Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Canon Customer Service

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As I don’t want people to say that I keep badmouthing Apple for selling products of questionable quality that make use of their customer service mandatory, here comes a report regarding a different company – Canon.

Two weeks ago I realised that my Canon Ixus 55 camera’s flash wasn’t working properly. First I thought some of the settings must have gone wrong, but after pressing a few buttons I was sure the flash was supposed to fire and the camera even indicated that on the display. Yet, it didn’t fire. And in the course of testing this – though not the first time – the flash made a loud ‘clack’ sound and I think there was a faint smell of something burnt.

I.e. the flash was broken and I started mentally preparing for another round of customer service hell. To prepare for that I first wanted to get the camera’s package with all the instruction manuals and warranty information. Of course I had just stored them away somewhere in the basement (inside the empty box of my DVD burner it turned out – just to make looking for the camera’s box more fun!) so I first had to actually find it. Then I called the number given in some text or on Canon’s mostly useless website.

The waiting cycle was las than a minute, so that was OK – although I swear I’ll some day kill the people who think it’s a good idea to put some marketing text into that loop and who think I want to be told that my call is utterly important to them. If it were, they’d have some real person speaking to me right away…

But that’s more a general remark, somebody was on the line pretty quickly, I explained the problem, then, as expected I was told that I might have forgotten to turn the flash on to begin with but the guy quickly believed that I had actually done that. Finally I was asked for my e-mail address (and received a confirmation e-mail with a number for the case within a few minuted) as well as my postal code. Using that he told me the address and phone number of a reasonably nearby store where I should send the camera with an explanation of the problem and the warranty card.

And that was that. All in all it took about five minutes. Actually it was over much more quickly than I had feared and afterwards I was puzzled whether we could really have sorted out all the important points that quickly.

Of course another quirk had to come into this because I couldn’t find a warranty card in the camera’s package. And as I made a point of putting everything I didn’t need (like four different manuals and other crap) back into the box rather than throwing it away ‘just in case’, I am pretty sure I never got a warranty card to begin with. So I quickly phoned the place I was supposed to send the camera to and they confirmed that they could fix my camera, told me that sending along the receipt from buying the camera will do as well and also told me to please not send the whole box but just the broken camera.

And that was that. I sent away the camera and today – a bit more than a week later – I got it back with a working flash. Not too fussy.

From my repeated experiences with Apple’s customer service I found it interesting to compare the two. While Apple’s service leaves a much more ‘professional’ impression, it is much more time-consuming to use. Both the wait in their loop tends to be longer and there are plenty of strings attached to sending things in or getting replacements. I always had to ‘register’ my machine with them first and run through a number of scripted ‘fending-off’ cycles to protect them from customer idiocy / inexperience.

When having suffered through that, Apple usually sends the replacement and a box to return the original part in or they send a box to collect the machine and send it back later when they consider it to be repaired. With Canon I had to send the camera away and pay for the shipping. I’d say that Apple win on the service and convenience here while Canon may be a bit quicker because of that.

Oh, and as usual Apple win on style. Even their packaging for the warranty things is somewhat designed while I just sent the camera to the repair place in a padded envelope and got it back in a re-used parcel with plenty of padding inside. Yeah, Apple’s way of doing this looks and feels nicer. And while I kind of like that, I still think it doesn’t really matter as long as the goods go back and forth without being damaged.

Little pink pig seen through the repaired camera.

September 19, 2006, 0:01

Tagged as hardware.


Comment by Florence Hardesty: User icon

On December 11th I purchased a Printer/Scanner/Copier, a Canon MP460 at a local store. when I put in the ink cartridges I kept getting the message that they weren’t recognized. I called the store and they refered me to a national phone number where a young man helped me. He decided that something was wrong with my unit and sent am another. I had the same problem. Another call and they sent more ink. I tried both machines to no avail.More ink arrived yesterday and I got the same message. I called again and spoke to a young man named Wayne, He went and got an MP460 as he talked to me. Slowly and carefully he took me through the process, as he did it and instructed me. Bless his patient heart, it worked. My new printer, scanner, copier is wonderful. It does a beautiful job—and ever after I will know how to insert those cursed cartiridges. He changed me from a frustrated old woman into a happy cannon customer.

January 4, 2007, 4:08

Comment by hannah: User icon

MY LENSES WONT GO DOWN, one is messes up, its not working i need help

June 12, 2007, 0:11

Comment by David and Cynthia Gaspari: User icon

We purchased a canon power shot A310 with the canon printer in a bundle package. The printer has allready bit the dust, and the canon power shot A310 digital camera is nothing but a battery eater. I think that I have spent at least double on batteries for what the camera cost. I should have inquired about this subject matter last year when i purchased this bundle. Is there a way to make me happy. Send me a call tag and I will send back the camera powershot a310. Send me something that will last. You have replaced the printer. david Gaspari 14 ken lane granby Mass. 01033

June 24, 2007, 17:57

Comment by Twirl Gannon: User icon

Canon, #$@% them! Had a brand new Canon camera get dropped on Christmas day. Broke the lens cover mechanism on the end of the lens. It was a Canon ELPH Powershot 1000. I paid around $180 for it, see it now at Best Buy for $149. Canon’s repair cost? $100. Like that’s gonna happen, No more Canon products for me!

December 28, 2007, 23:01

Comment by Archer Gravely: User icon

Well, I’m happy for you. Sorry to say, I certainly don’t hold the same feelings for Canon’s repair department. I purchased a SD1000 for a Christmas present, and it was dropped on a carpeted floor on Christmas day. This caused the end cap with the lens cover mechanism to pop off the end of the lens. Otherwise, the camera is fine. I sent the camera to Canon the next day for repair and was quoted $100. The cameras are available at Best Buy for $145. I declined the repair and had them return the camera. Surprise, surprise, when the camera came back, all the parts which I had put in a separate bag were no longer there. Was is just an innocent mistake, or was it intentional, figuring “he’ll have a tough time fixing it himself, or somewhere else without the parts now, he he!” I don’t know, but I do know that after two phone calls to their repair center, and one fax, I still have gotten no resolution to the problem. And to top it off, I bought a replacement for that camera, another sd1000. I’m pretty well done with Canon I think. Hopefully I can eBay some of the printers and cameras I own with their name on them. I know it won’t hurt them, but I’m funny about things like this. When a company that I support turns it’s back on me when things go wrong, that’s pretty much where we part ways. For good.

January 12, 2008, 19:24

Comment by KALPESH GANDHI: User icon

I have purchase canon MP scanner cum printer on Sept 2, 2007 from office Depot at Homestead florida. The same machine is under warranty and since atleast for last two weeks I have a problem in my machime that it wont take paper and if it tkae paper it stuck in the printer and I could not able to print any document or canot make a copy by using scanner. I tried veries type of papers for the printing but the problem is still there. I wouild like to talk with youb represantative for this matter. my no is 305-246-9079.

kalpesh gandhi

February 14, 2008, 16:54

Comment by charlie muldoon: User icon

iam disatifed with my cannon camera sd 850 is power shot you people lie i guess you don’t to fix it

September 5, 2008, 22:39

Comment by JERRY: User icon


January 5, 2009, 20:30

Comment by Lori Kerr: User icon

To Whom It May Concern, My mother gave me her Canon Power Shot S230 Digital Elph because she bought herself a new model with more Megapixels. The problem is that it worked fine the last time she used it and for no reason it won’t take a clear picture. When you try to get a clear picture it is blurred or out of focus. I went through the trouble shooting list and checked the AF assist Beam to on. It checked the battery and the CF card to make sure that they are working correctly. I hate to throw it away especially since it was working just fine. I don’t want to put alot of money into repair since it is basically out dated and I could buy a new one with more megapixels for very little. I tried to find the 800 number to call and find out where to send it for repair and try and find out if it worth fixing. If you could please send me the information I need to see how much it would cost to repair I would appreciate it greatly. Respectfully Yours, Lori Kerr

March 2, 2009, 19:28

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