What’s your problem? I’m not cool with my Nikon Coolpix

Question: My husband and I recently bought a Nikon Coolpix L-22 camera. It cost about $100. We had been using it for a week when I noticed the screen was suddenly half white. It was the strangest thing, because it just spontaneously happened.

Nothing had taken place to damage the camera. It hadn’t been dropped, smashed, kicked or hit. We’ve owned many Nikons and given many as gifts, so we assumed Nikon would replace it.

Not only did Nikon not believe us for a minute, but they thought we were rather rude not to accept their special offer to fix it for half the regular price. That would have been $50, plus shipping. We declined because we couldn’t believe they weren’t honoring the warranty — and besides, the price of the same camera new had gone down to $63.

Nikon said the repair wasn’t covered by the warranty, because we had caused it to happen. But the fact is, we didn’t. Can you help? — Claudia Krich, Sacramento

Answer: If your camera stopped working as the result of a defect, Nikon should replace it promptly at no charge.

I reviewed the correspondence between you and Nikon, and thought you handled this pretty well. You tried to contact the company in writing, asking it to repair or replace the camera.

Nikon sometimes responded, and sometimes it didn’t, which forced you to resort to calling it. I think that’s where the process broke down. When you’re trying to resolve a problem like this, getting everything in writing — especially any communication with a supervisor — is important.

Related story:   Oh really? 5 things companies assume about customers, but shouldn't

I wouldn’t recommend buying the extended warranty on this or any camera. The technology becomes obsolete long before the warranty expires, so you’re not only insuring a purchase that is essentially worthless – you’re also enriching the company. (Point-and-shoot cameras like the Coolpix are just a category above disposable.)

Your camera came with a limited one-year warranty that covered parts and labor, but didn’t extend to any damage caused by negligence. I asked Nikon about your camera and it confirmed that your warranty was void because of damage to the unit.

“This is due to an impact, and is not something that just happens on a camera, as it requires a good amount of force or impact for this to happen to an LCD screen,” a representative told me.

Bottom line: The company is under no obligation to fix the camera.

Nikon apologized for the “miscommunications” without you, but reiterated its offer to replace the camera for $50, not including shipping.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

%d bloggers like this:
Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.