Friday, 22 April 2011

NIKON (UK) SUCKS! - in my opinion, that is!

Years ago, when I first needed a camera to take holiday snaps, my parents bought me a Canon, which was one of the first reasonably-priced compact 35mm cameras around - for all you youngsters, this meant that it used actual film to take the pictures, which then had to be developed! Irrespective of that, it lasted years, and never ever let me down - in fact I still have it upstairs.

Digital came in, of course, and the obvious advantage is that you can effectively just take anything, without worrying about whether you'll run out of film, or whether you shouldn't 'waste' a particular shot - with just 24 or 36 exposures on a film, before you have to change it - the difference was like chalk and cheese.

Mum had bought me a good pair of Nikon binoculars, so I thought that my first digital compact camera should also be a Nikon. The first one lasted a few years, but then the battery holder clip broke off (I prefer using AA batteries, rather than Lithium here, as they can easily be recharged, but they need spring pressure to retain them) - I had to bin this one. Shortly Nikon were bringing out their L20 which again used AA batteries, but where the battery case had clearly seemed to have got a stronger means of fastening it - perhaps they had learnt from this in the past.

I used it for under two years - we were going to York for Dad's 91st birthday a week or so ago, and so I took it out of its case, in order to get the batteries charged in readiness, and found that a small part of the bottom of the battery case had sheared off. I certainly hadn't knocked, since putting it away, and when I put it away after the last time, it was in perfect condition. After contacting Nikon UK it was suggested that I send the camera back to them to be assessed. When I discovered the small broken-off bit - see photo above - it was 4 days after the 2-year guarantee had expired! Had we been going the week before, I would have discovered it within the guarantee period.

Well, most large companies show some goodwill in similar circumstances, so I sent it back, recorded mail, as suggested, and waited to hear their response. I heard nothing to say it had even arrived, despite having given them both my postal, and email address - tracking the parcel confirmed that it had arrived there. I got back in touch with Customer Service at Nikon UK, to say how appalled I was that I hadn't heard anything yet. The agent kindly 'escalated' the matter, so that I would hear 'soon'. The next day I received an email with an 'invoice' - they estimated that the repair would cost £51+ - it would even cost me £6 just to have it sent back!

I contacted them by phone immediately, but they were TOTALLY inflexible. They claimed that, as 'I had damaged it myself', the guarantee was invalidated, and I would have to pay. Needless to say I told them where to stick the camera - it might come in handy for bowel screening. I emailed back to Nikon UK * to say how very disappointed I was, but have heard nothing more since! I have now emailed the CEO of Nikon UK, to make him aware of what I think is poor service by his company. I WOULDN'T BUY ANOTHER NIKON PRODUCT OF ANY SORT AGAIN, AND WOULD RECOMMEND THAT YOU THINK TWICE, TOO, BECAUSE OF MY EXPERIENCES, NOT ONLY WITH THE PRODUCT BUT WITH THE COMPANY IN THE UK. I've just seen the same camera advertised - brand new, as it's now a previous model, and this was only £49 - so I'd be daft to pay more than that for a 2-year-old one And why, if it only cost me £2.53 for recorded delivery, would it cost £6 to have it returned!! Despite my accompanying letter clearly showing my Post Code and city correctly, they addressed the invoice and explanation not to PLYMOUTH - but to PORTSMOUTH. Just how inefficient are they at Nikon GB!!

In terms of my having damaged the camera, obviously it's my word against theirs! All I can say is I recently had two similar instances where damage occurred and where I was claimed to have caused this - on a recent pair of expensive spectacle lens a scratch developed, which I know I didn't cause, and Optical Express gave me the benefit of the doubt, replacing the lens free of charge. The latest pair were rimless, and these started to fail at the drilling point, again something which 'careless' use might have caused. Optical Express again came up trumps and replaced everything for nothing. Here, in both case we weren't talking £120 or so which was all the measly little camera cost, but £4-500 on each occasion. But then, Optical Express obviously respects what their customers say. They could so easily have said that I must have damaged the lenses etc.

No, I think Nikon UK have been unreasonable and inflexible here - they could have shown some goodwill but didn't. This is strange, as previously I've had Honda and Toyota cars, and they really did seem to have care and concern for their customers.

* While I heard nothing fro their CEO, they did make me a slightly improved offer - 25% off the cost of the repairs, and possibly free return back to me. They also apologised for confusing Plymouth with Portsmouth!

However, I went into our local Jessops and emerged with a really great offer on a brand new camera - obviously not a Nikon, but from one of their leading Japanese competitors. This came with a brand new memory card, card-reader, case, small tripod, 3-year warranty and cleaning cloth - and, furthermore I got to be served by Plymouth photographer, Suri Murrani, originally from Baghdad. This was an altogether pleasurable experience, and I am happy to draw a line under the whole sorry episode with Nikon GB.

Blog Archive