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Consumer Strikes Back at Crooked Online Retailer

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the spend-wisely dept.

Businesses 659

BigBadLad writes "Seems like customers are at a huge disadvantage when dealing with dishonest retailers. This is the story of a man who had a horrible experience with an online camera retailer. In short he was lied to, yelled at, and threatened to be sued if he posted the experience on his blog. He was also persuaded to sign an agreement that would allow the retailer to charge him an extra $100 if he left bad feedback."

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659 comments

Sure.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154683)

Sure.. stupid people are at a disadvantage.

Summary is WRONG (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154696)

Except that he didn't sign the agreement to pay $100 if he posted unkind reviews. That was taken from another review which he cited.

Get it right, or pay the price.

Summary is RIGHT (0, Redundant)

koko775 (617640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154880)

And I quote: "An offer to add insurance was offered, and initially I
declined but then agreed after being told that otherwise if the product
arrived and was non-functional I would be taking full risk. Before the
product could be shipped I was asked to sign and fax a form, appended
below, that indicated that if I wrote any negative feedback I would agree
to have my credit card charged $100, and that I also agreed to waive my
right to chargeback to the credit card company, and that product could not
be returned for any reason. I signed and returned this form with the
understanding that the company would send the item I ordered."

Re:Summary is indeed WRONG (3, Informative)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154900)

You missed an important line in your quote. Right before the paragraph the blurp you pasted, it says:

"and yet another review I found on the company:"

I'm impressed (1)

weierstrass (669421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154973)

RTFA'ed, and got FP.

The "camera dealer"site (5, Informative)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154697)

The offending camera "dealer" site is: Priceritephoto.com [priceritephoto.com]



According to an update on his blog site, he has since reported this charlatan to the New York State Attourney General's Office. Also, apperently Price Rite Photo was listed on PriceGrabber, but has since been delisted.


And phone number.. (5, Informative)

SillySnake (727102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154834)

If you have any questions, you might just give them a call, toll free at:
888-365-4300

And Fax number (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154862)

If you you wish to send them a comment via fax:

Fax: 1-888-375-6700

Or if you happen to wish to visit them in person:

PriceRitePhoto

1274 49th Street

Brooklyn, NY 11219

Re:And Fax number (5, Interesting)

Bilestoad (60385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154974)

And if you believe this guy is on his first business name, or that calling him is going to help in any way, you underestimate the thickness of the skin of this kind of parasite.

Actually going there would be kind of dumb even if you do enjoy a visit to Brooklyn. It will be a nondescript graffiti-covered brick place with a rollup door and just enough identification to take deliveries. Knocking on the door is probably just asking for a beating.

He'll be back with a new website, new fake feedback in all the right places, same scheme. He won't lose any sleep either.

Re:And phone number.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154911)

SPRINT RELAY 2536F

DIALING 888-365-4300

  RINGING 1 ... 2 ...

(RECORDING)

(M) THIS IS CHANNEL 47 4 THIS IS CHANNEL 47 4

(ANS MACH HUNG UP) GA

Too bad...

Service with a... (1)

Quintessant (935208) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154699)

Wow, now thats what I call customer service. You can't get feedback like that with any other store.

My mom's terrible experience with these croooks (5, Interesting)

tommers (893816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154700)

My mom had the same experience. She placed a $800 camera order and was called that day to "confirm her address", at which point they proceeded to try and sell her a $150 warranty and other expensive accessories. Once she refused, they suddenly informed her the product was out of stock, but they later said they could get it to her by Friday if she paid for a $150 warranty. She tried to cancel and they said there would be a $40 restocking fee (for restocking the product they didn't have). They also got caught in their own lies at numerous points. The first representative said it was his first day, and then later he said he had lied before and that he was there for six years (the BBB documents this company as being three years old). They threatened her with their possession of her credit card and made nonsensical threats to trace down any bad review she or any of her family or friends made, which they could somehow magically do since they "had all the IP addresses of the computer in her household". The people she talked to at this company said their names were: Harvey Finkel and Moses Franco, though this was probably made up. Their email tells the user to leave a five star review at shopping sites using the following link: http://www.priceritephoto.com/priceritephoto/offer .htm [priceritephoto.com] and the text below: **Please do NOT mention this in the review, we do not offer this to all our customers. **Please do NOT mention my name or the fact that we asked to write a review the websites will not post it. This will also make you eligible for FREE shipping on any accessory purchases in the future.

Re:My mom's terrible experience with these croooks (5, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154730)

My mom had the same experience. She placed a $800 camera order and was called that day to "confirm her address", at which point they proceeded to try and sell her a $150 warranty and other expensive accessories. Once she refused, they suddenly informed her the product was out of stock, but they later said they could get it to her by Friday if she paid for a $150 warranty.

What's unusual about that? You have to be the most ass backward consumer to fall for any of that and not just walk the other way immediately. And if you think the above is very unusual, you've probably never done any of the following before:

+ Shopped for a camera online in a non Amazon.com style place.
+ Shopped at Best-Buy
+ Shopped at Circuit-City
+ Shopped at Office Max
+ Shopped at Staples

Common sense would tell you to do the following:

+ Cancel the order.
+ Contact VISA (or Mastercard, etc) to prevent a charge or reverse any charges.

It's just part of doing business online. It's simple and credit card companies make it a fairly painless - one page long - process.

Re:My mom's terrible experience with these croooks (5, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154824)

What's unusual about that?

It's unusual because its, well, unusual. As in rare. I've been in retail business myself, and while this kind of behavior occurs, it doesn't happen at big firms like those you mentioned. That's because no business can get to that size with that attitude. Customers don't keep quiet about their bad experiences, they tell everyone they know.

I've never had any experience like this with any of the firms you name. A firm WILL try to sell you a warranty, but they won't pull an illegal bait-n-switch like what was described, since most businessmen don't like getting thrown in jail.

Re:My mom's terrible experience with these croooks (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154976)

I dunno where you live, but I've shopped at all the listed retailers there and none act like that. For one, there's no stock games since it's an actual store. I get an item on the shelf and actually carry it to the front, there's no question on stock. Declining additonal warantee protection does nothing to affect the sale. I ALWAYS decline that, and they are still happy to take my money.

Re:My mom's terrible experience with these croooks (1, Interesting)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154870)

In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, there was a character with the name of Harvey Kinkle.

Coincidence? I think not!

Re:My mom's terrible experience with these croooks (2, Funny)

sd_diamond (839492) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154929)

My mom had the same experience. She placed a $800 camera order and was called that day to "confirm her address", at which point they proceeded to try and sell her a $150 warranty and other expensive accessories. Once she refused, they suddenly informed her the product was out of stock, but they later said they could get it to her by Friday if she paid for a $150 warranty. She tried to cancel and they said there would be a $40 restocking fee (for restocking the product they didn't have).

To which my response would be: "Hm. That's more than twice what my bank charges for a Stop Payment."

Persuaded? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154704)

He was also persuaded to sign an agreement that would allow the retailer to charge him an extra $100 if he left bad feedback.

Thinning of the herd.

Re:Persuaded? (3, Informative)

beanyk (230597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154750)

He was also persuaded to sign an agreement that would allow the retailer to charge him an extra $100 if he left bad feedback.

Thinning of the herd.


Having read (most of) TFA, it was another dissatisfied customer -- not the author of the main article -- who signed this agreement. But yeah, that's just stupid.

Wow, what a dumbass. (0, Flamebait)

James A. Y. Joyce (877365) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154705)

I can't believe he just stood by and let this happen. And now his slanted version of events is, in his own words, "number one" on Digg. And it resulted in PriceRitePhoto getting delisted from PriceGrabber. That's the power of the blogoblogoblogosphere, folks!

Re:Wow, what a dumbass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154739)

Mr. Phillips, is that you?

Why are you complaining about the results? (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154747)

Sure he should have known better than to use them. But his complaining is having very real, and very positive, results. They should be taken off PriceGrabber, they should be blacklisted at ResellerRatings, they should really be out of business and in jail! They kind of threats they are making along with blatantly illegal credit-card charges indicate they are totally out of control.

Re:Why are you complaining about the results? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154798)

I think it is most appropriate to hear both sides of the story before these kinds of judgements are made. There is a tendency for people to want to become part of the mob mentality because they feel left out if they don't.

I've seen enough situations where people did something out of their own negligence, stupidity, carelessness, or whatever and then try to push back the blame on someone else (i.e. the retailer, the manufacturers, or even other customers).

Re:Why are you complaining about the results? (2, Insightful)

tommers (893816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154839)

Which is what makes blog comments so great? They can quickly confirm or deny how common the blogger's experience was. In this case looking at his blog comments and all the terrible ratings on all the comparison sites, it seems like the jury is far from out on this one.

Re:Why are you complaining about the results? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154849)

Not really. The comments and the headlines on blogs everywhere pretty much have shown that their minds have been made up. The mob tends to reach consensus just for the sake of reaching consensus.

Re:Why are you complaining about the results? (2, Interesting)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154982)

Sure he should have known better than to use them. But his complaining is having very real, and very positive, results. They should be taken off PriceGrabber, they should be blacklisted at ResellerRatings, they should really be out of business and in jail!
You are probably right about the results. But perhaps it is a good time to think about the implications. A blogger - an essentially anonymous individual can deal a whole lot of damage to a company. Could you tell with 100% certainty if he made the whole story up?

Yeah sure - there are many comments from other sources that seem to back up his opinion about the company. His blog didn't just pop up a day ago, so he has some credibility. But still, one can imagine accumulating credibility just for the sole purpose of misusing it - it's called eBay style attack if I am not mistaken. Just some food for thought - the joy over bad guys getting it shouldn't stop us from thinking about the good guys that could also get it undeserved. Won't someone please think of the good guys!?!?

How can we persue the owner, not just the store? (4, Interesting)

tommers (893816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154720)

Since it seems from many of the comments on the blog that this sort of thing is common, I wonder how the swindler's behind this store can be shut down instead of just shutting down the store? Even though it may seem satisfying to finally get this store put out of business, its frustrating to know that these crooks will probably leave the business having made a lot of money preying off consumers and may just move onto another business. Has anyone been able to obtain any info on whose behind this and how we can pursue legal action against them, instead of just pursuing their pathetic crooked stores?

Re:How can we persue the owner, not just the store (1)

drkstrm (921693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154782)

I think the slashdotting the site PriceRitePhoto.com will now get will be a start.. I imagine that they have to pay for the traffic same as any other online retailer.. (smile)

Re:How can we persue the owner, not just the store (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154913)

Thankfully there were review sites around when I went shopping to buy a camera a couple years ago. There were other photo stores that had the lowest price, but consistently had reviews about "forced accessory buying". My guess is that it has been going with one photo company or another since the beginning of the internet.

I wonder if retailers were pulling this stunt before the internet by running ads in shutterbug.

Many of the stores seem to be located in New York.

Just my observations.

I did a deal with an NY store (-1, Troll)

man_ls (248470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154726)

I bought my Canon S70 from BestChoiceDigital.com, a camera store from NY that is probably just a little storefront in Manhatten somewhere.

The site looks a bit dodgy and doesn't always render correctly, but the prices are insane. And let me tell you, they're no scam by any means. They called me to verify my shipping information since it was different from my credit card billing address, and had my camera within a week. And it works flawlessly.

I'd buy from them again in a heartbeat. Their price on a Rebel XT beats Best Buy employee pricing even, and since I know they're aboveboard, I'm happy.

Re:I did a deal with an NY store (2, Informative)

Null537 (772236) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154754)

Did that company tell you to come to /. and mention how good their deals are?

Oh no! (2, Funny)

DanTheLewis (742271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154762)

They got to you too! Blink twice if it's the Mafia.

Re:I did a deal with an NY store (3, Informative)

tommers (893816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154784)

That's funny, epinions.com seems to disagree. Everything single review is very negative:
http://www99.shopping.com/xMR-~MRD-306792 [shopping.com]

Re:I did a deal with an NY store (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154797)

Wow.

I guess I won't be buying there again.

Re:I did a deal with an NY store (2, Informative)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154820)

There is only one New York store that I would deal with - B&H (www.bhphotovideo.com). They're one of the best camera retailers in the country.

Besides for them, the only other company I will deal with now is Calumet Photographic. I've heard good things about Robert's in Indianapolis as well, but I've never had any dealings with them.

Re:I did a deal with an NY store (2, Informative)

GoRK (10018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154830)

Congrats on your grey market camera with no warranty (despite any claim to the contrary by either the seller or literature in the box). It's also not unlikely that you were shorted on the accessories, too such as getting a non-canon battery or a smaller capacity battery than the S70 normally comes with, no bundled software on the cd, no flash card (the real US retail boxed version comes with a memory card), maybe no strap, no usb cable -- that kind of thing is typical, but people generally don't notice.

But one thing is for sure, you got an S70; it's probably new and it takes pictures as well as any other S70, so if you are happy saving a few bucks, I guess you're happy. If you don't believe me about the grey market deal, call Canon's customer service and try to verify your product warranty. Hope that puppy doesn't break on you (but it probably won't.. it's a decent camera)!

Anyway, it's uninformed customers like you who contribute greatly to this problem here. Even the store in the article probably made more than a handful of people extremely happy with their low prices. It's fine if you want to buy stuff like this, but to just pass it off as the greatest deal in the world without stopping to inform people of WHY the prices are so low.

If you want to buy camera equipment online, there really are some good vendors with competitive pricing. B&H Photo and Video is top notch and they will do a lot of things to help you save money such as giving you the option to buy third-party warranties instead of manufacturer's warranties (which can be both less expensive and longer term), etc.

Re:I did a deal with an NY store (1)

dan g (30777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154932)

Actually, Canon has the reputation of generally honoring the warranty on grey market products. You're right though in that any reputable dealer (like b&h) will clearly indicate when they are selling you a grey market camera (lots do at a slight discount).

Pick up the phone and call the bastards! (-1, Redundant)

Palal (836081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154735)

Call them! Tell them you don't think this is okay! If we get enough of people on the phone to tie up their phone lines, we can run them out of business!

Re:Pick up the phone and call the bastards! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154756)

we could just slashdot their site /.

Re:Pick up the phone and call the bastards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154773)

From their contact page [priceritephoto.com] :

By Phone/Fax:

For Customer Service

In the USA: 888.365.4300

Fax: 888.375.6700

Our Location:

PriceRitePhoto

1274 49th Street

Brooklyn, NY 11219

Re:Pick up the phone and call the bastards! (2, Funny)

sowellfan (583448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154779)

It's pretty funny, in Update #2, this Steve Phillips guy is complaining about the tactics of flooding his stores phone lines. That was before it hit /.'s front page. If he thought it was bad before, he's in for a world of shit now.

Re:Pick up the phone and call the bastards! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154874)

Yea I've been reading further and find that this camera store majorly sucks goat balls...they deserve to get DDOSed to death among other things...makes me sick to see how people shell out good money to buy something they really want and get ripped off and abused.

I hope he and the many others ripped off by this company get their money back. I'm personally going to tell as many people as I know to spread the word about this crappy company.

Re:Pick up the phone and call the bastards! (1)

Psykus (827143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154903)

"Call them! Tell them you don't think this is okay! If we get enough of people on the phone to tie up their phone lines, we can run them out of business!"

Users from Digg.com have already gotten this store removed from a couple of feedback sites, and have also been calling them nonstop...Check out the 779 comments so far.

http://www.digg.com/deals/Abusive_New_York_Camera_ Store_Threatens_Blogger [digg.com]

bourgeois blogs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154743)

this guy gets a deal almost too good to be true and then finds out he almost got scammed. so what does he do? he takes an internet fit, and blogs about it. and becomes the biggest story on digg.

we seriously need to change our perspective on reality. these blogs and bullshit just makes shit worse. why isnt a story about Iraq or something more important to us than some douche and his camera?

Re:bourgeois blogs (1)

Xabora (758413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154777)

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/ [abovetopsecret.com]

Go there if you want stuff like that.

Re:bourgeois blogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154783)

It's not about importance of issues. It's been made to appear important because others find it interesting and are linking to it in droves...

But either way, yeah, most blogs don't talk about anything of real value, but every once in a while something like this crops up.

I used to do livejournal, 99% for my own venting and writing purposes and my life was very much improved by my increased self-awareness and it was interesting to get into the heads of my friends as well. But it was never meant to be a really public affair. But every once in a while, someone says something interesting and they become instant news.

Re:bourgeois blogs (2, Interesting)

David Hume (200499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154810)

we seriously need to change our perspective on reality. these blogs and bullshit just makes shit worse. why isnt a story about Iraq or something more important to us than some douche and his camera?
The reason why is that, particularly armed with the internet, a blog and the resulting social networking, one can do something about being ripped off on a camera purchase.

In contrast, most people feel that, even armed with the internet, a blog and the resulting social networking, one cannot do anything about Iraq.

Re:bourgeois blogs (0, Offtopic)

uijltje (839830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154818)

Hmmm, let's see:
. Americans violating Americans
or
. Iraqi's violating Iraqi's

The latter somehow being more important?

To me it's the same difference.

Re:bourgeois blogs (1)

shrewd (830067) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154895)

"this guy gets a deal almost too good to be true and then finds out he almost got scammed."

now hold on there soldier, you and your fellow slashdotters may have the average prices for digital cameras built in to your brains, but is it that far fethched that this may not seem too good to be true to some people?

"we seriously need to change our perspective on reality. these blogs and bullshit just makes shit worse. why isnt a story about Iraq or something more important to us than some douche and his camera?"

i know you think there are more important issues out there, but i hardly think people are taking this more seriously than the war in iraq! should we have every news story about the damn thing? perhaps we should turn our back on all crime outside iraq?

North East photo dealers are a scam... (0, Troll)

WaterDamage (719017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154744)

I hate dealing with camera dealers in the North East. Most of the disreputable/dishonest ones are in the New York and New Jersey area. They will typically advertise superb prices on their merchandise and then when you place the order they typically tell you that you need to buy additional items that normally should come prepackaged with the item. Another trick they use is, if you call them to place the order, after you've given them your CC info they'll tell you that the item is backordered and you'll get in 4-6 months. arrrrrghh!

Strikes back? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154757)

Did he hit them with CAPS LOCK or sumthin'?

BB/. ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154788)

Since when did this become the Better Business Slashdot?

I guess if we all hit his website at once - it may be worthy of a good use of the /. effect... other than that, seeing a price $1000 less that MSRP on a popular model should have scared you away instantly.

Price focus leads to bad quality (2, Interesting)

Damana Mathos (825898) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154799)

Wow, that's a shockingly bad story. I've had bad experiences with some web retailers before, but it didn't compare to that!

With shopping search engines placing the focus directly on price, and the ease at which you can set up an online store, it probably invites people like this to set up low quality operations where they cut costs by doing things like not having stock.

I agree you should target the people behind such sites rather than the sites themselves, as it's too easy for them to just set up a new site and do it all over again.

That's angering... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154800)

I read that and I really feel for the guy and everyone else who ends up in that situation. I've had problems myself with online sellers.

I also shut down my own online store due to what appeared to be an organized plot against one my stores. I'm not a tinfoil hat type, so hear me out... I operate 4 online stores, doing the drop ship thing. It was 5, but one business I opened seem to go up in flames once I started getting page ranks. How? I began getting orders from customers who demanded overnight shipping and immediate confirmation of overnight shipping. As my stores clearly state we do not have a phone number and that we do not offer overnight shipping on anything, this really was bizzarre. They would complain within hours of placing the orders.

Shortly, we recieved complaints from the better business beaureu from these customers who had NEVER BEEN CHARGED, and the complaints contained completely blown out of proportion accounts of what happened. Including accusations that we swore at them on the phone(which is a neat trick since we don't operate a phone number), gave them false tracking numbers, etc... We later found out it wasn't just BBB reports, it was also showing up in online message boards where our target market resided, as well as online consumer complaint websites.

I just shut the store down entirely because I didn't want to deal with it. What convinces me this was a plot is simply that none of this crap has happened to my other stores. I've operated them just fine, with very few complaints. But in this one sector, I suspect there is some business out there who didn't like my growing page ranks or my feedback ratings. And it just started out of the blue, shortly after we began getting high placements in google, yahoo, and MSN.

Anyone else here experience that? Just wondering.

Re:That's angering... (4, Interesting)

centipetalforce (793178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154981)

I've run a few online sites, and although I haven't experienced anything like that I can tell you that the quality of your customers (as well as morals of competitors) depend ENTIRELY on your market. For example my gift site has never had a fraudulent order placed even though we sell high end decor, and most of the customers are reasonable and nice. My stock footage website has even more understanding and smart clients. But I did a "budget" web design thing a year or so back and I'll tell you that whenever you go for the cheapest customer or client you WILL run into trouble with people who are overdemanding and sometimes simply crazy.
As far as competitors plots go, stay far away from pron and other "discount" markets, and/or price wars. Because unless you are at the top of the chain and can afford other people to do the work for you it ain't worth it. Go for big spenders and be an honest merchant.

Re:That's angering... (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154983)

How? I began getting orders from customers who demanded overnight shipping and immediate confirmation of overnight shipping. As my stores clearly state we do not have a phone number and that we do not offer overnight shipping on anything, this really was bizzarre. They would complain within hours of placing the orders.

Shortly, we recieved complaints from the better business beaureu from these customers who had NEVER BEEN CHARGED, and the complaints contained completely blown out of proportion accounts of what happened. Including accusations that we swore at them on the phone(which is a neat trick since we don't operate a phone number), gave them false tracking numbers, etc... We later found out it wasn't just BBB reports, it was also showing up in online message boards where our target market resided, as well as online consumer complaint websites.


Assuming the credit card details and such of these orders were valid, it couldn't really have been a big job to find out who was behind this. I mean, I know of many cases where people have been filling up message boards and consumer complaint websites with bullshit, but it has always been out of thin air. If you had real names, real people to go after I would. A few well-placed legal letters from a lawyer about a slander lawsuit would quickly have people pointing at the real culprit. And assuming it did over $5000 of damage (doesn't take much), send the FBI on their case.

Holding out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154805)

I wouldn't be surprised to see them "holding out" for their prchasing costs to go down. That is, they don't have the product in stock, but don't hesitate to list the product as in-stock and at well below market value- so low, that others can't compete, so they don't try. When you order the product in question, you're left in a holding pattern, for just long enough that the real cost of the product has dropped. The offending shop never had it in the first place, and you're (somewhat) locked in to buying from them.

They better watch out. Eventually everything internet-related ends up in meat-space. Plenty of New Yorkers have PCs.

They admit to schemes! (4, Funny)

MLopat (848735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154807)

From the PriceRitePhoto [priceritephoto.com] website... "What are the benefits of registration? As a registered customer, you become entitled to special discount schemes and promotional pricing offers. These schemes would become available to you not only on orders you place at our web store but also to orders through other channels."

Backhanded Positive Feedback (2, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154942)

Well, there's non-negative feedback and there's non-negative feedback. I remember back during the Internet boom a recruiter called me to check out a reference for somebody who'd been posting on a publicly archived cryptography mailing list I was also on that he said had a [begin sarcastic voice]Really Amazing [/sarc] resume, and I replied that it certainly sounded [sarc]Quite InnnnCredible [/sarc] to me, and after one or two more sentences back and forth about how somebody that young had so many years of experience and important discoveries, etc., we'd verified that yes, neither of us believed a word of it, and could get down to laughing about how bogusly inflated it was. (And that crowd did have people of similar age who really _were_ that bright, and also had people with amusingly bogus cover stories about their shady pasts, but this guy was in neither category.)

So if you've been extorted into providing non-negative feedback, you can always talk about how thrilled you were about the merchandise not actually being available and how exciting it was to wonder what charges were going to show up on your credit card bill this month and how happy you'd be about the merchandise if what you ordered actually ever showed up....

Odd. (1)

gundamstuff (822388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154819)

That is a terrible company with even more terrible business pratices. That form they sent the customer threatening illegal chrages on his credit card if he posted negative feedback was outrageous, and he was a fool to sign it. That would be the end of my service experience with them right there, no way in hell I'd sigh anything like that.

Accountability (2, Insightful)

ian_mackereth (889101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154821)

I have no problem with this particular case, as there seems to be ample corroborating evidence on multiple sites about this store's bad practices.
(I'm an Aussie; we know about corroborees and stuff)

But what's to stop someone with a personal grudge or a commercial agenda from doing the same thing? Sure, it's a lottery to see if your blog-rave captures any attention on /. or BoingBoing or Digg etc., but the costs are low and the potential damage high.

How can a reputable business (even one with a couple of justly unhappy customers; nobody's service is perfect) protect themselves?

Re:Accountability (2, Interesting)

tommers (893816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154867)

While a business can't protect them from all forms of slander, in this case a good business would have the protection of consumers who have had good experiences. If priceritephoto weren't a bunch of crooks, it would be reflected in the blog comments. But when a critical blog entry is confirmed by a lot of people, you don't have to trust just the blogger.

And the fact that this blogger has been around for a while is another reason you could have been reasonably confident it wasn't just set up by a competitor.

These are common near NYC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154845)

I live in the NYC area. There have been many stores like this that open up for 6 months or a year and behave like this, then go out of business and open up under another name a few blocks away.

Like spam and Russian organized crime, these stores may be organized crime related. I wouldn't be surprised if the merchandise had 'fallen off a truck' somewhere. They have to fence their truckloads of stolen electronics/CPUs somewhere...

A Common Scheme... (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154847)

When I was searching for a Canon EOS 20D to replace my Rebel XT, I found a number of sites that offered extremely low prices on new, in box items I was looking for. I dug a little deeper into these companies and I found a lot of reports of the same types of tactics.

Usually, the company tried to sell them items that would come with the camera, like the battery, battery charger, and documentation. By the time these items were taken into account, the price had reached the price that you would pay if you bought it elsewhere.

Well Known Scam (5, Informative)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154848)

New York and New Jersey camera stores are famous for this. The general scam runs something like this:

1) Advertise an incredibly low price that gets people's interest.

2) Take their credit card order, telling them the item's in stock.

3) Within a couple of days, phone the customer to ask them if they want to buy the accessories pack. This usually includes most of the things that were in the box to start with - like the charger, kit lens, etc. These cost several hundred more, making the camera more expensive than it would have been via a reputable dealer.

4) If they refuse, try berating them.

5) If they still refuse, announce that the model is out of stock - even though it was confirmed in stock when they ordered.

6) Wait for them to either give in and take the terrible deal or, if they do finally cancel on you, charge a 15% restocking fee for the camera you never took off the shelf. Either way, you sit on the money from their credit card for the whole period.

It's a pretty simple rule in the camera community: If the deal's too good to be true, it is.

You can use online reputation sites but they can be rigged. The store keeps sale details and then enters their own perfect feedback for any that don't get consumed.

Personally, I limit to the following:

B&H, Adorama: Both very reputable stores. Some people have minor issues but they do genuinely work hard. You can pretty much use them as baseline prices - if it costs more, you're paying too much, if it costs less, it's likely a scam.

Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. By using major retailers, whilst you won't get a great deal initially, you can often find a 10% sale for reward card members, 5% back in vouchers on the sale (which buys memory cards etc). and so on. Be careful of open boxes here. It's not unheard of for say a Canon 20D to be bought and then a Digital Rebel to be returned in the box.

Dell - Crazy as it may sound, they do have some great deals. The trick is to use sites like DealMeIn or HotDealsClub to find out when they have a great sale on.

NewEgg - even with an employee discount from working for one of the major manufacturers, NewEgg was within $20, had free shipping, and got it to me fast - which turned out far better than getting it with my discount.

Re:Well Known Scam (3, Informative)

David Off (101038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154965)

Sounds like my recent experience with Amazon. They have taken from mid-August to December to fulfill a camera order. They seem to operate on:

1. advertise low price to attract customers + they have a good reputation
2. see if they can obtain cameras and get a great price based on the huge number of orders
3. cancel order or suggest different camera if they can't fulfill
4. repeat
5. Profits!!!!

In fairness to Amazon I spoke to a customer representative a few times from Amazon who explained that unless they had 24 hour availibiity I could expect delays or problems sourcing the order. Something to bear in mind.

Would I order from Amazon again? Yes, although I've had some other problems in the past which puts them in the league of one of the poorer online stores.

Even Better! (5, Interesting)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154850)

One of the many "badges of honor" on PriceRitePhoto.com's website is a PriceRunner award.

http://www.pricerunner.com/retailer/14312/reviews [pricerunner.com]

Look through the list, and you can see 70% of the 5 star ratings are almost cut and pasted identical. Spelling errors matched post for post. It's so blatant that the review page has been put on hold while they verify the reviews. No doubt PriceRitePhoto trying to water down the negative feedback to protect their images.

Look for I purchased a Panasonic AG-DVC60 W/Pro Accessory Kit. I was very pleased with there selection of accessories in this kit, I believe I got the best Value for my buck. Also unlike most other internet ordering sites like this I found it very easy to talk to the sales and custumer service people. There was short waiting times on the phone as well as people who were easy to understand and willing to help me with my order from selection to delivery. I would recomend checking out PriceRitePhoto.com before making your next purchace.

Losers, how low can you go? Apparently PRP found an express elevator to ultimate lameness.

C&A Marketing's front door (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154855)

Here's what the business actually looks like. [donwiss.com] This is from the web site of someone who has been photographing the storefronts of mail order photo dealers in Brooklyn. The results are very funny. Some are mail drops. Some are bogus addresses. Some are homes. Some are tiny stores selling something else. Only one is a huge warehouse with loading docks.

Storefront Photos (4, Interesting)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154856)

It's a bit dated, but Don Wiss [donwiss.com] has documented the storefronts of most of the Brooklyn [donwiss.com] and Manhattan [donwiss.com] photo gear dealers. Some I would obviously never [donwiss.com] buy [donwiss.com] from [donwiss.com] . Others are just fine [donwiss.com] . A picture is worth a thousand words.

Dugg, Reddit'ed, Farked and Dotted. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154858)

This story (and the offending company) couldn't have gotten more publicity in the past 24 hours had it tried. I want to predict that the "sham camera store" will go down as a turning point for bad retailers being tarred and feathered by mobs of angry consumers. I'm not saying this lightly, having read the majority of comments in the other blogs/sites - the company has already been harrassed, reported, etc in every concievable direction, e.g.,: BBB filings, multiple reports to consumer protection / NY state attorney, most likey yanked from Yahoo, removed from pricewatch, in all likelyhood having their credit card merchant account blocked, etc, etc. I'm glad I'm not on the recieving end of this shitstorm, and although every sham operator on the internet can't recieve this treatment, this certainly makes an example of them.

Brightened my day (-1, Troll)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154860)

Who buys a $2900 camera anyways? Sure, a $290 camera takes better pictures and has more features than a $29 camera, but what does a $2900 camera get you? And why would you buy it from an online website with "price rite" in its name? Maybe I'll buy our next server from eBay, and bid it up to $25000, just so I could say I manage a $25000 server.

Re:Brightened my day (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154886)

Actually? A $2900 camera gets you a lot. You might not think you need it, but some people actually need full frame (35mm sized) sensors, 8 frames per second, and things like weather sealing and the ability to set the color temperature that the camera uses.

Re:Brightened my day (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154940)

What do you think it might cost to make those?

Re:Brightened my day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154941)

dick

Why is this modded informative? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154953)

Who buys a $2900 camera? What kind of question is that? People who want the features it provides. Duh, like anything else. As you noted a $290 camera is better than a $29 one. Well guess what? It keeps going.

The biggest thing you get is better optics. The main factor in picture quality is not how many megapixels something has, it's how good the lens is. Good lenses cost money. Also, on a camera of that price you get the ability to change lenses. One lens does not fit all. Of course the camera will also have a larger CCD, and a higher quality one. It'll also have lots of features, such as adjustable shutter speed, burst picture capability, and so on.

Now that's not to say everyone needs or wants a multi-thousand dollar camera, but there are plenty that do. Just because YOU don't have a need for it doesn't mean someone doesn't.

Re:Brightened my day (4, Interesting)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154985)

I would buy a $2900 camera if I could. The 5D is a low-pro/high-amature level camera.

It gets you:
*12.7 megapixels.
*Very high light sensitivity. (ISO 3200 which is about eight better times your average digicam.)
*Low noise(It will look cleaner at ISO 3200 than your average camera at ISO 400.)
*Fast shutter speeds(1/8000th of a second.)
*Interchangable lenses(Let's see you do that for less than $600 new.)
*Filters, polarizers, hoods, and diopters for those lenses.
*Full 35mm size CMOS sensor(for true wide angle shots(think 7mm.)
*Start-up time less than 1/3rd of a second(Your average digicam has about 3-7 seconds start-up.)
*Pro quality and strength flashes.
*Ability to slave multiple flashes(think portrait studio.)
*Ability to control the exposure for HOURS if needed(I've done some neat stuff with long exposures.)
*Remote shutter control.
*Underwater housing.
*Fast focus-to-shot(near instant, better than the half second or more some digicams take.)
*Focus and track moving subjects
*More focus and light metering options(Get that shot right the first time.)
*Shoot 3 frames per second for 60 frames(See the dust fly off the baseball when it's hit.)

I could go on and on. This type of camera is overkill for your average mom wanting to take pictures at Christmas. It's a real tool in the hands of a creative person.

Show me a 12.7 megapixel camera for $290. Hell, show me an 8 megapixel camera for $290 and I'll show you a piece of garbage.

Not everone needs a set of $2,000 cutlery, but you wouldn't give a professional chef a knock off Swiss army knife to do your meal with would you?

The advantage of social networks (5, Informative)

jedrek (79264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154871)

When I first heard about this yesterday, I was surprised. The victim in this tale is a fan (or employee? dunno) of flickr, one of the hottest social network web apps around at the moment. Yet when buying a camera, he didn't take advantage of them at all.

Look around any photography forum, every time a questions like, "hey, I just saw this camera at an incredible price at this store, is this a good deal?" people always reply with "check out resellerratings.com [resellerratings.com] . How someone so technically and netsocially (for lack of a better term) savvy didn't ask around about this new store they were about to send $3k to is a mystery to me. Heck, a simple google search would've revealed problems.

There are so many tools out there to verify good sellers/companies to do business with. Why do you think B&H [bhphotovideo.com] has so much business, even though its prices aren't rock bottom? They win on service and reliability, again and again. Of course, they're not perfect, but they've never failed me, and 'horror stories' with them are few and far between - especially compared to the volume they do.

Speaking of trust systems: I've had excellent results with ebay - buying from reputable sellers. There are quite a few chinese/hong kong sellers on there with 10-50k transactions and 1-10 negative feedbacks. I don't know *any* brick and mortar stores with those kinds of numbers.

Re:The advantage of social networks (2, Interesting)

Psykus (827143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154921)

"How someone so technically and netsocially (for lack of a better term) savvy didn't ask around about this new store they were about to send $3k to is a mystery to me." From the weblog comments... "Thomas Hawk said... Mike, I have to say that I agree with you. I, of all people, should have known better. A quick check of the Yahoo! Shopping rating of 4 stars and several hundred reviews was not near enough due dilligence on my part. Although I acknowledge my fault in not doing better research on this company first, it does not negate that fact that a company like this should not be allowed to operate and con people -- especially through a vehicle like Yahoo! Shopping. I certainly will do better research in the future and am embarrased by my lacke of due dilligence in this case."

let's take down pricerite! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154875)

this link will load pics from pricerite infinitely!!! that will show 'em! http://electronicchaos.com/pricewrongphoto.html [electronicchaos.com] http://electronicchaos.com/pricewrongphoto.html [electronicchaos.com]

Re:let's take down pricerite! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154924)

Nice one!

370 KB sec :>

haha, I gotta throw this in.

please type the word in this image: villain

I'm not shitting you either!
heh

Re:let's take down pricerite! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154925)

thanks a lot, my connection is maxed at 400 kbps... let's see if we can take 'em down

Pictures of the store in question (4, Informative)

dirtsurfer (595452) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154878)

This is apparently very common behavior for camera and electronics shops in Brooklyn. It's so widespread that some guy actually went around and took pictures of the actual physical storefronts for all of these online shops.

Very classy establishments, all.

http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/ [donwiss.com]

excuse me, but uh... (-1, Troll)

thegoogler (792786) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154883)

Why the fuck is this news?

This one guy has a bad experience, posts it online, and bam. story is _everywhere_(5000+ diggs on digg, huge on del.icio.us, boingboinged, slashdotted). this is by no means a unique experience, just read feedback on yahoo or.. anywhere, about any number of stores like this.

if he had written an article about it, and interviewed a number of other effected people then maybe, but this seems like a small operation and a farely isolated experience. its not like amazon, or even one of the popular dedicated camera sites pulled this crap. and as many other people pointed out the site was already terribly rated everywhere BESIDES yahoo.

not saying its his fault, but still. it just comes off alot like that "fuck natalee holloway" story that made the rounds, the guy gets his 15 seconds of fame and everyone starts talking about how there going to DDoS this companies site(aparently, a ton of people from digg just called there phones non stop while other people ENCOURAGED them). pretty lame, in my opinion.

(ouch, that was probably my karma exploding, but who gives a fuck)

Karma at work (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154962)

What you are seeing is the results of years of people being scammed by companies just like this one.

For whatever reason, this post has caused a flashpoint of activity as anyone who has ever been wronged by a shady New York camera dealer exacts revenge.

Honestly, I expect there's nothing for the people at the company to do now but run the shop under a new name, that one is done.

However I don't think the incidents are as isolated as you think. Just because they often get away with hoodwinking people into buying warranties and overpriced accessories does not mean they should get off scott free even if not everyone complains. They really are getting what they have coming to them. Even the complaints are not that isolated, just look at the horrible ResellerRatings score.

skype them! (5, Informative)

nemik (909434) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154885)

make sure to call priceritephoto and voice your displeasure, 888-365-4300. skype allows free calling to toll-free numbers. ;) slashdotting a phone number anyone?

Re:skype them! (3, Informative)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154906)

Feel free to fax them, too!: 1-888-375-6700

You can use www.tpc.int [tpc.int] allows you to send faxes for free.

$100 for chargebacks (4, Informative)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154901)

I've seen at least one retailer/service that charges you a $100 fee if you initiate a chargeback (challenge/cancel the charge) with your credit card company. They say this is because of the extra labor to fight your chargeback and that you have to deal with them to get refunds.

Personally, I look at the T&C of any retailer I make a large purchase from. That's how I spotted the $100 fee for the chargeback.

Essentially, gotchas like that are a clear sign not to do business with someone. If they're that worried about chargebacks or bad feedback that they try to penalize you for either in the T&C or EULA, run far away.

There's no such thing as a free lunch (3, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154912)

Very rarely is the company offering the very lowest price on a product also going to have good customer service. You get what you pay for. While I do agree this person got a raw deal, I'm also having trouble being massively sympathetic to someone who decided where to buy a multi-thousand dollar camera based solely on price. If you want good service, then you're going to have to pony up a few dollars more than "rock bottom price" to get it.

Re:There's no such thing as a free lunch (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154934)

Very rarely is the company offering the very lowest price on a product also going to have good customer service. You get what you pay for.

Perfect example: Linux

Re:There's no such thing as a free lunch (1)

tommers (893816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154935)

You get what you pay for.
Well in this case you actually don't get what you pay for.

But I do agree that for many items sorting by lowest price is a bad idea. The problem is I've used it on a lot of ~$100 items I've boughten and had a fine experience with the lowest price, even when they aren't a big name.

Guess no matter what the average rating, it's also always good to scan the worst reviews thoroughly.

Am I? (1)

Wes Janson (606363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154926)

The only one who thinks it would be an appropriate response to drop by there with an NYPD plainclothes along, and then demand to talk to the owner?

Or just leave out the NYPD, and bust some kneecaps?

Buy your Camera in California! (3, Informative)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154931)

These guys are good [samys.com] . I bought my first professional 35MM camera from them back in 1980, and they are still alive and kicking. They have five stores, two in West LA, one in Santa Barbara, one in Pasadena, and one in Santa Ana. Not a fly-by-night operation by any means. Everything from consumer to prosumer to pro; video, digital or film.

Can't lose with NewEgg either if all you want is a consumer-grade digital camera. Again, in California.

Abusive/Deceptive practices - by photo dealers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154936)

Two comments:
Report this abuse to the Credit Card companies.. they are sensitive to potential 'Disputed Charges' from this type of activity and may drop the e-tailer if there are enough complaints.

2nd. Beware these sellers selling 'IMPORT' versions.. they may carry no manufacturer warrantee in the US, may not be eligible for manufacturer rebates, and may come with no accessories, or unusable ones (chargers with the wrong AC power connections/voltage ratings, etc.). I had that problem with a NIKON.. The USA distributor would not honor non-US version. and it would require sending to Japan for warrantee repair (NOT!).

I too was (almost) a victim (5, Interesting)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154944)

Actually, the website mentioned in the article is part of a chain of hundreds of websites all run by the same dishonest camera shop in New York. I lost a bookmark that someone had compiled that listed almost all of their websites, but they all share the exact same layout and graphic elements (the "Hacker Safe" logo is a dead giveaway) and they all list their bait-and-switch with Froogle/Pricewatch/etc.

I was searching for a Canon S400 and found one of these sites offering the camera for $100 less than anything even close. I knew it was too good to be true, so I called on the phone, illegally recording it but I wanted to have proof anyway. I asked specifically 1) was it refurbished (no) 2) was it the US model (yes) and 3) was it the retail version (yes). Okay, I figured I had all my bases covered, so I ordered it.

Warning bells went off when I got a call the next day from a sales rep asking if I wanted to upgrade the battery for only $15 more. Apparently, the battery that came with this model only lasts "30-40 photos" because Canon skimped on it. I was pretty damn sure a company like Canon wouldn't be so stupid, so after asking to call him back (so I could hit record on my answer machine) I asked if the battery that came with the camera was brand new and from Canon. Yes on both counts, so, I told him no thanks, just the camera and the "inferior" battery.

I received the camera and right off the bat I knew why it was $100 cheaper. It was the Japanese model. Basically, these a-holes had someone over in Korea or Taiwan fill up a shipping container with everything and sent it over here to the US. Grey-market. It's cheaper because of difference in currency, but despite being the "same" thing, it's not for two reasons: 1) Packaging...which isn't really important but 2) No US warrantee...which is VERY important. Also, US manufacturers can refuse to service foreign models (though they rarely do). Technically, your warantee is back overseas where the camera came from.

I called them and was told that was why it I was offered a chance to buy a warantee on the website. I pointed out that I paid for the US model, and did not receive it. I was told it was the US model it was just "imported direct from the manufacturer". I told them sorry, no dice, I want to return it. They said they would send me instructions. The instruction? 1) no returns without RMA number and 2) the only way to get an RMA number is to sign a form that you accept a 20% restocking fee. I took one look and called my credit card company.

Big plug here for Chase MasterCard. I have had to dispute six times in the four years I've had the card, and every time they worked FOR me against the merchant and made sure things turned out well. This time was no exception. The Chase rep sent me a simple form, where I checked the box "merchandise was not as advertised". For proof I send a picture of the website showing the model number (PowerShot S400) and the product box I received (IXY 400) Yes, they were the same physical camera, but not what I paid for!

I sent in the dispute and it was approved and I got my money back. Then the fun began! The merchant disputed my dispute, sending in a picture of a US box and saying that was what I received. Chase asked me to send them a different copy of the box, which I easily did. Then Chase informed me that I couldn't keep the product and I would need to return it to the company. I was pretty pissed about the concept of losing even $20 to ship it back to these crooks, but the helpful Chase person pointed out that MasterCard did not care how it went back to the company and suggested COD. (guinness)Brilliant!(/guinness) So, I packed up the camera and sent it COD without an RMA number. Surprise surprise, it was rejected and sent back to me. Yes, I had to pay the shipping both ways. But here's the fun part...I had attempted to return it and that's all Chase needed me to do. I sent in a copy of the shipping form and was issued the final resolution to my dispute: full refund.

And the camera? Well, two weeks later I got a call from the merchant demanding the return of their camera. They realized they weren't getting the money, and figured at least they could cut their losses by ripping someone else off. I told them if they wanted it back, they would need to send me a cashiers check or money order for the cost of shipping, insurance, packaging, and my time to take it in to the shipping center (at my hourly consulting rate). I think the total came to about $96. At this point, the threats came out and I informed the guy I was going to start recording this call and he immediately hung up.

I haven't heard from them since. So, I kept the IXY. I was surprised they weren't willing to 1) pay me to send it back or 2) take me to small claims court but I would guess they rip-off enough people that it wasn't worth their time.

So, in summary, who cares about these a-holes in Brooklyn? Maybe if they get enough chargebacks, they will get dropped by the credit card processors and have to close up shop. I haven't ever had as blatent a rip-off as that company, but in my experience, the system works the way it was supposed (at least with Chase Mastercard) to and in the end, the bad guy lost.

- JoeShmoe

Camera shops from Brooklyn, NY (3, Interesting)

aralin (107264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154954)

Three years ago I was trying to buy my high end camera online. I went on Yahoo Shopping like this guy and went up by price. The first three shops I placed the order with all tried to pull similar tricks with me. They didn't have it in stock when I didn't want to buy accesories, they would inform me they would send me just the camera without the accessories included by manufacturer in the original package, they would charge me extra for these, I could only get the advertised price if I bought overpriced batteries and it went on. It took me two months of waiting and phone calls and it was late January when I realized these are just scams. I looked up details of all the three stores and they had one thing in common. They has all address in Brooklyn, NY.

I end up buying the camera from a store in South Carolina and there were no problems whatsoever and I had it in few days with everything as advertised. That is when I decided not to ever buy anything online from shops based in Brooklyn, NY. No matter how cheap it seems. I seriously think this matter should be investigated and this shop is just one of many there.

ALWAYS read the negative comments (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14154978)

I ALWAYS read the negative comments for anything I buy. Happy people tend not to post, so absence of positive reviews is often (though not always) indicative of a good review, but if there are an overwhelming number of negative reviews, or a few VERY negative ones, I pass. There also need to be a large total number of reviews so as to be "statistically" valid.

Also, if there is no physical address listed or a phone number on their web page, I move on to another retailer.

They still list pricegrabber on their site [priceritephoto.com]

I also google for their phone number, and their address and check the location on a map. One vendor I was about to purchase from didn't show up on any maps (it could have been a new building, but better safe than sorry for a few dollars).

Lastly, never let ANYONE yell at you on the phone. Just hang-up. Crank Yankers was so successful because of the false politness of people on the phone or with strangers. And NEVER let him talk to your boss. This is a personal issue, not a work one.

one time CC numbers (4, Insightful)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14154987)

This is why you need one-time credit card numbers. Several banks offer them. You generate them on-line as needed, with a precise limit and timeframe, and you can even revoke them if they haven't been charged.

whenever possible, check resellerratings.com (1)

centipetalforce (793178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14155001)

But still beware of fake reviews. And if you find a smaller site without any mainstream reviews, that's probably okay. I run a couple niche sites and do okay moneywise, and when people call asking where my store reviews are I tell them we don't have any because of our market. One guy I told this to was overparanoid and talked down to me. But there are thousands of honest merchants with good products so don't let stories like these get you down, just used trusted sites for electronics.
Oh one other thing, as far as chargebacks go, it's very easy to get one and the merchant is actually at total mercy of the honesty of the customer.
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