Dear China: Give Us Back Our Damn Camera - 10/31/07
My other website, Panda Smash, I'm afraid to say, has been a little stale lately. Since the wonderful Sarah and Jeff's Horror Wedding madness two months ago, I'm sad to say I haven't posted a single new video to the site. It's all been re-runs of sketches (although some good ones) we did in college. This is not our fault, however. It's the fault of the repair company that is in current possession of our camera. Finally, I got around to writing them. Read on...

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Dear Precision Camera,

I would like to lodge a complaint, in the hopes that our camera's return can be expedited. If our camera's return cannot be expedited, I would simply like to lodge a complaint.

In late July, I sent my camera to you guys for repair. The picture was scratchy and yellow, and the person on the phone though it might be a broken lens or a CCD issue or something. They said they'd have to look at the camera before they could give me an estimated turn-around time, so I waited a month or so after mailing it before checking in.

It was now the end of August, and when I called they said it would take 1-3 more weeks and I would have the camera back. Apparently, it had been shipped to China for repairs. I thought that a month and a half seemed like kind of a long time to repair a camera, even with shipping it to China, but I was excited that the wait would soon be over.

On September 20th, I had still not received the camera. So I called again, imagining that perhaps the shipping was taking longer than expected. But no.

Their answer? 3-5 more weeks.

"Wait, so in August, you said 1-3 weeks, and now it's September, and it's 3-5 weeks?"

"Yes, sir."

"Um, did you invent a time machine?"

"No, sir. It's just taking longer than expected."

"So the 1-3 weeks thing was a lie?"

"I wouldn't call it a lie, sir. Just, perhaps... misinformation?"

It's not the misinformation I'm concerned about. It's not the customer service I'm concerned about either; the people I've spoken to so far have all been very polite. I'm sure they are just going on what information they have... information that can sometimes get mangled and distorted. These things happen. No, these are not my issues. My issue is simply that I sent in the camera in late July, and now it's October, and we're looking at (hopefully?) 3 more weeks. So that bring the total to, let's see... 13 weeks.

HOW CAN IT POSSIBLY TAKE 13 WEEKS TO FIX A CAMERA? It takes less than one week to put a new engine in a car.

I assume your technicians have done this before, at least once or twice. You can have brain surgery and be in and out of the hospital in a couple of weeks. And cameras don't have to heal.

When I called the last time, the kindly woman on the phone said they were waiting on parts. Um, OK... where are these parts coming from? Mars? Because if it's anywhere on Earth, we have these things called planes that can fly parts to wherever you want in a day or two. Let's even say that our service plan is too cheap for planes - you could drive a part across Asia and then put it on a slow-floating barge in less than two weeks. Hell, you could put it on the back of a donkey and make him swim across the ocean faster than this.

Do you have to specially make each part? From scratch? Even then, how long can this possibly take? Assuming you're mining the raw ore from the ground, can it really take longer than a couple weeks to make a part from nothing and put it into our camera and send it back?

I don't even know why parts are an issue. Aren't there other cameras like this? Has nobody ever broken one before that you don't have some extra parts, lying around in storage somewhere? It's not like we're shooting on a laser-guided rocket-camera designed by NASA. According to the internet - which tends to know about things like this - the DVX-100 is one of the most popular pro-sumer cameras on the market: I have to imagine there are at least a few others of them in circulation. Now that I think of it, I've seen two others with my own eyes.

Honestly, I'm surprised the camera even has to leave the city - we do live in Los Angeles, the film-making capital of the world. Cameras never break here? You never thought it might be a good idea to open up a camera repair shop here, in LA, where there are probably more video cameras than in any other city in the world? No, you apparently choose to save money by shipping the cameras across the entire world, where they can be not fixed in a much more exotic location.

Do only Chinese people know how to fix DVX-100's? Like it's a cultural thing passed down through the generations? If so, there aren't any Chinese people in Los Angeles?

I'm sure you guys do good work, and I don't hate you; I'm just wondering... seriously, how can it take 13 weeks to fix a camera? I once was on a Habitat for Humanity team that built a whole house in 12 weeks, and there was only one guy who'd ever done it before. I feel like I could apply to, be accepted at, and graduate from a camera repair tech school, get my honors certificate in the DVX-100, then repair my camera while wearing a blind-fold in less time than it's taking you to send my camera back to me. And honestly, I'm starting to wish that was an option. Except... oh, that's right. My camera's in frigging China.

Paul
Customer

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We'll see if if that yields anything. My hopes are not high.

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