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Class action complaint filed in New York alleges Sony isn’t addressing premature a7 III shutter failures

Last week, a class action complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York alleging Sony Electronic Inc. is denying warranty claims in violation of New York law regarding widespread shutter defects of Sony’s a7 III mirrorless camera.

The complaint, filed by plaintiff John Guerriero for $402, alleges Sony a7 III camera units have premature shutter failure, which render the affected cameras unusable without expensive repairs. After providing a brief summary of the difference between DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras to the courts, the plaintiff dives into the details of what they allege to be a widespread issue of shutters failing before their quoted life expectancy.

Specifically, the plaintiff states the quoted ‘shutter life expectancy on the a7iii is 200,000 actuations,’ but notes ‘numerous users report shutter failures far below 200,000 but between 10,000 and 50,000 for most of the users who experienced this,’ citing this petition—signed by 1,320 individuals as of publication—that calls for Sony to recall the a7 III for shutter failure problems.

A screenshot of the petition made in an effort to get Sony to address shutter failures on its a7 III mirrorless camera.

‘While the [a7 III] is generally sold with a one-year warranty,’ says the plaintiff, ‘shutter failure occurs randomly, often outside of the warranty period.’ As a result, the plaintiff says ‘purchasers must pay approximately $500–650 for repair and replacement of the shutter mechanism’ on top of the $2,000 cost of the camera itself.

The plaintiff claims the shutter failures happen in a predicted manner, wherein ‘users report hearing an atypical shutter sound, followed by the screen turning black and displaying the following message: “Camera Error. Turn off then on.”’ Upon removing the lens following the error message, the plaintiff alleges that ‘in most instances,’ the shutter has become detached due to ‘the shutter blade [catching] on the front edge as it moves down in taking a picture […] because the blades are positioned farther forward so they “catch” and fail to fully clear.’

One of the exhibits in the complaint, showing the error message that’s displayed on the camera’s rear screen after a shutter failure.

Preventative measures, such as turning off the electronic front curtain shutter (EFCS), can be taken to reduce the chances of failure. But the plaintiff says the EFCS feature is ‘one of the main reasons for purchasing the [a7 III] and having to refrain from using it diminishes the camera’s utility and value.’

To back up their claims, the plaintiff provides photo evidence, including four images of shutter failures on a7 III cameras. The source of the images isn’t specified, although at least one is the same found on the petition cited in the plaintiff’s complaint.

An exhibit from the complaint showing what the shutter failure on an a7 III looks like.

The complaint says the affected class includes ‘all citizens of New York who purchased [Sony a7 III] cameras.’ At this time, it appears this is the only complaint of its kind filed in the United States.

The specific claims against Sony in the complained include breach of express warranty, implied warranty of merchantability and Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, violation of the New York General Business Law, negligent misrepresentation, fraud and unjust enrichment.

Another exhibit from the complaint showing what the shutter failure on an a7 III looks like.

In addition to obtaining class certification and ability for his counsel (Sheehan & Associates P.C.) to represent the class, the plaintiff is also seeking an injunction, as well as an award for costs, damages, fees and other relief. According to court records, Sony was notified via summons on March 29 of the complaint.

We have contacted Sony regarding the matter and have not yet received a response as of publishing this article. We will update accordingly as more information becomes available.