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.
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 ♡