Buying a Digital Camera, Avoid Bad Experiences! Buyer Beware
Buying a new camera? New to the Hobby? Read This!!!
All to often the "New Consumer" in the world of Photography is very mislead, and taken advantage of. Everything sounds like it is a good deal, and sales people as well as ebay dealers, and other scam artists take full advantage of this. So my title to this entry will be......
Many ebay dealers offer these seamingly "Too good to be true" offers. Like Get $3,000 worth of equipment for $900. Well, chances are, if it seems too good to be true, it is too good to be true.
Bait and Switch
This is when you purchase something that is supposed to be in stock, as per the dealer. But after you order it you receive a call from the dealer stating the item is sold out, and they try to sell you something more expensive.
Accessories, upsizing your order, and the famous... "This isn't good enough, so buy this" pitch.
This is when the dealer either calls you back, or during the order they try to talk you into other unnecesary accessories.
Extended service plans
Many companies try to sell you extended service plans, in some cases it is worth it, in other cases it is not worth it. Below I will explain.
To answer all these scenarios above, please continue to read.
First off, let me start by saying this. Shop wisely, do your research before hand, price the equipment at various locations, and know what the item comes with, and what you will need for the item well in advance. Don't let a salesman make the choice for you. Always remember, they are looking to make money, and they are going to take you for what ever you are nieve enough to give them. This isn't to say you are "Stupid" but in actuallity, that is the category they are going to place you in come the end of the sale if you do not know what you are in for.
If you are shopping ebay, make sure you read all the fine print, make sure the dealer is reputable, and make sure their feedback shows that. Also if they are selling this outragous package at an outragous price, research everything that is in the "Package deal" research it's quality, and it's price. Chances are that $3,000 package is worth about 1/3 of that price or less. Otherwise the dealer would be out of business and not making money. Nothing in this world is free... It is a marketing scheme, that works, and works well. Most people will look for a package, instead of making their own package. And chances are, the package they design for you will hold many things that are useless to you anyway. It is like buying a computer with $1,000 worth of software that you will never use, so why waste the extra money on it.
As far as bait and switch. If you order something from a company that in Black and white they state is in stock, and later you receive a call that the item is not in stock, and they try to sell you something else because the original item will not be in stock for another 3 weeks to a month. Cancel the order, and ask for a full refund. If they deny a refund, then call your credit card company and report it to them and stop the payment. It is your right to do so, even if the dealer says no refunds. The binding contract is for an item that is there, and not for something else, or something that is not there. (Print the screen that stated it was in stock, and keep all emails, and tranaction receipts that you encounter during a sale. This way you have record of everything in case needed.
Call backs, upsizing, and accessory harasement!!! If you encounter this, don't be affraid to ask questions. If you seem like you know more than you do, chances are they are not going to push too hard... Always be one step ahead of the game. There are many times a dealer will call a customer back and try to talk them into extra accessories, or they may do it during the sale. In all actuallity, they make more money off accessories than they do off the camera, or other items. Especially if they over price the accessory. I know this from sales experience. The mark up on accessories is normally 50% so they make huge profit if you opt for the extras. Some companies make 100% profit off of the accessories. If a dealer tells you that a certain item like the "Battery" that comes with the camera is not good enough, or this is not good enough, 99% chance they are just trying to confuse you... Truth be told, the original factory accessories are going to be better than anything after market that they are going to try to sell you. Again, research your product before you buy it, know what accesories you want to buy extra before you talk to the sales person, know the price of those extras before they give you their price. If their price is too high, buy it somewhere else, or tell them that you can get a better price elseware, and see if they budge.
As for extended service plans, they are good for some items, and not really good for others. These days, salesman try to sell you an extended warranty on anything. You know, I may buy it for the camera itself, but I will be damned if I am going to buy it for the batteries. Not when the price is 50% of the batteries original cost.
Also, when they try to sell you the extended warranty, ask if you can get back to them on it. Then go and research the company that the service plan is through. See if they have any complaints against them with not following through with previous returns or product malfunctions. And remember, your camera, or other items are going to come with 1yr. from the company. If you opt for any extended service agreement, make sure you get the written terms of the service agreement, and ask questions about it... Does it cover parts and labor, is it (X) amount of years on top of the 1yr. manufacturers warranty. In other words is it 1 year plus 3 years. This is another huge money maker for them, the service plan companies give 30% - 50% commission on every service plan they sell. If it is a mom&pop service plan, they may go out of business before your contract runs out.
PAYMENTS TO WATCH OUT FOR... One of the main payments methods to steer clear of is Western Union, this is one of the most used ways to accept payments of scammers because it is not traceable like Paypal, credit cards, etc... So becareful if a dealer only accepts Western Union, I would steer clear all together.
Seems like alot to take in. But always better to research, and be knowledgable, then to go in blind, and everything the salesman says seems right.
Below I will list some known internet companies that are scam artists... In hopes that it better informs people to steer clear of them. I will also list some more reputable dealers, some that I have dealt with, and some that I know others have dealt with.
Reported Scams or very poor re-seller ratings
http://chembiotin.com/ (Formerly elsider)
Also, 4 companies all under Startlight Photo in Brooklyn, NY. Which have complaints filed with the Better Business Burough
I.N.S. Digital World
The Camera Whiz
Some links to "store front" images mostly from New York. Some are reputable, and some are down right scam artists with poor reseller ratings.
Brooklyn Store Fronts
Manhattan Store Fronts
"Disclaimer - While everything I have heard about these companies has been negative, I cannot state for a fact that they are crooks."
List of more reputable dealers, but still use caution, and always research before buying.
These companies I either have personal experience with, or know people who have used, and had good experience. There is always a chance that one may catch a bad salesman, or just a bad experience, but overall, these are reputable, and recommended...
www.jr.com (J&R Music World)
Cameta Camera Auctions on ebay... Great place to buy new and also refurbished equipment that come with full factory warranties, or store warranties.
Also, known retailers like the following.
Ebay, for filters and such...
User Name - Spotlightphoto aka slphotogear
Ebay, Equipment, accessories, factory demos, etc...
Username - cametaauctions (I have purchased personally from these people and have nothing but good things to say. I have also refered them to friends of mine who have all been happy with their service and products.
Taken from the following rating websites... Or personal experience.
www.bbb.com (Better Business Burough)
Use the above mentioned to research a dealer you may be interested in buying from.
Some places to find camera and lens reviews below
If anyone from outside the USA has information good or bad about buying experience, please feel free to post it below, and I will add it to my master list.
Thank you, I hope this helps some members. Any questions feel free to contact...
Make Money @ istockphoto
Make money @ Shutterstock
Make Money @ bigstockphoto
Click Here To View My Personal Website
Sell Video Footage At Shutter Stock
See my profile on RedBubble