Caveat Emptor! Buying Camera Gear in Brooklyn
Buying anything over the internet is a gamble, fortunately, if you use a credit
card, you can always dispute the charges. Regardless of the true nature of the
disagreement, this may put a ding on your credit report.
In trying to purchase a camera recently, I ran across a number of well put
together sites that were selling camera gear at GREAT prices. These were nearly
50% of list. So, I investigated carefully. There are a large number of photo
shops in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and New Jersey that are unscrupulous in their
dealings. Here's the scam:
- Prices are incredibly low. These are gray market imports that DO NOT carry
the USA warranty.
- The site may even say: "Full USA Warranty", or "US Warranty".
They will then try and sell you a $399 five year policy that is held by them.
Hey, Brooklyn is in the USA, right?
- These warranties are bogus because the manufacturer will NOT sell them parts.
They can service it for a time but not too far down the road their ability
to service will stop -- well before your 3 or 5 year warranty runs out. Some
folks have reported that they could NOT get ANY service after the sale.
- Most manufacturers WILL NOT service these gray market items, for any
price. Those that do, charge something like 50% of list. That is nearly
the price you paid from these guys! It breaks, you're screwed.
- Many features, like video out or battery chargers, may not work with typical
- They often open the box and strip out things like batteries, chargers, straps,
and software and then try and sell them back to you at enormous prices.
- The customer service is atrocious, unhelpful, and rude.
- They will ask you to call and verify your order. Sounds like a security
thing, right? WRONG. They are going to try and upsell you with expensive accessories.
Some will even back off and tell you that the camera is not in-stock after
you refuse to buy the accessories!
- They double the shipping charges. I found one site that wanted $75 for 2-Day
- These guys join the Better Business Bureau and pour in money. Consulting
the BBB in New York is useless.
How do you tell the difference? It is difficult. There are even WONDERFUL stores
in New York like Adorama and B&H
Photo with huge selections and GREAT customer service. However, expect NO
There are, however, several tell-tale signs:
- Prices too low to believe.
- No physical address given, only a phone number and an e-mail.
- An area code or address in Brooklyn
- Huge shipping costs.
- USA Warranty or US Warranty instead of Full USA Manufacturer's Warranty
Be careful when trying to squeeze every last nickel out of a purchase, it may
end up costing you dearly.