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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:34 PM   #1
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Panasonic Service issue - Help me get my GH2 back

I apologize if this is not the appropriate place for this plea for help. I’m having an issue with Panasonic’s Product Exchange Center in Texas. I’m hoping someone can provide some incite on how to talk to the right people in the Panasonic support system to move this process along. Let me explain the situation. It’s a long story, so thanks in advance.

In late September I purchased a used and malfunctioning GH2 after speaking with a service representative about the service process as a second owner. He explained that it wasn’t an issue as long as I understood that the camera would not be serviced under warranty and he pointed me to the support website where I began the service process.

On the site, I was given a case number and per instruction I packed up my busted GH2 and shipped it out to Texas with package tracking as they suggested.

By tracking the package with USPS, I saw that the package arrived at the Exchange Center a few days later. I periodically checked the status on the support website using the assigned Case Number. For nearly two weeks the status was “waiting for delivery”. Not an issue. I get it. There’s a lot of product passing through that place. Finally on October 13th I received an email that my camera had been checked in and would soon see a repair tech.

A few days after that email I received a phone message from support wanting to verify my mailing address. I called back and was surprised to get through to them so quickly. “Great!” I thought. “This is going to be pretty painless.” They verified my address by first asking me for my name. I then gave them my mailing address and they gave me what they called a Work Order Number that was different than my Case Number (they never asked for my Case Number). I was told when calling in to them from this point on to use the Work Order Number as reference. Okay, fine. That was that! I received a couple more progress reports via phone about my camera and that I really appreciated. But then came the point where things took a turn.

On October 20th I received an email stating that the estimate was complete and they were waiting for payment. I found this strange since I gave a credit card number when I set up the repair on their website. I called them immediately thinking there was a problem with the credit card. After explaining that I gave them a card number on their website I was told they had no record of it. I found this strange so I chose to investigate this problem before I gave them the card number again. You can’t be too careful.

When I pulled up all the emails I had received up until this point I noticed something strange. My first email, the Online Repair Request Confirmation, had one Case Number while the rest of my email communications from them had a completely different Case Number. The Work Order Number was nowhere to be found. The camera’s serial number was the same under both Case Numbers, but the camera was being repaired under a different number than the one I shipped it under. I quickly checked the online status of my original Case Number. It still stated “waiting for delivery”. I then checked the Case Number it was being repaired under. That number didn’t come up at all! What?

I called back the next day and tried to explain the situation. I was told not to worry about the Case Number issue. The Work Order Number was all I needed. “Okay,” I thought. “They know what they’re doing.” I gave my credit card number to them over the phone and again verified my address, this time I assumed it was for billing. I hung up and waited for my camera. I received an email that day, October 21st, that they had received payment and the repair was underway!

Six days later I received an email letting me know that my camera had been shipped back to me. Sweet! A UPS tracking number came along with it. Excellent! That was Thursday, October 27th. “I’ll have my working GH2 in my hand early next week!” I thought. I was mistaken…

Monday came and went. Sure, I hoped that it would be there waiting for me when I got home for work, but it wasn’t. That’s fine.

Tuesday evening rolled around and still no camera. I finally got curious enough to check the tracking number. To my surprise the status of my package was DELIVERED Tuesday, November 1th at 5:11pm! I started freaking out a little! I didn’t get home until nearly 6:30pm! Did someone steal my camera? That’s when I looked to the right on my laptop screen and saw the shipping information. Seminole, Florida…

What? I’m in Lincoln, NE! I verified my address with them twice! How did this happen?! I called the service center the next morning.

To make an already long story a little shorter, over the past month and several phone calls to the service center (all me calling them with only one accepting) I found out that the camera had been checked in using a Case Number that came up when they entered the camera’s serial number. Somehow my info was entered for billing but another set of info was used for return shipping. UPS was given three opportunities to recover the package from the Florida address but they were not successful.

I received a phone call just before Thanksgiving that UPS had failed to recover the camera and that a refurbished GH2 would be sent to me in its place after UPS processed the insurance claim on the camera. I was told that should take about 10 days. But when I called them yesterday, November 30th, to ask about the status of the new delivery I was told that UPS was still investigating the claim and that a camera would not be sent to me until the claim was settled. I finally asked to speak with a manager and was told that person was not available. I asked to have the manager call me as soon as he or she was available. I still have yet to receive that call.

It’s been a month since my camera was delivered to the wrong address. I’m frustrated. I feel as though I’m being punished for a problem that Panasonic caused. I verified my address with them twice. I brought up the Case Number issue and was told not to worry about it. Panasonic had ample opportunity to catch the problem early. They didn’t and I’m paying the price.

If anyone has advice or special contact information or words of wisdom or anything that might help me deal with this situation, please share. I don’t want to be “that guy” who yells angrily through the phone at the poor guy who happened to answers it. I’ve been a support rep. I know how much that job can suck. But I do want my camera back.
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Old December 2nd, 2011, 11:15 PM   #2
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Re: Panasonic Service issue - Help me get my GH2 back

Good luck. It took me 4 months to get my GH2 back from the repair center. I can sympathize but offer no advice. Keep calling. Be a thorn. Don't give up.
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Old December 3rd, 2011, 12:02 PM   #3
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Re: Panasonic Service issue - Help me get my GH2 back

Thanks, Evan. The frustrating thing is that if they would have taken my concerns about the Case Number problem seriously, I would have had the camera a month ago.

I talked to them yesterday and was promised a camera by Wednesday. I'm not holding my breath.
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Old December 3rd, 2011, 01:32 PM   #4
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Re: Panasonic Service issue - Help me get my GH2 back

My suggestion is do not yell, but that is me. I get the best results when being nice. I also find that whining is a bad approach.

I got mine back in about three weeks, and they shipped it overnight free of charge. In addition, they used a courier to same day the part to the service center for my repair.

They do NOT do this routinely, but this is an example of what you can do when you build a relationship with the key person involved.

Don't ask me who it was, I don't remember. My case was different than yours, I was under warranty. You need to find who is handling your case at the point things are at, and work with this person to help you get things resolved.

It sound to me that with the USPS thing you are stuck and must wait, that is what things sound like to me, but I would still try and find someone to work with.

Best of luck.
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Old December 4th, 2011, 10:11 AM   #5
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Re: Panasonic Service issue - Help me get my GH2 back

I feel the same way, Jeff. Sugar, not vinegar... But sugar hasn't been working so well this time. I don't want to get angry. I've been that guy giving customer service over the phone. It's a horrible job because 3 out of 5 callers are gonna yell at you.

I know I'll get a camera at some point. I just think it's bad form for Panasonic to make we wait over a month because of a mistake that is clearly theirs.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 10:39 PM   #6
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Re: Panasonic Service issue - Help me get my GH2 back

I don't blame you for being mad, you are justified to feel that way. I just hope you get it back soon.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 03:04 PM   #7
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Re: Panasonic Service issue - Help me get my GH2 back

UPDATE: Well, it's Wednesday and I will not be receiving my GH2. But all is not lost. My case was finally turned over to someone who can make something happen after the Repair Center realized they didn't have a GH2 to give me! I believe my new contact is the service manager and he, too, has been very nice and helpful. At first he offered me an "upgrade" to a higher-end still camera, but after explaining that it's the 24p video features of the GH2 that really interest me (and the only real upgrade would be an AF100), he made some calls and found a GH2 in a nearby warehouse.

I've now been told that I should have a camera on Friday, Monday at the latest. I'm actually feeling rather optimistic about Friday. I'll have a better sense of it tomorrow when I hope to get a tracking number from UPS. More then...
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Old December 15th, 2011, 10:34 AM   #8
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Re: Panasonic Service issue - Help me get my GH2 back

FINALLY! MY GH2 ARRIVED! Let me wrap this all up for you as precisely as possible...

As you'll recall the phone call on Wednesday, December 7th, promised me a camera on the following Monday the 12th at the latest. Needless to say Monday came and went without a camera. I called several times on the Thursday and Friday, leaving messages for the service manager, hoping for the tracking number that was also promised but never got a callback. I left messages on Monday as well.

It wasn't until Tuesday that I finally received a call from Panasonic. This time it was a young man I'd never spoken with before. He had no idea what was going on. He simple told me that they were unable to make the repair on my camera and that they were going to ship me a refurbished GH2. He went on to say that it would be 5 to 7 days for shipping. "Wait right there," I said. I explained that Joe promised next-day shipping and that I'd like that promise kept. The young man quickly agreed to the shipping and agreed to call me with a tracking number.

Well, I never got the tracking number, but I did receive a GH2 in full working condition at my office yesterday. Not exactly next-day but close enough.

It's been six weeks since my camera was delivered to some dude in Florida. Six weeks for Panasonic to make good on a mistake that was clearly their own. Six weeks of me making contact with them, of me pushing for the least bit of information about what was being done and where the process was going. I'd like to think that this experience will change something at Panasonic's service center in McAllen, TX, but I know it won't. I did finally get a camera and I'll just have to be satisfied with that.
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