A Nikon D600 camera on display Photo: CFP
Japan's leading camera maker Nikon Corp said it will treat problems with its D600 single-lens reflex cameras (SLRs) "seriously" on early Sunday, after China Central Television (CCTV) slammed the company in its annual program on Saturday, March 15, the World Consumer Rights Day.
It said on late Sunday that it provides free checks and cleaning services to D600 users, replacement for the shutter or other parts, and will take further measures according to Chinese law if the problem persists, without elaborating on the details.
It did not mention though if it would compensate consumers who have experienced dust continually falling onto their cameras' CMOS sensors despite repeated repairs at Nikon service outlets.
Following the CCTV report, the Huangpu Branch of Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) ordered the company, which has its China headquarters in Shanghai, to pull all its D600 models off the shelves on Sunday.
The Nikon D600 is a high-pixel, full frame flagship model the company rolled out in September 2012 with a price tag of about 13,000 yuan ($2,100).
Over 48,000 D600 models have been sold nationwide since being released. Since October 2013, there have been 300 to 400 maintenance and repair requests filed each month at Nikon service outlets nationwide, according to SAIC.
Nikon said on its Sina Weibo account that it took the CCTV report on the World Consumer Rights Day seriously and it will engage the issue proactively at its service outlets across the country following guidelines it posted in an announcement on its official Chinese website on February 22.
The company promised free cleaning of the camera in that announcement but did not say whether the D600 has defects or whether consumers can ask for a refund.
Although Nikon has denied the D600 has any defects on several occasions, the company has been replacing the shutter, an important component of the camera, sent to service centers by consumers, calling it "preventive maintenance," CCTV reported.
In an online poll conducted by news portal sina.com after the CCTV report on D600, 71.1 percent of the 4,925 surveyed said they had experienced black dots problems on their D600. Only less than 10 percent said their cameras were fine.
When asked whether they would like the company to exchange the troubled D600 with the newer D610 model, 63.6 percent said yes.
Since the product hit the market, consumers who bought the model have been complaining about black dots, sometimes up to several dozens, appearing on the pictures they took, according to the CCTV report.
Many consumers went to Nikon's service outlets for repair, but this was mostly not effective, as black dots often reappeared right away after the cleaning service, CCTV reported, citing frustrated consumers.
Some D600 customers in the US have also experienced the same problem, according to CCTV. They are reportedly preparing to file a lawsuit and ask for compensation from Nikon.
Many online shopping platforms including jd.com and tmall.com, have reportedly removed the Nikon D600 from their catalogues.
Consumers are entitled to ask for a refund or product change if their purchased product has been repaired twice and still has problems within the warranty period, according to Chinese law.