Part of this post of photo related and part is not. The point, though, is to compare the experiences of customer support from two companies. I bought a bike trainer from Wahoo late in 2022. I was really happy with it and got a lot of good use from it. At some point, when I was climbing a steep hill on the trainer, it started to make odd rubbing noises. I was able to repeat this a second time. The Wahoo website suggested, if you have an issue, film a short video of it and upload it for them to diagnose.
This I did and I got a swift response. They thought something was lose inside and that I needed a replacement trainer. They dispatched one to me and said the delivery crew would take the old one away without me having to do any packing. This happened as planned, even if it took a while to get to me. I could still use the old trainer in the meantime. Unfortunately, when the replacement came (and my old one had been collected), it turned out that the replacement had something wrong with the crank and it wouldn’t turn smoothly. Needless to say, I was pretty annoyed, not least because I had just given back a trainer that at least worked for most situations. The team at Wahoo were super apologetic, arranged to ship me packaging so I could return the bike direct to them for them to investigate further. They also arranged to ship to me a new trainer to a newer spec than my own. None of this was convenient but they handled everything promptly and with good communication. I now have the new trainer and all is good. Well done Wahoo.
Let’s contrast this with a company that I have been buying products from for years – Canon. I have been shooting Canon cameras since 1990 and have been using various of their digital cameras since the early 2000s. I have acquired quite the collection of lenses and accessories and have also subscribed to their Canon Professional Services for quite a while. Since upgrading to the R3 bodies a year ago, I have been happily shooting with both new RF lenses and adapted EF lenses including my favorite 500mm f/4L IS. However, a recent firmware update came out and this has killed my 500mm.
I started to get the camera locking up when shooting a burst of a moving subject. That is the majority of my shooting so this became a bit of a problem. As soon as I released the buttons, a brief period would follow and then the camera would recover but, by then, the subject would be gone. I wondered if it was one body but both were affected. I tried changing the adaptor to my other adaptor but the same issue. My 100-400 was working without issue. If I wasn’t panning, then everything was fine. The fact that the new firmware update had a function called Panning Assist seemed awfully coincidental.
I contacted Canon to discuss this. They were not helpful at all. They kept telling me about my faulty lens and I pointed out it had been working fine until this firmware update came along and the lens was not the issue. They offered me a wonderful upgrade program. This lens was $7k when I bought it in 2008 and the current versions are over $10k. That is not a great option for me. The said the lens is no longer supported for service which I know. However, I am not trying to get it repaired. I am trying to stop it being rendered redundant but their firmware when it has worked great so far with this body. They also said there had been no reports of a firmware issue which isn’t true because I am reporting it. I don’t know how many people shoot this combination but it might not be a lot. However, one thing Canon has like to advertise about shooting with their lenses versus third party lenses is that you get reliable integration as updates are made. I guess not!
They finished the correspondence by asking if there was anything further that they could help with. Since they hadn’t helped at all, I thought that was pretty cheeky. All of this is to point out how different an experience you can get with companies supporting their products. Wahoo bent over backwards to help me out and left me feeling very satisfied despite having been quite inconvenienced by the whole thing. Canon left me fuming. There is a post script to this tale. Canon released a firmware update which resolved the issue. The release notes include the specific issue I had so the idea that no one else was reporting this is clearly rubbish. It just reinforces my annoyance at their “support”.