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Buying Online -> Buyer Beware!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by PhotoByMark, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. I have been chatting with a forum member on another forum (Aquatic-Photography) about D70/D70s differences and where to buy. Just to make a long story short - there are many online places that are just pure EVIL! :D evil: For those new to the hobby and looking for good places to buy your equipment all I can say is - if the place you are looking at is $100's of dollars lower than other places stay away!

    Here is one example from www.resellerratings.com on a place called Express Camera

    (BTW->This type of thing below is very typical of these bad places)

    Found an advertised price of $499.00 for a Nikon D70 body only at www.expresscameras.com. This is about $250.00 less than the competition. The item was not specifically described, but a general descripion says all there products are factory new with manufacturer's warranty. An email arrived requesting a verbal confirmation, and I talked to Jeff at extension 238 9/15/05 approx 8:00 AM PDT. After trying to sell me an overpriced extended warranty (more than half the price of the camera for 3 years, he says "I forgot to ask did you want the battery and charger, to which I replied "I assumed the battery and charger came in the box" I was told the box contains only the body, cables and software, and the battery would cost $69.00, and the charger $199.00. I told him to hold the order and I would get back to him. Telephone calls to the 3 next lowest priced dealers confirmed that they were selling the standard Nikon distribution pakcage for "body only" that does include a battery and charger, bringing their prices less than Exprss Cameras. I called Jeff back and told him what I had learned, and that Nikon does not distribute the D70 body only without the battery and charger, to which he replied that this is a "special package that they distribute to wholesalers not to retailers." Then he offered to sell me the D70s body with the battery and charger for about $40.00 more than the usual competitors' online prices. To which I replied, that I wanted to cancel the order, which he says has now been done. I hope I can believe him on that at least. A telephone call to Nikon USA confirms that there is no special package distributed without the battery and charger, and advice to visit this page.

    Maybe some of you out there can share some of your thoughts on this too!
  2. Well sussed out. I buy all my photographic equipment online, but I am very very careful and as yet I have not had any problems.

    Bob F.
  3. So if there is a camera, they must be
    pulling the extra's out of the box to lower
    the overall price. What a bunch of scumbags!
    Sometimes the best price is not the best deal.

  4. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    You know what they say; 'If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is....'. Stick to reputable places like B&H, Adorama, Roberts, OneCall, etc. and you should be just fine. I've had nothing but good experiences with these folks.
  5. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    The thing I don't understand is how these companies don't get shut down or even sent to jail. They're clearly using bait and switch tactics, and in some cases downright fraud. You don't hear about these kind of scams in other industries (or at least I haven't, maybe I'm just not aware of it), so I wonder why the retail camera market has such problems with this.
  6. I don't know about in the States but up
    here in Canada. (The Fraud Capitol of the World)
    Fraud of this sort is given a slap on the wrist.
    Our government is well know for not punishing
    offenders appropriately.

  7. Another reference source I find useful is www.epinions.com. I use it along with reseller ratings to find out about the online retailers. Sometimes you'll find that even though a store has a reasonable rating on reseller ratings that you may get an entirely different story on epinions.

    Other things you can do is look for a phone number. If there isn't one, that's another warning sign. If there is a phone number, call and ask a question and see how you are treated. If you have to stay on hold a long time just to get sales, imagine how long you'll have to wait for customer service.

    I recently made an online purchase from www.imagestation.com where I had some of my pictures places on mugs. I violated my recommendations here. Imagestation is a Sony company or so the website says, but there is no phone number to call. One of the items I ordered was printed backwards so for the last two weeks I've been communicating with an email systems trying to get this resolved to no avail.

    This is all I get and I never hear from this "Exception Handling Team." It's like a round robin.


    "Discussion Thread
    Response (Ryan) 09/28/2005 05:27 AM
    Thank you for contacting ImageStation Customer Support.

    Your previous inquiry has been escalated to the Exception Handling team. Please note that we are not well equipped to handle order issues.

    Our exception team is looking into it. They will research the order and get back to you directly via e-mail.

    I apologize on behalf of our site, for any inconvenience this may have caused, and very much appreciate your patience.

    Please feel free to contact us at support@ImageStation.com for more assistance."

  8. This is a very old scam. I doubt that it's illegal, since they did state the price was for "body only". The problem is, we've come to expect a "body only" sale to include all of the accessories, but, imho, that is a communication problem, not a legal one.

    Unfortunately, you can't. Once they get your credit card number, it's standard practice for these ripoff outfits to ship, and then refuse to accept a return. I'd suggest you check with your credit card company post haste, and put a stop on the transaction.
  9. The question is: Will they sell you the "naked" body for this price or will they insist that you also buy the accessories. I mean, if you already have a body with spare batteries and everything that would be a good option for a cheap back-up. If a lot of people would do it like that and they would end up sitting on a pile of useless accessories, maybe they would re-consider their strategy.
  10. DanWhite


    Jul 10, 2005
    Lansdale PA
    Typically there answer is to say that there will be a long waite and the items are currently out of stock.
  11. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Which to my understanding fits the legal definition of "bait and switch" in many states.

    I remember somebody posting a recording of a phone conversation with one of these con artists. It was regarding a D2x advertised at a very low price. The scammer actually said that the cheaper version advertised was not only an import but had a plastic body instead of magnesium. :confused: 
  12. Cool! Glad to see some activity on this topic.

    I think these places should be shutdown but, I doubt it will ever happen. Even if they did get shut down, they would be back online in a day under a different name. They prey on the poor souls that are unaware of such evil practices. Not only do they do the "sell only the body stuff" but, they will try their best to intimate you and try to get you to buy other accessories (filters, cases) or whatever at very high prices. And many times they are very,very unfriendly. For fun, I should just call Express Camera and pretend to order something and see how long I can keep them on the phone.

    I know 5 years ago I did not know any of the online sites or which ones were good or bad and it took awhile for me to figure out which ones I to shop with.
  13. I agree with Uncle Frank, this one has been around since Moby **** was a tadpole. I remember.... oh.. 5 or 6 years ago the people on Nikon Talk warning about this.
    Personally, I like B&H Photo. Their prices aren't the lowest around but they do what they say and if you have a problem they take care of it. Hopefully this fellow did what he said and cancelled the order.
  14. PGB


    Jan 25, 2005
    A client of mine was almost taken by this company today. They found a lens and were ready to buy and saw a google ad for this company. They went there and they had a good price on the lens. They called and were promptly switched and told to get a Sigma 24-70 ex dg df lens. The rep said it wasn't even fully out on the market yet and they had a shipment of them. For the low low price of 1499.95.

    When I arrived to their office today they were frantic. I inquired and got the above story. Looked it up on Adorama, the lens is 409.00!!! She called and is in the process of canceling the order etc. What a bunch of crooks. That lens was introduced at PMA 2001 :)  not this week.

    So, in this case the price wasn't too good to be true, it was too bad.

    Buyer Beware!

  15. general


    Apr 30, 2005

    Anyone involved in one of these transactions should accept the word of the salesman that the transaction has been cancelled. Call your credit card company and request they deny any charge by this company. American Express is especially good about going after them, even after the fact.
  16. general


    Apr 30, 2005
    Word missing

    Geez, I left out the most important word - do NOT accept the word of the salesman that the transaction has been cancelled.
  17. I hate these places! But the above is good advice - call your credit card company right away so that it is on record that the order has been cancelled. Companies like this are just very very very very very sad indeed! :frown:

    Patrick at least this one was caught before they actually sent the lens because I imagine sending it back and getting credit would be almost impossible.
  18. If you dig just a little deeper, you will actually discover, SHOCK :Shocked: SURPRISE :Mysteriou DISMAY :redface: that they are actually owned by the same folks, often located at the same "storefront", and that is all it is. I don't have the link handy, but a while back someone posted several pictures of this "storefront', pretty strange really. What amazes me is that people still get roped in by these businesses.

    As others have said, the right response is to immediately call your CC company, I'm sure most of them are quite familiar with this process.
  19. PGB


    Jan 25, 2005
    Yes, contacting the CC company was my first suggestion to my friend.

    Secondly, research, research, and more research. resellar ratings is an excellent way to do a little research before you buy.

    I only purchase gear from 2 places, Roberts Imaging, and Adorama. I've never had an issue with either place.

  20. cmpalmer


    Jan 27, 2005
    Huntsville, AL
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