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Zeiss, for the win!

July 21, 2009

Regular readers will no doubt remember my ordeal a couple weeks ago in which I inadvertently left my beloved Zeiss binoculars on the roof of my car while tending to my son, and drove off. It was a harrowing and gut-wrenching tale, and also stupid. Very very stupid.

Luckily, it had a happy ending when I found my bins in the gutter along a major thoroughfare here in fair Chapel Hill. Some of the plastic bits had broken but the optics themselves were apparently no worse for the experience, the advantage of high quality glass made abundantly clear. They still needed to be sent into the facility in Richmond, Virginia, to be fixed. And while Zeiss has a generous warranty, I did not expect them to cover user error, especially when said error involved such a brazen act of rank idiocy as placing a pair of binoculars on the roof of a car and driving off.

But I was happily wrong! Zeiss not only covered the whole thing without a charge to me (minus the shipping up there of course) but they put everything back together within a week and had my bins back in my grubby little hands in less than 10 days. Good as new minus a couple scuffs on the rubber housing. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my repaired binoculars.

Awesome. As if I wasn’t completely schoolgirl crushing on Zeiss before, you bet I am now. They were under no obligation to fix them under warranty, but they did. And special thanks to Karen Bookout, my contact at Zeiss customer service, who was totally friendly and great when I called curious as to why I hadn’t yet received a request for payment. I can’t say enough good things about them.

We birders have some great options when it comes to high end glass, and from an optical quality standpoint you really can’t go wrong with any of the Big Three (or Four if you consider the new EDG stuff from Nikon which is pretty great, too). The difference ultimately comes down to personal preference and customer service. Funny thing is, it wasn’t that long ago that Zeiss had a mixed reputation with regards to service, and I’d heard some of those reports before I made my purchase. They rightly worried me, but Zeiss was by far the most comfortable for me so I went ahead. They’ve apparently heard the call for improvement, and have done a lot to make their customer service a point of pride, and I was undoubtedly the benefit.

Ultimately, brand loyalty plays a part in any purchase of separate but roughly equal products, and I’m happy to report that after this incidence, I’m a Zeiss guy. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

  1. dAwN permalink
    July 21, 2009 8:14 am

    Go Zeiss! Glad they took good care of you! Its always worth the many xtra bucks to buy these high end binos!

  2. The Lorax permalink
    July 21, 2009 8:29 am

    Well played, sir! Well played. (Those kidz'll make you crazy. Beat them at their own game).

  3. birdchaser permalink
    July 21, 2009 8:56 am


  4. Patrick Belardo permalink
    July 21, 2009 9:41 am

    Sweet. The sun shade came off my Swaro scope last year. They only commit to a 7-week turnaround.

  5. Nate permalink
    July 21, 2009 9:56 am

    @patrick- Zeiss told me that if the damage is such that they have to send them back to Germany it would have taken upwards of two months. But repairs that stay in the US typically take about a month.

    That's also just for bins though, scopes may be more complex for all I know.

  6. noflickster permalink
    July 21, 2009 11:10 am

    It's awesome to hear tales where the good guy wins one against the evil empire.*

    Congrats on such a compelling rags-to-riches story!**

    * For purposes of this comment I assume you are a good guy and that Zeiss is an evil empire.***

    ** Because I watched Slumdog Millionaire last night I'm seeing rags-to-riches everywhere I turn today.

    *** I'm kidding, Zeiss, Just kidding!

  7. John permalink
    July 21, 2009 1:58 pm

    Hooray for Zeiss!

  8. Ali Iyoob permalink
    July 21, 2009 2:00 pm


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