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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Samsung Camera Loses to Kodak
Still no word from Johainess or SamsungCamera.  At this point, I'd decided to just return the camera to Best Buy (the store).  BestBuy.com's return policy is that you can return the item either by mailing it back to them or by taking it into your local Best Buy store.  Either way, there's no exchange policy---you just get a refund.  Interestingly, unlike purchasing most items from the Best Buy store, there is no "restocking fee" associated with BestBuy.com returns.
 
My next dilemma was the amount of time that's passed since I received the defective camera.  Best Buy and BestBuy.com's return policy explicitly states that digital cameras must be returned within 14 days of receipt to qualify for a refund.
 
Well, 23 days have passed as a result of waiting for SamsunKodak Z712 ISgCamera to effectively do nothing.  I feared Best Buy would deny the return, so I called to plead my case.  The customer service representative at the Tyler, TX store, "Marcy" said there would be no problem.
 
So, I drove to Tyler last night to return the camera, and everything went off without a hitch.  I actually had a great experience at the store.  I was expecting to browse the cameras in the store, but I hadn't really expected to find somethingKodak Z712 IS (back) comparable to the features of the Samsung NV11 for the price.  The associate in the digital camera department was very knowledgeable, and helped me decide on the right camera.  I decided on the Kodak Z712 IS.  This is a nice camera.  It has 12x optical zoom and it's a 7.1 megapixel.  It's not as slick as the Samsung, but the features more than make up for what it lacks in aesthetics.  It takes great pictures without a big learning curve.
 
Let this be a lesson to me:  Stay away from online stores for bigger ticket items.  I could have avoided this whole mess if I'd have just driven to Tyler to browse the brick and mortar store to begin with.
Sat, April 28, 2007 | link

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

As you wish, Johainess
Johainess called me yesterday afternoon.  She apologized for not calling me back as promised on Friday.  She said, "The lady in California does not answer her phone or voicemails."  I replied, "Welcome to my world."  The joke was lost on Johainess.  She tells me the parts department insists the cable is not yet available for this particular camera.  I told her it's the same cable for many of their other camera models.  I even gave her specific model numbers and the part number for the cable.  She said her parts department has the cable for the other models I mentioned, but they weren't sure they were compatible with this newer model.  I assured her it was the same cable, so she agreed to ship it to me.  She said it would be another 5-10 days.  I told her to send it expedited shipping given I've had to wait so long thus far.  She said, "I'll have to charge, you then."  I replied, "No way!  I've waited this long for a warranty replacement, and now it's been delayed even longer as a result of your collegues not answering your own calls.  You find a way to ship it to me expedited!"  She replied, "But I'll have to get approval from my supervisor."  I said, "Then, get it."  She said, "She won't be in until tomorrow.  I'll have to delay shipment until tomorrow after I speak with her."  She assures me she will call me to let me know.  Sheesh.
Tue, April 24, 2007 | link

Sunday, April 22, 2007

No Customer Service From Samsung Camera!
NV11I bought this cool Samsung camera, the NV11, on April 2.  I meant for it to be a surprise for my wife on Easter Sunday.  So, I kept it hidden until the Thursday before Easter.  I just took it out to charge it up and to figure out the the quirks.  It's really a neat camera.  Besides it's slick black aluminum shell and the Samsung signature blue ring, it has a 2.7" LCD display and 5x optical zoom.  All that and it's 10.1 megapixels! 
 
So after playing with it a bit and uploading some great pics to my PC, I discovered the charging cable didn't work.  The cable doubles as a power cable/recharger and a USB cable to transfer pictures.  It transferred pictures fine, but the charging part of it was a no-go.  It has a light on the cable that's supposed to glow red while charging and green when done.  The light only blinks once, then goes off.  This behavior means the cable is defective.
 
I called Best Buy.  (I ordered it from BestBuy.com).  I tell them I only need a cable, but I figured I'd need to exchange the whole camera.  Guess what?  Best Buy doesn't even carry the camera, let alone the cable.  I was told I could return the camera to the Best Buy store, but only for a credit.  Otherwise, I'd have to deal with BestBuy.com (apparently a different entity).
 
By now, it's Friday, so it's not likely to be much of a surprise for my wife on Easter.
 
BestBuy.com doesn't offer exchanges either---only credit.  They recommend I call Samsung.  They even give me the number! How nice!
 
I call Samsung.  They tell me I need Samsung Camera...again, Samsung and Samsung Camera are different entities...different call centers, etc.  When I finally get Samsung Camera, I speak with someone from tech support.  He takes me through all the no-brainer troubleshooting that I'd already done.  His diagnosis?  "Your charging cable is defective."  No kidding?  Why didn't I think of that?  He gives me a different phone number...the parts department.  He said, "Just tell them to send you a new cable."  Now that he's kept me on the phone for so long just determining that I was right in the first place, the parts department is closed.
 
I leave a voicemail for "Elizabeth" in the parts department, explaining the problem and exactly what I need.  Of course by mid-day the following day, I'd heard nothing, so I call again...and leave another voicemail for "Elizabeth".  They were closed on Easter weekend, of course,...probably surprising their spouses with cool new digital cameras...
 
By Monday, April 9th, I'd given up on "Elizabeth" returning my call, so I called the main number and got a customer service representative, "Johainess".  She asks for my credit card information.  I said, "Look, this is under warranty.  I've only had the camera for 9 days."  So she placed me on hold for a while and got back on to get my mailing address and to tell me it'll be 5-10 days.
 
April 20:  No cable.  I'm shocked.  I called "Johainess" back.  She told me, "Sir, didn't I tell you that cable isn't in stock due to the fact the camera is so new, there aren't accessories available for it yet."  I told her, "No, you said no such thing.  In fact the reason I'm calling today is because you said I'd receive it within 5-10 days."  She then says, "Well I don't see that it's available.  If you'd like to hold, I can call California and see."  What am I gonna say? "No that's OK, nevermind"???  "Yes, I'll hold".  She got back on the line to say, "Sir, I forgot that California is in a different time zone...they're not open yet...I'll call them when they open and I'll call you back."  I begged, "Please call me back".  She said, "I will definetly call you back before end of shift today." 
 
I, of course, never heard back from "Johainess".
 
What am I doing wrong?  Is there such an endless supply of new customers out there that companies aren't interested in retaining current one's?  If I'd written the script for this one, I'd have made it so the second call was tech support.  I joked about having to go through the "no-brainer" troubleshooting with the tech support person, but I understand they must encounter many electronically inept customers.  However, once the item was deemed defective, the tech support person should have initiated a resolution.  Let him call the parts department.  Let him hand off the ball to the correct person.  My phone call should've ended right there!  Instead, I have to chase people, leave voicemails that are apparently ignored. When I finally get someone with the apparent power to mail me a replacement, she straight-up lies to me by telling me something contrary to her previous statements. Then she refuses to call me back as promised.  The camera is essentially useless without the ability to charge it.  Samsung Camera has my money.  I guess that's all they care about.  Grrrr...
Sun, April 22, 2007 | link


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