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Canon 20D - Part 1 - Canon Factory Service Center New Jersey - Repair #4

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Published on Jul 15, 2009

This documentation of my 20D malfunction was taken 7/14/2009 after spending $311 and having to send the body back to the service center a total of four times (fourth repair pending) despite being a Canon Professional Services level user (and supposedly getting the most experienced level technician to repair my products).

Other issues I have had with the Canon Factory Service center include:

1. Fingerprint sized smudge of *dirt* located on the outside of Canon 17-40 4.0L lens. Cost was ~$95. If I can see dirt on the outside of my lens, how do I know what's on the inside? (sent back for repeat repair)
2. Rear element literally falling out of my Canon 50 1.4 lens. Cost was $95. This occurred in front of a client on a shoot. (sent back for repeat repair)
3. Grinding noise at the end of the zoom range of my Canon 100-400 L IS lens. Cost was ~$300. Sent back for repair #3 (still not fixed).
4. Canon 20D (as noted here, cost was $300+, still not fixed, repair #4 pending).


After spending ~ $1,000 dollars in repairs and having to send my 20D and 100-400 for a total of six and seven times, I was told to direct my concerns to the Canon Customer Relations department in the Canon Office of the President. These representatives are supposed to be customer advocates; instead I was greeted by a representative with a sarcastic and condescending tone. For example, in the span of 2 minutes and 11 seconds, I was asked four (4) times if I was a professional photographer. In spite of providing my Canon Professional Services membership identification number, I was asked over and over again this question in concert with statements such as "You're a professional photographer, and you use a *20D* as your backup camera?!" "Most professionals use the Marks." When I inquired as to why she would ask such a question rather than trusting that what I am saying is true, she responded that she wanted to be detailed in getting the information of my case, and that she wanted to make sure that I had another camera to use. Asked why she didn't ask about a backup for my 100-400 lens that needed repair, she stated that she just assumed that my 20D and 40D "kit lenses" would serve adequately as a backup to my 100-400 L IS lens.

I was told I would recieve a follow-up phone call the next day. The following day I felt horrible about using what I had thought was a worthy camera (40D) to shoot corporate headshots. I was worried that I had no functioning backup camera (20D). I waited for her follow-up phone call, as had been stated, but none came.

Considering I own thirteen (13) Canon lenses, two (2) Canon bodies, have 1,000+ posts in the Canon Digital Photography Forums praising Canon products, I had always thought I was extremely pleased with the image quality produced by my Canon equipment. I frequently cite the fact that my images being published in two National Geographic publications, ESPN.com, and other prominent media as evidence that Canon products like the 20D and 300D produce impeccable results that will bring out the best in every photographer.

I have been treated with an unacceptable level of respect by a Canon customer advocate. Canon Factory Service has continued to provide a substandard service in my experience despite being a professional user. I thought Canon was a company had given me the tools that faciliated my development as a photographer and got me to where I am today, a company who stands by my side in developing affordable tools to get the job done, and a company who helps me pursue my personal and professional passion. Canon themselves have given me a reality check based on comments by their own customer advocate; perhaps I'm not using as capable a tool to get the job done and perhaps they will not stand by my side. I never thought I would think that the equipment is the limiting factor in my continued development as a photographer. This may or may not be true, but I certainly am limited from a practical standpoint; not only am I out $300 that could have been put towards "what the professionals use," but I also don't have a functional backup camera despite 3 attempts by Canon Factory Service New Jersey.

UPDATE: Canon has officially apologized for this experience and the behavior of one of their representatives described above. Unfortunately, I'm still in the same position I was before, but I do appreciate the gesture.

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