Refurb E-M1 issue & Olympus Customer service

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by emorgan451, Dec 9, 2015.

  1. emorgan451

    emorgan451 Mu-43 Veteran

    So I got my refurb E-M1 from Olympus during the cyber Monday sale. It arrived and everything looked great. The second or third day I turn the camera on and find the scrambled image below that's apparent in both the EVF and the back LCD. It stayed on through shutter clicks mode changes and a couple of power cycles. After a few more power cycles it went away and has not returned. I saw that one other user (nstelemark )has had something like this noticed after an IS issue. I haven't had any IS issues, and in that case the scrambled screen only showed up once. Here's that thread E-M1 failure

    So I contacted Olympus via email at the orders email contact asking what the next step was. They asked service if they had seen it and service said it was a defect and to either exchange or refund. So then I get a separate email from another order dept customer service rep saying that there is no inventory to exchange so all they can do is refund me. I responded saying that I should either get an exchange or a 2 year warranty for free. If I get a refund I won't be able to buy the product again at the same price and shouldn't be penalized for them shipping me faulty equipment. I asked when more would come in and the response I got today was that they couldn't monitor inventory and to email back later next week and check and discuss further.

    So my questions are:
    1. Am I off track here thinking I should be given an exchange as soon as one is available?
    2. Is this typical customer service for Olympus?
    3. If offered should I just keep the camera and take the free warranty?
    4. Should I be calling to speak to another rep or manager?

    Thanks and sorry for the long post.

    EM1 scrambled screen.jpg
  2. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    On mine they repaired the IS unit. Not sure what magic they performed, but it was quick and seems to work. If they offer the warranty I would take it, personally.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I'd try to escalate and ask for a new camera if a refurb is not available in a "reasonable" amount of time. I agree, you shouldn't be penalized because they sent you a faulty camera.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    When something similar happened to me with a reformed Canon 5DII a few years back, Canon gutted and rebuilt it. It took a couple of days extra, but it worked like a new one when I got it back. Can't they rebuild it if you are willing to wait couple of days for the repair center to do the work?
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Your request seems reasonable. It really depends on how Olympus is organized, if their return/warranty procedures do not contemplate these options it could be really hard to get it.

    One question: with Oly refurb products don't you get any kind of warranty? Even a 1 or 6 months one should be enough to have the camera fixed.
  6. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    I don't think Olympus is being unreasonable. They offered you a full refund and you have 90 days warranty on refurbs, so you could wait til one's available again. I don't think expecting a brand new EM1 or 2 yr warranty is reasonable to be honest. You snagged a great deal, but there will be other sales and the EM1 is only going to continue to drop in price, esp when the MK2 is released. Refurb sales are to sell off inventory that has been returned or opened at a discount and are in no way a guarantee of a perfect product replaceable by a new one. I've owned at least a dozen Olympus cameras and dozens of lenses and never had a warranty issue luckily. The one minor thing was a lens cap for the 12-40 that fell apart (not too uncommon), and they were kind enough to replace it even though I was just a few weeks past warranty period.

    You could just as easily find one for the same price used here or elsewhere. It really doesn't make much sense from a business standpoint to have a wait list for refurb returns. Think of it from their perspective. But you can be sure there will be more available soon. Wait it out and keep your eye open for one and if it's not available in 90 days, return it.
  7. emorgan451

    emorgan451 Mu-43 Veteran

    I would imagine so, and that would probably be OK with me. The thing here is that the service department said to exchange it instead of saying send it in for service.

    Yeah there's a 90 day warranty. The concern for me is that they didn't seem to know the root of the problem so I'm not convinced that the first thing that they did would fix it and I don't know how long it would take to show up again if it wasn't fixed, leaving me out of warranty.
  8. emorgan451

    emorgan451 Mu-43 Veteran

    Yes there's a 90 day warranty, but only a 30 day return /exchange. I agree and don't expect to be given a new product. But from the business perspective I think offering an extended warranty is a good solution. The problem may just be a fluke and not return and they would never have to spend money or time on the camera again, while giving a customer peace of mind and a positive view of the service they provide. The warranty costs them nothing if they don't have to fix anything. If I get an exchange a refund or send to warranty after the 30 days they have to spend time and money trying to fix/diagnose.

    The point isn't what other method I could do to get an EM1 for $616 (couldn't get a used one that I found and looked for a few weeks), the point is that I bought a product from them that was according to Olympus "Olympus conducts a rigorous five-point inspection of all product functions and features to ensure that the item meets our quality standards. Your product will function identically to a brand-new Olympus product". What I paid for regardless of great deal or not is supposed to function as new. I like the product, I want the product, I want to have the product to function as new at the price I paid for it. If I have to I will wait and send it to warranty after the 30 day exchange period. If this had happened after the return period then there's no issue here. It's just that it was day 2 or 3 so an exchange should have been in order when one is available without me having to keep checking back, not just saying refund.

    I hope I'm not coming off as rude or angry because I'm not. I'm just trying to explain the situation and how I view it.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
  9. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    emorgan451, if I were you I'd send it in for warranty repair. Something might have malfunctioned after their inspection and if they have to repair it they will surely re-check every system again while they have the camera disassembled. Maybe if you spoke with a supervisor you might get better answers but if they offer to fix the problem under warranty I'd go that route.
    Back in 1975 my Dad bought a brand new Chevy Caprice classic with all the extras and he got in the car drove 20 miles to get home and the engine was overheating. He returned to the dealer and they told him the factory neglected to put the proper motor mounts before dropping the engine in. They told him to pick out any car on the lot and he could drive it home at no charge. He told them no, fix it, he said. They sent it back to the factory and two months later his car was delivered to his house. They corrected the motor mounts put in a brand new engine and transmission. He had that car for 10 years until he passed away. I got the car and drove it for another ten years paying only for routine maintenance. Twenty years he and I drove that car and it never needed any major repairs! Sadly I was hit head on by a drunk driver in the wrong lane and the car was totalled. Thankfully the drunk was in a compact car and that huge Caprice front end saved my life. Sorry for the long analogy but sometimes you need to slow down and make sure they will resolve your problem. I've bought several refurb'd cameras and only had a problem with one, a Nikon D2s, and Nikon overhauled it for free. I wish I still had that camera and I wish you the best in whatever action you decide to take..
    Bobby :coffee-30:
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    I don't know. I thought I've seen some on the Buy/sell listings for $625-650 or with a lens included that equated to the same price basically. It is a problem that went away, so it could be difficult to diagnose/fix. Would you rather pay a little more for the peace of mind that there are no issues?

    I don't know. I thought I've seen some on the Buy/sell listings for $625-650 or with a lens included that equated to the same price basically.There was one for $750/best offer w/the 20mm pancake the other day. Maybe even a few times on ebay. It is a problem that went away, so it could be difficult to diagnose/fix. Would you rather pay a little more for the peace of mind that there are no issues? I'd be concerned if it happened to me and probably just return it, unless you think it wasn't a big deal and won't return. Even new bodies fail for all brands in small instances. Maybe you could ask them to extend your exchange/return to 90 days and see if more come up to exchange it for. They also have the 20% off sales 3-4 times/yr and prices will continue to fall. I have had good luck with their refurbs, but I also find I can get a better deal 80% the time elsewhere by the time I add in 8% tax in PA (not sure if Olympus charges tax in all states?). That said, other times the deals are too good to pass up.
  11. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    The one on buy sell is still avail. I can't link it, but he wants $630 for body only....guy never holds on to a camera for more than a few weeks and then buys another, but seems to have good feedback.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  12. emorgan451

    emorgan451 Mu-43 Veteran

    I guess I just kept missing the ones on buy and sell that were in that range. I kept seeing $700-$750 and ebay auctions I saw kept getting into that range too. I also have an EM5 and a 12-40 that were olympus refurbs with no issues, so when the great deal came along that provided some level of warranty backing like the refurb I jumped on it.
  13. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    The difference between Canon and Olympus repairs is that Canon still does most, if not all, of their own repairs, but Olympus outsources it to Precision Camera. There may very well be a limit to the level of repairs that can be done in the US.
  14. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    I'd send it in for an exchange. Include the photo of the issue and a note saying you would like the camera repaired/reconditioned to like new condition or exchanged for one that functions properly.

    Their policies are pretty clear and they seem to live up to them.
  15. Halaking

    Halaking Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 17, 2012
    Los Angeles
    If you send in within 3 months warranty period, after they fix the problem, you'll get 6 months more warranty period from the date of service, but only cover the same problem they fixed.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. emorgan451

    emorgan451 Mu-43 Veteran

    I have an update to this. I was told by Olympus on Monday this past week that they did get some units available for exchange and they would hold me one so I could ship the return back. They released the exchange to me as soon as I sent them the tracking number which was great. I got my exchange today and opened it up and found it to be in perfect shape except........lots of green blobs of EVF bleeding. I looked and the diopter was still heavily off center from the previous owner I assume. So what gets inspected in these rigorous 5 point inspections exactly? The camera had a screen protector on the LCD even, so It looks like they just looked at the outside, checked to see if it turned on, and repackaged it. I would have thought the EVF would have been a point of inspection.
  17. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Sorry to hear of your continued trouble with Olympus. It sounds like you may have to keep after them for a better resolution to the situation. Definitely sounds like QC has taken a dive of recent.

    Good luck,

  18. emorgan451

    emorgan451 Mu-43 Veteran

    It really does. For this one I'm not sure if I should just send it in for warranty repair or get another exchange. With what appears to be the lack of inspection for a refurb, an warranty repair might be better this time since the problem has been documented and fixed for some of the other members here. The first issue I was afraid they could never fix since they were unsure what could cause it, so I figured warranty would be a never ending loop.

    I'm definitely going to push them hard this time to see if they can give me a extended warranty for my trouble and peace of mind.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Call the refurb store number and talk with somebody. That has mostly worked for me when I have needed help with refurbished purchases. Email was better for follow-up.

  20. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Legend

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Lol, this thread is yet another well documented example of the numerous issues Olympus has in terms of manufacturing reliability.

    This is equivalent to buying a used car that has a CPO warranty, and you start it up and the a CEL on. It doesn't give you much faith in the company or product, does it?

    Olympus clearly doesn't do anything to check these cameras before putting them back up for sale again. While I don't think that they should have sent you a new camera for the first issue, this is now two times in a row that they've shipped you a faulty product. I would continue to escalate the claim until you get to someone who is willing to get you a new camera. The frustration you've experienced, and time spent having to deal with their faulty product gives you a solid base to make your stand on.

    If you have concerns about the reliability of the product long-term, the Panasonic GX8 and GH4 are both well built (alloy bodies), weather sealed, and the GX8 even has IBIS (if that's a must-have for you).
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