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Cameras Online? How The Shysters Work

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the Psst!-Hey,-Mister!-Cheap-cameras-online? dept.

The Internet 429

earlylate writes "How do certain photo and electronics dealers thrive despite widely-circulated warnings by unhappy customers? According to a new investigative website "many apparently separate and competing dealers are actually jointly owned and run" and "go to great lengths to conceal their locations and management." Further, some comparison-shopping sites "are in effect marketing partners with their affiliates," the very dealers they rate. There's a contest based on the suspicious "flood of similar, glowing reviews some dealers receive," as well as links to several sources of information and advice for the careful online shopper."

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Lots of scams out there... (5, Insightful)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238884)

A lot of people don't realise the the big "price deal search engines" such as Kelkoo and Dealtime also return results based on the amount the retailers they link to have paid for a higher position. You'll often find you can dig up better deals just using Google. However, I know that at least one of the biggest UK online electronics retailers derives the highest percentage of paying click-throughs from Dealtime (that is, people referred by Dealtime, who then go on to actually buy a product). The Dealtime referrals actually result in more sales than people browsing their site to find stuff. So the idea/scam works well...

Re:Lots of scams out there...yes but... (5, Insightful)

AnyLoveIsGoodLove (194208) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238960)

Use common sense. here's what I tell everyone that asks.

1) only buy from reputable sites. this has been going on since computer shopper days. its even more true today.

2) I only use my American Express (AMEX). I can't tell you how many times AMEX has helped with fraudulent charges, merchants that don't deliver etc. AMEX is expensive and a pain in the ass for mechants to sign up. If they are not willing to do that, than I won't buy. I will pay a slight premium for sights that take AMEX. It's worth it.

If I'd done both these when I first got online in the 90s I would have saved myself a lot of grief.

Re:Lots of scams out there... (1)

op12 (830015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238967)

And a related problem is these search engines will not remove the listings even if several users complain, because they're getting paid enough not to care about pissing off a few people. Or they will remove the listing for a few weeks to quiet people, and then it's back up again.

Re:Lots of scams out there... (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239193)

A single law holding the engines financially liable for any losses incurred by a customer steered by their sites after fraud has been reported will cure the problem if not overnight as soon as the first lawsuit is successful.

Re:Lots of scams out there... (1)

ATeamMrT (935933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239016)

return results based on the amount the retailers they link to have paid for a higher position.

We should know IF a review website is giving a review based on compensation. Congress should pass a law requiring these websites to disclose how much they were paid for giving search results.

One website I use is Eopinions dot com. They are a place where anyone can write a review of a product. When I want advice on how good a product is, I don't want to hear from the manufacturer. I don't want to be lied to, I don't want them puffing their product up.

This reminds me of something that happened at the local university. The Gap gave FREE clothing to some better looking people, and PAID these people money to wear the clothing and talk it up. They wanted to create buzz for their product, and get people shopping in their stores. So what happens? You get 4 very attractive people to wear your product and tell everyone how much they like the product. Then the store gets flooded with 100 sheep all wanting the same product. One month later, when the contract between the attractive people and the store has expired, the attractive people stop wearing the product. The attractive people NEVER liked the product. They did it for money, it was dishonest.

If politicians have to disclose where they get money from, I think stores should disclose where they spend advertising. I want to know if I'm getting honest advice from a third party, or if someone is selling me because of a relationship with the company.

Re:Lots of scams out there... (0, Flamebait)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239151)

This reminds me of something that happened at the local university. The Gap gave FREE clothing to some better looking people, and PAID these people money to wear the clothing and talk it up...

There's even a term for this practice. It's called "modeling."

Seriously, other than the fact that you weren't offered money/clothes, what's your real beef here? That people wear clothes because they think it will confer some level of coolness to them? Surely you can't just be noticing this now?

Re:Lots of scams out there... (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239217)

Some booze company was/is doing that at the clubs and bars: hire some totally hot babe to whisper sweet nothings into the ear of some half-drunk schlunk and get him to buy her a martini with wombat brand vodka or anteater margaritias or whatever it was they were doing.

Re:Lots of scams out there... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239172)

I recently tried to buy a digital camera (Canon Digital Rebel XT) using Google's Froogle. You can do the search yourself here: http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=canon+digital+ rebel+xt&hl=en&btnG=Search+Froogle&lmode=unknown [google.com]

Specifically, I wanted the camera body without the lens. The best prices listed were roughly $460 or so. I actually placed my order at a couple of the sites - the order was accepted and everything looks normal. Then I invariably got an email from the sites asking me to confirm the order by calling them.

Then the crap begings.

Apparently this item is just a camera body without anything else in the box. No batteries, no manual, etc. Canon does not even sell the camera this way, so I am not sure what they are claiming to sell.

Fundamentally they refused to sell me the camera listed at the price advertised. "Surely you want the kit with lens?", "The kit without the lens?", "The extended warranty?", and a "How about the warranty in the US?" (even though the web site claimed it had the US warranty).

I felt like this was a scene from Monty Python's "Cheese Shop".

I replied "no" to all of these and asked them to just sell me the camera body as advertised. They basically refused - saying they don't have it on hand - and that it would take 8 to 10 weeks to get one (well after the holidays). Then they essentially cancelled my order and hung up without providing me an opportunity to actually order the camera at the price advertised.

I believe we have laws in our state (New York) about offering rain checks for advertised items that our out of stock. How come so many of these sleeze bag camera shops - which are also based in New York - are exempt from such rules and regulations? Do Interstate commerce rules trump NY rules?

Anyway - the whole experience was incredibly annoying. I wound up using http://www.techbargains.com/ [techbargains.com] to find electronic discount coupons from Dell - which was actually a better final price than any of the other camera shops I tried.

Re:Lots of scams out there... (1)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239223)

i just bought rebel xt, and i need to say, buy from a reputable dealer.

i used costco. They have the best refund policy, anywhere, and the best price that i could find.

It's all the mob! (5, Funny)

ahsile (187881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238888)

Don't mess with them... I tried once, it wasn't pretty. I still have to move every couple months so they don't find my location...

This post alone will give me away, I need to move again... but I needed to warn you all!

Re:It's all the mob! (2, Funny)

llamalicious (448215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238908)

There you are you little shit.

*Hey Dom!! Grab the bat and some tie-wraps, we got that little rat-bastard now!*

Re:It's all the mob! (3, Funny)

algodon (933104) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238932)

and SAX, get a battery and some clamps!

Re:It's all the mob! (1, Funny)

llamalicious (448215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238941)

I can't believe I laughed at your post.
I'm such a nerd.

Re:It's all the mob! (0, Offtopic)

ahsile (187881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238993)

I'm the nerd who felt compelled to make a mob joke... but let's face reality, we all read slashdot. We're all nerds.

Re:It's all the mob! (1)

systemic chaos (892935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239104)

Somebody's going to get the CLAMPS!

Re:It's all the mob! (1)

Sesticulus (544932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238911)

Now we have you!

What are you, (5, Funny)

2names (531755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238951)

the British Mob?

Henchman, "I say, that scoundrel has surfaced in the United States. Shall we whack him?"

Don Worcestershire, "Quite."

Re:What are you, (0)

Pope (17780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239084)

"Do you want me to whack somebody? Or off somebody? Or whack off somebody? Cuz I'm married, you know." - Peter Griffin.

Happens in real life, too. (4, Interesting)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238895)

Once bought a VCR some years ago. I went into one store and asked for a specific model of a VCR. I was quoted a price, then I went to another store. The clerk for the second store, after receiving my request, spoke into a walkie-talkie in his native language and then quoted me the same price. Now, perhaps it was coincidental, but both clerks appeared to be Indian. I didn't buy the VCR from either store.

Re:Happens in real life, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238953)

Wow. That sure is some conclusive evidence you have. You couldn't by any chance tell us where Jimmy Hoffa is, as well, could you?

Re:Happens in real life, too. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239146)

Under one of the end zones in Giants Stadium.

HTH

Re:Happens in real life, too. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238964)

Learn to haggle. "Oh, that's a shame, I only have $X-reasonable discount". A lot of these places do work together, but they also have absolute authority to offer a discount.

Re:Happens in real life, too. (1)

mekkab (133181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238989)

As long as you know what you are doing, you can get some awesome deals from the "south asian underground."

/I assume you're in the NY tri-state area? perhaps near Westchester?
//just checked your JE, you ARE in NY

Re:Happens in real life, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238999)

I went into one store and asked for a specific model of a VCR. I was quoted a price, then I went to another store.

What was wrong with the first price? Or did you just want to jerk people around?

Re:Happens in real life, too. (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239035)

The clerk for the second store, after receiving my request, spoke into a walkie-talkie in his native language and then quoted me the same price. Now, perhaps it was coincidental, but both clerks appeared to be Indian. I didn't buy the VCR from either store.

Just a little bit racist, no? Just because someone speaks a foreign language, they're immeidately suspect? Isn't it possible that both dealers quoted you MSRP minux 10% or something to that effect? It's not extremely likely, but definitely not out of the realm of probability either.

Oh, and go use that new VCR to watch Crash [imdb.com] while you're at it.

Re:Happens in real life, too. (3, Interesting)

mekkab (133181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239081)

Just a little bit racist, no?

No, really. South asian's got cheap electronics LOCKED DOWN in NY. Perhaps refurbs, perhaps liquidations, but still madd cheap.

Re:Happens in real life, too. (1)

bri2000 (931484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239233)

That used to happen to me all the time in many of the shops in Tottenham Court Road in London. It also became clear to me that many of the shops must either be owned by the same people or, at least, be affiliated as, on several occassions, I'd spend the morning comparison shopping for a bit of kit in the independant stores, find the cheapest store, ask them for it and have to wait 10 minutes while the salesman sent someone to pick it up from one of the other stores I'd been in. Had to be on your toes as well, there were plenty of times they brought back the model down from the one you were trying to get (and attempting to exchange a water damaged (it appeared) VCR was all sorts of fun... should've wondered why it was half price I guess... )

Note: A lot of those type of shops have gone now with the redevelopment of TCR in the last 10 years, with their leases being bought out by the chains and big computer seller's. A pity really, while you had to be very careful dealing with them these old electronic shops had everything you could want.

Who You Buy From (4, Insightful)

mysqlrocks (783488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238896)

I'd rather pay a little more and know that I'm buying from someone I can trust. So what if I can save a few bucks if I'm not sure I'm going to get exactly what I paid for? Sure I look for deals but it's a matter of balancing that against buying from someone reputable.

Re:Who You Buy From (4, Funny)

BushCheney08 (917605) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238949)

Sure I look for deals but it's a matter of balancing that against buying from someone reputable.

That's why I only shop at Best Buy.

<trying hard not to burst out laughing>

Re:Who You Buy From (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239041)

We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in.

Speak for yourself there, sport. Some of us believe in all of them.

Re:Who You Buy From (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238962)

I'd rather pay a little more and know that I'm buying from someone I can trust.

Agreed. If it isn't a reputable chain (Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.) or well-known online eTailer (Amazon, Overstock, etc.), why buy? I want somebody I can complain to if the thing is broken/wrong/not what I ordered, who isn't going to show up at my house and break my arms for complaining.

To save a few bucks you're willing to throw caution to the wind? Then buddy, I've got this bridge in New York, see... priced to move... [wink, wink]

Re:Who You Buy From (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238986)

BestBuy Reputable??? (ROTFL)

Bust Buy is NOT a reputable Chain Store (1)

meadandale (605319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239157)

*grin*

He mentioned "reputable chain" and "Best Buy" in the same sentence...Perchance you haven't seen This Website [bestbuysux.org]

Re:Who You Buy From (1)

spacefight (577141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238965)

Yeah, but the big question remains: How to trust someone online? How to tell if someone is a scumbag or not? The featured website tries to accomplish part of it: They rate only the bad ones. Like a blacklist. After I read some of the practices used, I hope some of those merchants stay on them for a long long time. But: Do you trust the raters? :)

Re:Who You Buy From (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239196)

Yeah, but the big question remains: How to trust someone online?

Simple. If you're buying a commodity item like a camera, buy it from an established, well-known online retailer like Amazon, Best Buy, Future Shop (here in Canada). If an item is $50 less at website B than it is at some large well-known retailer there's probably a reason. Caveat emptor.

Re:Who You Buy From (1)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239030)

I do now. But when I was younger I wanted the same things but had much less money. So I took chances. But I also had more time and energy to give a hard time to the unfortunate soul that tried to take advantage of me.

(Like one time I bought a used equalizer for my car at a bazaar and installed it outside right away to find it didnt work and returned it and had to pitch a bitch to get my doe back)

I noticed years ago that many websites/stores were part of the same company. When building a computer you need several parts. When searching for them and you see the exact same prices listed on several websites for several different parts, plus shipping is the same it just becomes obvious. Then you look at how the URLs are formed and the style of the sites and you begin to see the common theme. Usually their hunger for profits drives them to even more similarities too. If the price/policy is good so what.

Fear (4, Funny)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238901)

They made it so I couldn't order online anymore! Don't make them mad!!!

Vigilante justice (5, Funny)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238903)

Someone should go around and take pictures of all the proprietors and store-fronts of these scammy camera salesman and post them on a website somewhere so the rest of us can be informed....

If you'd like to volunteer, let me know, I have a great camera I can give you for a low-low price, that would be perfect for the job.

Re:Vigilante justice (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238950)

You mean something like this [donwiss.com] ?

Re:Vigilante justice (3, Funny)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238974)

Someone should go around and take pictures of all the proprietors and store-fronts of these scammy camera salesman and post them on a website somewhere so the rest of us can be informed....

I believe they're talking about websites. Maybe people could take screenshots and post those, and we can be informed!

Seriously, though, there's a practical reason why vigilante justice is discouraged: Every a-hole who's mad that he couldn't get an otherwise reputable and service oriented business to cater to his every whim imagines himself in the same category as the guy who thought he was buying a Digital Rebel XT, but got an old, scratched Billy Idol CD in the mail. Thus you end up with the noise of a lot of ridiculous complaints alongside the real ones, and the last thing you want is to encourage these people to "take action". Just as there are dirty, scumbag shopkeeps, there are dirty, scumbag, sociopath customers.

Anyways this whole story is a lame spam for some lame website. So they're telling us that there are shady businesses, and that anonymous reviews aren't trustworthy? Egads, what a revelation! Thank you for informing me, 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable website!

Re:Vigilante justice (1)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239028)

my apologies Senor Serious.

But the joke didn't really work with websites, because then all you'd need is your Alt+PrintScreen button.. and I hear the scams for getting cheap keyboard buttons haven't quite taken off yet...

Re:Vigilante justice (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239087)

Some fellow slashdotter mentioned this already in another similar story. Anyway, you were looking for this:

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

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

I suppose you could still add to this since you are so enthusiastic about this.

Re:Vigilante justice (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239175)

If you get taken, report 'em to the Better Business Bureau [bbb.org] , regardless of whatever feedback you give somewhere else. BBB may or may not be able to convince a vendor to give you your money back, but it will help someone else along the line.

As always, skepticism is healthy. If a deal seems impossibly good, that's when the alarms should go off in your head.

Nooooo, say it ain't so (5, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238904)


You mean to say that I shouldn't spend $100s based on the opinions of anonymous and untrusted (to me) sources.

I tell you, I'm shocked.

You'll be telling me next that the editorial in trade newspapers is somehow related to the advertising.

Re:Nooooo, say it ain't so (2, Insightful)

Eric Giguere (42863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238998)

I know, it's incredible! Next, they'll be telling us that book publishers pay bookstores to prominently feature their books on "recommended" tables! Or that manufacturers pay grocery stores to display their wares at eye level! Shocking, I tell you, shocking!

Eric
(I wish my publisher would do that to my own book [amazon.com] )

Re:Nooooo, say it ain't so (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239187)

Yes, but most trade mags or booksellers don't collect money to advertise stuff which is outright fraud. Imagine if Barnes and Noble had a reputation for publishing books which were missing every 3rd page to save on printing costs! In general when doing business with somebody it isn't acceptable to merely take the cash and promote them - especially when you know that fraud is a problem.

Imagine if the New York Times published classified ads for cocaine dealers - after collecting cash and an assurance that the dealers had a special exemtion from the DEA which they didn't actually provide evidence of. Do you think that the attourney general wouldn't fine them?

Sure, maybe bookstores promote books that aren't all that good - but that is different than promoting a book that is known to be missing pages, or double-charging customers, etc. There is marketing, and there is fraud. Sometimes the line isn't clear, but these photo outfits are nowhere near the line.

Such scams work... (4, Interesting)

cytoman (792326) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238905)

only because of the fact that there is a sucker born every minute.

I don't think that the number of scams has really increased or anything...the information deluge from the internet makes it seem like there are more scammers now than before. The fact appears to be that in place of one sucker being swindled, now you have 10 suckers being swindled simultaneously.

A fool and his money...yada yada yada.

A beowulf cluster of suckers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239129)

All caught on camera

Alternate Subject Line, WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238910)

Posted by Hemos on Monday December 12, @11:00AM from the Psst!-Hey,-Mister!-Cheap-cameras-online? dept. The Internet The Almighty Buck
earlylate writes "[alternate Subject line: Psst! Hey, Mister! Cheap cameras online?]

How do certain photo and electronics dealers thrive despite widely-circulated warnings by unhappy

So you can submit your own alternate subject lines now? And the editors forget to strip them from the summary? Lovely.

Some interesting pictures of the storefronts (5, Informative)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238923)

Here are some interesting pictures of the storefronts

Front doors [donwiss.com]

Re:Some interesting pictures of the storefronts (5, Interesting)

DrStrange66 (654036) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239007)

Here are some interesting pictures of the storefronts

I bought a tv from store 114 (DrPlasma, aka eStore of NY) They have multiple aliases. Biggest mistake of my life. They sent me a very expensive plasma tv by mistake and tried to strong arm me into paying for it. They also made an illegal charge to my credit card. Good thing my credit card was pretty full because it limited what they were able to steal when they maxed it out. I dealt with them for nearly 2 months until they finally gave up when they realized I wasn't going to just roll over on this one. Had I researched them out before I would never have bought anything from them. They have conflicting reviews though. Some say A++++++ some say scam artists. I wonder if they write their own reviews.

Re:Some interesting pictures of the storefronts (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239127)

Hats off to the website owner - there's a lot of work there.

Always buy local (3, Insightful)

Telepathetic Man (237975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238938)

When it comes to expensive, and frequently fragile electronics, always buy local. This should be a no brainer. The on-line prices are too good to be true simply because the on-line retailers know they won't have to deal with the customer service part.

Re:Always buy local (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239042)

When it comes to expensive, and frequently fragile electronics, always buy local. This should be a no brainer. The on-line prices are too good to be true simply because the on-line retailers know they won't have to deal with the customer service part.

I purchased a Digital Rebel XT online (from a guy who sold new goods through Ebay auctions no less), saving about $350 over what it was going for (and is still going for) in the store. I did all of my own research (I've found most local shops to be disinterested, uninformed space fillers personally. Obviously there are exceptions, but it seems the norm goes quite contrary to the "informed, personal touch" that is paraded about as the reason for patronizing the small local shops), and if I do have a problem with the camera my only recourse is mailing it to Canon, so again the local shop is irrelevant. Seems like a win win to me.

Re:Always buy local (1)

Telepathetic Man (237975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239125)

The small corner store has always been better than the big box stores when it comes to the small electronics in my area. The Twin Cities is home to big box specialty electronics stores and discount departmental stores, neither rival the service I have had from the small specialized service. Even for computer parts and service the local store has alway been my final destination.

Admittedly I look at the big stores for some information before hand, mainly price comparison and just what the publicity/hype is like, then I just waltz over to the small shop (which unfotunately is a bit of drive for me these days so actually more of a line dance than a waltz) and ask what they think of a model or two, compile data, and purchase.

I've had a few problems, but I've always been able to have them solved by bringing the merchandise back, and talking with the sales associate, without the hassle of packaging it back up.

Even after advice has been given not to, I've known be that still go for the cheaper deal and find it really wasn't worth the money they saved after all the hassle.

Re:Always buy local (4, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239183)

When I was shopping for my EOS 20D, I purposely visited a couple of local camera stores before ordering from B&H. I was shocked by the performance of the local stores! One basically refused to show me a 20D, and tried to insist that I'd be happier with a Rebel XT. The people in the other store were quite insulting, and also tried to discourage me from getting a 20D, purely on the basis of my not being a professional photographer -- there was enough of the little sneer in the guy's voice, worthy of a cartoon character. I tried to stick around for a while, but even though there were no other customers, I had an extremely hard time getting anyone to talk to me. These weren't high-school kids in a storefront, mind you.

So I decided I was on a wild goose chase, ordered my camera and other gear from B&H and never looked back. I had about $3000 to spend on camera gear, and all I needed from the local store was basic respect. Anyway, B&H filled my order faster than either of the local stores would have done. And I'm quite happy with the camera, no regrets at all. And I haven't been to any locally owned camera stores since (!!)

Re:Always buy local (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239170)

"Always" is a little to solid of a statement. I think it is perfectly safe to buy from major online retailers such as Amazon or newegg. At least from the point of view that you will not be scammed out of a bunch of money.

There is a case to be made for local customer service instead of shipping something back if it doesn't work though. It would suck to have to ship back your new plasma TV if you buy from a place that expects you to cover the cost of shipping. This particular topic is cameras though. I think cameras are pretty safe to buy from a major retailer online. If your other option is Circuit City or Best Buy then even from them you can order online and pick up at a store, sometimes they even give a discount if you do that.

The unfortunate side effect is (5, Interesting)

Saint37 (932002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238939)

The unfortunate side effect is that shoppers will be less likely to go to mom and pop online retailers and will stick to the conglomerates. This makes is clear that it is in the best interest of honest online retailers and all those who sell services to them that they need to make a concerted effort to combat online fraud.

http://stockmarketgarden.com/ [stockmarketgarden.com]

Re:The unfortunate side effect is (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239113)

The stores could do more to combat online fraud, but the manufacturers, particularly their marketing organizations, could do *much* more. For the resellers that get so many reports of the fraudulent unbundling of lenses, batteries, power supplies, manuals, and so on, Canon and Nikon could order them to stop using their trademarks. Why don't the manufacturers get involved where they should?

The lesson? Don't buy in New York City, period. (2, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238945)

Never buy your electronics from front stores in the New York City area.

I have heard nothing but bad news about these New York City stores using bait and switch tactics and selling refurbished goods as new. You are better off using Froogle.com or cnet.com and then doing a little reading of the reviews about the sites that came back with the least expensive results.

Re:The lesson? Don't buy in New York City, period. (2, Informative)

vingilot (218702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239071)

unless it is adorama or B&H photo. They don't do sucker deals and have good reps in Photography circles.

Jonathan

Re:The lesson? Don't buy in New York City, period. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239083)

there are some reputable stores like B&H Photo but I generally agree, all of the bad experiences I've had shopping online came from new york based stores.

Re:The lesson? Don't buy in New York City, period. (1)

rizzo420 (136707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239169)

actually, you can get some pretty good prices from some of the electronics stores in NYC... and they're reputable as well. so don't go knocking all the NYC area electronics dealers...

Re:The lesson? Don't buy in New York City, period. (4, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239206)

I, and my company, buy plenty from B&H and Adorama. Also had good experiences with K&M.

It's like any other major purchase... do your homework. Look for stores with established brick & mortar business and reputation. Don't be lured by too-good-to-be-true deals (they really are). Ask around with people who are in the know (there are plenty of photography enthusiast websites out there).

Yes, there are a lot of shady people running shady ops in shady neighborhoods in the NY area. But that doesn't mean there aren't reputable shops as well.

Caveat emptor.

Look for B&H, Adorama, J&R (3, Informative)

Michael Meissner (520083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239228)

There are a few fine NY stores: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/ [bhphotovideo.com] http://www.adorama.com/ [adorama.com] http://www.jandr.com/ [jandr.com] In particular, B&H tends to carry everything photo related. Adorama carries almost as much as B&H. I've seen people happy with J&R, and I think 17th Street Photo (but I'm not sure of the last one), but they don't tend to have the depth B&H and Adorama has. So if you need say an Olympus 35-100mm f/2 lens, they will carry it, but you will get the glazed eye look if you ask for it at Best Buy. My one beef with B&H is they don't want to ship to maildrop places like The UPS store (I've had problems with delivery to the house, and prefer to get things delivered to the UPS store where somebody will sign for it, and I can pick it up at my leisure). So I tend to order from Adorama more often. Note that the price on these stores tends to be a fair price, but it isn't a 'deal' that the scam sites pretend to have.

Rule of thumb... (3, Insightful)

MaestroSartori (146297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238952)

I tend to pick a reputable retailer I've already done trade with, and if the price is more than say 10% different I just assume it's a scam and ignore it unless I know someone else personally who's traded with them. Even if the difference is less than 10% I still prefer to buy from companies I or my friends have dealt with. I may miss some good bargains that way, but I've never been scammed...

Amusing Project (2, Interesting)

VaticDart (889055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238954)

Photos of the addresses of various online camera retailers. Funny stuff: http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/ [donwiss.com]

Not so funny, I'm sure, if you fall for one of their tricks. Just buy for the good ones, seriously, B&H, Adorama, etc... (although I know tons of people have horror stories about both of those, and any other reputable camera dealer).

It's true (2, Informative)

fak3r (917687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238955)

I had this about 2 years ago, ordered a camera from a place in NYC for a great price, they called to 'confirm the order' and tried to sell me extra batteries, and other stuff...telling me that the stock battery won't last long enough. I said no, they said OK, they never shipped, when I called I got the same runaround, also, not to be racist but I could tell they were arab, but they'd tell me their names were 'Steve' or 'Brad'. I ended up getting yelled at after I called again, and cancelled my order. I contacted my CC card and made sure they didn't/couldn't chage me...but it gave me a bad feeling for ordering online from smaller places. It reminds me of the 419 scams since all the websites look professional - but share similar graphics, you can tell it's a front. Wish I remembered the name of the company, but I'm sure they've swapped names by now. I just went and paid 50$ more thru amazon, and had the new cam in two days.

Wow... (4, Interesting)

Schezar (249629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238956)

I heard the voicemail [thomashawk.com] one of these scumbags left for someone not too long ago. I don't know about others, but I would have had the police online to file charges... These people are scary.

Luckily, they're not the most intelligent people, as the voicemail seems to show. Calling someone a "bitch" repeatedly and threatening to kill them via an easily traced means is just asking for legal trouble. They don't know how to deal with the actual bad publicity they're starting to get. (Ratings sites are not actual bad publicity, since hardly anyone uses them, and there are many different ones).

I have a feeling this sort of scam will disappear in due time. It's getting harder and harder to hide from geeks with net connections and blogs, and bad word of mouth, unlike bad "reviews," is killer for a business. Just think of how many techies you know who refuse to buy a particular brand of hard drive simply for hearing about a friend's bad experience once.

Oh, the rest is a total shameless plug, but we did a bit [frontrowcrew.com] about this on GeekNights [frontrowcrew.com] last Thursday.

Re:Wow... (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238996)

Two things:

1) Don't over estimate the influence of geeks. They're really an insignificant proportion of the population, even with their supposed influence of others around them.

2) If we listened to every geek's complaint about certain brands of hard drive, we wouldn't buy any. Every brand has had a problem at some point in time. Which just goes to reinforce what I said for 1).

PriceWatch and ResellerRatings (3, Informative)

ThinkFr33ly (902481) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238963)

The two I trust:

PriceWatch.com [pricewatch.com]

ResellerRatings.com [resellerratings.com]

Nothing New (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238975)

Most of those have been around for a long time. and the places with the glowing reviews always feel a bit suspicious when you dig deeper on them.

The fun part is that it highlights something that most people ignore. They will not think twice buying from someon on ebay with a 1000+ rating yet it is really simple to BUY rating points. (hint: search ebay for cupons) If you spend lots of money on something online and the price is too good to be true, be ready to lose your cash.

BTW: if it's less than $1000.00 you are pretty much hosed. I lost $500.00 to a scammer auto parts dealer on the east coast (read my blog for the name and location) and after getting my lawyer poised and finding out how much to bring the small claims suit against them It was much cheaper to simply drop it as it would have cost me $1500.00 to sue him... These scammers know this and that is why they rarely venture over that $1000.00 line.

Re:Nothing New (2, Informative)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239198)

BTW: if it's less than $1000.00 you are pretty much hosed. I lost $500.00 to a scammer auto parts dealer on the east coast (read my blog for the name and location) and after getting my lawyer poised and finding out how much to bring the small claims suit against them It was much cheaper to simply drop it as it would have cost me $1500.00 to sue him... These scammers know this and that is why they rarely venture over that $1000.00 line.

Most state filing fees are under $100, and in some states you can even recover the fee if you win the case. One doesn't normally bring a lawyer to small claims court--that is why it would have cost you $1500 to recover $1000.

Just use Amazon or NewEgg (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238979)

Digital cameras currently have a very competitive market. Every site has the same models for within a few bucks of each other, pretty close to at-cost, and make it up on supplies (batteries, chargers, SD/XD/sticks/whatever storage medium, docks, printers, straps, cases, and of course the holy grail of ripoffs, the "extended warranty").

When you see a site advertising a given model for $100 to $250 less than everyone else, well, do you really think they plan to take a loss on the camera itself? And even if they did take a small loss (such as at-cost with free shipping), they sure as hell won't sell for less than they can ever dream of making back even if you bought every overpriced accessory they offer.


Just save yourself the trouble and use a reputable dealer like Amazon or NewEgg for any electronics. They usually have close to the lowest price, and factoring in the BS as part of the cost, they almost always win without even a second thought.

Re:Just use Amazon or NewEgg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239199)

also a tip, when you buy from amazon, you'll have better luck getting your stuff on time and good condition if the item ships directly from amazon.com and not one of their storefronts.

A good place to check (1)

davidmcw (97565) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238980)

I always check http://resellerratings.com/ [resellerratings.com] for some kind of backup. I did buy a camera from 'bait & switch' mob a few years ago, I got it, but it wasn't pleasant. My last online camera purchase was from 'Beach Camera', no problems at all.

PriceRitePhoto = Bad / BestBuy = Nice ? (3, Funny)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238981)

To think that in light of this, BestBuy stores seem like a nice place to shop!

  I'd never trust a store who couldn't spell "right" correctly anyway. All you Grammar Nazis were right.

 

Re:PriceRitePhoto = Bad / BestBuy = Nice ? (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239141)

You have something against Rite-Aid?

Not Surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14238985)

Consider that some of the anit-virus look the other way when considering various key loggers.

If it's too good to be true... (1)

pryonic (938155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238987)

...it always is. It's a good rule to live by and the same applies offline as much as it does online. I'd rather buy from a trustworthy online store or shop such as Amazon than save a few pounds. The cheapeast is rarely the best, hence why I will never shop with Ebuyer [ebuyer.com] in the UK again. I'd rather pay for customer service I know I can trust than just be fobbed off all the time and ultimately end up out of pocket.

Slashdotted... heres some info from the site (3, Informative)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14238991)

Several friends of ours have recently had unsatisfactory buying experiences.

They all researched the cameras they wanted, and they thought they had adequately investigated the dealers. They saw the full-page ads in major photo magazines, the professionally-designed websites, the high dealer ratings on prominent search-sites. They saw all the trappings of the modern online secure shopping site. They trusted that their credit card companies, the respected magazines, and even the states which are home to the merchants, would help ensure a good transaction. And, of course, the prices were hard to resist. Why were our friends ultimately disappointed?

We took a look at some of the factors and some of the businesses involved, and we offer the information we've found to all who are considering purchasing cameras, video equipment and electronics from the comfort of their living rooms and offices.

This website is a partial scorecard. We hope it will help readers understand who some of the better-known dealers are, what's behind the ads and websites, and how to find further information.

We believe that open information benefits both consumers and dealers. We think the whole photographic industry -- hobbyists, professionals, dealers and manufacturers -- is healthier when consumers have clear idea of how to research a transaction and whom they will be dealing with.

We've tried to make these pages accurate. All the information included is from public sources. If you know of any errors, please inform us and we will correct them at once. If you have further information you think we should be aware of, contact us. (Please -- no rumors or speculation; only confirmable facts.)

Our contact details are here.

WELL KNOWN DEALERS

We have examined some of the online dealers who specialize in cameras and electronics, looking behind the ads and websites to find out who they are and how they do business. We chose some of the most visible companies -- the ones with heavy national advertising and prominent ranking on internet search engines. Many of them have sprung up in the last few years, while some have been around online and in traditional stores for decades.

Judging from customer surveys, newsgroup discussions and published articles, some of them are held in high regard while others are despised.

There were some surprises. The biggest one is that many apparently separate and competing dealers are actually jointly owned and run. This is no secret to followers of the many online photography and video forums, but we believe the intertwining is unsuspected by most consumers. On this site we've grouped many of the dealers into "families" to clarify their identities. They form a truly tangled web, with many overlapping corporate connections, addresses and telephones.

Another surprise was that some dealers act mainly as brokers, with little or no inventory of their own and no "real stores." In our opinion this should not disqualify a business from consideration, but it does contribute to frequent misunderstandings about what is "in stock".

The biggest obstacle to any research is that some dealers go to great lengths to conceal their locations and management. Sadly, this disguising seems to be the norm for many newer, web-only merchants.

We believe that open information benefits both consumers and dealers.

We have included the names of individuals where we could find them, so that consumers know whom to contact with compliments or questions or complaints about a specific transaction.

We believe that a businessperson who is proud of the way his or her business is conducted will be proud to be publicly associated with it.

Some of our information may be out of date, as some companies may change location, telephone numbers or personnel. We welcome updates or corrections via email here.

Sources Cited Much of the information on these pages is attributed to these sources:

  • DNS: the Internet's domain name registry information -- who created the domains and when
  • NYS: corporate registration information available online from New York State
  • NJS: the same, from New Jersey
  • CAS: the same, from California
  • BBB: records maintained by the Better Business Bureau

    Although no ratings-site's dealer reviews are entirely reliable (as shown on this page and this one), we have linked to some on Reselerratings.com, which appears to be one of the best.

    We recommend the first-hand accounts of Photo.Net members on their Camera Shops page.

    • Abe's family
    • Adorama
    • B&H
    • Broadway family
    • CCI family
    • Express family
    • MrAccessory family
    • RadioActive family
    • Samy's
    • Tri-State
    • Unique
    • US1 family
    • THE FINE PRINT

      What do those full-page magazine ads and those large, attractive websites have in common? The fine print. In our quest to help the dealers communicate better with buyers, we've selected a few examples that you may not notice on casual inspection of the websites and printed ads.

      We are confident that merchants would make these terms more prominent if only they had more space.

      1. "Shipping charges 6% of the total, minimum $19.99." -- CCI/ Camera City ad (similar for some others) So a $2500 camera will cost a minimum of $150 to ship.

      2. "Some items carry an international warranty. USA warranty may be additional." -- Broadway Photo ad (similar for some others) Printed in 3-point type, as an extra service to help photographers exercise their eyes.

      3. "Should it be necessary to return an item, you may return it for refund or exchange, excluding any shipping charges and with a minimum 10% Restocking Fee, within a period of 14 days for Photo equipment, and 7 days for Video, Audio, Digital Photography and Computer equipment." -- bestpricecameras.com website (similar for some others)

      Unhappy with your $1000 video camera? Act fast and you can return or exchange it for only $100 plus all shipping charges.

      4. "The charges at checkout may not be final. You will receive your final statement (receipt) with the arrival of your package. Pricing and availability are subject to change without notice." -- usaphotonation.com website (similar for some others)

      Self-explanatory, and our personal favorite.

      5. "Non US products may be considerably less expensive. The product packaging may or may not include all software, accessories, and features intended for US customers. Please allow three to four weeks for delivery on some international products. ... All prices are after the manufacturers' rebates. All rebates are handled with the manufacturer and [we] shall not be held responsible if the manufacturer will not honor the rebate." -- amphotoworld.com website (similar on some others)

      By the way, no US-advertised rebate is ever honored for non-US products.

      6. "Not all "in stock" products are available for rush delivery." -- digitalliquidators.com website (similar on some others)

      It depends what the meaning of "is" is.

      7. "Order confirmation doesn't constitute a final offer or contract. All orders are subject to management review and approval and if found to be invalid due to any reason, are subject to cancellation by management." -- Royal Camera website (similar on some others)

      Perhaps they use an alternate dictionary to define "confirmation."

      RELEVEANT READING

      These links are posted without the permission of their authors. We believe the owners of the linked sites will welcome visits from this page. If you are one of those owners and wish to have your link removed, please inform us at feedback@sheddingsomelight.com and we will comply immediately.

      If you can suggest a useful link to add, please do.

      An investigative article from PC World -- http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,107855, 00.asp [pcworld.com]

      Advice and general info from a prominent photographer -- http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/buy.htm [kenrockwell.com]

      Tricks of the trade -- http://webpages.charter.net/bbiggers/DCExperiments /html/body_buying.html [charter.net]

      Shop smart... without getting burned, from Imaging Resource --

      http://www.imaging-resource.com/arts/scams/smartbu yer.htm [imaging-resource.com]

      Online buying tips from the NY Attorney General --

      http://www.oag.state.ny.us/consumer/tips/online_bu ytips.html [state.ny.us] and --

      http://www.oag.state.ny.us/consumer/tips/buyin g_online.html

      Caveat Emptor: article from Photo.Net -- http://www.photo.net/equipment/caveat_emptor.html [photo.net]

      A good article surveying the issues, from bit-tech.net -- http://www.bit-tech.net/feature/76/ [bit-tech.net]

      Photo.Net members' personal experiences with specific dealers:

      http://www.photo.net/neighbor/subcategory-index?id =2 [photo.net]

      One person's buying advice -- http://www.chapelhillnoir.com/mani/equip/mmshops.h tml [chapelhillnoir.com]

      And another person's -- http://rayref.blogspot.com/2005/05/beware-of-camer a-scams.html [blogspot.com]

      And still another's -- http://www.viewonline.com/pages/editorials/camerai ncident.htm [viewonline.com]

      One person's advice on search-sites -- http://sean.typepad.com/ditto/2004/12/sleuthing_on _di.html [typepad.com]

      Guide to "Avoiding Scams," from the Medium Format website: http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/scams.html [8k.com]

      Don Wiss' informative photographs and research -- http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/ [donwiss.com] http://donwiss.com/pictures/ManhattanStores/ [donwiss.com]

"Shyster"? (1)

theonetruekeebler (60888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239004)

A shyster is an unscrupulous lawyer. How did shyster get to mean shady digital camera salesman?

Re:"Shyster"? (0, Troll)

Soko (17987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239145)

A shyster is an unscrupulous lawyer. How did shyster get to mean shady digital camera salesman?

Well, since there dosn't seem to be any lawyers left that have scruples, and we couldn't lose usage of such a cool word as shyster, we've just added one more definition.

Soko

Re:"Shyster"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239180)

from one of my favorite films, Blake Edwards' S.O.B.:

          Polly Reed: You're gonna let that SHYSTER on?

          Dr. Irving Finegarten: I could sue you for calling me that, Polly! A shyster is a disreputable lawyer. I'M a QUACK!

Re:"Shyster"? (-1, Troll)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239195)

No, a Shyster is an unscrupulous Jewish lawyer. And I'm quite pissed /. would print something like this. Do they even have editors anymore?

Not Limited to High-Tech (3, Interesting)

repetty (260322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239023)

Two years ago I had to replace the headlight in my sedan. I eventually bought it from an Internet-based vendor but not before I realized that most of the sites I investigated were being run by a much smaller number of actual businesses.

I have no idea how many companies are doing business selling car parts on the Internet but I'm sure that it's a small fraction of the "front-ends" that appear to be doing business.

--Richard

I paid $100 for a headlight for
which the dealer quoted me $240.

Feedback System (2, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239040)

Ok, so this site is trying to provide an impartial "scoreboard" system for determining if online retailers are trustworthy, but why should anyone trust these guys any more than any other merchant ranking site?

The site is up and down like a yoyo right now so I can't find out how they are gathering their information, I mean if it's all anecdotal how do they discern between legitimate issues, PO'ed customers or just plain ol' bad luck?

Personally, I only buy big ticket electronics and camera gear from local vendors because there is a bit less risk (i.e. no shipping) and I can put a human face on the store I'm buying from. I guess the other thing that makes me dubious about some online deals is when a vendor is claiming to sell something way below MSRP, that little "it's too good to be true" voice pipes up in my head.

the internet is the great equalizer (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239043)

never before could you reach out to all of humanity

you guys realize there are some negatives to this idea? such as da wiseguys in crooklyn reaching out too?

"yeah, it just fell off da back of a truck, yeah da receipt is for a refiderator, so what's it to you mr. palookaville? you gonna come to brooklyn and make something of it, huh?"

Free market solution? (5, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239046)

Being pro-market, I see the scammers as the worst aspect of any market. In the past, it can be argued that regulations and restrictions through government was needed -- scammers were able to swindle thousands to millions of dollars before people were able to get the word out and warn each other.

As the percentage of technically-savvy individuals grows, information about a dealer or retailer can be distributed in seconds. Thousands of individuals can moderate (or rate) a seller, and sellers can moderate (or rate) buyers instantly. eBay handles these transactions with very little government involvement or force.

Scammers (such as the photo retailers) have been suckering people for DECADES. This is WITH government "protection" that many citizens believe they can rely on, yet we still see thousands of people getting swindled.

As the old generation moves out of the buying phase and the new generation becomes the big power in buying, we will see less swindling and scamming. It is already very hard to scam someone in my age range (low 30s) as most of us check online before buying a large item. Google is adapting much of their search ability to cellphones (WAP, SMS and other means). I already check items out through my wireless PDA phone when I am on the go. I've saved myself a few hundred dollars by not purchasing items with bad reviews. I found these reviews through my phone in mere moments.

The old ways of the retail industry are dying. As a retailer myself (who lost one of our stores because of a scamming employee and manager base), I know that the customer has more power than I do. When all you had was a local shop to buy from, you weren't able to negotiate for better quality, service or pricing. With next day service from thousands of online shops, the retailers are put on notice that they better offer more than just a product, or they'll go out of business.

These photo scams will end without much government involvement. If they broke a contract or agreement, I can understand calling a lawyer. Hopefully in the short run enough people will comment about their bad experiences that the companies will be punished before more people are scammed -- and I see the strength of scammers quickly weakening as information is globally available, instantly.

As they say...... (2, Insightful)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239069)

"Once you know, you newegg". And Amazon for anything non-electronic....

Global karma/integrity/reputation/rating system... (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239090)

Rate each site you go to as either good or bad. Believe other people who vote similarly.

Other tricks (2, Interesting)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239148)

It was interesting to see Butterflyphoto in that album - I bought a camera from them over the summer. The price was fine, but I found out that their deal is high-pressure phone sales. Right after I placed the order, they called me to let me know that they were holding it to make sure that's what I really wanted. See, I'd ordered a regular SD card and not a high speed SD card, and that couldn't possibly be what I wanted. (Of course, I'd just selected the 'premium' package with the case and SD card that THEY suggested...) I had to tell them several times that no, I REALLY didn't want to upgrade, especially not when I knew I could get the faster SD card from Costco cheaper.

Anyway, I did get my camera, and you know what? It came with a high speed SD card. I wouldn't be surprised if they all ship like that, and they just do the high pressure sales thing to jack their profit margin up when they can.

Racist Language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239149)

Why post about "Shysters", which is just phonetic "sheisters" (a derogatory term for Jews.) You wouldn't post an article about "Nigars" (black cigars)...

It's pretty easy to identify the unscrupulous... (1)

Darius Jedburgh (920018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239156)

...traders. My rules of thumb are simple. (1) Don't order from companies whose brand names are so poor that they have to use domain names intended to capture random searches like www.wirelesshotspot4u.com or www.lesbianteenelectronics.com, especially if multiple such domains lead to one web site, (2) don't order from companies who can't afford to hire someone competent to design their web site and (3) don't order from New York.

I've stuck to these rules and I've never experienced any trouble.

Clue Please? (1)

faust13 (535994) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239162)

Years ago I bought a Minolta Dig Camera from a Brooklyn dealer via CNet. I was curious how/why they were able to price the camera a good $100 less than Fry's Electronics. Low, the camera shows up, it's the genuine article. New and US region bound.

Can someone explain how these guys operate? And whether they're as shady as many seem.

Credit card overcharge protection (4, Informative)

efedora (180114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239182)

I've been using Citibank/ATT Universal Card for online purchase. You can download an application that will let you generate a unique card number for each purchase. You can also limit the amount and set the expiration date.
After the purchase you can modify the amount or date and even cancel the number.
It won't stop you from making a dumb purchase but it will prevent excessive charges and unauthorized addtional charges to your credit card.

Basically (1, Interesting)

faqmaster (172770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239186)

Basically, never buy a digital camera online.

Did anybody RTFA??? (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239215)

...because I visited the link, and I can't find anything at all about "how the shysters work." All I can find are some spotty listings about a few online camera dealers, along with an "about" page which says that the site's administrators are possibly interested in link exchanges or ads (which would take away any credibility the site would otherwise have.) Overall not a remarkable site at all, and the posted link does not lead to the content mentioned on Slashdot. Either the site content changed or this was not Slashdot worthy at all.
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