Why I Love Australia: Pre-Sales Customer Service

I figure I might occasionally do something like this every now and then, just in order to vent at large groups of people in an indiscriminate manner.

So. I’m likely getting a camera fairly soon, various reasons, and after ahmning and ahring a bit I’ve more or less settled on the FujiFilm HS20. Or HS20 EXR, for all those who are anal about names and so on.

It’s a bridge camera – you know, a camera that fills that middle category between point-and-shoot and SLR (read: professional zoomeh-zoomeh massive-lens shiney shine) – which I figure is the best type of camera for myself because I kinda want to be able to have a moderate amount of control without going bankrupt. Anyway, less about the camera and more about me!

Thing is about cameras is that they are expensive here in the land of Aus. So, naturally, you look at other places. Like America. And, due to the Aussie Dollar being strong (that, or the US Dollar being weak, but what’s the difference amirite?) things are significantly cheaper to buy things from over the Pacific. Digital cameras at least.

Of course, the issue with buying things from overseas, and especially with buying from overseas sellers on Amazon (which itself is American, as they haven’t decided to grace us with their presence yet) is it makes you a tad paranoid regarding warranties. Are they valid? If they are valid, are they valid here? And so on.

So, exposition over, I’d like to share something with you: My (pre-sale) customer service experience with Fuji Australia, and Fuji USA.

FujiFilm Australia: Hurrah for the local boys!

So, I sent an e-mail, as you do. Abridged:

Me: So, I’d like to buy your camera, but not from you, but rather your American buddies through Amazon. So, If I was to do that and get it shipped over to here, mate, would you like honor the warranty thing and all?

Of course, a reply was received:

Fuji Australia: Mate! So long as you’ve got a copy of the invoice and the card that comes with the camera, and we’re ridgey-didge good to go. That said, you gotta be sure that the card doesn’t say “USA only” or something, so the ball is kind of in the Yanks’ half. But hey, you got anymore questions, mate, just give me a ring, grab a beer and we’ll talk about it.

The above is verbatim*.

*Lie.

You know what’s truly impressive, though? I sent that at 10PM on a Friday, and got the reply at 10:30 AM Monday. That’s only two business hours later. That’s fast.

FujiFilm North America: Words fail me.

So, of course, I sent off another e-mail, to Fuji USA. Again:

Me: So I’m planning on buying a camera. If I bought one through this Amazon thing, see, would it still be valid internationally, specifically because I live in Australia?

Naturally, I wait and wait and sooner or later something arrives in my inbox and here it is, abridged a little:

Fuji USA: What, you haven’t even bought the thing yet? Can’t you see I’m workin’ here? Listen, buddy, you gotta ring this other number and deal with an automated service and be on hold for hours and hours, that’s how everyone else does it. Don’t think you can just circumvent the system, now, you hear?

Okay, so maybe it’s embellished a little.

What? Did you even read my well-thought-out e-mail? I slaved for entire minutes over that piece of text. People were born and others died during that typing session. Probably. And yet you tell me to ring a US 1800 number despite my location as being in Australia? Now, your cameras may be good, but they aren’t that good.

Seriously, do you work part-time in Congress?

Fortunately for me, given that it took them a good two business days to tell me to do the impossible (or, at least, the expensive), I managed to track a copy of the warranty card down, and after decoding all the legal-mumbo-jumbo it doesn’t seem like there’s any USA-only restrictions, but still. Come on!

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