Nikon Service How-to Guide

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Well after over 20 years of using Nikon products, for the first time I have a warranty issue. Ironically it's on the most expensive piece of gear I've ever bought, a new 500mm VR lens. Some of you may have seen another thread I posted relating the problem. Basically with an extender on it won't come into focus even with AFA set to the max.

So after exhaustive testing of my own (and I troubleshoot problems for a living), I finally convinced myself it was indeed a problem, picked up the phone, and called Nikon support. Based on my experience so far (lens still not sent off for repair), I figured I would share my experience with the hope of others benefiting by not going through as much frustration.

I won't go into the issues of what it takes to finally get a human on the other end of the phone. No different than most places. I'm just going to offer a few do's and don'ts for once you do in fact have someone to talk to.

Don't:
  • Go into a lengthy explanation of what is wrong with your equipment. Keep it simple like "my lens won't focus". They will politely listen, ignore everything you said, and then start asking you the standard list of questions in their Nikon service procedures manual. Things like "have you checked to ensure that the lens is in AF mode?""Have you checked to ensure that the camera is in AF mode?""Are you using the lens with a camera body that is listed as compatible by Nikon?""Are you sure you didn't bump the manual focus ring on the lens during AF operation?" etc.
  • Use technical terms or assume the person on the other end of the phone has ever even seen a Nikon camera or knows anything at all about the product line
  • Assume that they actually use the information you may have entered into the account that you set up on the Nikon site. Even though it may be obvious that they are looking at your account during the discussion, they are going to ignore what's in there.
  • Assume that because you shoot high end gear you will be treated as if you are reasonably knowledgeable. Remember the old saying, it takes one to know one, and the person on the other end of the line is clueless
  • Assume that they actually want to help you. It may change once you get to actually talk to someone who has at least walked by a Nikon camera before, but it's obvious that the first responders have been trained to try to simply make you go away or to figure out a way to blame you for the problem. Like for example, I was unaware that using an unapproved memory card could cause focus problems and that Sony is not on the list of approved card suppliers. In spite of the fact that a Sony XQD card was supplied from Nikon with my D4. The same D4 which I'd already stated was used to test the lens and which is registered in my account on the screen in front of the service person talking to me.
  • Get your hopes up when the clueless individual that you are talking to puts you on hold for a minute to go talk to someone who theoretically knows more than her about Nikon equipment. When she comes back it's back to the script in her Nikon service procedures manual.

Do:
  • Save yourself a lot of time and frustration by just boxing up the errant piece of gear, put a note in the box explaining what's wrong, and send it to the appropriate Nikon service center depending on where you live
 
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Why bother at all unless it's a warrantee issue? Been down that road with both El Sugundo, and Melville and I'm all done with both. APS gets all my Nikon repair business now, and has for the last couple years.
 
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Why bother at all unless it's a warrantee issue? Been down that road with both El Sugundo, and Melville and I'm all done with both. APS gets all my Nikon repair business now, and has for the last couple years.
Fortunately the lens is under warranty. Unfortunately, I spoke with APS already and they said that while they are authorized to do some warrant work, this particular problem has to go directly to Nikon. :frown:
 
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WOW! Maybe this is one reason people have so many problems with Nikon repair. I recently sent my 200/2 in for a squeak that was covered under warranty. I used the web interface and gave a very brief description of the problem and what accessories were included in the box. They fully tested it and replaced AF-Motor and VR unit. Did a thorough cleaning and the lens came back better than new. My suggestion is to keep it as simple an accurate as possible. Tell them what the problem is and let them handle it.

I will add Melville ROCKS!!!!!
 
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WOW! Maybe this is one reason people have so many problems with Nikon repair. I recently sent my 200/2 in for a squeak that was covered under warranty. I used the web interface and gave a very brief description of the problem and what accessories were included in the box. They fully tested it and replaced AF-Motor and VR unit. Did a thorough cleaning and the lens came back better than new. My suggestion is to keep it as simple an accurate as possible. Tell them what the problem is and let them handle it.

I will add Melville ROCKS!!!!!
Yes I could have really simplified the Don't portion of the list.

Don't:
  • bother calling to speak to a Nikon rep.

Do:
  • Just box it up with a note describing the problem and send it in.

Which is exactly what I plan to do come the end of summer here (i.e. mid-August). With the AFA tuning it's working fine sans extender so I can get by till then. Just can't shoot the far away little birdies full frame FX :frown:
 

Thorsten

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Same here. When I needed warranty service, I just entered the issue on their form and shipped it. I never called Nikon, I figured nothing good could come from that.
 
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Nikon has made an end run around the local service places that we have all used for years, they quit selling them parts! Going to be a lot of fun the next time you drop your camera bag in the river and its a week or so before anyone at the "drum roll " Nikon "Service" center gets around to opening the bag. This is the best reason to shoot Canon that Nikon has come up with in the 40 years that I have been using their stuff. I would fire the idiot that put this into play. They say that they have set up an online parts store, big joke. Go look.
 

Rob Zijlstra

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What a stories!
Last time I needed them, I filled in a 'complaint list' I downloaded from the net, then rode to the service point, (that 15 minutes from where I live:smile:). First thing asked was if I wanted a cup of coffee, then I waited with some fellow photogs. When it was my turn, I also explained verbally to the lady what was wrong, and when she wasn't convinced she got it right, I had to wait another ten minutes (coffee!) and then the technician came to me and discussed what was needed etc etc.
And I might add the coffee came from http://www.delonghi.com/nl_nl/products/ecam-26455m/.

So, no I do not have complaints about Nikon Services here. I love them!
 

Thorsten

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Nikon has made an end run around the local service places that we have all used for years, they quit selling them parts! Going to be a lot of fun the next time you drop your camera bag in the river and its a week or so before anyone at the "drum roll " Nikon "Service" center gets around to opening the bag. This is the best reason to shoot Canon that Nikon has come up with in the 40 years that I have been using their stuff. I would fire the idiot that put this into play. They say that they have set up an online parts store, big joke. Go look.
+1
Imagine Ford stopped selling parts to 3rd party shops and stores. Who would still buy a car from them.
 
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The strange thing is I've had terrible luck with Melville and camera bodies. They've earned their BBB poor rating for a reason! However their lens repairs have been outstanding. I sent my 70-200 VRII in for an exposure issue and they totally rebuilt the entire lens. So now my bodies go to APS, and lenses go to Melville.
 
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What a stories!
Last time I needed them, I filled in a 'complaint list' I downloaded from the net, then rode to the service point, (that 15 minutes from where I live:smile:). First thing asked was if I wanted a cup of coffee, then I waited with some fellow photogs. When it was my turn, I also explained verbally to the lady what was wrong, and when she wasn't convinced she got it right, I had to wait another ten minutes (coffee!) and then the technician came to me and discussed what was needed etc etc.
And I might add the coffee came from http://www.delonghi.com/nl_nl/products/ecam-26455m/.

So, no I do not have complaints about Nikon Services here. I love them!
It seems Nikon in other parts of the world is much better... The problem in the USA isn't
Nikon, it's Nikon USA... :frown:

I wish Nikon Japan would step in and clean house regarding Nikon USA... Whom ever is
making policy there needs to be thrown out on their ear...!
 
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Dan - I'd also suggest that you send them a disk with some sample images. If they have any trouble diagnosing the problem, and they shouldn't based on your description, they can always load the disk and look at the metadata and see actual sample images. I personally think that giveing Nikon a disk to illustrate the problem is helpful to them but others may disagree.

As far as Nikon's phone representatives, it is hardly worth calling since they will politely explain to you that they are not repair technicians and cannot talk directly with the repair technicians. Jeez - how weird is that? If the service representative at my car dealer couldn't talk with the mechanic in order to fully explain a repair they recommend I would have my car fixed someplace else. Of course my car manufacturer doesn't withhold parts from private repair shops like Nikon does. I don't even want to get started on that topic.
 
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Dan - I've had mixed success sending images to Nikon for evaluation. In some cases I've had to push back to get a response. The reason I suggest that you enclose a disk is because the various Nikon folks don't seem to communicate with one another and their phone reps have told me that they have no contact with the service techs who actually work on the cameras. At least if you enclose a disk it will probably go with your package to the folks who will actually work on your lens. I also want to add that I feel for you getting a lens like that and it won't focus properly. I've had pretty good luck with Nikon repair so I hope you get it fixed as soon as possible.
 
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Good idea, John. I will burn a disk and put it in the box along with an explanation of what I see wrong. I have no doubt that the Nikon service folks are capable of fixing the problem. It's just getting through the "front office" types to get it done that is frustrating.

It is a bizarre irony that of all the Nikon gear I've owned over the years, the single highest cost item that I have, and will ever likely buy, is the one with a problem :mad:
 
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It is a bizarre irony that of all the Nikon gear I've owned over the years, the single highest cost item that I have, and will ever likely buy, is the one with a problem :mad:
May be frustrating but it's a fact of life that the more expensive/complicated the
more likely it will fail...

More that can go wrong with a space-shuttle than with a bottle-rocket...

Keeping my fingers crossed for you...! :wink:
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
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It seems Nikon in other parts of the world is much better... The problem in the USA isn't
Nikon, it's Nikon USA... :frown:

I wish Nikon Japan would step in and clean house regarding Nikon USA... Whom ever is
making policy there needs to be thrown out on their ear...!
+1
 

Rob Zijlstra

A Koffie Drinker
Joined
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Messages
999
Location
Netherlands
I wish Nikon Japan would step in and clean house regarding Nikon USA... Whom ever is
making policy there needs to be thrown out on their ear...!
Did you consider contacting Nikon HQ Japan with your complaints? And not by e-mail but in the old fashioned way by a letter with a stamp? If enough complaints are coming to their doorstep, maybe they will do something.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Did you consider contacting Nikon HQ Japan with your complaints? And not by e-mail but in the old fashioned way by a letter with a stamp? If enough complaints are coming to their doorstep, maybe they will do something.
I've suggested that many times in past threads of people having problems that they contact
Nikon Japan directly and voice their disappointment with Nikon USA... Don't know if anyone
is taking the time to do it...

But you're right, the squeaky wheel gets the grease but Nikon USA is deaf... People need to
complain to the ear that's most likely to listen... :wink:
 

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