Nikon USA to stop selling camera parts to independent repair shops

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by henryp, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. Well that's not very nice of them.
     
  2. Not nice, perhaps, but pretty darn smart!
     
  3. Hmm... does anyone know if the Sherman Antitrust Act applies here? After all, what Nikon is doing will cut back on competition.
     
  4. Then, they will need to import them from Nikon Japan.
     
  5. I couldn't find the article on the linked page but it sounds to me like buying a new car and becoming captive to the dealer for service.
     
  6. Nikon does not have a monopoly in any rational sense of that word, and they're perfectly within their rights to want their brand serviced - when they're not doing it themselves - by businesses with which they have a known relationship. Anti-trust? Gaaah!

    People who don't like what Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Panasonic, Sony, Sigma, Leica or Samsung do can take their business to Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Panasonic, Sony, Sigma, Leica or Samsung (minus the one they don't like).
     
  7. Michael: Nikon has authorized service centers that are not dealers. To the extent we actually have the real details here, it doesn't sound like anything changes for them.
     
  8. If one could only see the glee in a lawyer's eye ___ if, for example, Toyota Motors announced only a Toyota dealer could service your Toyota automobile or truck.
     
  9. Toyota does decide to whom they will sell their own parts, Jerry. Third parties who don't want to operate in cooperation with Toyota can use any of an ocean of third-party parts. Which is why you're making a poor analogy.

    And Nikon's not saying you can't have your Nikon camera cleaned, lined up, etc., by a shop with whom they have no relationship. They're just saying they want to only wholesale their own parts, which they make and import, to shops they actually authorize.
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As a moderator here, I have an outstanding e-mail to Henry Posner for a second, reliable source of this information. I did a quick search and as far as I can tell, the only source of a Nikon Rumor site. I don't consider any rumor site reliable and in fact that is why we block links to those sites.
    If Nikon USA has sent such letters to the independent repair shops, it should not be difficult to get independent confirmation.
     
  11. To a certain extent, repairing cameras has become similar to repairing cars. As the technology of each product becomes more complex, fewer and fewer people can fix certain problems. What might have been an actual repair on a Minolta SRT 101 is now just a replacement of a module or a wire. There is also the issue of product life cycle. Only the most expensive digital cameras will stay in production for more than a short time. Most are not made to last very long anyway. I don't really know how it benefits Nikon USA to sell to fewer repair facilities. Maybe Nikon USA thinks that very few repair facilities will remain anyway and it wants to have the business concentrated in the hands of a few companies it has a relationship with. I read recently, I think in the NY Times, that one company in Switzerland makes almost all of the watch movements for Swiss watches. The company announced that it wanted to stop selling to the other companies so it could monopolize the market for expensive Swiss watches. The Swiss will have to figure that problem out for themselves.
    We live in a time when almost every product with current technology has parts made by only a few suppliers. If Nikon and Pentax couldn't buy sensors from someone else they might both go out of business. Many years ago Copal was supported by Nippon Kogaku and Konishiroku. Copal then developed shuters which were used in Nikon (Nikkormat) and Konica cameras. The arrangement helped both companies. Over time the equipment needed to mass produce high tech products becomes more and more expensive. The companies which can't develop the technoligies themselves or buy it at a reasonable price will not be able to remain in the market.
     
  12. http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61240.0

    This was posted over at Luminous-Landscape by a small repair shop owner:

    "I've received what is one of the most disturbing letters from any company in my 30 or so years as an independent camera service tech. Nikon will no longer provide parts to anyone other than authorized Nikon repair shops. This is going to drive up the cost to the customer, as well as increase the turn around time. If you use Nikon, my advice is to turn the equipment as soon as the warranty is up, and if you're a working pro join NPS. Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride."

    And in another post as part of the same thread (the same person writing), responding to what it entails to be an authorized Nikon Repair facility:

    "Money, and lots of it. You not only have to annually subscribe to their technical manuals and service software for each camera model (now roughly 17), lenses(65), and flashes(5), you also have to purchase all test equipment and setup jigs, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars for each line. You are also required to keep in stock all parts they deem necessary, including each color part for all cameras that come in different colors. Once a camera has been out for awhile and no longer comes in for frequent repairs, this leaves you with a large inventory of dead stock. You are also required to take in warranty repairs, for which you are poorly compensated."

    "Most techs I know who have been authorized quit long ago. You have to have a large operation to recoup the expenses. I know a medium sized shop who's Nikon parts tab for last year was $35k. I'm a one man shop and my parts total for last year was about $10k. We are both independent, so having to spend another $30-$40 thousand a year to be authorized Nikon is a non starter."
     
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Robert, thanks for the link.
     
  14. Its control in a small way their just making sure the proper people service their brand they way they want them be serviced
     
  15. Matt-
    I can walk into a Toyota dealership and buy Toyota parts. Any repair shop can order parts from Toyota.
    I think this could be viewed as anti-competitive if Nikon gains significant monetary benefit from having only authorized shops.
     
  16. The only problem I have with this is they no longer service the F2 and F3's they will look at but warn that getting parts may take some time.
     
  17. I should keep my mouth zipped, but I've had so incredibly few Nikon problems over the years, that if and when there is trouble, I either send my machine right to Nikon and pay the fee, or replace the piece. That being said, I expect failure tommorow...
     
  18. Dave, I'm afraid you just jinxed your good luck streak. Time to knock on some (DuPont) wood. :)
     
  19. I didn't know Toyota decided who could buy their parts. I can go to Toyota of Orange, (California) and buy any part I want and I don't even know how to repair my son's Toyota Tacoma truck. I don't get any discount though.
     
  20. If one could only see the glee in a lawyer's eye ___ if, for example, Toyota Motors announced only a Toyota dealer could service your Toyota automobile or truck.​
    I don't see anything from Nikon asserting that only it can service Nikon cameras so this really isn't applicable to the situation here.
     
  21. Perhaps you need to make a distinction on the Toyota subject.
    One is FREE repairs/service under waranty, that only Toyota authorized deaaler can do, and the other is repair when you pay...and any shop can do,
     
  22. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I don't see anything from Nikon asserting that only it can service Nikon cameras so this really isn't applicable to the situation here.​
    I noticed that also, but I thought I would add that I don't own a Toyota so I haven't really paid much attention to the (bad) analogy.
     
  23. Perhaps you need to make a distinction on the Toyota subject. One is FREE repairs/service under waranty, that only Toyota authorized deaaler can do, and the other is repair when you pay...and any shop can do,​
    The analogy iwould be Toyota announcing it will no longer sell parts to independent repair facilities. Off hand, I can't think of any requirements that manufacturers of products having sell parts to unaffiliated repair service providers. If there are any examples, it would be interesting to know.
    In any event, maybe my Nikon paperweights will sell for another dollar or so on the for parts only market... or not.
     
  24. I have heard that Leica has excellent customer service.
     
  25. Hmmm, this sounds familiar to me... Next step will be that only Nikon USA will sell/guarantee/repair Nikon products... all other possibilities are "out of the law". After that, an insane pricing policy, waiting lists, servicing delays, etc. etc.
    I`m afraid this time the "globalization" is going from Europe to America...
     
  26. Toyota does decide to whom they will sell their own parts, Jerry. Third parties who don't want to operate in cooperation with Toyota can use any of an ocean of third-party parts. Which is why you're making a poor analogy.​
    As far as I know, any repair shop can send a runner over to the counter at the Toyota dealer and buy or order an authorized Toyota part. It's just that they have to pay retail for it maybe minus the sales tax pass through. Do you know different?
     
  27. As Nikon UK is so hard to deal with regarding spare parts this will be a real blow I think. Last time I wanted a rubber grip for my F5 I was told by Nikon that they would not sell the part to me as I was not 'qualified' to fit it. The price they quoted if I were to order via 'someone qualified' was enough to make me choke. They were abrasive and I ended up just saying goodbye. Over on eBay I ordered from a small independant supplier for $30 per part and fitting myself (and doing so knowing that I am competent to do it properly).
    Their normal customer helpline for parts ordering is very poor but once I somehow got put straight through to the 'pro' department (a mistake I think) and they were great and sent out a small screw and film retainer for a fiver.
     
  28. IL don't understand this at all. This policy seem to have lots of downside, and no upside for Nikon.
    Don't want to stereotype here, but this strikes me to be about as 'tone deaf' as the way that Toyota handled some of there problems a while back. Do the Japanese have a different view of customer service?
     
  29. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I have heard that Leica has excellent customer service.​
    Are you saying that they will fix Nikons?
     
  30. So what happens to the warranty that I bought for my D7000 that I bought from B&H ?
     
  31. So what happens to the warranty that I bought for my D7000 that I bought from B&H ?​
    It's warranted by Nikon USA. Your situation is unchanged as long as you use an authorized repair facility should the need arise.
    It's my personal opinion this is an anti-grey market move. I think there are unintended consequences for the used market.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  32. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    It's my personal opinion this is an anti-grey market move.​
    Clearly it is. Grey-market products hurts Nikon USA. If I were Nikon USA, I too would try my best to kill off grey market. Meanwhile, B&H, Adorama, etc. make lots of money selling grey-marekt products. Therefore, their interests are different.
    Like Dave Wilson, my Nikon products rarely require service, and sometimes they need service before I drop a lens or something. With today's complex DSLR and AF-S VR lenses, I would either send my equipment back to Nikon for repair or send to big repair centers such as Authorized Photo Service in the Chicago area. Today's environment is very different from 50 eyars ago when cameras and lenses were mainly mechanical devices that a lot of independent "mom and pop" shops could repair.
    Additionally, gray-market is not limited to new cameras and lenses; there are many outside sources for parts. Nikon USA cannot control those.
     
  33. If I were Nikon USA, I too would try my best to kill off grey market.​
    But the contrast to how Canon USA has addressed this issue is noteworthy.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  34. I think so, too. And I also think that there will be also consequences not only for the used market, but for everything, european market included.
    I`m pretty sure the brand Nikon has survived in a certain european country thanks to that american grey market. I suspect that a wrong monopolistic management in that country has greatly contributed to the overwhelming leadership of Canon. Many people were forced to buy Nikon overseas because prices were simply doubled in europe. No way of buying spare parts, extremely bad repair services, clumsy and odd procedures with customers, etc.
    I`m now disconnected from this camera world, so I don`t know how it currently works. I see that at least prices are a bit more reasonable.
     
  35. bms

    bms

    If the fact is any indication that Nikon now has had my V1 and it took them more than 2 weeks to even process it (it still does not show up online in their system though it will allegedly be finished this week), I'll see service further deteriorate. I had good experiences so far, but now I am a but weary....
     
  36. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    But the contrast to how Canon USA has addressed this issue is noteworthy.​
    It really puzzles me why Canon USA is not completely hostile to gary market Canon products. IMO they are not playing it smart. You might not like what I say here, but Nikon's approach makes far more sense to me.
    It also puzzles me why Canon has not entered the mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera market, but that is a different topic, and I can't imagine that it'll stay that way for long.
     
  37. Leica tried the same thing several years ago. Didn't fly with customers and Leica reversed their decision. Things have changed over the past several years. The cameras back then were mostly the Leica film cameras with mechanical parts.
    Are independents outside of the manufacture capable of repairing a digital camera? I don't know....
     
  38. Matt,

    Toyota do not decide who to sell genuine parts to, you can order them from any Toyota dealer and via Toyota direct from
    Japan, you do not need to be a certified Toyota agent to use certified Toyota parts. If you want to fit genuine parts they
    are readily available, if you want to use generic parts they are often available, when the auto designers tried to make
    replacement parts copyright able they failed.

    If this is true it is just a bean counters way of making money, service work is a good source of income, even if you say it
    cant be fixed, that means a customer has to, cost effectively, buy a new camera to use their current lenses.

    I used to buy Costa Del Mar sunglasses, they are expensive but very good and had excellent after sales service and
    backup, I'd recommend them very highly and many people got them on my recommendation. Then they changed their
    repair pricing, their service fell off a cliff and I won't buy them again or recommend them, they don't care, they make more
    money. I am happy, I use and wholeheartedly recommend Maui Jim's, their backup and repair is not a money making
    venture set up to nickel and dime genuine owners.
     
  39. Perhaps Toyota will service your Nikon with genuine Toyota parts?
     
  40. It really puzzles me why Canon USA is not completely hostile to gary market Canon products.​
    Maybe it's just because Canon is a bigger and more diverse company, perhaps they can afford it and let the customers be, for the time being.
     
  41. Jose, why would a European customer be dependent on the American gray market? Even if it hadn't existed we could still have obtained substantial savings by simply ordering the Nikon USA item (in the old marketplace where the prices in Europe were substantially greater than USA prices; today the difference is quite small apart from the VAT).
     
  42. Watch companies (e.g. Rolex, Omega, Zenith, Breitling, ...) have been doing this for some time. I used to repair watches but I can no longer get parts - they put me out of business.
    I think these companies are just being greedy. This is clearly restraint of trade.
     
  43. Jose, why would a European customer be dependent on the American gray market? Even if it hadn't existed we could still have obtained substantial savings by simply ordering the Nikon USA item...​
    But today Nikon USA restricts authorized US retailers who are not permitted to ship a Nikon digital slr to any address outside the USA.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  44. But today Nikon USA restricts authorized US retailers who are not permitted to ship a Nikon digital slr to any address outside the USA.​
    I guess it's relative. It seems that the gray market in the States is the HK dealers, no?
     
  45. The solution is that gray importers need to import gray parts as well. Perhaps cheaper than Nikon USA would have provided them.
    Independent repair shops should get organized and follow the independent car repair shops that managed to strike a deal with car manufacturers after the Right to Repair bill was introduced in 2001. Check wikipedia after it is back up again.
     
  46. This also spells doom to those proficient enough to service their own Nikon equipment.
    So far, Nikon service has been sub-par. My local technician is far better skilled than the folks that man the South California service center, and IF he has a part in hand, his turn around time is measured in days, not weeks or months. To add insult to injury, Nikon Japan has been reluctant on selling parts as well.
    My take? Nikon needs you to buy new hardware, not keep servicing your FM2. They will stop at nothing to force you to upgrade.
     
  47. Many times over the years, I've phoned Nikon Parts Dept, provide a CC and they mail me what I ask for. (They have my mailing address on file.) The last time was within a year ago.
    I am not an authorized "anything."
     
  48. Ilkka, you`re right; but in the past, although there was a little difference I bet most people favoured gray items over the USA ones. But when the grey was not available, they have had the chance of buying USA or wait. It simply was a warranty logic issue. I bet Mr. Posner knows about it.
    I don`t know when, but time ago I noticed that several american dealers stopped selling not only Nikon cameras but many new items and products to overseas. As I said, I don`t know how this currently works.
     
  49. With a Nikon USA imported item, there is the 1-year Nikon worldwide warranty, whereas with gray, there is no Nikon warranty (gray goods are warrantied by the store that sells it, but shipping costs from Europe to USA would be hundreds of EUR for an individual so it would be impractical to take advantage of it). Of course, with EU laws you are still protected and the official importer is responsible for product manufacturing flaws up to at least 2 years from purchase, irrespective of the warranty claimed by the manufacturer, but you may have to take it to court to get that protection. Thankfully repair costs here are a fraction of what they cost when done by Nikon USA.
     
  50. With a Nikon USA imported item, there is the 1-year Nikon worldwide warranty...​
    Nikon USA's warranty on new autofocus lenses is five years.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  51. Right, but the worldwide part of it is only 1 year (Jose and I were discussing the purchase of Nikon products from US mail-order stores and having them shipped to Europe; whether it made sense to buy gray or USA). To get the extended warranty, AFAIK you need a US address.
     
  52. Operating a camera repair business for over 35 years…there
    isn’t a single Manufacturer who (in the past) chose to limit parts distribution
    or corral the service end of their business that survived.

    The early days of digital had RCA, Dell, HP and other “computer” manufacturers marketing
    branded cameras made by others. When you don’t produce a product the
    distribution of supporting parts is made very difficult. When you compensate by
    simply trying to replace defective units with new ones or out –of –warranty units
    with discounted “newer” versions, your profit margins and pricing structure will
    be uncompetitive in relation to competitors who can satisfy service needs by supplying
    just the broken part and labor.

    Nikon USA’s ill-conceived parts policy will have the same effect. A single
    source service option is no option. You pay the price of the repair, or the product
    is not repaired. It’s as simple as that. An estimate request, rather than a
    query as to what “they” might charge as opposed to another service shop, turns
    into a “take-it or leave-it” choice.
    Given that the Nikon brand will be the only major player with this quirky service policy, it’s going to hurt the brands reputation, and will affect the resale value of each person’s equipment. Any piece of used Nikon equipment that is found to have, or even suspected of having a fault, will have that single source resolution. Pay “us” this much to fix it…or throw it away. Retail shops will be at considerably higher risk of losing the entire trade-in value of an item that’s belatedly discovered of having a problem.

    Let us hope that JAPAN fully grasps how this Nikon USA policy has the potential
    to damage their hard earned reputation as a premium product.
     
  53. Nikon says no parts for Independent (though experienced) shops possibly because they want to bolster their ASC shops to offset the extremely high costs of being an ASC shop. BUT what really might happen is Nikon owners tossing their Nikon that needs a battery door because it's too expensive for Nikon service.
     
  54. Nikon USA warranty is substantial with 5yrs. In many other countries you could pay as much as 33% more and all it has is 1yr - this is a product thru the local Nikon supplier. However a overseas customer if that - has to send it back to the USA and probably return postal for the repair work. In NZL, Nikon won't service it b/c it was not bought by Nikon NZL.
     
  55. Nikon will not be selling parts to independent repair shops, no matter how well trained they are, because if they have Nikon accounts, they could give Nikon a bad name. However, with reduced service sources for Nikon customers there is the liklihood their customers may switch brands anyway for better service options.
     
  56. "Nikon USA warranty is substantial with 5yrs."​
    but not for the bodies, only the lenses. It's the bodies that need service far more often.....
     
  57. Nikon has already cancelled the parts accounts for independent repair shops probably to remove any legal liabilities and lawsuits that such a connection might bring down on Nikon. Nikon's action over such an unlikely scenario can't help their public relations with Nikon customers who have developed good relations with those same independent shops.
     
  58. So if I buy a gray market lens from BH Photo Video and purchase the 3 year warranty they won't be able to get parts to service it if something goes wrong?
     
  59. Steve, all Nikon products will be at serious risk.
    Several readers have sited Nikon USA's 5 year warranty. It covers defects in manufacture and workmanship...PERIOD.
    Having represented several competing companies as an Authorized Service Center for many years, I can tell you that the amount of equipment that fail due to "defects in manufacture and workmanship" is less than 2%. Meaning...98% of the failures are customer induced, and NOT covered by the 5 year warranty. Those people will be left to pay whatever price Nikon USA requests. There will be no alternative source for service.
    Gray Market will be even worse. Some parts are serialized, and if Nikon requires their authorized service centers to return the serialized defective part to verify it is a Nikon USA imported product, those that fail verification will be unable to be serviced.
    After market warranties are rarely any better. Most duplicate the terms of the manufacturer. The minimal failure rate under the manufactuerers terms is why these extended warranties are so heavily pushed.
    98% of failurers are due to impact damage, water/moisture, sand/dirt, excessive force and with todays shooting rates (100,000 cycles in under a year is common) worn out shutters and mirror/aperture assemblies. None of this is covered by the 5 year warranty.
     
  60. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    John Sedeski, I totally understand that Nikon USA's new policy affects the livelihood of independent camera repairpersons, and your concern is completely understandable. Additionally, this policy also affects those who sell gray-market Nikon products, such as Henry Posner's employer B&H, as well as Adorama, etc. I think that was why Henry started this thread in the first place.
    However, suggesting that "all Nikon products will be at serious risk" appears to be very misleading. Nikon USA will continue to provide parts to authorized service centers, such as Authorized Photo Service in the Chicago area. Therefore, there will continue to be alternatives to Nikon USA repair service. Nikon USA's repair service can sometimes be expensive, e.g. they wanted $500 to fix some impact damage on my 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR, but they only charged me $135 to fix the mount on my 17-55mm/f2.8 AF-S DX after I dropped it.
    Moreover, since there are gray-market cameras and lenses, there are also gray-market parts. Nikon USA is not going to be the only source for everything. When there is demand, there will be supply.
     
  61. By denying parts to non-nikon outlets, Nikon may be hoping to have greater control over their product's fortunes; however, as such manipulations have not protected their retail product from the grey market, it will probably not protect their parts from a black market or third party intervention in behalf of independent repair shops resulting in less control for Nikon.
     
  62. Well it seems like Nikon wants to control their products very tightly. Myself it's just a camera for taking pictures and I do not want to bother with all that. I will just not buy any more Nikon products. I think I will make the switch to Leica next time I buy a camera. I understand they make a solid camera and there are lots of high quality places to get it serviced every 10 years or so.
     
  63. In shopping for my cameras and equippment I made sure I purchased "Nikon" products not grey market, and when I need a repair I'll go to an authorized repair facility. With one caveat, I'm retired and live on a budget (if money were no object then I wouldn't care), when a manufacturer limits the supply of their product and restricts service locations prices go up. It's a basic economic principle, so I'll use the authorized service until I can't afford it.
     
  64. When you consider the 24 state side authorized repair locations compared to several hundred independent repair shops this is quite the book to try and keep the profits in house. Nikon's shop in Los Angeles ( yep they moved) is somewhat of a sub performer depending on your equipment and if you are in business. I have been treated well and the longest repair was ten days for a lens. However, I also took steps to ensure there would not be a long wait. I sent a shipping doc on business letterhead with the service doc attached indicating I needed the lens quickly or I wouldn't be able to depart as scheduled for a trip and shoot.

    Back to the point, there used to be several shops in LA, I haven't done a survey to see who still repairs Nikon products, they have been much quicker with repairs than the horror stories I have read about Melville and the less evil old El Segundo facility.

    I am not sure what it takes to be an affiliated repair shop, but having a MRO background often the special tooling and tech to be purchased from the OEM made it cost prohibitive. Personally I do minor repairs, such as lens mounts damaged by the once in a blue moon errant handling over hard surfaces. Why should I be penalized by the OEM who has sub-par customer service in the first place? Like I stated in a letter to the President of Nikon, I have been a user since 1982, to rebuild a 35mm system around another brand ight be affordable as long as there is not a glut in the market due to Pro Nikon users dumping their gear for canon or other brands. JMHO
     

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