It’s Recall Time

December 6, 2005

Entertainment, Music, Technology

When I was growing up in the seventies, I remember when the US auto makers suffered through an interminible string of product recalls. Many of those recalls related to the new emission control guidelines that were imposed by the federal government. Even my Dad had to deal with recall problems. His Chevy Luv Truck was recalled for some kind of emission control repair.

But since that time, I really haven’t had to deal with any product recalls – until this month. As noted earlier, I was one of the fortunate folks who bought a Sony BMG CD with the much publicized XCP malware.

And in today’s email stack, I received a note from Nikon letting me know that their EL-EN3 battery pack (which I purchased for a Nikon D70 DSLR) has been deemed defective and worthy of a recall. Per instructions in the email (and on Nikon’s US site), I determined that my battery was one of the affected battery lots. I called Nikon USA and spoke with an able customer service rep who graciously and throoughly walked me through the recall options. When I started the call, I thought my wife was going to be out a battery for a few weeks. Instead, Nikon graciously offered to ship the new battery – with the provisio that they could bill my credit card for a battery if they didn’t receive my defective battery within thirty (30) days.

Wow! What a great way to accept responsibility for a flaw and offer the customer exemplary service to resolve the issue. Of course, the economics of the two situations are different. Sony sold millions of records with the defect. Nikon’s exposure probably numbered in the thousands. Sony did not have a database of affected users (unless you count the “phone home” spyware info that Sony collected). In Nikon’s case, they did have a list of email addresses for their registered users.

But despite the differences in customer data and/or recall scope, the difference in corporate attitude is what will stay with me. Sony seemed resentful that I would want a replacement for something that they had screwed up. Nikon seemed eager to solve the problem they had caused. There were no excuses. There was no backing away from responisbility. Nikon simply stepped up to their responsibility and did the right thing the first time. Bravo, Nikon. Your customer service tone will result in subsequent purchases by me and my family. May your example inspire all companies to “do the right thing” at the outset – not when you’re forced to.




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