Russian Roulette in Singapore

The Russian being Tania, and the roulette being the luck we would need to replace a faulty camera from Sim Lim square, the huge technology mall in Singapore. A little background for this story, on the 3rd of January I went looking to purchase a Canon EOS 7D camera with a L series lens. For those of you that know me to be a Nikonite, I will explain my reasons for buying Canon in a another blog. Anyway, after trooping around most of the stores in the city for the best price, I settled on one on the ground floor of the (in)famous Sim Lim. After some hard negotiations, I got a good deal on a 7D and duly paid and signed the receipt. Happy with my purchase, I returned to the ship to get ready for work. When I got to my cabin, I put the camera and lens together, charged the battery and began to play around with the features. All was well for three shots, then I got an error message (err 30). I checked in the manual which simply said switch off, remove battery and then try again. Which I did and still I had the problem. I had a look to see if the shutter was firing and to my horror it wasn’t. I checked the receipt and to my further horror found that in small print at the bottom, it said no refunds, or exchanges. Cue on very sleepless night.

And so the next day, with Tania in tow, I returned to the shop, Canon in hand. The salesman that had dealt with me the day before saw me and looked nervous. I explained the problem and his first question was did you drop it? Ah here we go I thought, and so it proved. The next question was “was it working in the shop?” Of course it was, I might be daft enough to buy from Sim Lim but I am not so stupid I would not check the camera thoroughly in the shop. They then called Canon service who had no idea what the problem was. Then the not unexpected hammer blow, we cannot replace it, you need to take it to Canon. This was a huge problem as I had bought it purely for videoing our trip around Asia. Since we were leaving that evening it was unlikely that Canon would replace it, only send it for repair. I remained calm but Tania was brimming with Russianess and we slowly slipped subconsciously into a good cop/bad good routine. As I explained calmly that I was not leaving without a replacement, Tania meanwhile was setting upon every salesman in the shop. She demanded names, shouted stomped, screamed and cried. The staff told me to get her out to which I replied she is Russian, its her culture. At one point whilst I was explaining that I was leaving Singapore that evening and it would be with a camera, Tania was taking photographs of the salesmen on my iPhone. As potential customers came into the shop, she was talking to them, not saying anything about our problem but with the obvious veiled threat that it would be potentially mentioned in the near future. At one point the mall’s rentacops were called, but when Tania demanded their names as well, they left. Two young guys from Moscow came in and Tania started to speak in Russian to them. The salesmen were getting very nervous and slowly started to crack. One, who seemed to be the floor manager, was actually a lot more helpful than the rest, he had called Canon several times and eventually called his wholesaler. They, he told me would replace the camera, and gave me an address.
“Fine, one of you will drive us there” I said. At first they were reluctant, but after I said I would take a taxi and Tania would stay in the shop, the salesman who originally sold me the camera offered to drive us there. And so after about 90 minutes of fighting, I received a new 7D body, heavily tested at the wholesalers, of course.

The moral of this story, is whilst you may get a very good price at Sim Lim, you may have to fight very hard if something goes wrong. By the way, if you do need help, I will hire out Tania, she is very effective but doesn’t come cheap.

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~ by jasonrow on January 10, 2010.

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