The high maintenance customer

Spring sunset

Spring sunset

(Note: the pictures in this blog post have nothing to do with the text. A family member once told me that “people” don’t actually read the text, they just look at the pictures… so I’m merely including these photos as eye candy.)

I’ve been ordering things online since around 1992, when I made my first purchase via Prodigy: a VHS tape of the movie A Christmas Story. I’ve been a good online consumer, making it easy for vendors to complete the transactions, and have rarely needed to rely on customer service… until recently.

Several weeks ago, while mulling over the idea of an upgrade to my entry level Canon DSLR, I came up with the clever idea of renting one of the camera bodies that I was considering. I had heard good things about, and so I headed on over to their website and made arrangements to rent a Canon 7D body starting on a date 2 weeks into the future.  LensRentals has an approval process – which makes sense – and I was delighted that my order was approved very quickly after I placed it.

So far so good. But not too long after that, I decided to go ahead and purchase the Canon 5D Mark II, so renting a 7D didn’t make sense any more. I wrote to LensRentals and asked if I could rent a lens instead, and they said – of course! You can just cancel your order since it hasn’t been shipped yet, or we can switch it to anything you like and we’ll refund the difference. That was good news.

After the sun went down

After the sun went down

Fast forward a couple weeks. The big day came for them to ship the lens. I received an email saying that it had been tagged for UPS pickup… and that a signature would be required on delivery. Yikes! I was expecting to be at work on the day it was being delivered. So I wrote to them again and asked – can I get it shipped to my work address instead? They were great. They hunted down the box and switched out the label before the UPS guy got there, so a delivery to my work address was assured.

The lens arrived in great condition, it worked beautifully, and all in all I was glad that I had rented it. When it came time to return it on Monday, I had it all packaged up and ready to go – except that I couldn’t find the UPS label that I was supposed to attach. I think I was actually blushing as I sent another email asking what to do – and they responded, no problem! Just use the new shipping label attached to this email.

Raindrops on a magnolia blossom

Raindrops on a magnolia blossom

A couple hours later, before I took the box to UPS, I found the original label and used that. The next evening I received an email saying, “This is a reminder that your rental ended yesterday, and our system indicates that it has not been sent back to us. Will you be returning it today? We hope you have enjoyed everything!”. They’re not even Canadian, and their late notices are nice! As it turned out, their system didn’t show it as being returned because I used the original label instead of the replacement.

They sent an email when they received the lens, and promised to contact me again within 24 hours if they found any problems with it. In fact, this is the only area I see for improvement – it would be nice to know when I got a clean bill of health. But a few days have passed, and I can now say that the whole experience was a success.

Tower at sunset

One more sunset picture, then we'll call it a day

I’m sure that in their customer service department, my name has become synonymous with “ditz.” And who could blame them? I’m just hoping they’ll let me rent from them again.

(I did not receive any discounts or free coupons from LensRentals for this post, although I think you can go to if you’re interested in that kind of thing. No, I just like to tell people when I experience great customer service.)



  1. So glad you had a wonderful experience! AND, I commend you for writing about it. I would send them a nice e-mail, too. Many companies only hear about when they’ve done something wrong. LensRentals went above and beyond!

    • It was the 24-105mm f/4 L lens – normally sold as a kit lens for the 5D Mark II, but since I didn’t get the kit, I wanted to see what I was missing (and what all the hype is about L lenses!). I’m glad I rented it, I proved to myself that I don’t need to rush out and buy one (yet!).

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