2010 Bushnell Trophycam XLT Customer Service Review - August 20, 2010 Back to Main Review Page
   


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08-20-2010 - 2010 XLT warranty return and customer service testing:

On 3rd week of June I  spent 20 minutes on the phone contacting customer service to get an RMA for a return of a leaking camera. Once on the phone I was told to supply a copy of the receipt and a description of the issue along with $10 and the camera to them for repair. The camera was packed up and put into the mail the next day at a cost of around $8 for postage. The cost of the camera plus the $10 and postage means I now have invested an additional $18 for an inoperable camera. I supplied my E mail address in the paperwork I sent with the camera for receipt confirmation. We received a postcard 10 days later as confirmation of receipt for repair. Their web site said that they received it 3 days earlier.  Based on the shipping confirmation it was waiting in house 3 days prior to the RMA update being put on the web site. 

We are going to call this whole ordeal to a close. After our comments at the end of the review we were accused of almost bashing Bushnell. They stated that they had had no history of any cameras being returned for that reason. Within ten minutes of receiving that email I was able to find two such cases reported on forums, and later I found one fellow who stated that his filled with water and he called Bass pro and was told they had had several returned for that reason. We are assuming that the reporting through Bushnell’s system is not working and it may very well be true that they “just don’t know” about what is happening. We presently have another fellow on our forum that also has the water leak problem. 

Bushnell has told us that the return ratio of the 2010 XLT cameras is very low yet the turn around time is very long. Our test to that system referenced above has the details and shows the actual cost and time plus the results of a typical return of a damaged camera through that system. The Boly platform 2009 camera seems to be what is requested as a replacement for the Keep Time 2010 XLT in a lot of cases rather than play the cam lottery in hopes of getting a certain cam without problems and final firm ware. 

I have been writing this note as time goes along and the information begins to collect at a faster rate. We are now past thirty days with no word and the forums are starting to fill up with this same issue. The consensus seems to be that the two year warranty is of little value if the turn around time and rate of failure keeps the cam in repair a good portion of that time. Many have stated that if the warranty was one year and the turn around was down to a week or better then that would be more acceptable. 

We have been in a very in depth study of everything Keep Time for a while which involves a lot of data strait out the back door of the factory information and some highly involved dissecting of products. We see that the cameras that we reviewed as being post release that were acquired very early after release from catalog and on line vendors are definitely far different in performance than what is presently being shipped to the customers today. The specifications have changed and were never announced. Items like a 2 to 3 second trigger time and a 7.5 frame per second video (interpolated by adding like frames and advertized as 30). Night IR pictures have extreme unacceptable motion blur because the exposure time was cranked up to achieve brightness. This is very much like what we found on another brand a couple years ago and the distributor was not aware. 

Strange happening starting on 27 August I noticed several forums that had threads where people had this remarkable turn around times with the Bushnell repair service. All that happened the same day. All had recent cameras returned and had already received them back Yet our test cases that we monitor every day still has the same note that says this.

Repair Status: Replacement Item on Order

I have a couple of words I like to use for this kind of happenings but I will have to resort to initials (BS). If those reports are true it is even more of a problem because then it would show that their system is not first in and first out. Instead it would show that no matter when you sent your cam in for repair it would come out when ever they got around to it and not by any sequence. Gorilla marketing of this type has been attempted by more than one company and each time they have got caught, so let’s hope that is not the case here and just some over zealous individuals off on their own.

Well by now with the amount of returns and failure rate and dissatisfied customers we would think someone who was importing these cameras might have a few questions to ask the manufacture. The last year’s success of the BTC was historic and gives credit to the Boly Media connection to that camera. Now all that has been divorced and the now producer Keep Time has seemed to slip in a few changes that were never announced. There was a big push to correct the color day pictures by manipulating the firmware and chip changes. This process seemed to please some customers with those pictures but no one took a second look at the trigger times or motion blur of this camera. All their attention to one area has created problems like run away yet these faults are not being caught prior to shipping. Out of the box problems are being reported each day since this all started and continues to happen as late as this morning 08-16 and now we see a mention of a firmware availability but no mention as to why one should do the upgrade (if it is actually an upgrade) (or a band aid) and the reasons behind it and what to expect once it has been done. 

We now see that we have one of our test cameras listed as shipped which if it was to arrive today it would have been gone about 60 days days. If they were to acknowledge that they did have a problem then I can understand that amount of delay. What I do not understand is that the retail vendors had been constantly supplied with cameras all during this time and no mention of any problems by Bushnell on those cameras .Yet the reports show that the quality control did not work and the market is still getting faulty cameras.  This type of action is totally unacceptable even if they hope to now do a correction by user applied firmware updates, which should have been done prior to shipping. 

The camera arrived and we put it through its paces. The frame rate is still below the advertized amount and the trigger times are about six tenths of a second shy of the one second which is much better and in my book. I can accept that, but the catalogs (that cannot be changed) are still out there but they can change the web site specifications. All the pictures are very dark and the IR pictures show a degree of fuzziness. Sensing was satisfactory at 38 feet at 85 degrees. There is still a degree of blur but it is better. They have done a lot to this camera but is still lacking. With the hardware Incorporated into this camera they have reached the peak and cannot go further without another hardware/firmware change which will probably happen next year. 

The word “Customer Service” got stretched a little in this case. This is not to say that all the good people working there did this. This situation was handed to them by Keep Time and it all happened while some management even though told chose not to pay attention. This caused a lot of extra hard work on their part and they are commended for their hard work to get through this situation and keep on trying to keep the surge of public dissatisfaction to a dull roar.

 

 

 

 

   

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