Panasonic DMR-EH75V failure and Panasonic's woeful customer service

vbimport

#1

Be aware that this is going to be a long rant about Panasonic, a company with which I have been engaged in a battle for the past six months. Whether they are dishonest or just plain incompetent, I’m not yet certain, but I am sure that I will never again purchase a Panasonic product, if I can help it, and I am advising you to do the same. Once you’re read what I have to write, maybe you’ll understand my frustration.

Some dates, conversations, etc. in the early part of my tale may be shaky; I would have kept better notes if I’d known what hell I was stepping into when I first bought my Panasonic DVD recorder: DMR-EH75V with VHS, an 80GB hard drive and a TV Guide On Screen function for $429.99. I bought this in March 2007 at the local Circuit City and had no problems with it until around last Christmas. I burned literally hundreds of DVD-Rs using it, most of them Taiyo Yudens. But then, late last year, the DVD drive crapped out on it. It wouldn’t boot any discs. Wouldn’t play or record, because it wouldn’t accept any discs. I made my first (of what so far has been dozens) telephone call to the Panasonic Customer Care (PCC, from now on) line, where I soon learned they don’t “care” about their customers. The operator I spoke to said he would send me a disc to update the firmware.

“If the machine doesn’t boot any discs, how am I going to update the firmware with your disc?”

He hemmed and hawed, and suggested I try it anyway. Several days later, the disc comes, and, hey, what do you know, it doesn’t work. Why a trained Panasonic Customer Care worker didn’t see this coming, and I—a regular Joe—did is anyone’s guess. So I called back, and they suggested I ship the machine off to the Repair Center (PRC, hereupon) in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. It was still under its original warranty, so they emailed me a shipping label and advised I take it to a UPS store for free shipping.

Super-fast turnaround—they received it January 22, and I had it back less than two weeks later. According to their official paperwork, they “replaced DVD drive,” and I could tell, because it made a loud sound when it opened, closed and burned discs. After the first two DVD-Rs I attempted to burn failed, causing the machine to go into “disc recovery mode,” I called the PCC, who advised me to send the machine back to the PRC. I said, “I just got it back yesterday! (you have to let the machine sit with the power off for 24 hours after initial setup for the TV Guide On Screen function)”. No avail, so they emailed me another shipping label, I disconnected all the cords and wires, put it back in the original box, took it back to the UPS Store, shipped it back to Elk Grove Village.

This happened about three weeks later, because it took me some time to get the label and make the frustrating effort to take everything apart and send the machine in. Around March 11, I get the machine back with a letter from the PRC that tells me, literally, they did nothing to it. According to them, it works perfectly, everything checks out, they found nothing wrong with it, they made zero repairs. So I hook it back up, set it up, wait 24 hours, burn some discs…same problem. A couple here and there work fine, but, out of ten attempts, only three burn successfully.

Another call to the PCC. Another request to send the unit back to the PRC. I’m fuming by this time, and ask why I would want to do that. What is the point of me sending the unit in again, if they aren’t going to fix it? I eventually move up from the regular operator to someone in charge named Charles. My questions are pretty straightforward—namely, why should I send the unit back to the PRC, since they didn’t fix the problem the first time? I’m really angry, since they just flat out refused to fix the problem that I know perfectly well exists. Charles is no help whatsoever, just repeating his mantra, “Send it to the Repair Center.” I tell him that I would rather not, I would rather someone came up with an alternate solution that would involve the least amount of work for me, but no one at Panasonic is capable of thinking outside the box. After more than an hour of speaking to the PCC, I decide, okay, hell, I guess I’ll have to send the machine back.

This time, I write Panasonic a 1-page letter (on the PCC’s advice) outlining exactly what is wrong and what I think the problem is. It’s fairly obvious that the replacement DVD drive is defective, considering what has taken place. I enclose the letter, the previous work orders and invoices, a copy of my Circuit City receipt, and a copy of my extended warranty, which I purchased while the unit was at the PRC the first time.

I get it back the third time April 16. According to the work order, all they did was install firmware. I plug the unit in, set it up…IT STILL DOESN’T WORK!

I don’t even bother to call the PCC this time, I go straight to the PRC, which is difficult, ‘cause they’re only open 7am–4pm weekdays, when I’m at work. I speak to someone in their Customer Service department named Antoinette, who seems friendly and interested in helping. While being firm and as polite as possible (I don’t shout or call names), I explain the problem and what’s going on and ask why they refuse to fix a machine that is clearly in need of repair. Another hour on the phone of her asking me to send the machine back (for a fourth time!), and me asking her why I should, when they clearly have no interest in helping me. She promises to take a personal interest in the case and says that I can call her directly anytime I want, if I’d like to monitor the situation.

I can’t believe this is actually happening, but…another shipping label, another disconnection (by this time, my original box has been beaten up by so many trips through the mail, so I’m using the box the PRC sent the unit back in, but I use plenty of padding, because they barely bothered to wrap it at all), another trip to the UPS Store.

This time, the PRC has my unit for six weeks. During that time, I made perhaps 25 calls to them. About two weeks after I shipped it, Antoinette called me at home around 8am. She said that a technician had discovered the problem and that parts were on order. She said she did not know who the technician was or what parts they were, but they were waiting for the parts to arrive, and then the unit would be fixed.

“So they did discover that there was a problem?” I asked.
Her exact answer: “Yes.”

That afternoon, I get a call from Victor, a technician, who tells me that they have looked at my machine several times and they can find nothing wrong with it, so they are going to have to send it back to me unrepaired. Obviously, someone has misplaced his or her talking points. I ask, “Why did Antoinette just tell me that you were ordering parts for it?” He says he will ask her, and when he comes back, he says she is busy and can’t come to the phone, but she told him she never told me that. Obviously, somebody is lying. I make it quite clear to him that I want the unit repaired. He claims they ran diagnostics tests, that they had other technicians look at it, and that they burned several discs successfully. “How is it possible for it to work perfectly at your place, and not at mine?” He has no answer.

I ask him, “Are you telling me that you burned ten DVD-Rs and they all worked?”
“I don’t know how many discs, but everything is fine.”
He asks me what brands I use, and I told him I have tried different kinds, but primarily Taiyo Yuden. It isn’t the discs, because I have the same problem with all brands. I ask him what he used.
“We have our own special kind, Panasonic discs.”

Over the next couple of weeks, at my demand, they keep the machine and claim to run more tests on it. Honestly, I don’t know if they ever take it out of the box. What is an incontrovertible fact is that this DVD recorder is defective and does not work properly, no matter what Panasonic says.

Finally, during the first half of June, I talk more to Antoinette, who, at my request, gives me her supervisor, Estrella, who is a Customer Service supervisor. At this point, nobody from the PRC is returning my calls (and complicating the matter is the fact that I just changed my phone number, because of my impending move). Estrella is also completely useless—just telling me that the technicians could find no problem, that they would have to return my unit to me, and they could not send me a replacement unit.

Sidebar: in the event Panasonic were unable to repair my unit, they say they will ship me a new unit, free of charge. The problem is Panasonic no longer makes the DMR-EH75. During one conversation with the PCC, a female operator told me they didn’t have any new ones.

“You mean there isn’t one DMR-EH75 anywhere? Not one left over in a warehouse someplace?”

She said they were completely sold out of every unit. I asked her why they didn’t make it anymore, and she said Panasonic decided there was not enough demand for units with hard drives inside, so they stopped making them. Setting aside the idea that no consumers want hard drives (since everyone I know who owns a DVD recorder has one with a hard drive), I asked her, “how can there be no demand for this machine, when you just told me you sold every single one that you made?” Unsurprisingly, she had no answer.

Back to the present (and, believe me, there are a lot of conversations I am leaving out in the name of something approaching brevity, including someone at the PCC who flat-out lied to me and made me jump through some hoops that, another operator admitted later, there was no reason). My machine returns from the PRC around June 24. At this point, I’m in a different residence, different electricity, maybe just different vibes, who knows? I really am trying to give Panasonic some benefit of the doubt, that maybe, miraculously, there is some situation in which my DVD recorder would work perfectly in Elk Grove Village and inconsistently at best in Champaign.

I hook the machine up. Forget about the TV Guide To Go (which I don’t think works with my new DirecTV HD DVR). I just want to burn DVD-Rs. I start with a new batch of Taiyo Yudens. The first three work, then one doesn’t. I open a new batch of Maxells. One works, one doesn’t. Then I try a new batch of Sonys. Four in a row—unsuccessful. This DVD recorder does not work.

Today, Sunday, July 06, 2008, I call the PCC, because Estrella told me there was nothing more the Repair Center could do for me (which is also what Customer Care told me months ago). She did give me her superior’s extension, but, of course, a message on his/her voicemail resulted in no callback. My plan now is to just keep moving up the chain until I find somebody who can pull the trigger and get something done, whether it’s repairing my unit or sending a replacement.

Today, I tell the operator at PCC that I want a supervisor. I get David, who will only say he’s a “member of management.”

“What’s your job title?”
“I speak for management.”
“What does that mean?”
“I am a member of management.”

After more than a half-hour, I get nowhere. David’s only advice is to return my unit to…yep…the Repair Center. I tell him I’ve done this four times already. What will happen the fifth time that has not already happened? He says he can’t tell me. He says he will send an email to someone there who can follow up.

“Who are you emailing?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“Just give me a name, any name.”
“I can’t give you a phone number, outside of the toll-free general number, or an email address.”
“I’m not asking you for that. I just want a name I can ask for at the Repair Center, so I can follow up on your email.”
“I don’t have a name. I’m sending an email to a group. You’re asking me who will be assigned to your case, and I don’t know who that will be.”
“No, I’m not. I’m asking you for the name of somebody within that group who can tell me who is assigned my case.”

We pretty much go around in circles. He’s telling me that I’m not giving him a chance to help me, and I tell him that I have already given his co-workers dozens of chances to help me. None of them has, and how can he ensure me that he will do anything different? He cannot.

Finally, I ask to speak to his supervisor, which he does not want to do. He tells me it is Charles (remember him?).

“What’s his job title?”
“Member of management.”
“What does that mean?”
“He can speak for management.”
“So can you. Is he above you? You’re a member of management.”
“He is a Lead.”
“Lead. That’s what it says on his business card? Lead?”
“He is a Lead, and he will tell you what I’m telling you. He will call you back sometime in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

I told David that I have been fed that “24–48 hour” b.s. before. Someone at PCC once told me they would call me back within 24-48 hours, and I finally called them back nearly two weeks later. They said, “We don’t have a record here of anyone promising to call you back.” Yeah, just like nobody at the Repair Center has any record of a technician ordering parts for my DVD recorder (by the way, when I asked, Estrella told me it was impossible for anyone to delete information from the work notes, which I’m not convinced of).

I asked David today who Charles’ supervisor was. He was really steamed at this point. “I know what you’re trying to do, you’re trying to work your way up the chain to find someone who can give you what you want.” I had to admit he was right.

“You can’t speak to his supervisor today.”
“Fine. Just what is the name?”
“Lovette (sp?).”
“What is her job title?”
“Supervisor.”
“The first person I spoke to today, I asked her to speak to a supervisor. I thought you were a supervisor.”
“I am not.”
“So it goes: Member of Management, Member of Management—Lead, Supervisor, in that order?”

So, now, I am waiting for Charles to call me back, which may or may not ever happen. I plan to call Estrella or perhaps her supervisor (I have that extension) tomorrow, if I’m able. Today is July 6, 2008, so you can see how long this has been going on.

I’m not just writing this to vent, but also to seek advice from you. What else should I do? Where else should I turn? Should I go to Small Claims Court? Contact the Elk Grove Village Better Business Bureau? Do I have a legal leg to stand on? Should I post this message somewhere else? Should I call someone? Or should I just say “screw it” and toss the damn DVD recorder in the trash? Anyone who would like to add their 2 cents or just share a Panasonic (or any other company) customer service story of their own, please leave a comment or email me privately. I really feel I’m at the end of my rope.


#2

I understand your hardships. There are too many companies that don’t give a damn about customer service. As far as the people you talk to when you call the 1-800-211-PANA #, they are probably all lowly-paid employees. Most don’t have any real technical knowledge (if they did, they wouldn’t be working those jobs to begin with), and at their wage level, you can’t expect them to care about your problems. I won’t say why, but it’s obvious most don’t have high levels of education.

I hope I don’t end up with similar problems with Panasonic. I just sent my machine (eh75) in recently. I wrote a detailed letter, backed up by some videos I burned onto a CD-ROM (six different AVIs that show the problems, sounds, display messages, errors, etc).

It’s truly unfortunate those blokes at Panasonic are giving you so much trouble, along with all of these lies and deceptions. I also wonder how much time those technicians are actually spending on your machine. It certainly doesn’t sound like much.

Basically, they have all the power. They also realise 99.9% of all complainers will eventually give up at some point. It’s up to you how far you are willing to carry this through. Do you have any friends that can give you some free legal advice?


#3

All I can do is sympathize with you. I had similar promises from Panasonic at Elk Grove about what they would do for me without any results. Panasonic will suffer in the long run for this blatant lack of service.


#4

Take action, don’t sit back and wait. Follow-up with Panasonic. Just because those people have your machine it doesn’t mean it will be processed correctly.

For instance, I just called a few minutes ago. They told me they received my machine, and they sent me out “a cost estimate letter” that details the costs based on hourly rate. They also “need my sales receipt, to determine whether or not the unit is in or out of warranty before we can begin servicing your unit.”

I had to remind them I sent a money order, that can be tracked - I’ll know if they cash it - for the flat-rate fee.

“Oh yes sir, we did receive your money order. Our records do indeed show that the flat-rate was agreed upon. I don’t know how things got so mixed up. I’ll send the machine to the technician for repairs right away.” So had I not called to follow up, the machine would have been sitting there for a long time (until I sent back the cost letter with my approval of the hourly fee).

I also asked the PRC to send me something in writing that they have received and cashed my money order, that it was for the agreed upon flat-rate fee.

Very disorganized and shady - a bit too much for my tastes. This repair center is definitely not trustworthy. The workers can’t even process simple stuff - not sure what types of people are hired. Not sure I trust their “technicians” to repair/restore anything - I have a feeling it’d be short-term fix at best (won’t last).


#5

[QUOTE=formergi;2090036]All I can do is sympathize with you. I had similar promises from Panasonic at Elk Grove about what they would do for me without any results. Panasonic will suffer in the long run for this blatant lack of service.[/QUOTE]

This kind of poor service killed LiteOn DVD Recorders and may do the same to Panasonic.


#6

On Wednesday, I finally received a (belated) callback from Charles at Panasonic Customer Care, who indicated he had seen my blog (where I also posted my initial rant) and had an idea of my frustrations. He gave me a new telephone number to call–this one an “executive” number to Panasonic’s corporate office, which is in New Jersey, I believe.

“Who should I ask for at this number?”
“Anybody who answers the phone will be able to help you.”

He was kind of right. It took me three tries to get someone on the line, because of Panasonic’s confusing phone menu that doesn’t tell a caller what to do if you don’t know the name or extension of whom you’re calling. I got a friendly switchboard operator who was confused when I told her why I was calling, but she eventually got me somebody else, who was equally confused. That person, also polite, told me I would get a callback later in the day from a supervisor in the “DVD Recorder Department.”

And I did. I received a very nice, comforting call from Karen, who told me, “Looking at these case notes, I can’t believe what has been happening” (nor can I). She asked (“if you don’t mind”) if I would pack up my DVD recorder again, but this time send it to the corporate office, where engineers could look at it. I asked what would happen there that hasn’t already happened at the Repair Center, and she replied that these would be engineers looking at the unit, and they will find out what is wrong with it. Which makes me wonder: who do they have repairing units at the Repair Center, and why don’t they have engineers there?

I also told her my belief that the DVD drive is defective in it (without getting any “we don’t use defective parts,” like I did from David at Customer Care), and also that it’s possible the spindle is dirty (thanks to another forum poster who pointed that out), but I couldn’t clean it myself without voiding the warranty (which she agreed, yes, that would). I told her what brands of DVD-R I’ve been using, and since the unit has malfunctioned with at least three different brands, the discs can’t be the culprit.

Karen (whose last name I’m leaving out, but I appreciate that she’s the first Panasonic employee to provide one) offered to e-mail a shipping label, so I can send my unit to her. She also provided me with her e-mail address and telephone extension, and invited me to contact her if I needed to. We also made sure Panasonic had my correct contact info, since I’ve changed phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses in recent weeks. Oh, and she also promised to send me some Panasonic DVD-Rs, which I didn’t ask for, but I appreciate the gesture.

Reason to be optimistic? I think so, though I’ve been optimistic before and been let down. It’s my nature to be hopeful in these situations and assume that professionals will act professionally. I know that doesn’t always happen, but I feel I can take Karen at her word. The fact that she probably knew by then that I had filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau probably helped nudge her.

P.S. On Thursday, I received the shipping label, so I’ll be sending out my unit via UPS next week. Karen also asked if I would provide a couple of the DVD-Rs that failed to burn, saying they would help the engineers solve the problem.


#7

i mostly agree with your assessment reguarding Panasonic’s customer service. some of them don’t have enough knowledge or patience, but they are rather powerless too. I’m sure they’d love to give you contact info of their superiors, but they aren’t allowed to. Definitely frustrating for us (the consumer/customer). My blood boils when things aren’t going my way for sure.

At least it seems the Pansonic technicians are top-notch, much more so than the local authorised dealers (as some have stated & advised in other posts).


#8

PImannix,
While I understand your problem. It sounds to me like bad customer
service from who ever you bought it from. My advice is just chuck it
and, buy another recorder. There are many brands out there good
ones at good prices right now[ Maybe try a SONY?] . So forget about
it and save yourself alot of headahes.
Good Luck ZAP.


#9

Sony DVD recorders? I don’t think so in that they are apparently programmed not to record, or even play back, certain content that Sony wants you to pay money for


#10

FORMERGI,
I don’t know you may be right about sony. However I was just
trying to suggest that PImannix just forget about dealing with
panasonic’s customer service[which it seems is giving him a headache] and, just buy another dvdrecorder. Which ever he can
find at a good price.
ZAP.


#11

To PIMannix: I’m sorry to hear about your frustrating experience with PCCC (Panasonic Customer Call Center). One thing I noticed from reading your post is that some discs worked and others didn’t intermittently? Is it possible that the discs could be the issue? Based on shipping and storage conditions, discs (especially those that have been recycled or come in stacks) are possibly more prone to becoming defective - and while DVD-RAM has error correction and defect management, other types of discs do not. This is more likely the problem if all brands of discs that you have attempted were purchased from the same retail outlet.

Also, something else I see that wasn’t mentioned. Are you using a cable box by Scientific Atlanta in line with this unit? Some of Panasonic’s recorders have issues when connected to these brand of set-top boxes - namely the SA-3250 and Explorer 8300 line.

Also, when under warranty the only person who can authorize an exchange unit is the manager of the repair center (James). After two failed repair shipments, a letter should be sent requesting the unit be exchanged or an offer be made. The EH75V is a 2005 model that wasn’t carried over and therefore is no longer on market by Panasonic - so the only option would be to offer you a newer unit (which would not have TV Guide or a hard drive - Panasonic has discontinued these features in the U.S.) at either no charge or a significant differential discount.

Regarding your issue with the chain of command at the PCCC - it is tricky. They are not allowed to give last names or job titles. They can only tell you their first name, extension and whether or not they are a member of management. However, there are two tiers:

For technical:

  1. Technical service representative
  2. Product Technician
  3. Technical Knowledge Specialist

For customer service:

  1. Technical service representative
  2. CCD (Customer Care Division) AKA “member of management”
  3. Lead AKA “member of management”
  4. Supervisor - rare that you will speak with a supervisor as they are not charged with speaking to customers as much as overseeing administrative aspects of their particular teams.
  5. Manager - this is an actual manager of the call center who, also, is not charged with speaking to customers as much as doing administrative tasks - the only customers they speak to are one’s who are “serial callers” who call for no reason and do not actually own the products they call for but call only to harass - they are transferred directly to the manager’s extension for their number to be blocked.

If a “lead” cannot take care of your problem (or refuses to), there are only two options:

  1. report to the BBB - which, honestly, has no effect whatsoever and the people at the PCCC could care less.
  2. contact Panasonic Corporate in NJ - which is the PNAHQ (Panasonic North America HeadQuarters). It seems you’ve already done this and hopefully something will be done for you.

Regarding the comments about the lowly-paid representatives… this is true. The only accommodations they are authroized to offer are for catalog orders (if they are available) and that is disappearing due to their availability on the Panasonic Global site (Panasonic.net). They can send firmware, repair authorization letters, warranty verification letters and that’s about it. Everything else must be authorized by a CCD or Lead.

Many of the reps there are contracted from a temp agency and pay starts at $10.50/hr w/ a differential if you work nights and/or weekends. The highest starting pay for a non-temp Panasonic employee is 13.75/hr if they work every weekend.

As far as the level of technical knowledge, it varies greatly. I myself am primarily self-taught and have a certification from the Marine Corps. in electronics repair. I failed miserably at that job because my quality assurance scores were crap (due to not following procedure to the T) and my call times were high (due to actually wanting to spend time helping the customers) - kind of funny how I ended up with the highest customer satisfaction survey scores, though.

But, you can’t expect everybody to know everything about everything - the reps there support a lot of products once they complete level 2 training. DVD recorders, batteries, digital camcorders (miniDV, DVD, SD, HDD) and HD digital camcorders, LCD, plasma (including industrial), rear projection TVs, digital cameras (including SLRs) etc. It’s a lot of stuff to take in.

So, hopefully this gives you some insight into why it’s so difficult to get things done when you call - it’s really not the initial rep’s fault, it’s moreso the “politics” of the call center. They are put under a lot of pressure not to say or do the wrong thing or make improper documentation because they are constantly being recorded and watched and failing to adhere to policy can cost them their jobs.

I sincerely hope corporate can help you get this resolved and I wish you luck.


#12

PIMANNIX,XMARINE
I understand your point,but since I have owned one of the
very first panasonic dvdrecorders. I know for certain it wouldn’t
be his media[unless he can only use dvd-r or dvdram],thats why
I suggested to him if customer service was giving him such a
head-ache for a long time just chuck it,and buy a new recorder.
Everybody can get a lemon once in a while.
ZAP.


#13

I swear, I think Panasonic is just trying to outlast me, believing that, at any moment, I will crack and collapse into a mewling mess. After sending an email on Sunday and leaving a phone message on Monday, I got a call back from Karen at Panasonic yesterday. She had nothing to say: “still running tests blah blah may have to send to Japan blah blah unable to provide you with a temporary unit blah blah.” I asked her what, specifically, the Panasonic engineers in New Jersey have been doing with my broken DVD recorder. She didn’t know, but she got one of the them on the line for a 3-way conversation.

A brief interjection. As I was asked, I sent Panasonic a letter the last time I sent my DVD recorder in, explaining exactly what the problem was. A day or so before I sent it, I learned on an online forum that, if I switched the dubbing mode from High-Speed Dubbing to Silent Mode, the machine may function better. I tried it, and it did with the few discs that I burned. Inadvertently, I left the machine on Silent Mode when I sent it in, but I told Karen over the phone that it should be tested in High-Speed mode. I also wrote in the letter that I believe the DVD drive may be the problem, as discs have never burned consistently using it, and that the spindle may need to be cleaned (I also picked up this tip on a forum, but I can’t do it myself without voiding the warranty).

So. I get on the horn with the engineer. He tells me about all the discs they’ve been burning and they’ve “been unable to duplicate the problem you’re having.” Like I never heard that before.

“Did you burn in High-Speed mode?”
“No.”
“Did you clean the spindle?”
“No.”
“Did you replace the DVD drive?”
“No.”

So, basically, the last four weeks have been a total waste of time. He wanted to “try copying under the same conditions” as me. This makes no sense. He’s supposed to be fixing the DVD recorder. It’s very possible that he could have cleaned the spindle the first friggin’ day he had it, the machine would then have been working perfectly, and he could have sent it back. Same with the DVD drive. And why is he burning discs in Silent Mode, when all the trouble I’ve been having has been with High-Speed Mode???

As an aside, the only reason I tried Silent Mode or considered the spindle is from learning about this from amateurs online. In the 50 or so phone calls I have had with various Panasonic personnel, including customer service representatives whose only job is to, you know, serve the customers, no one has ever, ever provided me with any advice as to how to fix the problem, beyond “send the machine in for repair.” This is incompetence of the highest level.

So, I still wait. The engineer said he’ll do more tests, and then he asked my permission to send my DVD recorder to Japan for more tests. I can’t imagine what magical tests the Japanese can perform that they’re keeping secret from their New Jersey compatriots. Meanwhile, my DVD recorder has not functioned properly for the last eight months. And counting.

P.S. I used different brands of discs that I bought different places. I did this on purpose. Also, no, I’m not using a Scientific Atlanta box.


#14

It has been my experience that the corporate Panasonic Service Center in Elk Grove Village IL handles warranty and out-of-warranty repairs in a prompt and efficient manner. They and only they are Panasonic experts with access to all the parts necessary to bring a Panasonic back to new or better than new condition.

For service/repair within the warranty period call Panasonic Customer Service at 1-800-211-7262. Customer Service will provide you with a RMA and shipping information through the “Panasonic Account” at a UPS Store. Do not allow Customer Service to talk you into taking your Panasonic to a local “authorized” shop. You will regret such a decision. [B]If necessary, insist upon service/repair at the Panasonic Service Center in Elk Grove Village IL.[/B]

I must repeat, the corporate Panasonic Service Center at Elk Grove Village is the only location with Panasonic experts and all the necessary parts in one location.

Panasonic’s out-of-warranty $130 flat-rate repair includes parts and labor and to and from shipping to Elk Grove Village through a UPS Store. The shipping is handled under the “Panasonic Account.” Call 1-888-439-2676 for more information concerning the $130 flat-rate repair and the shipping procedure for out-of-warranty products. Some have reported that it is necessary to insist on the $130 flat-rate repair. If Panasonic attempts to have you to agree to an “estimate,” then any work will be performed at the full price for parts and labor, potentially a very expensive repair. [B]You may have to insist that you want the flat-rate repair.[/B] The flat-rate is exactly that, your total cost will be $130. Panasonic will provide, through an email or a fax, a return authorization with shipping information or an emailed link to a bar code for the UPS Panasonic Account.

For warranty or out-of-warranty repair be sure to use the original Panasonic packaging or provide your own packaging to avoid shipping complications at the UPS store. (Another poster reported that shipping through the “Panasonic Account” could not be used if it was necessary to purchase packaging at the UPS store.)

This is the corporate Panasonic Service Center information:

Panasonic Service Center
1590 Touhy Ave
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

1-888-439-2676

Avoid “Panasonic Authorized Service” locations that service many brands, specializing in none. They many not have a service manual or parts for your product. They may charge whatever they please to service or repair out-of-warranty products. If parts are needed be prepared to wait for an extended period. Some parts may no longer be ordered by “authorized” shops. [I]I have read many posts (on this and other forums) from those learning this lesson the hard way.[/I]

I must repeat, Panasonic experts and all the necessary parts to return a Panasonic to new or better than new condition are found only at the corporate Panasonic Service Center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.


#15

If your Panasonic unit needing service cost you say $150 or less new, then service costing $130 becomes ridiculous isn’t it?


#16

[QUOTE=formergi;2111376]If your Panasonic unit needing service cost you say $150 or less new, then service costing $130 becomes ridiculous isn’t it?[/QUOTE]

That’s very true. Yet there are some folks that will not see the folly in spending $130 to repair a two year old DMR-ES15 (originally purchased for around $150) rather than purchasing a Panasonic factory refurbished DMR-ES15 for $69.99! Their old ES15 could be sold or kept as a parts machine for that or other 2006 models.

The Panasonic $130 flat-rate repair is an especially good deal for those with the last of Panasonic’s hard drive models.

Panasonic factory refurbished machines from the 2006, 2007 and 2008 model years are available at a substantial cost savings.

The criteria for buying a Refurbished Panasonic product should be:

1-Was the Panasonic product refurbished by Panasonic?
2-Does the Panasonic carry a Panasonic Refurbished Product Warranty?
3-Is the Panasonic product being sold by an Authorized Panasonic Reseller or Dealer?

I have purchased Panasonic Refurbished products from wegotbetterdeals. These products met all three of these qualifications. Panasonic Factory Refurbished products come in factory-sealed brown Panasonic boxes, not the blue and white Panasonic retail boxes. I am very pleased with these Panasonic refurbished products from wegotbetterdeals.

I have also purchased used and as-is products from some of the various DealTree entities (found under such names as Best_Buy_Outlet, dealtree-closeouts, 2ndturn, 2ndturn-closeouts, dealtree-auctions, etc.). I have been pleased with these purchases because I made sure I knew what I was buying. One must read the listings carefully. In a couple of instances the product listings were found to be inaccurate. In both instances DealTree made a prompt, no-hassle adjustment. I have seen undeserved negative feedback for various DealTree entities because the purchaser didn’t read the listing that said that the item was broken, incomplete, or had one or more known or unknown operational problems.

Since most of my Panasonics are 2006 models I purchased two parts machines (both DMR-ES35V models) so that I may have parts to repair my other out-of-warranty DMR-ES35V and DMR-ES15 models. (Including shipping, the two parts machines were purchased for around $17 and $15, respectively.) I have used both parts machine DVD drives and several other parts to keep my “high mileage” Panasonics running.


#17

FWIW

There is silent mode (what I use) and the top speed mode. Both modes are high-speed dubbing.

I hope Panasonic fixes your machine, and you get it back in working order. If/when you get your machine back, and these problems persist, give them hard evidence. Capture your issues via camcorder, digital camera video functions, etc. Show specifically which discs you’re using, what the error messages are, etc.

What a real pity, I can’t believe you have been jousting for nearly one year. At a certain point, it’s true. Life is too short.

Cross your fingers, hope/wait for the newer BD recorders to show up. Eventually I think they will for US market, and we’ll enjoy some HD recordings.

And that’s good advice from DigaDo. Had I stayed with the local authorized dealer, it would have been a big (expensive) mistake. They would have ordered a new DVD drive for $450, then labour is another $100 or so. And the irony is: the DVD drive wasn’t the problem at all - a complete misdiagnose. I did eat a $30 non-refundable fee, which would have went towards the purchase of the new DVD drive and repair costs. There are always new things to learn in life.


#18

Is there any evidence that the “Panasonic refurbished” DVD ES-15 Recorders have had the inherent defects in that particular model corrected?

I still believe that manufacturers should provide some compensation to buyers of inherently defective units, even those units that are slightly over the “warranty period.”


#19

[quote=formergi;2111536]Is there any evidence that the “Panasonic refurbished” DVD ES-15 Recorders have had the inherent defects in that particular model corrected?
"[/quote]
I have 3 ES-15 models and I’m not sure what you mean by “inherent defects”? All of my units have had to have the spindle cleaned, some in as little as 9 months old. All have been used, but not commercially. That is maybe 7? hrs./week. I suppose one could call needing the spindle cleaned after 9 months a inherent defect, but all my Pannys (ES-30s, ES-25) have needed to have the spindle cleaned every year or 2. Once a person knows how to do this it’s easily done less than 1/2 hr. For me the biggest part of the ordeal is unhooking all the wires and getting the unit onto a table to start the work.
As to why Pannys seem to need the spindle cleaning and we don’t read about this operation with other brand DVDRs, I don’t know. To me the fine quality recordings with Pannys make them worth the extra little maintenance required to keep them working at top operation.

As to capacitor replacement(which I’ve never had to do on any of my 9 Pannys, knock on wood) that would probably be called a defect, and a big one at that. To me capacitor failure in any machine less than 40? years old is ridiculous. In my past life in radio and TV repair I used to work on devices over 70 years old. To me it was acceptable that capacitors would fail in those devices, after all they were made out of waxed paper and foil. With todays technology it would be nice if they would at least last 20? years. I don’t think it’s asking too much. All the more power to people who have replaced theirs(Digado;)) but you really shouldn’t need to be doing this. I suppose if any of mine should need the repair I’d probably follow DD’s detailed procedures(thanks DD:)), but I’ll be cursing Panasonic the whole way through:bigsmile:

Now the EZ-17/27, that’s a different animal. I went through 6 within a 9 month period and was pleased when I finally got my money back. I never want to see those model machines again. I guess it was just not meant to be. The EZ-28 was a bit better but I still returned it and am happly recording with my older ES machines with D to A converter boxes.

Long live the ES series, defects and all;)


#20

My post concerning the Panasonic Service Center, currently post #14 above, was also posted on the AVS Forum. Another poster in that Forum suggested various changes/corrections. I revised the original post on that Forum.

Unfortunately CD Freaks only allows editing of posts within thirty minutes of the original post. For that reason I am posting the revised text, with minor editing, as a new post:

It has been my experience that the corporate Panasonic Service Center in Elk Grove Village IL handles warranty and out-of-warranty repairs in a prompt and efficient manner. They and only they are Panasonic experts with access to all the parts necessary to bring a Panasonic back to new or better than new condition.

For service/repair within the warranty period call Panasonic Customer Service at 1-800-211-7262. Customer Service will provide you with a RMA and shipping information through the “Panasonic Account” at a UPS Store. Do not allow Customer Service to talk you into taking your Panasonic to a local “authorized” shop. You will regret such a decision. [B]If necessary, insist upon service/repair at the Panasonic Service Center in Elk Grove Village IL.[/B]

I must repeat, the corporate Panasonic Service Center at Elk Grove Village is the only location with Panasonic experts and all the necessary parts in one location.

Panasonic’s out-of-warranty $130 flat-rate repair includes parts and labor and return shipping from Elk Grove Village. Call 1-888-439-2676 for more information concerning the $130 flat-rate repair and the shipping procedure for out-of-warranty products. Some Panasonic owners have reported that it is necessary to insist on the $130 flat-rate repair in order to initiate that process. Others have found some Panasonic representatives resistant to initiating the flat-rate return process. Some Panasonic owners have found it necessary to return the product without a Return Authorization. If Panasonic attempts to have you to agree to an “estimate,” then any work will be performed at the full price for parts and labor, potentially a very expensive repair. The flat-rate is exactly that, your total cost will be $130. [B]Include a letter with your Panasonic that describes the machine’s problem(s). That letter should clearly state that you want the $130 flat-rate repair and that you are enclosing the $130 payment. Keep photocopies of all these documents and your check/money order.[/B] In the event that Panasonic does implement the flat-rate repair process on the phone they may take your credit card information and charge the $130 up front or after the machine has been received. In that case Panasonic may provide, through an email or a fax, a Return Authorization with shipping information or an emailed link to a bar code for use at the UPS Store.

For warranty or out-of-warranty repair be sure to use the original Panasonic packaging or provide your own packaging to avoid shipping complications at the UPS store. (Another CD Freaks poster reported that shipping through the “Panasonic Account” could not be used if it was necessary to purchase packaging at the UPS store.)

This is the corporate Panasonic Service Center information:

Panasonic Service Center
1590 Touhy Ave
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

1-888-439-2676

Avoid “Panasonic Authorized Service” locations that service many brands, specializing in none. They many not have a service manual or parts for your product. They may charge whatever they please to service or repair out-of-warranty products. If parts are needed be prepared to wait for an extended period. Some parts may no longer be ordered by “authorized” shops. [I]I have read many posts (on this and other forums) from those learning this lesson the hard way.[/I]

I must repeat, Panasonic experts and all the necessary parts to return a Panasonic to new or better than new condition are found only at the corporate Panasonic Service Center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.