Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

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Marc Koecher

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Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostSat Jan 12, 2019 12:27 am

Hello Blackmagic community and hopefully someone at Blackmagic.

I purchased one of the first Pocket 4K cameras in Toronto, and have had an absolutely horrendous customer service experience after realizing it was a defective unit. I’m posting here in the hopes that someone at Blackmagic can take action and improve how they support their products and customers. Perhaps this is just a problem within Canada, but policy needs to change. I love your products and many of the people I have met in your company, but this has to change for your future. Incidentally, a similar thing happened back when I purchased the original Cinema camera. Unfortunately I was sad to see this hasn’t improved, and somehow has gotten worse.

Here is what led to a terrible customer experience:
- Purchase a new camera locally before the holidays. Unfortunately, after using it on only one job, I noticed it had quite a few dead pixels. Too many to ignore. As well as the minor battery door problem.
- I contacted support. They replied with instructions on how to demonstrate the problem. I followed up exactly as described and it was determined I need to send the camera in.
- We began the RMA process. This took two tries. Unfortunately the first time I sent it in, the customer service department somehow didn’t notice the details I filled out as they requested. Copy and pasting it and second time seemed to have worked after a bit of delay.
- Sending it back cost at least around $100 to send insured. I’m willing to swallow this, though since it was a defective unit upon receiving it, I really would think that Blackmagic would find a way to replace a defective product without additional cost to the customer.
- The process of inspecting the unit took some time, but that’s expected with the holidays involved. It arrived at Blackmagic on the first day they were back after Christmas and was returned to me on Jan 10. This is acceptable if not a bit long.
- The camera has a delivery attempt. However, for some reason to the wrong address. Despite me sending in the RMA form twice, Blackmagic used an old address I had on file for the return.
- I tried to contact Blackmagic but the support page does not list a toll free number. So I sit on hold for nearly 30 minutes on a long distance call. The receptionist attempts to forward my call several times, but it never gets answered. After falling back to the receptionist, she kindly looks into this for me and offers to pass on the information to the support department.
- We eventually find out that a new address cannot be assigned. The only alternative being to send the camera back and have it resent. I offer to instead go out and pick it up. Which took a bit of time to drive to and from the depot.
- Upon picking up the camera, I had to pay another nearly $200. It seems proper care wasn’t taken in terms of logistics to ensure the product was returned with proper documentation to show that it is a repaired item. This error is the one that’s hard to swallow. As is how it was addressed from here on out.
- I contact Blackmagic about this, and apparently hiring a shipping broker was my responsibility in order to avoid this. This is a terrible policy. Particularly under the circumstance of having been delivered a faulty product to begin with. I am not in any business that requires knowledge of corporate return/repair logistics nor do I ever have to deal with brokerage. A consumer cannot be expected to be aware of this, nor to be the one to handle this. I have dealt with many product returns in my lifetime, and this is the first time I’ve had to pay tax on an item twice. And definitely the first time anything like this was made my responsibility.
- I politely asked for assistance from Blackmagic to reimburse me for at least the cost incurred by the return. I was told that I could handle recovering this money from Fedex myself.
- I replied a second time and desired to speak to someone that could better handle a special case. Which is what leads me to this posting after other attempts have failed. I also inquired whether they were going to send me the documentation to be able to forward to FedEx. This was the extremely brief response I received: “Actually, the invoice comes with the replacement camera. You can ask FedEx.” I will leave the particular support representative out of the discussion. He likely did all he could, but regrettably ended his role in this a little too dismissively.

I would like to ask two things of Blackmagic:
- To help me out here. As well as anyone else that is having problems. I cannot imagine that every support case like this would end up costing the customer an additional $300 above what they paid for the camera. Just to receive a product that shouldn’t have been faulty in the first place.
- Please fix your repair/return support process. I’m not sure if this is just how support in Canada is handled, but either way, the policies and processes in place are not in any way friendly to the consumer. In fact, it results in a very negative customer experience.

Please note, this posting is a last straw attempt at getting help. I have no desire to air out grievances in a public forum, but I was not given another contact as I had hoped. Blackmagic is doing truly amazing product development work, but this aspect is definitely something you can improve to match your other well earned successes.

I hope no one else has to go through this. I’m more than disappointed in Blackmagic and unfortunately this is the second time I’ve had to go through this. This time with much worse results, quite a few errors in the support department, borderline flippant communication and never a polite apology for this hassle this has caused.

Marc
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aglyons

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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostSat Jan 12, 2019 12:50 am

Hey Marc,

Me too.

Let me explain a bit.

I got my bumpcacaforka (
) before Xmas too and immediately discovered a problem charging or powering the cam.

I contacted my guys where I get my gear from and BMD directly. At first, BMD was kinda hands offish with my case. My guys reached out to their BMD rep in Canada and later that day I was emailed saying they were going to start an advanced RMA and replace the whole kit. I suggested that before we go through all of that, why not try the simple approach first and send out another power adapter in the event that is all it is. No dice. Send the whole thing back.

All the shipping was covered, both ways so no complaints there. When the replacement did come, guess what the problem turned out to be? Yes! The power supply. Tried the new PS on the original body, worked. Tried the old PS on the new body, didn't work.

Like you, I too had to cover duties and taxes. I did get refunded from FedEx after jumping through hoops though. I spoke to people at CBSA and was told that commercial invoices are not required for personal items and that a simple declaration on the shipping documents stating an "RMA replacement for defective device" is sufficient. It appears FedEx is a little trigger happy and likes to apply those charges anyways. I didn't have to provide any further documentation to FedEx to get this refunded. I agree that BMD should have processes in place that caters to Canadian clients with regards to RMA shipping issues. Heck, even DJI, one of the worst in customer service has this down pat with not one ripple. Want to see another super slick shipping operation? BHPhoto. Order something from there and you can cover duties and taxes at the checkout before it even ships.

While what I just wrote may not sound like it was much hassle, I paraphrased a lot of it. This was a process that took a few weeks and numerous emails and phone calls to sort out.

As for holding on a long distance call. Might I suggest getting Vonage? No long distance charges.

Hope you get yours sorted out soon.
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Adam Silver

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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostSat Jan 12, 2019 1:29 am

I'm sorry you guys have had issues with customer service. I've had the opposite experience. I had an issue with my URSA Mini Pro, that ended up being an improper cable issue. Anyway, the customer service experience was smooth.

I'm thinking that a big problem up in Canada is FedEx. Having to pay taxes again (declared or not declared, etc) doesn't happen here in the US.
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Stephen Fitzgerald

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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostSat Jan 12, 2019 2:50 am

This is so terrible. I’ve heard things like this before, I’m hoping my UM4.6k never has an issue, I can’t deal with poor service, I just don’t buy from that company again. All that said, all my products have been working as expected (Even the terrible FPN on my UM4.6, lol)
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rick.lang

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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostSat Jan 12, 2019 5:15 am

RMA may be a PITA or may be easy. International shipments are usually a PITA.

In Canada, to clear Customs without federal charges the shipping documents from the sender (BMD in this case) must specify the reason for the shipment is a “warranty repair of an item.” You must make that clear to BMD when arranging the RMA and the actual return of your goods. If not, Customs will require their taxes. If that language was requested by you and was not included by BMD, you can’t be upset with the shipper.

In Canada a broker must arrange for the processing of your shipment through Canada Customs and typically the collection of the taxes. FedEx will advise you that you have a shipment and you can confirm with FedEx that you want them to act as your broker. They can’t act as your broker without your authorization. On my last shipment I received emails from FedEx but often it’s a phone call.

If FedEx makes an error they will refund any overpayment but it can take a few weeks. When I’ve called them I’ve always received prompt and helpful service. Sometimes they collect charges when they deliver the package; sometimes they eventually bill you via email. When I’ve called on the phone I arrange prompt payment via a credit card.



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aglyons

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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostSat Jan 12, 2019 1:30 pm

Rick - In my case, BMD initially wanted me to create the commercial invoice and necessary paper work with the appropriate tax codes. I was also told to find a broker. None of those things are a regular thing for me, that's why I spoke to CBSA directly. I conveyed CBSA's requirements to BMD and they did include a commercial invoice stating the reason for the shipment and that the declared value was for shipping insurance purposes. FedEx did see that included with the shipment as they emailed a copy to me when I was working for my refund. They seem to have just ignored it initially. As for asking to be broker on my behalf, no, there was no request made just an email stating I owed duties and taxes. UPS did the same thing, the just go ahead and process the package. I don't normally have a problem with that but with UPS, their brokerage fee floats. It's never the same fee. I've seen it North of $40 on some shipments. So in the future, I'd ask how much the fee is and if it's too ridiculous, request a self clear and clear out yourself with CBSA.
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rick.lang

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Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostSat Jan 12, 2019 6:52 pm

Not a good experience but did calling the shipper get everything reversed eventually when you shouldn’t have been charged?


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Last edited by rick.lang on Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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aglyons

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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostTue Jan 15, 2019 12:11 am

Hi Rick - BMD didn't get anywhere with FedEx. I went through 3 departments before I finally got to the right one. I did get refunded, about 3 weeks after the request started.
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rick.lang

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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostTue Jan 15, 2019 5:08 am

Well that was far more work than it should have been. Thanks for the final resolution. My dealings with FedEx Canada have been good.


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Marc Koecher

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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostTue Jan 15, 2019 5:24 am

Thanks for chiming in everyone. I'm sorry to hear of other having troubles too, and happy for those that haven't. I'm following up with FedEx at the moment, and I'm preparing for a long and frustrating process.

Unfortunately it doesn't change the rest of the negative experience I had. It still leaves an impression that Blackmagic needs to work on improving service to the markets it hopes to serve. This was not a good effort to alleviate the problems of a customer that bought a defective new product. After making a few mistakes on their part, I sincerely hoped the company would take a few extra steps to make sure I was satisfied. I've had countless superior support experiences in the past. From dealing with large companies like Apple, to small 1-man peripheral operations. Just the other week, I had an expensive failed SSD. The manufacturer granted support on a well used warranty product, tested, shipped, and replaced the product in very short order. With good communication and proper logistic handling of the return that didn't result in any costs. Or last year when I had a faulty RAID array enclosure delivered, and it was simply replaced to my door a week later. It can be done and is done well on a regular basis (in my experience).

Blackmagic makes wonderful products with great marketing and appreciatively open communication during development. I don't want to criticize the company on those fronts, but only hope that they allocate more resources to post-sales support. Perhaps this is specific to my location, but I'd imagine it'd be worth allocating a bit of time, research and personnel towards this market if it is.

...and it'd be nice to hear back from someone there with some help. Which really was the only reason for this post in the first place.

Thanks all for chiming in,

Marc
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MScDre

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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostTue Jan 15, 2019 12:44 pm

I've had bad service in the past too, what I think needs to happen is that the paradigm of "Manufacturer->Distributor->Retailer" needs to go away for good as I almost sure it wasn't BM service that gave you problems.

My bad experiences have 100% been with the first two steps in the chain, BM has always been super good when they finally had the chance to deal with my issue.

Wish they went the way of Apple and Tesla and cut out middle men entirely.
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Eli hershko

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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostTue Jan 15, 2019 3:31 pm

My biggest problem is why do we have to participate in the cost of shipping when we are getting a faulty product out of the box to begin with? I had to send my camera in due to "Screen bleed" issue and now my $1295 turned to be $1395 camera with the insurance purchased boxing material etc... It is not fair to me and others when you have good cameras shipping.
I didn't cause that issue why should I pay for it?

Someone out there got a good copy and his camera was $1295. I got a bad copy and my camera cost more!
Where is the logic here?
Eli Hershko
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rick.lang

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Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostWed Jan 16, 2019 2:18 am

Eli, I don’t think anyone would argue with that request. When BMD issues an RMA, it should be at their expense. It seems sometimes you are required to pay for shipping to BMD while they pay for shipping back to you, but occasionally I think they have paid both ways. Perhaps the differences are due to different regions. Or it may be they pay both ways when the issue that required the RMA was a manufacturing defect that they have identified, versus something that they consider was caused by an operator error. Screen bleed currently with some BMPCC4K and the entire magenta fiasco with the URSA Mini 4.6K are clearly not user errors.

If BMD need to raise their camera purchase cost $50 to take on this reasonable approach, so be it. $1,295 for the BMPCC4K is great value. $1,345 is still great folks.
Last edited by rick.lang on Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostWed Jan 16, 2019 2:45 am

That's really bad news. I've often read and heard about problems with the new BMPCC4k, but that the customer has to pay even more to have a working camera, the news is even worse.
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Re: Faulty Pocket 4K: terrible customer service experience

PostWed Jan 16, 2019 3:10 am

Funny update with regards to shipping. I sent the RMA'd camera back ages ago. I was just contacted by BMD as they haven't received it yet.

I did a quick track of the shipment (which was initiated by them, they provided the waybill and the commercial invoices for US customs). It's stuck in customs. Apparently, FedEx needs further information from the shipper (which would be themselves) in order to release the shipment even though a commercial invoice, in triplicate as required, was not sufficient for FedEx.

Oy Vey!

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