Sunday, March 16, 2008

Steve Kwok

It has now been more than 4 and a half months since I sent my camera to skdigi for a repair under warranty. Last week I instructed lawyers to take legal action against them.  They were given until Friday afternoon to either replace the camera, get a letter from Canon confirming it had been repaired or refund me. Which to me seems extremely fair. They didn't do either of those things. Instead, I got an email on Saturday saying, "As I told you before, I will send it back after it was (sic) repaired."

My lawyers did some investigation and have determined that skdigi is owned by Mr. Steve Kwok. Which is where the "SK" in skdigi comes from. I did some searching on Google. According to rip-off report, a Steve Kwok stole $5,500 from a bank account in the US. Not sure if that's the same Steve Kwok. I did find this profile on FaceBook which is, I think the right one.

The problem with eBay is that once you've received the item, you can't go back and give an evaluation based on after sales service. So skdigi still looks like a safe bet on eBay but I would advise you to avoid them at all costs.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

How it All Started

This is the sorry tale of how SKDigi, a company selling cameras and other goods on eBay, ripped me off. I live in France but these guys sell all over Europe. If you're thinking of buying from them, please read this first. They have loads of positive evaluations because they're quite good at selling. Once something goes wrong with your goods though, they are completely useless and will lie to you, ignore you and do everything they can to waste your time and keep your money. Unfortunately, it is then too late for you to give them a bad evaluation on eBay.

September 2007
I was leaving for holiday in October. Canon had just announced the 40D but it wouldn't be available in France before I left. So I went looking on eBay and found it at a dealer in Hong Kong.
The seller is a company called SK Telecom Co. Ltd. in Kowloon. They have 15,000 evaluations
 and 99% are positive. So I think, "How dangerous can this be?" and I order on 6 September, the day before my birthday! The price of 1,355 Euros is settled through PayPal.

The camera arrives a couple of weeks later. I have to fork out 50 Euros in customs duty but it's still a good deal. The camera works a treat all through my holiday as you can see.


ERR 99

October 2007
One night towards the end of October, in the comfort of my apartment, I'm taking some shots of flowers and I get this.

I try changing the battery, the lens, the card, nothing helps. I go onto dpreview and try everything they suggest. No dice. The next morning, I switch the camera back on to try something else and it's fine! Works for another day and then "Err 99".

November 2007
I contact SKDigi and they give me endless lists of things to try. Most are things I've already tried. This goes on for a couple of weeks until I realise that the shutter is failing. You can actually hear the shutter stutter every time just before the error appears. That seems consistent with the diagnosis on websites too.

So I contact SKdigi again and my fears are confirmed. Canon camera bodies don't have international guarantees. I will have to ship the camera back to them for repair under their 1 year guarantee. Worse, I have to pay for the shipping out of my own pocket.

90 Euros in shipping later, the camera is on its way back to Hong Kong on 27 November. With a month to Christmas, I'm not hopeful of having the camera for the festive season, but I ask them to repair it asap.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Problem? What Problem?

December 2007
To: PeedOffCustomer
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2007 7:00 AM

I received the camera and took over 50 photos but still no error. Please let me know normally how the error occur.

To: PeedOffCustomer
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2007 10:11 AM

We used the same battery and tried different setting. then take another 100 photos, no problem at all. Please let me know whether you tried another memory card or not.
Of course, I'd tried everything in the book. 3 different lenses, 3 different cards, 2 batteries.
From: PeedOffCustomer
To: skdigi
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007 3:27 PM

I haven't heard from you in ten days and was wondering whether my camera has been sent to Canon for repair yet. Please would you update me on the position.

From: skdigi
To: PeedOffCustomer
Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2007 9:05 PM
Subject: Re: Canon 40D problem

We sent your camera to Canon and will let you know the details as soon as possible.
Note that they said they had sent the camera to Canon. There are more than 40 emails that follow this one. I won't bore you with all of the details. Basically, I kept asking them when I would get my camera back and they kept telling me that Canon was still repairing it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Water Damage

January 2008
I called Canon France to ask how long it should take to fix this camera. The response was that it shouldn't take more than 3 days in total. SKDigi had now had the camera for more than TWO MONTHS.

As if I wasn't angry enough, I wake up on 18 January to this email.
From: skdigi
To: PeedOffCustomer
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2008 5:01 AM

We sent the camera back to Canon and they told me that the mainbroad of the camera was damage because of misused. They told me that it might be caused by water and should be change a new mainboard. They would charge EUR120 for the new mainboard.
Hello? It took Canon 6 weeks to diagnose water damage? That can be diagnosed in 10 minutes. Besides, in the time that I'd had the camera, it had never been anywhere near water. 120 Euros is around what Canon France would have charged to fix it. If this camera had been water damaged (and who was I to argue to argue with Canon), it was by skdigi.

From: PeedOffCustomer
To: skdigi
Sent: Friday, January 18, 2008 4:06 PM

I have emails from you confirming that the camera worked when you received it. In fact, you said that it worked 100% fine. The ERR99 only occurred intermittently.

If it has been damaged by water then that either happened while it was with you or in their workshop. I will not pay for the repair.
From: skdigi
To: PeedOffCustomer
Sent: Friday, January 19, 2008 9:02 AM

I'was only the reseller and and the camera was directly from Canon.

The only we can do is we pay for the maintence. It will take one more month for Canon to get it repair and fully checked.
So, after 7 weeks, the camera was only now being repaired for a problem that it didn't have when I sent it to them!

Monday, February 18, 2008

A month later, they had of course not sent me the camera back. I wrote to them and got this:

From: skdigi
To: PeedOffCustomer
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2008 5:10 AM

It would take more time to change the mainboard. I will check with Canon and let you know as soon as possible.
I'd had enough so I sent an email to Canon Hong Kong and what do you know?
Date: February 21, 2008 4:35:14 AM CEST
To: PeedOffCustomer

Regarding your email, there is no service record in Canon for serial number 041****, please kindly contact the dealer that you have posted to for further details.

Yours sincerely,
Ada Chan
Care Centre Department
I checked with Canon Japan and got the same response. So, all this time, they'd been telling me that Canon had the camera for repairs, they had been lying. I am still fuming about this.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Latest Update

The full story about the crooks that call themselves SK Telecom (SKDigi on eBay) is set out below. The latest update is as follows.

* More than 3 months after I sent my defective Canon 40D back to them, my camera still hasn't been repaired.
* Although they have told me numerous times that Canon is repairing it, Canon has confirmed to me in writing that they have no service record under my camera's serial number. It seems to me that Canon won't repair cameras that SKDigi sells( perhaps because they are importing them grey). So SKDigi seems to do their repairs via some backstreet chop shop in Hong Kong. This chopshop has been unable to do the repair in the last 3 months.
* SKDigi has refused to replace the camera with a new one.
* I have told them that I no longer want the camera back but SKDigi refuses to reimburse me.

I have instructed lawyers in Hong Kong and I am taking legal action in France but this is likely to take some time. I have contacted eBay and PayPal but they won't help me because of the delay since the sale.

In the interim, if you're thinking of buying from SKDigi - save yourself the hassle and DON'T. The couple of Pounds or Euros that you save will be eaten up by shipping a defective product back and forth and in suing them.

Version Francaise

Ça fait plus de trois mois que j’ai renvoyé mon Canon 40D défectueuse à SK Telecom pour une réparation. Ils me disaient sans cesse que l’appareil avait été envoyé à Canon, mais Canon m’a confirmé qu’ils n’ont jamais reçu mon appareil (j’ai gardé le numéro de série).

Si vous pensez à acheter un appareil chez eux, sachez que leur garantie ne vaut rien et qu'ils sont prêts à dire n'importe quoi pour ne pas devoir tenir leurs promesses.