Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Camera Repairs: Never Pay in Advance with a Check

The Canon-authorized repair shop in Illinois finally returned my camera equipment.   Cleaning 2 lenses and one camera body took 6 weeks - instead of the 48 hours the company advertised on their website.

This all started back in the fall, before Thanksgiving.  I received a repair estimate, and shipped my equipment to Illinois - with a check - the day after Thanksgiving.

After Christmas (and several phone calls and emails), I got a call from "Jennifer in customer service."  They couldn't get a part for my 100-300mm lens.  They were ready to ship my "cleaned" camera body, the unfixed lens and a check refunding the $95 charge for the unfixed lens.

When will they ship my other lens?  It could take another 4-6 weeks. 

"Jennifer in customer service" called again last Thursday to let me know they had my other lens - an IS 100-400mm - ready to ship back to me.

What about my refund?   She said:  we will enclose your $95 refund check in the package.

I sat home for two days, waiting for the expedited UPS "overnight" delivery, wondering if/when I will ever see that lens again.  When it finally arrived this afternoon, one look at the shipping label and I knew the reason for the delay:  They shipped it "ground" not "overnight."

And the refund check was not enclosed.

I blasted off an email to customer service.   Where's my $95 refund?

Lessons learned:

   1.  Always use a credit card.
   2.  Check with the state attorney general's office for reports on the company.
   3.  Get a written estimate of how long the repair will take.

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