As many of you might know, Nikon has announced that it will stop selling replacement parts to independent repair shops. This will ultimately reduce the quality and speed of your service -- period. Nikonrumors has done a service by helping to publicize a petition started by Matt Fuerher. Read the succinct petition letter below or when you help sign the petition at Change.org.
Personally, I love my guy in LA. He's awesome. He has the smallest little shop in Hollywood, and I don't know how he does it, but he's extremely reasonable. And despite the fact that I'm a 'kid,' he always remembers my name, what I use, and what I've dropped off before.
There's a level of service that just doesn't get any better. He's fast, and I can call him any time to check up on my repair job or ask him advice on repairing/replacing any gear that's on its last legs.
But this could all stop VERY quickly. And if we don't want to have to overnight our gear at ridiculous cost to the nearest Nikon service center across the state to get a decent turnaround on our repairs, then we have one chance to maybe save ourselves.
Help urge Nikon to reverse its decision and continue to help those wonderful repair shops that have served us so well for so many years.
There's a firestorm running through the community of independent camera repair technicians after Nikon sent a letter to them on Monday, January 16, 2012. Signed by Arnold H. Kamen, vice president of operations and customer service for Nikon Inc., the letter tells independent repair facilities that the company will no longer supply parts to anyone but officially authorized repair facilities. The stated reason is "the technology underlying today's cameras is more complex than it has ever been, and in view of the specialization of technology as well as the specialized tools that are now necessary to perform repairs on this complex equipment..."
But the total ban on sales of parts to independents has nothing to do with technology or training or even the quality of repairs. Few real repairs require sophisticated software, hardware or training. If those things were required for installation of specific parts, it would make sense to restrict only those, not every screw and spring in the inventory, including old parts for less technical cameras.
While you might think that only a factory service center or authorized service center can provide great repair, you would be wrong. Most repairs going to the factory are sub-contraced out, some even going across the border to Mexico. Some repairs are good and some repairs are shoddy -- on both sides of the fence. (Check http://www.contacthelp.com/directory/Shopping/Electronics/Nikon?ListingID=48 among others and read for yourself. Reports from the Better Business Bureau suggest Nikon's record on repairs handled through its own facility are not as good as most independent technicians. http://www.la.bbb.org/business-reviews/Commercial-Products-Manufacturer/Nikon-Inc-in-El-Segundo-CA-25750 )
No, this is not quality control. The real story here is this is clearly restraint of trade. Nikon has been squeezing independents for years with increasingly poor parts service, poor communication, and long backorders.
What does this mean for Nikon equipment owners? It means access to repair parts will become more restricted. Access to local or nearby repair facilities will become problematic at best. If you are a professional relying on your Nikon equipment, you might not be able to get fast repairs from your reliable local independent photo technician. Some of those independent technicians who have been repairing cameras successfully for decades through changing technology might not be able to overcome this challenge to their business. It probably means more expensive repair parts. By comparison, Canon does not have this policy and does a much better job of supplying independent repair facilities with the parts they need. Are Canon cameras so much less technical and easy to repair compared to Nikon? No, they are not.
Members of the Society of Photo Technologists (www.spt.info), which has represented independent camera repair shops for 50 years, are asking everyone who has anything to do with Nikon to urge the company to rethink this new policy.
You can write to: Arnold H. Kamen, Nikon Inc., 1300 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, NY 11747-3064. You can also phone 631-547-4200.