Freeze Frame

January 10, 2022

As I neared the end of my day at Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge, my Nikon P950 camera malfunctioned. It was the exact issue I had experienced before with this camera late last spring so I knew it was beyond my ability to fix. The first time I sent it for repair, it was the shutter button/zoom dial. Nikon repaired it under warranty and returned it to me promptly. 

January 11, 2022

The camera was past the one year warranty now and I was grateful for having purchased the “Asurion Protection Plan”. I went on their website, I opened a claim, and was informed in a chat that a repair had been authorized, a service ticket created and I was being emailed a UPS label to send it to them. My claim was opened on January 11th and the camera was on its way after I received the shipping label. 

Here’s how it went from there:

I tracked the UPS shipping label and noted it had arrived. 

I tracked the service ticket through the website and noted that my camera had been received. 

An email from Asurion told me it was being repaired and would be returned in a timely manner. 

January 21, 2022

I received a voicemail while on a trip down the Oregon Coast. It was from “Dan” in the Asurion service department. He told me in the voicemail they could not work on my camera and it would need to be sent to Nikon for repair. He said the turn-around time would be an additional 2-4 weeks. He said if this timeline was not acceptable and I wanted to know my other options, I should call to hear what those other options would be. I have this voicemail. 

I called as soon as I heard this message. My connection was challenging on the coast, and paired with some difficulty understanding the call center employee, I made it clear before I hung up that I wanted no action taken until I could speak with the service department. She said she understood and that someone would return my call within 1-2 business days to discuss my options. This was Friday. I assume there is a recording of this call. 

January 23, 2022

I received an email saying my repair was underway and the item would be returned to me once it was completed.

January 25, 2022

I expected to hear from someone at Asurion by Tuesday afternoon. What happened instead, was that Asurion (in an email), now said my camera was “beyond repair” and a reimbursement would be issued. Moments later, I received another email with a link to an Amazon gift card in the amount of my original purchase. 

I did not download the gift card. I opened the email only to get the phone number to call to dispute this “resolution”. 

I called immediately and spoke with a call center employee who insisted my camera repair option was no longer available to me. She also stated that the gift card could not be cancelled once issued. I told her I did not want an Amazon gift card and that I did not agree with this resolution. She offered, in the form of a question ” did I want a check instead of a gift card”? I told her what I wanted, was my camera. I asked to speak to her supervisor. 

I then spoke to her supervisor, someone going by the name of “MaryAnn”. She informed me that the repair of my camera was no longer an option. I inquired about a cash reimbursement so I could order this camera directly from Nikon or a local dealer and was told it, too, was not an available option to me. I explained in detail the situation and she promised a return call regarding this dispute after having had a chance to investigate. 

January 26, 2022

Wednesday, I received a call from “MaryAnn”. She again informed me that my camera was not available to me and that the cost of my purchase had been reimbursed (at the discretion of Asurion) as an Amazon gift card. She told me my camera was “beyond repair” and had been “scrapped”. I argued I had paid for a “protection plan” for 3 years that had failed to give me any actual protection at all regarding this matter. I noted that Amazon was selling this camera NEW for nearly double what I paid for it 18 months ago, making the Amazon gift card reimbursement useless to me. It is price-gouging at its worst. 

She offered me, in addition to the Amazon card, an additional $100 and reimbursement of the cost of my protection plan. I told her I wanted to speak to her manager. She assured me I would receive a call within 1-2 business days. She named her manager as “Norman”. This was Wednesday afternoon. 

January 31, 2022

I received a call on Monday, five days later, from an Asurion manager named “Norman”. He cited what his understanding was of this situation and then let me speak. I pleaded my case again, in detail, and then I shut up and let him talk. His version of “what happened to my camera” now included information that when the service department went to repair the camera, the part was unavailable and so the camera was deemed beyond repair and “scrapped”. What? He implied it had been destroyed as was policy with unrepairable items.

He ended the call saying the gift card could not be cancelled, but that Asurion would cut me a check for an additional $100 (a token apology?) and process a return on my credit card for the amount I paid for this plan. They consider this case resolved. I do not. I don’t have the stomach for this stuff. So this is where it was left and where it now stands. 

Sigh.

I’m sharing this story because I have such deep disappointment about this experience. I saved for this camera. I bought it with real money and made a deliberate choice when I bought it and haven’t been disappointed in the results I’ve achieved. It has helped me through the isolation of Covid and given me new purpose after retirement. It was a beautiful, loved piece of equipment with a broken dial. I do not believe for a minute that it ended up in a scrap pile. I can’t project feelings on a corporation, but if the Nikon name meant something to me, I’d be mad as hell about a customer having had an experience like this one. 

The people at Asurion don’t really know what they took from me. It was far more than just money, though that said, there were also the Nikon batteries I bought, the SD cards, the business plan I upgraded to on my blog and a paid Smug Mug site for my photography. I know I’m not a professional, but I invested a lot in this camera and the possibilities I had hoped to create with it. In 2020 when I had a photo featured in the AAA Magazine Journey, I gave a nod to this Nikon camera in the article. I’ve been trying to build a modest second career and it has now come to a screeching halt. 

All I want is to have my camera back. Had I known there was even a possibility of losing it, I never would have sent it in the first place. I sent them a camera and I expected a camera in return. 

If you know anyone with a connection to Nikon, please reach out to me here. I’d like to share this experience, as well as the serial number, should this camera ever find its way to an authorized dealer for repair. I cannot believe this beautiful piece of equipment was “scrapped” given its value on the resale market.

Thanks for letting me vent. This kind of disappointment is far too heavy a thing to carry for long. Onward to whatever comes next.

Click Here for photos of our last day together ♡

24 Comments on “Freeze Frame

  1. I tend to think it might have been they got busted trying to get it repaired at a dealer in TN. The phone call happened only after I reached out to Nikon with the serial number. These are hard to find and they are valuable on the secondary market. I’ll probably never really know, but I feel like it was a fair settlement in the end. It pays to be an annoying squeaky wheel!

  2. Good for you, maintaining your tenacity. I can feel your loss and frustration in your words. SO glad they magically “found” your camera – as you suspected, there is no way they would throw it in the trash. It seems like the truth is more like they took a long time to even look at it, then when they did, the repair looked hard, so they told you they trashed it and “here’s some money.” Then when you didn’t accept that, they got embarrassed and rather than come clean, they dug in. So, so, so annoying.

  3. Hi Bonnie. I read your post earlier today and have been sitting with it for much of the day. I felt a deep sense of grief, perhaps recognizing in your story, some of my own frustration with how corporations fail to deliver on their promises. I hear your frustration about not being seen by the people with whom you have tried to get a satisfactory resolution – a fulfillment of their promise to repair or replace your camera. I have greatly admired and been inspired by the care you have taken to invest in a camera that would help you carve out this new creative career and all the time and energy you have spent practicing, being present in the natural world and making images that show us the feel of the places and creatures with which you have connected. I am grateful for all of the beauty and grace you have shared with us and I know you will find your way through this challenge and learn some important lessons from it. I see you and I feel your grief and frustration and your desire to be made whole. Hang in there. Hopefully a better resolution will come through for you. And please do not stop seeing and sharing the beauty of the world with us – it is hard for me to say in words what your posts mean to me. Be well my friend.

    • Oh, Jude. Thanks for these words. A new development last night. I was informed my camera had been “found” and will be returned to me. I know I have angel out here to thank for this and I’m feeling grateful today. Thanks for your continued support. It means so much. I may not have a working camera, but I have hope, and that means more than anything. 🧡

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about your camera repair experience. As a fellow photographer I would be mad as hell for being jerked around like you were. I know how I’d feel if I didn’t have a camera and totally sympathize with you! I hope you are able to somehow procure another camera. I wish I could give you some advice, but it sounds like you did all you could. If you haven’t already, maybe complain to Nikon about your experience?

    • I have a good update to share about my camera. Seems it was “found” and will now be returned to me. There is something to be said for persistance. Thank you for writing. I’m still without a working camera, but I am not without hope*

  5. Sorry you had this experience, Bonnie. Even when you spoke with a real live person it did not get resolved. I wonder if the Asurion paperwork says anywhere that they have the right to dispose of the customer’s property. Sorry you lost your trusted friend, the camera. 🙁

    • I’ll share “the rest of the story” soon, but suffice to say I have angels in the world that helped move the dial on this. Thanks for writing.

  6. Bonnie Rae you might want to file a request for resolution with the Attorney General of Washington. That will resolve the steps that were missed in notifying you about your options. The company failed to notify you that you had choice. Period!

  7. There is so much going on for you. I hope you can find a peaceful resolution to all this, and sooner rather than later. It’s infuriating to get yanked around by soulless faceless corporations. But the AAA pic! So cool!! Sending strength to get through all this.

    • Thanks, Nancy. I am always buoyed by the support I have found in the world. My “tribe” is full of angels and saints. Yes, so much happening, and this, just a piece. Thanks for being here♡

  8. Horrific story regarding such a prized procession. I think of your camera as an extension of your eyes and arms, that we all enjoy! Have you considered notifying the State Consumer Protection Agency? Or consider taking this to small claims court? I’m not one to dwell on negative issues, but this really isn’t right! Do you know if your extended warranty stated refunds are by Amazon gift cards? Do they state they may destroy/scrap owners cameras without the owners property? I have so many questions! Good luck with whatever you decide. I’m sure Nikon would be mortified by the action this company took, if not they should at least be embarrassed. I’m so sorry that you’re the one who is losing out here.

    • Thank you for writing. The update is a good one and I will share THAT story soon. I feel the support of so many like-minded others.

    • Thanks so much for the support. My story did indeed find the right audience and I’m hopeful this will be resolved to my satisfaction.

  9. Terrible, Bonnie Rae. I’m so sorry you’re going through this runaround. One thing to watch for: when I was camera shopping on Amazon in the fall (both for the Nikon I returned and the Sony I kept), list price/Prime shipping cameras kept coming and going from my searches based on availability. So a replacement at the same cost might still show up. The price-gouge offerings are offensive, and waiting is painful. Not a good situation; seems like Nikon, Asurion, and Amazon have all let you down.

    • Thanks, Alan. The update is good news. They “found” my camera and are now able to return it to me. I’m sure the story will tell itself as time goes by. As for today, I celebrate the power of persistance.

  10. I’m so sorry, Bonnie Rae. Tell your story to Amazon, too, though they’ve become a somewhat sketchy company, imo. Asurion sounds like a company adrift without ethics, purporting to protect people.

    • I agree. They all but admitted their communication was full of errors and that shouldn’t be my burden. They should make this right. I’ve heard different information from five different sources within the company. I have reached out to Amazon although I still can’t seem to find an actual person to email. It will be like a puzzle to connect with someone willing to hear my story. Thanks for note

  11. Well, you are as good a writer as you are a photographer. My anger is churning. This is way beyond maddening. (Are Amazon and Asurion in bed together?) Sounds like Nikon is your next move.

    • Thank you, my friend. My anger is churning too. I’m hopeful for a contact at Nikon just to get the serial number out there. It isn’t about the money. It’s about the principle.

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