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I recently had the most strange two days at a Leica store with the Leica S system.  I have been a long-time Leica S and M user for my work.  For the most part, many of the Leica cameras and lenses that I have owned performed flawlessly as expected.  Leica clearly wants to be known as the premier "luxury brand" of cameras and lenses.  But to do this IMO, the company needs to offer the most reliable and highest quality products to it customers. Leica does this for the most part.  What is most frustrating is the major hassle of getting product warranty work done by either Leica USA in New Jersey or in Germany.  It takes on the average 8 weeks to get your camera or lens repaired.  Base on what happened to me, I posted my in store experience on an earlier post, but believe this topic needs to be addressed by this forum and by Leica senior management.  I invite your comments to my personal experience that happened to me.  Bottom line, I firmly believe Leica has a S & M system product reliability and quality control issues.  My suggestion to be a true "Luxury Brand", Leica needs to adopt a NO hassle, exchange on the spot with a genuine Leica dealer the malfunctioning or broken camera body or lens provided you have your store receipt, within your warranty period and you personally didn't damage the Leica product by dropping or damaging it.  

 

Here is what REALLY happened to me, I wrote earlier...TMLH....I feel your pain.  In my most recent experience with the Leica S system and lenses, I had several very distressing events happen while at a Leica store.  This is no BS, while in the store I was looking at a S 007 with a S 45mm...the store rep just handed me the camera after attaching the lens.  The lens auto focus motor literally died in my hands...grinding to halt...this was a brand new, store demo lens.  Then I was given a S 30mm to test...incredibly that lens motor died later while I was outside testing the lens and camera.  Last...again...no BS...I had a store nearly new S 180 in my hands on the camera and that lens aperture blades locked up....Not kidding...no lie.  The next day, I went back and used the store demo S 007 and it had back focus issues.  I may have a black cloud and most likely will be banned from the store....but Leica clearly has a "reliability" of components problem.  Yes, I know they are fixing the motors for free...good thing too.  I believe Leica as a "luxury brand" should simply have a policy of immediate replacement with "New"..no questions asked if your lens or camera breaks within the warranty period and you bought it from a genuine Leica dealer.  The idea of a "temporary" swap on camera bodies for the S is IMO NOT up to "luxury brand" standards.  If you are paying $17K for a S 007 body or $8K for a lens, if it breaks or malfunctions...the dealer simply gives you a new camera or lens...no hassle, no issues.  Same goes for the S lenses...if the focus motor dies, blades lock up etc...you get a new lens on the spot...no hassle, no issues.  Leica senior management clearly needs to up their game on "luxury brand" warranty product exchange and fix their reliability problems plus quality control issues.  If they do that...they will win far more customers and future business.  Maybe the Leica S & M community (we all feel the pain...LOL) should press this issue with Leica.   They want to be a "luxury brand"...then if its broken/malfunctions...the dealer swaps on the spot with your receipt in hand with a new one...no hassles.  

 

Your thoughts and comments are most welcome for this topic....

Edited by LeicaR10

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But most people who buy this luxury cameras don't use them so they will never notice that the lens is broken, these people are what Leica aims at these days.

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JIP....Thanks for comment.  I most certainly hope not is the case....very scary if this is reality.  I would be like Donald Duck if I was out on a photo shoot with a S system and the blades or motor dies.  I know "stuff happens"...but the history of the S aperture blades locking up and now defective S lens motors clearly warrants upping the "Leica Warranty" game to something meaningful.  It needs to be far better than a "Auto Lemon Law"...three strikes and you get a new car.  For Leica...if the camera or lens malfunctions or breaks within warranty and you bought it from a genuine Leica dealer...its replaced on the spot.  Then Leica can take the camera or lens back...fix or refurbish and resell it as a "Q" product.  I think with enough input from the Leica users out there...Leica will change its warranty...and be what it wants to be...a REAL Luxury brand...not a "wannabe Luxury brand".

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But most people who buy this luxury cameras don't use them so they will never notice that the lens is broken, these people are what Leica aims at these days.

A load of hogwash! - Leica QC leaves much to be desired.. I'm running 3 Leica's X1/XVario fine - New Safari (OOB) replaced as per Leica Germany..

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They replace stuff alright, however it usaully takes weeks if not months... meanwhile warranty ticks on... and you are without camera. Eight weeks on the lifespan of a digital camera is quite long. 

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JIP,  Thanks for your comment.  You are quite right.   Its normally 8 weeks plus for a repair.  Longer while they decide it they want to replace it.  For the amount of money people spend on the camera and lenses across the board....The Leica Warranty should be easy...If it malfunctions/breaks under the warranty and you are the original owner and bought it from a genuine Leica Dealer....then its a simple swap....you turn in the broken one and you get a new Leica camera or lens in exchange one for one, immediately....no hassle, no questions.  The Leica owner will be happy and most likely buy Leica products in the future knowing the warranty is excellent and no hassles.  I would like to hear other comments on what other S & M users feel...to include SL users considering the SL has reported back focus issues too.

Edited by LeicaR10

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ManOLeica....How long did it take for Leica Germany to decide to replace your Safari M camera?   Thanks for your comment too.  

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ManOLeica....How long did it take for Leica Germany to decide to replace your Safari M camera?   Thanks for your comment too.  

I received the camera and unboxed, immediately the Info control was sticky, the next day I called Leica NY, they called back and said try another SD card, all to no avail, they suggested I return it to B&H for Replacement or Refund (at least a 14/21 day  exercise) I called Leica Corp, and spoke with someone, having explained the situation, they contacted B&H and the camera was collected by a carrier and my credit took just 24hours.. They did not have a new replacement, I called around, Leica Store Miami had a new unboxed set..Overnight delivery, O/Night cost covered by Leica, a call from Leica to see if the new camera had arrived and was ok (yes,yes) -- TimeLine -> Monday the original was collected/Friday @ 10am I had my new camera... 

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ManOLeica  Thank you for sharing your replacement story of your Safari M camera.  I suggest to Leica it would have been far easier to simply take the camera to the dealer and exchange it.  I know it wouldn't be that easy in your case since you bought it from B&H.  But you would have no phone calls, no headache...just take it back under warranty, your receipt and you get a new one on the spot, no hassle return.  Rest assured, they don't presently do this with S cameras or S lenses...no swapping broken/malfunction camera for new.   Yes, they will send you a loaner while your S gets repaired...but what a hassle.  No loaner for a out of commission S lens...gone for 8 plus weeks.  I know of one S lens owner the Leica Service Center in Singapore wanted to charge him $700+ for each of his defective auto focus motors...even though Leica Germany said they would repair them for free.  The objectives remains...simply an on the spot, hassle free exchange and that makes for a much happier Leica customer.  Thanks for sharing your story and comment.  We all know Leica can do MUCH BETTER at quality control, far better component reliability and warranty replacement.  How about it Leica? 

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Albiero-double   You are a very fortunate man to get a S turn around like that for S equipment.  It's at least 8 weeks now according to Leica dealers for S lenses as they must go to Germany for repair.  The S bodies 4 weeks....maybe.   Definitely 8-10 weeks for M system repairs.   This is my point, you should not have ANY wait for a warranty repair considering how expensive the equipment costs.  I am sure you would much rather have an immediate exchange with a new camera body or lens if malfunctioning or breaks...with no wait time hassles...banter back and forth with Leica on some items etc.  Just exchange it on the spot for new.  Thank you for your comment.  Its most appreciated.   Are there others out there who wish to share their warranty repair stories?

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Hi

 

I think there are a number of factors here, EU vs States, having a good dealer etc. logistics states that a European Pro will have a much quicker turn around than in other parts of the world for example.

 

I have had my fair share of issues but the combination of a really great dealer and building relationships with people who get things done at Leica means that I have minimal downtime, I agree that quality control definitely really needs to be improved but very few companies you can't say that about! I have had fantastic experiences with Leica customer services, I can't rate them highly enough. 

 

The kit is expensive for sure but it's electronics, I plan for when it goes wrong rather than if, I would much rather not receive a new lens that is broken from the factory, that's just poor but if it does happen then I want it dealt with immediately and in my experience that happens.

 

A dealer battling for you is the most important part of equipment owning for me, my guys are just excellent and are available to me 24/7 which makes a huge difference.

 

Good luck getting issues sorted.

 

Mat

 

 

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My suggestion to be a true "Luxury Brand", Leica needs to adopt a NO hassle, exchange on the spot with a genuine Leica dealer the malfunctioning or broken camera body or lens provided you have your store receipt, within your warranty period and you personally didn't damage the Leica product by dropping or damaging it. 

 

Although (strangely) they don't advertise it, the Leica store in London has such a policy. When my M-A developed (probably always had) an intermittent light leak, I was told by the store manager (after some toing and froing with customer care) that "if anything we have sold develops a fault (a fault substantiated by our colleagues in client care) then we would either repair or replace as appropriate in the first year under our passport initiative or repair past the first year as part of our warranty offering. The decision regards repair or replace is determined by my client care colleagues." Having established the policy, the shop duly replaced my 6 month old camera for a new one.

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Although (strangely) they don't advertise it, the Leica store in London has such a policy. When my M-A developed (probably always had) an intermittent light leak, I was told by the store manager (after some toing and froing with customer care) that "if anything we have sold develops a fault (a fault substantiated by our colleagues in client care) then we would either repair or replace as appropriate in the first year under our passport initiative or repair past the first year as part of our warranty offering. The decision regards repair or replace is determined by my client care colleagues." Having established the policy, the shop duly replaced my 6 month old camera for a new one.

 

I've not had many dealings with Leica directly as my last new purchase was some years ago, but reading the various threads on this forum one thing that does strike me is a lot of inconsistency in how they deal with customers issues.

 

Some report that they returned their broken out of warranty camera and had it repaired and serviced completely free of charge. The next person will send their new camera back with a broken shutter and Leica will claim it was user damage and demand 1500 euros to repair it.

 

I remember reading the first M 'broken baseplate' report and how Leica blamed that on the customer. Then, after a few more incidents,  they kind of acknowledge it's a design fault and offer free repairs. 

 

The old D2 sensors were another example. Most were repaired free but some users came on here stating that their dealers were telling them they'd have to pay for the repairs.

 

Responses vary from country to country and advice here is to deal direct with Germany, but if they have service centres around the world they should all give the same response.

 

So, more consistency is needed IMHO.

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Wattsy & James  Thank you for the comments.  I also raise my hand to the issues of inconsistent warranty and out of warranty repair with Leica.  I have owned Leica cameras for two decades and found when it comes to repair policy it inconsistent.  Like you, sometimes depending on dealer relationships it gets resolved in my favor, other times not so.  My suggestion for the consistent warranty policy is simple.  If the camera or lens malfunctions/breaks during the warranty period, its replaced on the spot for free by the Leica dealer.  No hassle, no questions.  The dealer ships the items back to Leica and they repair the items and if they choose, either repair/refurbish etc and resell it as a Q product.  This would take the hassle out of dealing with repair centers for months and Leica via calls, emails etc.  This is way too much bureaucracy for a "luxury brand" camera.  This policy alone, would attract a lot more customers to the brand.  

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@ LeicaR10 - it is very unfortunate what happened to you.

 

I can fully understand your point and agree that such high end products as Leica offers should come with exceptionally high quality standards met (exceptional in form of exceeding comparable products of other manufacturers).

 

Unfortunately it is not as simple to "solve" this issue on the customer end as you suggest.

One cannot simply exchange a new or under warranty product against a new product as a standard procedure as the financial loss for the manufacturer/ dealer wold be simply impossible to bear and surely (looking back at the last few years of Leica product history) would have a severe impact on financials.

 

It is the old point of balancing what is acceptable to bear at the customers end and what a manufacturer offers customers in case of issues.

On my end I have been mostly very lucky with Leica in cases of quality issues, often even very surprised at the handling of issues with my gear (with unexpected quality of help from Leica that I simply would not have anticipated) and with only one exception was I impressed by how professional and efficient Leica CS handled my cases.

 

I have heard and read about many less fortunate people but could not comment on the cases as of lack of first person knowledge about these cases.

 

I find Leica's policy of offering temporary bodies and lenses in case of warranty work on personal equipment as sufficient and professional.

Leica CS really bends over backwards to make sure one is able to use ones Leica S gear, although understandably Leica is not able to offer such highly professional and efficient service in this department as major manufacturers who cater to professional photographers (read namely Canon and Nikon who both offer exceptionally short repair times and special services for professional users).

 

Leica tries really hard in this field to satisfy.

The "luxury brand thing" is something I myself find rather unfortunate (although it surely benefits the shareholders and possibly also the companies future products).

It has not much to do though with how a company deals with quality issues.

 

It is not that with the flair of (perceived) "luxury products" comes automatically a customers right of being treated excessively royal.

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Menos M6,  I wish to thank you for your comment on the Leica Warranty.  Leica is a small privately owned company and it clearly wants to be a "luxury brand" and strives to do this with the Leica Stores and Boutiques.  My past dealings as a pro photographer with Leica has been hit and miss.  Like you, I have read many comments good and not so good how Leica dealt with repair and/or replacement of equipment.  My point for a company or any company that wants to be "high end" or "luxury brand", it must have a stellar warranty to help make the brand one clearly recognized as a "luxury brand".  One way to accomplish this statue, would be to have a iron clad warranty.  Better still, very, very reliable products that are highly tested and issues resolved before going into production.  Like many companies, some are better than others.   Clearly, Leica needs to get better in this area especially in the auto focus and lens production.  There is NO reason why Leica should put a camera into production when the auto focus is an issue with back focus as with the 2nd and 3rd generation S cameras and albeit first generation SL camera.  Heck, Leica INVENTED auto focus and sold the patent to Honeywell as they didn't see a reason why anyone would want "auto focus" on a camera.  Leica products need to be tested by pro users who test or want to test cameras before they go into production.  Lenses like  the 50 APO with flare and back focus issues should not have occurred.  Same goes for QC of products coming off the line.  Error free or it goes in the bin.  

 

As for the warranty, if Leica wants to be a "luxury brand" that people recognize that is superior in quality and reliability...I submit that is gained through rigid testing in the pre-production phase and though very strict quality control.  I also submit if the product is error free and works reliably then the COST of swapping a malfunction camera or lens would go down, not up.  Leica or any company that seeks "luxury brand" recognition needs to up its game with stellar and simply an immediate change/replace of the defective product.  This highest quality products, reliability reputation and hassle free swap out warranty would clearly outshine Canon or Nikon that caters to the "prosumer" market.  Different niche, different clientele, IMO.  Result:  More customers moving to Leica.

 

I appreciate your comments and I am sure the forum does too.   R/ Mark

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Mark, I do agree with your remarks regarding the level of quality one would expect from a brand as Leica. As a German I also do very much understand that GUARANTEED every single employee at Leica does push for improvement on every single regard of the product every single working day - this is just how we Germans are programmed when it comes to the work we do.

 

There is one remark I want to make regarding the mentioned needed improvements on the warranty.

With all companies I have dealt with in terms of a product in need of warranty attention, I have to commend Leica at how different experience with Leica is to all these other companies.

In every single one issue but one I have experienced that Leica has a no questions asked, make everything right attitude whereas I have often experienced a lot of back pressure towards the customer where a manufacturer would first and foremost always question the customers end regarding a perceived problem.

 

Leica in this regard has been different in my experience (in all but one single case so far). I had camera bodies repaired, lenses calibrated, accessories replaced, excellent communication received and always had a good feeling as a satisfied customer, being treated fair and professional.

 

This is an aspect of dealing with Leica, I have not experienced with any other company thus far.

 

Without a doubt, there is big potential of improvement in many areas, some of which will be hard or even unlikely to be satisfied in short time. The will is there though I am absolutely sure and some benefits we do already enjoy as I described.

I am sure those are the benefits why there seem to be so many longterm satisfied Leica customers around ;-)

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I think that we should step back and analyze eh question in as dispassionate a way as possible.

 

Let us first agree that no matter how expensive or sophisticated or excellent a man made product is.. the sad fact remains that they are prone to malfunction at one time or another.

 

If you accept this premise and I am sure you will, then let us move on to the corollary issue namely: what does said company do about it?

 

Leica, in my experience, has always backed its products by first attempting a repair. This has usually been speedy, say 6 weeks form New York to Wetzlar. If that has failed, then Leica has replaced the body or lens with a new one. I have had this happen at least 3 or 4 times over the past twenty or so years. 

 

Albert  

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Menos M6 and Albert,  I want to thank you both for the comments concerning the Leica Warranty.   I agree with you too.  But based on my experience over the years with Leica and "luxury brands", my recommendation for Leica would be to certainly up the reliability of the products and to rigidly test and resolve the flaws before going into full production.  The Leica S2, S006 have/had back focus issues.  Now the S007 has this problem...after 2 generations of S cameras, Leica should have this issue resolved.  Same went for the 50 APO.  A stellar lens, yet it should not have gone into production until it was thoroughly tested for flare and back focus issues.  It does not do the Leica "luxury brand" any good for its reputation.  So, I submit the key is robust pre-production testing inside and outside the company by in-house and outsider hard core Leica users.  Once the "bugs" are discovered...fix them before final production.  Same goes for Quality Control.  If the product doesn't meet the most stringent tests....it goes back for correction or to the bin for recycle.  

 

I know the employees go to work every day with feelings of pride in their workmanship.  Unfortunately, not everyone wakes up feeling GREAT and ready to do their best.  That is where the testing and most certainly the Quality Control people are so critical to building the Leica reputation for making the finest, "luxury brand" cameras and lenses every day.  Based on what I have experienced with the most recent S lenses and camera...this needs a serious look by Leica production management.  Same goes for the SL line....back focus issues.  It simply shouldn't be that way.

 

Last, the 6-8 week turn around for Leica NJ and Leica Germany for repairs certainly needs to be cut in half if they are still going to do the repairs rather than simply replacing the item if under warranty.   Just my opinion.  Perhaps others may or may not feel the same way.  I know pros using the M, S, SL cameras can not wait 6-8 weeks for repairs...even a week with a temporary swap isn't good enough IMO.  Time is money...no equipment down for repair is even far greater money to that pro....and it DOES HURT Leica's reputation as a pro "luxury brand". 

 

Again, thank you for the comments.   R/ Mark

Edited by LeicaR10

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