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Old Oct 6, 2006, 9:44 AM   #1
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I use a Minolta 5D with this flash, and shoot weddings with it. I use it professionally. I had the flash for a couple of months, having bought it in May of 2006 for $300. The flash burned up (quit working), so I followed Sony's instructions for sending off for repair (under warranty)to their 3rd party facility called Precision Camera.

Flash was received by Precision Camera July 12, 2006. I kept checking back, but they seemed to be waiting forever on parts.

In the meantime, I had paying work to do, and had to scour the net and Ebay and finally found a 3600HS flash for just over $200 to get me by. It works fine, by the way.

Finally, I check in and the website says my flash shipped out September 13. By Oct. 4, the flash still has not shown up.

I contacted Precision Camera. They said no parts were available to repair it, and it could not be repaired. Also, I should have been contacted by Sony's Minolta Department to determine what to do next. They gave me their number, 888-516-7669.

I contacted them, and there was no automated voice system. A rep came on the line and presented me with two options:

Option 1: Will return flash to me in un-repaired state (gee, does anyone ever take this option?)

Option 2: If I fax them a copy of the original bill of sale (I sent one to Precision Camera with the flash), they will pro-rate the flash value based on age (from sale date to broken date) and will refund me the resulting funds. He can give me no criteria for how much of a refund they will give me.

They did not present me with the CORRECT option, which would have been Option 3: Send me another flash which they have re-badged with SONY on it. I made him VERY aware that I would spread the news of their mis-deed far and wide! He said he understood my frustration, but those were the only two options Sony would make available at this time.

B&H now sells the SAME flash under the SONY brand name for $350, and I paid $300 for mine. So, I'll get some piece of that back, and then have to put more $$$ with that to get back to square one.

So basically, Sony wants to gamble with our brand loyalty over $50 or $100. They assumed responsibility for repairs of Minolta equipment, but now want to shirk those responsibilities.

So I am left taking option 2 and figuring out what to do next. And all of you be aware of how Sony USA is doing business with us Minolta customers!



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Old Oct 6, 2006, 11:18 AM   #2
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orbitcorbett wrote:
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I use a Minolta 5D with this flash, and shoot weddings with it. I use it professionally. I had the flash for a couple of months, having bought it in May of 2006 for $300. The flash burned up (quit working), so I followed Sony's instructions for sending off for repair (under warranty)to their 3rd party facility called Precision Camera.

Flash was received by Precision Camera July 12, 2006. I kept checking back, but they seemed to be waiting forever on parts.

In the meantime, I had paying work to do, and had to scour the net and Ebay and finally found a 3600HS flash for just over $200 to get me by. It works fine, by the way.

Finally, I check in and the website says my flash shipped out September 13. By Oct. 4, the flash still has not shown up.

I contacted Precision Camera. They said no parts were available to repair it, and it could not be repaired. Also, I should have been contacted by Sony's Minolta Department to determine what to do next. They gave me their number, 888-516-7669.

I contacted them, and there was no automated voice system. A rep came on the line and presented me with two options:

Option 1: Will return flash to me in un-repaired state (gee, does anyone ever take this option?)

Option 2: If I fax them a copy of the original bill of sale (I sent one to Precision Camera with the flash), they will pro-rate the flash value based on age (from sale date to broken date) and will refund me the resulting funds. He can give me no criteria for how much of a refund they will give me.

They did not present me with the CORRECT option, which would have been Option 3: Send me another flash which they have re-badged with SONY on it. I made him VERY aware that I would spread the news of their mis-deed far and wide! He said he understood my frustration, but those were the only two options Sony would make available at this time.

B&H now sells the SAME flash under the SONY brand name for $350, and I paid $300 for mine. So, I'll get some piece of that back, and then have to put more $$$ with that to get back to square one.

So basically, Sony wants to gamble with our brand loyalty over $50 or $100. They assumed responsibility for repairs of Minolta equipment, but now want to shirk those responsibilities.

So I am left taking option 2 and figuring out what to do next. And all of you be aware of how Sony USA is doing business with us Minolta customers!

BTW, if you want to see what I shoot with my KM 5D, check out my website...

http://www.stevecorbett.com

With the cameras I understood the refund to be full price paid if it is still under warranty. If the flash is in warrnaty, they should do the same. It does seem silly that they can't just give you a rebadged Sony. It shouldcost them less doing it that than giving you a refund.

It's funny how despite the Sony being available for 350 brand new, people on Ebay are paying more than that for used 5600s. What's wrong with this picture?

I have seen the 3600 used at KEH and one other place for 149, which isn't so bad, but they don't last long at that price.




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Old Oct 6, 2006, 1:03 PM   #3
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I would call back and ask if they can give you a Sony. They have indeed been issuing full refunds for non-repairable cameras.
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Old Oct 6, 2006, 2:21 PM   #4
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Ah, if only they would, I would not be fuming in this forum right now. I presented them with Option 3 to keep my brand loyalty and keep me from "telling it on the mountain", but they were not compliant.

Maybe they'rerefunding cameras, but they sure aren't doing it on flashes.

Thanks!
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Old Oct 6, 2006, 10:49 PM   #5
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That's pretty petty on Sony's part. Even if every 5600 failed and they had to replace them, there cannot be that many out there.

In any given customer service department, there is a boss. I'd call back and work my way up the personnel ladder until you have the ear of a decision maker. A polite but firm tone is most effective for me, I ask them how they would want to have the situation remedied if it was their own. I'd also direct them to these and other forum's where their customer service reputation is well, lacking. I don't think they quite get the grasp of servicing a professional customer, something Minolta excelled at in my own experience. It won my loyalty, I've only owned Minolta SLR's since the mid 1980's. Sony's DSLR goals demand that type of service as Canon and Nikon aren't going to drop their level of service to give Sony market share. They're still thinking digicam, where there are enough customers (who don't talk to each other) to absorb lackluster customer service. If Sony doesn't step up soon, there is very little chance that I'll be buying any new lenses.Entry level bodies and poor service cannot possibly justify my buying a Sony G or CZ lens.

On one hand, I hope Sony steps up. On the other hand, they never even replied to my email concerning customer service.
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Old Oct 7, 2006, 5:30 AM   #6
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Well gang, here's an update on my flash situation. I appreciate all the responses. I called a different number today, apparently one being manned to handle KM customers exclusively. A very nice gentleman named Lou S. informed me that when Sony signed on for this deal, all they signed on for was the image stabilization technology and the A mount for lenses. Now looking at the new Sony Alpha, and the associated flashes, I would say they are actually taking quite a bit more from KM than just those two things, including the source code for the menus, body design, and lots more. Anyway, he says that Sony is not legally obligated to do pro-rated buybacks like they're doing for me, and that in some cases, they're replacing certain cameras with direct Sony equivalents, but are only doing it to "be nice" to former KM customers.

Well, this is news to me, but it's not what I'd consider necessarily good. I would think Sony would have "signed on" for more than technology. Now they've got one of the hottest DSLRs out there thanks to KM, and they're going to make plenty. I just feel they should take on more responsibility as custodian of a former camera company's loyal customers. They think ofthemselves as "being magnanamous" with their current repair/buyback policies, but I think the role demands more. After all, how often does a camera company like KM reach the "end of an era"?

I guess they're just in this for the money.
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Old Oct 7, 2006, 12:35 PM   #7
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orbitcorbett wrote:
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Option 2: If I fax them a copy of the original bill of sale (I sent one to Precision Camera with the flash), they will pro-rate the flash value based on age (from sale date to broken date) and will refund me the resulting funds. He can give me no criteria for how much of a refund they will give me.
I don't see a problem with Sony doing it that way. That's the best that I've ever seen a manufacturer do for warranty related issues.

You could take the money and buy another used strobe, or apply it towards a brand new strobe with a full 1 year warranty (and list price is not necessarily "street price" for a product).

I applaud Sony for offering a pro-rated refund (especially since it's over 7 years based on user reports so far). I don't see how we could expect any more from them.

I've already seen some complaints from users that weren't happy when Sony offered them the DSLR-A100 as a replacement for their existing KM DSLR. So, offering a pro-rated refund, and letting the user decide how to spend it is just about the best compromise they can come up with.


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Old Oct 7, 2006, 2:12 PM   #8
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JimC wrote:
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orbitcorbett wrote:
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Option 2: If I fax them a copy of the original bill of sale (I sent one to Precision Camera with the flash), they will pro-rate the flash value based on age (from sale date to broken date) and will refund me the resulting funds. He can give me no criteria for how much of a refund they will give me.
I don't see a problem with Sony doing it that way. That's the best that I've ever seen a manufacturer do for warranty related issues.

You could take the money and buy another used strobe, or apply it towards a brand new strobe with a full 1 year warranty (and list price is not necessarily "street price" for a product).

I applaud Sony for offering a pro-rated refund (especially since it's over 7 years based on user reports so far). I don't see how we could expect any more from them.

I've already seen some complaints from users that weren't happy when Sony offered them the DSLR-A100 as a replacement for their existing KM DSLR. So, offering a pro-rated refund, and letting the user decide how to spend it is just about the best compromise they can come up with.

I agree, and since the flash is < 1 year old, you will probably get afull refund. Add a few bucks and get the Sony, and you have a warranty on a brand new, in production flash.
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Old Oct 8, 2006, 2:58 AM   #9
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Ifit less than a year old, you won't lose much, especially if they break it down by months or even days of use and don't deduct for the full year. It just bites that they can't tell you how they are going to calculate it. Perhaps he doesn't know and prorated doesn't include the first year.
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Old Oct 8, 2006, 10:07 AM   #10
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I kind of agree, but only on conditions. If the pro-rate is 100% for the first year, then I'd call customer service 'acceptable', since the warranty should be in full effect. Anything less is not acceptable. Ideal would be either fixing and returning his flash, or replacing it with a sony rebadged one.

Personally I wouldn't expect any free service after one year, so I wouldn't expect the pro-rate to period to extend past that. If the warranty is one year, to me that says a failed unit will be fixed or replaced free for the first year of ownership. After that, it's my responsibility to pay for anything I need. I'm cool with that, just don't offer a warranty that isn't a warranty.

I have no idea why Sony would pro-rate out to 7 years.My warranty doesn't even imply anything after 1 year. But in that first year, I do expect stellar service for items which cost what these do. To say 'that's how [company x] does it' is not relevant to how Sony does it, or then we all accept the lowest form of customer service that there's a [company x] for. I don't care if Canon doesn't fix their warranted products, because I bought a KM (which is now Sony's responsibility).

I still do not understand the term 'not fixable'. The flash was manufactured, so it is fixable. Did electronics manufacturing cease, or did the only person in the world who understands the intricate circuitry inside have a closed head injury? What is not fixable about a product that was in manufacture last year? (and actually still in manufacture today) Call down to the plant and order a resistor?Impossible. It's perhaps more cost efficient to not fix them when you can implement a pro rated warranty policy.

It's simply cheaper to send him part of his money back and Sony is betting on the idea that poor customer service is not going to impact sales. It's too bad that they're likely right.
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