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Friday, November 21, 2008

A camera story

I never thought that a small mistake would cost me so much in terms of money and time. It was near Basavana Baayi falls. Negligence for a second made me to slip from a rock and break my digital SLR camera. The lens broke out of camera and took a dip in water. It was found later but the holder was broken and water had entered into it. I knew that lens could not be restored back but camera looked to be in a good condition. On putting another lens and upon switching on the camera, things looked fine. It booted up normally, but when tried to click a snap, I got an error message which refused to disappear even after restarting the camera. It was the first sign that something had gone wrong with my camera.

It was an entry level Nikon SLR and upon searching on net, found out that there was only one authorized Nikon service center in Bangalore. It was at Infantry road. After my Office hours, I went to service center and gave my camera. The persons name was Baalu. Upon further examination of camera, he found out that the plastic was broken. He told that it would take two weeks to examine the camera and provide an estimation of the cost for repair. Two weeks was too much and that was just to examine the camera forget about repairs. It looked like a Government Office affair. Anyway, I had no options and agreed to that.

In the mean time I had to go to my native place. Since, I had planned to visit few places I borrowed my friend Srini’s camera for the trip.

After coming back from my native place, I called up Baalu for the status. It was exactly 15 days and I expected that he would be ready with estimation. I was pissed off with his reply. He had not even touched my camera and the reason he gave was work pressure. I don’t think that there would be so much repairs in that service center. For me it was an unprofessional behavior and asked him to provide an estimate at the earliest. I had to make daily calls to remind him of the work that he was expected to do. Exactly after 22 days, I got a call from him. It was another shock. He gave a list of things that were damaged and told that it would cost Rs 12,500/-. He continued to say that even after that there might be other things that need to be looked into. This was a careless statement and something that cannot be quantifiable is hard to believe. And in addition to that I need to buy a new kit lens.

Considering the cost of repairs and new lens, if put some more money I can buy the same model outside. It was meaningless to get the camera repaired by Baalu guy. So, I told him that I was not interested in repair and would take back my camera. After 3 days, I went to Infantry road to collect my camera. To my horror, Baalu tells that he had no time to put the removed parts back into the camera. I was angry and blasted him for his behavior. But Baalu is a man with buffalo skin and he seemed to be least bothered. I told him that I would be coming next Saturday and expected him be ready with camera.

This time I called him before going to the service center. Finally the camera was back in my hand. By that time, a month had passed. That day, the skies opened up suddenly and I was totally drenched out before reaching my car. I was angry at the way things were moving. I had to do something about the camera. It was then I called up my friend Girish. He is a camera expert and asked me to go to a person called Askar at SN Bazar, Majestic.
I came back home and decided to go to Majestic during evening.

It was a Deepavali week and all traffic seemed to be going towards Majestic. I knew that I had to spend till midnight in Majestic area if I take my car there. So, half way I returned back to my home.

On 28th October, I went to Askar at SN Bazar. He talked nicely and opened the camera before me. The damage was indeed severe. The board was broken and there were other damages. I did not wanted to tell him that I had given the camera to service center before but he found out by looking at the things in camera. He assured me that camera can be repaired easily and would cost around Rs 5000/-. He boasted of his abilities to repair any stuff in any camera and challenged me that he would repair in an hour. For me, it was things moving very fast and told him that it is ok if it takes a day. He asked me to come on the next day.

Little did I know that events had just started!!

I would now like to give day wise progress of the repair:


Oct 29: It was a festival day. I promptly went in the evening hoping that the camera would be ready. Askar had opened the camera and told that he was waiting for the board which would come shortly.

Nov 1: I go to Askar to check the status of the camera. He has got a new board but still in the process of fitting it. He asks me to come in the evening. I go to Sapna book house next to SN Bazar and buy few books.
I went in the evening but the status is same. He asks me to come the next day.

Nov 2: I am a bit clever now. I make a call to Askar and learn that the camera is almost done but still could not be finished on that day. So, I save myself from going to Majestic.

Nov 5: I call Askar and he tells everything is done and asks me to come there to see something. What is that “something”? He does not tell. My Home, Office and Majestic are all in different directions and not an easy task to go to Majestic on a weekday. I decide to visit Askar on weekend.

Nov 8: It was a shocking day. Askar shows me the flash board on the camera. A chip on the board has been “peeled off”. I had never seen such a thing in life. Askar blames it on service centre people, that since I decided not to repair camera with them, they did this stuff. Hard to believe, but Baalu is not a professional. Finally, it means that repair cost increases.

It has already taken too long. I ask Askar to proceed faster with repair. He tells me that he would finish by end of the day.

When I call him in the evening, it is the same reply again. Come tomorrow!!

Nov 9: I start calling Askar from morning. He is finding it tough to repair. He asks me come at 4 in the evening. I go there promptly only to see the shop closed!! I now decide to try out eating at Malabar Hotel and Udupi Krishna Bhavan. It was on my list for long time. Food was really good.

Nov 10: I had already spent few weeks in Bengaluru because of this camera issue. I was restless and desperately wanted to go out. Thinking that camera would be repaired, I and my wife plan a trip to places near Hassan.

Nov 12: I have started calling him daily. To put more pressure, I decide to go to his shop even though it was a working day. I tell him that my patience was waning and to hurry up the things. He was facing some issues after fitting all the parts in the camera. He promises to deliver the camera in a day.

Nov 13: No Progress.

Nov 14: Askar tells that camera is completely done and is testing it. But he can deliver only on the next day. I have my Hassan plans. This time I borrow camera from Sankara.

Nov 17: I decide to go to Majestic in the evening. But there was a villain out there. Devegowda and his son had created havoc on Bengaluru streets. Going to Home becomes priority and it takes me 3 hours to reach my Home from Office. Few unlucky ones reached their home sometime after midnight. May God NOT forgive the father-son duo for their sins!!!!

Nov 18: I was happy to see my camera in nice shape. I start to do some preliminary tests. Things are ok but not able to take images with flash. Askar starts to scratch his head and tells that he might have forgotten to join a wire. There were many customers that day and he gets a headache. He asks me to come at 9PM but I know nothing would happen by that time.

Nov 20: It was a day which would end my miseries. This time my camera works. Only hitch was whenever the camera switches on menu come in Japanese language. Aska says that he would get software to fix that next month. I am ok with it. It is not a big task to change the language to English in menu.

Next is the cost. He simply quotes some astronomical figure and within few minutes, he reduces it drastically and finally we agree for Rs 7500/-. Good thing was about the lens. I had decided to throw it off thinking that it was damaged. But he says that it can be repaired; only holder needs to be replaced. Cool!!

It was exactly 2 months before the camera had taken the fall. I hope my camera works fine for the days to come.

All along this period, I was thinking why not change my camera instead of going for this costly repair. Nobody likes to downgrade their stuff, for that matter anything in life. It means that I have to buy a bit higher end camera than the current one and it would cost me a lot. Digital SLR cameras are costly and I did not want to spend lot of money on that when I already had enough liabilities on my head.

This post is a bit off topic from the original intent of my blog, but since camera forms an integral part of my treks and travels, I decided to write my experience here.

11 comments:

shreeshum said...

Askar Askaraward ge perfect jana .

ರಾಜೇಶ್ ನಾಯ್ಕ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ರಾಜೇಶ್ ನಾಯ್ಕ said...

baalu and askar! seems like 2 super sadists doing camera repair business!

Mridula said...

What a horror story. I am so sorry you had to go through all this. Even I forked out outrageous repair costs with my basic Canon Digital SLR but that is forgotton now. Thankfully the camera has behaved till now. Seems that the SLR centers have this policy of quoting 12500 as initial charge, only I coughed it out!

Aravind GJ said...

Raagu,

Very nice :-)

Rajesh,
Both were equally tough and irresponsible.

Mridula,
Nice to see your comments. Looks like this "authorized" service centres are expensive.

Hope my camera survives for long.

R a n j i t said...

Suprising you found these ppl in the whole of Blr ? Didnt you try to get to an Authorised Service ? Atleast, they give you a gurantee

Aravind GJ said...

Ranjit,

First guy(Baalu) was an authorized person. He could give guarantee for only 3 months. That too not for the camera but only for the changed parts. And also, the camera had passed the gurantee period long back :-(

Srini said...

Even though i was aware of your camera 'story' right from the day one, i didn't knew that you had such a torrid time with those 2 guys!...i can expect Askar to behave that way he did, but that 'baalu' is so un-professional...you should have gone back and blasted at him!

Aravind GJ said...

Srini,
Baalu is a man with thick skin. No amount of blasting has any effect on him. He is least bothered about reactions from customers.

Harish - ಹರೀಶ said...

Nice narration.. A reminder for us not to go to such people!

Is there no way to report such behaviour of the people at the authorized service centre to the corresponding companies, Nikon in this case?

Aravind GJ said...

Harish,
This is the problem with all "Authorized" service centers. This problem is more acute in case of Nikon because they have very few "Authorized" service centres.

They take a long time to find the problem, even longer time to estimate the cost and repair. I have few of my friends who decided to throw their camera after hearing the estimates.

I have to see on how to report it to Nikon.