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Old Jul 4, 2004, 2:44 PM   #1
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Hi Bob, and readers:

I sent in my FZ1 for repair 5-22-04, got it back 6-16-04, the original malfunction was repaired, BUT it way underexposed and gave many BLACK frames. I sent it back (their expense), heard nothing. Called and was told they were awaiting my authorization for a billed repair. I gave the history and was told the serial number had been mis-typed and they were unaware of the previous repair. (My enclosed letter explained it all). They promised to fix and return it.

I called 5 days later and AGAIN was told they awaited my authorization - NOTHING had been done as a result of my previous call. I demanded a supervisor, and Amy Richardson promised to get it repaired and sent back. I called the next day to check, and was told it had been repaired and shipped back overnight air - I expect it next Tuesday and pray it is FIXED!

IF you send your camera to Panasonic for repair, call frequently, get the names of people you speak to, and do NOT expect that it will automatically be taken care of.

Following is a log (posted on DPR) of the entire sequence of events:

Saturday, May 22, 2004 (GMT)

Hi Gang:

My beloved FZ1 is going to the factory service center in Elgin, Ill for repair. They were very nice about it on the phone, and estimate about a 2 week turnaround.

I have been having increasing numbers of incomplete images, a small strip will be OK, but the rest black or deep blue. They thought it might be a loose CCD.

Has anybody else experienced this problem and had experience with Panasonic Service?
Thanks..... Jack Winberg

Tuesday, June 01, 2004 (GMT)

Hi Gang:

I just heard from Panasonic about the FZ1 I sent in for repair, good news, bad news.
The GOOD news is that it is under warranty for PARTS!

The BAD news is that the labor warranty is 90 days, AND that they charge for return shipping as well. This is NOT a good warranty at all, Canon charges neither for labor or return shipping, for example.

They said I would have it back in 2 weeks once I authorized the $102.50 charge with a credit card. I'll repost how it actually goes.
Jack Winberg

Monday, June 21, 2004 (GMT)

Hi Gang:

Latest chapter in FZ1 repair odyssey! I got it back on Wednesday, June 16th, and tested it thoroughly. Panasonic said that they "soldered a loose chip".

To my horror, it had new symptoms (though the original partial image problem was fixed) - very erratic exposures, needed +2 EV to get a "normal" exposure in bright light, and the occasional totally black frame! I called, and they authorized my sending it back at their expense, which I did on Friday, June 18th.

Some of you asked if this camera was upgraded to an FZ2, and it indeed WAS! Interestingly, they murmured not one word about that BUT changed the firmware back to that of an FZ1.

Also, I checked and was told that the Panasonic extended warranty at about $50/year DOES cover both parts and labor. IF they can fix this unit, I will probably opt for one year of such coverage. I sure hope that can fix it!!!
To be continued............ Jack

Thursday, July 01, 2004 (GMT)

Hi again, Gang:

The SECOND sending in of my beloved FZ1 was received by Panasonic about a week ago, and they finally located it in their system - they had mis-typed in the serial number and couldn't find it in their system at first. I was assured that it would be promptly fixed and returned under the warranty.

To my fresh horror, when I called to check again today , having heard nothing, I was AGAIN informed that it was "out of warranty" and awaiting my authorization for a billed repair. I demanded to speak to a supervisor, who looked things up, apologized, and again said they would repair and return it. By the way, the warranty does not expire until July 24th.

They seemed to be simply delaying, fumbling, and trying their best to charge for a warranty, badly done "repair". I am leery of them now and plan to call "Amy" (supervisor) tomorrow and see if she has followed through. She said they had to LOCATE it!

This has been a poor experience with Panasonic repair, I hope it finally turns out OK. I STRONGLY urge anybody sending in a unit to Panasonic repair, to keep very CLOSE tabs on it, call often, and make SURE it is being fairly taken care of. Perhaps this is simple large corporate blundering rather than malevolent design, but it is beginning to feel like the latter. Sigh, such a shame!

Jack Winberg

6:22:02 PM, Sunday, July 04, 2004 (GMT)

Hi Fred:

I am following your suggestion and will post the entire saga on Steve's forum, to Bob's attention.

More news:

I called yet again on Thursday (7-1-04) and was told that Amy had located the camera, had it repaired (something about "fixing the data"), and sent it out overnight air that day. The tracking number indicates that it will be delivered this coming Tuesday (7-6-04). This has been a LONG haul, I first sent it in on May 22nd!

I have my fingers crossed that this time will be the lucky charm and it will be FIXED!
To be continued ...... Jack

PS For what it may be worth, I am strongly considering getting a one year warranty extension for $50.
:sad::sad:
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Old Jul 4, 2004, 4:28 PM   #2
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My opinion is that if they really did solder a loose chip, you should haven't had to pay for anything! That would obviously be a manufacturing defect and should be repaired for free, including shipping.

I did see a post some months back where someone else had a blue line appear on their pictures, though I don't remember what board I saw the post on.
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Old Jul 8, 2004, 8:29 PM   #3
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Hello People:

I am pleased to report that the repaired FZ1 was received on 7-6 via air UPS as promised, and THIS time it appears to be really fixed. Most exposures are just about on target, perhaps a bit underexposed, but I prefere that to over. One interesting observation - when shooting in bright light with rapid exposures, they are about 2/3 stop underexposed, but easily compensated for. NO black frames! WHEW!!!!

All is well that ends well, I do wish it had not been such a struggle, and further wish it was not so expensive ($108 for labor, while still in "warranty"). I am VERY happy to have the unit again functional!

Jack Winberg
.:-)
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 5:06 PM   #4
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Hi Gang:

A final chapter to my very difficult experience getting my FZ1 repaired by Panasonic.

To recap, the unit was sent in initially May 22nd. Though in warranty, I was charged $108 to re-solder the CCD which they said was loose, causing strange "stripes" in images.

When recieved back June 13th, the original defect was repaired, BUT the camera grossly underexposed and about 20% of the images were totally black.

It was sent back, they "lost" it, and after several phone calls, the last one to a supervisor, it was finally found, repaired, and sent back on July 6th. This time it worked fine.

I ordered a one year extended warranty on July 9th, which had been discussed with them at least three times. I heand nothing, so called today (July 21st) and was told that they found that they could NOT sell such a warranty in Florida and claimed they had called and left a message to that effect. NO such message was ever received. Carol was not only not at all apologetic about things, but was rather snippy "talk to the politicians in Florida about it, not ME!".

I am MOST unhappy with the Panasonic Corporation, and feel that I have experienced a lot of "run-around", and false information. As a result, I will not purchase any more Panasonic products. In all my experience, I have never excountered such consistantly shoddy treatment and mis-information. IF you send in a unit for repair - BEWARE!!!!!! Check early and often, and be prepared to make a big fuss. Such a shame!

Jack Winberg :sad::sad::sad:
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 5:19 PM   #5
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Bad day for Panasonic!

I bet they thought today was going to be great for them in the forums with their announcement of new cameras.

All I have seen so far is

1. complaints about no firmware upgrade to the FZ10

2. complaints about how bad the noise seems to be on the new FZ20

3. Lack of enthusiasm from any FZ10 owners for the new models

4. astonishment that they would CUT features from the FZ15

5. and now complaints about their shoddy repairs.....
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 5:26 PM   #6
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So you had to pay for a repair under warranty? How does that work?:?



I sure hope I don't have to pay for my repair on my not even one year old FZ10. It has been taking somewhat blurry pics for the last month or so, and now it won't even extend the lens - it just grinds and sometimes says "System Error" on the screen. Obviously the gears are mangled inside somehow. It's not like I took tens of thousands of pictures with the thing, maybe 1500 or so. That's also about 1473 (27 exp disposable camera) more than I've taken in the last three years.



Tim
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 8:05 PM   #7
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[email protected] wrote:
Quote:
I ordered a one year extended warranty on July 9th, which had been discussed with them at least three times. I heand nothing, so called today (July 21st) and was told that they found that they could NOT sell such a warranty in Florida and claimed they had called and left a message to that effect. NO such message was ever received. Carol was not only not at all apologetic about things, but was rather snippy "talk to the politicians in Florida about it, not ME!".

I am MOST unhappy with the Panasonic Corporation, and feel that I have experienced a lot of "run-around", and false information. As a result, I will not purchase any more Panasonic products. In all my experience, I have never excountered such consistantly shoddy treatment and mis-information. IF you send in a unit for repair - BEWARE!!!!!! Check early and often, and be prepared to make a big fuss. Such a shame!

Jack Winberg :sad::sad::sad:
Jack, I also live in Florida and have had many aftermarket warranties on a variety of products from cars to dishwashers to video cameras to motorhomes to washer/dryer sets. I say "HOGWASH" to Carol's claim that they cannot sell you the warranty in Florida. I'd really like to know why Sears, Toyota, Sony, Dell, etc., can all sell their aftermarket warranties in Florida if Panasonic cannot. It sounds more like a question only for Panasonic and not our politicians. What is Panasonic trying to do with their aftermarket warranties that are causing them to not qualify for sale in Florida when so many other companies can? There's obviously some clause or condition that Florida deems undesireable. Florida is well known for protecting predominately its retirees from marketing fraud, much better than most other states. Sounds like Panasonic may not be on the up-and-up with their warranties.

The only thing to blame on our politicians is that POOR customer service of late that always comes with the bragging rights to low unemployment statistics. Sure more people have a job -- but that includes the ones that were previously categorized as unemployable due to poor worth ethic, bad attitude, etc. I wonderhow recentlyCarol was hired by Panasonic....

You are a very patient man for tolerating all this, and I cannot blame you for anything you're feeling right now. It's really too bad, because the FZ1 is a fun little camera, and you should be out taking pictures with it instead of dealing with all this.

-------------------

Chris
www.FZ-Club.com
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 9:05 PM   #8
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Far be it from me to defend Panasonic and I certainly sympathize and side with Jack and feel he was grossly mistreated, but I seem to recall when I was looking for an extended warranty for my Olympus c-2100that somehow the warranty was not offered to addresses in Florida. I have no idea why and never gave it much thought since I dont live there. Are EXTENDED warrantiesillegal in the Sunshine State?
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Old Jul 21, 2004, 9:56 PM   #9
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Hi Tim:

Panasonic's warranty os only THREE MONTHS for labor, PARTS for one year. So I fear you will indeed be stuck with the labor charge.

If/when you send it in, keep a copy of everything, get the name of anyone you speak to, and check OFTEN about what is happening. You will find that each person comes up with a different story, but persist, and do not hesitate to ask for a manager!

Best of luck..................... Jack

So you had to pay for a repair under warranty? How does that work?



I sure hope I don't have to pay for my repair on my not even one year old FZ10. It has been taking somewhat blurry pics for the last month or so, and now it won't even extend the lens - it just grinds and sometimes says "System Error" on the screen. Obviously the gears are mangled inside somehow. It's not like I took tens of thousands of pictures with the thing, maybe 1500 or so. That's also about 1473 (27 exp disposable camera) more than I've taken in the last three years.



Tim
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Old Jul 22, 2004, 3:43 AM   #10
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The warranty situation in the US seems dire - strange in a country that prides itself in customer service.

Here in the EU, ALL products must now come with a 2 year parts and labour warranty by law.

The UK (as ever) opted out of this. But 1 year P&L is the norm, and many products do come with the 2 year P&L because the manufacturer simply wants to be consistent across the EU - For example Olympus cameras have a 2yr P&L in the UK.

Moreover, UK law makes the manufacture liable for 6 years. - i.e. they must provide service and support for 6 years, and if you can prove the problem is one of original manufacture they must fix it or replace it. In the later case they are allowed to charge for wear & tear. So I could go back to Panasonic in 6 years and say this camera doesn't focus correctly in low light, prove it was a design flaw and ask them to fix or replace it. (strange but true) Unfortunately, the law is fairly open ended in this - so it might require you to go to court to win your case.

As for extended warranties, well you can buy them anywhere, and even if the manufacturer doesn't offer them, you can simply take out a 3rd party "warranty" with umpteen companies, because at the end of the day they are just insurance policies, that you are taking insurance out against the cost of any possible future repair.
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