Horrible customer service by Panasonic

kavu

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Back in June, I started a thread on dpreview about my nocticron lens that bricked while I was trying to upgrade the firmware (which granted, I thoroughly regret). I thought it would be useful to let potential customers know a little bit about my experience trying to get it repaired.

My initial experience with the Panasonic Customer Service team was a bit shocking, as the operators did not even know what the nocticron was (even after providing the part number, at least one representative told me that they only service Panasonic products...gee thanks). In any event, with the help of Precision Camera (and a friend who made inquiries), I got things sorted out and they took possession of my lens on July 7th, exactly one month ago.

To date, they have not even had a technician look at the lens. I have called three times to check on the status. The last two times, the representative at their customer service center told me explicitly that she would call me back by the end of the following day. Neither time did I receive a return call. I feel like they are treating me as though I bought a clock radio not a 1500 dollar lens.

I have no idea what it will take to get them to take care of this problem. If I made my living through photography, I would definitely not purchase any Panasonic products. So, buyers beware. I also welcome any suggestions on how to get this rectified.

Thanks
 

Cruzan80

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Facebook page. If you start putting it out there on very public sites, you get noticed. Squeaky wheel and all that...
 

Jonathan F/2

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That's the one thing that scares me regarding Panasonic and Sony repairs. At the heart of it, they're giant electronics companies and they treat their camera division the same way they treat their TVs, DVD players, etc. At least with the likes of Olympus, Nikon, Canon, Fuji and other camera makers with a film heritage, their core business is still photography.
 

T N Args

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I wish that were true, Jonathan, but people tell me their experiences with Nikon that simply belie the fact that they are primarily a camera company. If you are in their Pro Service Program, that's different, but that's not the general photographer.

Canon, Fuji, Olympus, all have bigger divisions than their camera division, just like Panasonic.

In my experience, service varies enormously within the same company, depending on many factors. Individual service experiences like kavu's cannot be generalised, much as I sympathise and wish him or her the best.
 

shepx13

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That's ridiculous. I was considering a gh4, but I'll have to spend some more time looking into their service history.
I've had experience with Nikon, Sigma, and Olympus. Nikon was satisfactory, but nothing great (but their getting worse, from what I've seen from others). Had fantastic and fast turnarounds with Sigma and Olympus.

Sent from my XT1058 using Mu-43 mobile app
 

kavu

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Honestly, as much as I love the nocticron (it is a stellar lens), I would run not walk away from Panasonic and any future purchases until they straighten out their servicing. If you sell high end products, then you need to have a different level of treatment than you might for the run-of-the-mill cheap electronics.
 

Jonathan F/2

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I wish that were true, Jonathan, but people tell me their experiences with Nikon that simply belie the fact that they are primarily a camera company. If you are in their Pro Service Program, that's different, but that's not the general photographer.

Canon, Fuji, Olympus, all have bigger divisions than their camera division, just like Panasonic.

In my experience, service varies enormously within the same company, depending on many factors. Individual service experiences like kavu's cannot be generalised, much as I sympathise and wish him or her the best.

Nikon service hasn't been great lately, but at least your equipment is being serviced in a facility specifically for camera equipment. In the U.S., Panasonic camera equipment is shipped to a massive location in Texas where they also service such things as microwaves, DVD players and other mass produced equipment. If your repair takes awhile, the only acknowledgement you get regarding your gear is a weekly phone call giving you a status update.
 

Replytoken

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Nikon service hasn't been great lately, but at least your equipment is being serviced in a facility specifically for camera equipment. In the U.S., Panasonic camera equipment is shipped to a massive location in Texas where they also service such things as microwaves, DVD players and other mass produced equipment. If your repair takes awhile, the only acknowledgement you get regarding your gear is a weekly phone call giving you a status update.

Interesting, as the OP cited contacting Precision Camera. The Precision Camera contracted to repair Olympus gear is located in CT. I wonder if Panasonic is also contracting with them, and shipping gear to them rather than having the customer ship directly? Or did the OP decide to use Precision instead?

--Ken
 

foxtail1

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I'm glad to see this thread! My PL 45 macro (out of warranty) needs repair. Are there other options than sending it to Panasonic? I was hesitating because of the upfront cost (either $250 or $275, I forget), and this thread has made me hesitate even further.

If it matters, the little panel that holds the switches for stabilization and setting the close focus has come loose from the lens. The lens still works, and I used the high tech solution of taping the panel in place.
 

kavu

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Interesting, as the OP cited contacting Precision Camera. The Precision Camera contracted to repair Olympus gear is located in CT. I wonder if Panasonic is also contracting with them, and shipping gear to them rather than having the customer ship directly? Or did the OP decide to use Precision instead?

--Ken

Just to clarify my remark (sorry it was unclear). I had a friend in Austin contact the Precision Camera store down there to get me the right number to reach Panasonic. So, I did not send my lens to precision, I sent it to Panasonic.

I just posted this saga to the Panasonic Facebook page (thanks to the poster here who suggested it) and we'll see what happens. I'm going to start rattling a few more cages as well. This has been really frustrating.
 

Al.

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I had wonderful service from Panasonic in the UK, they replaced the rear screen on my GX1 under warranty, though it was my fault the screen misted up in the first place.
As for camera pedigree, a technician is a technician, and could have been working with a rival manufacturer the previous month, they are testing, stripping, rebuilding and recalibrating equipment and componants
 

Jonathan F/2

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Not to say that Panasonic camera repair is incompetent, but the logistical service in place (at least in the U.S.) to get your equipment repaired is very convoluted. Saying that though, I've been actually quite happy with Panasonic equipment quality. Everything is built quite well. It's just a pain when something breaks down! :biggrin:
 

Replytoken

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Just to clarify my remark (sorry it was unclear). I had a friend in Austin contact the Precision Camera store down there to get me the right number to reach Panasonic. So, I did not send my lens to precision, I sent it to Panasonic.

Thanks for the clarification. Just for the record, the Precision inTX is not related to the Precision in CT. The latter is the contract service center for Olympus and several other brands.

--Ken
 

Just Jim

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Thanks for the clarification. Just for the record, the Precision inTX is not related to the Precision in CT. The latter is the contract service center for Olympus and several other brands.

--Ken

Same company. CT is the logistic center, and some domestic, and "high end*" repairs. TX and Mexico is for Precision international customers, although everything domestic appears to be shipped and sorted through CT for logistical (and keep Enfield and CT happy) reasons. The work quality has steadily degraded over the years, likely due to moving, reviews seem to be getting better in the area over the abysmally bad state they were in a couple years ago. They have a term tax agreement in CT they can't back out of without severe penalties, and with that have to maintain a certain workforce. The CT center is great for domestic repairs as it is next to a large Fed Ex and UPS hub, just a hint if you have to pick a carrier to send to them. Strange situation, not sure why they made such a long term deal with the state only to try and get out of it a few years later. I used to have a bone to pick with them, but seeing as they got themselves back to competent quality of work (very far from the excellence they used to be) and they don't deserve the vitriol I would deservedly throw at them a couple years ago. I still wouldn't use them for out of warranty work FWIW. Very strange company as of the past decade.

*http://articles.courant.com/2011-03...cision-camera-point-and-shoot-camera-industry
 

Wasabi Bob

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There are 2 different Precision Cameras

Same company. CT is the logistic center, and some domestic, and "high end*" repairs. TX and Mexico is for Precision international customers, although everything domestic appears to be shipped and sorted through CT for logistical (and keep Enfield and CT happy) reasons. The work quality has steadily degraded over the years, likely due to moving, reviews seem to be getting better in the area over the abysmally bad state they were in a couple years ago. They have a term tax agreement in CT they can't back out of without severe penalties, and with that have to maintain a certain workforce. The CT center is great for domestic repairs as it is next to a large Fed Ex and UPS hub, just a hint if you have to pick a carrier to send to them. Strange situation, not sure why they made such a long term deal with the state only to try and get out of it a few years later. I used to have a bone to pick with them, but seeing as they got themselves back to competent quality of work (very far from the excellence they used to be) and they don't deserve the vitriol I would deservedly throw at them a couple years ago. I still wouldn't use them for out of warranty work FWIW. Very strange company as of the past decade.

*http://articles.courant.com/2011-03...cision-camera-point-and-shoot-camera-industry

Not quite
Precision Camera in Austin has nothing to do with Precision Camera in CT. The CT company had an office on the TX - MX border but that has since been closed.
Precision Camera in Austin is an independent dealer who happens to share the same name.

Regarding Panasonic's service, the tracking seems to go much smoother when the repair is submitted via their on line system, or so has been my experience. If you send it in without using their system it often will not show up in the system until after its completed. That might explain the lack of detailed info when some call for an update. I'm sure there are many customers who have had very positive experiences. Unfortunately the bad ones only seem to get the publicity.
 

kavu

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Not quite
Precision Camera in Austin has nothing to do with Precision Camera in CT. The CT company had an office on the TX - MX border but that has since been closed.
Precision Camera in Austin is an independent dealer who happens to share the same name.

Regarding Panasonic's service, the tracking seems to go much smoother when the repair is submitted via their on line system, or so has been my experience. If you send it in without using their system it often will not show up in the system until after its completed. That might explain the lack of detailed info when some call for an update. I'm sure there are many customers who have had very positive experiences. Unfortunately the bad ones only seem to get the publicity.

Interestingly, I tried to submit via the online system and had a lot of trouble. But, there was no lack of detailed info when I called (it just hadn't been looked at). Since starting this thread, Panasonic has started to step up (thanks to some help from a Panasonic rep on DPreview I think). So, hopefully this will be resolved quickly now (they are sending me a new lens). I will update the board with the epilogue....but I will say, they do seem to be stepping up now that the problem has been acknowledged.
 
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