Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Thoughts on the Cannon Safe Failure

Thanks, all, for your comments!

I'm going to work on the circuit board, which is tiny, today...as you all note, I have nothing to lose now!

If I can get it open, I can get the lock changed out pretty easily (at least, that's what my safe expert in Oklahoma told me).

RE: CANNON...if you have a "Lifetime Warranty," that means it's you warranty the product for the lifetime of the original owner. If you have a "Lifetime Warranty*" followed by 10 pages of weasel words, you don't have a lifetime warranty at all...you are, rather, a liar.

If you guarantee consumer satisfaction, and you treat said consumer — any consumer — like crap, you are worse than a liar...you are attempting to perpetuate a fraud.

The company shouldn't take notice of whether it's me or you or anyone when it comes to standing by its products. A quality company — Midway, Dillon, Ruger, Para, RCBS, etc. — doesn't care who the customer is, because all customers are treated the same...pretty much like royalty.

If your customer service rep — supposedly one of the best in the business, according to your advertising — actually threatens a customer about saying "bad things" about the company in question, it raises a red flag to me. Something is wrong with that company or that customer service rep would never in a million years think to threaten a customer.

If Cannon stands up, I'll give you chapter and verse and happily apologize to the president of the company. If they don't stand up, I'll video me buying a new safe at SHOT!

And I will NOT ever own another electronic lock!!!!!


Unknown said...

Check out these safes...

I haven't been able to buy a safe yet, but I learned a LOT about safes from reading their site.

I think you should interview them...

(Besides, his daughter is the model, how can you buy from anyone else?)

Anonymous said...

When I was shopping for a gunsafe and saw that these fire safes had plastic digital keypads to get into the safe the first thing I asked the store clerk was how do you get into the safe when the fire destroys the keypad. When he couldn't answer the question I bought the safe with the metal combination dial.

Anonymous said...

Also threatened a few years ago about saying "bad things" about the company when complaining about the lack of service at the local dealer.

Went elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

CANNON SAFE DIDN'T FAIL. It appears to me you pulled the battery cable out of the lock how is that Cannon Safe's fault? What happend to take responsibility for your own actions? You are the guy you breaks his rake after 7 years of use and wants Costco to give you a new one. You just lost a viewer.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, He didn't post a picture, so how can anything "appear" to you ?
Tom Bogan
Laconia NH

Enoch Root said...

Insufficient, electrical conductor stress relief, to allow for normal use does indeed fall under manufacturing defects, specifically inadequate engineering. Mechanical and Electrical. But we've seen (or at least read of) the lack of standards set by customer dis-service, why should the rest of the company strive for any other standard.

Anonymous said...


Looks like some retard from Cannon is trying to save his ass with a post.

Good luck with that.

I own a browning Pro-steel, it's had the snot pounded out of it during three moves, but the lock mech is still fine.

My wife got a Bighorn Safe Co safe for her aglomeration ... a nice cheap and large firesafe ... a good value for the money.

Make sure that whatever you get has an S&G mechanical combo lock mechanism on it.

Bob Anderson said...

I'll be they learn never to argue with a guy who buy's ink by the barrel or in this case airtime by the hour.

Anonymous said...

For someone in the firearms industry to brush off Michael Bane is like Gary Hart daring the media to follow him around. Someone in politics once said, in a pre-cyber era, you don't want to pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. The message Cannon has sent to the marketplace is that, hey, we don't give a rat's ass who Michael Bane is, we treat him just like everybody else. Well, when the sleeping synapse finally connects, Cannon will realize that it's not that they're more than willing to treat Michael just like everybody else, it's that Michael will [i]tell[/i] everybody else how they treated him.

Thomas Jefferson said he'd take a free press over a government if it ever came down to such a choice. Sometimes it takes at least the threat of public exposure to insure that an "honorable" merchant keeps his promises.

We're a pretty small community in the grand scheme of things. Even word of mouth can make or break a product or company in the shooting community, which leads me to wonder if Cannon has been taken over by the bean counters.

Anonymous said...

Ground control to Canon...it's 2008 (almost 2009) and we're in the era of Web 2.0. Trying to suppress information simply doesn't work, and ignoring the problem is the worst thing you can do.

I get paid a rather decent salary to get this fact across to the execs at my company.

Look at supposed 'lower-end' companies like Hi-Point and Kel-Tec...sure there are complaints about their quality out the door, but their customer service wins them sale after sale.


The Freeholder said...

Have read both posts; now a few thoughts.

First, there's nothing wrong with electronic locks. I've had two, one for over 10 years, and have never had a problem. You have to exercise the requisite care that you would with any other piece of electronic equipment.

One commenter mentioned changing the batteries and pulling a battery lead loose. Possible, but if it's like the Sargent & Greenleaf on my Ft. Knox, you'd have to be gorilla-ing the thing to do so. Most gunnies (a la our host) are likely more careful with their toys.

A thought on the warranty: Ft. Knox covers the lock on their safes under their lifetime warranty, even though they buy them from another company. (One of the many reasons I bought mine.) It's possible that Cannon specifically excludes the lock after 5 years. I noticed that on some less expensive brands when safe shopping. (They don't make their warranty text available on their web site to confirm this one way or another. Ft. Knox does, but the link is broken.) If that is the case, then the customer rep could (and should) have handled this much better.

As I've already sort of said, I have to agree on the poor customer service, but disagree on the "I'm Michael Bane" thing. Just because you work for a company in the firearms accessory business doesn't mean you know every major player's name. This in no way excuses the treatment, however. It shouldn't make any difference who you are--all customers are to be treated like gold. Happy ones sell your product for you, unhappy ones tell everyone they know. MB knows a lot of people, and I have no doubt that Cannon has lost a number of potential sales.

Michael, I hope you got Boy Wonder's name. I suspect at some point, Cannon is going to catch wind of this and give you a call, and you really need to be able to play "pin the tail on the idiot" with this guy.

If the lock has manufacturer's markings, you may be able to get some help directly from them.

Michael Bane said...

If I may speak in my own defense, I've babied the lock since I got the safe 7 years ago. It IS flimsy, far too flimsy for an object that price point (it's a big safe).

One immediate problem was that the lock ATE 9-V batteries, which should not be the case for a low-pull circuit. I have had to keep a supply on hand just to get the safe open. I have been VERY careful in changing out batteries because of the cheesy nature of the circuit board. I have at least a passing experience with electronics (N2AWX and an occasional robot builder), and I know cheese when I see it.

I did not start soldering on the circuit board because I assumed, incorrectly, that Cannon would repair their product either under warranty or for money. Soldering circuit boards this small always runs the risk of toasting components on the board, even with heat sinks.

I said from the beginning that I was willing to pay all shipping and hourly repair charges if they were not covered under warranty, but I got my head snapped off for even suggesting it.

I did not buy the safe at a discount or as a you-build-it kit. I bought it to be — as the Cannon website says — a lifetime security product. I figured it would be my main safe forever.

All that aside, there is no excuse for the way I was treated, especially considering I asked for no special treatment and offered up front to pay all charges. I was treated first with contempt, essentially blown off; then I was threatened. ANY company that threatens a customer — that is, a person who spent a large sum of money with their company — deserves to reap the whirlwind.

Believe me, I'm busy enough that I can do without all this crap, but the bottom line is that, hey, I can't get to my guns, my financial records, my important business papers, etc. T&E projects that I had scheduled for earlier this week did not get done; unless I can resolder the circuit board today, they won't get done until after SHOT. In short, I have incurred a real loss of work product.


Some Guy said...

Try calling them and talking to someone else - see if there is another channel you can take to reach someone beyond their customer "support" people.

I deal with a lot of customer contacts as a part of my job, and there is no better way to get something done than to skip past the phone jockeys and go up a level.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a tortious situation here, Michael. You might consider having your attorney contact their legal department noting the actual damages and suggesting that punitive damages might also be in the works if you have to take them to court.

I still think that before this is over some poor bast'd will be carrying your new safe on his back to your doorstep.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest Executive Call Carpet Bombing.

Find out what the message numbers are for Cannon's company management and leave them messages.

Mention that you are blogging this customer service fail.

An adult will take this out of the hands of the human phone droid ( who is paid to make expensive complaints go away ).

EECB works ... get someone in charge who can be embarrassed into doing the right thing.

The Freeholder said...

I figured you took good care of your toys. Just for the record, what brand is the lock? I agree it should have not eaten batteries to the point you felt compelled to keep spares close to hand, and I have to wonder if that has some bearing on the problem. If you've had to change batteries that frequently, then you've put decades of wear on the circuit board in a space of years.

For comparison, my S&G on my safe is on the same set that can with it in 2004. I keep thinking that I ought to replace them, but a visual inspection show no leakage, so I've decided the experiment is to see how long they will last.

I have another safe at work that I access 2-3 times per day, and a set of batteries still lasts 18-24 months.

I'm still shaking my head wondering how the the CS rep has kept his job this long. No matter what--even if you were completely out of line and rude to boot--should you have been treated like that. In another industry, I saw CS reps fired for less foolish behavior.

Anonymous said...

@ Michael Bane, your comments about Cannon safes would bear more credibility with me if you would have taken HS Precision to task over their gaffe of having FBI sniper...err... murderer Lon Horiuchi plugging their products.

I just surfed through your old blogs to the start of November and any comments about the HS Precision Zumbo-esque incident are excruciatingly absent.

So what gives, huh?

Inquiring minds would like to know.

Loose Gravel said...

Well now... I have moved, and thus lost the hidden gun room in the old house, so I have been looking at getting a large safe, or multiple smaller safes... there are a lot of possibilities out there, and any product can fail, but follow-up to failure always seems to be a good indicator of whom to do business with... I can cross Cannon of the list now.

Anonymous said...

I've had an Amsec ESL20 electronic lock for 7 years. Last year I changed the two energizer 9V batteries that power it. Not because I had to, but I had two spares in hand.

Safe techs have told me that you need to get a mechanical lock serviced every year, maybe every other year if you don't open and close it a few times a day like a business does. Which means a trip charge from a safe tech, several hours of your day, etc. The tech said there wasn't really any reason to service the electronic lock I have.

Everything made by man can break, don't assume a mechanical lock will be more reliable. If you have a poorly made electronic lock an S&G mechanical lock will be, but S&G or Amsec electronic locks are pretty darn reliable.

And if you need to have the safe drilled open, keep track of how long it take the tech to do it. You'll likely be surprised at how little security Cannon or Ft Knox offers to a skilled attacker.

Anonymous said...

Yep ... the UL time ratings for gunsafes are pretty scarily short ... but ... the UL techs ( and professional safecrackers ) have diagrammed all of the major gunsafes, and know exactly where to dril and what to do to pop the safe nearly instantly.

No safe is proof against someone buying an identical safe, and figuring out where to dril.

They are proof against some dumbass tweaker with cheap handtools and no knowledge, who is the more likely attacker.

Anonymous said...

So what gives, huh?

Inquiring minds would like to know.

6:37 PM

Where were you when the forest diservice was trying to ban all shooting on federal lands they controlled on the Front Range?

John Richardson said...

Instapundit.com has now linked to your experiences with Cannon Safe. Now instead of just us in the gun culture seeing your experiences, about a quarter million non-gunnies daily will read about it. It sucks to be Cannon.

Anonymous said...

For those of you thinking mechanical locks are a better choice, especially in a fire situation, think again.

Many modern mechanical locks use PLASTIC disks inside to reduce the amount of noise made as you turn the dial (so someone listening cannot manipulate the lock). Those disks eventually crack and need replacing (hopefully you catch it misbehaving and fix it before it fails and the safe has to be drilled). When there is a fire, those disks melt, and the safe HAS to be drilled.

A top shelf electronic lock is going to be more reliable and easier to use. Meaning you will use it more, and not just leave it unlocked for ease of access. Just buy a good one. The best are made by Kaba-Mas (the X-09), and cost around $1000 - for just the lock.

Security is not cheap.

Anonymous said...

If you have a house fire, drilling your safe is going to be the least of your problems.

Not getting your guns cooked is a better goal.

Get a large firesafe with an S&G mech. lock on it, and call it done. It's enough to prevent gun loss by meth-heads and housefires.

If your collection is large enough to attract professional attention, you need to be thinking about spending thousands on a vault door in the basement.

Anonymous said...

In a fire the safe is trashed. You are going to have to drill/cut it to open it. Just assume that.

If you have a GOOD safe, the stuff inside is ok. Lots of "gun safes" are not fire good safes, they allow in the various fire products that are extremely corrosive to enter the safe. So the stuff stays below 350 degree, but by the time time the FD releases the scene to you and you dig the safe out of the wreckage and drill it everything metallic in it is trashed. To be effective in a fire the fire safe has to close nearly airtight.

Anonymous said...

Methinks these so called gunsafes is just a big scam.

Most of 'em are just drywall surrounded by sheet metal.

Have ya'll seen this video:


It's kinda scarey.

Anonymous said...

With a slow down in the economy, this is a golden opportunity for companies to show their stuff with their customer service.

CannonSafes have shown their "stuff".

I own a small business, and have many electronic devices in the field (not safes, though). Failures occur, but it is how they are handled that matters.

My customer service and sales training dates to the 70s, and the first book we were required to read was Joe Girard's "How to sell anything to anybody".

Basically, it says if you do right, a few people hear about it. If you do wrong, everyone hears about it.

You can't spend enough in advertising to make up for just a few examples of poor customer service.

Anonymous said...

It’s not just the Cannon brand, it’s all electronic locks. Here is my experience from two weeks ago today:

We have a 6-year-old Liberty brand gun safe, and its Sargent and Greenleaf (the top brand) electronic keypad lock recently failed. Thankfully, it failed in the “open” condition so we had access to our valuables, and didn’t need to have the safe professionally drilled open. The locksmith said that these locks usually fail locked, and I can’t imagine finding this out after a crisis, and being left without most of our guns. Even the idea of being unable to get our passports onthe morning of an international trip is unthinkable.

It turns out that the handy electronic keypad locks just aren’t terribly reliable. While our safe has a lifetime guarantee, the keypad and lock have only a 5-year guarantee. The locksmith said that he considers them unreliable.

I should also note that they are not even designed to be serviced. The inner motorized lock had failed, but the keypad had to be destroyed to remove the lock.

Fortunately, the solution was fast, easy, and not too expensive. For less than $200, including the parts, service call and labor, the locksmith came the same day the lock failed, and replaced the failed electronic lock with a traditional mechanical dial lock that should last as long as the safe. The locksmith even had the parts on his truck (apparently, these failures are rather common), and spent no more than an hour on site.

I advise anyone who made the mistake of getting an electronic lock to make the easy switch to a reliable mechanical lock for their gun safe. You will give up speed and convenience, but you will gain security and reliability.

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If I may speak in my own defense, I've babied the lock since I got the safe 7 years ago. It IS flimsy, far too flimsy for an object that price point (it's a big safe).

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