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My Panny AE100 repair debacle!!

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by calibos, Apr 11, 2003.

  1. calibos

    calibos
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    Heres my sad story in chronological order.

    My Ae100 from the very beginning (April 2002) had the flicker problem and some light colour staining in the top left and bottom right corners. After about a month or two the flicker went for the most part. The colour staining also went or I stopped noticing it (one or the other). Everything was great up until Xmas when I noticed the flicker was occurring again with more regulartiy and the colour stainning had returned with a vengance. All along the bottom and up the left and right sides. I also noticed dust blobs. After hearing horror stories( now I have one! :rolleyes: ) about 6 month long Panny repair times I tried to convince myself that only if it got any worse would I send it for repair. Thus I was wary of opening up to sort out the dust because it would invalidate my warranty which I might still need.

    Anyway 4 weeks ago with a month left of my warranty, I decided enough was enough as the staining and flicker was still getting worse. I was hoping not to involve the dealer I bought the projector from as I would never deal with them again after it took 3-4 months to get my Panny in the first place. Even if it was Panasonics fault putting priority on UK orders for the then brand new and in huge demand AE100, The dealer never answered my emails and I felt fobbed off anytime I rang them enquiring when I would get my PJ that I had already paid a substantial deposit for.

    So.....I rang Panasonic direct on the Irish Helpline number. It was an automatic answering service routed to the UK Panasonic Helpline. A UK Panasonic customer care rep answered. I explained that I was in Ireland, who I got my PJ from and what was wrong with it. When he heard I was in Ireland he put me on hold a minute while he talked to his supervisor I presume. He came back on the line and told me that seeing as I was from Ireland and they had no Service Centres here, that it would be un-economical for them (his words) to send a courier to collect it, repair it and courier it back. What I would have to do was bring the Pj back to the dealer I bought it from. They would confirm it was broken, Panasonic would credit them for a brand new unit and my dealer would order me a new one. When I heard this I asked him to clarify that he meant a brand new boxes PJ. He said yes. My brain went into overdrive and I said to him that seeing as they were 'crediting for a new unit', did I necessarily have to get an AE100, could I order an AE300 instead and pay the differance. He said it was between me and the dealer but he couldn't see a problem with it. I left it at that forgetting to get the reps name or the log number of the call.

    So the next day I got onto my dealer and explained the problems with the PJ and what I had been told by the Panasonic Cust. Care Rep. They said yeah they wouldn't have a problem with it and could I bring the PJ in to them. They are only about 5 or 6 miles away so I drove there 2 days latter with the PJ. I brought along photographs of the problems with the PJ. I showed the photos to their repair guy and he said yes the optics were screwed and Panasonic would probably have to replace most of the guts of the projector and that it was a disgrace that the optics could get that bad after only 3000 hrs and almost a years use. I explained to him again what I had been told by Panasonic. He replied that if Panasonic honoured the credit arrangement, that I wasn't necessarily tied to getting a Panasonic. I could get a Hitachi etc that they had in stock. I told him that if the 'credit' thing panned out that I would prefer an Ae300 because it was the new best PJ for the price and hopefully Panasonic had learned from their mistakes on the AE100. He said fine and we left it at that. He said he would get back to me with word of the repair/replacement/Ae300 upgrade.

    I rang the dealer a week later to find out if there was any word. The receptionist told me that they had emailed Panasonic and were waiting on a response. I rang back about 3 days later and was told by the same receptionist that Panasonic had told them to send it over to the UK. She didn't know at this stage whether it was being credited for or repaired. She said they were going to send it to Panasonic UK the next day and they would get back to me with word when they got any. The PJ now apparently being finally sent to Panasonic after sitting on the dealers desk for a week and a half. I sent an email to the dealer about a week later and got no reply and then sent another a few days later and again no reply. I've had a busy fortnight redecorating and refurnishing my home-cinema room to the tune of €3000 and finally got around to enquiring again about what the hell was going on with my PJ. This being 4 weeks since I left it in to my dealer and 2 and a half weeks since they supposedly sent it to Panasonic.

    So.....I rang the Panasonic Helpline on Monday to find out the story with the repair/replacement/Ae300 upgrade. They said they had no record of receiving my projector and maybe it was delayed with the courier from my dealer and that I should ring back in 2 or 3 days to see if it had arrived. I rang back tday to be told that they still had no record of recieving my PJ. I got off the phone to them and rang Meritec straight away. Guess what?? My dealer still hadn't sent it 4 weeks later!! It was still sitting on their desk!! I was told that they were had still been waiting on word on how to proceed from Panasonic about sending it for repair and that they were going to send it over on Friday.They said that it was covered under warranty but the bulb wasn't, and that Pansonic had informed them that the suggestion by the first Pansonic customer care rep that I spoke to was greatly mistaken and that there would be no replacement/credit/upgrade, just repair. Needless to say I gave my dealer a piece of my mind just barely holding back from using expletives. The girl was appologetic and said she would get back onto Panasonic about a loan unit for me and if worse came to worse they would supply a loan unit themselves.

    I just got an email from her:

    Dear Keith

    I have spoken to Shane Ransom ub Panasonic re. getting a replacement
    projector while your own is in for repair. They tell me that if the
    projector is sent back to them through Meritec then they cannot provide a
    replacement unit during repair. However if you call Panasonic customer
    services yourself they will collect the unit directly from you and will also
    provide a replacment unit while they have your own in for repair. Shane
    also tells me that this will be alot quicker then if the unit is sent back
    through us.

    Our contact is Shane Ransom in the service department of Panasonic - his
    e-mail address is shane.ransom@panasonic.co.uk and his phone number is
    00441344853501 this will get you through to the service department.

    If you wish to go ahead and arrange sending the unit back yourself we will
    drop your unit back to you as soon as possible. If you have any further
    queries please call Criostoir on 2121612

    Apologies for any delay in dealing with this matter

    Regards

    **** *******
    Administration
    ******* Presentation Products
    http://www.*******.ie/
    ****@*******.ie
    00353(0)1 2781828

    So now what do I do?? Get The dealer to continue to deal with it and demand a crappy Hitachi loan unit from them or get the PJ back from the Dealer and deal with Panasonic direct which is what I wanted to do in the first place but was told by Panasonic that I couldn't!!

    Your thoughts please, especially from those who have had to deal with cr*p from dealers, customer care etc or those that work in the Customer care industry about how I should proceed and if I have any rights, comeback, due a goodwill gesture etc because of the delays/incompetance etc

    PS. Sorry about the longest post in the history of AVforums BTW.
    PPS. Kramer, don't even dare say I told you so!!!:D :D
     
  2. theritz

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    Keith,

    You have email.

    I reckon that the primary issue here is to establish with Panny that they undertand clearly that your PJ was returned to the supplying dealer within the warranty period. You could also try getting an estimate of the "fix" time from them - tho' if the optics are buggered ( which looks like confirmed by the Meritec Techie), it could take some time.

    Commiserations............:rolleyes:


    Sean.
     
  3. calibos

    calibos
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    I rang the number Jane gave me ie. Panasonic service department. I was told Shane Ransom wasn't in work today, so I told this new guy the story...AGAIN! He started by saying that it can only be sent back via my dealer. (Jesus Christ lads which is it??!!:mad: ) He said Jane shouldn't have given me that phone number and that any arrangements for collection and repair from either my dealer or me would have to go through customer care. He said he would pass my details onto customer care who would ring me this afternoon. Needless to say....No phone call:mad: :mad: At this stage there is an indentation in the wall beside my phone/PC where I have punched it several times in frustration!!:rolleyes: :D
     
  4. theritz

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    Keith,

    You're having a rough time of it..............:rolleyes: no doubt about it....

    That's got to be wrong, there have been several posts by peeps here with ae100 probs who phone panny direct and get their pjs picked up and fixed.... maybe it was the direct call to the guy named which is causing the problem.

    You're now left with waiting 'til Monday to continue this saga, I suppose...

    Sean G.
     
  5. calibos

    calibos
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    Yes, but they are all in the UK AFAIK. I think the problem is that they don't do direct pickups from Ireland......or at least some of the Panasonic employee's think they don't while some Panasonic employee's think they do!!:rolleyes: :rolleyes: I swear to God at this stage I think they owe me an AE300 for putting up with all this sh*t.

    Maybe its not even Meritecs fault. Maybe they are getting conflicting information from Panasonic too......"Yes we'll credit you/Keith for the PJ...No we wont, we'll repair it.....Send it to us....No don't send it, we'll collect it......no we wont collect it from you, give it back to Keith and we'll collect it from him.....No we cant collect it from him, we'll collect it from you....No we won't collect it, You send it......."

    AAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!:mad: :D :mad: :D
     
  6. calibos

    calibos
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    Looks like you're the only one that cares Sean! 150 views and 2 replies by your good self:( :( :D Even kramer didn't post in the thread to say I told you so!!
     
  7. theritz

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    Keith - its prob the weekend syndrome !

    Make sure to update on Monday, tell us how you get on - its certainly a confusing situation - I reckon if you tried their standard customer service number, or got to speak to the guy who was dealing with Mer****ec then you'd be on your way.

    Just seen new pics of your room on forum, very nice - the cabinet and front speaker look well suited to each other, and I now understand what you meant by the shelf arrangement over your head. Neat.


    See ya,

    Sean G.
     
  8. vexorg

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    Lo Calibos


    Been following your story and hoping that you get your hands on an AE300, mainly so I could ask you for a demo, selfish I know, but what the hell.

    I have to agree that the Panasonic customer care is a bit weak. I phoned Panasonic Ireland and asked if they could tell me if they have delivered any AE300s to any store in Ireland, as I would like to see one in action. They said they could not help me and gave me the customer care phone number to ring.

    I rang the number explained that I wanted to see a demo of the AE300 in Dublin preferably but if the could give me the name of any stockist that had one I would be grateful.

    They said no problem and gave me three numbers to call, Powercity Tallaght, ESB Blanchardstown and Belle View, I knew that powercity and ESB would be a no hoper but Belle View might be the place I wanted, however when I rang them they haven’t sold electronics for 2 years and the guy there suggested I try Dixons in Jervis Street. So I can’t say that I’m impressed with their knowledge of their so called stockists in Ireland.

    My heart goes out to you, If it were I in your position, I would try to talk to Mr. Shane Ransom, ask him to bear with you until you tell your story, then get his email address and mail him as well, even if he tells you he cant help. Ask him directly if he said what your dealer said he said and make sure you send him a copy the mail you got.

    It does seem like you are the one that slipped between the cracks.

    Best of luck....


    Vex.
     
  9. norbert

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    Keith

    I know exactly how you feel - I'm one of the chaps whose PJ was with Panasonic for 6 months ( I've posted all of the details on one of the huge Panny threads if you're interested).

    Anyway, what I would say is to be careful sending it back direct. I did this and later tried to get some recourse through my credit card company. I was told that they wouldn't pay out as I hadn't returned the PJ to the dealer. If I had returned it to the dealer then they said that they would have helped me. I'm presuming that you bought by credit card and so I would certainly advise speaking to their disputes department about the problem.

    I wouldn't hold out much luck of getting a new model in exchange either. I got completely fed up of the whole thing about a month ago (6 months after Panasonic originally collected) and suggested they let me have a new model instead. They weren't interested in the slightest. However, I then demanded a full refund and got one through the dealer within 7 days!!!

    I find it strange that they were happy to do this rather than exchange for a new model but I bought the PJ last June (when they still cost something) and so can now go and get a Sanyo Z1 for the same money. Needless to say that I'm not complaining (except that I'd ceiling mounted the Panny and no doubt the Sanyo has a different throw distance!?!).

    Hope you get it all sorted.

    Regards

    Richard
     
  10. Kramer

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    Hi Keith.

    Dropped you a PM a few days ago explaining my lack of posting ;)

    Any developments?

    Fingers crossed for you m8, really :smashin: Do hope you get it sorted real soon - I'd be furious too.

    Good luck (I think you're gonna need it!).
     
  11. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Just to give some of you hope, mine took 7 days from collection by Pioneer to return delivery to the house
     
  12. calibos

    calibos
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    Update:

    I rang Panasonic again today and the 4th Customer care guy I have spoken to was all appologetic about all the conflicting information and delay. He confirmed what the first and third Panasonic person said ie. Has to go through dealer/no direct collection from Ireland which contradicted what the second Panasonic person Shane Ransom said. However he confirmed what Shane said about no loan units when returned through dealer. Its up to my dealer to supply me a loan unit.:mad: They don't normally do Panasonics, mainly presentation Hitachi's. God knows what the throw distances are on those. Imagine a loan unit that can only give me a 30in image in my viewing room!! Not much point really is there!!

    He took my and my dealers details and said he would contact them straight away to straighten things out. So hopefully my PJ will be in the UK by next week:rolleyes: :mad: 5 weeks after I left it in to my dealer.

    Of course whats so galling is the fact that going on the experiences of other forum members like norbert, Starship Trooper, Johnny1973, Bert Coules and others etc who seem to have or have had the same projector problem as me, is that they all eventually got a new replacement AE100 or a full refund whether it was after a few weeks or a few months. Some didn't really have to force the issue while others had to threaten with solicitors, credit card companies etc. I have no doubt that I will eventually be told the PJ is un-repairable and be offered or have to fight for a new replacement/refund. How many more weeks before its sent to the UK and how many weeks will it be sitting on the Engineers desk before this replacement/refund process begins???

    This is why I think the very first Panasonic guy said to return the projector to my dealer who panasonic would refund and I could order a new one.....because this first guy knew trying to repair it would be a waste of time and that they would eventually have to refund anyway. He was cutting out all the intermediate cr*p and was giving the refund straight away. Why didn't he tell all his mates though and why oh why didn't I get his name???:mad: :mad: :mad: :rolleyes: :lesson:

    I'm ringing my dealer tomorrow to make sure they were given instructions by the Panasonic guy. I'm now taking bets as to whether he even rang them!!:D
     
  13. theritz

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    Hi Keith,

    Progress ?? I hope so - it looks like you'll have to keep on top of this in order to get a result. I still reckon if the optics are buggered they're unlikely to try a fix - compare the cost of the parts for the optics to the trade price that Panasonic must now be taking on ex-demo units - or even on new units - it couldn't be an economic proposition for them.

    Keep us up to date.

    All the best,

    Sean.
     
  14. Kramer

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    Not the first time I recall reading a similiar "tale of woe" regarding a faulty AE100 & Panasonic :(

    Other peeps seem to have a one week "collection to return" story :confused:

    Keep after 'em Keith ;)

    All the more reason to get a HS10 & forever forsake Panasonic.

    Best of luck :smashin:
     
  15. calibos

    calibos
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    Kramer,

    I have considered a HS10 if I ever get a refund but........the lamp bug scares me, the fan noise scares me, the price scares me.......:D :D Typical. The best projector for me pricewise, PQ wise and feature wise is.......A Panasonic:rolleyes: :rolleyes: AE300.

    Thing is though that from the very beginning, even before we got hold of our AE100's, the problems were beginning to present themselves with the early adopters in the States ie. Red Led of Death issues, Colour Uniformity issues, bulb flicker issues etc. The AE300 has been on the market in Japan and the US for months now and the only issue people have had so far over there is the Scanline Artifact...and thats not really a hardware fault issue AFAIK. I'd imagine that even this isn't as bad as people say. Those AVS guys are bloody perfectionists and anyway the flicker tweak by all accounts is very effective at alleviating this scanline artifact.

    So if.....sorry when, they decide mine can't be fixed I'll either be getting or demanding a broken pixel free AE100 replacement or a refund in which case I'll order an AE300 online from nexnix who will probably be cheaper and able to deliver within the same time period that it would take my current dealer to just process my order!!:D
     
  16. norbert

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    Keith

    I would just add that it wasn't until I wrote a formal letter of complaint to the Panasonic head office address that I actually had a call from someone who seemed willing to do something about it.

    I'd have to suggest giving that a go to see what response you get. I certainly got the impression that speaking to different people on the Panasonic helpline everytime didn't get me anywhere. It did take a couple of weeks for them to respond but progress after that was fairly swift (relatively, of course!)

    Hope this helps.

    Regards

    Richard
     
  17. calibos

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    Update.

    He didn't ring Meritec that day(Tuesday) or yesterday like he promised. I rang Jane in Meritec who said he hadn't rung. She said yesterday she would contact him and email me back in the evening. She didn't email me:mad: :mad: :mad:

    Norbert. Can you post or PM me the Name and Address you sent your complaint to. Cheers M8!
     
  18. vexorg

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    Keith

    If you do write and complain to Panasonic, send it by registered post, you are more likely to get a faster response and you will also be able to track when they recieved the letter, peace of mind for a couple of Euros.

    Vex.
     
  19. calibos

    calibos
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    Update:

    Just got this email from Jane.

    Hi Keith

    Apologies for not getting back to you, Panasonic only got back to me this
    morning, they are now saying that they are going to arrange a
    credit/replacement unit for you. I re-faxed them over their returns form
    with details and e-mailed them to confirm this but have not heard anything
    back as yet. I will give them a call this afternoon to confirm that they
    received the information and I will let you know what they say.

    Again apologies for the delay/inconvenience caused to yourself
     
  20. vexorg

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    Wohoo... id be excited if I got that email... with some luck they wont have a replacement AE100....

    Fingers crossed for you.


    V.
     
  21. theritz

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    Keith,

    Serious finger-crossing going on here for you !!!:smashin:

    Keep us informed !

    Sean G.
     
  22. calibos

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    My toes are crossed too!:D

    I hope the 'credit/replacement' is a choice at this stage ie. I choose a full credit or a replacement AE100. As much as I would be thinking twice about getting a Panasonic again if I get a 'credit', as I said in an earlier post it just so happens that the manufacture of the projector that suits me most with regards to price, PQ and features is.........A Panasonic! ie the AE300. At least the AE300 seems problem free after 6 months of 'Beta Testing' by our friends over at AVS. No red led of death, no vertical banding, no colour uniformity issues.

    Anyway I'll keep those that are interested updated as always:D
     
  23. Kramer

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    Some good news at last (hopefully!)

    One thing:

    The dealer will be very "unwilling" to issue a full refund. If they do they'll loose ALL the "profit" or "commission" from the initial sale. Yes Panasonic will credit them for the cost to them of your unit, but that will be far short of what you actually paid.

    It's (sadly) unlikely that Meritec will be able to offer an AE300 at a price that's anything even close to competitive. Availibility will be another issue :(

    Not wanting to put a downer (as it may seem) on developments, but you're not out of the woods yet.

    My money's still on a replacement unit supplied by the dealer as this will leave them keep the initial profit & most likely suit Panasonic also with the AE100 now costing no more than £600 for the trade.

    I DO hope you prove me wrong though (although I stand to loose quite a few €s if you do - been running a book on this on another forum ;) & so far it's attracted lots of interest).

    Fingers still crossed for ya :smashin:
     
  24. calibos

    calibos
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    Which other forum?? AVS??:D I'll have to stick THXex into the forum search and find out what odds you are giving me.:D

    I'll be happy with another AE100 as long as its duff pixel free. Norberts case gives me some hope though in that he said he got a full refund. Enough for him to get a Z1 AFAIK. I know that if Meritec get a 'full credit/refund' for my PJ it will be the cost price they paid for it but remember that if they order an AE300 they will be paying cost price for that too so the price difference will be the same (the price difference that I will obviously pay). They wont make any new profit on my AE300 replacement/upgrade but they wont lose the profit from my purchase last year either.

    Well this is the question isn't it. A question I ponderred myself at the beginning of my saga after the very first Panasonic guy said they would credit my dealer. Will they credit the price I/my dealer paid a year ago or will they credit the current trade/market price??
     
  25. Kramer

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    I doubt you'll find anything with thxex!

    :rotfl:

    Go on, I dare you :p thxex is no more!

    Try Kramer!

    :clap:

    Current odds are 4/6 against you getting an AE300 :smoke:
     
  26. calibos

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    Got this email from Jane today.

    Hi Keith

    Panasonic have just gotten back to me now.
    Shane says he did receive my fax on Thursday and has passed it onto their
    service adminstration once it has been processed on the system they will
    arrange credit so hopefully this will happen within the next few days. I
    will keep you updated on any developments

    Regards
    Jane

    [The Emperor]It is all proceeeeding as I have plaaanned[/The Emperor]
    Muaahhaaaaaaahaha
     
  27. Kramer

    Kramer
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    Kramer rushes to open another "book" on this "within the next few days" phrase! 1/2 odds on a before June resolution!

    Jees calibos, you need to get this sorted ASAP - beginning to get muscle cramp with all my digits crossed for so long now

    :D

    Kramer settles back to enjoy a DVD on his stonking (albeit somewhat dim) HS10 .

    :D
     
  28. calibos

    calibos
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    Its 'ONLY' 6+ weeks mate!! Peanuts compared to how long it took me to get it in the first place.

    Remember.

    :lesson: All good AE300's come to those who wait!!:lesson:
     
  29. theritz

    theritz
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    Hey Keith,

    I see a result on the way, also see an Irish AE300/HS10 Shootout sometime next month ???


    Consider my place at that event prebooked !!!!!



    See ya,


    Sean G.
     
  30. calibos

    calibos
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    Just have to find out how much the credit is now. Last years trade price or the current trade price. If its last years I should be able to come up with the price differance and get the AE300. If its this years trade price then I guess an AE200. (ie 856x480 rather than 960x540 and no smooth screen but it will hopefully be more reliable and durable than the AE100 like its big brother. + its as quiet as the 300 @28db and its almost got the contrast of the 300 and it accepts RGB scart!)
     

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