered to fuss about this problem with the D2H if not for the offer of an extended service advisory.
     
  2. Gee Lex, I don't think I'd be done with them so fast. You sent it within the date, they gave you some bulldog story that they "couldn't replicate the problem", then they don't really read your em and ship it back.
     
  3. I've considered it, Dave, but after this experience with botched communication I'm not planning to waste even a few more dollars on shipping.
    Ironically, during this same over the summer I was able to successfully navigate some of the most arcane and labyrinthine bureaucracy - Social Security, Medicare, a public hospital (a good one, but a maze of paperwork), etc. - on behalf of my mom to get her through her surgery and complications.
    It's not a good sign when a business like Nikon is more difficult to communicate with than the U.S. public health system.
     
  4. Yes Lex, I c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y understand what you just wrote. I could author a novel here.
     
  5. After all you have done on behalf and for PN Nikon comunity, they should give you a medal and a free D3 ! I'm serious.
     
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Lex, I would write a letter to Nikon USA to complain about your experience.
     
  7. I agree with Shun in that you should write a letter to Nikon (and also Nikon Japan, not just USA) describing your experiences in this matter.
    However, the fact is that the D2H is an old camera and it is therefore understandable that Nikon would lose interest in supporting it. It is also in this case probably in your interest to get a newer camera.
     
  8. I'm really sorry to hear of your experiences, Lex, especially in light of your mum's ill health...the customer seems to be of little value these days, no matter the geographical location. It truly makes one wonder if brand loyalty is worth a damn anymore. It's funny isn't it? They spend millions of dollars in advertising to try and get us in their door, when....we were already there in the first place...and all they had to do was honour their commitment to us. I hope you enjoy your X100, I hear it's great...may I finish with an Americanism? Nikon USA's customer service - it sucks...love from Downunder..Mark
     
  9. I only want to say that I empathize with you, Lex.
    Well, just a bit more: About your learned "lessons", it`s my own experience that extended warranties are really worth it. I have been recently battered by a top brand, super-expensive top-of-the-line freezer, broken one week after the warranty period, supposedly by a well known, bad manufacturing failure (!!). It makes me to agree with Mark... maybe brand loyalty is worth a damn anymore.
    Be timely... the most difficult thing in my life, and the most valuable! (Many times I think that others know this much better than me... specially when I`m having this kind of problems!).
    Good luck. Take care of your mom, she is what really counts.
     
  10. "Lex, I would write a letter to Nikon USA to complain about your experience."​
    Hmm... a real letter, via the post office, would be so unusual it might actually work. And it couldn't be any worse than the results I've had from e-mail and internal messaging.
    "After all you have done on behalf and for PN Nikon comunity, they should give you a medal and a free D3 ! I'm serious."​
    Thanks. A D3, hmm? Too big and heavy. How 'bout a refurbed D90?
    "...the D2H is an old camera and it is therefore understandable that Nikon would lose interest in supporting it."​
    Absolutely, which is pretty much what I wrote somewhere in that ridiculously long post. One of my main points is that Nikon did commit to extended service for the D2H (and the D70, for a different problem), and specified a deadline. The service advisory didn't say "We might fix your camera if you get it to us within the deadline, but only if we're still interested."
    Mark and Jose: Thanks, my mom's doing much better now after a couple of rough months.
    BTW, I don't actually have a Fuji X100. But it's the type of camera I'd get the most use from. And it's the type of camera I think many of us have been hoping for from Nikon. Between Fuji's knack for innovation and interesting niche cameras, and Nikon's stability, it'd be interesting to see them cooperate on projects like that more often.
     
  11. Did I miss something obvious or is this a rather odd sequence.. 'The Tech can't replicate the fault' and then followed up by a large 'Repair Bill' ?
    If they can charge to fix it, there must be something to fix!!
     
  12. Hi Lex,
    As you know, I had a problem with Nikon service a few years ago.

    I recommend you call the repair site directly; do not go through the call center. Ask to speak to a manager; calmly and dispassionately explain the situation. Managers have a wide discretion about these situations. When I called and spoke to the manager at El Segundo, my problem was resolved (yes, I know you should not have to do this, but that is the way the world works - and not just at Nikon.)
     
  13. "Did I miss something obvious or is this a rather odd sequence.. 'The Tech can't replicate the fault' and then followed up by a large 'Repair Bill' ?
    If they can charge to fix it, there must be something to fix!!"​
    Mike, I just experienced one of those facepalm moments. Or a Homer Simpson "D'oh!" I'm usually pretty good at spotting logical fallacies and inconsistencies, but I completely missed that.
    Thanks!
     
  14. This seems to be like a trend. I don't see manufacturers responding properly to this, and I'm not only talking about the camera business, is the same for phones, computers, cars, you name it. You don't like our service level? Try our competition, good luck, at best they'll be the same, we use the same outsourcers.
    Dubious features, gimmicks and more mega pixels sell more cameras than good customer service.
     
  15. I had to deal with Canon on an "introduced issue" during service, and while phone calls resolved nothing, I did eventually end up emailing directly (through email) and I got a response, and when I was in a position to mail my camera back for service after a month (I needed the camera until then), there was a happy ending, they even fixed what was a new problem that I never complained about [and was my problem], a missing peace of rubber.
    Finding the right person to email, or call.... then email - and there should be Nikon East Coast and Nikon West Coast offices to deal with?
    Getting a hold of a manager of some kind, maybe not right kind of manager, but one who could provide a phone number or email of the right manager. Canon/Nikon do care about their public image, it's a matter of finding the right person to address with a phone call/email. And if things don'g work, going to their manager, and their manager...... if it is a matter worthwhile pursuing. I would do it for a fairly new expensive camera if I felt the issue was worth pursuing as it was in my case..... sometimes it's a matter of principle, and sometimes giving up feels like the wrong thing to do.
     
  16. Update: Today I received a reply from Nikon USA regarding remaining questions I had about this experience. While Nikon USA e-mails usually contain a statement prohibiting direct quotes of their e-mails to websites, this one does not. In the interest of accuracy and context, I'll take the liberty of quoting it verbatim here, without naming the representative.
    "I looked in to your repair and it seems that the camera was not covered under the Service Advisory because the issue with the camera was not related to the Advisory. It seems there was some issue with the camera's mechanical aperture control and not the same issue as the advisory. Sorry."​
    I'd consider that a satisfactory answer to my question. My primary concern, and subsequent challenge to Nikon USA's refusal to repair the D2H under the Service Advisory, was that they did not answer my questions either on the phone or via e-mail: "Was my problem with the D2H covered under the Service Advisory?"
    Here's a direct quote of the Service Advisory, which has since been deleted from the Nikon USA website:
    *Information Update*
    August 31, 2010
    Nikon D2H Digital-SLR Camera Service Advisory
    Thank you for choosing Nikon for your photography needs.
    On September 26, 2005, Nikon released Nikon D2H Service Advisory. This Service Advisory alerted owners of the D2H that Nikon would service cameras affected by the failure of select electrical components free of charge, regardless of the status of the product warranty. However, please be aware that the term of this offer of free service to address this issue is limited. Service to address this issue requested after the offer of free service expires will be handled in accordance with standard Nikon repair policies.
    If you would like to have your D2H digital-SLR camera inspected for this issue free of charge, please request the service from a Nikon service center as soon as possible.
    The offer of free service will expire on August 31, 2011.
    D2H
    It has come to our attention that select electrical components in a limited number of D2H cameras may, in some instances, fail affecting camera performance and/or operability.
    While only a limited number of D2H cameras are affected by this advisory, if your D2H camera is experiencing (1) a freezing of the electronic analog exposure display accompanied by a display of the same exposure settings regardless of exposure and/or camera settings, or (2) is unable to focus automatically, Nikon Inc. will service it free of charge.
    To obtain complimentary service for cameras affected by this advisory, please click the link below to download and print the Service Return Form. The Service Return Form provides return instructions.
    The Frequently Asked Questions button at the bottom of this page offers more information about this advisory and, should you have more questions, also provides information about how to contact Nikon.
    We apologize for any inconvenience you may experience.
    Download D2H Service Return Form
    Frequently Asked Questions
    I'm not very technically inclined so I could not tell from that wording whether my D2H problem was covered. If they had answered that question either on the phone or via e-mail, this could have been resolved much more efficiently.
    In my opinion, even with this follow up response, Nikon USA's service has slipped significantly since my previous experience with them in 2006. The main problem is a serious lack of clear communication, not with the products themselves.
    Based on similar anecdotes I've read online, if I were a consultant to Nikon USA I'd tell them they have a serious and nearly critical crisis involving customer confidence related to their service department.
    I suspect the recession has forced them to curtail some services, putting a greater burden on fewer employees. The problem with that type of short term solution is that it can significantly influence customer decisions to purchase the rival product based on purely anecdotal complaints about perceived customer satisfaction, even if statistics don't support the perceptions.
    The overall impression I get is that of employees who are stressed out and are regarding customers as the problem and an impediment to business rather than as the reason for their being in business. And I consider myself to be far from a nitpicking customer - I'm probably one of the most lackadaisical consumers I know of and rarely bother with warranties, after-purchase complaints, etc. I've purchased 95% of my camera gear used with no guarantees expressed or implied, so I'm accustomed to assuming a certain amount of risk inherent to such purchases.
    Finally, I consider the matter to be somewhat satisfactorily resolved. The problem with my D2H was not covered under the Service Advisory. This experience will not affect my future Nikon purchases because it was already very unlikely that I'd ever buy another Nikon item new. For one thing, most of my Nikon gear has been purchased used and has continued to work satisfactorily. Based on that experience, I'd be more likely to purchase something like a good used D90 or D700 from a third party vendor like KEH, rather than buy a new dSLR.
    For another thing, even if I did purchase new Nikon gear I would not factor in Nikon USA Service Advisories, beyond the standard warranty service, as a significant consideration. Based on personal experience and anecdotes from dissatisfied consumers, I would instead rely on some other means for ensuring satisfactory resolution: a third party extended service agreement with a reputable company; a credit card purchase that included some form of customer satisfaction; or, if I were a working professional, some form of insurance to cover the equipment; or simply budget for the eventuality that my equipment might need out of pocket repairs.
    Finally, to reiterate a point I made earlier in this thread, the outcome of this incident wouldn't influence my purchases significantly because my personal preferences and needs have changed over the past several years. A dSLR no longer suits my personal preferences. They're too heavy, too bulky, and too noisy to suit my preference for inconspicuous candid photography. Nikon does what it does very well for the most economically significant demographic of their market. That market does not include a demand for in-body stabilization to prevent camera motion blur, or for a rangefinder-style digital camera with a DX or larger format sensor and a good quality optical viewfinder. I cannot fault Nikon for choosing not to risk catering to a niche market, so it makes better sense for me to move on to the type of camera that suits my needs rather than expecting a company to change to suit me.
     
  17. My D300 had an electronics failure after 40k shutter actuations. The repair cost was originally going to be $265, but mercifully the local Nikon authorized repair department reduced the charge to $150 since it took Nikon's El Segundo facility 3 1/2 months to get the parts to repair the problem. My Pocketwizard Transceiver attached to the hotshoe of my D300 fried with the camera body's electronics, which cost me an additional $75. And while my D300 was sitting in a repair facility for months, my D70 with 30k actuations experienced a rare "OFF" error code and would not take any pictures. Nikon wanted $245 to repair the D70. The zoom barrel of my lightly used "travel lens," the 18-70mm f3.5-5.6 froze around the same time too- a $120 repair.
    And the worst part of it was dealing with Nikon USA, who could not give any estimates or reasons for the delay, who would not let me speak with any technicians about the equipment failures I was experiencing, and who conducted "customer service satisfaction surveys" and did not even acknowledge my discontentment with their lack of customer service or premature failures of their equipment.
    This was my first experience with Nikon "customer service" so I cannot compare how they are now vs. how they used to be, however I have concluded that Nikon is a company that is relying heavily on its brand name and is not willing to support its customers.
     
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Aaron, I see you have a frustrating experience with Nikon USA repair. Nikon establishes its brand name thru excellent products and services over half a century of SLR products and even longer with other optics. My personal experience with Nikon services is decent, but I have only had a few repairs in 2+ decades since my Nikons are mostly reliable. A couple of repairs are due to me dropping some lenses.
    If your problem with D300 parts is recent, e.g. in the last 3, 4 months since October/November 2011, please keep in mind that the D300 and a lot of its parts are manufactured by Nikon Thailand. That entire factory was suddenly shut down on October 6, 2011 due to the serious flooding in the region. It took two months for the water to receed; repair and restoration is still underway. I can imagine that there are a lot of parts shortage, especially for DX-format DSLRs and some lenses made there, in these few months.
    However, IMO Nikon USA should at least inform the customers the difficulties they are facing. I suggest you provide your feedback to their customer relations department.
    So far on Nikon Japan's web site, they have provided 5 updates on the Thai flood impact:
    1. Notice on the damage from the flood in
      Thailand
      (11th October, 2011)
    2. 2nd Notice on the damage from the
      flood in Thailand
    3. 3rd Notice on the damage from the
      flood in Thailand
    4. 4th Notice on the damage from the
      flood in Thailand
    5. 5th Notice on the damage from the
      flood in Thailand
    We have discussed them a few times, e.g.: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00Zg8S
     
  19. Thanks for the info Shun. My D300 went in for repair on September 22, two weeks before Nikon Thailand's factory was shut down.
    And the Nikon Thailand trouble does not explain why both of my bodies suffered fatal electronic failures long before their estimated life expectancies (40K actuations on the D300, 30K actuations on the D70), which required costly repairs.
    It also does not explain why Nikon USA customer service did not return multiple e-mail requests, why customer service personnel were unhelpful and unknowledgeable on the phone, and why Nikon USA asked for customer feedback and ignored my comments.

    I'm afraid Nikon has become just another multinational manufacturer making products with complicated electronics, planned obsolescence, minimal quality control, and unresponsive customer service. Emilio Gutierrez said it well: "You don't like our service level? Try our competition, good luck, at best they'll be the same, we use the same outsourcers."
    Whether you are buying a washing machine, microwave oven, or Nikon DSLR, I think the best thing to do is buy the least expensive gadgets that suit your needs. They will all fail at some point whether the product it is top of the line or entry level, so save your money to buy a new product when your current one stops working.
     
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Aaron, I suggest you read Brooks Gelfand's post above. When you call and are not satisfied with the rep who answers the phone, always get the name of that person and ask to speak with a supervisor. If you don't have a name, your complaint won't get any where. I wouldn't bother to send e-mail; I fully expect e-mail to be ignored.
    Again, do write to Nikon Customer Relations and let them know you are not happy with their service. I also suggested the same thing to Lex above.
     

Share This Page