Mark Dickinson | Central Florida Photographer Serving Daytona Beach, Orlando, Lake Mary areas » Daytona beach wedding photographer stories.

Buying DJI Drones, Phantom Inspire think again – My experience was simple but horrible and regretful

Welcome; I am not much of a complainer towards companies and I don’t leave bad reviews, negative comments or request compensation typically but, this company tops the scale for bad customer service. Granted they’re a big company now and this review or story may not affect your purchase of their drones such as the phantom, phantom 3 professional, standard and phantom 4. Drones are upwards in the 2 million plus in 2016 and according to Fortune, 4.4 million by 2020. Between now and then there will be a lot of drone companies competing. So, research thoroughly when you are finding a particular company to purchase your drone from. I’d personally stay away from DJI. Let;s explore why.

I was having trouble with a phantom 2 I purchased with flight times and battery issues. If my memory recalls me correctly I had about 25 discharge/recharges and lost about 5 minutes of flight time, then 10 or so after recharge. I log all of my batteries with dates and any noticeable flight issues and write the time/date on the battery with a fine sharpie. It was clearly failing or about to so, I stopped using it and sent it in to DJI.  Sometime in early 2015 I checked in a unit to DJI, a Phantom 2 Drone batteries that I had purchased. The 5200mah 11.1 volt ones. When sending them in I knew they had just been purchased and were under warranty. They acknowledged receipt of them on April 20th, 2015 from sending them in on April 12th priority mail. I then didn’t receive any response response until May 12th 2015. A whole month just to check in a battery.  E.T. With DJI Responds as follows

Dear Mark,

Unfortunately your batteries are outside of the warranty period. We are unable to cover them under the warranty. I do apologize for the inconvenient news. Due to the hazardous condition of the batteries HazMat prohibits us from sending them back as they are. We will be disposing them for you. As a courtesy we are able to offer you used battery with very little discharges at no cost. Please let us know how to proceed.

DJI North America

I thought it was suspicious, but maybe they were trying to be nice. However my batteries were NOT out of warranty. Well they were now, with the delay in shipping 2 days, plus the time to check in, plus the time to send a response they were now out of warranty. On April 20th, 2015 I stated:

“Really? It was sent in what two weeks ago?
Sent from my iPhone”

Dji Responded back nicely with

Dear Mark,

I do apologize for the mistake, your batteries are definitely covered under warranty. I’ll make sure we send them out to the address you provided. Thank you for choosing DJI to fly!

DJI North America

Throughout the communication the tech was friendly and apologized for the mistake which was not needed, but I am sure things happen when you buy from Amazon, a hobby store etc., they look at the born on date and estimate the warranty date I suppose. Well I did receive the new batteries in hand and charged up and began flying again. After acknowledging the warranty, I requested any update on the status which I did not get any. On 5/26/2015 I emailed in asking if they shipped. I didn’t get a response. 39 minutes on a phone call on the 27th yielded info that they were shipping. Sometime around June 3rd I received the batteries. This isn’t my gripe with the company. Well it is but, the issue is what happens next with the batteries.

On 11/5/2015 in Florida the temperature was approximately 82 degrees in Daytona Beach and I was out flying in a new subdivision. On the battery that I was flying with I got about 10 minutes into flight and I noticed the battery was around 60 percent or so and everything seemed normal. I flew out approximately 200 yards from where I was, came back and started noticing climbing issues. I was around 100 feet in the air and heading back home. I pulled down on the stick and started to descend and watched my battery go from 60 to 40 to 32 to 20 within a matter of 20-30 seconds.  By that time I was hoofing it back to where I was going to land and the copter stopped responding to turns and climbing all together and headed straight for a small retention pond. The Phantom seemed to almost autorotate down on its on or it was trying to auto land but I was not in control anymore due to the battery failure (this is one of the replacements I just got a few months back). I ran over to grab it hoping it just had a tumble but it was unfortunately in about 4 feet of water about 2 feet off the bank. Attached was all of the electronics, a gopro, a gimbal, gps etc… I was kinda hoping that I could salvage it but I couldn’t get into the water for fear of not being able to get back out. Everything was steep and no way to climb out. I had to run home and get a cast net to grab it. The unit was still powered on when I arrived but the gopro and gimbal were glitching out.

After the first response of the tech, I am wondering if they sent me used replacement batteries that were previously used. The reason why I think this is that there were some scuff marks on the battery near the lights when I received them. I noticed that a few days later and wrote it off as I thought I might have caused it from the case or transporting. With this crash, since I have 3 batteries I only had about 10 flights in them and the firmware was updated as well as everything was fine with the other batteries the day before. I can only assume it either failed or a cell had dropped out. I don’t know.

Aftermath:

I immediately put all my resources together to try to salvage what I had. I ordered silica beads, dismantled and dried all the parts putting it in a heat bake at around 100 degrees to get off any residual moisture. Nothing seemed to work. I knew the battery was shot and I marked a big X through it. The gopro powered on but the lens is cloudy. I tried the GPS and it seems to power on but gets hot. The gimbal is done. So this is how my Phantom 2 Drone with all the added purchased before they included cameras and GPS sits. I have not touched these batteries, or drone since the crash and you can see that even one of the batteries they sent as replacements still has a charge. According to the website the batteries self discharge; however, only one of them has. The battery with the X is the one that submerged in the lake on this crash. It still shows power to it but wont charge.

I emailed into DJI and asked for some assistance and demanded they let me send these batteries in. I didn’t get a word of response. Chat was in the 50 minutes to hour wait to get a hold of and phone was over 50 minutes. This is good for them but evident that they are having trouble with their products because only people who are having trouble call in and ask for help. I tried the email again and got no response after 10 days even though their zendesk said they received my message and someone would be with me shortly. I tried calling again but their phone system is always backed up. I guess I’m glad I didn’t because I would have been hung up on for how angry I was.

During this time I was pretty heated and put everything in a cabinet. This is my first RC crash other than when I first started flying in 1999.

Fast forward to 2017, January 2nd. A few friends have received drones for christmas presents. So I started looking again. Welcome back DJI. I know I shouldn’t have but I decided to find the Phantom 4 at Best Buy. I picked it up for $999.99 and since they were low on batteries I only received the one that the copter came with. I got home and checked over the included paperwork to see what has changed in two versions. Not much; same battery, same powerup but, different connection to upgrade firmware. Everything was through the app. I started to charge the battery, it flashed a few times without charging so I consulted the good old internet. Some forums posted about bad batteries and they wouldn’t charge. So I headed right back to Best Buy and attempted to do a return just 2 hours after I purchased it. I got grilled on crashing it and then finally one employee came up and said, “Some are having bad batteries. I blame it on their attempt to push so many out for the holidays.” I thought to myself yeah, makes sense. They exchanged it and I went on to fly. About 20 minute drive home and I was up and charging.

First flight, pretty awesome I thought until I noticed after landing that I received a low battery warning with 98 percent battery left. Again back to the forums and internet. I thought it was time to consult the actual company now about this. However this really stirred up some old ghosts with me with bad batteries. Not 1 day into it and I am getting all kinds of fears from flying. I hadn’t looked in the cabinet where I stuffed the Phantom but finally I did to bring it out to take pics to write in to DJI. I attempted the phones again. Guess what? A year later and still 40 minute wait, chat, 40+ minutes, Facebook 1hr response time but ultimately they told me facebook chat is not a good medium for sending in issues like I am having. I told them I had tried the others and no one responds. What do I want from DJI? While I know they will not buy me a new go-pro, gimbal, GPS, batteries, nearly $1800.00 in losses, I’m sure they have an equivalent drone sitting around. It’s not solely because of the crash that I couldn’t predict nor prevent, it’s the lack of customer service, avoidance, blow offs and wasted time that their support staff has provided. I usually am a passionate customer with businesses I love and those business that I disagree with I just silently move on. This has bugged me for some time from the initial responses. My photography company here that I am posting this on owns up to any issues that I come up with. Replace products if there are issues and this year being a small business I’ve had to replace products that didn’t hold up to continued use even though I have no warranty and some would be outside of any typical warranty.

Battery Warning DJI Phantom 4

What I do I recommend? Any one of these drones:

So anything but DJI is my recommendation! I am planning on returning the Phantom 4 this week if I don’t hear a response back from them. Until then, this being one of my first negative reviews, I just don’t feel that they are listening to us as consumers when we have problems. Problems that seem to arise from their faulty equipment that was replaced for a defect.  The 20+ groups that I am in on facebook are having reports of issues after firmware updates as well. I really hope for a resolution on both of these batteries and the previous copter.

Chat with Robert

  • Thank you for contacting the DJI Technical Support!
  • There are 1 customers in queue. Our support will be with you in a moment. We look forward to helping you.

Top Questions:

For Phantom 3 Standard: An All-in-One Setup Guide

For Beginner Tutorials(Including Setup\Activation\Firmware Update\Safe Fly Tips)

For repair request: Online Repair Request (Currently for US customers only)

For any sales related concerns, follow ups and order tracking please Click here 

  • With DJI Care Refresh, you can enjoy two replacement units at additional charge and get more peace of mind. Now water damage is covered under DJI Care Refresh!

 

Happy holidays from DJI! Get 12% off DJI Care from now!This discount is only for the Phantom 4, Phantom 3 series and Inspire 1 series’ DJI Care.Purchase now

 

  • Hello! Thank you for Contacting DJI Technical Support, This is Robby. How may I help you?
  • 22:52

Hi, I can probably tell you by my first few sentences that this chat may not last long. I am stirred up by some old ghosts in a phantom 2 that were never addressed. 1. I was told my batteries were out of warranty, then they were replaced. About 10 runs into those new batteries that were replaced my p2 took a crash towards water. I watched the battery dropping from 60,50,40,30 in a period of 20-40 seconds as I was trying to get it back home but it kept on flying. So I emailed into customer support letting them know pretty much everything I purchased, from gopro, TX, card, GPS etc. was now in a lake just about 1 foot off the edge of the shore line. I never got a response. Now I have just decided to purchase a Phantom 4 for whatever reason. I swore off dji after lack of response and even any help. SO when I did, I went to best buy. and purchased one, seemed good, on sale. Then I get home the battery was faulty. Good 30 min there and back for a brand new defective product. The employee said he blames it on the holiday rush I guess you guys had a deal with BB, with the Black and keeping all the stock going. So I took that one back and replaced it with a new one. Not to mention getting drilled about why im returning it and accused of crashing it…. The new one now was surging all 4 props alternatively when landing. Thankfully I was able to recover it before it crashed. I’m thinking of returning this one as well and trying a new one. I’m however more emailing you in regards to a very deep anger problem I’ve had with your company. I’m sure you wont care, and since your growth you can afford to lose people like me. What would you recommend?

Sorry in advance Robby,

Robert

haha no worries

Robert

Let me read this

  • Dear customer, the chat will be ended in 5 minutes if we don’t receive a response from you.
  • 22:56

I reached out to FB chat after sending a brief email in with no reply.

Robert

Okay

Robert

What was the zendesk ticket

We use zendesk for our company and it usually will send an acknowledgement.

  • 22:57

126305

Robert

Please wait

  • 22:58

That’s the one I was referring to with the battery issue. I requested shipment back. but figured after I was initially blown off with “out of warranty” for batteries that still had warranty when I came back in to give my feelings I might have been closed out.

Robert

Ye schecking

  • 22:59

I guess the main concern now is that this p4 I decided to buy had some issues with the 1st purchase battery. Are there any known issues that I can protect myself with? The BB employyee said a lot of them were doing the no charge or false charged.

I also included photos for the guy on FB chat. I was doing settings props off and it showed a critical battery warning with 90+ percent left.

Robert

Yes

  • 23:00

Also when does chat support end? I can always pick up another day.

Just realized it was 11p

Robert

24 hours hahah

  • 23:02

Ok great I thank you for working. Guess it’s a given with the growth.

Robert

Hahah yeah

  • 23:03

Mark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>11/5/15to DJI Whatever you guys sent me was ridiculous. 10 flights and at 40 percent copter lost lift power and battery was struggling. In a lake now with GoPro on it. Thanks

Sent from my iPhone

  • 23:05

This was part of the previous conversation. Then I asked to send these in to be destroyed. Kinda heated. I have been flying RC airplanes for over 20 years. I think I have a total of 4 crashes in my entire life. 1 being this drone.

Robert

Yes digging deeper into this

  • 23:06

Regarding the p4, with this being the second one I’ve had in two days. batteries giving issues, what to do.

  • 23:09

I can forward all of my communication to you that I sent in after the fact. but I think that’s a moot point. This new one just struck up a lot of emotions for a 1800 loss (everything on p2 was separate and add ons 3rd party). Thanks again for listening. I’ll take whatever advice I can get.

Robert

Yes please

  • 23:10

Whats the best way? Copy paste here seems kinda ugly?

Robert

Yes that’s fine

Mdp <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>5/12/15to DJIThanks for the update, yes one of the three was still functional but lost about 5 minutes from new capacity
Can you help me understand why these batteries have lost so much capacity they are pretty much automated in charging discharging and storage. I was also under the impression it was a 3 month warranty?

Thanks
Our mailing address is
Let me know if I need to pay for shipping
Mark

Sent from my iPhoneDJI Technology <support@djitechnology.zendesk.com>5/13/15to me##- Please type your reply above this line -##Your request (126305) has been updated. To add additional comments, reply to this email.
E. T. (DJI Technology )May 13, 08:24Dear Mark,I do apologize for the mistake, your batteries are definitely covered under warranty. I’ll make sure we send them out to the address you provided. Thank you for choosing DJI to fly!DJI North AmericaMark DickinsonMay 12, 09:41Thanks for the update, yes one of the three was still functional but lost about 5 minutes from new capacityCan you help me understand why these batteries have lost so much capacity they are pretty much automated in charging discharging and storage. I was also under the impression it was a 3 month warranty?
ThanksOur mailing address is. Let me know if I need to pay for shippingMarkSent from my iPhoneE. T. (DJI Technology )May 12, 09:00Dear Mark,Unfortunately your batteries are outside of the warranty period. We are unable to cover them under the warranty. I do apologize for the inconvenient news. Due to the hazardous condition of the batteries HazMat prohibits us from sending them back as they are. We will be disposing them for you. As a courtesy we are able to offer you used battery with very little discharges at no cost. Please let us know how to proceed.DJI North AmericaMark DickinsonApr 20, 07:55Really? It was sent in what two weeks ago?Sent from my iPhoneJ. S. (DJI Technology )Apr 20, 07:53Dear Mark Dickinson,We have checked your unit into Zendesk, our customer support database.Congratulations! This is the first step in the repair process once we received your product. Next, your unit will be documented in our Repair Software, which the repair technicians use to track their work. This process typically happens the same day your unit is checked in Zendesk. Once that process is done, your product will be placed in line with other repairs, and continually move up until a repair technician services it at a work bench.We appreciate your patience and thank you for your support of the DJI Product Line.DJI Service Center North AmericaDJI North AmericaThis email is a service from DJI Technology . Delivered by Zendesk.Message-Id:M0GSY58X_55536cc7a55d_3df23fc54c2cd32c994085_sprutMdp <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>5/26/15to DJIShipped yet??????!

Sent from my iPhoneMdp <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>5/27/15to DJIHello,
I haven’t head back today was 39 minutes for a call but have the batteries sent out. So do I need to do anything?

Thanks!

Sent from my iPhoneMark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>11/5/15to DJIWhatever you guys sent me was ridiculous. 10 flights and at 40 percent copter lost lift power and battery was struggling. In a lake now with GoPro on it. Thanks

Sent from my iPhoneDJI Technology <support@djitechnology.zendesk.com>11/5/15to me##- Please type your reply above this line -##Your request (194449) has been received and is being reviewed by our support staff.To add additional comments, reply to this email.

Mark DickinsonNov 5, 14:09This is a follow-up to your previous request #126305 “DJI Shipping Confirmation”Whatever you guys sent me was ridiculous. 10 flights and at 40 percent copter lost lift power and battery was struggling. In a lake now with GoPro on it. ThanksSent from my iPhone> On May 27, 2015, at 9:21 PM, Mdp <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com> wrote:
>
> Hello,
>
> I haven’t head back today was 39 minutes for a call but have the batteries sent out. So do I need to do anything?
>
>
> Thanks!
>
>
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
>> On May 13, 2015, at 11:24 AM, DJI Technology <support@djitechnology.zendesk.com> wrote:
>>
>>This email is a service from DJI Technology . Delivered by Zendesk.Message-Id:JP2635MEVJ_563bd3ace878d_56903fdd7becd3382159b5_sprutMark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>11/5/15to DJIPlease send me a return label to send these replacement batteries in for destruction

Sent from my iPhoneMark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>10:28 PM (41 minutes ago)to DJII still have never received a response from this. Mark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>10:29 PM (40 minutes ago)to DJIDid you ever receive the emails from before?

  • 23:11

ET was the one who initially said on those that I am out of warranty. Then they were replaced.

Mdp <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>5/12/15to DJIThanks for the update, yes one of the three was still functional but lost about 5 minutes from new capacity
Can you help me understand why these batteries have lost so much capacity they are pretty much automated in charging discharging and storage. I was also under the impression it was a 3 month warranty?

Thanks
Our mailing address is
Let me know if I need to pay for shipping
Mark

Sent from my iPhoneDJI Technology <support@djitechnology.zendesk.com>5/13/15to me##- Please type your reply above this line -##Your request (126305) has been updated. To add additional comments, reply to this email.
E. T. (DJI Technology )May 13, 08:24Dear Mark,I do apologize for the mistake, your batteries are definitely covered under warranty. I’ll make sure we send them out to the address you provided. Thank you for choosing DJI to fly!DJI North AmericaMark DickinsonMay 12, 09:41Thanks for the update, yes one of the three was still functional but lost about 5 minutes from new capacityCan you help me understand why these batteries have lost so much capacity they are pretty much automated in charging discharging and storage. I was also under the impression it was a 3 month warranty?
ThanksOur mailing address is Let me know if I need to pay for shippingMarkSent from my iPhoneE. T. (DJI Technology )May 12, 09:00Dear Mark,Unfortunately your batteries are outside of the warranty period. We are unable to cover them under the warranty. I do apologize for the inconvenient news. Due to the hazardous condition of the batteries HazMat prohibits us from sending them back as they are. We will be disposing them for you. As a courtesy we are able to offer you used battery with very little discharges at no cost. Please let us know how to proceed.DJI North AmericaMark DickinsonApr 20, 07:55Really? It was sent in what two weeks ago?Sent from my iPhoneJ. S. (DJI Technology )Apr 20, 07:53Dear Mark Dickinson,We have checked your unit into Zendesk, our customer support database.Congratulations! This is the first step in the repair process once we received your product. Next, your unit will be documented in our Repair Software, which the repair technicians use to track their work. This process typically happens the same day your unit is checked in Zendesk. Once that process is done, your product will be placed in line with other repairs, and continually move up until a repair technician services it at a work bench.We appreciate your patience and thank you for your support of the DJI Product Line.DJI Service Center North AmericaDJI North AmericaThis email is a service from DJI Technology . Delivered by Zendesk.Message-Id:M0GSY58X_55536cc7a55d_3df23fc54c2cd32c994085_sprutMdp <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>5/26/15to DJIShipped yet??????!

Sent from my iPhoneMdp <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>5/27/15to DJIHello,
I haven’t head back today was 39 minutes for a call but have the batteries sent out. So do I need to do anything?

Thanks!

Sent from my iPhoneMark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>11/5/15to DJIWhatever you guys sent me was ridiculous. 10 flights and at 40 percent copter lost lift power and battery was struggling. In a lake now with GoPro on it. Thanks

Sent from my iPhoneDJI Technology <support@djitechnology.zendesk.com>11/5/15to me##- Please type your reply above this line -##Your request (194449) has been received and is being reviewed by our support staff.To add additional comments, reply to this email.

Mark DickinsonNov 5, 14:09This is a follow-up to your previous request #126305 “DJI Shipping Confirmation”Whatever you guys sent me was ridiculous. 10 flights and at 40 percent copter lost lift power and battery was struggling. In a lake now with GoPro on it. ThanksSent from my iPhone> On May 27, 2015, at 9:21 PM, Mdp <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com> wrote:
>
> Hello,
>
> I haven’t head back today was 39 minutes for a call but have the batteries sent out. So do I need to do anything?
>
>
> Thanks!
>
>
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
>> On May 13, 2015, at 11:24 AM, DJI Technology <support@djitechnology.zendesk.com> wrote:
>>
>>This email is a service from DJI Technology . Delivered by Zendesk.Message-Id:JP2635MEVJ_563bd3ace878d_56903fdd7becd3382159b5_sprutMark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>11/5/15to DJIPlease send me a return label to send these replacement batteries in for destruction

Sent from my iPhoneMark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>10:28 PM (41 minutes ago)to DJII still have never received a response from this. Mark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>10:29 PM (40 minutes ago)to DJIDid you ever receive the emails from before?

  • 23:12

This email is a service from DJI Technology . Delivered by Zendesk.Message-Id:JP2635MEVJ_563bd3ace878d_56903fdd7becd3382159b5_sprutMark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>11/5/15to DJIPlease send me a return label to send these replacement batteries in for destruction

Sent from my iPhoneMark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>10:28 PM (43 minutes ago)to DJII still have never received a response from this. Mark Dickinson <mark@markdickinsonphotography.com>10:29 PM (42 minutes ago)to DJIDid you ever receive the emails from before?

Robert

Okay please wait

My apologies for the double copy paste.

Robert

No worries

  • Dear customer, the chat will be ended in 5 minutes if we don’t receive a response from you.
  • 23:16

still here

Robert

Yes

(got the auto message)

  • 23:18

Robert

Sorry

Robert

Reading

  • 23:19

Not a problem. Im working at the moment too. Ill keep the chat alive periodically.

  • 23:22

Robert

Sure

  • Dear customer, the chat will be ended in 5 minutes if we don’t receive a response from you.
  • 23:25

mic check 1 2

Robert

Okay

  • 23:26

Robert

Did you fill up a repair request already?

no, like I said this was a while ago. The repair request for the p4?

  • 23:28

I mean I’d prefer not to do that since best buy will just take it back. But if that’s the best option I suppose I could.

Robert

Yes thats actually the best course

  • 23:29

Ok.

Robert

Yep\

Thanks for the help.

Robert

Anytime

Send

00:00/00:00

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