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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
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Old July 26th, 2012, 11:15 AM   #1
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Warranty

So much for getting any sleep.

Is everyone's warranty program a scam these days?

Yesterday I had an issue with Best Buy over an extended warranty. I won that one but it took a couple of hours and untold phone calls.

I sent one of my GH2's in for warranty service because the LCD had developed a white spot. Not a cracked LCD ( did that on a Canon once), just a blemish on the screen.

I got a call from them telling me they had received it. Weeks later (today) I called to see what the status was. First they said they had no such work order as the number I gave them. Some colorful language later, they found it, then said no proof of purchase, more colorful language and they found that.

Then they said they were waiting for my authorization to fix it for $325.00 because there was physical damage.There was no physical damage to that camera.. and more discussion that will necessitate me gong to church on Sunday.

I finally told them to box it up and send it back to me in the same condition they received it.

I really get sick of this. If they had come up with something legitimate (Like it was hacked..which I removed prior to sending) there wouldn't be much I could say about it, but to say there was physical damage is just a shady way of avoiding the warranty.

Repairs and warranties are important to me so despite the great performance of the GH2's, this will be my last Panny. The newest one I have is still under the 90 day return window so that's going back in the morning

I'll buy something else to replace it.

Boy that makes me mad!
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Old July 28th, 2012, 02:13 AM   #2
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Re: Warranty

Was it outside of the one year manufacturer's warranty ???

As far as remarketer's offering an extended warranty, IMO they aren't worth the paper they are written on. As I remember, they hold back a clause to refund your money and call it all good, if they so choose.

The problem with Panny repairs and now Nikon, they do not sell parts to independent shops as far as I know. I had a 14-140 with a scratch on the front element and no independent could get the parts to repair it. Last year I was reading that Nikon is going the same route, making parts unavailable to independent shops for their gear. Also, the flat rate repair charge for Panny cameras is close to replacement value, so repairs don't often make sense. That $325 charge they wanted to hit you with, was most likely the flat rate quote they got from Panasonic to fix the screen.

If the blemish is too obstructive, don't you have the option on a GH2 to take HDMI out and go to a small and possibly inexpensive external monitor ??? I think you do. That would be a little cumbersome without a rig I would think, but would allow the camera to be used for locked down insurance shots at least. You have access to all menus via the dial and buttons, you don't have to use touch screen to run the camera. This isn't the most optimum situation but more of a "when life hands you lemons" kind of work around.

If you can get all your money back on the other one, including the overpriced warranty, I'd do it in a flash !!! I don't know though if I'd ditch Panny completely just yet though. I'm not sure the other manufacturer's are going to be any better.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 07:37 AM   #3
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Re: Warranty

I went through it with a TV, worked out but it took months, the warranty company finally paid me for a new tv, worked out great.

Don the problem sounds like the repair shop, warranty company, not Panasonic. Am I misunderstanding? Why are you mad at Panasonic? I don't understand.

I have sent a GH2 in for warranty repair, they were excellent, but it took a few phone calls. I never use colorful language or yell at people over the phone, myself, they are the ones in control, so I treat them with lots of respect and get superior results that way. It is still very frustrating, I yell and cuss AFTER I hang up, but I digress.

Anyway, I agree extended warranties vary with the company that offers them, I think many of them make it very difficult to get work done or to get a replacement item.

Extended warranties are not all worthless but they are all a lot of trouble. Some extended warranties are worthless, just as Chip says, but I don't know how you can know which is which.

I have had five GH1s and GH2s with no issues of any kind, so I don't know if I'd throw the baby out with the bath water in your case, Don. The GH2 I sent in for repair to Panasonic was my own fault, I caused the damage and they fixed it anyway.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 12:23 PM   #4
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Re: Warranty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Thome View Post
Was it outside of the one year manufacturer's warranty ???

As far as remarketer's offering an extended warranty, IMO they aren't worth the paper they are written on. As I remember, they hold back a clause to refund your money and call it all good, if they so choose.

The problem with Panny repairs and now Nikon, they do not sell parts to independent shops as far as I know. I had a 14-140 with a scratch on the front element and no independent could get the parts to repair it. Last year I was reading that Nikon is going the same route, making parts unavailable to independent shops for their gear. Also, the flat rate repair charge for Panny cameras is close to replacement value, so repairs don't often make sense. That $325 charge they wanted to hit you with, was most likely the flat rate quote they got from Panasonic to fix the screen.

If the blemish is too obstructive, don't you have the option on a GH2 to take HDMI out and go to a small and possibly inexpensive external monitor ??? I think you do. That would be a little cumbersome without a rig I would think, but would allow the camera to be used for locked down insurance shots at least. You have access to all menus via the dial and buttons, you don't have to use touch screen to run the camera. This isn't the most optimum situation but more of a "when life hands you lemons" kind of work around.

If you can get all your money back on the other one, including the overpriced warranty, I'd do it in a flash !!! I don't know though if I'd ditch Panny completely just yet though. I'm not sure the other manufacturer's are going to be any better.

Let me separate it Chip. The Best Buy Fight was over a computer and I won that in a round about way.

The GH2 is the one that upsets me and that's with the Panny repair center and I've decided not to buy the AF 100 out of spite.

The GH2 is 5 months old and well within the warranty. There was/is no physical damage but even though they can't identify it, Panasonic says there is and won't honor the warranty. They did offer to fix it for $325.00 which I turned down in a loud series of four letter comments.

I can and do use a field monitor with the GH2's,,,,,that's not the point. Why should I have to because Panasonic is playing 3 card Monte with their warranty?

The real problem is that the GH2's really are the best DSLR for video right now. I've already sent the second one back for a full refund but since buying new is only to get a warranty, I may pick up a used body.
They go between 450.00 and 650.00 now.

The AF-100 is a heartbreaker though.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 05:11 PM   #5
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Re: Warranty

Your experiences with Panny repair don't surprise me at all. I have read of the horror stories from them before. The GH2s come from Panny Consumer which really is doing it's best to completely undermine the product they have to sell. The AF100 though, that's from Panny Commercial and a completely different entity than Panny Consumer.

I can see your anger with Panny Consumer and getting screwed over the screen and rightfully so. I'd be just as lit up as you are. I would be disappointed if you didn't get another GH body because of this but would completely understand. The AF100 though, it would be a shame to punish Panny Professional for the airbrains running Consumer. I would suggest continue investigating the AF 100 and it's 3 year warranty (I think) and find out ahead of time who handles warranty repair of that. If it would be the same bunch of cheats you already encountered, then by all means, go get a cam somewhere else.

Lastly, my suggestion on the monitor, was to possibly give the camera some salvation for your investment.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 06:11 PM   #6
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Re: Warranty

I have used Panasonic pro line product warranty service a couple of times. In one instance they replaced a part that I was not aware of as being defective which was a good thing. In all instances the camera worked great when returned from their facility. But they have a big problem with the lack of camera tracking thru their system as well as poor communication with the customer. I had one camera out for 30 days before I could get someone to respond to me that they had actually received it and the repair delay was about a back ordered part from Japan. The only way I got a response from them was to open a complaint with UPS that the camera had possibly been undelivered or stolen. In another instance Jan C. a Panasonic rep. on this forum was helpful in getting them to respond.

Also, if you ever have to use the warranty service do not and I repeat DO NOT send it to their contract repair facility in KS. Instead, make sure you send it to the repair facility in Secaucus NJ which is staffed with Panasonic techs.

After all this I am really wondering if Panasonic's 5 year warranty on HPX products is really worth it. I think I may try Sony on my next purchase.
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Last edited by Mark Williams; July 28th, 2012 at 09:58 PM.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 07:02 PM   #7
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Re: Warranty

I sent my GH2 to Texas and they overnighted my camera back to me when it was done. I established a relationship with the manager and the actual tech who worked on the camera, and I won't go into the trouble they went to to get the camera fixed promptly, but it involved hiring a courier service to have a part run across town same day to their service center so I could have my camera back in time for a wedding.

Never had to raise my voice once. You shouldn't have to kiss behinds to get work done, but the reality is you are dealing with human beings who are being overworked, where the system is flawed to begin with, and who are constantly yelled at. My first thought when I contact employees such as these is to find how their day is going. You gotta find some common ground, and empathize with their sucky situation. I present my problem, ask the right questions, and then presto, I am suddenly talking to someone who is interested in helping me and going the extra mile. It works almost every time, and I do mean 99% of the time.

If I were a tech being yelled at the first thing I would be tempted to would be to move a repair way down on my list of priorities or I would find excuses to mess with the offending customer. It's just human nature.

The above being said, the GH2 is not the be-all end all. There are other great cameras.

Good luck Don, tough luck you had there with the service guys.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 07:57 PM   #8
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Re: Warranty

Yep...I established a relationship with him too Jeff <G>.

Anyway...water over the dam. I've heard the same thing about the broadcast (pro) division so I may rethink my AF-100 but I expect I'll just buy used whatever I get.

I started looking at other cameras to replace the 1 GH2 I sent back, then got sidetracked (I get sidetracked easily).
I started thinking about the Black Magic Hyper Drive Shuttle 2 and wondering how it would work with my XA10 and G10.

I still haven't figured out if they put out uncompressed HDMI.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 08:14 PM   #9
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Re: Warranty

The panny pro line repair folks that I dealt with about 6 years ago were stellar, they might have changed since then.
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Old July 28th, 2012, 10:04 PM   #10
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Re: Warranty

At the Panasonic KS repair facility you are not allowed to call them and the number is not published. I did a property search and found a building emergency contact phone number. A receptionist answered, I explained that I wanted to talk to a repair tech or supervisor I was told " no I am sorry, I am not authorized by Panasonic to connect you". Even though that was over a year ago, it is still fresh in my mind and Panasonic has a long way to go to get back in my good grace. Additionally, I got contacted via email by Panasonic in February of this year about a customer service survey. I completed it, sent it in and was informed that someone would contact me to discuss my comments about their repair facility. Never heard anything back.
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Old July 29th, 2012, 03:18 PM   #11
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Re: Warranty

I've always heard Panasonic warranties were some of the worst in the business. Luckily I haven't had to test it on the gh2 yet.
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