Friday, September 2, 2011
Canon Loyalty Program
The weird thing is that Canon doesn't have a web page for this program -- just a phone number (866-443-8002) that you must call to speak to a friendly customer service rep. The most extensive online description I could find regarding the CLP is a message thread at CanonRumors.com.
Here's how it works. If you turn in another Canon product of the same type (cameras for cameras, printers for printers, etc), Canon will give you a fixed 20% discount off the purchase of a refurbished product. This applies to body+lens kits, but not to bare lenses (the rep I talked with said it's a popular request). It doesn't matter what type of camera you turn in. It can be a 10-year-old, broken point & shoot or a shiny, new 1Ds, but it does have to be digital (no film). You'll get the same discount either way. You're not getting paid for your trade in; the fact that you're turning in any Canon digital camera entitles you to a 20% discount off any refurbished Canon camera. When Canon ships you the new camera, they'll include a shipping label for you to use when returning your old one, which must happen within 10 days. It's that easy.
The list of available Canon refurbs and their non-discounted prices can be viewed on their web site. The in stock / availability status listed on that site applies to the CLP as well, since they pull from the same pool. Beware that the stock of refurbs only comes in a few at a time, and it clears out pretty quickly. If you see something you want, don't drag your feet about ordering it. In fact, according to the Canon rep, if you have an account at that site, you can even begin the order process online to reserve your item, but not pay for it. You can then phone the CLP line during normal business hours (8am-midnight EST, 7 days a week) to have them apply your 20% discount and finish the transaction.
new 7D would have cost $1600. A refurb through Canon would have cost $1360. By turning in his old 300D to the CLP, he only paid $1088. That's a $512 (32%) savings over the new cost.
I really wish I'd known about this program when I bought my refurbished Canon 7D last fall. At the time, I had a pair of ancient digital P&S cameras that no longer worked. I sold them this spring at a garage sale for $10. Had I turned one of them in to the Canon Loyalty Program to get my 7D, it would have knocked almost $300 off the price. Now I'm in the market for a Canon 50D to use as a second body, and I'm having to resort to searching garage sales for a cheap Canon digital camera to turn in to the CLP so I can save $150 on the 50D.
Afraid of buying a factory refurb instead of a new camera? I've purchased a couple refurbs from Canon, and I've generally been happy with them. It's a heck of a lot safer than buying used, and cheaper than buying new. The biggest difference is that your warranty period is greatly reduced. For my 7D, it dropped from one year to just 90 days.
Upon reading this, a friend phoned Nikon to ask if they have a similar customer loyalty program. Sorry, no dice. If any of you are aware of similar customer loyalty programs from other manufacturers -- Pentax, Olympus, etc -- please speak up in the comments section below. I'd also love to hear of your own personal experiences with this or similar programs.