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Kodak's LS443 Camera *or* Kodak's Greediness at its Worst

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My LS443 Kodak Digital camera failed all of a sudden, with no human
neither intervention nor abuse of any sort after approximately 5000
shots over less than three years

The lens mechanism wouldn't retract. This is the infamous "Error #45"
which I learned a posteriori, was a well-known common problem in this

A call to the KODAK service revealed that the camera would not be
repaired by them, that the unit was no longer in production and that
there weren't any parts available.

"Management had decided that it was not in Kodak's best interest to
repair this kind of problem in this particular camera"

They offered to replace the damaged camera with a refurbished DX7630
camera for $125.00 + $10.95 shipping plus the old camera shipped at my
expense, i.e. roughly $150 for a refurbished, an euphemism for "used",
camera available for about $250 new.

I took the trouble to find out which part needed replacement finding
out that the part in question is a plastic gear costing less than 10
cents (I know this because I worked optical production issues at
Lockheed Martin).

What emerges from this picture is the image of KODAK as a greedy
company which offered to the market a product having a design flaw for
more than $500 without doing very much about it.

The case of Iomega and its "click of death" Zip drive went to court
eroding its customer base and driving down the price of its stock.

Image buying a Honda Civic having a design flaw resulting in a
transmission problem; the company refuses to repair your vehicle but
offers a different *used* vehicle for half of the original price of
the original vehicle.

Kodak could at least had issue a warning to its customers of a
potential gear problem; the problem was known to them shortly after
releasing the LS443 to the market. If one knows that the camera has a
gear problem one would not retract its lens so frequently to save
battery power.

This is not a "lack of parts" problem, it is simply too much effort to
install the part. This "too much effort" is their own engineering
fault, and the burden for it should not fall on the consumer.


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