TLDR; Just a rant about the hassles with a secondhand action cam and the multitude of emails it took me to submit it for repair on warranty.
So I decided I wanted to give motovlogging a try. But I didn’t care much for paying the astronomical prices of new action cams, so instead I searched ebay for interesting offers. Building on the experience of some of my favourite motovloggers, Sony seems to be the current action cam brand of choice, so I went hunting for AS-200V models, that go for just above 100 Euros these days. But, typically, I was outbidden every time. I was very happy then, when finally I purchased a FDR-X1000V model for what I thought to be an adequate price of 150 Euros. It even had some warranty left.
I then started to collect footage for a week or two, buying more accessories as I went along: Of course, you need to buy a mount to attach the cam to your helmet; of course, it overheats in its casing, so you need to buy a hard lens protector to use it without casing; of course the built-in mic just picks up wind noise, so you need to buy an external microphone to record your voice.
Just as these accessories started to arrive, the cam all of a sudden stopped working properly: Magenta stripes of death, and erratic to no reaction to pressing the buttons either on the camera itself or on the remote control.
When I asked around if anybody was familiar with the phenomena, everyone told me to send it in for warranty. And thus, some lengthy email conversation began. First with the discounter that issued the warranty. They happen to be located in Switzerland, with Swiss stores only. And while they were happy for me to send in the camera for repairs, they can only send it back to one of their stores for retrieval. Why that is so, they didn’t explain. But they gave me another way out: Since I was eligible for the manufacturer’s warranty, why not settle this with Sony Germany?
A visit to the Sony web site quickly revealed the one authorised German Sony service and repair center for action cams. Phoning them proved futile, all their lines were constantly busy. So another email conversation ensued. I could send the camera in, but the manufacturer does insist on a proof of purchase to provide warranty, whereas all I had was a delivery slip from the discounter that had “this also serves as your warranty card” printed on it. I inquired if that slip really would not be accepted by the manufacturer and they told me to ask the discounter for an invoice. So I did, and guess what, they couldn’t give me one, since that specific camera had been a prize in a raffle. I conveyed that information back to the service center and asked them to clarify explicitly in writing that they indeed would not grant repair on warranty in my current situation, and, should this indeed be their position, whom could I contact from Sony directly.
To which they replied, I should just enclose the delivery/warranty slip from the discounter together with the printed out email, and then use the online form on the Sony website to get the repair order on warranty started. This I did, and now I am very curious to learn how this will continue.
Even though I have been ranting a lot now, there is one thing I have to remark on the plus side: After it took the discounter a whole week to answer my initial support request, all subsequent communication was very quick and professional, both from the discounter and the Sony service center.
1st update, 17.08.2018: Service center updated the repair status to “order registered”.
2nd update, 20.08.2018: Spare parts are needed and have been ordered.
3rd update, 21.08.2018: Spare parts have arrived.
4th update: 22.08.2018: Repair complete.
5th update: 23.08.2018: Repaired camera delivered.
So now that I have a fully repaired action cam, I can test the new external microphone for the first time: No audio from the external mic. It does work with a mobile phone, though.
This motovlogging stuff is tough.