Why @Nikonusa deserves all the bad press they are getting over the D600 dust/oil issue

I just ordered the D610 and since I have resolved my own issue with the D600 (ok, Nikon gave my money back), I had promised myself I wasn’t going to make another D600 post, but they have been in the news lately and Nikon and their D600 have been the punching bag of the camera world.  There are reports of not one but three class action lawsuits and just this week it was reported that a Chinese news station had done a story that led to the government stepping in and banning sales in China.   Nikon gets some credit now because 18 months after the problem started, they FINALLY offfered everybody to send in the camera, though they still have not admitted to fault directly and what caused the problem.

I have been a Nikon fan for a while so I almost felt sorry for them….almost.  Until I remembered how rude they were to me when I first wrote them about the issue my D600 had.   It’s hard to feel bad for a company who not only sells a defective product, but doubles down on denying there was an issue.

My first interaction with Nikon was as such regarding this issue:

Hi, I recently purchased a D600. Serial # is 300xxxxx. I noticed when I take pictures in bright light and higher apertures, there is a blob of oil in the upper left hand corner of the picture. At first I thought it was a sun flare but it is in the same location in all my pictures. I have been keeping in touch with user groups and almost everybody who has bought this camera has an oil leaking issue and it is well known. (here is one source: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2012/10/d600-sensor-dust-issues) Please send me a pre-paid shipping label so I can send it to you. Otherwise I will call B&H and ask for a refund. Thank you.

The last file submitted clearly shows 4 spots.

After waiting a day and no response, I was more upset and sent them another email with many more examples.  Still no response.  So I decided to call Nikon.   I spoke with a sassy lady who was in full defense mode.  She denied there was anything wrong with the D600 and expected me to fork over $50 for shipping to send in the brand new one week old camera (with insurance) so they could LOOK at it.  She told me she could send me the link to fill out the paper work so I could send it at my own cost.  I told her not to bother.

Dear Mr. xxxxxx,
Thank you for contacting Nikon regarding the oil spots in your images. As stated this is not a worldwide issue with the camera and if someone calls with the spots in images it will be dealt with accordingly on a case by case base if and when it arises. You must pay to ship camera to us and if your camera is in warranty we pay to ship back. As stated, I will not send the link for service.

Best Regards,
Phyllis

Needless to say, I was in full jerk mode now.

I have been a loyal Nikon customer for 6 years and this is my third camera body. I used to feel Nikon was a company that stood behind their product but in the last year or so, I’ve found that is not the case. As stated, shipping plus insurance is about $50 and that is unreasonable to ask a customer to pay for a new camera’s defects. The fact is you are not standing by your product.

I obviously don’t have access to your internal data, but I have proven to you that this is not an isolated incident. I just spoke with BH Photo Video and they will be happy to pay for shipping both ways to send me a new D600. I suspect that it will also have the same problem, because this is a global problem. If that’s the case, I will send it again and again until I get a product free of defects. Perhaps once the vendors start giving your defective cameras back to you, you will take notice that this is a serious issue and fix it. 

I will also make sure to shame Nikon every chance I get, especially on my blog, flickr, and various review sites. In case you are curious, this was my blog post :https://thecoog.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/my-new-nikon-d600-has-oil-spots-nikonusa-needs-to-address-the-issue/ Checking the search engine referral data, I had hundreds of searches for “D600 dust issue”. I assure you that the price of losing Nikon’s good reputation is much more than the $50 you saved on shipping. 

It seems as if I’m stuck with Nikon for another 4 years in order to get the return on my investment, but rest assured, the next time I upgrade my camera body, Canon will get a serious consideration.

I will spare you the rest of the emails, but essentially, she doubled down on there was nothing wrong with the camera and it wasn’t a global issue.   So I returned it to BH and got another one which had the same problem.   In my customer survey, I also voiced my displeasure at BH for not putting pressure on Nikon at which point I got a response from their “reputation defender” guy Henry something or rather(google him, he’s well known) saying that this was a non-issue and people just read about it and were panicking for no reason (my summary).   That idiotic statement alone was why I make most of my purchases from Adorama now, but that’s a different story.

As written here already, the next camera I got had the exact same problem.  By now a month had passed and the bad press was just rolling in so it appeared that Nikon was begrudgingly giving free shipping labels if one posted several examples of the spots.  All Nikon did was clean the sensor and send it back.  The problem of course was not solved.

I didn’t want to keep sending in the camera so i would clean the sensor myself over and over and over until it became clear that Nikon was never going to fix this problem. They sent out a nopology of sort of admitting there might be an issue but it’s probably just user error but it was too little too late. Their solution was the D610.   I wrote them again with my displeasure asking for a recall and was told Nikon never recalls anything, ever. And again, there was nothing wrong with the D600 and they stood by it.  So I sent it in again…this time they put in a new shutter….and of course the problem returned.

Eventually I had to get management involved and they refunded my money but the point to this whole post is that Nikon, you did this to yourself.  That very first exchange I had with the sassy lady should have ended with her saying “I’m sorry, we are aware that our shutters is leaving a residue on your sensor, as soon as we know the exact cause, we will issue a recall on the camera”.  That would have been the end of it.   Their reputation would have been strong, and customers would have been happy.

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