DigitalRev warranty is actually pretty good

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UPDATE: The original title of this post was "DigitalRev warranty is worthless". DigitalRev customer relations provided an explanation of their warranty policies in the comment below and ultimately reimbursed me the full amount of the repair cost.

I believe the root cause of the misunderstanding was that DigitalRev recently changed their warranty policy for eBay auctions. As explained in the comment DigitalRev provides Local Warranty for cameras sold through their website whereas eBay auctions are sold with a Door to Door Warranty (aka return-to-base warranty where if repair is needed its up to the customer to return the camera to DigitalRev for repair).

I believe I bought my camera during a transition period so my particular auction was actually sold with a Local Warranty (I had printed the eBay listing at time of purchase so I am able to confirm this) whereas the DigitalRev CSR thought that I only had a Door to Door Warranty. Hence they expected that I would only pay the $50 for a quote and once a manufacturer's defect was confirmed the camera would need to be sent back to Hong Kong for repair. Of course as my camera was sold with Local Warranty it made logical sense for me to go straight for the local repair option in order to save someone $50. So we both believed we were doing the right thing according to the different policies we were applying. :)

Anyway it worked out in the end and its great to see DigitalRev actively seeking feedback on blogs and also on forums such as Whirlpool where I had also posted about my experience. I think that makes them worth considering for future purchases as you know you can actually engage them if the need arises. They were also responsive to all of my warranty emails even though the original outcome was not what I expected.

Everyone makes mistakes. What matters is how you handle yourself once the mistake is realised.

Original post follows ...

I generally try not to post rants on this blog without some desired outcome. In this case it is to warn would be customers of and its associated eBay stores that DigitalRev does not honour its advertised warranties.

For background, DigitalRev built its business primarily as an eBay seller starting sometime in 2000 then created its own online presence at which today sells in parallel to its eBay stores. It is a Hong Kong based business and as many of its customers are from overseas, particularly the UK and Australia, they advertise a "Local Warranty" on every auction listing and on their website; see the official terms of DigitalRev's worthless warranty.

The idea behind this is admirable. Camera manufacturers often include warranties that are market specific to combat the problem of parallel/grey imports. As an example if, as a customer in Australia, I were to buy a camera from DigitalRev and later required warranty service I would find that Canon Australia would not honour the US/Canada warranty included with my camera. DigitalRev would step in and pay for any repair costs necessary as long as the fault was not caused by the customer. This is a reasonable clause to protect DigitalRev against customer abuse (e.g. bozos dropping their cameras).

The reality, as I have discovered, is that DigitalRev will find any possible way they can to avoid paying repair costs.

Here is my experience with DigitalRev customer service.

I purchased a Canon S95 in late September 2010. In early November it developed a lens error that prevented the lens from extending out far enough to make the camera operable.

"Bummer, but no drama", I thought, as DigitalRev's warranty would sort this out.

The full story including all of the relevant emails follows.

Exec summary: DigitalRev first stated they would pay the repair costs as long as the problem was a manufacturer's defect but once I provided them the repair invoice (which I had already paid) they changed their story and claimed that I had somehow failed to follow their processes and would not reimburse any of the repair cost.

Contacted customer service, gave them the serial number and received the following advice:

From the information you provided, we think it best you have your local vendor review the possible causes of this fault and get a quote as to how much it costs to repair. Please do not agree to pay for anything before contacting us first. Please note that our company will cover all the fees if the camera is test and proven to be manufacturer defect. Otherwise, we will not be covering any of the fees.

I had expected that if they provide Australian service they may already have a list of preferred repairers since part of the service is the determination of the cause of the fault (specifically to rule out abuse by the customer). So I asked:

Should I take it to Canon specifically?

Who else would be authorised by DigitalRev to repair Canon S95s?

I'm in Sydney, Australia.

The response:

You can take it to any local repair shop of your choosing, or perhaps you can send it back to us to have it looked at. However, please note that if the test confirms that the product is not faulty and it was misused, we will not cover any of the repair and shipping fees. Kindly confirm with us, so that we can arrange to send you a return form.

Any repair shop? They will trust anyone except the customer to state that the camera's fault is not caused by the customer? Interesting.

With no real guidance I opted to take it to Canon Australia, the most logical choice.

I took it to Canon Australia today as their office is near me. They charge a fee of AUD$50 just for a quota so the service representative recommended that I'm better off lodging a repair as they have a fixed price for camera repairs of AUD$207.90.

They say they would be able to determine if the product was defective or whether there was mistreatment of the camera only once they open it up, though the service representative did say there was no obvious signs of mistreatment (i.e. no dents or scratches or similar).

Is the repair fee acceptable to DigitalRev?

The response:

Thanks for the email.

Please note that we need a repair quote from you so that we can forward it to our technical team to verify the problem.

At this point I was beginning to suspect that they were trying to shirk their warranty responsibilities.

I don't understand what you require. I've told you exactly what Canon told me.

Canon charges AUD$50 to obtain a quote - i.e. AUD$50 to open up the camera and figure out what is wrong. This does not include any repair work.

They charge a flat rate repair fee of AUD$207.90 to fix whatever problem(s) may exist with the camera.

Hence their recommendation is that its cheaper overall to simply submit the camera for repair to avoid paying an extra AUD$50.

Until the open up the camera they won't know exactly what is wrong, or what caused it.

Please tell me how you want to proceed. I see only two options:

a) Pay the AUD$50 for a quote, after which either DigitalRev or I will have to pay the AUD$207.90 for the actual repair depending whether Canon determine if the fault was a manufacturing defect or otherwise, OR

b) Lodge the camera for immediate repair; we know that this is a flat rate of AUD$207.90 which one of us will have to pay depending on Canon's determination of the cause of fault

DigitalRev response:

We would suggest for you to take it to Canon to have it checked and confirmed that it is manufacturers defect. If the defect is confirmed from Canon, we will reimburse you the fees. If not, you will have to pay for the repairs.

As they had selected neither option that I had suggested but were adamant that as long as the problem was a manufacturer's defect I took the camera to Canon and submitted it for repair. I also asked Canon to determine if the fault was a manufacturing defect or something I caused.

Fast forward 3 weeks and the repair is completed. Canon provided me with a written statement, included as part of the repair invoice. I paid the repair fee then emailed DigitalRev.

Per your instruction I submitted the camera for repair with Canon Australia. I have attached a scan of the repair slip. In particular note the comment at the very bottom:

"There were no signs of physical damage evident with this camera. In this situation the product would have been covered under normal terms and condition of warranty."

I have already paid the amount of $207.90 for the repair job. It would be much appreciated if you could reimburse this amount either to my PayPal account ([email redacted]) or provide instructions for other means.

Now DigitalRev has a change of heart.

Thanks for the email.

Please note that we did not ask you to go ahead with the repairs until we confirm with you. We informed you to send us the repair quote so that we can confirm with our technical team. Since you did not to follow our instructions for warranty claim, we will not agree to reimburse any of the fees.

After this we exchange a few more emails where I pleaded my case (and failed).

Until this event I had a high opinion of DigitalRev. I had previously purchased another camera from them in 2007 and had even recommended them to my friends. I informed them of these facts in the hope that they would recognise that a long term customer is far more valuable than $207.90, and certainly better for their business than a pissed off ex-customer.

They continued their stance that I had somehow violated the terms of their advertised warranty. So here we are.

PS: I would be interested to know if my interpretation of their emails was somehow flawed, feel free to leave a comment either way.

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This page contains a single entry by goosmurf published on December 12, 2010 9:41 AM.

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