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Another Leica Service Experience... (1 Viewer)

Nethero

Registered User
Hello all. I have lurked around Birdforum for years now but have never felt compelled to add my two cents to any one thing. However, after dealing with Leica and their service department yesterday I can officially say that I feel compelled. Sadly, it is because of such a negative and bad experience.

When it comes to optics I always want to try new and different models, regardless of brand and price point. Also, before it seems like I am just here to bash Leica, I will admit that the Leica Noctivid, regardless of weight and ease of handling compared to other binoculars, produces the absolute best image that my eyes have ever seen. This is comparing them to Nikon EDG II, Zeiss SF, Swaro EL SV and SLC, Ultravid HD and HD +, Steiner Peregrine XP (the North American version of the Discovery XP), Meopta Meostar, and many other non “premium” binoculars.

I will also admit that I own and have owned many of those that I listed. My current set up includes a Steiner Peregrine XP 8x44 for archery hunting, Leupold Bx-4 Pro Guide 10x42 for my wife’s car, Leupold BX-5 8x42 for my car, Zeiss SF 8x42 (mine) for birding/travel, and a Swaro SLC 10x42 (my wife’s) for birding/travel. I also have a Steiner Shadowquest XP 8x56 (North American version of the Nighthunter XP) for looking at the stars. Needless to say, I have a lot of binoculars/optics. Also, needless to say, my wife thinks I have too many. However I am digressing.

A few weeks ago I called Leica customer service and explained that I had a Leica Televid 77 spotting scope that I wanted cleaned up and adjusted. I could see some dust specs on the prism, the locking ring for the eyepiece was not holding tension anymore, and the eyecup had fallen off. Problems from use, but not abuse. The glass was/is still pristine. The person I spoke with told me to send it in and they would clean and make the adjustments needed. I even told the customer service person that I did not have any paperwork for it (my father, the original purchaser, had thrown these out years ago). They told me that it was not a problem and to send it in. So I did so.

Well I received two invoices yesterday, one for the eyepiece and one for the spotting scope body. The charges list out $312.50 to clean, lubricate and adjust to spotting scope body, $35 for shipping, and $187.50 to clean, lubricate, and adjust the eyepiece. It also says included in the price is the repair of my eyepiece’s zoom mechanism, which is strange because my eyepiece’s zoom was just fine. It was the locking ring on the scopes body which had lost tension. And lastly a mere $13.50 for the rotating eyecup sleeve.

I immediately called Leica customer service thinking that there was an error. I was informed that without the warranty paperwork (which I had previously been told I did not need to send in to have my scope serviced) the charges were correct. This is astounding. Sadly, this is also the reason I will never buy the Lecia Noctivid, nor any other Lecia product. They want to charge over $500 to clean and adjust my spotting scope. I want to reiterate; it has been used but not abused. I do not need new lenses, new prisms, etc. Simply cleaning, adjusting the tension ring, and replacing the eyecup. And quite honestly If I had to pay $50- $100 for this because I don’t have the warranty paperwork, I would be okay(ish) with that. But over $500 just seems absurd.

Anyways, I am truly disappointed. Not just because I spent $50 to insure and ship the scope to Leica for them to do nothing, but especially because I was wanting this to be my litmus test whether I wanted to take the plunge and pursue buying a Noctivid and possibly selling my Zeiss SF.

Hopefully, yet another poor Leica customer service experience, this time at my expense, will help potential future purchasers be that much more discerning before investing in such expensive optics.
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Hi and welcome.

I don't see the bill of say $550 as being abusive.
It is high, but compared to say a good quality auto repair shop, the hourly rates are probably similar.

How old is the scope?
Is it a Televid or Apo Televid?

It maybe that Swarovski would repair an old scope free, I don't know.

If Leica carried out the work without instructions then there is a valid reason to ask for a reduction in the bill.

It is probable that the items replaced needed replacement to bring the scope up to top condition.

Regards,
B.
 

pm42

Well-known member
Simply cleaning, adjusting the tension ring, and replacing the eyecup.
According to my experience, Leica does not do "just that". They fully service whatever you send them so the price is always high.

I'm not defending them or saying that their service is perfect, just stating a fact.
 

Nethero

Registered User
Hi and welcome.

I don't see the bill of say $550 as being abusive.
It is high, but compared to say a good quality auto repair shop, the hourly rates are probably similar.

How old is the scope?
Is it a Televid or Apo Televid?

It maybe that Swarovski would repair an old scope free, I don't know.

If Leica carried out the work without instructions then there is a valid reason to ask for a reduction in the bill.

It is probable that the items replaced needed replacement to bring the scope up to top condition.

Regards,
B.
Binastro,

Thanks for response. The scope is a non-APO Televid. I'm not sure of its exact age, but probably pushing 15-20 years old.

In retrospect, it might not be unreasonable of them. It was just shocking. Especially when I just expected a cleaning and tightening of a few things. Its scary to think what a complete rebuild might cost...

Maybe I am have been too spoiled by other companies and how they seem to "go above and beyond" as some would say.

Fortunately they had not started any work before I called and they said they would send the scope back uncleaned and untouched. Unfortunately, if nothing, they are prompt! I called them back today, 24 hours later and said I changed my mind and was wanting to pay for them to take care of the eyepiece. I was informed that it had already been shipped back to me and they were unable to do anything further.

Needless to say, rational or not, I fear I might stay away from Leica products in the future. All I want to say is "I know it's not vortex, but come on!".
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Thanks for the reply.

For a non Apo it is clearly not worth it.

For an Apo maybe.

I don't know if it had a 30 year warranty?

Best regards,
B.
 

bkdc

Well-known member
Are you the original owner? It makes a difference. That quote doesn't sound unreasonable to me. Skilled labor is expensive. The warranty issue is reflected in the lower resale value of Leicas versus Swarovski. A LOT lower.
 
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jring

Well-known member
Hi,

I'm not surprised at the quote, but as for whether it's reasonable I'm not so sure...

Obviously this quote is not for replacing the the eyepiece locking ring and eyecup and tell the customer that some dust on the prism is not degrading the image and to take it apart to clean it will be expensive, but their default charge for a full rebuild of everything.

To use the car comparison again, you bring your car to the workshop for an oil change and to replace a burnt out light bulb and they quote you for an engine rebuild.

As for the argument, that skilled labour is expensive - yes, of course - but on the other hand Leica has moved production and service to portugal many years ago, but seems happy to charge the customer Wetzlar labour costs...

PS: As for warranty - I can easily understand that they will not honour that in the absence of paperwork and probably not the original owner. Also cleaning is not really sth that falls under warranty, the other two problems might.

Joachim
 
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bkdc

Well-known member
Leica is the only major Sport optics manufacturer that I will consider buying new. This is why. There are still discounts to be found for new binos from authorized dealers even with the fantastic Noctivid. I only buy second hand with Swaro or Zeiss. Let someone else take the depreciation. I’ll take the gamble on whether I get a good copy.
 

Nethero

Registered User
Leica is the only major Sport optics manufacturer that I will consider buying new. This is why. There are still discounts to be found for new binos from authorized dealers even with the fantastic Noctivid. I only buy second hand with Swaro or Zeiss. Let someone else take the depreciation. I’ll take the gamble on whether I get a good copy.
bkdc,

The Televid was originally purchased by my father, but I have nothing/no paper work on it, so at this point I can tell it is a moot point.

Over the years I have always seen/heard mixed reviews of Nikon's and Leica's customer service. However, Swarovski, Zeiss, Meopta, Leupold, etc., I seem to only ever see/hear great reviews.

A few years ago I had a Nikon EGD II 10x42 that I bought second hand. I scratched an ocular lens. Knowing that they were purchased used, and not registered to me, I was expecting to have to pay for repairs. However, Nikon registered to binoculars to me, replaced all lenses and cleaned them for no charge. This was shocking given the negative reviews I had seen about their customer service.

In this case I admit I was probably expecting too much from Leica. Especially given their rather tepid reputation for customer service.

Moving on, If I were to buy a Noctivid from a dealer, does a demo set still carry the full warranty? Also, does Leica clean, do the full rebuild, etc., at no charge to me the owner, if I had registered it? This is assuming cleaning, replacing worn parts, etc. is from use and not accidental damage or abuse.
 

Mark Batten

Well-known member
Leica have had issues with the coatings on scopes. The early APO's were noted for lens coatings peeling off for which service support not not good. On that basis would not touch anything made by Leica. Zeiss service is ok and have had little problems with their binocular's. Swaro service is simply excellent in my experience and is a factor in why I use their kit. Would never even consider buying a product made by Leica.
 

pimpelmees

Well-known member
Leica have had issues with the coatings on scopes. The early APO's were noted for lens coatings peeling off for which service support not not good. On that basis would not touch anything made by Leica. Zeiss service is ok and have had little problems with their binocular's. Swaro service is simply excellent in my experience and is a factor in why I use their kit. Would never even consider buying a product made by Leica.
the coating problem was a long time ago , and service from Leica is better then a few years back .
Now about Swarovski products ; Still problems with focussing , a lot of problems with rubber armouring ( i dont want to send my binoculair every year to swarovski to have a new armouring fitted) Leica armouring has always been better and durability at best.
 

bkdc

Well-known member
I dont want to send my binoculair every year to swarovski to have a new armouring fitted) Leica armouring has always been better and durability at best.

A great excuse to buy a spare binocular! :). Ok, that is truly a luxury but I have to say the build quality on the Noctivid is A+ top notch. It’s tank-like industrial build just FEELS like it will last 50 years, and I can’t say the same about any of my Swarovskis. I just hope I never lose my receipt/warranty/purchase information. I wish Leica would step it up a notch in service as I think it would help Leica sell more binoculars. But as a much smaller company than Swaro or Zeiss, it’s a business decision Leica has to live with.

The 3k USD retail price on a Swaro NL Pure includes all those years of reliable customer service. The new discounted prices on the EL SV sounds pretty darn good when you think about the labor and parts cost of a few overhauls (more likely to be needed if you’re an avid hunter than an avid birder)... and if you can get your Swaro or Zeiss slightly used, then it’s a no-brainer for me.
 
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Mark Batten

Well-known member
I dont want to send my binoculair every year to swarovski to have a new armouring fitted) Leica armouring has always been better and durability at best.

A great excuse to buy a spare binocular! :). Ok, that is truly a luxury but I have to say the build quality on the Noctivid is A+ top notch. It’s tank-like industrial build just FEELS like it will last 50 years, and I can’t say the same about any of my Swarovskis. I just hope I never lose my receipt/warranty/purchase information. I wish Leica would step it up a notch in service as I think it would help Leica sell more binoculars. But as a much smaller company than Swaro or Zeiss, it’s a business decision Leica has to live with.

The 3k USD retail price on a Swaro NL Pure includes all those years of reliable customer service. The new discounted prices on the EL SV sounds pretty darn good when you think about the labor and parts cost of a few overhauls (more likely to be needed if you’re an avid hunter than an avid birder)... and if you can get your Swaro or Zeiss slightly used, then it’s a no-brainer for me.
Indeed. My SV 8x32 were bought used. Serviced free of charge last year and apart from a little wear on the bridge they are a brand new unit. A spare pair of FL 8x32. Obvious that Swaro built the brand with after sales service as a key feature. Only the die hards and the Leica ambassadors use Leica products these days.
 
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bkdc

Well-known member
I’m not a Leica devotee. But the Noctivid is the best overall binocular I’ve looked through even when taking into account off-axis coma.
 

dries1

Member
Regarding Leica service, they have charged me (less than $150 - which I thought was reasonable) for some work on a glass I purchased used, however I have had two others serviced with no charge, both were under Warranty.

I have had very good /fair service from Leica, no complaints.

Andy W.
 

Bill Atwood

Registered User
Supporter
United States
Hi and welcome.

I don't see the bill of say $550 as being abusive.
It is high, but compared to say a good quality auto repair shop, the hourly rates are probably similar.

How old is the scope?
Is it a Televid or Apo Televid?

It maybe that Swarovski would repair an old scope free, I don't know.

If Leica carried out the work without instructions then there is a valid reason to ask for a reduction in the bill.

It is probable that the items replaced needed replacement to bring the scope up to top condition.

Regards,
B.
Swarovski would of done the work for free.
 

Binastro

Well-known member
But the scope is a Leica not Swarovski.

However, it might be worth a shot sending the Leica scope to Swarovski to see what happens.

I had a faulty 8.5 inch aperture telescope where another maker fixed it free just to show up the original maker.

Regards,
B.
 

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