I just had my Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f2.8G "repaired" at Nikon's Service facility in El Segundo, California and though I'd share my rather interesting experience.
Locked Zoom ring. I purchased this lens online from B&H Video last month. On my first day out with the day the zoom ring locked up after a minor fumble. At that point I did some research online and found this to be a common problem with the 14-24 and 24-70mm.
Nikon USA's repair/service procedure for those unfamiliar with it.
Note that you do not have to use Nikon's service facility, you may use any independant Authorized Nikon Service center.
1.) Go to Nikon USA
and fill out a packing list, then mail the item along with the packing list and proof of purchase to address listed on the form. Prior authorization is NOT required.
Keep in mind that they will not pay for shipping to them. They will pay for UPS Ground shipping back, I believe faster shipping can be arranged at your expense. It is also strongly encouraged that you insure your item.
For those fortunate enough to live local to one of the two Nikon service centers in either El Segundo, California or Melville, New York you can drop it off yourself. The walk in counter hours are M-F 7am to 3pm in California.
I live within a reasonable driving distance of El Segundo (which is just south of the Los Angeles International Airport) so I elected to drop it off personally.
2) Wait for them to mail you an estimate. If the repair is covered under warranty there is nothing for you to do. The repair will commence immediately. If the repair is not covered under warranty the cost of the repair will be listed. You then have 45 days to authorize the repair and provide a valid credit card information by mail back, phone call, or online. Repair of your item will not start until you authorized it!
3) Wait for them to ship it back to you or pick up if you live locally.
Nikon's Service Center in El Segundo. Free 1 hour visitor parking on the side.
Soon as you walk in you'll spot the rather plain looking double doors behind which is a simple L shaped counter and a couple of glass displays filled with discontinued Nikon products.
Anyhow, I dropped my lens off Tuesday October 25, 2011. The receptionist was polite, took my lens, I filled out a simple form and was advised I'd be informed by a telephone call or email when the tech has looked over the lens and when it would be ready for pick up. I got neither of those, I simply got a letter a week later saying the repair was covered under warranty. Two weeks later I checked the status online and saw that the product has "Shipped." I took this to mean it was ready for pick up, I called to confirm it and went back the next day.
Problem 2 OOPS
When I was given the repaired lens back the zoom ring was fixed. I mounted the lens to my camera took a couple of shots and everything seemed to be working then I spotted it! The built in lens hold was installed diagonally!
See below for my Photoshop depiction of the problem . I was a bit dismayed but hey the technicians are human and it appeared to be a honest oversight. The receptionist apologized but told me it could not be corrected on the spot because it required the removal of the front element. I was told it'd be given priority and it would be ready by the next day for pick up or they could mail it back to me. Again I opted for pick up and decided to come back the next day only mildly annoyed and glad I lived locally.
Problem 3 Really?! My luck sucks this much?
I came back the next day and the same receptionist recognized me, fetched my lens and assured me that this time it was given to a different technician who was more attentive. Right anyhow, the hood was back to the proper orientation, the zoom ring worked, focus ring worked, so I mounted it on my camera and looked through my view finder. I could barely see through it! The second technician fixed my hood but locked the aperture blade shut! I dismounted the lens and sure enough the prong that controls the aperture was stuck. The receptionist couldn't believe it, took the lens back and walked away from the counter.
A few minute later the manager walked out carrying a brand new boxed 12-24mm f2.8, apologized profusely and said they'll simply replace my lens with a new one instead of making me wait for the aperture to be fixed. After a few more minutes waiting on paper work I walked out with a new 12-24mm f2.8 to replace my less than one month old 12-24mm f2.8
Take my experience anyway you want to. Personally, the staff at Nikon were apologetic and I believed they were genuinely embarrassed at the mistakes that were made. Now if I had to deal with shipping and the same ordeal occurred I would be fuming mad because of the delay and shipping cost. Insurance on a 2 grand lens would be been substantial to ship 3 times to them and would of added an additional 3-4 weeks of transit time as it was shipped back and fourth. Heck if I had to deal with shipping I would be seriously be considering selling all my Nikon products and switching to Canon.
I will admit that it does appear that the technicians are in such a hurry to finish each repair that they do not takes the time to attach the repaired lens on a camera and check ALL the functionality of the lens. The misaligned hood would been obviously once mounted and certainly anyone that looked through the viewfinder would of immediately notice the aperture problem.
Anyhow the lesson I learned is that the warranty is valuable and even among their top tier products problems may occur. The original repair would of costed me between $500-600 plus shipping with no warranty. Suffices to say I won't be buying any grey market products to save a bit of money in the future.
Will I use Nikon's Service Center in El Segundo in the future? Yes if it's covered under warranty but I know not to hold my breath and mistakes can happen.