Jump to content
UKV - The Place for Precision Rifle Enthusiasts

Is it worth sending a Schmidt & Bender scope back to Germany for repair? this is my experience:


Mike C

Recommended Posts

The following story is just an insight into the complexities of sending a Schmidt & Bender scope back to the manufacturer for a repair/service and subsequent return back to me the sender.

 

This is my own personal experience and just wanted to highlight two main points;

1) The outstanding level of service and professionalism from Schmidt & Bender over there in Biebertal, Germany.

2) The insufferable long and drawn out delays during it's journey.

 

This all started when a fellow member at my local shooting club put a list of items up for sale and one particular item that made me do a double take was that of a S&B PMII 5-25 x 56 FFP sat in a Sphur mono mount at a very reasonable if not too reasonable price. Consequently a phone call was made and we arranged to meet. It was clear after a quick inspection of the scope that the front objective lens had been damaged, and by that I don't mean scratches but damage to the special coatings applied during manufacture. The image was still clear when looking through it but I knew it should have been better. In any case I still ended up purchasing the scope and was pretty chuffed with the fact that I'd finally got myself a Schmidt & Bender PMII, even though it was 'impaired' and without it's original box.   

 

When I got home I was eager to compare it alongside a flawless Sightron Siii 8-32 which I had sat around doing nothing at the time. Having looked through both at various distances and objects the Sightron was a little clearer, but I was still pretty chuffed with the purchase.

 

I thought about getting the front objective lens swopped out locally but having spoke with a few people it seamed like the only correct way of doing it with such a high end scope was to see if Schmidt & Bender themselves could replace it.

So, late on a Sunday evening, I contacted Schmidt & Bender via email regarding replacing the front objective lens. I emailed over a few images of the lens at the same time. By 6.30am the following day I had a personal email back from a chap at Schmidt and he had looked at the images I sent and confirmed that the coating was damaged and that really it shouldn't make that much difference to the performance of the scope but also stated that if I wanted it replacing the cost for a new objective, resetting parallax and re-filling with nitrogen would be 200 euro's + freight NET.

 

He asked for the serial number which tells them everything about the scope's model, age, reticle (P3L) etc.. I agreed on the price and over a number of emails he then asked whether I would like to replace the reticle at the same time. This hadn't crossed my mind at the time but once he'd mentioned it I couldn't 'not' ask how much extra to replace with a more appropriate for me P4FL reticle.  

The cost for a new lens & reticle including freight was very reasonable indeed and I agreed and so their paperwork was started and a number of forms were filled in at my end and returned by email. It was just a case of popping it in the post, or so I thought!

 

Schmidt & Bender recommended using UPS as that was their preferred courier so I went online to start the process. When I've used UPS in the past to post in the UK I just take it down to my local off License which is a 'UPS Access point' where it gets scanned and taken off me, simple. Because this item was leaving the UK and entering the EU a CP72 form had to be completed and that's where the trouble starts. One has to go onto the government website in order to obtain the correct commodity code, these are an internationally recognized method for defining types of goods for customs purposes.

On searching our government website there is no other code one can use only to associate it as an optical part for a firearm. I wouldn't for one minute try and pretend it wasn't anything other than what it was and so I used the appropriate code. The problem came once payment was made and accepted, a pop-up box appeared on screen informing me that because of the type of item it would need to be taken to a 'UPS customer center', the nearest being some 36 miles away. Why the online system didn't inform me before I made payment I don't know.  It couldn't be cancelled for an immediate refund either but after contacting them by phone it was said that as long as the postage label didn't get scanned or used then the refund would be issued automatically within 14 days.

 

I decided to take it to my local post office instead the following day and post it the traditional way and actually speak to a person instead of a screen. It was sent via Parcel Force Worldwide.

 

So this is a simplified breakdown of the dates tracking my scope on it's journey to Germany and back missing out numerous emails and phone calls to customs:

24th Aug. Parcel sent out via Parcelforce Worldwide.

20th Sept. Finally arrived at Schmidt & Bender for repair having been stuck at German customs.

25th Sept. Fixed and ready for dispatch. Export license applied for by Schmidt which can take up to 6 weeks.

13th Nov. Shipped from Schmidt some 7 weeks later!

22nd Nov, contacted UPS as to why my parcel was stuck at UK Customs.

22nd Nov. a copy of initial Export Invoice and a RIF declaration form needed to be completed by me and returned before it would be released.

23rd Nov. UPS email over import duty invoice to be paid before releasing.

23rd Nov. Customs payment made.          

25th Nov. Parcel finally arrived on my doorstep.

                  

As you can see, this was a long and drawn out process for a repair that more than likely took no more than a couple of days to complete. What caused the process to take three months was the amount of bureaucratic red tape at every turn and you could say rightly so considering what was inside was as far as customs are concerned a firearm part.

 

Was it worth the wait?  absolutely.

 

What returned was what looked like a brand new (except a few scratch marks from previous scope mounts) scope in an authentic box, original label, numerous bits and bobs in plastic bags including badges etc. and above all else a perfect scope with replaced lens and reticle.

Throughout this process I dealt with the same guy at Schmidt and he returned any email I sent within hours, and I sent a lot. I won't name the chap but he was polite,  professional and full of optimism, he obviously does this type of thing on a daily basis. I can't fault anything to do with their service; you would be hard pressed to find a comparable company that delivers such a high level of excellence.

 

 

There's a reason why they're one of the best 🙂 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

58 minutes ago, Mike C said:

The following story is just an insight into the complexities of sending a Schmidt & Bender scope back to the manufacturer for a repair/service and subsequent return back to me the sender.

 

This is my own personal experience and just wanted to highlight two main points;

1) The outstanding level of service and professionalism from Schmidt & Bender over there in Biebertal, Germany.

2) The insufferable long and drawn out delays during it's journey.

 

This all started when a fellow member at my local shooting club put a list of items up for sale and one particular item that made me do a double take was that of a S&B PMII 5-25 x 56 FFP sat in a Sphur mono mount at a very reasonable if not too reasonable price. Consequently a phone call was made and we arranged to meet. It was clear after a quick inspection of the scope that the front objective lens had been damaged, and by that I don't mean scratches but damage to the special coatings applied during manufacture. The image was still clear when looking through it but I knew it should have been better. In any case I still ended up purchasing the scope and was pretty chuffed with the fact that I'd finally got myself a Schmidt & Bender PMII, even though it was 'impaired' and without it's original box.   

 

When I got home I was eager to compare it alongside a flawless Sightron Siii 8-32 which I had sat around doing nothing at the time. Having looked through both at various distances and objects the Sightron was a little clearer, but I was still pretty chuffed with the purchase.

 

I thought about getting the front objective lens swopped out locally but having spoke with a few people it seamed like the only correct way of doing it with such a high end scope was to see if Schmidt & Bender themselves could replace it.

So, late on a Sunday evening, I contacted Schmidt & Bender via email regarding replacing the front objective lens. I emailed over a few images of the lens at the same time. By 6.30am the following day I had a personal email back from a chap at Schmidt and he had looked at the images I sent and confirmed that the coating was damaged and that really it shouldn't make that much difference to the performance of the scope but also stated that if I wanted it replacing the cost for a new objective, resetting parallax and re-filling with nitrogen would be 200 euro's + freight NET.

 

He asked for the serial number which tells them everything about the scope's model, age, reticle (P3L) etc.. I agreed on the price and over a number of emails he then asked whether I would like to replace the reticle at the same time. This hadn't crossed my mind at the time but once he'd mentioned it I couldn't 'not' ask how much extra to replace with a more appropriate for me P4FL reticle.  

The cost for a new lens & reticle including freight was very reasonable indeed and I agreed and so their paperwork was started and a number of forms were filled in at my end and returned by email. It was just a case of popping it in the post, or so I thought!

 

Schmidt & Bender recommended using UPS as that was their preferred courier so I went online to start the process. When I've used UPS in the past to post in the UK I just take it down to my local off License which is a 'UPS Access point' where it gets scanned and taken off me, simple. Because this item was leaving the UK and entering the EU a CP72 form had to be completed and that's where the trouble starts. One has to go onto the government website in order to obtain the correct commodity code, these are an internationally recognized method for defining types of goods for customs purposes.

On searching our government website there is no other code one can use only to associate it as an optical part for a firearm. I wouldn't for one minute try and pretend it wasn't anything other than what it was and so I used the appropriate code. The problem came once payment was made and accepted, a pop-up box appeared on screen informing me that because of the type of item it would need to be taken to a 'UPS customer center', the nearest being some 36 miles away. Why the online system didn't inform me before I made payment I don't know.  It couldn't be cancelled for an immediate refund either but after contacting them by phone it was said that as long as the postage label didn't get scanned or used then the refund would be issued automatically within 14 days.

 

I decided to take it to my local post office instead the following day and post it the traditional way and actually speak to a person instead of a screen. It was sent via Parcel Force Worldwide.

 

So this is a simplified breakdown of the dates tracking my scope on it's journey to Germany and back missing out numerous emails and phone calls to customs:

24th Aug. Parcel sent out via Parcelforce Worldwide.

20th Sept. Finally arrived at Schmidt & Bender for repair having been stuck at German customs.

25th Sept. Fixed and ready for dispatch. Export license applied for by Schmidt which can take up to 6 weeks.

13th Nov. Shipped from Schmidt some 7 weeks later!

22nd Nov, contacted UPS as to why my parcel was stuck at UK Customs.

22nd Nov. a copy of initial Export Invoice and a RIF declaration form needed to be completed by me and returned before it would be released.

23rd Nov. UPS email over import duty invoice to be paid before releasing.

23rd Nov. Customs payment made.          

25th Nov. Parcel finally arrived on my doorstep.

                  

As you can see, this was a long and drawn out process for a repair that more than likely took no more than a couple of days to complete. What caused the process to take three months was the amount of bureaucratic red tape at every turn and you could say rightly so considering what was inside was as far as customs are concerned a firearm part.

 

Was it worth the wait?  absolutely.

 

What returned was what looked like a brand new (except a few scratch marks from previous scope mounts) scope in an authentic box, original label, numerous bits and bobs in plastic bags including badges etc. and above all else a perfect scope with replaced lens and reticle.

Throughout this process I dealt with the same guy at Schmidt and he returned any email I sent within hours, and I sent a lot. I won't name the chap but he was polite,  professional and full of optimism, he obviously does this type of thing on a daily basis. I can't fault anything to do with their service; you would be hard pressed to find a comparable company that delivers such a high level of excellence.

 

 

There's a reason why they're one of the best 🙂 

Brexit;  the gift that keeps giving

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Re-Pete said:

What Pops just said....... brexit was the biggest con ever.

Pete

This was brought up a few times by them and me over email 😞 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I could never understand why so many shooters supported brexit..............it's made importing anything from Europe, a total pain in the arse...

As for "taking back control", that worked out well, didn't it?

Pete

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Re-Pete said:

I could never understand why so many shooters supported brexit..............it's made importing anything from Europe, a total pain in the arse...

As for "taking back control", that worked out well, didn't it?

Pete

Pete, I suspect the shooting community demographic and pro-Brexit demographic overlap substantially.   I think you and I are outliers on the Venn diagram.  Still, that nice Boris Johnson has proven what a jolly trustworthy and honest chap he is.   😏

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You think that's difficult, try taking Firearms there now!

Under the Theresa May deal we retained European Firearms Passes (EFP) but the nice Mr Johnson with the oven ready deal negotiated them out! But that was along with all the fishing rights, and just about every thing else, ...... 

Oh dear, you did not know about UPS? I  have purchased goods from Germany and the EU, and the worst and most problematic carriers I have ever experienced? Yup UPS.

A couple of examples.

A parcel sent to me from Germany that held normal goods, nothing at all to do with firearms, but sent from a German gun manufacturer, being sent to me. It was held on UK arrival (not UK customs, UPS do it on behalf of UK customs) for 6 weeks arguing they needed a firearms import licence, and this with out even opening the senders customs declaration stating what the contents were! After multiple phone calls from me and the sender, they eventually accepted an email from me stating they were not gun parts, and cleared the parcel. And they never ever opened the customs docs, they arrived to me on the out side of the parcel in a clear plastic envelope!!

They had also invoiced me and taken UK import duty with in a day of collection in Germany.  9 weeks later when the goods actually arrived after they also lost it in the UK, a week after I received it, they sent me a further invoice in the post for customs duty of........ 23 pence!!!! But at penalty of £100 if not paid!

After multiple phone calls, they first would not explain it, just said it was a legitimate customs charge, but eventually said it was because of the change in the exchange rate from when I paid, to the date it arrived to me!!!! And they only submitted the charge to UK customs after it arrived and the rate had changed so I owed them another 23 pence!

I opted for revenge and inconvenience to them, over legal action, and paid it in 23 one penny cheques, and sent recorded delivery to be signed for, and sent to their head office. My bank agreed it was a legal means of paying, and the cost was worth it for the hassle they would have had! 

And they cashed them as well!

I had the final laugh as well as when I told the sender about the final hassle they complained to UPS head office in Germany, and UPS just got officious and the sender cancelled their contract, they used DPH after that and my deliveries from Germany are excellent.

Have fun

Robin

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, RobinC said:

You think that's difficult, try taking Firearms there now!

Under the Theresa May deal we retained European Firearms Passes (EFP) but the nice Mr Johnson with the oven ready deal negotiated them out! But that was along with all the fishing rights, and just about every thing else, ...... 

Oh dear, you did not know about UPS? I  have purchased goods from Germany and the EU, and the worst and most problematic carriers I have ever experienced? Yup UPS.

A couple of examples.

A parcel sent to me from Germany that held normal goods, nothing at all to do with firearms, but sent from a German gun manufacturer, being sent to me. It was held on UK arrival (not UK customs, UPS do it on behalf of UK customs) for 6 weeks arguing they needed a firearms import licence, and this with out even opening the senders customs declaration stating what the contents were! After multiple phone calls from me and the sender, they eventually accepted an email from me stating they were not gun parts, and cleared the parcel. And they never ever opened the customs docs, they arrived to me on the out side of the parcel in a clear plastic envelope!!

They had also invoiced me and taken UK import duty with in a day of collection in Germany.  9 weeks later when the goods actually arrived after they also lost it in the UK, a week after I received it, they sent me a further invoice in the post for customs duty of........ 23 pence!!!! But at penalty of £100 if not paid!

After multiple phone calls, they first would not explain it, just said it was a legitimate customs charge, but eventually said it was because of the change in the exchange rate from when I paid, to the date it arrived to me!!!! And they only submitted the charge to UK customs after it arrived and the rate had changed so I owed them another 23 pence!

I opted for revenge and inconvenience to them, over legal action, and paid it in 23 one penny cheques, and sent recorded delivery to be signed for, and sent to their head office. My bank agreed it was a legal means of paying, and the cost was worth it for the hassle they would have had! 

And they cashed them as well!

I had the final laugh as well as when I told the sender about the final hassle they complained to UPS head office in Germany, and UPS just got officious and the sender cancelled their contract, they used DPH after that and my deliveries from Germany are excellent.

Have fun

Robin

 

 

Well Done ! 

I can confirm that an UPS are an equal opportunity courier - being a bag of crap delivering an Xmas parcel to me from my brother in the USA..

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
7 hours ago, Calum Desert Tech said:

I've got a 5-45x56 Highpower with the P4FL, I've been thinking about getting it changed to the LRR-MIL. From reading your post it seems like the only issue is the getting it there and back.

Yes, that's the only issue you'll have so be prepared for that long haul 😒.

Their service is second to none. Their comms is spot on. Their pricing is also very reasonable, considering you're dealing with one, if not, the best. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy