I’d been sat round in Cincinnati for a while and was getting restless. The original plan had been to hang out for a few days, but then I decided it was finally time to get my camera seen to. Since at least Christmas I’ve had a little black dot in most pictures and all videos I’ve taken. Pictures are easy to edit in Lightroom, but it’s been much more effort to edit than I’m willing to keep doing for the next however long. I figured it’d be a couple of weeks and then still give me time to do something else. How wrong I was.

I contacted Canon on the 20th of March and sent in my camera along with $170 which is their flat fee to fix a PowerShot s95. Out of the blue, the camera turns up at Abdul’s door two weeks later. I’d been promised that I’d be emailed with details during the process, but that didn’t happen. I was confused, but I had my camera back and that was all that really mattered.

I put my SD card and battery in and turned the camera on to take a couple of pictures to ensure it was working, a few shots around the house and all seemed good. I put the camera down to reply to an email and while writing noticed an error message appear on my camera’s display. I was slightly confused, but figured it must be a one off. I turned the camera back on, put it down, waited 60 seconds and saw “Lens Error. Restart Camera. E32” I was mortified.

Being the weekend, I couldn’t call but come Monday I got on the phone to Canon first thing and vented. They say they record the calls and I’m sure anyone listening to my calls that day will think I was over-reacting, but that’s OK. I’d spent an enjoyable two weeks relaxing in Cincinnati, but at least wanted the ability to wake up one day and decide that I was riding out. This E32 error message was an anchor.

At first the customer service rep told me that things would take about another approximately two weeks to fix the error. Amazingly that wasn’t the most ridiculous thing I heard that day (That was being told it would cost $10 to print a label at the UPS shop). I was informed that because it was a return repair they’d pay for shipping and to expect a UPS label in my email within 24-48 hours and then it’d take another two days to get in. Worst case scenario, that had the camera not arriving with them until the Friday April 6th and then 7-10 days to fix it. With my US visa expiring on the 26th that was nothing close to acceptable. I got pushed up to a supervisor who understood my problems and I had an overnight shipping label in my inbox 2 minutes later. I was assured that the camera would arrive on the Tuesday and then be expedited through the process and I’d be emailed during the process and then it’d be overnighted back to me and should arrive on the Friday. It seemed to be about as good as I could hope for.

Wednesday came and I hadn’t heard anything so I called. Apparently even though I’d told 5 different people my email address, it had not been added to the file. That makes perfect sense. I was told that things were progressing (even though the tracking number I was given contradicted that) and the camera would be overnighted to me and that Friday was still looking good.

Thursday afternoon came and I got an email with a tracking number, I was happy. The camera would turn up in time for my little loop ride and all would be good. Things changed when I saw that although the package had been sent around lunch time on the Thursday, it wasn’t going to arrive until the Saturday. Even though I’d been promised overnight shipping, I didn’t get it. I called up and vented again. I asked for an explanation and was told that while he could try, it would just sound like excuses and that I should look on the bright side, I’d have my camera back and it had been dealt with quickly. A bit of ranting later I put the phone down and felt better for it.

I got back from my loop ride on the Sunday evening and opened my parcel from Canon. I was slightly concerned when I read the paperwork which said that there was nothing wrong with the camera and that it had been cleaned but I just assumed someone had made a mistake. There was an error, I’d explained what it was to the people on the phone. They’d had it for a week. They’d told me about how they were taking their time to ensure it was getting back to me perfectly and they knew what was wrong with it. I turned the camera on and 60 seconds later started laughing when I saw it had the same E32 error message. The paperwork hadn’t been wrong. Canon customer support had failed again.

Easter Monday came and I called Canon again. The first person I spoke to tried to blame me. I’d told them that it had the same error a week earlier and the person fixing it had not found that error. I mentioned how their calls are recorded and that they could feel free to go back and listen to me ranting at them because they were wrong. I had mentioned E32 multiple times. I got pushed up to a supervisor. He apologised and tried to start the repair process again. I put my foot down.

I’d been told the previous week that Canon don’t have a replacement policy and that all they can do is have the item shipped in and repair it. With my visa situation on record and with their constant ineptitude I was not going to accept that policy. The supervisor said he couldn’t help me and that all he could do was to offer me a repair. I informed him that that was too bad and that I’d like to speak with someone who could help me. He bumped me up to a lady called Michelle and within 2 minutes I had been assured that I’d get a new s95 sent to me. The ordeal was over.. almost. It took multiple calls to get the return shipping label emailed to me and on the 3rd call I found out why I’d not received any emails from Canon, they had my email down wrong. I wasn’t surprised. Canon make great cameras, but, based on my experience, their customer service is atrocious.

On the Thursday my new s95 arrived. All was good with the world.

To give some contrast to the Canon ordeal. I’d been having a couple of minor issues with my Lenovo x120e laptop and so figured I’d use the downtime to get it seen to. I called them on Monday, had a box arrive Tuesday, sent it to them that day and got it back on the Thursday. Lenovo are amazing and I will continue to buy their laptops forever more.