A Live Picture Of Bad Customer Service

| Montreal, QC, Canada | Working | May 30, 2017

(It’s early 2002, and I’ve had a digital camera for about two years (1Mpix) that I paid over $300 for. At one point, as soon as I put it in “picture” mode, it beeps for two seconds and shuts down. I can use it to look at pictures already taken, but can’t take any pictures. Being a techno-guy, I do the first basic tests: clean the memory card, put in fresh batteries, and so forth, to no avail. I go on the Internet and find an e-mail support address. I write in the details of the problem, including all the tests I’ve made, and emphasising that I’ve had that camera for two years and have taken close to 2000 pictures with it, so I kinda know my way around how to operate it, empty the memory card, and replace the batteries. About half an hour later, I receive an email:)

Tech Support: “Have you tried to put in fresh batteries? Is the memory card full?” *and so on*

Me: “Please, take the time to fully read the first e-mail before answering.”

Tech Support: *half an hour later* “Oh, this seems to be a more serious problem. Please call tech support at [number].”

(So I do. I explain the problem to the tech.)

Tech: “That’s impossible.”

(I put the camera next to the phone, press the button. The camera beeps for two seconds and you could hear the mechanism of the lens protector closing.)

Me: “You heard that?”

Tech: “Er… yes I heard that. Seems to be a very serious problem. You will probably have to replace it, but since it’s out of warranty, we have a fix repair price of $250, and you’ll get a refurbished one.”

Me: “Say what? It will cost me $250 to have a refurbished one? You do realize that this camera is two years old, and as of today, I can have a 2Mp camera with better zoom and features for $200?”

Tech: “I’m sorry, sir, but that’s policy.”

Me: “Okay then. I’ll throw this one into the garbage can and will get myself a new one, and I’ll make sure it’s not [Brand].”

Tech: “Whatever you wish, sir. Have a nice day.”

(After buying a new camera, having nothing to lose, I try some “percussive maintenance” on it, slamming it on a table, gently at first, with no results, then up to as hard as I can, until it works! My girlfriend has a good laugh about it. I throw it in the bottom of a drawer and forget about it, until a year later when a relative is visiting us and wishes she could get herself one of those new digital cameras. I fetch it from the drawer, put in fresh batteries, and turn it on. It fails. I slam it on the counter, and it works again. I hand it to my relative.)

Me: “Here, take that one. You see how it works? If it beeps, slam it.”

(She looked at me with wide eyes, but with her sister (my girlfriend) acknowledging that it was true, took the camera, which worked like that for a year or so. The last time she slammed it, the colours went greenish and she bought a new one. Not that brand, however.)

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