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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Pentax & Customer Service - Your thoughts?...Back in April my camera (Pentax *ist DS) made a rather lovely bang noise and decided it wouldn't power back ...
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Old 16-08-2007, 23:03   #1 (permalink)
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Pentax & Customer Service - Your thoughts?

Back in April my camera (Pentax *ist DS) made a rather lovely bang noise and decided it wouldn't power back on. I posted here and got some help and sent it off to Christchurch (NZ) for repair.

The first quote (its 2 years old - so no longer under warranty ) was for roughly $300 (NZ$) which I didn't mind. Upon further inspection the quote then increased to $1000 of which I wasn't told about until the day the camera was due back from repair. The main circuit board was apparently fried.

Given that the quote had increased to more than what the body was actually worth I asked them what had caused it. The reasoning I was given was that a screw had some how vibrated loose during use and had hit the main circuit board causing the fry-up.

I was rather confused as to how a screw in a camera could cause so much damage and if the potential was there to cause the damage - then why had something not been done in the design stages to prevent this?

They were convinced this was general wear and tear and therefore not covered by the manufacturer. I was not. I spoke to several engineers and they all said the same thing - for this to happen it must be a design fault.

The Pentax agents here in NZ were not at all open to the idea that it was a design fault. According to them -

Quote:
The fault as described in your camera is most unusual and occurs very rarely, in fact the only other times I have seen this fault have been caused by excessive vibration.

The screw we are referring to was in fact originally lock tighted into position so it is quite difficult to explain how it could have worked loose.

Unfortunately, this type of fault is put down to general wear and tear and is not covered under the manufacturers warranty
Not quite sure how something that happens very rarely and is excessive and is just general wear and tear, I contacted the Pentax agents in Australia asking for direct contact details for Pentax Japan to take the matter further.

Without hearing back from the Australian agents at all, two days later the NZ agents are back in contact with a "gesture of goodwill" from Pentax Japan. They will provide the replacement main circuit board at no charge but I will still have to pay labour costs of $400. But they are in no way "admitting liability".

Now having been without my camera since April, I agreed to pay the labour charges so I can get my camera back. Has anybody else experienced anything like this?

I would hate to have to change my kit over to a new camera (I'd have to change both film & digital cameras plus all my lenses etc) but if this is going to happen again I can't risk it.

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Old 16-08-2007, 23:36   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Pentax & Customer Service - Your thoughts?

I think the nub of this issue is not so much why the screw came loose, but why you were not advised of the actual cost of the repair in advance so you could make a decision as to whether to go ahead with it, or persue the issue prior to the repair.

What you cannot prove is if the screw was tightened correctly when the camera was built. This would not be a design fault as such, but a manufacturing fault.

It could be argued that by providing the part at no cost, admittedly without admitting any liability, the maker has replaced the part that was damaged by the problem, and again the additional labour charges to fit it should have been made known to you up front.

You could try using this to negotiate a reduction in the labour costs, and/or see if you have any insurance that might also contribute to the repair. My houshold policy covers accidental damage to any property owned by me, and it could be argued that this was accidental damage. if you have specific insurance for the camera, this might cover it.

In the UK we have the sale of goods act, which says that goods should be fit for the purpose and of mechantisable quality. This means that goods should last for a reasonable time regardless of the actual warranty, and it is not unreasonable to expect a camera to last say five years without breaking down. However, the legal system usually means that is is not worth following legal recourse as it becomes too expensive and also takes forever to resolve.

I would go down the route of challenging the repairers for not informing you of the costs before carrying out the repair, and trying to get some or all of your costs met by insurance if you can.

If you can reach an agreement like this it will be quicker and cheaper.

Good luck.
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Old 17-08-2007, 03:20   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Pentax & Customer Service - Your thoughts?

i think that pentax just screwed themselves . thier reputation is much more important than one measily (no offence) body that probably costs the company 1/4 wat the MSRP is. i am interested to see if anyone else has had any problems w/ nikon, canon, etc. just to compare to pentax.
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Old 17-08-2007, 08:22   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Pentax & Customer Service - Your thoughts?

My take on this would probably to pursue the legal route. I don't know the law for NZ but I would have thought that if you where quoted 300 and agreed to a repair on that basis then Pentax attempting to charge anything more would be illegal. In that case any amount over the quoted 300 I would contest on those grounds alone.

The rest of the story is unfortunate but not really relevant in as much as irrespective of the cause, if the cost of repair was 300 (which you agreed to) then I assume you would have been happy to pay that and have your camera back in fully working order?

At 400, depending on prices or replacement in NZ it may be close to tipping the balance on your replacing the (2 year old) camera with a newer model to get benefit of new technology and the improvements that brings.

What is the law in NZ ref quotes for repairs, have you checked into that?
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Old 17-08-2007, 08:28   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Pentax & Customer Service - Your thoughts?

Hmmm, does sound as if Pentax are taking a remarkably foolish stance on this - and your repairer has conducted themselves somewhat less than well

Seems to me that it's now got to the stage where all your additional hassle is adding to the whole thing and that they (Pentax and repairer) should settle the outstanding repair amount between themselves. If I was cynical I might think they won't pay up! Maybe write to the MDs of Pentax (NZ), Penatax (Japan) and repairer (same letter and CC'd to show other recipients) - if you knew anyone vaguely legal, then CC them in on it too (even if you never actually take any further action)

IIRC, a couple of years ago there was a Canon owner who had problems with getting a warranty replacement of, ironically, his main board. He lived in, I think, Florida and he reckoned the humidity had shorted out his board. Whatever the circumstance, Canon declined to honour the warranty and he'd set up a website to air his grievances. Don't know the outcome but another example where it'd pay the manufacturer to cut their losses and settle

Anyway, good luck - let us know how it goes
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Old 18-08-2007, 23:33   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Pentax & Customer Service - Your thoughts?

Thanks everybody for your thoughts. I may have misworded the original post > repair only begain this week, I still don't have the camera back. The quote changed on the day it was due back and they hadn't bothered to notify me of the change til the last minute. My only issue there was I was expecting a repaired camera not a larger bill!

Which is when I first queried the cause of the problem.

We have a similar Sale of Goods act, which I mentioned to the agent. The camera was purchased Aug 9th 2005 so it's only just reaching two years of use. I spoke to someone who used to work for them and he can't believe they would be stupid enough to take a stand on one body/customer.

The agents are saying that as they consider me a semi-professional photographer that its had a fair amount of use. It's odd. I've been trying to find contact details for Pentax Japan so I can forward the email to them but have only a phone number.

I have agreed to the final repair bill just to get my camera back and I've told them I won't be recommending Pentax to our customers again (I work part-time in a photo lab at the moment). At the end of the day being without my camera is costing me money as it's a lot cheaper for me to shoot assignments digitally, and $300-400 is cheaper than a new body. But do I really want to keep a dodgy camera body?

I'm going to pay the money, get my camera back and consider swapping my kit over to something else. Meanwhile, I'll contact Pentax Japan and complain to the them about the NZ agents. I'd hate for anybody else to go through this. Would be interesting to know if any canon/nikon etc users have had the same or similiar problem?
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