I recently purchased a Fujifilm X-T1 after a brief experience with the Fujifilm X100s. I have been searching for the best combination of image quality, standard camera features, and size/weight. Anyway, yet another camera review is not the intent of this article. The intent is to give a quick note to the repair experience for anybody that may need to go through the process.
I purchased the camera new and it is a US model with Fujifilm USA warranty. For anybody that falls out of those qualifications, this article may or may not be completely useless. Unfortunately, the spring that controls the SD card insert/eject mechanism failed about a week after purchase. “Shit happens” -Forrest Gump. “Not a problem,” I thought to myself since I knew it was a warranty item. I began to Google the Fujifilm repair experience to see if this company would be like Canon with stellar service, Nikon with less than stellar service or maybe even Olympus which has no service but a link to Precision Camera Repair. I did not find any definitive answers. Furthermore, I did not find any recent information regarding their repair quality or turnaround time. There were zero search results for specific warranty repairs to the X-T1. I did find a mixed bag of reviews about repairs to point-and-shoot cameras, but that is basically useless information.
I called the 800 number for warranty service (1-800-659-3854) and the representative told me that the repair turnaround time is three to four weeks. Three to four weeks! The camera is new! …So I explained. He told me if I drop the camera off in the Edison, New Jersey headquarters then it should save about one week’s time. I told him that with summer upon us, there is zero chance I could part with the camera for so long and I may just use it as-is until the winter and have it repaired at that time. That seemed reasonable enough until I had the nightmare of a failing SD card reader on one of our vacations this summer which would force me to buy a camera in order to finish out a vacation. Bad news.
An alternative he gave me was to try calling the dealer since it was only nine days old and they should have the ability to swap it in-store and then send this one off for a dealer warranty repair themselves. I called Unique Photo and was immediately denied after that brief on-hold period where they pretend to be checking with a manager. I know that was a bullshit on-hold period because I was speaking with the manager. Bad strikeout Unique Photo. . . B&H Photo and Adorama would never do me that dirty (experience with that, too). I tried giving the local Jersey retailer some business and I enjoyed a quicker drive to check stuff out but yeah… post purchase customer service is one sure way to grow or lose future sales.
I was so happy to see that Fujifilm’s US headquarters is right here in Edison, New Jersey. On the next business day, I decided to take the half hour drive down to the place to definitively see if they repair the cameras in-house and if I could somehow bribe a shorter repair time out of them. You see, with a repair time as long as I was quoted, I had articulable suspicion that Fuji may handle repairs in the same fashion as Olympus in that they accept the cameras mailed directly to them and they in turn mail them out to a third party repair facility (Precision Camera). If it was Precision Camera, I would be fine with that since my experience with them was stellar. I would want to mail it directly to them, though, just to save about a weeks worth of transit time.
Upon arrival, it did appear to me that they might have a corner son where in this massive warehouse dedicated to fixing their products. : ) Inside the lobby, you will not be greeted by anyone. For such a large facility, it was eerily hollow and empty inside. But very clean. Then a pile of people went stormed through the doors in a manner that can only mean one thing at that time of day: food.
The front desk had instructions for an extension to call for repairs and then I was directed around the corner to the receiving desk. I wish I caught the repair technician’s name, because she was awesome! She assured me it was no problem and a quick fix. Furthermore, she told me that the three to four week time frame was for the point-and-shoot cameras but the pro-level cameras are repaired immediately. She told me that they would look at it that afternoon (Tuesday) and it most likely would be ready for pickup or shipping on Thursday. GREAT!!! She told me it was free shipping, so I decided to go that route. Fatal error in 3.. 2..
You see, any normal shipping service would have had that camera back to me before the weekend was out. UPS ships overnight from Manhattan and Brooklyn even when using ground service because they are so close. The US Post Office probably would have delivered it on that Saturday. But Fujifilm USA uses FedEx. NO!!!! I did not realize that or I definitely would have drove to pick it up!
Specifically, Fujifilm uses the FedEx Express Saver option for their shipments because it saves them money but has zero, nothing, zilch to do with expressing anything.
On Thursday, I received the shipping confirmation from Fujifilm USA. So damn pleased with their expediency. The delivery estimation said Tuesday at 8:00PM. WHAT?!? It took me thirty minutes to drive there. It doesn’t take that long to fly to the MOON! Surely it was a mistake. Surely FedEx wouldn’t do something so stupid for their business model like walk the package from Edison to Clifton.
On Friday, the package made it to Newark. Newark is 5 miles away from me. The delivery estimation was still Tuesday at 8:00PM. Monday was not a holiday. Friday was not a holiday. There were no holidays to speak of. So I called. I wish I could remember the name of the representative I spoke to because she was brutally honest about how horrible FedEx was. She stated to me that because the shipper used the Express Saver option, they were purposefully “taking their time” with the package so as to ensure that it is delivered no sooner than three to five business days. Holy. Shit. This is WORSE than walking the package from Edison! Furthermore, I was “prohibited” from picking up the package at their local facility at any time earlier than the quoted delivery time. Ary you kidding me?!? FedEx is such a greedy pain in the ass that they won’t lift the package off the shelf any sooner than Tuesday evening because that would somehow mean that I got a DEAL?!?
Just to recap: Even though I could (and should have) rode my bicycle to pick up the package, FedEx was actually shelving the package for a couple of days to make sure that I did not receive it any earlier than three to five business days, because that is what the shipper paid for. In other words again, GOD FORBID I got a delivery quicker than their discount shipping service allows for. GOD FORBID they do a little something that costs them $0 extra that shows the shipper and receiver that FedEx is the expedient way to ship goods. GOD FORBID they take a little advice from the movie they sponsored with Tom Hanks as he went on and on about the need for speed in Russia so as to not become the US Mail.
FedEx goes out of their way to ensure that no matter if you live 30 miles, 300 miles, or 1300 miles away, you should expect to see the package int he same amount of time. Stupid.
Alas, here lies the lesson: Should your professional Fuji camera require repair, do not hesitate to send it to Fujifilm USA. They are great people and performed flawless work and had the camera turned around fast. If you can drive it there and pick it up, better! But if you have to ship it and have a desire to have it returned quickly, please discuss that with them and offer to pay for a different (see: better) shipping service. FedEx is a truly disappointing option, based on my experience.
Here is a screenshot of the shipping. Google the cities listed. This is pathetic.
I don’t have the final screenshot, but Tuesday it finally showed out for delivery. I received it and Fujifilm made it perfect again.
*Bad photography. What can I say.. iPhone and humid day. Blah.