As Darren mentioned in a previous post, photography is not a cheap profession (or hobby). This is especially true when you start expanding your collection to include speedlights (flashes), light shaping tools, stands, etc. An integral part of my lighting kit is my Phottix Odin wireless TTL flash system. After an unfortunate (and classic example of what not do to) encounter with the wind I found myself with a busted receiver shoe mount. It was time to see if Phottix customer support was as reliable as their products.
Let me first explain the unfortunate circumstances of my idiocy. What's an important rule to follow when using an umbrella (reflector not rain) outdoors? Let me help you out - use a sandbag on your light stand. This is one of the golden rules that I'm (now painfully) aware of. In my defence I was actually walking over to grab a sandbag when the wind took hold of my rig and sent it crashing into the grass. That brings me to the second part of that golden rule - don't be stupid enough to OPEN the umbrella before walking away.
This type of idiocy typically isn't covered under warranty so I instead inquired with customer service about buying a replacement shoe mount. It's worth noting that Phottix is based out of Hong Kong, so if you're a North American customer you'll find they respond to your inquiries in the middle of the night (being 12+ hours ahead depending on your timezone). I had already scoured their website for information so I wasn't surprised when they said this part wasn't sold separately. They did however ask me when and where I had originally purchased the system. Technically speaking I was still within my warranty period but I didn't expect them to cover these types of mishaps. The next morning I was welcomed with an email stating that they'd send me a replacement for $10USD (shipping included) if I paid direct through PayPal. In my opinion this was an absolute bargain and an easy way to erase the mishap from memory.
Jumping ahead - It's now exactly two weeks from the shipping date of my new part and I must say, I'm pleased with the outcome. Not only did they send me the replacement shoe but they tossed in an extra clamp ring and another shoe mount for good measure. I'm guessing they don't trust me with umbrellas....
After a minor five minute surgery my receiver is back in action - and with it a healthy respect for Phottix support. This isn't the first time I've inquired with customer service. Each time I've been impressed with the turnaround time on my questions and the answers they've provided. They strike me as a small but customer focussed team that's willing to go the extra mile. Here's hoping I won't have to test that theory too often moving forward!