We bought Mr 3 a camera for Christmas.
He absolutely loved it. It was simple to use. Taking photos, videos, editing, playing games – even I could figure out how to use it without reading a manual. He took loads of photos on Christmas day. Mostly of the kitchen floor, it must be said, but some, surprisingly, obviously of a particular subject. He worked out how to make someone’s face appear on the character in the game by taking their photo with their head in the little oval. He spent hours playing with it, and I gave it a five star rating on Amazon.
Then it started turning itself off. We changed the batteries and it seemed better. Then it did it again. We changed the batteries again and reset it. Fine, again, for a while. Then when it turned itself off we had to press the reset button for it to turn on again. Eventually it refused to turn on even with fresh batteries and newly reset.
We returned it to Amazon. The returns process was great. At 2pm I went online and printed off the returns slip. The very next morning a new camera arrived on our doorstep. This was fantastic as Mr 3 hadn’t even noticed it was gone. Unfortunately he did notice his photos weren’t on there any more. I heard a doleful ‘Christmas gone!’ the first time he played with the new one. We hadn’t got round to transferring the photos onto a PC before the camera failed.
The new camera didn’t last long. The mode selector (it has a dial with which to choose from the six functions) began to switch without the dial being turned. Quite frustrating when you’re halfway through a game and it suddenly switches to camera, then video, then (perhaps) back to game.
We aren’t unreasonable, though. This product has huge sales, and a very high rating (although ours is still 5*, must go in and update it to something lower). I am sure that most of them are fine and we have just been unlucky. We attempted to return it for a replacement again, but Amazon won’t do that. A refund is the only option at this point, as they say they won’t risk repeatedly sending out items from a faulty batch (although I’m fairly sure they won’t be sending their whole stock back to VTech just because we’ve returned two). This did get me wondering whether perhaps these cameras aren’t as great as they seem. Maybe parents hand them to their children, and the kids get used to having to turn them on again when they randomly switch off, or switch the mode back again when it unexpectedly changes.
Of course we will get our refund as soon as thay have received the second camera back. Then we have to ask, what do we do? Do we buy another one (It’s now £1.50 cheaper than it was in December)? Do we look for a different product? The problem is that when it works, it is exactly what we (and Mr 3) want. It is exactly the right product – well designed, fun to use and a good price. But can we run the risk of the third one being faulty?