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Comments on MEADE Service Policy

After finding loose washers inside the camera head we have asked MEADE to replace/fix camera on Jan 3,1997:

Dear Meade,
After series of the automated exposures at the different positions 
on the sky we have noticed dark, ring-like object on some frames. Ring(s)
(there were two of them on one exposure) changed its position from one frame
to another.

We have dismounted Pictor head from the mount and looked at the CCD chip 
when the shutter was opened:

| Small, brass washer was lying directly on the CCD surface!  |

We would like to ask MEADE Customer Service to make an effort and
fix this horrible negligence in such a way, that will least influence
our schedule.

We've got no answer, so we asked again, on Jan 6,1997:

On January,3 we have send you a fax describing our problems with Pictor 416 head
 (loose washers inside head), but we didn't get any answer. We urgently need to
know, how are you going to fix the problem, since we are at the final stages of
the tests, and our instrument is expected to fly to Las Campanas Observatory
at the end of January.

This time we got an answer:

Dear Dr. Pojmanski:

Thank you for your fax of today. Unfortunately, we have not received your
fax dated January 3. (sic!  I have log to prove that it was received - GP).

In any case, please note that our policy on repairs of Meade merchandise is
as follows:

1. If you have purchased your product from a U.S. dealer, the product is not 
covered under warranty. In order to obtain warranty service you must contact 
dealer from whom you purchased the product for further information on their 
warranty coverage.

Alternatively, you may return the product, complete in its original
packaging (CCD head, handbox and accessories), to Meade Instruments
directly for service. You will be charged for freight and handling to
a and from the Meade factory in Irvine, California, USA. In adition, a
Service Charge of USD200.00 will apply; Meade will inspect and repair your 
Pictor 416 as necessary.

2. If you prefer, you may contact our exclusive representative for
Poland directly: ...

Thank you again for your interest in Meade Instruments.
Sincerely, Chris Marino, Export Manager