Monday, December 7, 2009

Not 'flipping out' over Flip Video support

Anyone who knows me knows I love the Flip Video. This inexpensive little video camera allows anyone to shoot quality video with minimal effort and no complicated menus or buttons to navigate. They bring the same point and shoot ease to video that digital cameras brought to still photography over a decade ago.

Pure Digital (owned by Cisco) is also a pretty social company that engages with its users at various places and aggressively uses user generated content in everything from their online promotions to their television ads. With their focus on users and 'the experience', I thought I'd have no problem getting help when my own Flip - the Flip Ultra - experienced a problem that, after research, I found to be a pretty common one.

I called up support and described my problem. The agent promptly and confidently said 'take your batteries out for 72 hours and it'll fix it'. It didn't. So I called the company back and asked for more help. Within less than a minute I was told there was nothing I could do but send it in to them for repair and that the problem I was experiencing was a common one that they've dealt a lot with in the Flip Ultra.

Alas, that is where it all went downhill. Upon looking up my serial number, the agent found out I was out of warranty and then promptly told me there was nothing they would do to help. I was just out of luck and would have to 'just deal with it' until I purchased a new camera. I disconnected from the call very disappointed and somewhat angry.

Don't get me wrong: I understand the manufacturers can't offer support forever. But this camera is a little over a year old and is experiencing a problem that is COMMON - which means it's NOT the users doing. It's a manufacturers defect. Warranty shouldn't be a 'get out of jail free' card here. It is THEIR FAULT. They should fix it. The answer SHOULD NOT BE 'just deal with it until you buy a new camera'.

Until this incident, I was seriously considering purchasing a number of Flip MinoHD's for family and friends this Christmas. Now, not so much. I'm very worried about handing those I love to a company that will offer little or no support for their own problems. I might give out small video recorders this Christmas, but based on this support experience, they will not be Flip Mino's.

Flip could VERY easily and cheaply have solved this situation by simply fixing my camera or replacing it with another. It wouldn't have cost them much and they wouldbe guaranteed another 5 - 10 new camera sales to me in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Goodwill goes a long way and Flip isn't showing any at all.

Don't get me wrong, I still love them and may - and I say MAY - buy a product from them in the future. But they are going to have to go a long way to earn my trust back and it's not going to be by telling me to 'just deal with it'.


T.I.N. said...

At a year old, you're 9 months past a 3 month warranty.

Something you might consider is their premium service plan -- add a year to your standard warranty for $19.99.

Anthony Papillion said...

Thanks T.I.N.

At this point, it's too late for the premium warranty but I'll keep it in mind for the next purchase.