The Camera Store – Fantastic Service Experience

I’ve whined about my share of horrid service incidents here with Dell, Sony Ericsson, and Rogers to name a few. But once in a while, a company goes above and beyond (instead of below and not quite there) that I just have to mention something. That recent pleasant exchange was with The Camera Store in Calgary, Alberta.

I recently purchased a Micro-Nikkor 60mm AF-S f/2.8 lens from them, for one of the lowest prices in Canada, with free XpressPost shipping to boot. I received it a few days later, well packaged, in a pristine Nikon box. To put that seemingly trivial latter point in context, I’ve seen more than one horribly beat up box at Henry’s, where the product was being passed off as ‘new’.

Unfortunately, after trying out the lens, I noted a significant amount of AF-S motor whine, especially when focusing from infinity and back. Once in a while, after the lens hunted around without success (happens with many macro lenses), trying to get the focus back using the focus ring seemed to cause the ring to ‘disengage’ from the lens elements. Turning the ring wouldn’t allow it to move past approximately 0.3m focus distance on the focus scale, despite the ring still turning. There was also this awkward groaning sound and the ring moved very stiffly.

I wasn’t entirely certain what to do at this point, as I was heading down to the States in less than two weeks. I figured I would eat the cost of shipping it back and simply purchase a copy locally. I called The Camera Store to explain the problem, and ask for suggestions. The gentleman told me that I could take it to any authorized Nikon dealer to have it sent off for repair. However, after explaining my tight deadline, he said a return would probably need to be done. The web orders employee, Sheena, wasn’t in on the weekend, so I’d need to call back on Monday.

I hadn’t even gotten a chance to call this past Monday, when I received an email from Sheena, apologizing for the issues. She asked me to ship the lens back, at which point a replacement lens (which they’d check first) would the shipped to me. They would eat the return shipping cost, and she even stated that I should ship it back using an expedited shipping method as ‘there is only a 10 day gap within which we can work to get the lens to you in time for your trip‘.

Wow. Talk about above and beyond.

I shipped the lens using XpressPost and it reached the store earlier today. Considering it only takes a few days to ship back and forth, getting a new copy in time for my trip shouldn’t be an issue.

I initially wrote off buying lenses online after getting the lemon lens, but knowing that The Camera Store will take care of me makes me extremely willing to give them my business.

Where Oh Where is my Nikon D90?

I called Canada Post yesterday, after getting slightly worried about the fact that my Nikon D90 that I sent in to their Mississauga depot for repair still hadn’t shown up as delivered, despite waiting two weeks. The expected delivery date was last Thursday, and the lady I spoke with promised an investigation and would report back in a few days.

I also contacted Nikon to see if they had received my camera; perhaps Canada Post’s deliveryman had forgotten to check the item off as delivered.

I received a response from Nikon this morning. Apparently, there is no service depot in Canada at all, only two in the United States. That’s not what this Nikon page, which I was linked to to aid me in sending my DSLR in for service, says.

At this point, I have no idea where my camera is, although I certainly hope it is with Nikon Canada (which is at the 1366 Aerowood address I sent it to). I also hope it was simply some miscommunication with the service representative, who was unaware of the Canadian service depots.

At the very least, I want to have my camera back before I leave for Redmond in one month!

Some Resolution to Rogers’ Online Billing?

I was on the phone with Rogers a few days ago, attempting to pay my bill, as the online bill payment system was once again not working. After wrapping up the payment, I decided to inquire about the issue with my online payment page. I didn’t have much hope – the problem seems to affect a large number of people and it didn’t look like it was being fixed. I figured the most I could accomplish was to add yet another tick mark on a ‘system not working’ list at Rogers.

So it was with these low expectations that I was transferred to the Rogers.com department. I explained to the customer service agent that I hadn’t been able to pay my bills online for months. She asked me to stay on the line for a minute while she attempted to find the cause of the problem. After a few minutes, the girl told me that I had an old account on their system. It was this account that was causing issues with the bill payment system. I had used Rogers for cable internet during my co-op semester at Bell Mobility in Mississauga. Although I have since deactivated the service, the account was never removed from Rogers’ system.

I’m now happy to report that the online bill payment system (cross my fingers) is working just fine. For those of you frustrated with the same issue I had, see if you have any old, deactivated accounts. They may be the cause of all your bill payment headaches.

Logitech Customer Service Experience #2

I recently ran into some hardware problems with my almost one-year old Logitech VX Revolution mouse. It has accompanied my laptop almost everywhere it goes and even gets used at work, where everyone’s usually stuck with the regular 2-button optical mouse. A more functional (not to mention more comfortable) mouse like the VX Revolution makes my a bit more productive.

But back to the issue – the left click stopped working properly. One out of every 3-4 clicks was either not being registered or would act as a double click. Not registering a click isn’t nearly as bad as a double click – ever tried dragging a shortcut to the recycling bin only to have it launch the application instead? Very annoying to say the least. The problem made the mouse essentially unusable.

In the original review, I mentioned that there seemed to be some interference issues with the mouse, but it happened only on occasion. The problem now was much, much more apparent and frequent.

I got in contact with Logitech Customer Support by email this past Thursday, hoping my previous positive interaction with them wasn’t just a fluke. Oh, if anything, this was even better.

Thursday morning, I sent in a message with the symptoms. An hour later, I received a response stating a replacement would be issued if my mouse was still under warranty. That evening, I sent my shipping information along with my invoice. Not 10 minutes later, I receive a response stating a replacement unit had been set up and would be shipped to me.

The real kicker is, I am to dispose of the mouse as I see fit. Instead of making me pay $15 shipping to get it back to them and waiting for the replacement, the replacement is shipped immediately and I save my money. Of course, this relies on the honesty of the user. I don’t know if this happens all the time, so don’t start a warranty service request for a perfectly working mouse, hoping for a free replacement. If it comes time for the replacement arrangement and they request the unit be returned, don’t blame me. I can only vouch for my situation. If anything, that sort of dishonesty will only cost others the convenience of the current replacement arrangement.

Extremely quick responses and an amazing replacement policy will have me buying Logitech gadgets and recommending them for a long time, given that the products stay at their level of innovation and usefulness. Customer service can maintain customer satisfaction and build loyalty. Logitech’s has done exactly that. I’d like to say thanks to the rep I worked with, Kunal, from Logitech’s North America customer support group. A job well done. 🙂

Sony Ericsson Service Experience Part 2

With my K790a acting up again over the past several months, and after spending more than a month trying out different means of fixing it, such as firmware updates and master resets, I’m left with a phone that still breaks itself at random, for the same reason I sent it in for service the first time. I got in contact with Sony Ericsson again, and before sending the phone off for service, I was instructed to perform a few fixes of my own, to see if they had any effect, including (yet another) firmware reload and a master reset.

The thing with the corruption problem is that it shows up intermittently. After reflashing the firmware, the phone may work fine for a month, or it may start showing problems after a day or two. As a result, trouble-shooting the problem with Sony Ericsson has taken a long time. This past week, after the final attempt at fixing the phone with a master reset, corrupted messages started appearing again, so I called Sony Ericsson.

Granted the phone is slightly outside the 1 year warranty period, but 1. I spent the last month trying out ideas provided to me by Sony Ericsson and 2. this is still the same problem I sent my phone in for the first time. I was extremely dubious a firmware update would solve the problems I was having at the time. I made that known, but that’s all that was done, and clearly, has not resolved the problem.

Not having achieved anything by calling warranty service, I was directed to call Sony Ericsson’s repair service number to see if they could do anything for me. Since it was a special case, perhaps I could get the service charge waived, or so the warranty rep told me. But after hitting the phone menu of the service center, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. The service center was an outsourced operation – what incentive would they have to waive the service fee, when they’re just performing service for Sony Ericsson on contract? The answer is none, and the lady I spoke to told me much the same. However, she did say Sony Ericsson could waive the service fee for me. I just needed to get in contact with a manager, present my case, and have that manager authorize free service. So it was back to Sony Ericsson I went.

After talking to another representative there and explaining my plight, I was put in contact with a manager, who explained that she had no power to waive any service fee. The best she could do was contact Sony Ericsson’s corporate branch to see if they would be willing to send a note to the outsourced service centre. I was to be contacted when any progress was made on that front.

We’re now coming up to a week since my last contact with Sony Ericsson, with no word on the matter. I think it’s about time I nudged them along.