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Leica Service

Woody Campbell

Workshop Member
I thought that we should have a thread on Leica service. My own experience has been mixed trending to poor recently. There are a number of posts documenting poor service in the thread comparing the 007 to other MF cameras started by glenerrold.

I would like to hear from others about their experiences with Leica service. Not just complaints, but good experiences as well. Also any tips on how to communicate with Leica and how to get the best out of them. (For example I've found it frustrating that human beings don't answer the New Jersey number and the voice mail box is typically full so it's impossible to leave a message. And emails typically aren't returned. Are there work-arounds?)

In due course I'll see that this thread gets passed along to Leica through one of the dealers who I work with.

I'll discuss my experience in a separate post.

Thanks.
 

doug

Active member
My experience has been mixed trending worse in the last few years.

I was delighted when Leica serviced my DMR for free, but at the same time my R8 racked up thousands of frequent-flyer miles on multiple trips between Sacramento and New Jersey fixing an aperture control problem. This took about one year to resolve; each time the camera returned to me it took about 5 minutes to confirm the problem had not been fixed.

Every time my 280/4 APO needs service I can expect at least three months downtime and more often than not when it returns there's a new problem, i.e., the aperture linkage is disconnected, caps are missing. It's in Germany now, and after three months I still haven't gotten an estimate for repair cost. The previous time it needed service (for its biennial sticky aperture blade cleaning) the service time was six months. I've called several times to follow up on my lens and on the fifth try after no returned phone calls I was able to talk to a real person who said I should see the estimate within 2 weeks. We'll see about that.
 

fotografz

Well-known member
Woody, while I admire your initiative, I wonder if it will have any impact what-so-ever?

This site isn't the only place that Leica owners have voiced frustration and downright anger over their experiences and subsequent treatment ... including the LUF. Leica must be aware of it, and judging from the on-going service horror stories, choose to ignore it, or chalk it up to a bunch of malcontents.

Frankly, I'm tired of reiterating my service issues on different forum sites, or even discussing it with Leica representatives because nothing changes ... or judging from the different websites with Leica components, it appears to have gotten worse.

However, the victims of poor service have no idea how prevalent service nightmares may be. Also, buyers of luxury/premium products are always more vocal because expectations are much higher.

Personally, I'm grateful they are fixing issues at all ... many of which are free even after warranty period: IR issue with the M8 (free filters), Cracked sensors (M and S replacements), corroded sensors, seemingly high failure rate of S and CS lens AF.

Without doing an arm's length laundry list of failures and service issues with the Leica gear I've owned over the recent past (since the M8), suffice it to say that it sure isn't a level service experience one should reasonably expect from such high priced gear. The communication is almost non- existent, follow-up is close to zero, and wait times seem to inconsistently range from days for a lucky few, to 1/2 year+ for an unlucky few ... with most falling somewhere in between.

I get the feeling that there is simply no accountability.

What is particularly disconcerting are items being shipped back in a worse state than when sent off to Leica. Yikes!

- Marc
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I'm probably the outlier here. My Leica gear over all the years has only very rarely required service of any kind, Leica NJ picks up the phone when I call and answers emails when I send them. The local tech rep answers my emails and the local dealer helps out when I ask.

I don't know what I'm doing right, but I'm going to keep on doing it—which is nothing special as far as I know.

G
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I don't think this is too :OT:, but it's important to compare with the alternatives. I sent a decentered lens to Cambo that came back worse. Went again, and came back ok, but not as good as new. Several months, expensive repair (discounted in embarrassment, I think), and a customer left without confidence.

I have luckily not needed Leica service, but will let you all know how it goes if I do.

--Matt
 

Bernard

Member
I'm in the middle of Leica NJ service hell right now, so I can only confirm what most everyone else is saying. Emails and voice mails never get answered, it's almost impossible to get anyone on the phone other than the front desk, who will transfer you to someone's voice mail. Overall it's unprofessional and extremely frustrating. Months come and go without news, and a camera that should be making money is on a shelf, somewhere in New Jersey, or Germany.

How are they compared to the competition?
Zeiss always gets back to me, if only to tell me that they no longer service anything after a few years.
Hasselblad knows exactly where your cameras and lenses are, when you can expect them back, how much it will cost, etc. They always answer phone calls and emails.
I've never had a problem with my Canon gear that couldn't be fixed same-day by a local shop. That's obviously the preferred solution.
 
I'm in the middle of Leica NJ service hell right now, so I can only confirm what most everyone else is saying. Emails and voice mails never get answered, it's almost impossible to get anyone on the phone other than the front desk, who will transfer you to someone's voice mail.
Email should always be the prefered method of communication I think for dealing with companies these days. I don't like to check my PERSONAL voice mail, let alone my work one. Plus there are countless examples of getting in touch with companies these days on places like Facebook and Twitter, assuming the company has set up a social media team. I know you mentioned that Leica is not responding to your emails but I thought i'd chime in with this anyway. My first step is always an email, and it usually gets resolved assuming I can wait a day or so. YMMV.

If Leica is building this fancy new facility I hope they start to take customer service seriously. If they want to command these prices they need to realize that expedient and good service is part of the ticket price in the mind of the consumer. Or they should work with local shops to develop a repair network. Nearly everyone I've talked to that has dealt with Leica service has some pretty egregious complaints, and that's not even mentioning the online exchanges like this.
 

sjg284

Member
Email should always be the prefered method of communication I think for dealing with companies these days. I don't like to check my PERSONAL voice mail, let alone my work one. Plus there are countless examples of getting in touch with companies these days on places like Facebook and Twitter, assuming the company has set up a social media team. I know you mentioned that Leica is not responding to your emails but I thought i'd chime in with this anyway. My first step is always an email, and it usually gets resolved assuming I can wait a day or so. YMMV.

If Leica is building this fancy new facility I hope they start to take customer service seriously. If they want to command these prices they need to realize that expedient and good service is part of the ticket price in the mind of the consumer. Or they should work with local shops to develop a repair network. Nearly everyone I've talked to that has dealt with Leica service has some pretty egregious complaints, and that's not even mentioning the online exchanges like this.
Agreed, I have a camera out to them right now..
I started the repair process via email.. Though they ended up calling and playing voicemail tag with me... and then back to email since they didn't seem to listen to voicemail.

It took them a week to confirm receiving my camera, I have no ETA on test/estimate yet.. hopefully this is not a prolonged ordeal.
I have a sticky/stiff shutter release so hopefully this isn't much to diagnose and then fix. It is now out of warranty, so ... we'll see.
 

fotografz

Well-known member
Okay, so here's my latest. I sent a CS180 in for the dreaded AF failure on May 11/16. This was supposed to have been a fast-tracked repair after speaking directly with John Kreidler who interfaced with Jim Mooney, the S Repair coordinator in NJ.

After I shipped in May replete with the official Leica service request form, I heard nothing from Leica. My only proof that they had the lens was my tracking number from UPS and indication that it was signed for at the loading dock. Then nothing.

Yesterday I returned home to find a UPS sticker on my door indicating that after one attempt to deliver I have to go to a UPS store to retrieve the package. Even though I provided e-mail address and cell text information, Leica didn't bother to forward a UPS notification of the impending delivery so I could track it and be there to sign for it. This it the third time this has happened with Leica shipments in the last year.

The next step is to go get it (if it is there), then check that the lens is in the same perfect shape it was when shipped with all parts sent (no guarantee of that), and then ... whether they fixed it.

Not a terrible experience, but not a premium one either, I mean how difficult would it be to at least notify the customer of a tracking number like everyone one else on the planet does.

So, I guess fast-track means a wee bit under 3 months.

I'm still waiting for a new S charger to replace the loaner they sent me. That is also 3 months old.

My friends, I'm telling all of you ... this happens because there is no accountability. There is no follow up for the company to gauge performance ... in fact, no after service communication what-so-ever.

We can howl at the moon forever, send off e-mail petitions, grumble to one another ... but no accountability, no customer policy, no initial contact and no follow-up means nothing will change.

Every time I get my Lexus serviced, the dealer busts a hump to take care of me because they know that I'll immediately get a phone call and an e-survey directly from Lexus ... and that there is hell to pay for anything less than a stellar experience.

- Marc
 
Yesterday I returned home to find a UPS sticker on my door indicating that after one attempt to deliver I have to go to a UPS store to retrieve the package. Even though I provided e-mail address and cell text information, Leica didn't bother to forward a UPS notification of the impending delivery so I could track it and be there to sign for it. This it the third time this has happened with Leica shipments in the last year.
Another pro-tip haha! If you get the UPS app and a UPS account (which I believe is free), UPS will always notify YOU when you have a package coming, and they provide alternate locations for delivery if you can't be home to get it. This has saved me in Brooklyn countless times because like most people, I don't have a door man, and do have a job.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
While I have no standing with Leica, I do have a close relative who can get a message all the way up the chain, and I'm having lunch with him today. I'll try to get this on his radar. He gets loaners instantly and doesn't care how long repairs take, so he may not be aware of the feelings in our community.

I also never got a response from Mr. Mooney. Fortunately, my problem corrected itself.

--Matt
 

rsmphoto

Member
On a positive note....I've had only one Professional service experience with Leica in Solms Germany for an S VE 30-90. My dealer sent the lens in for me, but I am a registered member for their repair Professional Repair service in Solms. The zoom lens had a very loose zoom ring, nothing as major as a broken CS shutter. Turnaround time was less than three weeks, which included their Christmas break. Can't complain about that. Haven't yet had a problem with my S2 or the S 006 that replaced it, over the past 4 years, shooting on location 125-150 days a year averaging 300 exposures/day.

Richard
 

Bas

New member
I'm quiet happy with the Leica Customer Service. There might have made a small mistake, but it's absolutely not bad.

I'm always communicating by email directly to leica germany ([email protected]). Response has always been within 24-hours, but sometimes it's very prompt and it's possible to get a response within 1 hour (I have had as many as 5 responses within one day, when i was asking questions about the quote etc.). My communication has always been with the same person...probably something like the last 30 emails.
I have had two repairs this year (a camera and some lenses)...for both it took about two months. I did get a notification and track-and-trace.

The good stuff:
  • They replaced the reflex tube of my v1 MATE to reduce the flare problem of this lens (which was actually not so expensive).
  • They send me a free replacement hood of the 35mm fle summilux because of the slight change in design of the newer hood to better accomodate filters.
  • My M9 was repaired for free after 5 years of ownership. This wasn't the usual sensor corrosion, but instead reading out the sensor went totally crazy (random purple/green lines all over the image).
  • I lost the rubber eyecup of the WATE finder. They send me a new one (free).

The bad stuff:
  • It took them about a week to send a confirmation of the delivery. It would be nice if this could be done faster, at least I was getting a bit nervous during that week because i also lost track-and-trace when the package entered germany :(.
  • I lost the red index ball on one of my lenses. They told me they would replace it for free, but I think they forgot. That would be the only mistake so far from their side.
 

JorisV

New member
One experience so far with Leica Customer Service: the already above-mentioned AF failure for one of my S-lenses.

Pro: the AF motor was replaced for free under goodwill warranty.

Con(s): all of the above, it took 2 months, lots of unanswered emails, communication via mail whereas email was requested, unannounced shipments, etc.

I remember reading the interview with CEO Oliver Kaltner:

"In 2015, we set in motion an extensive process of transformation, focusing primarily on the strategic change from a pure hardware company to a hardware, software and services enterprise"

and thinking: Dude, you have got a bit of a road ahead of you...
 

JeffSD

New member
Hi, gang. I'm new here, but an old hand at Fred Miranda's.

My main kit is Nikon/Nikkor, but I picked up a Leica Certified M240 and three lenses about a year and a half ago. I love this setup, especially for travel, and the lens quality is impressive.

Regarding service, I've had my M240 back to New Jersey twice. The first was for a line of dead pixels that appeared to need sensor mapping. Leica responded quickly, replaced the sensor, and had the camera back in a month. Communication was good and my dealer (Kenmore Camera) helped in this regard.

My second experience was with a rangefinder that recently needed recalibration. Unfortunately, this couldn't be done locally and the camera had to go to NJ. This visit took longer (approximately six weeks) but my camera was just out of warranty and Leica could have charged me for this service. They didn't, and handled the recalibration as a goodwill service. They cleaned my sensor in the process. Communication was good throughout.

So, all-in-all, my service experiences with Leica have been good thus far and I'm a satisfied customer. I'm thinking about picking up an S 006 kit, so I might have the opportunity to put this good experience to the test. :)

I have two pieces of advice for Leica regarding service. First, a west coast service shop, in addition to New Jersey, could benefit customers, and the company alike. Second, from all my reading, it seems that Leica is doing a huge amount of goodwill warranty service. Between the CCD sensor problems and the S lens autofocus motor issues, this has to be a significant financial burden for the company, not to mention a frustrating experience for customers. If significantly improving product reliability is not a top priority for the company, I would suggest that it needs to be.

A quick note about reliability and my service experience with Nikon. In general, my Nikon cameras have been very reliable. My Nikkor lenses have been a mixed bag. When a lens collar broke on one of my lenses, Nikon insisted that it had to have been dropped. It hadn't been. Apparently, this is a common reaction from Nikon when a product breaks; claim user negligence. This probably helps the P&L of the Nikon service department, but I found it infuriating and it really soured me on the brand. That, plus the superiority of Leica's lenses, is what first got me thinking about buying outside the Nikon Family. A letter to Nikon's CEO in Japan, politely explaining my experience and long history with Nikon, went unanswered. So, I guess the grass isn't always greener ...

Cheers,
Jeff
 

fotografz

Well-known member
Another pro-tip haha! If you get the UPS app and a UPS account (which I believe is free), UPS will always notify YOU when you have a package coming, and they provide alternate locations for delivery if you can't be home to get it. This has saved me in Brooklyn countless times because like most people, I don't have a door man, and do have a job.
I already am a UPS account subscriber and wondered why I wasn't notified. Inexplicably Leica NJ addressed the package label to the local UPS store nearest me, and UPS left a sticker on my door. I have zero idea why, and it is just that sort of inconsistency that can be unnerving given the value of these items.

All's well that ends well ... I have it now and the AF works again. I have to wait until it is daylight here to test the AF accuracy, but suspect it will be fine. Thank Got since I have a job next weekend that'll take me 7 hours driving to get to, and there will be no second chances.

Back to work on the last job that has to be delivered tomorrow.

- Marc
 

KurtKamka

Subscriber Member
Hanging out with my S(006) in Norway for some landscape and street shooting.

I rented a 24mm lens (which I love, love, love). Day 3 into the vacation and the AF malfunctions ... arghhh.
 

baudolino

Member
Same experience here. Failed AF with my 24mm S lens yesterday, in a photo workshop with a famous Austrian photographer. I believe now that the AF will fail in all the S lenses, sooner or later. Last time this happened with the 70 CS, the lens was back from repair in 3 weeks. We will see how long it takes this time. Whoever designed the AF mechanism at Leica should be hanged by his ears (or other dangling body parts) and left to dry in the wind.
 
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