Canon's Customer Service Is Helpful, Painless

A reader writes in to commend Canon for their efficient and—brace yourselves—helpful customer service: “I was on the phone less than two minutes beginning to end.” Among the surprises: the customer service department was based in the U.S., he was called back when a rep was available instead of being abandoned in an endless hold loop, the people he spoke with seemed motivated to help him, and the Canon rep had enough autonomy and intelligence to come up with an alternative solution when the original problem couldn’t be solved.

When I called the main number,I was asked by the computer what product I was called about (Printers), then department (support), and asked the type of printer (pixma).  They said “You are now being transfered to our Virginia based customer service center.”

…after a minute, they offered to call *me* back after 3-5 minutes when a agent was available.  Wow.  No listening to hold music.  I can dig that. Three minutes later the phone rang, connected me immediately and a friendly southern gentlemen (perhaps on the veranda with a mint julep) answered and I asked him to describe the markings of the power cable that went in the back of the printer.  He said he wasn’t sure, but parts should know. I was transferred to parts and the guy was looking the info up, but coming up short on what the cable would look like.

I figured this could be a lost cause, so I asked how much it was (figuring $10-$15 and getting it resolved quickly).  The guy said “Since we should be able to tell you something simple like that, and we can’t, I’ll send the cord no charge.”

Now if only they could fix my Pixma printer, which apparently has an Altoid jammed so far into the paper feeder that I can’t reach it.

(thanks to Dave!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. I work at a private school as an IT specialist and call IBM service in Atlanta Georgia at least 3-5 times a day. They read from scripts like trained monkeys, but are still human and generous at heart. Hell, if I was making $3-$5 for every phone call I answered, I’d be pissed off…somehow these people manage, and with a positive additude

  2. XTC46 says:

    wow, thats pretty good. I don’t think it would be reasonable to expect a call center to be able to describe what a cord looks like since they have hundreds of products, but its nice that they sent one.

  3. XTC46 says:

    @discounteggroll: I work the same call center a lot. They are really nice and I can usually get through a parts replacement in under 5 minutes. I typically spend more time talking about hawaii (people seem to find me living here really interesting) then I do getting parts from them.

  4. KernelPanic says:

    I hear their professional services are even better. I have a friend who shoots professionally on a part-time basis and he raved about the turnaround to get a bunch of his lenses calibrated.


  5. Krossbones says:

    I work at Circuit City in the imaging department, and I can tell you that Canons are the most reliable imaging products. We sell the most of them, they are the easiest to use, and they produce the best image quality. Now I can add good customer service to that list.

  6. azntg says:

    I’m really happy with my Canon digital camera and it’s good to hear that should I ever need service, I’ll get it.

    On a side note, gotta say sorry to my uncle though. He works for an overseas division of Kodak as a board member and occasionally supplies me with cameras. But I find Kodak cameras to take mediocre photos and have experienced poor customer service.

  7. miran says:

    I’ve had three of the canon’s cameras, bought one for my mom and am on my 4th canon printer (upgrade and trickle down). I have always been pleased with the canon cameras and printers. I’ve also had an agfa and olympus camera (all digital) and canon out performed them booth. My current camera is about 3 years old. I’m rather surprised I’ve not upgraded it yet, but it can still keep me happy. They may not be the cheapest – but you get what you pay for here.

  8. Egakino says:

    I shoot professionally and have to agree with above statements, quality gear and good people. I shoot with a wide range of their equipment (didn’t buy em, just provided them through work) and aside from some documented issues with batteries on some (by some I mean a small % produced) of the lower end SLR’s they are beautiful to work with.

  9. flyingcoach says:

    I had a pleasant experience with their customer service as well. I have a Powershot A75 and the viewfinder just started going black one day but all the menus worked. I found out they recalled some defective image sensors through their website:

    “Effective immediately, and regardless of warranty status, Canon will repair, free of charge, the products listed above exhibiting the above-mentioned malfunction if Canon determines that the malfunction is caused by the CCD image sensor. Canon will also cover the cost of shipping and handling in connection with this repair.”

    After a painless 5 minute phone call with no wait, they gathered some very basic information, paid for shipping and had it back within a week. A+ would buy again.

  10. legotech says:

    the lens on my Canon powershot got squished because I’m an idiot and I tossed the camera in my pocket with no case…I got online, filled out their warranty form and sent the camera in, fully expecting to get an email saying “hey, idiot, this is obviously your fault, cough up” instead, I got my camera back in less than a week with the lens replaced and they didn’t like the way the LCD screen looked so they replaced that and the front housing was scratched up too, so they replaced that.

    I messed up my camera and they refurb’d it for me for the cost of postage.

    I will ALWAYS buy Canon.


  11. iamme99 says:

    Makes me think that there should be a webpage to turn to for stories like this, good customer support experiences. That would certainly help narrow down what products I should look at.

  12. FLConsumer says:

    I had the same issue as FlyingCoach with a bunch of old A60’s and was amazingly surprised by how quick and efficient the recall procedure was (not only the phone service but also the turn-around time on the cameras.) They even replaced a broken battery door and trim ring and cleaned the optics on the one camera without charging me a cent.

    Did it affect the way I view Canon? Absolutely. I’ve since bought 3 of their PowerShot S5 cameras, at least 8 of their A series PowerShot cameras and no fewer than 4 Canon printers.

  13. slaidler says:

    I shoot Canon Digital and Film currently and used to work in a camera shop. I have never been so impressed with Canon Tech Support for questions that I might have had or a customer in the store. Canon is the only product I recommend for friends or customers of mine because I know that they will get treated well anytime they have a problem.

  14. Parting says:

    I had different brands of ink-jets printers (beside HP, that I never tried), and the best quality-price-longevity was Canon.

  15. 12monkeys says:

    Canon is a great company.I bought a printer and did not use it for 4 months.When I finally used it ,it would not work properly.After calling support they agreed to send me a new one no questions asked.

  16. jdmba says:

    I have to support Canon as well. I bought a Canon digital camera, and it developed an issue where skin tones were just grades of white and red (didn’t look skin tone at all). They could not have been more helpful and prompt. Very quick on the phone, fixed the camera … were even willing to take a CD of the pictures as a guide to what had gone wrong (so they are not reading from a book). They reminded me to keep my battery and charger. I was maybe without the camera for a week at most.

    They *ALSO* included the complete tech report of all the tests and findings.

    I love these guys.

  17. wishlish says:

    I have to agree with the Canon love. I had some problems with an ink tank that was sending incorrect messages to the printer. I called Canon, had a friendly rep in a few minutes, and had a new tank in less than a week. I love my Canon all-in-one printer. We need more companies like Canon!

  18. ShortBus says:

    @iamme99: Unfortunately it would turn into Astroturfer Central. :-(

  19. 1964F100 says:

    Heck, the Canon Pixma multifunction I have is the best printer *or* scanner I’ve ever had. A trouper, plain and simple.

    While past performance is not necessarily always indicative of future results as mutual fund disclaimers proclaim, it’s good to know Canon is more likely to help if the unit craps out on me.

  20. Gari N. Corp says:

    Yeah, they fixed me sister’s camera super fast and no quibble. We like.

  21. catcherintheeye says:

    @discounteggroll: I always hit that one up too – they always did sound bored. But I have yet to find a call center thats easier to get replacement parts out of.

  22. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I’ve heard Canon’s camera service centers are impressive. An acquaintance of mine broke the battery door on her Digital Rebel. She happens to live near the service center and dropped by to see how much it would be to fix. The technician took it to the back, was gone for a few minutes, and came back with a new battery door installed. No charge. Yay!

  23. pengie says:

    Krossbones: I used to work at CC as well (though I avoided Imaging like the plague, hehe), and I have to agree with you–I always loved everything they put on the shelves. Customers were sometimes frightened by the enthusiasm I displayed when I talked about their printers.

    I have two Canon printers (an MP150 and MP450) and should I ever have to call support, I have no doubt that it will be a painless process. Kudos to Canon!

  24. SayAhh says:

    I love Canon cameras. They’re so easy to use and the picture quality is awesome. However, according to the forums, several recent models have experienced problems with either the LCD display (on the G9: albeit negligible), light leaking onto the picture (on the A650 IS: slightly more serious), and inconsistent Auto Focus behavior (on the EOS-1D Mark III, pretty serious). I wonder if that’s because they’re rushing their products out to the market without proper quality control, or because they’re making so many of them that there’s bound to be more cameras with problems. Toyota seems to be experiencing a similar problem. Nevertheless, Canon’s customer service is the best, and I’ve read instances where they’ve replaced a G9 FOUR TIMES. Talk about helpful.

  25. KenManiac says:

    bought a canon camera in nov of 2001. still have it, still works fine, took at least 8000 pics with it.

    sister bought a canon camera shortly after i did. went bad, asked me to look at it, discovered the CCD recall. bam, they get a refurbed camera in the mail, much later model. nice.

    i recommend canon to everyone, have for years. i have a camera, scanner, printer, and love them all. have not had to deal with costumer service but am pleased to hear they may be as good as their products.

  26. cde says:

    And when you can’t get it repaired for free, their replacement number is easy to locate, have no problem with selling to end users and are cheap as hell. 35 shipped for a digital elph flash unit for the s300. Came with take apart manual and that was it.

  27. cde says:

    @SayAhh: Some of those problems can be like the ccd recall. Problems that only appear after a while but consistant.

  28. By contrast, when I cracked the screen on my Casio Exilim, I mailed it in for repairs and it took several weeks and several phone calls to get it back. I had to pay a little over $100, but they wouldn’t give me the price over the phone—I only found out how much it cost after they billed me. Everyone I spoke with was short-tempered and annoyed that I was bugging them. They missed two repair deadlines, and only after I refused to hang up and insisted on escalating the issue did they repair it. I vowed to never buy from Casio again. (Plus, the photos the Exilim produces are kind of sucky.)

    I think you guys have pretty much convinced me to go with Canon the next time I buy a camera.

  29. Ret says:

    I recently had to deal with them for a ccd failure in my Canon Powershot A85 (purchased summer 2004). I checked online and found out about the recall/service notice and called them (contact number and email were listed right there) I also got a Southern (US) call center. I had to call them twice (due to my own error) and both people were very friendly and helpful. Until the CCD problem, I’d taken well over ten thousand pictures without a problem. My next camera will also be a Canon. The product quality is high and the service is even better.

  30. KJones says:

    It may be a different company, but this is the same attitude Nintendo shows about their products, especially the Wii. And people wonder why their products outsell the flashier ones.

  31. ogman says:

    WTF kind of business model is this!? Making good products AND providing decent customer service? Obviously their stock price can’t be very high. They’ll go broke in a week,l mark my words!

  32. RvLeshrac says:


    I was offered a job at an IBM call-center a while back. If you think they’re making $3-$5 per call, you’re sorely mistaken. Try $1-$2 per call, at most, unless you have a slow day.

  33. BigNutty says:

    Sony has been a friend of mine for years. I buy Play stations for 10 bucks and send them in for repair and I have never had to pay for anything fut shipping to there, they pay shipping back.

    I will always buy Sony products.

  34. proudmonkey says:

    Had a great experience with Canon when they replaced a defective CCD thingy in my 3 year-old camcorder for free. Pleasant, quick, free shipping. Thanks to for the hint on what to check for.

  35. ironchef says:

    Canon Irvine Service Center ROCKS!!!

    They gave me a free complimentary sensor cleaning while I waited at the drop off desk after I said I drove 50 miles just to drop it off. It saved me postage and two days of shipping time.

    They have a free cleaning service for pro-level SLRs like the 5D and up.

  36. Rahnee says:

    When I read this is was like “wait, someone stole my story I was going to send to Consumerist”. Your not going to believe what Canon did to ME just last week!!!

    I have a SIX YEAR old canon Elph. The photo sensor went out in it Halloween night at a party. This camera has been through HELL! I called them on the phone to see if I could mail it to them and pay for the repair since it was WAY out of warranty. I was NOT expecting anything for free and not asking for it either. They emailed me a FREE UPS shipping label to get the camera to them. Then wrote me an email 3 days later that they were fixing the camera for FREE and also sending it back to me via FedEx 2 day for FREE!!! WOW!!!

    Canon will definatly be getting my business again. On a side note, Epson has really good customer service as well on the phone.

  37. 1964F100 says:

    Umm, BigNutty, you may want to check the comments on this Consumerist post. Your success with Sony is apparently a very isolated incident as Sony isn’t exactly known for bending over backwards to help the customer like Canon does.

  38. one thing I should mention to canon point and shoot owners. I used to work at a local camera store and the biggest broken issue I would see was the battery door being broken because it is being opened/closed incorrectly and with too much force. be gentile when opening/closing it, and don’t put too much force on any one part of it.

  39. crackalacker says:

    They’re pro service is fantastic, I’ve never been on the phone more that 10 min, and they get everything figured out or have me send the part down to LA, and I have it back in about a week. I love using them, I will never buy a camera from a different company.

  40. Belarios says:

    Bought a Canon A610 in early 2006 and had some intermittent lines in pictures after about 10 months. Mailed it in for warranty service and it came back quickly with no hassle. No problems since. Did it all through the web though, can’t speak to live support.

  41. BigNutty says:

    CARBON-ARCS, I also have seen bad comments about Sony on other websites like the ripoff report. I can’t explain why I have been so lucky with them. Maybe I’m lucky and get the right customer service rep. when I call.

    Oh, and I forgot in my original post, Canon products have worked so great for me I’ve never had to call them before.

  42. blacksamurai87 says:

    I have a 350D and it’s working just fine. Except I got the menu buttons sticky somehow. Thanks, Canon!

    And take that, Sony. Canon Customer Service beats yours anyday.

  43. JAYEONE says:

    man I love that picture with the makes me grin!

  44. Robert Isbell says:

    I know Canon has had it’s ups and down over the years, but they always try to do the right thing even if it meant hurting themselves. I know when I was a licensed tech for them, they always took care of the customer, no matter what.

  45. RvLeshrac says:


    I’ve had one good experience with Sony over the years. Working in retail and selling/servicing Sony products, however, I can tell you with certainty that Sony hates their customers with passion.

    We’ve probably been on the business end of a new CSR without the proper level of “No” training.

  46. gsquirrel says:

    I’ve had both a good and bad experience with Canon and both at the same time. I purchased a Canon Elura 40MC a number of years ago. Highly reviewed in literature of the time and brand new. After about 1 year, the reviews started to turn sour as the units seemed to be defective. They lost tracking of the timecode and would spit out minidv cassettes. Mine started showing the signs so when it finally failed I took it, in person, to the repair service center that happened to be down the road from my college. They said the item was out of warranty but offered to fix it anyway, because of the nature of the problem. It was in for service twice and each time, it would work for about 1 battery charge and then screw up again. I haven’t taken it back, but the official word from Canon was that the problem was recognized, but sadly, there was nothing the company could do about it. The service center, however was a dream. They replaced half of the camera with new parts, yet they could never fix the problem. I had sort of written off Canon, but if that was only an isolated problem, a fluke, then maybe I’ll look into them for my next camera. That service center was worth it (so long as they can actually repair it). :)

  47. mistaketv says:

    My mom recently had a great experience with Canon. Long story short, her long-out-of-warranty several year old PowerShot digital camera broke. She called Canon; they determined that it was a known manufacturing defect and fixed it for free. They even paid for shipping, both ways. I was impressed and recommend she write a letter of gratitude. As important as it is to expose the many travesties of modern customer service, it’s also important to give companies who do right by their customers some positive reinforcement.

  48. CrazyMann says:

    I believe that one measure of a company is how quickly they correct their mistakes.

    During a recent photo shoot it became clear that my expensive Canon camera was not focusing as it should. I called the Canon Technical Support for help and the rep. spent 20 minutes on the phone with me. Finally the rep suggested that I send in the camera and lens and let the technician determine if the problem was with the camera or with the lens (or both).

    Here is where the problem started; when the camera and lens were received they were immediately slapped with a standard repair charges totaling about $400.00. No one even looked to see if there was a problem. Giving them a call resulted in receiving the standard policy answer of, “that is what we charge for all repairs”. However moving up the food chain was much more productive. I spoke to Norris out of Virginia and let him know of my problem, he called over to the repair center and informed me that the repair manager would be personally looking at my repair. Having a personal belief of distrust but verify I waited to see what would happen. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email that said my repairs would be no charge. The camera and lens arrived 2 days later fixed with a note explaining what the problems were.

    I did not expect (or ask) for a free repair however any company that treats their customers as well as Canon does will have my future business.