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New Nikon repair policy creating stir among store owners

New Nikon repair policy creating stir among store owners

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PROVO — Starting in July, Nikon will no longer send parts to independent camera repair shops and that has some shop owners concerned.

Steve Kew has been fixing cameras in Provo for 35 years. He says half of his business comes from people using Nikon cameras. For him, not being able to repair Nikon cameras is a very difficult thing to deal with.

“I’ve been laying awake at night thinking about this, and I don’t know if we will survive or not,” he said. “It’s very scary.”

In the letter sent to independent repair shops across the country, Nikon wrote that it is changing it's policy because "technology underlying today's cameras is more complex than it has ever been" and only Nikon's authorized service centers have the tools and expertise to make repairs.

Starting July 13, all repairs will be handled exclusively by Nikon authorized repair facilities.

I would find other ways to get the parts. I probably have one of the biggest camera graveyards in America. And parts isn't a critical part of repairs. The key word is repairs.

–- John Forster, owner of Forster's Camera Service, Inc.

Kew is asking his customers to sign an online petition to urge Nikon to reconsider its new parts policy.

However, the new policy does not seem to be a worry for everyone. One of the 23 authorized repair facilities selected by Nikon is Forster's Camera Service, Inc. in Salt Lake City. Owner John Forster opened his camera repair store in 1971 and has seen plenty of changes in the industry since that time.

"When I opened my store about 40 years ago, you couldn't buy parts from the manufacturer then either," Forester said. "Not even a screw."

He believes his business was selected to continue to receive parts directly from the manufactures due to their being a warrantied Nikon store.

Forster's Camera Service, Inc. has all the equipment and tools to make any Nikon camera repair. Forster said they attend all the required trainings and spend between $1,500-$10,000 a year on test equipment.

But Forster said he still would not be too concerned about the changes even if his store had not been selected as one of the authorized Nikon repair facilities. "I would find other ways to get the parts," he said. "I probably have one of the biggest camera graveyards in America. And parts isn't a critical part of repairs. The key word is repairs."

He feels one of the reasons for Nikon's new policy of limiting retailers who can order parts is due to floods in Japan and Taiwan that have shut down a few of Nikon's manufacturing factories.

The new policy will force people to do more repairs rather than replacing parts, he said, but it should not be detrimental to their business.

"I have seen other manufacturing companies do a lot worse to us," he said.

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Faith Heaton and Randall Jeppesen


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