A Tale of Two Warranties

If this is not your first visit to this site, you’re probably aware that most of what I write is targeted at someone or something. I do this not because I’m vindictive, but because I’m lazy: it’s easier to take someone down than build someone up.

This post is different: I come not to bury Case Logic, but to praise it – for providing by far the easiest and best warranty experience of my life. The whole exchange was so pleasant, and Case Logic’s excellent service so unwarranted, I felt the least I could do was share my experience.

That said, I couldn’t go a whole post without burying someone, so I’m also going to include my warranty nightmare – I assume everybody has at least one – after the jump. Mine involved Sony, and took nearly a year from start to finish.

But first, for the praise. I bought a Case Logic camera bag coming up on 3 years ago. About two years into my ownership, a small exterior strap broke for no apparent reason. Not a huge deal, so I made do with damaged goods.

But recently, I came across the bag’s original tag. It informed me that it came with a 25-year warranty, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to give Case Logic a call and see if I could get the strap repaired.

The phone was answered promptly by a pleasant woman.

Actually, we don’t do repairs, sorry.

Not promising.

The model you bought is no longer in production. Is there a different bag we could send you as a replacement?

Better.

I had been hoping for a repair, not a replacement, and wasn’t familiar with potential alternatives, so I took a moment to check my options. The company’s website showed three different models in the same genre as the bag she intended to replace, each more expensive than the one I had originally bought. I told her I would be thrilled with any of them. She offered to send the most expensive one.

Meanwhile, I asked, to what address would you like me to return the broken bag?

Oh, we don’t need the bag, just photos documenting the damage.

Quick issue: I sold my second Sony a few weeks ago, and my mom was out of town with her camera, so I couldn’t provide the requested documentation right away.

No problem. She put the new bag in the mail right away, and it arrived yesterday.

I hope to take those pictures for her today.

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

It started with a software issue: On August 8, 2010, the camera suddenly refused to turn on. As it was under warranty, I sent it in for repairs. Meanwhile, I registered for Photojournalism, thinking the camera would be back in no longer than a month and I would be able to muddle through the course using borrowed cameras until it came back.

I heard nothing for well over two.

Finally, I received notification from UPS: my camera was on its way to the Funhouse, overnight shipping. I stopped by the next day to pick it up – just in time.

There’s nothing valuable or fragile in this box, right?

Two Funhouse residents had turned it into target practice for throwing knives.

After that, I was pleasantly surprised to discover the camera still worked… for about 13 pictures, before it stopped working in exactly the same way it had before I first sent it in for repairs.

So I submitted it for rework. Sony sat on the camera for about six weeks – the turnaround time was, again, supposed to be no longer than a month – before I contacted them to inquire after it. Turns out they had received it, stuck it on a shelf, and forgotten about it.

Thanks for the reminder, they told me, we’ll fix it and get it back to you soon.

About six weeks later, I received word that Sony was unable to repair the camera and was willing to pay me to replace it. By the time we settled on an amount – a negotiation that took numerous check-ins and conversations over a two-month period – I had time only to buy a replacement before heading off to Israel and then Nepal.

I made the mistake of buying another Sony.

In Israel, I tried using the camera for the first time only to discover that it was broken out of the box. Replacing this camera was no issue, but it then had to make its way from Seattle to the Kathmandu, where it was retrieved only with much difficulty and at great (in Nepali terms) personal expense.

After seven months, I thought the issue was finally resolved.

Wrong.

By the Ides of May, I became aware of the fact that Sony had never actually sent my check, a full four months after promising to do so.

From: Mordechai
To: Sony Service Center
Subject: re: Camera Service RMA#339310

It’s been over nine months since my camera broke. My camera could have had a baby camera by now and I still haven’t seen a damn cent. I expect the check – with interest – by Friday. Thank you

And so, Friday, July 1, 2011 – not the Friday referenced in the above email, but the day after my return from Nepal, and only 11 short months after my camera first broke – my compensation finally arrived in the mail.

No interest.

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