Service Plus, Plus…

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My camera needed fixing. I’m in the Scottish Highlands. The repair centre is in Lisbon and Olympus manages its repair process from Prague. And I’d only a few days window between photoshoots. Doesn’t sound too promising, does it?

I’ve been here before, over many years: with Canon (back in the day), Olympus and Sony. Canon, when they had their service centre in North London, were pretty decent: I’d reckon on my camera being away for 7-10 days. Sony were about what you’d expect from a consumer electronics company that didn’t understand the concept of need: the camera would go off, disappear for a couple of weeks, in the process being lost, found, lost again and buried in soft peat for a while before grovelling back through my front door. Not good.

Olympus has always been pretty decent: I’ve used them about half a dozen times in the last decade, for warranty work and clumsiness repairs: when my old 50-200 4/3 Zuiko’s diaphragm packed up last year, it was away for about 6-7 working days and came back spick and span, which was typical.

Last year however, Olympus introduced their Service Plus programme. It’s a free sign-up for buyers of their Pro kit – the E-M1 and (presumably) the high-end lenses, gives you an extension of the warranty and provides a pickup and return service.

So, my E-M1 was having a couple of issues: bearing in mind that it’s had about 30,000 shutter actuations in the year I’ve had it, a detaching rubber back grip and an intermittently unco-operative rear control dial weren’t exactly killer problems. But I did want them fixed. I called the Service Plus number last Friday. They immediately arranged a pickup for Monday, which got shifted to Tuesday because DHL doesn’t do pickups hereabouts every day. The camera was picked up, passed to the care of their fixing elves in Portugal and arrived back with me today: exactly four days, departure to return.

I simply cannot praise Olympus highly enough for this standard of service: communication was fast and efficient (thanks to their technical care specialist, Edita) and the whole process was almost flawless.

I say, “almost” there: the fly in the ointment was – as ever around here – DHL, which regards our part of the world as “outlying” from planet Earth, despite our being within an hour-and-a-bit’s drive of either Edinburgh or Glasgow. So the pickup was a bit slow and, when their tracking system showed the expected return date as next Tuesday, I briefly became rather heavier than the bucket. Olympus again chased this up for me and, by whatever means, the thing arrived on time.

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