NPS repairs and "impact damage" claims

ssadyssady Posts: 1Member
edited October 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Hi all, I've been a pro shooter for over 20 years, photojournalist mostly, been freelance and corporate since 2007. Been shooting digital since the first incredibly heavy nikon-kodak DCS cameras cameras came out around 1998. Always Nikon. Anyhow in the last two years I have noticed that pretty much every single repair I have sent in to NPS, whether under warranty or not, comes back with the impact damage claim regardless of the actual problem. I just sent a 24 - 70 in that I know for a fact has never had even the slightest impact, and even wrote on the order form, don't try to claim impact damage because it has never happened. The problem was for the rubber coming off the focusing ring, and to check on a chronic (since I bought the lens) softness in the bottom left corner. This lens is well under warranty. Guess what? Impact damage - $600 to fix. I have been on the phone with nikon support the last week. Supposedly I got my issue resolved and it was being repaired, then it wasn't being repaired and I got another bill. So today I did some searching. Within 30 minutes I found 100's of posts by professional shooters (many from the sportsshooter forum) claiming the same thing. They send their body or lens in for X or Z and it always comes back impact damage. I called some friends who are DP's at various size papers and handle their equipment pool, and one of them says in 10 years he has never NOT had the impact damage claim. My question is, what is your experience as a group and if this is chronic, has anyone tried to call them out yet? This kinda seems like a scam to me. I was party to a class-action lawsuit against google for over-charging on their ad-words service (we won) and this seems no different.
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Comments

  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    When i had the D300 i had to send it in about 4 times to finally get it fixed.
    When I had the D7000 they fixed the stuck shutter in the first try.

    Nikon repair can be quite the headache.

    I hope you get your problem fixed. If you dont reply back to them they send you your product so get back with them.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,777Member
    When I sent in my D300, it was fixed, out of warranty at a cost, but there was no impact damage statement.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,099Member
    The only time Nikon charged me for impact damage was when there really was impact damage.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 659Member
    I have sent lenses and bodies to LA for repair and tweaking several times in the past few years. I only was charged once, and that was for impact damage, which was how I described the problem in the first place and was exactly what it was. I can't understand why NPS members and professionals in the hundreds are claiming incorrect impact damage repair bills when little old me has been getting lots of no charge support from Nikon. I'm classified as a "semi-pro" so I don't qualify for NPS, but Nikon USA treats me well.

    My experience with Nikon USA has been great. I think there is another thread on Nikon service, and I don't recall anyone noting this as a problem.

    I love my 24-70, by the way. What a great lens!
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • safyresafyre Posts: 113Member
    To be frank, Nikon is one of the worst companies I've dealt with regarding repairs. I've found their reps to be very inconsistent in terms of actually diagnosing the issue; sort of like car mechanics who always try to upsell you on repairs.

    Yes, I have had the impact damage claim made against me when it wasn't my fault. Unfortunately, I needed the lens back asap for work and did not have time to fight it; it added an extra $250 to my bill. I've had a defective SB-600 unit in the past which Nikon tried to pass on as user damage. It's funny because I had actually sent it in twice, the first time they refused to repair it, but the second time they did under warranty. Very inconsistent.
    Another time, I sent in a lens that needed the rear element fixed. It took almost a month and a half to get it back. The reason? They wanted to replace the rubber zoom ring as well (which was working fine and I never authorized it). They didn't have the part in stock so they just decided it would be cool to hold my lens hostage for that entire time period. Lastly, I had a perfectly working camera that I needed the shutter to be replaced. Everything else was working fine, however when did their test, they 'found' multiple items that needed to be fixed which had been working just fine. I refused the order and ended up sending it to a third party to get the job done.

    There are so many photo companies out there that just do a much better job in terms of customer service. If I wasn't already heavily invested into the brand, I would seriously consider switching.
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    Ive had the impact damage claim twice myself... It is highly annoying having to argue with some of the idiots there.
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,203Moderator
    edited October 2013
    I don't get this post @ssady. Are you saying that you believe NPS members in particular are being discriminated against and want responses from NPS members only, are you asking the same of any 'professional photographers', or are you asking how many of us ordinary mortals think we are being ripped off by our local repair centres? If the first is asked there are very few on here qualified to answer, if the second, then a lot more (depending on how you define 'professional') and if the last, then a lot more of which I am one.

    So, if the last, I have had 100% of the items I have sent in for repair actually repaired and sent back to me without any impact damage charge. In fact, three of the four items I have sent for repair were actually repaired F.O.C. even though not under warranty.

    It makes no sense to me that Nikon would legislate against their professional users rather than us amateurs. If it were the case that they were grabbing money off you NPS members, then why do they make it so hard to be a member?

    I look forward to some clarification from you because as it stands at the moment, this post is looking like the work of a troll - but I'm sure you can clarify things.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Actually I believe S Sady is a very good pro operating out of the Reno area....but, with all those on location action shots....maybe the equipment does get beaten around, Scott..

    I don't think he is a troll, just upset at Nikon's slippery service for some folks. Who knows, maybe someone at the Nikon repair facility has even looked at the images and cannot imagine the good photos coming without some equipment being bumped around.....my F bodies and lenses from the 1960's looked like a train wreck...LOL
    Msmoto, mod
  • tmantman Posts: 27Member
    I am not pro too, but have had my camera covered under warranty for what was obviously a result of impact damage.
    I wonder if their default assumption is impact damage when the lens is very well-used. I suppose if you have images showing that the same defect is present even when the lens was new you could argue it.
  • Parke1953Parke1953 Posts: 456Member
    edited October 2013
    I am not NPS. I suppose if you are NPS you beat the crap out of your gear to get the shot (I don't think you do). That's what they must think at some Nikon repair facilities (I found 100's of posts by professional shooters claiming the same thing). I guess you take pictures of your gear before you send it in, if it's in good shape. Then ask where the impact damage is. Good way to make money kind of like car repair. I don't really know how they determine impact damage (maybe if you have a ding somewhere) but I plan on sending in some gear soon and see what happens. I think we all feel for you. Maybe my post does not count because I have not been there yet. Hope all ends well.
    Post edited by Parke1953 on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,203Moderator
    From my (limited) experience I feel that Nikon's repair reporting process is inadequate. I don't just want to know that they changed 'a part', I want to know exactly what they changed and what was wrong with it. In writing.

    In your NPS case ssady, do you get the chance to refuse or accept the repair like the rest of us do? If so, that is the time to stop the process and ask for evidence of impact damage. If a garage says a part needs changing on my car and it is going to cost me, I always ask for the old part to be returned for investigation.
    Always learning.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    I am a NPS member and 4 years ago i sent a 24-70 lens back. They were know for stiffness and grinding at certain focal lengths. The lens was 6 weeks old. I was accused of damage in use and was quoted £600 to make right. After a long battle 3 months, writing to The CEO of Nikon UK , Japan and threatening with legal action I finally got it repaired FOC. That was 4 years ago. Since that time, clearly Nikon Uk have had a complete sort out. For NPS members they try and do a 3 day turn around whether it's a warranty or pay claim. NPS members are quoted a price before any work is done but you can put a limit on maximum cost if you want the lens back quick. Today I have no hesitation in sending Nikon gear back to Nikon Uk and I am confident that the work they do on repairs is of the highest standard.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • pcraigspcraigs Posts: 1Member
    edited October 2013
    I think they flip a coin to decide if something is impact damage.

    And let's be clear that the camera looks new, there are no bumps, no scratches, nothing.
    This is Nikon Canada. Took my D800 for the focus point adjustment in Feb, 3 days later got a bill for $600 for impact damage. I refused the bill, but did not have time to battle with them since I still need to use the camera, and I can still use the center point.

    I took the same camera back in August for focus point adjustment, Nikon fixed it under warranty....
    Post edited by pcraigs on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,203Moderator
    If I were you I would have asked for a detailed report stating the damaged items and how it is possible that they have impact damage when the outside of the camera looks perfect. I know a guy who almost routinely drops his D700/24-70 f2.8 and he doesn't even break step - just picks it up and carries on @-) that camera works fine still.

    If everybody asks for that detail I am sure bogus impact damage claims would go away.
    Always learning.
  • jackarmjackarm Posts: 5Member
    I had a similar problem last year with my 24-70. Grinding and sticking. After sending it to Nikon in LA I spoke to a service rep. that confirmed receiving it. He also let me know that it showed no signs of user inflicted damage. Since it was covered with extended Nikon warranty I thought that meant no charge to fix. Two days later I received an email stating that the damage was caused by user and they wanted over $300 to repair. I wasn't happy and called Nikon Repair in LA again. I got no specific cause for their assessment that the lens had suffered some sort of abuse, but went ahead with the repair. In the end, it cost less than $200 and a focusing helical was replaced. Who knows what caused the problem, but the lens is still like new a year later.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    IMHO I think that all manufactures when they announce a new Camera/Lens are under pressure to meet a deadline and sadly this is when QC does not meet their normal standards, This is when the true test of manufactures official importers are in turn put in the firing line to rectify the problems. Some importers handle the situation well while others fail, Its is a kind of lottery depending where you live, This does not make it right its just life. All manufactures are there to make a profit, the thinner the profit, it would seem, the thinner the service.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,203Moderator
    It would not surprise me at all if some of the 'impact damage' claims are due to a small amount of damage done during shipping. I hold all carriers in equal contempt when it comes to handling items and in my experience the sales people will all tell you how their company is different, but the reality is that they all suck. I have lots of personal and professional experience of this and it is why I drove 60 miles each way and lost half a day each time to take and collect my camera body/grip/lens to/from the service centre. When I have used a carrier in the past, it is for a small and light lens which I wrapped loosely in a LOT of bubble wrap in a big box. The standard corrugated cardboard packaging is very bad indeed for shipping as most of the G force is communicated straight to the carton contents.
    Always learning.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Valid point Spraypaint, but when you are sending items over 200 miles it's not an economical proposition to take them yourself. Remember in the UK we pay $10.44 a gallon for Fuel .You have to make sure you have adequate insurance cover which is not cheap but does give piece of mind if the worse could happen, And sadly I know how long it takes courier companies to pay out if damage or loss occurs. but insurance is the only backup
    I do make sure that all valuable items sent are always fully trackable when using any courier.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • PhotophunPhotophun Posts: 43Member
    My first dealings with Nikons repair center in Richmond Canada was horrible. They had no idea what they were talking about when I asked them about a lens focusing issue and charged me for a cleaning on a 3 month old D7100. I even raised it with the Nikon Rep and got a run around and BS email reply's. More than happy to share the email thread if any one cares.

    I use to recommend Nikon but now I say that Nikon and Cannon are like cell phone companies. You need their products but they would rather spend add money on convincing you they are good companies rather than focusing on customer service.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,099Member
    edited October 2013
    Exact opposite of my dealings with those folks in Richmond. They just fixed my D800, which was used, under warranty. Didn't pay a dime to have focus adjusted (left focus issue), and a quick sensor clean. I've been going there to drop off my gear on and off over the last five years, and although they can take longer than I feel they should to get the job done sometimes, I've never had a bad experience with the customer service people. There was one time I got the repair tech, who was obviously Japanese, and had a hard time communicating with him, but other than that no issues.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • donwrightphotodonwrightphoto Posts: 2Member
    I'm an NPS member, and here's my experience with Nikon Service:

    On 4/23/2012 My Favorite Nikon 24-70 f2.8 G Lens was bumped against a piece of drywall, and although performing flawlessly, and in no way affected by the light bump other than the plastic filter-ring. I had been putting off purchasing a new rubber grip, but was otherwise performing 100% up to my expectations and my favorite lens.

    image

    In September of 2011, I decided I finally had a short window of time to work on lens, and called and spoke with Terrell S. @ nikon support and asked to purchase (2) $20 parts to replace the filter ring on my 24-70 and and was informed that I could no longer order them, and had no option other than sending lens into be repaired in-house. (Thank goodness we can go order parts for our cars, otherwise we’d have to take them to the dealership every time we needed a new headlight bulb)

    On 10/31/12 I sent the lens in to have the ring and grip replaced, received estimate for $772 related to “impact Damage” - the lens had never been dropped or even made a funny noise or been stiff ever.

    On Jan 31st, 2013 after over 20 emails and 15 phone calls, I finally gave up and simply paid them at a discounted rate ($621.02) and didn’t recieve my lens back until the first week of March.

    I began using lens in march and quickly noticed that focusing seemed a little “off” but in the busy wedding season I simply blamed perhaps user error or maybe camera settings (fine-tuning on body)

    On June 2nd, 2013 I sent nikon service a message stating that the lens was indeed still having problems and that I was VERY unhappy considering that the lens was working better PRIOR to my sending it in at allwhich ended up costing me $621.

    image

    I was told ALL NIKON SERVICE REPAIRS have a 6-month warrantee and June 2 is less than 6 months from march. But that my issue this time was "UNRELATED" to the first repair. (yeah right, I've never dropped or damaged the lens ONCE, let alone TWICE)

    Sara B (upper level person) replied to me the next day requesting sample images

    I finally (after extensive testing and experimentation) submitted sample images (quite a while later due to some family and travel related issues) and it was confirmed that the lens was still in need of service.

    At least this time I got a loaner lens (which seems to be banged up worse than any of my lenses, but at least it focuses properly) - I sent my lens in again on 11/11/2013 and Now, i’ve been given the same exact run-around - they’re accusing me of Impact damage (a second time??) and sent me an estimate for $640 on 11/16/13

    This is heinous - I hate the idea of selling all my nikon gear and switching to canon. It breaks my heart as I’ve always been a die-hard nikon fan, but can’t keep getting mistreated. Now, like a battered spouse, I’m TERRIFIED of having to send in any of my other lenses, for fear they’ll accuse me of “IMPACT DAMAGE” again.
    What are we professionals to do? $2300 lens and just a filter ring and rubber grip are about to cost me $1250 and over 40 hours of time sending emails, phone calls etc - just trying to get treated as though we’ve spent $20k in equipment.

    Why couldn't they have just sold me the parts and let me fix it myself as I have on NUMEROUS other lenses (filter ring repair DOES NOT in any way affect any of the calibrations for focus.
    D800 (x2) | D700(x2) | D300s | D200 (retired) | D90 | D70 (retired) | FE2 | FE (decorative) | N65(closet) | 70-200 VR I | 24-70 2.8G (broken) | 50mm 1.4G | 35mm F2 | 17mm fixed (tokina) | 85mm 1.4G | SB-24 (x8) | Mamiya 645 AF | Graflex Speed Custom 4x5 | See My Work | DWD on Facebook
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Thats quite a story donwrightphoto, Just goes to show that depending where you live and which part of the world you are in, NPS of your country differ in service, which is wrong.
    I think changing to another manufacture would not resolve the problem, they all use the "dropped theory", attitude.

    I find it quite sad that we loyally keep to official Nikon sources rather than Grey imports, then, like in your case, you get treated like an idiot.
    I do think you need to get a good relationship with your local NPS, so you are not just a number on an NPS card, but a face who they can relate to. I am in the Uk and I find the service I have received could not have been better. However, I do take time to talk to them both at Trade shows and discuss Nikon matters and help them were ever possible if they are in my locality.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,203Moderator
    That is all hideous and would have me incandescent with anger I were in your shoes. I am not an NPS member and have only had reasonable experience with Nikon (UK) service, but I can see a trend occurring here (at least with Nikon US). With those delays too, I'm beginning to think you would be better off sending your gear in as a non-pro!
    Always learning.
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    As a Canadian, there is an option to consider. As an example, I will buy a 200mm F4 Macro next spring, before they replace it with stuff I don't need, like VR, amateur build quality and a $1,000 premium:

    MSRP in Canada:
    $1,699.95
    B&H US Price:
    $1,649.00
    B&H International Price:
    $1,449.00 - add about $100 for exchange and shipping. Might be higher but I will order other items.

    So the only thing missing is the warranty and I save $100.

    Then I know to assume that I will be paying for repairs. B&H offers a one year warranty, for whatever that is worth. For a lens, it probably makes sense.

    Some lenses have even larger differences, and some have less, so an item by item comparison is necessary.

    If you are American and close to a border, maybe secure a post office box in a foreign country, such as Canada, Quebec, Mexico, Idaho or California.
  • donwrightphotodonwrightphoto Posts: 2Member
    I've literally spent 40 hours of my life trying to get my lens fixed properly without having to pay HALF the price of the lens. ^^ They key summary to that dissertation is that I had a perfectly good lens, that was performing FLAWLESSLY, but I just needed a plastic external part replaced, which i've done many times in past (3 screws, easy on, easy off) but instead was forced into sending it in for "repair" which they told me they would not (could not) replace ONLY the filter ring, but also had to "recalibrate the lens due to impact damage" which is how this whole thing started - the lens they "calibrated" focused worse than it did before I sent it in.

    Moral of the story: Don't EVER send a nikon lens in for repair, or you'll be accused of impact damage and they'll hold it hostage. (AT LEAST MY EXPERIENCE THUS FAR)
    D800 (x2) | D700(x2) | D300s | D200 (retired) | D90 | D70 (retired) | FE2 | FE (decorative) | N65(closet) | 70-200 VR I | 24-70 2.8G (broken) | 50mm 1.4G | 35mm F2 | 17mm fixed (tokina) | 85mm 1.4G | SB-24 (x8) | Mamiya 645 AF | Graflex Speed Custom 4x5 | See My Work | DWD on Facebook
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