Consumer Alert: Where NOT to buy a camera - My bad Experience

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by seth, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. seth

    seth Guest

    My wife started having contractions on Tuesday, November 22nd. She's
    not due until December 14th but it was a good reminder that we need to
    start preparing for the big day. Bags need to be pre-packed, directions
    to babysitters, phone numbers, and pre-registration paperwork all need
    to be figured out, completed and ready to go at a moment's notice.
    Since then the contractions have increased, gotten stronger, closer
    together and become much more frequent. Anyway, that night, we decided
    it was time to upgrade the memory card in our digital camera. All we
    have right now is a working 16MB smartmedia card for our Fuji Finepix
    6800. It was a great camera when it came out four years ago: three or
    four megapixels, optical and digital zoom, macro and movie modes, LCD
    view finder, etc. And the chassis was designed, in part, by some
    engineers at Porsche too, which I found to be a neat novelty and I'm
    sure I paid extra for. But apparently, according to several stores we
    visited and the rather snooty 19 year old sales clerks usually behind
    the counter at the massive home electronics conglomerates, smartmedia
    memory is pretty much on its last leg and as such inventories are very
    low and what is in stock is usually quite expensive. I was mildly
    discouraged that I'd chosen a camera that, after only 4 years, the
    memory required to run it had pretty much gone the way of the buffalo.
    I was even more agitated at the fact that I was pretty sure my best
    move was to purchase a new camera. The guy at Best Buys tried to get me
    to walk out with one that night. CompUSA tried even harder.
    Coincidentally, this is a random side note, I'm pretty sure I'll
    never shop at CompUSA again if I can help it. Just about every piece of
    merchandise I saw there only displayed a price tag of what the will
    cost after 2 or 3 rebates, one of which inevitably involved a one-year
    subscription to AOL. But that's neither here nor there.

    So I decided I wasn't going to invest hundreds of dollars into
    something without doing some research first. I spent most of that
    evening looking up information on brands, features, etc. I found a very
    helpful site called Digital Camera HQ (www.digitalcamera-hq.com). They
    were most helpful in deciphering what I wanted in a camera, the
    advantages and disadvantages of the different options, etc. I decided I
    wanted a good, reliable name brand. Preferably Canon if I could afford
    it. And I decided I did not need 7 or 8 megapixels. My wife and I
    figured we could get by on 4, but 5 would give us some room for
    cropping if necessary. And we decided rather than a large footprint
    that requires its own carrying case and is awkward to carry around, we
    wanted a small, compact "point-and-shoot" camera that would fit in
    a purse, front seat console, or even a large coat pocket. We figure
    we're more apt to catch those precious moments if bringing the camera
    along isn't a burden. After a long series of evaluations and a
    detailed matrix of camera needs and features, I decided on the Canon
    PowerShot SD450.

    For a link to the SD450:
    http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ModelDetailAct&fcategoryid=145&modelid=11939


    Pretty happy with my choice and encouraged by a plethora of positive
    user reviews, I went about finding one. I was hoping to find it for
    under $300, as Froogle searches were showing that my camera could be
    had for as little as $250. But after looking up all the local stores
    that carry them, I found that $350 was the going price for nearly every
    one of them. Wal-Mart was the cheapest at $320 and my local Wal-Marts
    didn't have any in their inventories in stock. Charity and I wanted
    to get it as soon as possible because the contractions weren't
    slowing down and we could go into labor any time and to do so without a
    camera...well that's apparently just unacceptable. So she suggested
    that if it's so much cheaper through some online vendors, why don't
    we see if purchasing it through them and having it shipped "next day
    air" was cheaper total than $350. So I went back to Froogle...where I
    discovered a new company to put on my NEVER EVER USE THESE COMPANIES
    AGAIN list.


    Best Price Cameras (www.bestpricecameras.com) seemingly offered the
    lowest price on the camera that I wanted, as you can see from the
    picture. I attempted to make the purchase on Wednesday night. Attempted
    being the key word. And attempted, and attempted and attempted. I was a
    little surprised that a company whose only source of sales was through
    their website would have such a flakey online ordering process. Broken
    links at every click. Every time I tried to submit information for the
    order the session failed, and I'd have to reestablish my secure
    connection, re-fill in all my information, credit card numbers, etc.
    This happened at least 5 times before it finally went through (and no,
    it was not my Internet connection failing because between each failure
    on the site I would check it against other sites just to ensure my
    connectivity was not the culprit). It did eventually go through, but I
    was quite concerned by then that my card might be charged multiple
    times, so I sent an email to their handy-dandy customer service email
    address just to verify the order was processed, and only one time.
    Three hours later I received confirmation of my order and it became
    clear to me at that time that only the one order that made it through
    was in fact processed. Shipping it next day air cost about $36, which
    is what I expected, however I was disappointed to see that adding a 3
    ounce 128MB SD memory card would bump the shipping up to over $70, so I
    decided to forego the memory card (I found one on eBay for $7 plus $9
    to ship it, brand new still in its box). Two days later I received an
    email from Best Price Cameras in response to my initial inquiry about
    the order processing problems. All it said was please call the customer
    service 1-800 hotline. Struck me as odd that they'd have a customer
    service email process set up if all it did was reply back for customers
    to call the service hotline. Confident that only one order was
    submitted and processed, I decided against calling them for further
    verification.

    Later that day (Friday) I received yet another email from somebody at
    Best Price Cameras. A sales rep. The email came at 2:19pm and it stated
    that before my order could be completed and shipped that the gentleman
    needed to "confirm my telephone number" and I needed to call him
    directly and do so before 3pm my time, which gave me a 40 minute window
    to call him or the order couldn't be processed until the next
    business day. I of course didn't get off from work until 3:30pm that
    day. So I was needless to say, very disappointed by that incident.

    I called them first thing on Sunday morning (apparently Saturday's
    not a business day but Sunday is at Best Price Cameras) and the message
    still stated I should call back during business hours a full half-hour
    after their own message said they'd be open. I did eventually get a
    hold of the guy that wanted to "confirm" my telephone number. Which
    I thought might be a problem since I did it from my cell phone while I
    was on the road for work purposes and it wasn't the number I put on
    the order. But it turned out to be a non-issue. The guy never asked for
    my telephone number at all. What he did ask me, in the same "I hate
    my job" tone that I got at Best Buys, is what kind of battery and
    battery charger I would like my camera shipped with as well as what
    kind of warranty (if any) I'd like. Now I was a little surprised by
    this line of questioning because the website says right on the SD450
    page, "Everything we sell is brand new and factory fresh" and the
    Canon website states what accessories the camera ships with in the box
    and a battery as well as a charger are included. Best Price Camera's
    SD450 page also states "Everything we sell comes with a full US
    Warranty".

    Canon's Statement of what's "in the box":
    http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=BoxContentsAct&fcategoryid=145&modelid=11939

    Now, in the version of English that I speak the phraseology, "comes
    with a warranty" means it's included in the price. So now I'm
    getting a little upset that it was not included and that accessories
    that came in the box according to Canon were costing me extra and
    asked, in a most reluctant tone, what the price for a battery, charger
    and warranty was. He quoted me $42 dollars and said it would bump my
    shipping up too. Yeah, that "next day air" that still hadn't left
    the warehouse yet was going up and now...I was looking at paying quite
    a bit more than $350 for the same camera at a local electronics store
    and had I gone that route I'd have a camera in my hand and my wife
    (contractions now every hour) would have one less thing to worry about.
    So yeah, I let him know I was more than a little ticked off and that's
    when he decided to be a "nice guy" and cut me a deal, in so much as
    if I get the 2-hour battery, instead of the 1-hour he'd keep the
    original shipping price.

    Gee thanks.

    The camera, at the absolute earliest will be here tomorrow, one full
    week after I placed the order. The baby's due any day now. Best Price
    Cameras, in my opinion epitomizes everything that my mom is scared of
    about buying merchandise online. It was one of the worst online vendor
    experience I've ever had, and I've done a lot of online purchasing
    throughout the years. But lesson learned: I'll never just go with the
    lowest price in a Froogle search again.

    To see this write-up with pictures and "prettier formatting" see my
    blogged article:
    http://bazooka-joe.blogspot.com/2005/11/consumer-alert-my-digital-camera.html

    Regards.

    :Bazooka-Joe
     
    seth, Dec 16, 2005
    #1
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  2. seth

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Bazooka-Joe writes ..
    You could have saved yourself a lot of trouble by checking this vendor
    at resellerratings.com first ...
    http://www.resellerratings.com/seller8754.html ... aka infinityphoto
    aka jandkcameras ... rating of 0.28 where 7.5 is considered decent ...
    the gripes on resellerratings all sound like yours ...

    It's a shame guys like this stay in business but if consumers would
    just do a bit of research first they'd know to avoid them ...

    Bill
     
    Bill Hilton, Dec 16, 2005
    #2
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  3. seth

    seth Guest


    I've certainly learned my lesson. Thanks Bill. I'll go checkout that
    site and add my $0.02 to the reviews.

    :Bazooka-Joe
     
    seth, Dec 16, 2005
    #3
  4. seth

    Bill Hilton Guest

    Bazooka-Joe writes ...
    Joe, another use for that site is to enter the product you are after
    and sort the answers by price, then pick a company with a high short
    and long-term rating (unfortunately some companies have employees enter
    glowing reports, which can give a false short-time picture :) Also
    look for low or reasonable shipping costs since some outfits offer low
    prices but ridiculous shipping charges ...
    http://shop.resellerratings.com/pid-27080549/SB-2 ... there are some
    excellent stores on this list selling it for (slightly) under $300 ...
    just in case your current deal falls through.

    Bill
     
    Bill Hilton, Dec 16, 2005
    #4
  5. seth

    Rhapsody Guest


    'Thou shalt not cheat the Goyim on the Sabbath day'
     
    Rhapsody, Dec 16, 2005
    #5
  6. Ah, I believe it's "Yentzim Goyim".
     
    E. E. Herbert, Dec 17, 2005
    #6
  7. seth

    SMS Guest

    They don't discriminate, shops like that cheat everyone, Goyim or not.

    You gotta wonder why they close on Saturday, since they obviously don't
    practice other parts of the religion.
     
    SMS, Dec 17, 2005
    #7
  8. seth

    Rhapsody Guest


    I wouldn't know - I'm merely an ignorant goy, fit only to be cheated and
    worked like a mule by the sons of Abraham.

    Mind you, if the mules ever get fed up of being mistreated and kick them in
    the balls, they'll have quite a surprise. I once heard a story about a
    German mule that was being worked to death - it got quite uppity,
    apparently.
     
    Rhapsody, Dec 17, 2005
    #8
  9. seth

    m Ransley Guest

    I quit reading after page 20
     
    m Ransley, Dec 17, 2005
    #9
  10. seth

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Well, from my point of view, you made several serious errors. First, if
    you want something today, buy it in a local store, period. Yes, it may
    cost a bit more, but you walk out with it!

    Second, NEVER put up with a website that makes ordering from the
    painful, just don't go there. If they are that shoddy about their
    website, just think how likely it is that other aspects of their
    business are well-run.

    Third, after the guy tried to add on to your sale, and the shipping cost
    began to swell, you should have canceled the order, and put the company
    on your 'do not patronize' list.

    I will try to look into the future for you a bit: I suspect that when
    you get the product (a few days from now), you will find it
    unsatisfactory, and you will have little of no luck at correcting any
    deficiency.

    In the future, if you wish to order online, deal with a company you have
    confidence in, such as Amazon, or a major retailer, and pay a few
    dollars more. You will save money, and much frustration in the end.


    Now, before everyone gets the idea that I am 'down' on internet
    businesses, let me say I ordered something from Old San Francisco Music
    Box company this week, and received the order the NEXT DAY (ground
    shipping, free). Ordering online was trouble-free, and easy, and their
    service was fast, and reflected past experiences with the company. Many
    online ordering companies are like that, but there are thousands that
    just are out for a fast buck, and will disappear after your credit card
    number is harvested... Take care!
     
    Ron Hunter, Dec 17, 2005
    #10
  11. seth

    Shawn Hirn Guest

    Next time, check here on this newsgroup for recommendations for digital
    camera vendors before you buy online. Better luck next time, and best of
    luck with your baby.
     
    Shawn Hirn, Dec 17, 2005
    #11
  12. seth

    Pod Guest

    You're not very smart, are you?
     
    Pod, Dec 17, 2005
    #12
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