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Panasonic Camcorders

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Panasonic - Worst customer service experience ever
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SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY -- I know that your time is valuable and that this is a lengthy letter, but I would ask that you please take the time to read it, as I've gone to some length to accurately describe my experience with Panasonic's customer service. I think you need to know the impression left with me regarding how PanaSonic values their customers.

On April 24th, 2010, I bought my son Timmy Scott a PanaSonic HD Camcorder (model HDCTM15, s/n J9HQ02631) from Amazon. In July, he knocked it off of a bedside table and it fell 24” onto a carpeted floor. The camera did not work after this. I’m not going to complain about the lack of durability of this item, though I’ve dropped laptops, digital cameras, cell phones, etc. from greater heights onto harder surfaces (such as my laptop to the concrete floor in an airport) with no ill effects. Rather, I want to share my experience in trying to get this camera repaired by your customer service department and exchange center.

My son first contacted customer service on July 20th via email, in which he described the circumstances under which the camera was damaged (he clearly stated that it was dropped two feet) as well as the subsequent problems with the camera. He received a reply telling him to send the camera, along with proof of purchase, to your exchange center in McAllen, TX, where it would be exchanged for a remanufactured camera of the same or similar model ( I still have this chain of emails). The exchange center received the camcorder, with the invoice from Amazon, on August 6th.

A few days later, the exchange center called my home and left a message with another of my sons, asking us to call the exchange center. Over the next few days, I attempted to call the center (at 956-683-2930) at least 8-10 times. Each time, one of two things happened: either, the phone was answered by a recording stating that all representatives were busy and to please hold, followed by a minute or two of silence, then endless ringing (I counted 20 rings a couple of times); or, a recording stating that all representatives were busy and to leave a message to have them call me back. Each time I was able, I left a message. I received no return call.

About the same time I received this first call, I received a letter in the mail from the exchange center. The letter stated that I had to choose an option for my repair to proceed. Choice number one was to repair under warranty, number two was to provide a credit card number to cover diagnostic/repair fees, and choice three was to have the camera returned without repair. As we had been told previously that the camera would be exchanged under warranty, I once again attempted to call the exchange center to clarify. Again, I called the number over a dozen times over the next few days, with the same results described above. This time, in my messages, I left my cell phone number and asked that they contact me at that number so that I did not miss any calls to my home. On about August 13th, the exchange finally returned my call, but called my home phone, when no one was there, and left a message. I tried again, numerous times, to call back, with the same results; either ringing endlessly or voicemail. I again left messages requesting that they call my cell phone.

On August 16th, after failing again to get through to the exchange center, I called the customer service number found on the PanaSonic webpage, 800-211-7262. On the first three times I tried to call this number, I told the automated system I needed to check on the status of an HD camcorder repair and eventually, it forwarded me to a recording that told me that the number I had reached was no longer used, and I should call 800-211-7262, the number I’d originally called. I eventually was able to talk with a person who told me that there was nothing he could do, because to check on my repair, he would have to call the same number I was calling for the exchange center (956-683-2930), and that he would not be able to get through, either.

So still on the16th, at 11:10 AM ET, after six tries, I was finally able to talk with a person at the exchange center. I asked her why I was not getting a remanufactured exchange, as I’d been promised originally, and she told me that they would not exchange for that particular camcorder (although the model number is stated in the original email, where they said it would be exchanged), that I needed to pay to get it repaired, as the warranty covered only parts. I gave her my credit card number for the $45 diagnostic fee and she said that they would call me back with a quote on the repair once the diagnostics were complete. Once again, I asked that they call my cell phone only and was assured that they would.

On August 23rd, the exchange center called my HOME phone and left a message stating that they needed a credit card number and authorization before they would begin the diagnostic/repair process. On August 25th, on only the third attempt, I got through to the exchange center. When I asked why they had called my home to tell me I needed to pay the diagnostic fee, the lady acknowledged that they had it on file that I’d already authorized the $45 fee and given them a valid credit card to pay for it. I asked why they had not called my cell, and she told me that my cell number was the contact number on file, and she did not know why they had again called my home, because, “I wasn’t the one that called.” This lady assured me that my son’s camcorder was in diagnostics and that I would receive a call, on my cell, in the next 1-2 days with an estimated repair cost.

On August 30th at 11:00 AM ET, having not been called (on either my cell or home phone), I again called the exchange center. This time, I was able to get through on the second attempt. However, the lady I spoke with said she was unable to get any information on the status of my camcorder, because she had given her computer login to another employee to use, and the system would not allow her to be logged in twice under the same credentials. She then placed me on hold and tried calling “The warehouse” to check on this repair, then told me that no one was answering the phone there (honestly, I’m not at all surprised). She assured me that she would call me back in a few minutes, and verified that she had my cell phone on file as the contact number. So, when I had not been called back after six hours, I tried calling the exchange center. Here’s how that went:
• 5:01 – got the, “…We’re busy, please hold” message, then it rang and rang…
• 5:02 - got the, “…We’re busy, please hold” message, then it rang and rang…
• 5:03 – no recorded message, just ringing; hang up after 20 rings
• 5:05 - no recorded message, just ringing; hang up after 20 rings
• 5:07 - got the, “…We’re busy, please hold” message, then it rang and rang…
• 5:08 - no recorded message, just ringing; hang up after 20 rings
• 5:09 - no recorded message, just ringing; hang up after 20 rings
• 5:10 – phone was answered, by a person, after two rings. I told him I was checking on the status of a repair, and he said he would transfer me. Went to a recorded message that said, “…We’re too busy, please leave a message”.

On the last call, I did leave a message and was not called back.

On August 31st, I again attempted to call the exchange center and got through on the 11th attempt; same mix of issues as described above. When I did get through, I ended up speaking to the person who had said she would call me back the day before (who did not bother to apologize for failing to do so). So, she tells me that she still has not heard from the repair department, so she gets a printout of my repair estimate from her computer and tells me the repair cost will be $411 (I paid $339 for the camcorder and it's now $10 cheaper). When I questioned the charge, she told me that the damage to the camcorder stemmed from abuse and therefore the warranty was void. I told her that the original email from my son had stated that the camcorder had been dropped and that in two correspondences since then PanaSonic had stated that the device would be exchanged or repaired under warranty. At this point, she started the blaming - "I didn't tell you that" or "that wasn't me that told you that". When I asked to speak to the supervisor, I was told that this person was unavailable, but if I so desired, she would have the supervisor call me. Of course, I have yet to hear from them.

So, I asked that my camcorder be returned to me, unrepaired, with a copy of the detailed repair estimate. I was told that they would do so, but no idea how long it would take. So, I am out a camcorder, shipping cost and $45 diagnostic fee because PanaSonic, after telling me twice in writing that the camera would be exchanged or repaired under warranty, now decided that this was not the case.

This is, without a doubt, the worst experience I have ever had with customer service from any supplier. I will never again buy a PanaSonic product, and will eagerly share my opinion of PanaSonic at every opportunity.
     
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unhappy999 on 2010-08-31:
No company is going to repair for free or exchange a product that was dropped and broken. They were wrong in telling your son that they would exchange it. It doesn't matter how well a product is made, if it hits the floor the right way, it can break.
Helpful on 2010-08-31:
I can appreciate the frustration given the fact that you felt they were leading you to believe an exchange was forthcoming and yet you ended up not having anything covered under repair.

To me, what seems reasonable with the communication taking place, or lack thereof, is a refund of the $45 diagnostic fee, placing things back to the way things would have been if all communication had taken place better.

I would also recommend contacting the retailer, as they can be of unbelievable help in these situations, but I see you've purchased through Amazon. Sometimes what appears to be a good value, isn't.

Panasonic does make some fantastic products. They're still one of the best in plasma television manufacturing, and I have yet to see a better DVD or Blu-Ray player. You should still keep an open mind in considering Panasonic in future purchases.
getoverit on 2010-09-01:
I think what would be reasonable is for Panasonic to follow through on what they promised in the first place, I.e. replacing the camcorder. This is probably not something they can afford to do routinely. So, the next thing they need to do is train their people not to make irresponsible statements to customers. If they weren't going to replace it, why was it conveyed to this customer that they would?

If it was dropped, does seem reasonable that a repair would, not be covered under warranty but that policy has to be made clear before the customer sends his product into the Black Hole of McAllen. Because one it get's there, there's no telling what will happen next.

Juan Valdez on 2011-07-05:
Avoid Panasonic products.
DO NOT BUY ANY PANASONIC PRODUCTS.
you will regret your purchase! OF Panasonic products.

Panasonic - Worst customer service experience ever.

I think you need to know the impression left with me
regarding how PanaSonic values their customers.

they hung-up on me, as soon as my number shows in
their telephone system, they transfer it to the general
delivery voice mail. no answer. no service.
they call at 8:30 am, when I am at work. I call
them back @ 1-905-624-5010 the reception answer and I get
transfer and says to leave a message. we were playing
to leave a message for weeks. Talk to the suppervisor and
the times I have talk to them, they give me a
reference Number which is good for nothing, their excuse is
and I quote" I can read the notes on this reference Number
for the protection of your information, we can't share your info
with nobody, that's why I can see the notes".
(very weird, their recorded greeting say that the call is
recorded and will be share internally to provide good
customer service).
So here we go again filling unother complain, that
nobody can read, for my proteccion.
ref# 15457, ref# 28764877, ref#
when I talk to the tech he explain that Panasonic
still making microwaves in the 2.4ghz frecuency that
will interup all other wireless equipment, a problem that
other microwave manufactures have fix since 2003.
but Panasonic still using the old technology.
that the microvawe is good as long as you don't use together
with wireless alarms, nor wireless internet, wireles laptop,etc.
with this information I call Panasonic Customer service
the young kid that answer the phone sugested moving the
microwave far away from the alarm. that should solve the problem.
I have bought this unit 2 moths ago, and I need a solution.
I am talking with technitions and customer service for the past
month and no solution. I can plug the microwave because
will trip the alarm, and the police will call. They have
warn me that the next call is billable to me. no more false
alarms. so I need to return this unit to the manufacturer.
since the seller won't take it.
I don't want any more reference Numbers.
I need a microwave that works in today's environment.
Thank for your time.
Joerg on 2013-10-04:
I had a very similar experience with Panasonic. Never again I would buy a product from that company again. I spend 8 hours waiting to speak with somebody - Panasonic if you really care - so something about that!!!!
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Warranty is a joke
Posted by on
My camcorder would suddenly not turn on and the unit was still within the one year warranty. It had a very small dent in the back of the LCD. After sending it in and paying the Diagnostic fee of about $ 40.00, they returned it to me without repairing it, and did not even mention in their paperwork what they thought the problem was. Their customer server is the worst. I am having it repaired by a local repairshop and I intend to contact Panasonic to pay for the repair. I will never purchase another Panasonic product and am also informing my friends of the issues that Panasonic has.
     
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tarrad on 2011-08-03:
Warranty is a joke, customer service is worst, I have one year warranty with my tv and the customer service told me you have not( no comment ).
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Disgusting service from Panasonic Puerto Rico
Posted by on
I bought a digital camcorder from a company in St Thomas. Just in the warranty period the camera became faulty. The camera was sent to Panasonic Puerto Rico for repair. After 4 weeks the camera was returned via DHL and the problem was still there. After numerous phone calls to Panasonic in Puerto Rico they informed me that they didn't find a problem and had just returned the camera - no explanation or query. This cost me $35. The camera was sent back and they said they found the problem and repaired it. We had to send it back to them another 3 times after this as it was sent back unchecked - each time a fault caused by their poor assembly. Not once did Panasonic return my calls and I have now made over $150 worth trying to sort it out. On two occasions they said they had returned the camera and again after phone calls to them for the airway bill number it was discovered still on the premises. This last time it was sent May 19th and collected by DHL. To date being June 10th, we still have no camera. DHL have lost it or it has been stolen. I have spent several very frustrating weeks now trying to resolve this problem and are now trying to get a release letter from Panasonic for DHL in order to process the claim. DHL send emails to Panasonic with no response. Once again I have made 4 calls to Panasonic today and not one has been returned to me. The simple release letter requires a signature only and faxed back to DHL and even this seems too difficult for them to handle. I have been on Panasonc's website to try to find an e-mail address for some serious assistance from head office but can only find a mailing address. A letter will be mailed to them shortly and I am hoping that the mailing address is correct and will get to a responsible person. I will never buy another Panasonic product of any description again and will advise everyone I know not to either as their service is an absolute Joke. My next beef will be with DHL. If anyone knows Panasonics email address, please can you forward it to me or forward this e mail to them.
     
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Item not found
Posted by on
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- When I go online to Panasonic to try to find out why my computer doesn't recognize my camera, Panasonic says "SORRY ITEM NOT FOUND' then they can't offer solution to my problem by phone either.
     
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Anonymous on 2008-03-28:
What is the model?
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Warranty Repair Service
Posted by on
REDMOND, WASHINGTON -- I purchased a PVGS39 camcorder in May and it functioned great for 11 months. The unit then refused to release a recorded cartridge and I sent it in for repair estimate. The estimate was for almost as much as the camera cost. I told them thanks but no thanks and send my unit back. After a few months and 3 phone and written inquiries, they finally said they found it and sent it. After another month, it was not received. They traced it and found it was sent to an address that was 2 years old; they did not verify the correct address to return. That could be excused except that I had the camera insured during transit and UPS left the camera on the door step of the wrong home. Since my last contact it has been 2 weeks and still no word on what they plan to do. One gets the feeling that they intentionally drag their feet hoping you will give up. I have been told by a local repair (I should have gone there first) shop that the issues was easily fixable. There is a lot going, UPS has some fault except that they likely were not told to get verification of receipt, etc. By advice is to hang in and keep at it.
     
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Anonymous on 2007-09-02:
Unless your electronic device is under warranty, do not deal with corporate.
You will save time and money.
Next time, look for a local authorize Panasonic repair shops and get few estimates.
Go to the one with the lowest estimate.
ThinLazyAmerican on 2007-09-02:
It's gone.

Just buy a new camera. Cameras are like disposable razors, good for a few shaves until they break.
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