Camera warranty – not worth the paper it’s written on

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Last year, I bought a Canon Digital Ixus 70 to carry with me in my pocket when I don’t want to be lugging a DSLR and a bunch of lenses around. It’s been a great camera but, whilst we were on holiday a few weeks back, it stopped working.

I got in touch with Amazon (who sold it to me) and they said to contact Canon. Canon said to send it to one of their repairers (at my cost) and the repairers have written back and said it will cost £124.55 to fix it (more than it cost to buy in the first place) because it has sand inside.

I checked Canon’s warranty terms and conditions and, sure enough, there it is – the get-out clause is highlighted below (my emphasis):

“[…] 7. Unless agreed in writing, the Warranty will not apply: (a) because you have not used, stored or handled the Product properly; or because you are in breach of the terms of this warranty or the Contract terms, or have not followed Our instructions in the product manual, or those of the manufacturer; or because of damage or defect due to willful neglect or negligence by anyone other than Us; (b) to loss of quality, degradation of performance or actual damage that results from the use of spare parts or other replaceable items (such as consumables) that are neither made nor recommended by Canon; (c) to a loss of quality, degradation of performance or damage that results from the installation of, damage to, or modification to the Product and/or Software by someone else other than Our representatives or because of damage that results from changes required by you or a Third Party; (d) to damage that results from your connection of other fittings or accessories to the Product which We have not approved or your connection of other equipment or software not approved by Us; (e) because of external causes outside Our control which shall include accident, fire disaster or burglary; (f) because of faults caused by shock or fall, sand, dust, dirt, damp or corrosion, leaky batteries, repair or cleaning by unauthorised personnel; (g) because of any mal function or specific requirement of any other item of hardware, or software which you have linked to the Product in respect of items not included in the Contract; (h) to correct errors in any non-Canon proprietary software or other software not provided by Us; (i) because data is lost or damaged; (j) to damage caused by your attachment of the Product to a network not approved by Us or because you have made changes to your Operating or Network system in a manner not approved by Us; (k) because you have not installed any error correction that We issue for the software or have otherwise not followed Our reasonable instructions or advice. […]”

Basically, the warranty is useless. Dust will get into anything. Sand only got in because some blew onto the lens mechanism and was pulled back into the camera as the lens retracted. It’s not like I buried it on the beach and then expected it to work.

I’m sure that other camera manufacturer’s warranties are equally useless, but when I do get the camera back, I’ll be trying to fix it myself. The parts are only £39+VAT – its the £60+VAT labour that’s stinging me. And then they want £8.23 to send the camera back when it only cost me £5.05 to send it to them, using the same Royal Mail Special Delivery service… hmm…

In the meantime, does anyone know where I can buy spare parts for Canon cameras?

10 thoughts on “Camera warranty – not worth the paper it’s written on

  1. I spoke to the repairers… it seems that they will sell me a new optical unit but after it’s replaced it still needs some special Canon software to set it up so I can’t really do it myself :-(

  2. Wow that really sucks! I can’t believe how they’re even stinging you on the courier back to you! If they use those sort of tactics to get money from you regardless then I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t even a grain of sand there (until now…).

    Very unimpressed with that service.

  3. As your contract of sale was with Amazon, if you told them the camera was faulty they should have taken it back. Under the Sale of Goods Act they cannot insist that you take it to the manufacturer.

    However, I can almost see Canon’s point. their warranty covers defects, not accidental damage; that’s what insurance is for. If you get sand in the camera, drop it down the stairs or reverse over it in your car, that’s hardly Canon’s fault.

    Having said that, if you’re designing a device whose inner workings are sensitive to dust and sand, you might want to think of ways to keep dust and sand out. The question is: does Canon’s apparent failure to do that consitute a defect?

  4. In all fairness to Amazon, they did say to come back to them if I experienced difficulties with the manufacturer. This afternoon, I will get the camera back from the repairers and shortly afterwards it will be on its way to Amazon’s returns centre.

    Fingers crossed that gets me somewhere.

    Travel insurance is another option (we were on holiday when the camera stopped working…) – let’s see where I get with the warranty first. It does seem that various Canon compacts are particularly susceptible to problems with the lens mechanism.

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching how I might fix this myself and the sites linked below might be useful to anyone else with a Canon Digital PowerShot/Elph/Ixus and a lens error problem (or to me if I can’t get this sorted out by Amazon):

  5. I would suggest that you approach Canon and suggest that the camera is not of “satisfactory quality” under the Sales of Goods Act (amended).

    As you say, a device that is susceptible to damage from sand and dust should really NOT be drawing sand into itself when you power it down and the lens retracts. It’s a design flaw, and thus is not of “satisfactory quality”.

    This link may help

  6. Thanks to everyone who has responded with suggestions to help me out.

    The bad news is that the Internet is awash with stories of Canon resisting repairs for the various design flaws in this camera which affect the lens mechanism and I don’t hold out much hope of getting anywhere with Canon. Having seen the photo which the repairers attached to their estimate, it is clear that the grains of sand are extremely fine and that there is very little that could have been done to prevent them from entering the camera (they look large on the photo, but the photo is a macro shot which shows the camera at 3-4x actual size.

    The good news is that have responded under their obligations as a retailer and have shipped a replacement camera to me this afternoon, which should arrive here tomorrow. I’ve also packed up the defective camera to return it to Amazon and, once Amazon’s returns centre have confirmed that it is defective, that should be the end of this matter.

    I’ll post an update once I know more.

  7. I have to say that I am astounded by the progress on this. After initially referring me to the manufacturer for resolution, when Canon let me down, have really stepped up to the mark.

    They have shipped a replacement camera, at no cost to me (although they reserved the right to charge my credit card if the original was not returned within 30 days or if it had turned out not to be defective) and even refunded the postage charges for sending the broken camera to their returns centre.

    Contacting Amazon via a web form is infuriating at times but, based on my recent experience, they really have delivered that increasingly rare commodity called customer service.

  8. Thanks very much for this Mark.
    I have almost the identical situation, again with a Canon digital Ixus 70 bought via Amazon in Nov 2007 as a Christmas present for my daughter. Same fault developed during our family holiday in July. Same sand issue identified by Canon repairer and same repair and return costs – almost to the penny! We are surprised at how such a reputable company as Canon can accept such design faults. Its not as if she was using it to build sandcastles and can only assume that some small sand particles blew in as she was taking photos!
    Following your situation I have just contacted Amazon – so fingers crossed.
    Will let you know what happens.

  9. Amazon have once more excelled in the arena of customer service.
    They apologised for the situation and informed that as they were out of stock of a replacement product then they would provide a full refund + postage costs on return of the faulty product.
    Impressed? Yes.
    Buy from Amazon again? No brainer.

  10. Hi!

    I have a Canon Ixus 960 (in warrenty) ….and i was on holiday south africa, and it stoped working, and i sent it to the canon repair shop, and they sent me pictures of it with sand in saying i would have to pay £130 for it (with the extra 3 quid on postage back, just like you!) the ONLY! difference is i bought mine from not amazon! i really really really hope there as good. Will contact them tomorro and find out. fingers crossed!

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