I had a recent problem when a colleague who borrowed my 70-200mm f2.8 VR II lens removed and lost the foot from the lens body. It won't happen again. But in the meantime, I learned that this part cannot be bought from Nikon. Instead, you must send your lens to Nikon or an authorized depot. I understand that Nikon no longer sells many parts to "mom and pop" camera repair facilities, due they say, to the incerasing complexity of the cameras. But in this case, I was going to have to send the lens off so someone could slide a new shoe on, tighten a knob and return it. I could not get a cost figure -- $70 to $300 were offered as guesses by Nikon techs. I would have gone to a Kirk or Really Right Stuff replacement as a better course. But just before I did that, the foot turned up. I just thought I should warn anyone NOT to lose the foot off of their Nikon 70-200mm lens -- or any other Nikon lens for that matter.
Thom Hogan (www.bythom.com) has commented at length on Nikon no longer selling parts. It is a new company policy and a bad one. You shouldn't have to return a lens for a situation such as yours.IMO this policy will backfire as it provides an incentive for all sorts of people to start manufacturing tripod mounting colors, lens caps. etc.
And this from Shakespeare:
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be".
Years ago I loaned a Nikon body to a colloeague who promptly dropped it out of a helicopter while aloft 50 ft. It has the dent to this day although still works perfectly. Taught me a lesson:~
I'm lucky to have several Nikon Authorized repair facilities and dealers nearby. But even then some parts are hard to obtain. I've been waiting more than 3 weeks for a D800 battery door ordered through my repair shop. The owner of the repair shop offered to loan me the battery door from his D800.
The parts issue is just with Nikon USA. There are sources of parts outside the US at reasonable prices. For example, my battery door is available through E-Bay out of the UK at about the same price as a domestic replacement.
Charlie - The rabbit wouldn't have to deal with Nikon for a replacement. Again, I got my missing foot back. But otherwise I would have been left to (a) buy from Kirk or Just Righ Stuff, (b) from some overseas source or (c) send the entire lens into Nikon to get a part that goes on with one plastic knobbed bolt. That would be like sneding your car back to Detroit for a gas cap. Maybe they should change the name on their web site to "customer disservice." Don't get me wrong -- my first Nikon was an S rangefinder, followed by a family of Fs before going digital in 2002. So I have been a lifelong Nikon customer, and that's for some 50+ years, but I wonder why we are treated this way.