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LEGAL HELP?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by PhantomtravellerUK, Jun 7, 2017.

  1. PhantomtravellerUK

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    Hey all,

    I'll try to explain this situtaion briefly but I fear there's no quick way!

    I bought a DJI Phantom 4 from an independent camera store in Penang Malaysia in Novemeber of last year. I'm a professional travel photographer from the UK but I am travelling full time so don't have any permenant address other than relatives back in the UK.

    Whilst in Thailand, 15 days after purchase, I was flying the drone - there were no issues and everything was being used exactly how instructed by DJI. Near to the end of the flight, I had a 'battery cell error' notification whist the drone was up at 200ft up. I then looked up only to see it plumit to the earth and smash to pieces. As this was coming back in to land (still 5 minutes of flight time remaining) that is actually pretty dangerous and another 10 seconds and it would have been directly over me, I wouldn't have had time to react to move out the way. I can't imagine someone walking away from that alive if it came down at that speed on your head. I didn't really expect it but I was pretty shaken up over it as you'd think that kind of failure must be so so rare.

    Anyway, I emailed the shop who told me I need to send it back to DJI to be repaired or replaced. So I started emailing DJI in Novemember. At the time of the power failure, I had a total flight time of 5 hours 40 minutes spread over 3 batteries pretty evenly. No prior errors or problems and pre flight checks were always done as instructed.

    Firstly they were completely robotic and unapologetic in their response. They were unable to understand my situation and told me they could only return the fixed drone to the same country it was sent from. They couldn't give me a time frame as well. We went back and forth as I tried to explain I travel around and I can't wait around in the same place for weeks/months (or leave and return there) to pick up the drone. This was a serious fault within their unit but I was being punished for it. They couldn't give a refund obviously as I didn't buy it direct from them. I was just seeking an idea of how best ot resolve the situation. The best they came up with is if I could give them an address of a hotel I'll be visiting in the future which they could send it to. I explained to them how impractical that is. I have to find a hotel I've never been to and ask them that I need to get something sent to them for when I arrive. 1. I would have to trust the hotel that it wouldn't go missing and 2. I would have to pay to stay there for an unknown amount of days waiting for it to turn up.

    This went on and on and I asked to speak to a manager. They told me that mangement/supervisors do not speak to customers at all. So they refused me outright! I've never known a company where you are literally not allowed to speak to anyone other than the bottom level eomployees!?

    The best solution I had would be to send it to them at there Hong Kong centre (it had to be this centre) and then they would send it back to the UK. From there I'd have to sell it and cut my losses. What I wanted from them was to send out a new unit instead of just fixing the broken one. They don't fix 'superficial damage' so the scratches and cracks on it would remain as they were if they didn't interfere with the units operation. So I'd end up selling a repaired drone that looks to be in a bad condition. So that devalues it massively! They did offer to send out a FREE pair of propellars for the inconvience. Not only the cheapest thing they could have offered but why would I want 12 properllers? If I end up needed that many I think flying a drone wouldn't be for me!

    So we went back and forth again and even though I reminded them that it's the companies fault that I have a failed unit and as I have a fairly decent social media presence, wouldn't it be better to try and resolve this away from their scripted answers and keep a customer happy that could be promoting them rather than get bad press. You can't blame me for putting that forward at this point as it had been 2 months to get this far! Utterly useless.

    So, because I travel around so much and had multiple upcoming flights and I had already carried it through Thailand/Laos/Thailand again and Myanmar, I thought it would be best to leave it with friends in Myanmar for them to send back. Otherwise I'd be carrying dead weight and it would cost me to board some flights.

    My friend is not unable to send the drone back because the controller has a battery in it. It's also going to cost me 200USD to send back to HK and then apparent further costs to pass customs when it's sent to the UK.

    I've just emailed them again and they told me kindly that I can send the unit without the controller but they will not send a new controller out. So I'll have a fixed drone back in the UK at a huge cost to me and then a remote in Myanmar.

    So what am I meant to do now? This has been the single worst purchase I've ever made. I spent 1200gbp on the drone, flew it for less than 6 hours, it failed mid flight which was clearly their fault and I have the flight record to prove that (it shows a power anomoly within one of the battery cells). It fail out of the sky in an extremely dangeous way to almost cause me harm. All of this and I've been refused multiple times to speak to a superior and they have been almost stupid in their responses. How can a company of this size get away with having such a poor customer service team?

    I had a failure with my macbook pro 2 years after buying it. It happened twice in 3 months and they just outright gave me a brand new 2015 top spec model and were incredible. That's the other end of the extreme and I'm certainly not asking for much here.

    There's been 3 new drones released by DJI in the time I've been sorting this (7 months so far). I don't even want a new unit.. I just want it to be fixed at least so I can try and recover some losses. But now I can't even do that.

    Does anyone have any ideas on what I could do? Is there a legal route dealing with DJI with their headquarters being in HK? Or have I just spent 1200gbp to fly a piece of plastic for 6 hours? 200gbp per hour! Pretty cheap I guess....

    I hate that they have a monopoly on the market because any other type of business would suffer with such poor service. It's such a joke to treat customers like this!

    Thoughts?

    Cheers for reading if you've made it this far!
     
    Alan-G likes this.
  2. PhantomtravellerUK

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    I also have had to post that here because the official DJI forum is censored so much! You can't say anything bad about them at all!
     
    Omokjoe likes this.
  3. deltamike

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    I don't know the laws in Penang, but it sounds as though the retailer should have done more to help you.

    For instance, Maplin would have exchanged it whilst under guarantee in the UK. Is it worth pursuing the retailer again?

    All I can add is maybe an insurance policy to cover your next quad.

    I hope you have success in getting a new quad.

    Good luck.
     
    DougAles likes this.
  4. With The Birds

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    You would have had at least 7 seconds to move out of the way if it failed directly above you at 200ft alt (with a very slim chance of significant injury) and it wasn't above you anyway so I wouldn't waste too much breath on trying to leverage that argument. I also wouldn't expect too much traction from the veiled social media threat. You are probably lucky they haven't been less helpful as a result.

    You shouldn't expect any retailer to accept a product for return or exchange after 7 months from purchase date. Most give you 14 days. I had a similar apple MacBook experience as you did and got the same treatment, well outside warranty in my case also. Apple had already been compensated by AMD for supplying faulty GPU's so hard to argue there wasn't a manufacturing defect. In addition the premium paid for the Apple experience provides a higher level of support.

    I have bought DJI products from o/s (the inflated prices in Aus make it worthwhile) but I do so knowing that the warranty conditions provide I would need to return it to the country of origin for service at my expense for freight. I also expect it is reasonable that DJI would require that I provide them with a physical address to ship the repaired product to after repair. Things do go wrong whether we believe they should or not. LiPO failures are rarer than in previous times with maturing technology and manufacturing but unfortunately they still fail.

    Your circumstances are unfortunate however seemingly your only option seems to be to return the AC for warranty repair to the country of origin or take the HK repair offer. To the extent you might expect them to do something addition for you it isn't obvious why they might need to.
     
  5. With The Birds

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    Would Maplin provide you with a new AC 7 months after purchase date? That sounds like ridiculously good service.
     
  6. deltamike

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    From Maplins web site

    Any defects in goods that appear within 12 months and are due to faulty materials, workmanship or design will be made good by Maplin, either by repair or replacement with an item of equivalent specification. Where we are unable to offer a repair or replacement we will issue a refund. We don’t cover faults caused by accident, neglect, misuse or normal wear and tear and we reserve the right to inspect the product and verify the fault. This includes an assessment for faulty drones. If we verify a manufacturers fault we will repair or replace (where we are unable to offer a repair or replacement we will issue a refund). If the fault is not a manufacturer’s fault, we offer a chargeable repair service.


    Better than most. I had to return a battery and three days later collected a new one after about 7 months from buying the Phantom.
     
  7. Numone

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    Well, I do empathise and understand your frustration with your situation, but can I point out s few things...(which may annoy you even more!).
    Firstly, you were not injured - however close you think that came - so that is, to be frank, completely irrelevant.
    Second, from what I've read, seven months after you bought it, DJI are still offering you a replacement/repair FOC if you send it to HK? Sounds reasonable to me and frankly, I'd take that and get your friend to send the TX to the UK.
    Third, it's not really DJI fault that the profession you've chosen, moves you around SE Asia, is it, nor the fact that you've moved the kit to a country that charges completely ridiculous amounts to post items to Hong Kong? Incidentally, have you asked DJI to arrange for a collection of the drone? If not, that'll be worth a try - they do it in Europe I believe.
    Forth, DJI simply do not have the global depth of Customer Service that Apple do and do not have wholly owned retail shops worldwide you can pop into either - its an unfair comparison and whilst DJI have the largest market share, they don't have a monopoly on this market sector - there are a number of other drone manufacturers in the same sector as the Phantom models.
    Finally, I guess you'd have had to pay customs when you brought it back into the UK anyway, wouldn't you?
     
  8. PhantomtravellerUK

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    It might be 7 seconds to fall to the ground but from getting the error message, registering what it was, returning your sight to the drone - it's highly unlikely that would all be possible any quicker than 7 seconds. But, I do see your point as it wasn't above me so no need to go down that route.

    In regards to the social media claim as well - it does sound a bit stupid but as I mentioned, I was at the point where nothing was moving forward.

    And I did make contact with them straight away - that was 15 days after the purchase of the phantom 4. It had 6 hours of flight time over 3 batteries.

    I wasn't expecting to be compensated from DJI, just to find the best possible solution as my situation was rather unique. We were at a point where I was happy to pay for shipping the unit back to them and then they were going to review it, repair or replace with a new unit and then send it back to the UK. That's as much as I could have hoped for at a very basic level. It turns out that when they said they'd replace with a new unit if it can't be repaired.. that actually they meant 'like new'. But I've only just tonight been told this by them. Further frustration as they did not clarify that point before so when I would have listed it to be sold second hand, I'd be selling it falsely - it's more likely another repair/refurb job. That would also have been fine given that I had run out of options, but I wish they were honest about that.

    My scenario is pretty unique in not having a fixed return address - that's not their fault clearly but given the circumstance of the incident and the little time I had with it, you'd have thought to keep the trust and loyalty of the customer, they might have gone down the goodwill route to try and resolve. As I can't send the remote back with the unit (because of the internal battery), just a bit of understanding and maybe the willingness to just send out another remote when they send the unit. It's not exactly a lot of money for them in the scheme of things but they're really going out of their way to not lose any money on this. Most companies of this size have a certain provision/contingency for situations..?

    It's frustrating that I bought from Malaysia and now have to deal with the HK DJi office. European consumer makes things a little straight forward and I'd go to the retailer first. I guess I'm going to have to go back to them and try my luck there. It's just a shame DJI are so unwilling to go off script even a little to accommodate. It's still a high end high value product but the customer service is notoriously bad.

    Thanks for your help with everything though all :)
     
  9. tcope

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    First, if it did fall on you, you'd be to blame as you should not fly over anyone...including yourself.

    I don't see any fault on DJI. It seems to me that they are honoring the warranty and even offering something in addition. It's not their fault that you move around which would increase your expense to get the Phantom to them and back to you. I think your best bet is to mail it based on a relatives or friends address and have it returned to that person. You'd then need to make arrangements to get the Phantom from that location.
     
  10. PhantomtravellerUK

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    Nah it's all good to hear. I realise I'm clutching at straws with a few of my points. The injury thing was just to point out their lack of empathy on the situation or to try and give an explanation as to what happens with a battery cell malfunction.. anything to restore my trust.

    And I have been trying to send it back to them. I've accepted that was my only option and it sucks that I'll lose lots of money on this but I don't really have another choice. I did ask about arranging collection but they said it has to be sorted by myself.

    My frustration is in their unwillingness to go off script and that I'm not even allowed to speak to a manager. I have been refused multiple times which I find strange. It would have been decent of them to offer that I could send the drone back itself without the remote and then they send out another one when they ship it to the uk. They're of course not obligated to but it would have left me a little bit happy, all things considered.

    Oh well, it's a shame as I had so much fun with it for the 6 hours I had it.. but I couldn't buy anything from them again. Maybe if there was a physical store in my local area and they improved on CX.

    Cheers again
     
  11. Numone

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    Might be worth dropping an email to [email protected] and see, as an EU citizen (for now!) if they can help. I've seen very good reports about DJI Europe CS.
     
    PhantomtravellerUK likes this.
  12. WV. Rootman

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    The Chinese way. They can not deviate. All are treated the same. DJI does not understand costumer relations like the western world. Maybe they can be bribed?
     
    #12 WV. Rootman, Jun 7, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
    PhantomtravellerUK likes this.
  13. Duchunter

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    Why not just mail it to your people in the UK and have them send it to dji UK? They will be much easier to deal with.
     
  14. Duchunter

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    You could probably even find someone traveling that could hand deliver it.
     
  15. tcope

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    Perhaps they were not clear about this during your contact and I don't know what they said but I kind of doubt that this was an actual lie. Also, the warranty (as terrible as it is), explains this to you.

    I'm still confused about this... as I understand your post they have stated that they can test the Phantom without your controller. So, if the Phantom is repairable they repair it and sent it to you. If it's not repairable, they send you just another refurbished or new Phantom. I fail to see why they would also need to send you a new controller.

    However... is your _real_ issue that you want a brand new everything instead of the Phantom repaired or replaced (just the Phantom itself)?
     
  16. PhantomtravellerUK

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    Yeh they weren't clear about this at all and repeatedly said I would receive a new one. Most people would assume new if that's what they are told. Like I said, I wouldn't have a problem if they said 'like new' or any other way they wish to describe it. If your car breaks and you take it back to the dealership and they say it's a write off, we'll get you a new one. Then it's delivered with 500 miles on it.. regardless if you're ok with that, it's not new.

    And sorry if the next part isn't clear. I'm now in Australia but the drone is with my friend in Myanmar. We've tried to send the drone back to them which would then be fixed and sent back to family in the UK - I'd then have to sell it. The issue we're having is that they are not letting him send the remote out of Myanmar because it has a battery in. So I'd end up with the drone being sent back to HK, then sent to the UK and the remote would stay in Myanmar. I asked DJI if they could help in anyway by sending out a new/used remote - I'm fully aware they are not obligated to do so and was looking it as a gesture of goodwill.

    I know it's not their fault I've chosen to live on the road full time and made it incredibly difficult to resolve situations if problems occur. All my equipment is insured. My Sony a7rii has issues with the shutter button and screen and I'm not sending it back to them and making a fuss because or trying to get free stuff..? I've used it so much, it's clearly wear and tear. I'll get it fixed and pay myself or claim on my insurance. I used the drone for less than 6 hours over 3 batteries and 1 of the batteries failed... I was looking for constructive answers on this forum because my situation is pretty unique in terms of not being able to send it back or then get it sent back to me. I was trying to get help from DJI to minimise my losses as I'll have to sell it. I've never blamed them for my circumstances but from my point of view (let's look hypothetically that I was living in the UK all the time), I spent £1200 on their product, it failed through no fault of my own, it costs me money to send back to them they repair it free of charge but only to an operational level. So all the scratches and superficial damage just gets left as it was, if it can't be fixed they'll only replace with a refurb and not a brand new unit... that's not really cool seeing that it wasn't my fault at all. I didn't buy it scratched up and if I did, you wouldn't pay full price would you? So that's why I was keen to get a brand new one from them because as a customer, who's already has to pay to send back their faulty product, why should I be penalised any more with a less than perfect product?

    As of right now as I can't send the remote back. I either throw it out and accept that I lost £1200 by choosing DJI. Or I sent the drone back to HK at a cost of $200. Then get it sent to the UK, pay the import custom fees, buy a new remote and then sell it second hand with scratches on it. If I'm lucky I'll get a little bit of money back. So I'm pretty screwed either way. It's not their fault on my situation. It's 100% their fault their product failed. I've just lost out a load of money. Surely most can understand how annoying that is. It's taken 7 months to try and sort this out already. Many months was getting them to agree to send it back to a different country. They refused my request to speak to a manager to try and resolve this quicker. That's appalling customer service in my opinion.
     
  17. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Thread cleaned up. Come on now... no need for personal attacks (on either side) and name calling will NOT be tolerated....period.
     
  18. PhantomtravellerUK

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    Thank you and apologies for rising to the bait with my own response.
     
    BigAl07 likes this.
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