Worst Manufacturer Support 2014

By John Honovich, Published Jul 30, 2014, 12:00am EDT

With the best manufacturer support selected, we now turn to the worse.

The two key issues integrators raised were:

  • Screwing up / delaying replacements
  • Long time / effort to speak with someone knowledgeable

Given that Arecont 'won' worst IP camera in 2011 and 2014, this showing is not a surprise.

To mitigate them winning based on sheer reputation, we prefaced the question with "In the last 12 months." The good news is that their margin of 'victory' was lower than on previous integrator surveys. However, they still were the top choice by a clear margin.

General concerns about support and product performance were expressed, including:

  • "Arecont definitely still. It takes a lot of time and effort to get things moving and resolved."
  • "We haven't sold a new Arecont camera in years and the few we still have out there that are like a time-bomb. The only solution their tech support gives us is to update firmware."
  • "We tested a Micro-Dome AV3456DN-F camera. Camera would not focus. Their techsupport gave up. We sent the camera back and got another one. Same problem. What a waist of time."

Additionally, integrators mentioned Arecont's charges for repairs as major problem in their support policies:

  • "Arecont Vision, improved in many terms but for us as a surviving reseller: 1. they did no follow up work what so ever and 2.all the technical problems are for us to decide whether to discard the unit or return to them for repair and 3. minimum charge for such repair is already protested by end user not to mention the international shipping charges" (Asia)
  • "Several weeks to get a repair returned (after numerous phone calls). My favorite issue with them was when we sent a camera in for replacement, only to have the new camera held up waiting on a credit card to guarantee that we send the bad one back. The funny thing was, they already had the old camera. Wouldn't budge." 

Lenel and Verint - Bad

No integrator had anything positive to say about Lenel nor Verint's support but a number criticized them.

For Lenel, worst choice explanations included:

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  • "Worst in all aspects, time, lack of knowledge, etc."
  • "After moving tech support to Europe they create Center of Excellence. Until today we do not discover what does it mean. We have urgent problem on customer side after installing new version which was required to install new technology which was supported just in latest version. Unfortunately previously installed hardware stop working correctly because of changing of driver. Center of excellence tried to simulate our problem but after 2 months they found that they made tests with other version of OnGuard. After another month they inform us that they have no solution and we have to reprogram the system. It took for us approx. 200 hours." 

For Verint:

  • "Takes hours from them to call you back after you open a service ticket"
  • "Process for RMAs is a nightmare as they do not want to deal with anything. Out of box DOAs they want you to go through this long process and then you have to go through the distributor and not them to get a replacement after they deem it is approved by sending it back to them 1st. When you send in the RMA they often try to blame other factors for the RMA such as power surge or other. Had this on models that never were installed out of the box."

Sony Disappoints

Sony only received one best selection but with no explanation, quite low for their overall market position. Worse, three integrators emphasized problems with Sony support: 

  • "RMA process was awful. Unskilled techs on the telephone, script reading, complicated or slow returns. Even swapped serial numbers from different RMA's." 
  • "The problems begin after warranty had ended. Had to wait six months to get an out of warranty camera Back in working conditioning."
  • "An issue that they first failed to support, second failed to take ownership of and third when it was finally determined to be an issue took a very long time to resolve."

Exacq Disappoints

While Exacq was integrator's top overall choice for VMS systems, they received just a fraction of choices for best support compared to rivals Genetec and Milestone. Here was the positive:

  • "Their tech support team has solved several operational issues quickly and accurately"
  • "They are a top notch company. Quick, fast and friendly service. They were able to resolve my issues quickly."

However, two integrators both emphasized problems with long wait times to reach support, something that has been raised previously, even before the Tyco acqusition:

  • "The wait times are horrendous. When you finally find someone to pick up the phone, it's always Tier I. You tell them the extent of the problem (no matter how big or how small) and they ALWAYS have to transfer you to someone else. Then it's a 50/50; they either know the answer and you're on your way again, or they take your number and have to call you back...which they never end up actually following through with."
  • "The hold times can vary from short to long. No in between. I waited 45 minutes on the last call."

Bosch Mixed

Bosch received a handful of best and worst selections. Overall, a clear trend was hard to define for them but one detailed comment was worth sharing:

"The worst support came from Bosch. You can no longer call and request pre-sales support for system design, Bosch requires you to email them and hopefully get an email back in a day or two. Technical support has also failed to provide answers to highly technical questions and can often take weeks to get an answer out of them. Keep in mind, we have column 5 pricing, not many companies do as much business with Bosch as we do, for as long as we have, you would think we would have better support."

Hikvision - Mixed

Hikvision got quite a number of positive and negative comments, as we first reviewed in the Best Support post. Here are the criticism / worst selections.

It seems that their distribution setup has caused some pains as these comments indicate:

  • "Hard to get support (only through distributor)" (Eastern Europe)
  • "After weeks of working with them to bid project, when it came to placing a demo order a couple of months later stopped answering our requests on how to place orders. Eventually after meeting them in ISC West they advising they have now appointed a distributor for my country and I have to but through them" (Latin America)

Also, some integrators are unhappy specifically with North American support:

  • "Very difficult to speak with someone and not very knowledgeable." (North America)
  • "Always refer you to read manuals, want you to figure it out why call support at all if you have to read thru." (North America)

Dishonorable Mention - Morpho

Access control supplier Morpho received no bests and two similar strongly negative votes:

  • "They do not know their software, drivers, and how to handle the upgrades on each version"
  • "They are the absolute worst."

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