Thursday, August 30, 2007

How to go from two cameras to no cameras

Customer service is not something that France is famous for, so when my camera went wonky at the beginning of the summer, although it was still under guarantee, my heart did that sinking feeling thing.

[This is really boring so feel free to skip over this whole sorry story of expensive telephone calls to the incompetent, evasive CDiscount after-sales staff based in Morocco, multiple e-mails, a registered letter, and a registered parcel. This painful process was only relieved by their refusal to give straight answers regularly descending into kafkaesque farce:
"I'll open a file in your name and pass it on to the appropriate department"
"Which department is that?".
"The appropriate one."
All of this effort gave rise to four identical responses advising me to get in touch with Panasonic (when getting in touch with Panasonic was of course the first thing I'd done) all signed by different people. My camera is still at the repairers in Lyon who are waiting for the go-ahead from CDiscount to start repairing it (cost 390€, so more than the camera is worth) because it turns out that the first year of the guarantee is covered by the manufacturer of the camera but the second is covered by the company that sells it to you. Of course that company does everything it possibly can to put you off trying to make that happen. After eight weeks, I finally made a mini breakthrough yesterday - they actually divulged the telephone number of their "Guarantees Department". Wow. I really feel that I am getting somewhere now.]

Luckily, we had an older compact camera and we've been using that since June. This weekend we went to the beach. (On the way there, we passed an gigantic warehouse being built by the side of the motorway. On the side, in massive letters we read CDiscount.) As we trekked through the forest to get to the beach, P. carried a basket and in that basket was a bag and in that bag was the replacement camera. At one point he said, "Oh look, the bag is open, I hope nothing has fallen out."

So now we have, wait a minute let me count, oh yes, that's right, zero cameras.

Any suggestion for a cheap compact (around 100€) that we might buy to tide us over until CDiscount coughs up ....... so probably for another couple of years.


ViVi said...

Oh no, what a nightmare! We often buy DVDs from CDiscount but we've never bought anything larger. I'll keep your story in mind if we're ever tempted.

I'm really happy with my Kodak C330. It takes pretty decent pictures, has lots of different settings and can do video as well. I sprang for the larger memory card and I think we paid about 140€, not more than 150€ including the rechargable battery and charger.

Sarah Mackenzie said...

Most electronic things that we have bought in France have broken down – a TV, 2 DVD players, a liquidiser, the fridge (this was our fault), a crappy karaoke machine... whatevah!... anyway, luckily (and I'm touching wood here) Darty have without question taken back and refunded or fixed the things without a question asked... even the fridge was repaired by a smiling fixer who pointed out that we had blocked some "duct" or something and went ahead made it all better at no charge. We love Darty. Although it would be nice to be able to buy stuff that worked. I won't even begin to talk about France telecom though as it's first thing in the morning and would be a bad way to start the day.

Anyway, I'll have a look and see if we have an old functioning camera.

Sarah Mackenzie said...

oooh... some very dad grammar/english/compositinal thought going on there.

On the other hand, so to speak, you could ask for a hand out from Gunther or Kalu or even Big Tibby (not quite as financially secure though so maybe not) anyway if you don't ask you don't get

Anonymous said...

BeefKing here. Don't focus so much on the loss of your two cameras; think instead of the advancement in camera technology in the intervening period since you last purchased one. Even in a few months, great strides have been made. And now you have an opportunity to upgrade! Fate has spoken loudly. Will you listen?

The new coolpix is quite nifty. Nice piece of glass, and wifi. not only can you wirelessly shift your images to your computer, you can automatically send them to flickr, directly from the camera! How cool is that!

Or maybe, rather than a new camera, fate is telling you to go out there and get a new phone. New phones have better cameras in them than some cameras you can buy. The iphone is unlockable now, you know :)

It could also be possible that fate is merely trying to simplify your life by removing all that cluttering gadgetry. What's next to break? I daren't speculate.

In the meantime, though, our old cybershot is yours for the borrowing if you need a stopgap.

meredic said...

Is a mobile phone a daft idea? I use a Sony Ericsonn K750i or a K800i for all my blog pictures. They came free, if you dont count the contract, with 02. For day to day snaps they are very good.

Lesley said...

Update: I got an e-mail today telling me that they had refused the estimate and were sending my file on to another department to arrange a replacement or reimbursement. Things are really moving along, I feel quite giddy.

Vivi:I think I've read other bloggers say good things about the Kodak C330. I'll look into it. (I'd never had any probs with CDiscount either, but once I started googling I found that there are thousands of people out there trying to get their products delivered or their money back.)

Sarah: Our neighbours all have telephone problems at the moment - merci France Telecom.

Beefking: The second camera was a Coolpix (sob). Thanks for the offer of the loan: we may take you up on that, unless an Iphone drops down from heaven first.

Meredic: Yes, I need a new phone too. Mine has a crappy camera and infra red (did anyone ever actually use that?)

engelsk said...

Does have any 'cheap' digital cameras?

I ask because I just set up an account with and they started sending me promotional e-mails (until I adjusted my account settings). On one of them I saw they had a Nikon digital camera for 89 euros.

Anonymous said...

BK again: we got a $15 digicam for K at a Wall-Mart. You get what you pay for: not the best lens or eye. But for his purposes it's great.

Of course, people still ebay the diana, in all its plastic-lensed 35mm glory.

I don't think that's what you're after, though. I'd hold out for the iphone.

Or this... at 39 megapixels, you probably wont need another camera upgrade again. Ever.

deborah said...

Laughing at this post has made my day, especially when I got to ' .... zero cameras'.

Sarah Mackenzie, you have my full, wholehearted support re your feelings for France telecom. I'm ready to get into combat gear to go and plant a bomb somewhere (away from any humans of course) and get rid of their outfit altogether.

I think this must happen to a lot of people and that is why it is virtually impossible to find their address for complaints and registered letters.

My father, who is ninety, needs a mobile phone (because I refuse getting involved any more with FT), anyone out there know where I can find the very biggest and least sophisticated model in France?

Lesley said...

engelsk: the only problem with Amazon is that if anything went wrong with the camera, I would get involved in one of these virtual mazes again.

Beefking: Or I suppose I could get out my old Minolta SLR - but I don't think I can remember how to use it. And would I still be strong enough to lug it around with me?

Deborah: I think there must be a gap in the mobile phone market : big phones for old people. Maybe they could even make them in bakelite.