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The down side of buying a Panasonic

lumix tz10

I had been generally happy with my last three Panasonic cameras. Those days are over. First my TZ10’s zoom knob broke. Maybe broke isn’t the right word. The control became somewhat “sticky” and difficult to move sometimes. Sometimes it worked fine. Other times it was really annoying and caused me to miss shots. But I could live with it.

Last week my photos began to exhibit a smudge of sorts near the center. I cleaned the lens, still no good. Nothing I could do would remove the gray circle a bit off center in my photos; nor could I see anything on the lens to suggest why this was happening. One problem I could live with. Two, and especially when one affects picture quality, I could not. No problem I thought. I have only owned this camera for four months, and the TZ10 came with a one-year, worldwide warranty on both parts and labor.

I contacted Panasonic USA to see what I should do. Initially they said they couldn’t help since I purchased the camera outside of the USA. They said I could get it serviced in Japan, or, for a fee, they may make an exception for me. Hmmmm…. why a fee for a warrantied product? Several emails and two phone calls later I gave up on getting any help from Panasonic USA.

Next I tried to get help from Panasonic Japan, since I purchased the camera while living in Japan and the Japanese are generally better when it comes to service issues. They seemed very helpful if I lived in Japan, but they can do nothing for customers who purchased a product in Japan and then moved out of Japan. So I went back to Panasonic USA and pled my case. They told me that, “The world wide warranty does not include the US. We are sorry for your inconvenience they will not owner the warranty in the US.” So, apparently the USA is no longer part of the world.

They kept telling me that they don’t sell the TZ10 so they can’t service it. Never mind the fact that it is the exact same camera as the ZS7 which they do service.

Their ad for the camera is true. The camera is “for world travelers” because when it breaks you have to travel the world in order to get them to honor their warranty.

7 Responses to “The down side of buying a Panasonic”

  1. 1

    Wow, that really sucks, so much about world wide warranty. One has to be really careful about tiny notes at the bottom pamphlets and flyers that make such claims. If it’s not really worldwide then they should have marked that promise.

    Could you maybe send the camera to a friend in Japan (or another country that is not outside of the world) that would then claim ownership for a few weeks in order to have it repaired. Or is the warranty only valid for the customer who bought the camera from a vendor?

    The fact that they advertised the camera with a worldwide warranty and then say that the USA are not part of the world is really ridiculous. Did they say anything about where the USA actually are according to them?

  2. 2

    I can send it to a friend in Japan and have them pretend to be the owner. (This was actually a recommendation from Panasonic USA.) However, I don’t want to put anyone out. With the cost of shipping and all the other potential problems once they actually exam the camera (“oh, this isn’t covered after all so we are going to charge you $xx anyway”) I’m not going to bother. I will make sure never to buy anything from Panasonic again.

  3. 3

    Sure it is not just Paansonic, but most companies try to wriggle out of doing repairs or refunds. There’s smiles when they take your money, but frowns when you complain.

  4. 4

    It’s a poor business decision on their part. They are choosing to not pay, at most, a couple hundred bucks now to make me happy and to not abide by their warranty. They will lose out on thousands in revenue in the long run.

  5. 5

    Wow, That’s a huge bummer. I am very sorry to hear that. It’s super lame that they would not honor that for anything. I mean I’m sure they could have at least verified that it was purchased in japan by contacting them and the vendor who sold it to you but sounds like they didn’t even bother trying. I just my camera back today & now I have a refurbished one after 6 months. I would normally not mind cause it was under warranty but considering that we are all having the same problems( and by that I mean many ppl on random boards I’ve searched thru google has had the same problem. ie; Smudge on the screen, Dirt(specs)/Dust getting inside the lens, causing voids or spots to show up on the picture.) I hope they reconsider redesigning this a little with future models or with the next batch they ship out. This camera wasn’t cheap and to have this problem this early on after buying almost sounds like we as “customers” are getting ripped off. I had asked the service rep if they know of this issue but they immediately said without any hesitation that they are not having any other complaints about this but thats obviously a lie. This may very well be the last I buy a camera right when it gets released. I should have known better myself. I need to wait a good 4 months and see what the complaints/ defects on the device that arise. I would love to sell this now but there no other camera I would consider at the moment, So the longer I wait now the more the value drops. I know there is no perfect compact camera but come on. This should be a basic thing. Seal the lens! I know, I know. I’m just frustrated myself.

  6. 6
    Jason Hanley:

    >>> It’s a poor business decision on their part.

    Exactly. I don’t understand why companies do this. If you can’t afford to honour your warranties, don’t offer them in the first place.

    I’m pulling my hair trying to deal with a Panasonic camera warranty claim right now too, and will be posting a summary at my blog with the results.

  7. 7

    Thanks for the tips, I’m a field geologist looking to replace my old digital Olympus w/ a gps camera. Dust heat & the occasional bang on a rock are prime hazards. I’ll not be getting a TZ10. Too bad because the rest looked good.