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The Canada warranties-how well do they work?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
See my earlier post re my Panny EH80 video input problem for background, if you'd like.

I'm definitely driving up to Canada tomorrow morning (about 150 miles) to purchase either a Panny EH-55 demo (I've found found five in stores by emailing and calling) or, if I back out from the demos I see, a Pioneer 560, which are availoable in relatively plentiful supply. In either case I'd receive the Panny or Pioneer Canadian warranty from the date of purchase (even for the Panny demo).

I've talked with Panny Canada, since the EH-55 is my first preference, and the company assures me that it is perfectly workable and not uncommon for Canadians to move to the U.S. and subsequently ship their Panny components to Canada for warranty repair.

What experiences have forum members had with Canadian warranty (and out-of-warranty repairs for that matter) from Panasonic and Pioneer in Canada?
post #2 of 9
Pioneer is utterly hopeless: if your primary concern is warranty performance, forget the Pioneer. Their service facilities are staffed by surly unhelpful people who have been told to obstruct any attempt at intercountry warranty support. When Pioneer left the USA dvd/hdd market, they left it with a vengeance and they are dead set against Americans importing the Canadian units: you can only get service within the country of purchase by presenting a receipt and proof of residence, no trans-shipping allowed.

On the plus side, current Pioneers are amazingly simple mechanically and very robust, with much better than average editing software that does not cause HDD crashes. A DVR-560 is not likely to need service within the warranty period, rendering the mfr warranty moot for most buyers. (There have been one or two reports on AVS of buyers receiving defective Pioneers new in the box, but this is vanishingly rare and would normally be handled by immediate return to the seller for exchange.) Current Pioneers are all variations of the basic DVR-640 design of 2006, which has proved extremely durable and is only now presenting cases of burner wear after heavy use, three years later.

Panasonic seems to have more warranty tolerance for Canada-USA cross-purchases. And their out-of-warranty, flat-fee $130 repair program beats Pioneer by a mile (while repairs to new Pioneers are rare, the company charges $300+ to repair/replace burners on the 2005 and older machines). To be fair, the EH-55 with its TVGOS and other additional features may have slightly higher incidence of breakdown during warranty than the simpler Pioneers, so Panasonic arguably should indeed be providing better warranty tolerance, and they do. Most Panasonic "breakdowns" seem to involve the disc clamp in the burner getting dusty, this can be self-serviced using instructions posted here by member DigaDo, who is very experienced with Panasonics. Other than the dirty clamp issue, we don't hear too many reports of Panasonic EH-series failure during the warranty period.

Both the Pioneer DVR-560 and the Panasonic EH-55 are excellent machines, reliable and well made. If I were you, I would prioritize the machine I prefer over warranty concerns. If you are used to using one brand or the other, stick with it. If you haven't used either brand, the Panasonic EH-55 offers the advantage of TVGOS (until February, at least) and is probably the most popular machine among AVS members. You might also look at the Pioneer 460 at CostCo, which is the same as the 560 but often on sale for much less, especially if "open box". Another option is the new Sony RDR-HX780, which is a Pioneer 560 with a Sony tag on it. This one is often on sale for $229- an amazing buy.
post #3 of 9
If they ever get that TVGOS conversion feature working on the DTVPal, you might have TVGOS after February. But having to depend on the Pal's tuner will really suck, because the picture quality is just plain awful.

Maybe they'll come out with some better boxes that can do it.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info. I'm strongly leaning toward the EH-55 because of my long-time good experience with the EH-80; in fact, even though Panasonic's tech staff could not help me with my failed video input problem over the telephone, they made a valiant effort to try and suggest every possible approach. I note your reference to the Costco Pioneer and Sony, etc. I assume you mean Costco in Canada. Correct?
post #5 of 9
CostCo Canada, yes, I should have specified. Most of the Pioneers my friends and I have bought were "open box" returns to CostCo Canada from consumers who found DVD recording too complicated. These are like new and easy to acquire thru internet closeout vendors, never had a problem. Of course by actually going to Canada you will have many more choices: let us know what you finally get!

Happy shopping!
post #6 of 9
Perhaps it's too late for this to benefit you, but I'll mention this for other folks reading the thread. In the case of importing hardware that's not available in the US, it may be unrealistic to expect US warranty service because the service depots won't have parts, manuals, firmware etc. for those models. They may be able to order parts and firmware, but they'd be reluctant at best to purchase manuals and perhaps special tools to fix equipment that they'll probably never see again.

I say this to point out that the service centres aren't necessarily being bad guys here - it's just a reality that the economics of providing a repair service for foreign equipment just aren't there in many cases.
post #7 of 9
Since Canadian Panasonic models are, in almost every respect, the same as USA Panasonic models, one would think that the corporate Panasonic Service Center, located near Chicago, would be the most convenient "service centre" for Canadian Panasonic models.

BTW, I have several Panasonic Service Manuals, all of them "Canadian English" versions.

European or Asian Panasonic models are another matter.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Citibear, others--

I got the Panny EH55 in its re-sealed box. It was a customer return but comes with factory warranty. London Drugs tells me that store policy is check out the machines before a refund is made, and to mark any missing parts on the outside of a box containing a returned component. This one has all the accompanying elements, including the styrofoam box liners.

I've heard good things about the Panny service in Elk Grove, Illinois. I'm not sure if they will honor a warranty but I can send off the EH55 in its original box to the Canadian warranty station, or, if it's past warranty, Panny in Elk Grove will repair it for the usual $130 fee.
post #9 of 9
I bought my EH55 [new] from Canada back in May '08 and registered it in the U.S. with confirmation. I've also requested a firmware disc via telephone (U.S.) and I received it 2 days later in the mail, about three weeks ago; Panasonic (TX) sent me a Warranty Enrollment Form with options to choose either the 3-Year Plan for $109.95 or 1-Year at a lesser rate of $49.95 - so I guess Panasonic USA (at least for me) does honor warranty for Canadian purchases.
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