Thursday, April 14, 2011

Leica Time Strap Broke

Leica Time Strap Broke, originally uploaded by Lainey1.
I bought it last May and it broke today. I used this on my Leica D-Lux 4. I loved Luigi's Leica Time cases and straps, but was kind of disappointed that this didn't even hold up for one year. I don't use the camera all that much so I would imagine if I used it daily, it would have broken a lot sooner. I emailed Luigi's english speaking assistant to see if they will fix or replace the strap. We shall see. (I was offered a replacement of the strap from Luigi if I BOUGHTany new or small item, and remind him of what happened to my strap, that he'd give me a new one. In a second email Luigi offers a free wrist strap in a possible new deal. I emailed to ask what exactly this meant because it either means I buy something an get a strap replaced free with another purchase or I just ask for a replacement, and get it for free? I'm not sure.) I also got a nastygram from Luigi or his minions barking at me that I shouldn't have this post online.

Luigi stated that the piece of leather that became unglued was a "superfluous" piece, that I shouldn't consider it "broken". (Then why is it even incorporated as part of the strap in the first place? That piece is for tightening the strap to the wrist.) They said "I should glue it back together myself", or not glue it, and use the strap without it. (Is this guy serious?) The fact is, the little piece helps keep the strap snug on my wrist. Without it, not so snug, and I prefer to have it snug. I like that they incorporated it, and find it to be an important feature of the strap. Luigi's is not pleased about my writing this blog post, but the strap didn't last even a year with mild use before the little piece became unglued. Luigi stated that none of his straps ever broke, and I'm sure it hasn't at the point of connection where the strap meets the camera. My strap became unglued and no longer tightens around my wrist. Unglued. Broken. Semantics. If the strap no longer tightens around my wrist because a piece became unglued, what does one call that? I call it broken. Instead of Luigi arguing with me in broken, confused English, or offering to replace the strap if I buy something else from him, he should have better customer service and replaced the strap without the nasty emails or ridiculous replacement requirements.

He offered to fix or replace the strap, which was nice, but I'm not sure of the exact offer he made due to his broken english. He offered to replace it if I bought a small item along with it. I'm sure it's just a matter of miscommunication and the issue will be resolved. Luigi also feels that my writing about this is in someway disrespecting him. I'm sorry he feels this way,and find his over reaction to be part of the problem and not the solution. His anger only makes my experience worse. I'm just a person writing a blog about my experiences, and from what I experienced, Luigi's products may be nice, but my strap broke, and it was a very expensive strap! Even my cheapest nylon strap that came with my Canon S95 never broke.

Would I still buy from Luigi? Probably not, due to how expensive the product is, and the customer service is lacking.  I love his leather goods, but hey are quite expensive, and that's why I was perplexed with the piece becoming unglued, but it happened. I still love their leather products, and am actually considering buying a nice leather Rollei strap from them for my Rolleiflex. Price-wise, it's just too ridiculously expensive, and that's without adding shipping and handling!

Update 04-27-11: I'm still waiting for a reply to my email about the deal that Luigi offered. Apparently I have to buy something and then get my replacement strap for free? I can't just get a replacement strap for free. Makes no sense. It could be the broken english, but I asked for an explanation. I haven't received an answer yet. If I do have to buy something else, that isn't resolving my broken strap issue. Why not just send another strap? No answer to emails. I guess that is an answer.

05-20-11: I never heard again from Leica Time Luigi straps. I've written another reply and the only solution given to me was to buy something else, and then get a free strap. Well, that's what the broken english email said, but having asked if that was the intention from Luigi, I never received a reply from him. I only got an email stating how mean I am for writing this. Thanks, Luigi. That's great customer service? What happened to "the customer is always right"? No answer. Nothing.  Live and learn. Next time, I will buy American.


  1. As an impartial, I can understand why you are getting the cold treatment from Luigi. I have been in sales/customer service for nearly 20 years and I've seen small issues, like yours, blow up into ridiculous proportions.
    A part of your expensive handmade strap has broken and I understand that you want it fixed or replaced under warranty. In all warranty cases I deal with, the supplier has the right to inspect the faulty item so they can correctly assess what the fault may be. If it is damaged due to a fault of the user, wear and tear, abuse, etc then the item is NOT claimable by warranty. If it is a fault from manufacture or the materials were faulty then a claim is valid and the supplier will normally repair the product. if it is not repairable, then a refund or a replacement is normally issued.
    In regards to freight, IT IS UP TO THE USER TO COVER THE COST OF FREIGHT BACK TO THE SUPPLIER. If the warranty claim is valid then the supplier normally covers the freight cost back. This is due to A LOT of false warranty claims that cost the supplier time (labour) and money (freight).
    The BIG corporate large-scale companies have departments that handle these warranty issues. If you purchased a cheap strap, then it's often cheaper and a lot easier for the claims department to issue you a replacement. The cheap camera strap you got with your Canon S95 would probably only cost about about 20c to make in bulk quantities IN CHINA by underpaid and underage workers. The Leicatime strap you purchased was HANDMADE from FULLGRAIN leather, not like the cheap laminated split leather that are often made in Asia. Luigi mainly makes specialty cases and bags. The straps are just an additional accessory line that complements his main line of custom made handcrafted products. He makes specialty cases for cameras that cannot be found anywhere else. He has designed all these products himself over many years due to feedback from photographers, forums, camera stores and customers. He has done the research and it shows in his designs. His products are reassuringly expensive and it shows in the quality. He is a small family business and what he is doing (with your case) is protecting his business.
    Your complaining in your blog is one-sided and is only fueling the fire. Luigi was willing to come to some type of arrangement, a middle ground that would benefit both parties but you only wanted your way. He made the offer and you declined it. It was your choice.
    Please be aware that as an American, you are used to customer service from large-scale large-market corporate suppliers/manufacturers. With Leicatime, you are dealing with a small overseas family business and your thug/bully tactics are not being received well.
    Please rethink your approach and maybe you will receive better customer service.
    I have purchased products from Leicatime before. I have had issues before in regards to some purchases and he has always communicated well with me with amicable resolution.
    In my job and from my experience, I can confidently say that the nicer customers will ALWAYS get the better long term service.

    Vince de la Pena
    technical sales/customer service
    Melbourne, Australia

  2. The fact that you wrote this well over a year after I blogged about this says everything about your customer service. I also think it's pretty presumptuous of you to think that it was lack of being nice or polite that warranted the heated responses from Luigi. "The Customer is always right." Guess you've never hear of this in the business world. Luigi could have easily rectified the situation by sending a new strap. He decided to argue instead.