thoughts and decisions for a creative edge

Excuse me Kamera-Express – Do you care?

Call me a sour customer. But I’ve never felt more right to be, especially after what I’ve experienced with this outlet’s service. Today, my blog will be a channel where I vent my unsatisfied experience with after-sales service from KameraExpress. Please be reminded that this is my 1st time expressing negative feedback on a company, which should focus on service more than anything else; to promote sales.

Over a year ago I flattered myself with the newly released Canon G9. The camera functioned great for my stop motion animation studio. Its also a handy camera to tote around for great pictures and videos. To make it even more user-friendly, I’ve added custom add-ons from Richard Freniec. Just to be clear, the camera itself was not tempered with the add-ons. This include a 35mm lens adapter, a glued-on hand grip and thumb rest and flash-shoe protector. I later got a Canon SpeedLight 580EX II to complement the built-in flash.

Nothing out of the unusual. But I did crack the LCD protector one time when I accidentally sat on the camera just 4 mths after purchaee. This would have been the 1st sign of how dear it is to get cameras fixed via Camera Express. They asked more than €80/$110 to get that plastic cover replaced. I ended up fixing it myself buying the part off DarnToothySam.com for $24/€17 incl shipping. Work the difference!


Your camera is still under warranty. We’ll fix it for free.

Fast forward a year later, in July, I took the camera out of my Crumpler Bag and started setting up for a stop motion shoot-out but the camera didn’t want to power up. I thought ok, probably need to recharge the battery. I got 3 spare batteries, fully charged, but none of them worked. So back to KE I went with my fav’d G9.

On the service desk, all was dandy. I showed them the non-working camera, KE guy tried it with various batteries he had behind the desk and verified it as faulty. I asked how much the servicing would cost and he smiled saying, you’re lucky coz its warrantied for 2 yrs! GREAT!!

“How long will it take?” I asked
“Maximum 6 weeks. And we can have it delivered back to your home for additional €8 charge.” He smiled.
“I’ll do that. And what a relief to have 2 year warranty!” But I guess I complimented a little too soon.

6 weeks later… Sorry sir..

Its unusual that repair service takes a whole 6 weeks, so I called KE asking for Repair Status #5653. Here’s when things started to go southwards. They explained that Canon Repair Centre in Netherlands have shut-down. OK so what does that mean for me? They say it might take a while longer since all repair services have been diverted to Germany. Great, so it will still get fixed right? Right. Said the voice on the other end. We’ll call you.

8 weeks’ passed… No news..

By this time, I was more concerned if I can have my compact camera back before the vacation coming in one week. I called again and KE rep said it should be ready in couple of days. He claimed hearing about repair service shipment coming in a couple of days. They’d call when its back. Again, no call.

Following that, 3 days before my vacation I rang again to ask about the camera return. Bad news, said KE, my camera is still not back. I bought the G9 specifically also for travel purpose, and its not going to be with me… In New York, if in B&H, they’d offer me a camera for loan I thought for the inconvenience. Thus I politely asked if I can be compensated with a temporary camera for loan. Something of equivalent standard maybe? But got rebutted right away. OK I can understand that they cannot loan out 800 similar cameras that’s stuck on service repair. But can they not make exceptions for a week’s loan. Its a small camera, thus small risk. I’d even pay rental if I got to. NOP. Said the rep. Final answer.

I was broken hearing that. I’m going on my one time vacation into France with the family without my fav pocket cam?? I paid so much for it, and not to be able to have it with me for that one purpose just killed me. Why can’t they loan one out? I just don’t understand… My camera is under warranty. They should respect that its not my fault to be camera-less. They’ve earned my money. KE or Canon should share for consumer rental costs if need be. Both these companies are not doing their work to keep their customers. That’s my final thought. Or somebody is just not doing the needed PR in these bad times.

DSLRs are good. But on the road, its not ideal.

I left for the vacation with my 400D. The vacation got my head off the hassle I’m in with KE for a while. At least I know I’ll have a fixed camera when we back. And I no longer need to vent more steam on the delayed repair. What’s done is done. I have no option but allow this to happen. But it would not be as so in USA or Singapore I’m sure. Or maybe I’m spoilt by these 2 previous places I lived in. I have heard before that there is no after-sales service in Holland. If you want one, you probably gotta pay for it.

Finally last week, I got an email from KameraExpress regarding the repair status. And if there was any lava in me, it’d be a good time to erupt. The email writes:

Uw reparatie met nummer: 5653 is niet gerepareerd. De kosten voor de reparatie zijn €49

Omschrijving:
Ongerepareerd retour i.v.m. val en /of stootschade de kosten van de reparatie bedragen meer dan de economische waarde van uw toestel.

U kunt uw reparatie afhalen bij Kamera-express.nl.

Translated:
Your repair service item numbered: 5653 is not repaired. The service cost is €49/$69

Note:
The damage cost to repair the camera is more than the economic worth of the product.

You can collect your repair service item at KE

We’ll advise you to buy a new camera.

I didn’t want to call them up right away after reading that email. It would not have been good. But I doubt it made any difference calling them a week later today. In due respect I doubt I needed to call em at all. But I did. The email received pretty much summarized the ‘work’ they’ve done. Nothing. Which is worth €49 on my behalf.

They promise a free fix after a visual check in the store 1st day
3 mths later they insist the camera was damaged from an accidental drop
They will not believe that the camera was in a bag until discovered faulty

I’ll let you deduce how that conversation went today. But if I was the owner of Kamera Express, I’ll definitely advise to look into the company’s relation with future and more importantly, current customers. Instead of driving me closer to the company for future business and garner positive feedback. This 3 months ordeal with KameraExpress brought me to the edge I’ve never been through before as a consumer and a company director. A company that stocks everything doesn’t mean it will sell everything with such after sales support and PR.

I read earlier about the Netherlands’ Consumer Satisfaction Index as compared to the rest of the EU and refused to believe the figures. Would KE has a chunk to do with its consumer’s votes? I’d pull it another point negative if you ask.

I was thinking of getting a new DSLR. But after this experience, I guess its clear that I’m not going to shop at KameraExpress no matter what the price offer is. And as for the camera they still hold. I’ll pay for it. I’m paying to thank them for the horrible service they’ve reminded me never to offer to my customers.

12 weeks later – Today

What do you think? Should I give them the €49 for a no-fix service that is within the 2 year camera warranty?

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4 responses

  1. I have lost my confidence in Dutch B2C-business since 10 yrs.

    Big (international) companies create branches in all Dutch cities and the company advertise a lot on TV and in the papers about price.

    We, the “ignorant big Dutch spenders” think, only Price is important. But no, as you and I know, it's the service.

    When I was in the “Ik ben toch niet gek”-shopping mall in Hengelo, I wanted a clerk to open the packaging of a 1000 euro video-camera, to feel the device in my hands.
    He told me it wasn't allowed to open it.
    So I told him, it is his only competitve advantage about internet-shops. But sadly the 22 yrs old student didn't care/didn't understand it.

    Call KE every day. Ask for the shop-owner again and again. Make them mad about you on the phone. At last they will return your camera for free.

    August 13, 2009 at 8:13 am

  2. Thanks for your empathy Han. It's a nonsense sales strategy for any consumer to be hassled by such undesired occurance. I spent €400 on a camera last year that comes with a 2 yr warranty. And when it doesn't work, they put the blame on me. And tell me to get a new camera when I still have one year to go. Why do they call it sales and service warranty I wonder….

    August 20, 2009 at 1:16 pm

  3. Kyo

    Maybe Canon will revoke their dealership status if there are enough complaints.

    Did you pay extra for the 2 year warranty? I have not been satisfied with the G9 build quality to be honest. A few months after we bought it a plastic seal on the optical assembly fell out. Now my CMOS sensor has noticeable dust specs on it.

    September 16, 2009 at 4:31 pm

  4. blog-admin

    Hi,

    the same will happen here in Spain with most of the camera sellers. Even worse, we have to pay more for the products. Just one example. The Nikon seller, Finicon, refuses to repair cameras bought from abroad. More on that: cameras bought in Spain but not distrbuted by Finicon can't be repaired either. Why? Finicon owes the technical service. We have written letter to Nikon Japan but those honorable gentlemen do not care at all. We have toa assume it, there is a new age of piracy! Sellers are only interested in our money, but do not offer any service for it.

    Thanks for writing your post. I was thinking of buying a D700+grip from kamera-express.nl. You enlighted me: better elsewhere, maybe in the UK?

    cheers,

    Daniel

    September 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm

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