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Buyer Beware!!! DJI: Nominated for World's Worst customer service and repair.
on July 5, 2015
Prospective owners, please read! DJI has an awesome product with the worst customer service and repair of any company I have ever dealt with in any line of consumer product.
The Phantom 3 Professional is an unbelievable piece of technology, I preordered this item in April and received it on May 6th. The first week, I played with the drone a little indoors (stable easy flight), and outside my house just to make sure it was operating properly. The only complaint I had to this point was that it took a good bit of futzing around (and more than an hour) to get the firmware between the app, remote control and onboard the drone all in sync, and that they seem to be pushing new firmware all the time (I like the fact that new software is coming out, but if it is going to be that frequent, the process for applying it should be a little less convoluted). Everything else was brilliant.
The weather was going to be great that weekend, so we planned on a maiden voyage down to the Delaware River. The drone performed spectacularly. The video was amazing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr-w7bJbVhY), as a matter of fact, everything about the Phantom 3 was as advertised. The distance, control, stability, camera quality, all exceptional.
At the end of this first flight, I was flying by sight and accidentally ran into a tree (you can see this on the video). Again, the drone was fantastic, it survived a bouncy 50ft fall to the ground with hardly any damage. As a matter of fact, I was immediately able to fly it again. Only problem was there was a very small externally affixed ribbon cable on the camera gimbal that was torn during the fall. I was able to fly the drone and see through the camera, but unable to move the camera.
On Monday May 11th, I contacted DJI to inquire how I could purchase the replacement part for this ribbon cable. They informed me next day that "The issues that you're describing require for you to send in your unit for repair." I assumed this was a mistake, and all I needed to do was call someone and explain the situation... i.e. Drone flying fine, camera working, but immovable with an obvious needed replacement of a small torn cable.
I called customer service the following day (May 12th) After hours on the phone with the customer service agent, this was the result:
1. They would not sell me a replacement ribbon cable and let me install it myself
2. They could not tell me what it would cost to replace the cable if I sent it to them
3. They could not tell me how long it would take to replace the cable (only that repairs normally took 6 weeks!!!!!) yes six weeks
4. I could not just send in the camera and have them fix that, I had to send the whole drone (even though is was still flying fine). This is hugely important, because it meant that even though the camera is designed to be removed and reattached (DJI even providing additional washers to do so in the shipping package) that I would have to pay to ship the entire 10lb drone to them, vs. just the light weight camera costing me $50 for shipping ground (5-7 days time) instead $10-15 to ship the camera to them via 2-day shipping
5. I asked to speak to a customer service supervisor multiple times and was told that they will not speak to me over this issue.
I was really upset and took to twitter: https://twitter.com/DJIGlobal/status/598322752446078976
After exhausting every mechanism I could find to try and talk to someone reasonable at DJI, I finally broke down and shipped the entire unit to them on May 22nd. Although Fedex delivered the package to them 6 days later on May 28th, DJI did not officially "receive" the package into their system until June 5th. (2 weeks after it was shipped).
Since that time it has been a black hole. According to DJI CS, a technician should have looked at the drone and developed a repair estimate "about two weeks after they get it" (well that would have been June 20th). I wrote them on June 24th to request a status and was sent a form letter explaining that "If you call in or email for a status update before the end of the 6th week, the customer service representative will not be able to provide any further update". This means that I can not enquire as to the status of my $1,300 drone until July 17th (even though it is supposed to be complete by Julty 17th...)
Can anyone think of any product in any category that has a more draconian and horrible repair process? There is absolutely no way that you could possibly think about running an aerial photography business using DJI products. You would be forced into the position of purchasing multiple drones in case one has a problem, what photography business could afford to be without its camera for 2 months every-time something went wrong with it?
Imagine: Oh, your tripod broke? please send in your entire camera and lenses so we can hold them hostage, without telling you how long or how much it would take to fix the tripod, and please don't bother to ask us pesky questions like the status of the repair, because we are too busy to actually provide our customers any information.
I will post an update when I actually hear back from DJI on the cost and timing of my repair.