Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

PriceRitePhoto: Abusive Bait and Switch Camera Store

Please see update #24 at the end of this sotry for an important update.

"I will make sure you will never be able to place an order on the internet again." "I'm an attorney, I will sue you." "I will call the CEO of your company and play him the tape of this phone call." "I'm going to call your local police and have two officers come over and arrest you." "You'd better get this through your thick skull." "You have no idea who you are dealing with."

These are all direct threats that I received today from an individual who identified himself as Steve Phillips, the manager of PriceRitePhoto in Brooklyn, New York when I called to inquire about my order with them. My crime? Telling him that I planned to write an article about my unfortunate experience with his company regarding the camera order I had placed with him yesterday.

How are these people able to stay in business?

I suppose I should have been duly warned based on PC World's Camera Confidential expose written a few years back about unscrupulous camera operators operating out of New York, but I have never been so utterly offended by a retailer in my life. I guess in some ways this is my own fault, or as Steve Phillips reminded me, you're a "professional photographer you should know better than to buy things on the internet this way."

I have been keeping track of The new Canon EOS 5D for a while. As those of you who visit this site regularly know, photography is a passionate hobby of mine. I've told myself that I'd pick up a 5D as soon as the price dropped below $3,000. I've been regularly checking both Yahoo! Shopping and PriceGrabber for a while waiting for one to drop. Well yesterday for the first time I saw that the 5D was for sale for $2,899 at PriceRitePhoto. I placed an order online and this is where my trouble began. The order went through and was confirmed and is shown below.

PriceRitePhoto Order

The first thing that happened was I received a call from an individual who identified himself as Joseph telling me that there was a "problem" with my order. He said he needed to "verify" the security code on my American Express. Although I had given that security code in the order I gave him this code again. He then tried to explain to me that I was going to need some accessories with this camera. For starters I was going to need a new memory card. When I told him that I already had a memory card he became somewhat insistent that mine was not good enough. After I wouldn't buy his memory card he said I'd need new batteries for the camera. Again I told him that I already had two batteries at home and would not be needing to purchase these from him. And of course he then tried to sell me the ever famous "extended warranty" that I politely declined. He then thanked me for my time, confirmed my order verbally, said that it would be shipping out in the next few days and hung up.

So today I checked on my order online again and saw that it had not been routed to shipping and called the company back again. Four times I was put on hold for a substantial amount of time and had to hang up and call the company again. Finally I was able to connect with an individual who said his name was Steve Phillips. Steve Phillips abruptly told me that the camera was out of stock. When I protested and told him that it was confirmed online yesterday and verbally by his sales rep he refused to budge. When I told him that even right now as we speak the camera was still showing online at that price on his website,(see below with today's date) he still insisted that he did not have the camera.

PriceRitePhoto

At this point I thanked him and informed him that I would be writing an article about my experience with his company. It was at this point that he went ballistic. He first told me that if I did this that he would not cancel my order but just never fill it. If I cancelled it he said he'd charge me a 15% restocking fee. When I told him that that would be unethical he went nuts. He accused me of trying to "extort" him and said that he was going to have two local police officers come over and arrest me. He then went on to say that as a "professional photographer" I should have known better than to try and buy a camera this way and that he was an attorney and would sue me if I wrote an article about my experience.

He told me that I had no idea who I was dealing with and that as he had my work contact info that he was going to call both my immediate supervisor and the CEO of my company and tell them that I was trying to extort him.

"I will take this very personally," he said. He claimed to have recorded our phone call and said that he would make sure that I would "never be able to order anything on the internet again."

Of course these threats only served to agitate me more. After about 20 minutes of this abuse I told him that I had to go and he refused to get off the line. He said that if I hung up that he would just charge me for the whole camera and never ship it. I hung up and he called me back. I left for my meeting and he called back asking to speak with my boss.

This is by far the most abusive situation I have ever encountered with any retailer on the internet.

One of the things that troubles me the most about this situation is that I found this retailer through Yahoo! shopping and they were perceived to have positive feedback. Is the feedback mechanism for Yahoo! Shopping broken? How could this horrible retailer have a four star rating with 858 ratings? I'm convinced that there is a possibility that many of the "reviews" for this company could be fake. I should though have sorted through the reviews to the worst to see that many others had fallen prey to similar fraud by this company.

How is this company still allowed to offer their products through Yahoo! Shopping?

PriceRitePhoto may also be doing business as C&A Marketing and TheCameraMall.com

Below are some examples from other users:

"very bad place for shoppping. Ordered a TV a week ago. when checking out, the shipping price was higher than displayed by Yahoo. That is ok. Called customer service 2 days later to make sure the order was ok. The guy from customer service tried to sell other things to me, and promised the item will come in 2 days. After 3 days, called again, I was told they over sold the item, and my order was cancelled. what a joke! Don't buy thing from this merchant!!!"

"In all the years I've done business with online stores(and I've done plenty), this is by far the ABSOLUTE WORST company I've conducted business with yet. They're customer service is almost completely inaccessible despite their 24/7 365 claim, they don't deliver on anything they say they will, they're rude and pushy, and any information that IS sent back is usually filled with vague half-answers that do nothing to solve any problems. This is just an awful business experience. Case in point: They claim to be open on Sundays over the phone from 10AM to 4PM EDT. Well, what they really mean is that the sales department is open, but customer service(who will place you on hold forever during the week) is closed, as is billing. STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY. And warn your friends. ..."

"I gave this store an overall rating of 1. That is because Yahoo does not allow me to rate it any lower. I cannot stress enough how poor the customer service from the wretched excuse of a store. First off, they stress 'we ship in less than 24 hours'. That is a blatant lie. An hour after placing the order, I received a call to confirm that I had indeed purchased a camera, and that the delivery address was correct. So far, so good. I returned the call, and informed them that yes I had indeed purchased a camera, and yes, the information was correct. The next day, I received another phone call to confirm the shipping address, and did I also want to purchase an extended warranty? Yes, the address is correct, and no, I don't want your warranty. They assured me my camera would be shipped that day. Three days later, I again received a phone call to confirm the shipping address, which had now been done 3 times, and did I want to purchase the extended warranty? Yes, the information is correct, no I don't want your stupid warranty, I was assured the camera would be shipped that day. It is, in my opinion unconscionable to delay shipping an order for over a week, just so a company can try a high pressure sales job, on a warranty a customer has already told them, repeatedly, that they don't want. It has now been ten days since the date of purchase, and still no camera. My experience with this store is one I will never repeat, nor would I wish it upon my worst enemy!!"

and yet another review I found on the company:

"I placed an order with TheCameraMall.com (aka PriceRitePhoto aka C&A
Marketing) on June 9, 2005 for a Sony DSR-PD170 camcorder. At the time
the price advertised on-line was very low, which should have raised a
warning flag, but a call to the company confirmed the item was in stock
ready to be shipped, that it was a US model, the user's manual was in
English, and the salesman (Joseph) seemed helpful. There was some
pressure to add unwanted items like a tripod, extra battery, etc, but they
were declined. 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. However
after a week there was no indication of a product even having been
shipped, and the customer service contact indicated that only the
salesperson could give me order status, so after several tried I reached
Joseph again, and now he indicated that he couldn't ship the product
unless I faxed him a copy of my credit-card!!! This I refused to do, and
have never, ever had to do for a transaction. I sent email to the company
requesting cancelation of the order, and received yet another email asked
me to sign and fax back a form indicating that I would not post negative
feedback and if I did I was authorizing my credit card to be charged
$100. I refused to sign this.

I did post feedback to
the feedback links provided by the customer describing the details of the
transaction, including the forms I had been sent.

The day after posting the feedback describing my attempt to buy the video
camera from PriceRitePhoto/CameraMall, I received a call from a "John
Hancock", claiming to be the owner of the camera companies, and demanding
that I remove the feedback I posted. He said that he would charge my
credit card for the amount of the camera and and additional $250 for each
posting. He also said that he was shipping a Malaysian version of the
camera, without a lens, to me, and that he would make money on the deal,
and I couldn't stop the shipment, or dispute the charge. My credit card
company confirmed that a pending charge had been placed by PriceRite, but
the charge was not yet posted, and once it was posted, I could dispute.

The next day, July 6, I received several calls from "John Hancock",
demanding again that I remove the feedback I had posted, and when I agreed
that I would remove anything that he felt was not accurate, but if he
could not indicate any inaccuracy, then the feedback would remain. He
screamed and swore at me over the phone, and said that he would post my
credit card number on the internet if I didn't comply.

On July 8 a charge was posted to my credit card for $2139.99 and a second
charge was posted for $100.00. I called my credit card company and
initiated the dispute process. The security department of BankOne Credit
strongly suggested that I cancel my credit card, and complete an internet
fraud report.
Description of how you were defrauded:
My credit card has been charged $2238.99 for an cancelled order.
I've been threatened with additional multiple charges against my
credit card unless I change feedback posted to the Internet, and I've
been threatened with having my credit card number posted to the
Internet. I've had to cancel my credit card on the advice of my
credit card provider."

Update #1: Found this text on their eBay store ad: "We guarantee our customers to have the best quality products and the best customer service! Our customers love us for our friendly attitude, buy with confidence!"

This just makes me sick. If you want to Digg this story you can here.


Update #2: Well I just received a call back from Steve Phillips at PriceRitePhoto. He said that I should be expecting a call from the "FBI" shortly and that "my tactics" of flooding his store's phone lines was "illegal." When I asked him to hold on as I wanted to turn on my recorder to record our conversation he hung up on me.

Of course I have not called his store at all but I'd imagine that the attention that his abuse has received from Digg and other places on the internet may have something to do with that.

My boss did have a conversation with me about the fact that this guy called him yesterday and was very understanding about the situation.


Update #3: Also since calling my boss, Steve Phillips has called my boss' assistant several times this morning as well. Contrary to Steve Phillips claims, I still have had no police officers show up at my office to "arrest me." Nor have I been contacted by the "FBI."

Last night when I called AMEX it appeared that PriceRitePhoto had not charged my card yet. My guess is that when I refused to buy their high priced accessories that they never had any intention of sending me the camera at their advertised price. I blocked the card with AMEX and will be getting a new number to prevent them from further abusing my credit card.

I have also filed a complaint with the New York Attorney General's office regarding their behavior and have left negative reviews on my experience with their company on most of the shopping comparison services that they are included in. Hopefully from the attention that this story has received they will reflect on the appropriateness of their sales tactics going forward.

If anyone has a contact at Yahoo! Shopping it would be nice to learn from them that they were being delisted or at least investigated over this.

Interestingly enough, it was just two weeks back that Yahoo! made an announcement about an overhaul to their shopping service. It would seem that they plan to include more social networking type reviews on products and vendors in the future. Hopefully whatever new system they put in place will help weed out the bad apples like PriceRitePhoto.

Of course even as late as today, they still have the camera that they told me as out of stock on their internet site for sale for $2,899.


Update #4: Received this email back from the New York State Attorney General's Office today: "Dear Consumer:

Thank you for your submission to the New York State Attorney General's Internet Bureau. On behalf of Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, I want to thank you for taking the time to alert us to this matter. Your assistance is vital to our efforts to serve the people of the State of New York.

We have added your submission to our files. It is through complaints such as yours that we learn of patterns of fraud and illegality. If you have any questions about this matter, please call us at (212) 416-8433. For other consumer-related matters, please call our consumer hotline at (800) 771-7755.

Thank you for contacting us."


Update #5: Thanks to a complaint by Digg User loker269, PriceGrabber has now delisted PriceRitePhoto. Nice to see PriceGrabber do the responsible thing here.

Update #6: This story has risen to the number one dugg story on Digg this year with 5439 diggs so far today. Thanks diggers!

I also received this email today from Joe Lazarus, Director of Marketing for Yahoo! Inc.: "Tom, I wanted to follow up on a comment I added to your post on PriceRitePhoto. I work at Yahoo! Shopping. I passed your issue along to our Customer Care team who will investigate and take the appropriate action per our merchant Guidelines and Terms of Service. I covered some more details in my comment. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions. ~ Joe"


Update #7: This story just made the front page of Slashdot. It was also on Boing Boing and Metafilter today along with many, many other blogs. I truly hope that this attention shines a light on the abusive bait and switch tactics that so many of you have also unfortunately experienced and shared in your comments.

The support is overwhelming and very much appreciated. And, yes, yes, yes, I do know that I was stupid and should have known better and done my homework before buying from these guys -- but that doesn't negate the fact that their sales tactics are wrong and deserve to be stopped.


Update #8: Although I have not heard directly back from Yahoo! or their Marketing Director Joe Lazarus. It would appear at least that for the time being, today, PriceRitePhoto is not operating on Yahoo! Shopping. They are still listed as a merchant there and there is a link to their store but when you do a search by their store for products for sale through Yahoo! you get the following message: "We didn't find any product results for mid:1016578." I'm not sure if Yahoo! pulled their listings or if PriceRitePhoto did or if that is just part of what happens when Yahoo! investigates a company. I hope that if after investigating Yahoo! concludes that this company is acting unethically that they will in fact delist them altogether. I will update as I hear more on this.

Also, fortunately, my server has held up remarkably well with all of the traffic being sent to this story from the above sources. I recently had to move from a shared server to a dedicated server with lots of excess capacity because I've had many highly ranked Google Images that had been eating through my bandwidth in the past. Also it helps keep my bandwidth usage down as the photos that are included as part of this story are actually hosted by Flickr, my favorite site on the internet and as I oft like to repeat, "almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world." Ironically, of course in all of this, Flickr is owned by Yahoo!

Below is an image of the company's website this morning. As you can see, the camera that was supposedly "out of stock" when I refused to purchase their high priced accessories is still being shown for sale at the $2,899 price even still today. I suspect that they do actually have the camera in stock but that they only sell it to those who load up on expensive accessories and warranty plans from them.


PriceRitePhotos Supposed

Update #9: One of the best stories I have read in conjunction with this article was a letter that Slashdot user DrWho42 (558107) wrote to PriceGrabber regarding his own personal experience with PriceRitePhoto about a year ago. It is a well articulated letter and pretty much describes PriceRitePhoto perfectly. Apparently because of this well written letter PriceGrabber, according to the user, took PriceRitePhoto off of their site a year ago. He wonders how they could have gotten back on PriceGrabber. I would be interested if someone at PriceGrabber could comment on this report and tell us why after this merchant was removed from their site a year ago and a known bait and switch merchant who used extortion to try and influence feedback, that they would be allowed back on. I see that they are pulled off PriceGrabber now, but if it is true that they were banned a year ago and still made it back on then I'd say PriceGrabber's system is pretty much broken. It's a long read but very worthwhile.


Update #10: Although the priceritephoto.com site is still up, I received an email today from a reader who complained to their hosting provider Webair.com. I'm not sure exactly the ramifications of the email from Webair. It was sent from abuse@webair.com and was forwarded to me as follows:

"This client has been sent a TOS violation for illegal activity.

Thank you,
--
Webair Abuse Team"


Update #11: I received a call this morning from Ed Lopez, the owner of PriceRitePhoto. We spoke at length and he told me that the activity that has resulted from my post on my experience with his business has most certainly impacted his business. Mr. Lopez told me that he was calling to apologize and that Mr. Philips was going to be terminated at a company board meeting later on this morning. He confirmed to me that they do have the camera in question in stock and although I am not interested in purchasing it from them at this point indicated that he would sell it for me at the advertised price. Subsequently Ed sent me the following email:

“On behalf of Priceritephoto I would like to sincerely apologize for the negative experience that you have experienced with our company. As a company this is not representative of the way we treat our customers. If there is anything that we can do at this point to rectify the situation, please let me know. We have tens of thousands of happy customers who have purchased form us in the past and it is our commitment to give our customers the best value when dealing with us. We are doing a comprehensive review of our company’s procedures to ensure that something like this never occurs. We have also terminated Mr. Philips from his position with our company.”

Although I do not believe my “Steve Philips experience” was an isolated case by this merchant (and certainly the other testimonials suggest that this is in fact more of a common practice by them), my own personal view is that any retaliation towards this vendor should be channeled through legitimate and legal channels. Although some of the crank phone calls are actually pretty funny I think that it is better to take the high road in this case and to use legitimate resources where they exist, whether reporting them to the comparison pricing services or contacting the Attorney General (as I have done) or reporting them to people like the Better Business Bureau.

I think that the popularity of this story comes in large part because the message resonates so strongly with all of us. Although in a sense it is the classic tale of David and Goliath retold, it is much more than this. We all have at one point or another in our lives been bullied and most of us have been defrauded or ripped off. The fact that so many times in the past there was nothing we could do about it makes us feel all that much better about the fact that in today’s internet and blogosphere we actually CAN do something about it.

It is tremendously empowering for all of us to be able to turn the powerlessness that we felt in the past into justice in todays’ blogosphere through the help of things like Digg and Slashdot and Boing Boing. And although every rip off does not receive this level of attention, I believe this story in a greater sense is representative of perhaps thousands of rip off experiences that we have all suffered in the past and been able to do nothing about – some directly with this vendor, some directly with New York based camera vendors like this one, and some with just fraudulent internet businesses wherever they happen to be located. Because we in the past have had to live with the bitterness of our own personal frauds, our feelings towards the popularity of this story is that much stronger – as is our desire to retaliate.

This being said, I again would encourage everyone to take the high road with respect to this vendor. I believe that the power of this story and the ultimate outcome, whatever that may be, will carry much more weight if as a public we handle things responsibly and do not resort to illegal tactics or harassment. Although there is a sense that we all must feel that these folks have gotten what they deserved, I think it would be a far greater legacy for this story to have if change takes place in legal and legitimate channels.

I cannot speak to the sincerity of Ed Lopez. He has sent me an apology letter and I feel it appropriate to print it. His motivation very well may be legitimate -- or it could also be the only possible avenue Mr. Lopez has left to try to salvage his business at this point.

Out of all of this, hopefully more than anything, this story will serve as a reminder to shady businesses everywhere that in the end fraud and abusive behavior towards customers does not pay. Perhaps I’m being overly idealistic here and perhaps this incident is the smallest possible blip in the greater world of internet fraud -- but one thing I do know is that the power of the consumer is growing. And in a new world today with tools like blogs and Slashdot and Digg the consumer is empowered in great ways that they never have been in the past.


Update #12: This story is now on the first page search results for the term PriceRitePhoto for both Google and Yahoo! It is the number one returned search result, even ahead of their store, on MSN Search. Their site has been down now since yesterday afternoon -- I'm not sure if this is the result of hacker activity or a reaction from their hosting company for bandwidth useage or TOS violations. The story was also picked up by Digital Life TV. You can view the episode here.

Update #13: PriceRitePhoto has been delisted from both Yahoo! Shopping and PriceGrabber. They still do appear however to have a profile listing giving them four stars at CNET. I could not find any products for sale from them on CNET but they still are up as a four star internet retailer. Their internet site is still down as of this morning and the story has moved up to the number 4th search result for the term priceritephoto on Google. A wikipedia entry was started for priceritephoto but it appears to have been edited out of wikipedia.

Update #14: I've written a follow-up post asking if PriceRitePhoto and TheCameraMall are the same company.


Update #15: I just received an email from David Bricker, the Director of Partner Services at CNET Networks. According to David: "We have pulled PriceRitePhoto.com from our site(s) and their affiliated companies. The "profile" page, while still live, is impossible to navigate to. That said, we'll be pulling that page down from our web servers shortly."

I have sent a follow up email to David asking if he can provide me the names of their "affiliated companies."


Update #16: I just received an email back from CNET's David Bricker who pointed me to a Better Business Bureau report identifying additional companies that are affiliated with PriceRitePhoto. Although TheCameraMall is not listed on a Better Business Bureau report as one of PriceRitePhoto's affiliates, according to the Better Business Bureau of New York, PriceRitePhoto is in fact affiliated with many other names and ultimately would seem to fall under a parent company going by the name of Let's Go Digital that is owned by Jack Heffner. You can see the report yourself here which includes their contact and other information. According to the BBB they additional are using the following business names: A. Heffco Technologies, Inc., C&A Marketing, Dealz Net, Hype Audio, Ideal Audio/Video, Ideal Photo and Video, Let's Go Digital, LGD Superstore, Price Rite Photo, Prices Rite Photo.

Yesterday when I was on the phone with Ed Lopez he denied that Jack Heffner was affiliated with PriceRitePhoto although he did acknowledge knowing Jack Heffner and identified him as the owner of LGD Superstore (another alleged affiliate according to the BBB)


Update #17: Although PriceRitePhoto's website is still offline and they appear to have been dropped from all of the major shopping comparison sites, they are still operating on eBay. They are listed there as a "power seller."

Update #18: After being down for much of the later half of last week, PriceRitePhoto appears to be back up again this morning. They have a note on their website: "For those of you who tried to contact us in the past few days, we would like to apologize for any inconvenience that you may have incurred. Our website was down for maintenance and we are back up and fully operational. If you have placed an order with us please be assured that it will be shipped in a timely manner. Happy Holidays."

This article is now the number two search result behind their store for anyone searching PriceRitePhoto on Google. This article is the number two story behind their store for anyone searching PriceRitePhoto on Yahoo! And it is still the number one search result for the term PriceRitePhoto at MSN Search. Kevin and Alex also chat about the story on the latest Diggnation podcast recorded in Tokyo.

Update #19: The New York Post covered the story.


Update #20: Well in addition to the PriceRitePhoto story being picked up by the New York Post today, I received a bit more information in one of my comments. Since the beginning of my problems with PriceRitePhoto I've suspected that PriceRitePhoto's purported owner "Ed Lopez" was a fictional name. It seemed to me unusual that PriceRitePhoto had an individual by the name of Eduardo Lopez register their domain name while another camera store linked to them TheCameraMall had an Eduardo Sanchez register their domain name. According the the New York Post: "a call to PriceRitePhoto produced no Ed Lopez, and further calls and an e-mail went unanswered."

Today I received the following comment on my blog: "By the way, the owner's name is not Ed Lopez. His name is Chaim Pikarski. I know it because I worked for him in the past. His tactics do not surprise me, and all he is trying to do is hide his true identity through the alias of Ed Lopez. Actually, I would be very surprised if you ever spoke to the owner. It was most likely just an employee that provided you a fictitious name and is probably just a manager."

Turns out upon doing a Google search for "Chaim Pikarski" one of the results back is a directory for the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp. They have Chaim Pikarski listed at the following address: 140 58th St., Unit 4E, BX 37 in Brooklyn and a phone number of (718) 491-4300. Interestingly enough, one of the addresses that comes up under Don Wiss' excellent series of Brooklyn Camera Store Storefronts for CP Industries, dba TheCameraMall is the same address in Brooklyn, 140 58th St. Also, if you do a Google search for the phone number 718-491-4300 you can find an old cached page listing that phone number as a number for The Camera Zone, another company which has been identified by Wiss as being under the same management as TheCameraMall.

This site , Digital Paradise (The Digital Paradise is an automated electronic marketplace designed to streamline the purchasing and selling processes of games & electronics for the gaming community) also lists the exact same phone number and address for The Camera Zone as is listed for Pikarski in the Googled Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp.

Now this is in no way conclusive evidence that Chaim Pikarski is the true individual behind TheCameraMall and PriceRitePhoto, but I would be interested if anyone else had any information on Chaim Pikarski and/or information regarding his involvement in these businesses.

Also to note, and I'm not sure why, the Better Business Bureau of New York has pulled down some of the information regarding PriceRitePhoto from their website. The report where PriceRitePhoto was previously named by them is "being updated," and the following message is on the site: "The Bureau's report on this business is currently being updated, and no report is available at this time. Please check this site in approximately four to six weeks."


Update #21: Update #21: One of the things that these shady camera dealers seem to have a reputation for is carrying multiple different company identities and then changing names when things go wrong with an existing identitiy. So go figure that PriceRitePhoto has just changed their identity on on eBay on Monday of this week from PriceRitePhoto to "Barclay's Photo." Now barclaysphoto can welcome in a whole new round of suckers. Barclay's, like the bank, now that sounds catchy.

Of course Barclay's (formerly known as PriceRitePhoto) seems to have a bit better feedback on eBay than they've had on the other shopping comparison sites (where they've been bounced). My guess is that this is because it is harder to bait and switch on eBay. You can't make up fake feedback there like you can at Yahoo! Shopping and PriceGrabber because each feedback must be tied to a specific transaction. Perhaps their behavior and treatment of eBay customers is better than the other comparison shopping sites. It is interesting though that almost everything that they've sold on eBay seems to be packaged with accesories. This might make it easier for them to be nice when they are making money on a transaction and not advertising rock bottom prices to then bait and switch.

They still do have some negative feedback on eBay of course with things like: "great product and great deal,but shipping took forever and alot of telemarketing," and "Terrible co. to deal with. Misrepresentation. Bait & Switch on their web site."

So welcome to the new world of online shopping Barclay's Photo. Hopefully you do better than your evil twin (er, exact same company) PriceRitePhoto. And thanks eBay for having such a nifty feature as allowing online shopping companies the ability to change names and identity. We wouldn't want any eBay online stores being weighed down with a bad name for bad behavior now would we?

And here's another interesting point, before being called PriceRitePhoto, it seems Barclay's/PriceRitePhoto was once called Film4Less -- they've also gone by edigix as well.


Update #22: Comparison Shopping on Sale - Forbes.com: From Forbes: "While the vast majority of user reviews and merchant ratings provide a useful service, online shoppers can still get caught by disreputable merchants. One blogger, Thomas Hawk of San Francisco, recently attempted to purchase a Canon EOS 5D camera that he saw listed for $2,899 at PriceRitePhoto—the lowest price online at the time. Hawk checked and found positive store reviews, but after placing the order, Hawk claims he was contacted by a PriceRitePhoto, employee who tried to sell Hawk expensive accessories to go with the camera. When Hawk declined, the employee said the camera was no longer available and threatened to charge Hawk’s credit card and never send the camera. (PriceRitePhoto did not return phone calls requesting a comment.)

Yahoo Shopping’s vice president, Rob Solomon, said that PriceRitePhoto had rigged Yahoo’s feedback system to garner positive reviews. Hawk was lucky because he was able to cancel his credit card before any money was charged. However, things could have been worse. Yahoo Shopping offers a money-back guarantee to its buyers, but that guarantee is capped at $1,000. Sites like Become.com and NexTag offer no such guarantees."


Update #23: In a Flash, Camera Dealers Feel the Web's Wrath - New York Times: The New York Times today published a good expose on the recent PriceRitePhoto issue. It would appear that they are pretty much out of business at this point with mail stacking up at the door of their address which the owner won't pick up according to a handyman at the building because he owes money.

"On Nov. 29, Mr. Hawk posted a 2,333-word complaint about Price Rite Photo on his Web site, describing hard sales tactics and threats. By 2 a.m. the next day, this dispute over a $3,000 camera was an enormously popular topic of discussion online, casting Mr. Hawk in the timeless role of the outraged underdog.

Internet gunslingers tend to shoot first and ask lots of questions while shooting, so the attacks on Price Rite came quickly and with much discussion. Some bragged of tying up the company's phone lines, others of flooding its Web site with excess traffic. It is unclear whether that tactic worked.

"The world of blogs is such an echo chamber that, a few places pick it up, you literally are generating tons of traffic," said Lee Holmes, 28, who posted similar complaints on his own site from his home near Seattle.

There were conscientious objectors, too. One discussion participant anonymously wrote, "This is vigilante justice; there are proper channels to deal with this."

After reading Mr. Hawk's complaints, Yahoo! Shopping blocked Price Rite from its service, according to Sabrina Crider, a spokeswoman for the company. Mr. Hawk quickly declared victory, and online discussion forums with names like Digg filed the story under headlines like "Digg Users Take Revenge at Bad Online Store."

But the episode was not complete for Mr. Wiss, whose photographs of Brooklyn buildings had been mentioned in Mr. Hawk's rant under the headline "Update #20."

On Dec. 14, Mr. Wiss said, he received several calls accusing him of putting stores out of business and threatening him with death. He said the threats were all bluster, but he reported the calls to the police and adamantly refused to allow photographs of his face for this article. He said he hopes to trace the calls if they continue.

At the warehouse in Sunset Park, Mr. Colon, the handyman, had his own ideas about the whereabouts of Price Rite and its proprietor.

"He owes me money," Mr. Colon said, explaining that he was never paid for moving an air-conditioner. "That's why he doesn't come here to pick up the mail.""


Update #24: Yesterday I received an email from an individual identifying himself as Gabe Heffez from A. Heffco Technologies. Mr. Heffez seemed somewhat distraught over the fact that in my reporting on PriceRitePhoto that his company and companies had been erroneously identified as being associated with PriceRitePhoto. In my reporting on my experience with PriceRitePhoto I had identified A. Heffco Technologies as possibly being associated with PriceRitePhoto based on a report that linked the two from the Better Business Bureau of New York. I was first made aware of this report and connection from CNET's David Bricker when he pointed me to the BBB report when I first began reporting on PriceRitePhoto and included my first mention of A. Heffco Technologies based on this report.

Contrary to this report from the BBB Mr. Heffez wrote me yesterday saying, "our company is in no way related to PriceRitePhoto," he added, "we don't know who C&A Marketing is or who Ideal Photo Video is. We have sent dozens of faxes and made numerous phone calls to the BBB to correct the issue so far to no avail." Mr. Heffez further went on in a subsequent email to say, "This (action) caused us to reap the wrath of the public and our own advertisers. In early-mid December, our host, Yahoo! also terminated our stores and three of our personal ID's without explanation. A seven year relationship was ended in the blink of an eye." Mr. Heffez also said that CNET dropped them as well and added, "your David vs. Goliath blog unfortunately turned into our instant termination. We all have families to feed and this past Christmas our job was that much harder."

In response to Mr. Heffez's claims of not being associated with PriceRitePhoto I have been in contact with Tony Barbera, Manager of Information and Investigations with the BBB serving Metropolitan NY expressing my concerns over having possibly hurt an innocent company based on a potential wrongful association on the part of the BBB. Mr. Barbera, who was aware of the coverage that this story received yesterday by the New York Times told me that the company's report has been suspended pending further results of an investigation. "I was contaced by Mr. Heffez yesterday, and we will be working with the companies in order to establish correct and complete records for each entity if it is determined they are separate," wrote Mr. Barbera.

Millions of people each day turn to the Better Business Burea and rely on the accuracy of the information that they provide for making informed decisions regarding their purchases and which merchants they will do business with. The integrity of their information regarding merchants is super important. If in fact the BBB has erroneously linked PriceRitePhoto and Mr. Heffez's company then I would be very personally disappointed to have hurt an innocent unrelated company. Mr. Heffez has informed me that over the past few weeks his phone lines have been ringing off the hook with nothing on the other end but hang ups or music and has told me that he is pretty sure that his sites have been bombarded with worthless traffic in an attempt to crash them.

I suspect that this story will be developing and hope to have more conclusive findings one way or the other shortly -- but in the event that the information linking his company and their affiliates to PriceRitePhoto was incorrectly reported by the BBB, I apologize and am truly sorry for any role that I and my blogging may have had in hurting his business.


PriceRitePhoto Update #25: Last week I reported on a company Heffco possibly being erroneously connected with my reporting on PriceRitePhoto based on a report by the New York BBB.

I have received the following email back from Tony Barbera, Manager of the Information and Investigations Divsion of the BBB New York:

"Just letting you know our reports on PriceRitePhoto and PricesRite have been re-released and are listed as separate entities. Take a look, and let me know if you have any questions."

PricesRite is still associated with Let's Go Digital and ultimately also A. Heffco Technologies with a fairly negative BBB rating, but it is no longer associated per the BBB New York with PriceRitePhoto, the outfit that I had my run in with. It sounds like while distancing the companies, the BBB still is not willing to change the overall rating of Let's Go Digital and that the unrelated complaints against them are still standing.

PriceRitePhoto is now listed as an affilate of C&A Marketing, with a "Howard Baker" as it's president. Interesting and suprisingly to me they only have three complaints filed with the BBB against them.

I received the following email from Gabe Heffez of Heffco, on the matter at hand: "Thank you for your help with the BBB. Although they still don't have our information 100% correct, they have removed associations with priceritephoto and company. We will continue to write them and fax them the correct information so they can get it completely right. Thank you for the quick response and corrections on your side."

and then a second email:

"Funny, I just checked again and it looks like we inherited all of their customer disputes. I checked their page and looks like they are a pretty clean cut company. The BBB has got to get their act together. We will continue to work on it."

537 Comments:

eddy joaquim said...

holy crap!

I have a tip: before ever buying anything I always go to google and type "company name+scam"

check this out:
www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=priceritephoto+scam&...

Notice how extensive the complaints are. Anytime I see widespread reporting on this scale in various forums and consumer websites I bail.

You'll see that it's very effective. Either sites have a deluge of complaints or none at all. Very rarely is there a middle ground, and I have found this to work for all my purchases.

And always, always bitch about these guys at places like ripoffreport.com and any other forum so that other people can google them up.

6:32 PM  
Mike said...

I almost bought a camera from these guys, but at the last minute I checked ePinions, which, in addition to rating products, rates online stores. The comments on the site steered me clear.

http://www.epinions.com/pr-Online_Stores_Services-Price_Rite_Photo/display_~reviews/sec_~opinion_list/pp_~1#list

I have noticed, however, that their overall rating has gone way up. My guess is that someone is "seeding" the comments area -- so most of the ratings on this store are either the highest or the lowest. I suspect the "lowest" ones are real customers.

By the way, I also found a good store on ePinions -- by looking for a highly rated store that didn't have words like "con artists" and "scam" in the descriptions... : )

Mike

7:11 PM  
Anonymous said...

I had this kind of problem with Dell of all places. Not exactly, but was treated in the same manor by a tech support agent in India whith my personal information (which is a concern in itself entirely).

I simply filed a complaint with better business bureu. You might be suprised at how effective this is.

Furthermore, I would suggest recording these phone calls and posting them to your blog. You would get a lot more coverage this way.

7:27 PM  
Mike said...

Thomas,

I love your blog dearly, but I'm sorry to say I don't feel for you on this one. You admittedly knew about these types of dealers before buying and didn't check any sort of references. Everything you reported is pretty much what others reported too. Why did you do it - its several hundred dollars less than anywhere else, did you really think it was legit?

That said, yes I don't know how companies like this still operate after all the complaints, etc. Keep blogging (and other methods) about shoddy operators - just keep it professional - and hopefully it'll help to shut them down.

BTW it looks like $3300 is the general low price from reputable (and authorized) vendors.

Sorry :(

Mike

8:22 PM  
Discfree.com said...

The BBB is no longer relevant in our digital society. You are better off complaining on the Epinion type sites and contacting your state attorney general. If enough people complain, Spitzer will get wind of it and we'll see him clean up NY.

8:30 PM  
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.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous said...

In the item description it now says, "This is the camera body only and does not include the lens.." at the end. The question is, did Thomas not notice this, or did that rotten retailer add it to the item description later? Unfortuneately google doesn't have it cached....

2:47 AM  
t3hX said...

Skypeout can do free calls to toll-free US numbers, for free. Go download skype if you haven't already.
Their phone number is +18883654300, call them up and tell them what you think. Have some fun. You DO NOT need to buy skypeout credit - the number is toll free.

3:05 AM  
Hugh said...

Oh Thomas, that really sucks. I had a similar experience with another Brooklyn camera dealer over a $400 Canon Elph awhile ago. Not the same guys, but shadiness and bate n switch abound. I'm glad you took the time to document everything very clearly. It'll help prevent future would-be customers from getting scammed by these mafia criminals. Hopefully, it'll also put them out of business.

3:14 AM  
JimK said...

Thanks for posting this, especially with the holiday shoppng season coming. I actually saw them in a list of retailers of a lens I'm looking for and considered buying!

I'm letting my readers know about this story.

3:17 AM  
Anonymous said...

The owner can't back any of his threats. Cancel your credit card asap and report him to the CC company and he BBB. Post this story to any NYC general newsgroups. I love to f with scam artists like this ahole.

3:33 AM  
Jacob Merk said...

You're an idiot. Anyone even remotely connected to the camera world knows to avoid those stores.

3:41 AM  
Anonymous said...

Haha, the store is 2 minutes away from my house. This is absolutely ridiculous, gives a bad name to internet shopping.

3:44 AM  
Wade said...

I loved your story and wish you the best of luck in bringing this thief to his knees.

What I most enjoy about your situation is how it shows the power of those that blog. People like us can easily get the word out about such things. What is left to be seen is what we can achieve in the end.

3:53 AM  
Anonymous said...

Guy from the Europe here...

My question: is it legal for a retailer to charge more and waiver guarantee for a negative feedback?

In Europe retailers are allowed to charge only if they provide a service or good (IANAL though).

3:55 AM  
Anonymous said...

These ratings seem to be more close to reality.

4:03 AM  
Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with a Yahoo! Shopping Company. EXCEPT...they DID charge me and never ship AND they used my Credit Card info to buy TONS of the same product and send it to my house which I then had to contact all the e-tailers and explain the situation and return at my own expense. I contacted the BBB, they did nothing. I contacted Yahoo! and they did nothing. Since you have to settle these kinds of disputes in the municipality where the abuse occurs, you're at a serious disadvantage as a consumer which they KNOW...

4:07 AM  
Anonymous said...

They are located Between West 5th and West 8th Street on Avenue T in brooklyn. They are the worst of the worst people. While in their office they said yeah we got our crap and just leave it there forever. They are russian scam artist.

4:09 AM  
MajorDad said...

Have you ever seen the SNL skit where Tom Hanks plays an Israeli/Palestinian/Arab (Middle Easterner of some flavor) in a Manhatten camera store? Sounds like we've modernized this bit for the 2000's.

NEVER...and I repeat NEVER do business with a camera/gadget/electronics store in NY.

20+ years ago I went through a very similar process in person when I went to Manhatten to purchase a camera I'd seen advertised in the NYT. Talk about an experience...and I wound up walking away without a camera too.

Hope you're able to get this resolved!

MajorDad1984

4:20 AM  
Anonymous said...

In Portugal we have a service that generates virtual credit cards.

If you don't need credit, this is the safest way to shop on the internet...

Every time you shop on the internet, you just create a new credit card number and set an amount limit to it. The amount will be directly charged from your account and the credit card number will be destroyed.

Unfortunately for you, it only works for Portuguese bank accounts...

http://www.mbnet.pt/

4:25 AM  
Anonymous said...

There are quite a few reputable NY camera stores. J&R is one of them, B&H Photo / Vido is another. Both of these stores have a huge catalog & selection, real B&M storefronts (huge!) that you can visit, and knowledgeable staff.

If you are going to buy a big ticket item, these stores are the way to go.

4:27 AM  
Lukasz said...

Maybe a mtv's boiling points :)

4:27 AM  
flickrcast said...

this seems to be the m.o. of all the electronics stores in brooklyn. typically they'll operate under several different names, and when you place an order they'll call you to throw in filters or batteries or whatever. typically they also remove legitimately bundled accessories and ship you the body only, so the manual, usb cable, CDs, all that costs extra.

most of the advice i've seen says "don't buy from brooklyn," although i think B&H is based there, or was at one time.

--jason

4:33 AM  
Chris said...

I had the exact same thing happen to me (minus the verbal abuse) through another camera dealer in NY. To be honest, they're known for pulling these kinds of scams and i think the people who put the great reviews out on these kinds of companies are the same people who are buying tons of accessories that they really didn't want.

The bottom line is these companies sell the most popular camera makes and models on the market and they do so at an extremely marginal profit to attract attention. They make far more money buy selling tons of accessories at inflated prices. On top of it, they preserve their stock by ONLY selling to people who buy the expensive accessories.

Unethical? Yes i think so. I've been taken advantage of before and i won't fall for it again. I'm glad to see that someone went public about this.

4:33 AM  
Anonymous said...

B&H and J&R are the way to go for NYC stores.

J&R especially now that it allows refunds (it didn't used to. Can you believe it? NY law allowed it as long as it was prominently displayed that no refunds were given).

4:36 AM  
hibiscusroto said...

Never shop at a store or purchase a product that has a mis-spelled name. Price Rite Photo, Rite Aid, The Karolina Kampground, Ty-D-Bol...all crap.

4:38 AM  
Joseph Bolus said...

Never and i MEAN NEVER buy a camera/camcorder or any entertainment electronics from any company based in New York without first checking http://www.resellerratings.com..

4:42 AM  
Anonymous said...

Wow, one store I won't ever be shopping at!

4:45 AM  
Anonymous said...

I am buying and selling on eBay, their feedback system there is better. Feedback can only be left when a transaction occurs. If a seller (or buyer) threatens you, you can report them to eBay for example. There are protection for both the buyer and the seller.
It's not perfect, there will always be crooks, but it's a good e-commerce Platform.

4:50 AM  
Ramtha said...

I've just sent the below comments to webmsater@priceritephoto.com.

Thanks for the heads up.

--

I've been watching a couple of items on your web store for about 2 weeks now, salivating at one day owning them - especially at how much cheaper they are state side than they are up here in the north east of England.

Imagine, then, how pleased I was to have read the below linked article which I found on digg.com - one of the world's most popular community bookmarking sites.

http://thomashawk.com/2005/11/priceritephoto-abusive-bait-and-switch.html

I hope Steve Phillips, the manager of PriceRitePhoto in Brooklyn, New York is pleased with himself. He's just advertised your company to about 10 million people - but not in a good way.

Lots of luck.

5:08 AM  
Anonymous said...

OWNED lol

5:08 AM  
Anonymous said...

The easiest thing to do here is type a well written letter to your Attorney General's Office describing all threats and abuse you received from this company. The BBB is much like a feedback company and they can't force the company to do anything but the Attorney General can from suing to revoking his business license.

5:17 AM  
Iain said...

If anyone needs to be calling the police it's you. You should call his local police department and file charges for harassment and credit card fraud.

5:22 AM  
EJI said...

Someone else named B&H as one online store to try, and I can recommend them unequivocally.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/

Hands down *the best* Internet retailer I've ever dealt with. Courteous, helpful, reliable, knowledgeable... I can't think of enough positive things to say about this company. They've got the Canon EOS 5D for $3,300, and I'd recommend going with them even if the price is a bit more than you were prepared to pay. They've also been known to throw in a few extras to really make the purchase worthwhile.

5:26 AM  
Anonymous said...

I can´t believe the experience you had. I am a photographer, and look around for the best deal, but we need to be weary of matchstick men that pose as business owners.

5:37 AM  
David Knighton said...

That is one seriously bad story. I am going to link it from my blog to give it a little more exposure. Please keep us updated on how this turns out!

5:45 AM  
Eric said...

Had a similar situation with another NY Camera store, Marine Park Camera & Electronics. (aka MPSuperstore)

Back in 2000, unaware of the problems with these places, I ordered a Canon GL1 Camcorder for about $500 off what most others were selling it for. After letting them sell me a load of crap (bag, filters, warranty) the thing showed up with no serial numbers (cut off the box and no sicker on the camera), the bag was too small (and cheap), the filters didn't fit the camera and the warranty required me to ship the camera to some other outfit in NYC.

Packed it all up and shipped it back (on their dime) and after a lot of haggling, including a threat to have Citibank deny the charges, they finaly refunded my credit card. That took about two months.

(In the mean time, I got a similar deal on eCost.com)

5:46 AM  
Duncan said...

http://www.bbbnewyork.org/

Good luck to ya!

5:47 AM  
Anonymous said...

Actually, there were a couple comments that said to contact your Attorney General's office. Couldn't hurt, but you should contact their state's Attorney General, as that's who'd have some jurisdiction over them.

5:48 AM  
Anthony said...

I guess I know about this because I live in Brooklyn, but just about any camera store in Brooklyn does not deserve your hard-earned money.

B&H Photo Video, like other posters pointed out is an excellent resource

5:49 AM  
Dave said...

I can't say I'm surprised by this -- I have read many similar stories in the past, and I wouldn't touch a Brooklyn camera retailer with a ten foot pole.

I mean, look at this place!

I suggest filing a complaint with the NY State Attorney's office, for good measure.

5:53 AM  
Eric said...

I just want to weigh in on the "don't buy camera equipment from NY".

There is one very reputable dealer in Amityville, NY.

Cameta Camera - http://www.cameta.com/

Excellent service, and excellent quality. they primarily deal via eBay, but you can also call them. Toll Free 1-800-991-3350

They will do business over the phone as well.

No, I have nothing to do with this company other than I have bought from them in the past, will do so again in the future and have recomended them to several friends who have all been impressed with the service they got.

5:59 AM  
Anonymous said...

Stay away from bestpricecameras.com as well. I knew the prices were to good to be true!

6:01 AM  
Anonymous said...

Contact the Better Business Beauro

6:01 AM  
Jon said...

I would hit up the Better Business Bureau and report it there. I believe they can actually open an investigation if it's warranted.

6:02 AM  
gfroese said...

This sounds very similar to my recent experience with Vancouver Flower Company. I know your pain, although to a lesser dollar amount :)

http://blog.mennos.org/nucleus3.2/index.php?itemid=147

6:03 AM  
ben said...

Always, always, always check ResellerRatings when using a service like PriceWatch or Streetprices. That is the first rule of bargain-hunting on the internet:
"http://www.resellerratings.com/seller8613.html">http://www.resellerratings.com/seller8613.html
Rating: 5.5!

I'd also have to give props to B&H Photo -- I just received an MP3 player for my wife from them. Their service was excellent, as well as the price. Their reseller rating? 9.5

6:06 AM  
jbw said...

I had the same issues with the priceritephoto store. The only issue was that I waited three weeks and my shipment was never sent after refusing to buy accessories. I went to another store, and it was owned by the same people. Eventually, I had a cutomer rep tell me that I was wasting their time, and that I didn't know what I was buying. I went to B&H.

6:09 AM  
Thomas Hawk said...

Thanks to everyone who has given this story a read. It has moved up the charts over at Digg and is receiving significant attention this morning. I truly hope that there is a way to show these people that they can't be abusive and use these kinds of sales techniques. I'm sure I will probably hear from them today and will have more to report back later. Hopefully they call and apologize.

It is a shame that they have probably done this (well in fact documented in other testimonials on the internet as have done this) to many other people and got away with it.

I'm certainly guilty of being a bad consumer and not doing my homework and I really should know much better than this but I'm still pleased that this story is getting an amount of attention that will hopefully make this people think twice the next time they try to abuse their customers.

I'm also going to try and bring this story to Yahoo!'s attention and hopefully they will see fit to drop them at least from Yahoo! Shopping.

Thanks again.

And I very much should have known better and a have paid a little extra and bought the camera at B&H. They do have a good reputation and ironically my boss (who is also a photographer) and I have had several conversations about this and other cameras and he had counciled me to buy from B&H on more than one occasion.

6:10 AM  
Kelly said...

I bought my video camera several years ago from an on-line New York store, but did so with trepidation and did have to say no to some of the extras, but bought a few extras as well. That's where they make their money. Also, when you buy from these stores and you get product below MSRP, there is a very real chance that it is grey market and will have no warrenty. Basic rule of thumb, buy from a repitable retailer that is selling at around MSRP or better yet, buy from a local camera store. The New York stores do get some true real deals, but buy from B&H or the other really big stores taht have been doing business for ever, if price is everything; if you are willing to pay a little more go retail and save yourself some headaches plus they will go a long way to showing you the ins and outs of your new camera or video camera. By retail I mean a real camera store, not Best Buy or the like. I love Best Buy, but unless you know exactly, precisely what you want, hit a camera store local to you.

6:12 AM  
Anonymous said...

If you look now, He hs the camera for $3.00 or 99% off. What a discount

6:13 AM  
Anonymous said...

http://shopping.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AmZZdfjAx3X0BEW8M9hfPKobFt0A;_ylu=X3oDMTBhNjRqazhxBHNlYwNzZWFyY2g-?p=canon+eos+5d+slr+digital+camera&cop=mss&qss_spelltoken=n-3304411526_q-7R7jk2iXbT6ElyLq8H2YQwABAA@@&qss_clicked=1

type "canon eos 5d slr digital camera" in the yahoo shopping link

to see it for $3 dollers but when you go to his sit it is $2899

6:15 AM  
Nonsequitr said...

As a security professional I'd be more worried about the fact that they have your personal information and credit card information. Watch your CC receipts for a while and make sure your run a credit check on yourself once a month for at least 6 months to make sure they aren't abusing the information they have.

6:21 AM  
David said...

Wow. Pretty bad experience. However, one good thing, I found your blog :). Look forward to your future posts.

6:21 AM  
Anonymous said...

these people act like mobsters. I can't understand why GOOGLE and YAHOO allow these merchants to list through their shopping services... they're fraudsters and ripoff artists.

6:23 AM  
Mike said...

Yet another story about bad camera sellers from NY. Buyer Beware!

I've been using Discover Card's service for internet transactions. This service generates a one-time-use credit card number for the specific purchase amount. I'd highly recommend it for transactions like this.

6:26 AM  
Anonymous said...

Thank god I live in the UK and there are strict laws regarding these situations. Does the US have a trading standards authority or distance selling laws?

6:26 AM  
Mat said...

Great! I love when these bastards get exposed.

6:27 AM  
Wes Beckwith said...

I have almost exactly the same experience but I recieved my camera and it was a grey market camera.

We are trying to dispute the charges now...

more info here:

http://www.spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9281&page=1&pp=15

6:29 AM  
Paul Baker said...

I think the attention this post is getting could be bad new for the company involved.

:)

Thanks for the heads up.
Arizona Glover

6:32 AM  
Anonymous said...

A new yorker, offensive? NO! Say it ain't so!!

6:40 AM  
Anonymous said...

This was to be expected, no?

That's why you buy from Samy's or Adorama or B&H

7:01 AM  
Graham H. said...

We'll help get your word out, and we'll make sure that this 'person' will ' never be able to "sell" anything on the internet again'

7:02 AM  
ComputerBob.com said...

Until the NY Attorney General's office sends them to prison and/or fines them millions of dollars, people who run scam companies will simply change their company name to escape their bad reputation, and will continue cheating people.

7:05 AM  
gandhii said...

I feel kind of silly to be asking the obvious... but have you not called the police? both local and NYPD..

I mean.. charging $100 to your CC for nothing.. not to mention as a threat.
Well, thats called "steeling", and people go to jail for that kind of thing. Not to mention extortion or possibly blackmail. This goes way beyond just "fraud".

You, do have a record of the charges on your credit card statement. That's evidence.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this, I was actually going to purchase something through "PriceRitePhoto" and now I will never anything from that place. I hope you got your money back! I'm Anti-PRICERITE!

7:13 AM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for posting this. We need a dedicated site which focuses on electronics selling and regularly reports abuses to magazines and web services which continue to permit these companies to advertise. I would also like to see some class action suits to bring one or two of them down, as well as a concerted effort to pass appropriate federal legislation to ban bait and switch of this type. I would also work with my credit card company to tip them off as to possible abuses. This all wastes their time and effort as well. For what it's worth I have had EXCELLENT service from J&R and B&H as well as numerous eBay sellers, including a couple which happen to reside in Brooklyn.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous said...

You might want to consider doing a couple of things:

1. Not only dispute your claim with the credit card company (as you've already done), but specifically try to file a fraud report. If this retailer shows up in the credit card company's system as a possible fraudulent vendor, they may not allow further purchases to be made online to their company via their credit card.

2. Contact the Better Business Bureau in NY (better if you can figure out the town the company is located in), and tell them of your experience.

3. Contact the NY State Attorney's office and let them know of what's happened. Provide as much evidence as you can.

Basically, you want to make their life as bad/difficult as possible.

7:19 AM  
William said...

I don't know to what extent the threats went when you called, but I was working for a large company a few years back, and one of the customers threatened one of our support staff with violence over the phone. The conversation was recorded, and the customer was arrested for a deluge of felony offenses. Using a telecommunications system to threaten bodily harm is a federal offense. Ultimately this person was charged with Intent to commit assault, Intent to commit murder (He stated that he was going to kill our employee), Illegal use of telecommunications equipment and 2 other charges I don't recall at this time. You have to be VERY CAREFUL what and how you say via US Postal Mail Service, Telephone, and now E-Mail. Anything threat that crosses state boundaries is automatically a federal offense.

Of course this is only my experience and I am not a lawyer, but it's good to keep in mind.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous said...

You should call American Express and just tell them your story, Im sure they can just do a charge back.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous said...

hey MajorDad1984, its MANHATTAN. you could make an attempt to spell it right before you start spouting nonsense about it. New York City, which is really the correct phrasing (as the store in question seems to be located in brooklyn) has *plenty* of reputable camera shops. I dont know if you've heard or not, but its a big city. OMG there are a few people among the 11 million here running a scam. that is damn surprising. military intelligence? how much intelligence does it take not to buy a $3000 camera from a shady retailer?? clearly saying "never buy an electronic gadget in NY because I got ripped off there once and it looks like the guy who wrote this piece did too" is somewhat idiotic. you do realize there are millions of people each day who successfully purchase goods and services from legitimate businesses througout our fine state and fine city. i dont know if you've heard, we're a busy little spot up here. while i feel for the author of this piece, if one or two stores are selling a super high end camera for MUCH LESS than everyone else, it MUST make you think, especially if you are in the photography world. best case scenario is grey market / stolen goods, and thats a dirtbag thing to be involved in anyway. this is hardly breaking news. froogle any of the major canon cameras, 20d, 5d, 1d etc - BestPriceCamera comes up first in the google ads, right at the top of the page. SCAM SCAM SCAM - king of scams. try googling plus the word scam as a previous poster suggested - they use the same hard sell on accessories or i'll cancel your order tactic. why not buy from one of our world famous photo equipment retailers here in Manhattan, like B&H photo. They are usually within dollars of the best price on the internet and its an honest business. stop in sometime and see the conveyor belts and the hasids. stand in line with the television production people from all the network studios on the west side and the professional photograhers and the art school kids. enjoy the city for the day and try not to get ripped off like a country rube again. an internet business does not have to be located in new york to be a scam - dont hate on the whole state because of it. however, i wish spitzer would get off his ass and regin some serious stronglaw down on these shysters who are besmirching our fine names.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous said...

I think I'll just stick to good old B&H Photo Video :-) Yeah they are more expensive than a lot of companies out there, but I can honestly trust them. I also buy my audio gear from them too. I hate scams like this btw, they've permeated the pro-audio market for a while . . . and apparently the photo market is not immune.

7:26 AM  
Anonymous said...

I think I'll just stick to good old B&H Photo Video :-) Yeah they are more expensive than a lot of companies out there, but I can honestly trust them. I also buy my audio gear from them too. I hate scams like this btw, they've permeated the pro-audio market for a while . . . and apparently the photo market is not immune.

7:26 AM  
Anonymous said...

Sorry dude, but you're just a pissy little whiner who has no idea about the life of a NYC-based retailer. They don't have real-time inventory systems that automatically remove things from their site, etc.

Also, your expectation of shipment in less than 24 hours is way unreasonable. My family runs a website in addition to our retail stores. If anyone like you called up pissing and moaning about an order that was so obviously a sweet deal, we would have cancelled your order and told you to go fuck yourself.

The guy probably did have several on hand, and at that price, probably had more buyers than cameras. As any good businessman would do, he sold them to the highest bidders first, and probably was intent upon shipping your camera to you at the first available opportunity.

Just because something is for sale on a website DOES NOT imply it will be shipped within milliseconds of the order being placed, and you sir, are a complete jackass for even suggesting this should be the case. You are a prime example of why blogs will ultimately make no real difference in free speech...too much noise not enough signal.

7:27 AM  
SilentBob said...

Have you contacted the Better Business Bureau?

7:27 AM  
Anonymous said...

Yes indeed, contact the State Attorney General's office and report this. Please post your results to us!

7:28 AM  
Anonymous said...

You can find out a lot about this company by checking with http://bbb.org
Like their address, the stores real name, the owners name, the coutleess people they have ripped off.
The store is a shame, really bad stuff.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous said...

I once contacted a camera/electronics retailer in NY. Thought they were rude and did not make a purchase. I have heard of similar problems with these vendors in NY, so I don't shop any store in that area.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous said...

Who is up for annoying them through the live chat function on their site ?

7:38 AM  
Dustin said...

i would suggest linking to yahoo's feedback form so anyone who is willing can fill out a complaint for ya ;)

7:39 AM  
Anonymous said...

He's not a lawyer... Threatening to sue is a liable action.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous said...

From the BBB:
"Based on BBB files, this business has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau because it failed to respond to one or more complaints."
They have a total of 89 complaints in the last 12 months.

7:46 AM  
Brian said...

I had this happen to me about four years ago with a company that was based in New York. Unfortunately, I do not remember their name.

I ordered a digital camera to give to my mother as a birthday gift. My father insisted on ordering from the lowest priced place he could find on the internet.

Sure enough, they called me to verify information about the credit card. Then they tried to sell me all sorts of accesories which I turned down. I asked them while on the phone if the camera would ship that day and they told me that it would. Then they called my father in a different state and tried to sell him the accessories which he turned down as well.

Then a few hours later I get an email notification that the camera is on back order. I called the company and quizzed them about the situation and asked how it is on back order when they told me earlier in the day it was going to be sent that day.
Fortunately, I did not have the time to wait on a backordered camera. So, I told them to cancel the order, which they did not want to do. I told them that if they charged my credit card I would report them to the credit card company and the appropriate agencies such as the BBB. I immediately called the credit card company and informed them of the situation.
They told me they could not do anything until the card was charged, but they assured me that I could contest the charges.

Then I ordered the camera from egghead.com or newegg.com (which ever it was at that time). I had to pay an extra $50 or so, but it was the best money spent on that camera. The order came through on time without any hassles.

I would be very wary of any retailer trying to sell electronics for a lower price than the average price you find at several reputable dealers. The bottom line is that they want to stiff you with high priced accessories and warranties and they may even send you a copycat version of the electronic device if they send it at all.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous said...

Check out the BBB report at
http://www.bbbnewyork.org/businessreports/Default.aspx?id=1026

7:48 AM  
Anonymous said...

Yahoo! Shopping's reviews are all user based and cumulative, so while in principle this is good and fair it's also possible for a merchant like this to have people they know sign up for fake Yahoo! accounts and post positive feedback to make themselves look good.

The only other explanation I can come up with for why they have so many positive reviews is maybe they do behave if you order small cheap products so that the majority of customers will have a positive impression and the few people that don't follow all of their 'rules' get shafted but don't represent a majority opinion.

Have you ever been to a restaurant where they have specific sandwiches on the menu, and most of them are great, but if you try to order anything different from what they want you to have they tear your head off?

If most people unthinkingly say yes to the additional battery and memory card questions then maybe they think they're getting good service.

Sad but possibly true.

7:52 AM  
Brooks Filmond said...

I called up PriceRitePhoto and asked to speak to Steve Phillips. After being put on hold for several minutes, I was connected with someone that claimed to be Mike(?) Phillips, Steve's brother. He said that Steve was in a meeting with the CEO and couldn't be disturbed. I told him that I wanted to confirm the quotes that Steve had made for an article I was writing for the local paper. He took down my information and told me that their attorneys and the Feds would be calling me back. I asked him when they'd call since I had a 5pm deadline and he said they'd call back "well before then". I bet I never hear back from them.

I suggest that everyone reading this blog should make a phone call and ask to speak to Steve.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous said...

of course this idiot Steve Phillips will probably go away for a day or two and come back as "Joes Awesome Online Cameras" or something like that and scam another 100 people before an astute consumer like TH goes public. Thanks TH for the heads up

8:02 AM  
Hob said...

WoW! What a hightmare. I have purchased quite a bit via the net and haven't had much trouble, never mind something like this. I hope things work out for you and these bastiges get some payback-keep us posted as to any further developments, ok?
HQ -Sacramento,Ca.

8:04 AM  
Taavi Taijala said...

Hey, will someone delete the anonymous post a few lines up. He's obviously from the company in question.

And for the record Mr. Anonymous, it wasn't the fact that the camera wasn't being shipped, it was that he was told OVER THE PHONE that it would be, and then of course he was threatened.

I don't think he'd care too much if it was delayed a bit, but to be told by a rep it'd ship out and then not have that happen. That's pretty low, and definitely worth complaining about.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous said...

Their Better Business Bureau report shows a history of all the same problems...

http://search.bbb.org/viewreport.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbbnewyork.org%2Fbusinessreports%2FDefault.aspx%3Fid%3D1026&recordid=1026.0121&type=name

8:07 AM  
giovannione said...

This blog was defintely helpful, they are going in the never buy from catagorey next to sony. This is largley why I stick to only a few non-direct sellers, I like the way ubid does business, yahoo shopping and ebay always seems to be a crap shoot. I hope you called the feds on them.

-- johnny

ps great tip eddy!

8:16 AM  
Anonymous said...

You should immediately contact the New York State Attorney General's office and file a complaint for deceptive trade practices against the company. I would give them the web address to this blog, so that they can follow up on others with the same complaints. This is the ONLY way to shut them down. Posting negative comments on the internet is good for other potential buyers/victims, but the real way to deal with it is to involve the proper governmental authority. What they are doing is a crime, and it is taken seriously in New York.

8:18 AM  
rimz said...

bbb report

8:23 AM  
Anonymous said...

You should contact the New York Attorney General's office:

http://www.oag.state.ny.us/

8:24 AM  
Anonymous said...

I think the fact that New Yorkers in general are a bunch of rude bastards is enough for me. This just proves that you should really never trust anyone from NYC.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous said...

Wow! You just saved me. I was about to order with these guys! Thanks!!!!

8:27 AM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks for the good information. You saved my butt.

8:31 AM  
djinn said...

I will echo what somebody else said: they have your credit card information.

Only I would not recommend that you check your receipts in the coming years. Rather, I would report it as missing and have your CC provider invalidate the card as soon as possible.

Cheers!

8:31 AM  
Anonymous said...

They are also operating as HotBuysElectronics and I had a very similar situation when I purchased a Nikon D70 from them last year. They called back and told me there was a problem and despite their website saying that the camera was a USA camera they informed me that the camera was actually a gray market camera. I told them I did not want it and they said for $20 more they could sell me the USA camera. They said it was in stock and would go out today so I agreed. Three days later a gray market camera arrived. I called them and was treated very rudely with threats similar to what you faced here. I told them that I was going to be visiting the New York area soon and told them I would be stopping by and they got very angry and insisted that they do not have a retail store and that I could not come there and if I tried they would have me arrested. I found this company on Froogle and they have hundreds and hundreds of positive ratings which I now see are fake. Apparently they are using bots or something to generate fake positive ratings.

8:40 AM  
Anonymous said...

Welcome to... Brooklyn! :P

I know it sucks, but I can almost imagine the guy's face. I know exactly the kinda guy you're dealing with. I would recommend being a little careful, especially if he's got a fixation on you. You've got a life, but they don't...

8:44 AM  
Anonymous said...

Seems to me that charging you $100 without your consent is illegal, and would be akin to wire fraid. Which would mean that if you're not in NY state, it would be a federal case. (IANAL, of course)

8:53 AM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for writing this. I've been watching the pricing of the Canon Digital Rebel EOS XT bodies on Froogle, as a Christmas present for myself. I've been sorely tempted to buy it from these guys, since they come up cheapest on Froogle, but, of course, there's no danger of that now.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous said...

I tried to email there sales department to complain and it came back as a non existent address.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous said...

I tried to email and complain about there customer support to their sales dept. it was rejected as an non existant email account.

9:03 AM  
Duff said...

Don't expect anything to come of this. Those kind of camera shops are notorious in NYC... once the heat gets gets turned up, they liquidate the company and reincorporate with a new name.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous said...

Anytime a merchant calls for your credit card security number you should raise your guard. If it's not you placing the call then GIVE NOTHING.

That was blatent BS and an attempt to upsell you on other stuff.

The merchant is not suppossed to have that number. It is intended to be electronically passed over to the 'processor' not the merchant. Nor is the merchant suppossed to write it down or save it in a system.

What you should do is contact Visa or whomever you used and let them know about their credit card practices. Ask the credit card company if there actually was an issue with the security code and tell them you suspect this merchant is using that as an excuse in an attempt to get you to retroactively add to you order.

9:24 AM  
Nunya said...

Totally dugg this story.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous said...

Mafia-like tactics? I think maybe the truth is closer to actual mafia tactics. As in this store is probably a front for the russian mob. Don't be suprised if you wake up with a cossack's head in your bed tommorrow.

9:33 AM  
Nick said...

Take these shitheads down.

9:36 AM  
pyrolyte said...

You used a credit card. You have the power of CHARGE BACK. Use it! Just tell the merchant you are dissatisfied with the purchase and want a complete refund. Then write a letter to the credit card company and they can never charge you for that item.
No interest. Nothing.

9:43 AM  
Rorschach said...

i believe the previous poster is on the right track here. these sorts of scams are not about selling you a grey market camera body and then selling you the lens, cable, software and manual separately at inflated prices. What they are really after is your credit card info, including and especially the security code. many, if not most of these so-called retailers are nothing of the sort, they are identity thieves and this is another form of Phishing. Run, do not walk, to the phone and call AMEX RIGHT NOW and have them cancel that card and issue you a new one. Then contact the NY Attorney General, The Secret Service (they, not the FBI have jurisdiction over credit card fraud) and turn these B@st@rds in. This is probably a Russian Mob scam.

9:45 AM  
VOS IZ NEIAS said...

job well done

9:46 AM  
Joe Banks said...

I'm from Brooklyn and the sad fact is that this guy will close up shop tomorrow - I'm sure he's terminally "going out of business" and will reopen with a new company name and DBA. The police can only close down the shop but they can't stop this scumbag from opening another business the day he leaves court. There should be some kind of Meagan's law for creeps like this.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous said...

Not sure if you've seen the link before, but someone went out of their way to photograph the storefronts of Brooklyn photo shops. There's an extensive collection, which includes the sad little place you've had so much trouble with. Enjoy.

Brooklyn Store Fronts

PriceRitePhoto

9:48 AM  
Maqo said...

Well done! Cathartic, isn't it? :)

10:05 AM  
Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with cameras or with priceritephoto.com, it does have to do with Yahoo shopping. I obtained a link through this service to an electronic components supplier in CA and placed an order with them based on price...
Very similar experience all the way through contacting the states AG's office and filing a complaint.
Thanks goodness for Bank of America and Visa who gave me my money back but I will never follow a link from Yahoo shopping again. Lesson Learned!!!

10:05 AM  
Virgil Vaduva said...

PriceRitePhoto.com is a scam...is just that simple. I almost ordered a Canon XL1 from them but I did my research first...fortunately. The scam is a simple form of phishing and works like this:

1. "Sell" items way below cost to unsuspecting customers.

2. After an order is placed, an individual contacts you and pushes down on you other accessories like memory cards, tripods, batteries, etc, all at outrageous prices.

3. When the sale of accessories and extended warranty fails, the order is not honored and the customer is ignored until he gives up.

The NY police, or the FBI really needs to get involved in this...I have lost count of all the people falling for this - you are just another unfortunate soul who got caught in their trap. Always remember...if the price is too good to be true, then it likely is... :)

10:21 AM  
Anonymous said...

THE CUSTOMER SERVICE NUMBER: +1 888 365 4300

It works from Canada, too! Give 'em a ring, let them know that they are alllllll over the internet as a reknown bait-and-switch scam outfit.

A few hundred phone calls from people across the world and they'll have to give it up.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous said...

I would call AmEx and explain the situation. See if they can prevent this thug from getting paid. Then cancel the order.

10:25 AM  
Rich said...

For those of us that have gone through simular experiences, thanks for exposing these guys.

I had a simular experience with the purchase of a new DLP TV. They posted UPS as the shipper and I paid for overnight shipping(expensive). I get a call the next day and after all the upsale crap(monster cables, ext warranty, etc) they inform me that they won't ship my TV via UPS, but use a third rate discount shipper instead and it would take 2 weeks and cost $170 more!!!!

Anyway, box came beat-to-hell and ended up having to pick it up at the warehouse or have to wait another week. I was sure it wouldn't work. I got lucky and it seems to work fine.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous said...

You should always stick to the companies you have purchased with in the past. I think alot of this could have been avoided just by using the internet and looking over review sites to see if this is a decent company or not. This person you talked to was just trying to force you to buy it and you always have the recourse of calling your credit card company and letting them know what this person said and letting them handle the rest of it.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous said...

So has anyone thought of sending some faxes to them with that whole "make a continuous loop" thing? I wonder how much money they'd end up spending on toner? Perhaps around $2899 worth..?

10:29 AM  
Anonymous said...

I am very leary about buying anything online, mainly because of the scams and how hard it is to really check out the product and return it if it is bad... However you would think that when dealing with a major company like Dell things would go smooth.. Like one of your other commenters, I had a horrible time with them... primarily when ordering thru their India staff, giving me inferior parts ( which were not the ones I had custom ordered) in order to charge me for a 4 year warranty their told me was included.. Long story short, it tooks days to finally get it all straightened out, had to go to the escalation team in the USA in order to right everything. Pain in the a**.. I will say though that they ended up giving me hundreds of dollars of freebies and an almost free 4 year warranty for all of the hassle.. But never again will I do business with them.

10:33 AM  
Anonymous said...

While I'm sure there's a lot of people that will appreciate your blog/efforts, keep in mind that the people you are dealing with if not outright criminals and just a thin layer higher. And while they may not do anything to you, it's quite possible that they have comrades that will kill you or your family without a second thought.

These are Russian mafia types we're talking about. These scumbags are killing each other off in Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia, etc. in numbers that make the good ol' days of American mob violence in Chicago and New York look like a country club picnic.

You are costing them money and trouble. They are not going to appreciate that, most likely in an extreme sense.

I'd recommend that you contact the appropriate New York Police as well as your own local Police and tell them that you have a very real and present threat to your and your family's safety.

Depending on the direct threats made to you you will have a clear case, if there was not a direct threat, you will need to collect as much information that what you did is causing them pain, and they are the type to do something about it.

Keep this in mind in the future please. While you may feel like a Crusader for exposing these scumbags, remember what happened to most of the crusaders.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous said...

WOW! BLOGGING IS SUPER GHEY!

10:43 AM  
Anonymous said...

That's funny I still see them listed on Price Grabber.

10:45 AM  
redpoint said...

Yahoo Shopping ratings are indeed broken. Very easy for merchants to rig the ratings in their favor.

Example: A couple years back I ordered a gift for my sister from a beauty/make-up place based on their good Yahoo rating. The merchant sent the wrong thing, an item that was actually of lessor value. I called them, and was put on hold for unreasonable amounts of time. I was eventually told I would get called back, which never happened. I called back several times, and I always got put on hold.

I eventually gave up and gave them a terrible Yahoo Shopping rating. A manager called me within hours. I suggested that he send out the proper item, and that my sister can send back the wrong one. But he refused. He only offered to credit me the difference.

Then he had the nerve to ask if I would change the Yahoo rating, if he gave me a free gift.

That seemed totally slimey, so I turned him down. He said he would send me a gift anyway. I never received anything.

So basically, these crappy businesses are betting that most customers won't complain about the service. And if you do, then they try to bribe you. Thats how these terrible merchants get good ratings on Yahoo.

10:48 AM  
Anonymous said...

The idealist youth somewhere inside me hopes that the more people hear about these things the more they tend not to buy from Yahoo Stores until Yahoo Stores does something about the problem.

Unlikely though. eBay makes a ton of money off of people selling bootlegs so they encourage it by doing a slap on the wrist at best and refunding the money when they delist a bootleg, not even suspending the account. Let's not even talk about how they don't suspend real frauds as well. It's in eBay's interest to support scammers at their critical mass. Yahoo is probably making a buck off of all these scam stores popping up as well. If they don't want someone to come in and steal their cookie cutter store market, it's in their interest to support scammers.

10:58 AM  
Hayley said...

Thank you so much for the info! I am going to link your site to my own blog in hopes of sparing others the trouble you have experienced.

Keep fighting the good fight...

11:02 AM  
Anonymous said...

I empathise you Thomas. Several months ago I've has a similar situation happen to me when I ordered Canon Digital Elph point-and-shoot camera from www.usaphotonation.com

The following day after the order was placed I got a call from a rep asking to verify card's security code. Then I was offered to order additional accessories (memory card, battery etc), which I said no to. Soon after I got an email saying that my order is delayed because the camera is not in stock. I called the company to ask what was up with that, because when I was ordering the camera it said that it was in stock. Again, I was offered to buy additional accessories. At that point I learned that it wasn't a retail kit, but a camera only, so I asked to cancel my order. Mind you that their website did not mention that it's not a retail kit but a body only. The guy said that my order can't be cancelled because it was already in the system or something like that. I insisted on cancelling my order but he would not want to listen and was being argumentive. Finally my boyfriend got on the phone telling him to cancell my order at once. Soon after I got an email saying that my order was cancelled. My card was never charged anything, thank God. If it has been I would have desputed the charge anyway.

So after this experience I always check the company at www.resellerratings.com and www.bbb.org for store reviews.
I feel that user reviews and posts like this is the only true way to let the consumers know where to shop and where not to shop and to cut off business for these scam artists.

11:06 AM  
hergio said...

Dude, you are getting a HUGE amount of diggers on this. Sweet! We are doing our best to bring him down!

11:08 AM  
Anonymous said...

Below is a customer's comment quoted from resellerratings.com. I think the last part explains how they get so many positive comments:

"I would not suggest buying from these people. They are horrible and rude! First, off I bought a camera from this site and I they called me the next day while I was asleep and decided to keep talking even though they realized I was asleep. They asked me to buy some camera kit and I declined the offer. Then they rudely remarked about how “stupid” I was. After that I decided to cancel my order and they directed me to the supervision where he mocked me and said he would charge my card $50 for being so rude to him and not wanting the camera. It states clearly on their website that their might be a 5% fee of the order if and only if the item has been already shipped. My item was not shipped and he claimed he was going to waive the fee if I wasn’t so “rude” to him. I was so scared I had to cancel my credit card account because he hung up on me and kept reminding me he had my credit card number. This man even claimed that my account could be fraudulent because I sounded “Chinese”. I told him I was not Chinese and he kept saying “You are Chinese!!” This indicates to me this man might also be a racist. Very scary and the whole ordeal put me to tears to be honest, I did not know what was going on. I had to call back a second time and wait almost an hour to reach someone. Where he told me to post three good reviews on sites such as these to get my $50 dollars back. That I did and I now I am telling the truth."

11:16 AM  
Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about this sad story :(

Give them hell... the bastards shouldn't get away with unprofessional threats like that. It's disgusting.

11:26 AM  
InvisiBill said...

Here's some info that I gathered regarding companies who never actually deliver the ordered product. Let these ripoff companies charge your card like they threaten to, then send the FTC after them. Wanted to get this posted somewhere that a lot of people would see it...

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/mailorder.htm
http://www.fraud.org/info/contactnfic.htm

Basically, they have to let you know if they can't ship it within the expected time, and must cancel the order if they can't ship it within a reasonable time. This expected time can be the actual status shown when the order is placed, or general comments like "Most orders ship in 48 hours". If no delivery date is stated, they have 30 days. If they can't ship it to you within this expected time, they have an additional 30 days beyond the original stated date. When they notify you of this delay, you can choose to cancel the order instead of waiting. If they can't ship by the end of the additional 30 days, they must cancel your order unless you specifically tell them not to. The FTC can sue for up to $11,000 per violation of these rules, as well as other costs.

11:31 AM  
Albert71292 said...

I just did a quick search at one of the largest customer complaint sites online, Rip Off Report and came up with no results for PriceRitePhoto. Maybe you should tell of your experience on that website also. It gets a lot of eyes daily.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous said...

There are a wide variety of online detective tools. for a small fee, (no more than $10 usually) you can get a full profile of the company, including a list of any employee who filed w2's, and the listed and verified name of the owner on the business license. Then all you need is a quick search on 411.com. with very little effort, you can have a home phone number, e-mail address, physical address, the name of their spouse, children, some parts of their medical history, any legal convictions... you can make their life a living hell if you want. I don't advocate breaking the law, what you do with the information is your own business.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous said...

Because they currently have a rating of higher then 3 stars on yahoo shopping they are covered under yahoo's Buyer Protection Program.

If you fill out the form at yahoo then yahoo will contact them. if they do not resolve the complaint yahoo delists them.

Check it out:

http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/shop/shop-81.html

11:38 AM  
Anonymous said...

Found a site with pictures of PriceRitePhoto (Not such a high class joint ):

http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/h0121.htm

11:39 AM  
Anonymous said...

I came across this from JimK's site.

As someone who works for a MAJOR bank here in the US, and works in the dispute department...a little word on chargebacks.

A merchant cannot have you sign a waiver to avoid them being chargedback for a dispute. It is simply not allowed. For debit cards, the Federal Regulation is Reg E and for Credit Cards it is Reg Z...as a consumer, I advise anyone to look those up and read them for thier protection and thier rights. Yes merchants have some rights, but consumers have many more when it comes to these disputes. If your card had been charged, not only can you dispute it, the merchant can and will be charged back and would have no obvious course of representment on it. Also, it is illegal to charge for negative feedback. It is not a service that was offered or a product given. Most consumers are not aware of it and get scared and back off. These merchants know that and will use scare tactics to get a customer to "go away". I think you did the right thing in this. And to anyone else reading this...read up on Reg E and Reg Z...they can really help you. Most banks are great at helping also. Some mistakes are made...we are human...but overall, your bank or credit card company is there to act as an advocate for you on your behalf.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous said...

Don't know if this fact affects anything, but I know for a fact that 90% of these Camera stores in Brooklyn are Jewish owned and operated.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous said...

At the idiot above: you are an anti-semitic prick. How could you possibly know that, and what do are you implying?

11:47 AM  
Anonymous said...

I've had bad things happen through ebay but never anything as bad as this. What I learned: Buy everything from a reputable dealer... hence everything I buy coming from cdw.com or newegg.com. Saves me the hastle and worry of whether or not I'll recieve my item.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous said...

PriceRitePhoto
888-365-4300

11:54 AM  
Anonymous said...

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

12:01 PM  
Anonymous said...

BBB.org

They will be glad to help.

12:08 PM  
Kurt said...

You’ve taken some great first steps at protecting yourself and going after them, but there is more that you can and should do:

1. Issue a complaint through the FTC: https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01 Your complaint will be accessible to local and federal law enforcement that may prosecute.

2. Contact their local police department and file charges. Some precincts may not wish to take the complaint, but they have no choice if you press it. It will be best if you provide printouts of the screenshots and emails that you have, as well as a timeline covering all event and phone conversations. The easier you make it for them the more likely they are to follow through with everything. At the least, you want to go after them for fraud, harassment, deceptive trade practices and threat of bodily harm (if they threatened physical harm).

3. Contact their local district attorney and file a complaint with them that references your police repot. You are much more likely to get “action” from the local DA, compared to the state attorney general.

4. File a complaint with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) at http://www.ic3.gov/ The IFCC is a joint partnership with the FBI to investigate internet based crimes.

As the owner of several internet and brick-n-mortar stores, I am appalled by this story and the store’s actions. The internet is a difficult place for the small businessman/woman, just as it is for consumers. It is next to impossible for a small business to keep up with the “big boys” from a technology and real-time inventory standpoint, but we can (and should) make up for that with good customer service and working with customers.

Please do not let this experience stop you from internet purchases from smaller and mid-sized companies. This camera shop is a scam artist, not a normal seller. Stay strong and good luck with future shopping.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous said...

I have learned so much from this post and the comments! There are many on line companies that request the security code now, companies that have always provided great service. I thought they requested the code as a security measure and never thought of it from the opposite perspective.

Thanks to everyone for sharing.

12:19 PM  
loker269 said...

well I just finished contacting all the shopping comparison sites listed on the front page and I encourage everyone else to do so that no one else can be hurt by these people....as stated in update #5 pricegrabber (my favorite comparison shopping site) within a half an hour of my notification of them had delisted all items from the seller and I hope the other comparison shopping sites follow suit.....

12:20 PM  
jon said...

http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/h0135.htm

Now this is pretty disturbing...this is actually what their brick and mortar store looks like....

kinda disturbing.......

12:26 PM  
iceberg said...

Caveat Emptor

Allow me to recount a little episode from my otherwise uninteresting life (ok, I exaggerate a little!) In the begining of February, my parents asked me to help them order a digital camera since they know little from digital cameras and how to obtain one at a good price.

The camera I chose for them is a brand-new model from Sony, called the DSC-T33, an updated and slimmer version of the DSC-T3 which I happen to own. This time around, the camera comes in 4 colors, blue, white, silver and gold. After confirming with my parents, I set ahead to purchase them the blue colored model, and to have it shipped to my dad's office in NJ in order to avoid paying sales tax.

So out I set to all the web's price comparison engines, and I came back with a quote of $379 from a company called A&M Photo World. I go ahead and place the order without any accessories or expedited shipping. I get all the confirmation emails which placate me about recieving my order, and giving me my order number, etc. Everything is OK so far, and I print a copy of the order to leave by my parents house.

The next day everything changes (to be a bit melodramatic). I look up my order online and discover that its been put on hold pending further conversation with one of the company's sales representitives. A voicemail left by my sister sounds somewhat anxious, telling me that some guy called for me from "some camera store". I pick up the phone and dial the company's tollfree number knowing what to expect- the "YoYo store" pitch as perfected by not-so-savvy electronic store operators in the NYC metro area.

His name is "Jeff" and I pretend to be unaware to the order of the proceedings. He begins by telling me that my shipping address is different than my billing address, and that unless I have it on file with the credit card company, it's not going to go through. So I reassure him that all is in order, and before he can get a word in edgewise, I tell him "Alright, I appreciate your inquiring, and have a nice day". This is where he pounced - "Wait!". I pause and cautiously ask "What now?"

Jeff: I noticed that the camera you ordered comes with a battery that only lasts about 5 to 10 minutes. Would you like to purchase a battery at a 50% discount- its only $55 and it will last 2 hours on a charge.

Me: No thank you, I purchased a battery for the camera last week.

Jeff: Oh really? What does it look like?

Me: A rectangular piece of black plastic.

Jeff: Ok, you sure you don't want another one that last 4 hours? We also have another that last 6 hours, but I'm afraid those are on backorder.

Me: (rolling my eyes) No thank you, I think that should suffice.

Jeff:Do you need a memory chip for the camera?

Me: You know it's funny, I already have a 512mb memory stick pro duo for the camera. Is that all?

Jeff: Not nearly. The camera you ordered has an internal lenses, so we can skip the lenses attachments...Did you want to order a camera case for it?

Me: How much is the neoprene slipcase?

Jeff: We have them on sale for $29.99. Would you like to purchase one?

Me: But last week when I was in your store you told me it's only $10! [a blatant lie]

Jeff: Oh, I did? Oh, I apologize, I was looking at the wrong item.

Me: (uh huh, suuuure!) You know what, I don't want one.

Jeff: Ok, now let me tell you something, the camera that you ordered is the Japanese version, and we do have the American version too. Would you like that model instead?

Me: (quickly browsing their website for price and model information) Well, I don't see any two versions on your website. Whats the price difference and whats the difference between the packages?

Jeff: Well not much other than that the American model is packaged here, and you should have an easier time using its warranty if it breaks. And it costs 20 dollars more.

Me: You know what, I just noticed that the camera's price on your website dropped $10 since I ordered it, to $369. Can you give me the new pricing instead?

Jeff: But thats the Japanese(-packaged) model only!

Me: I don't care if its packaged on Mars.

Jeff: Ok, but I can't give you the $10 off since my system doesn't allow that.

Me: So I'll just cancel this order and reorder it, that should do the trick, no?

Jeff: Ok, you can do that...

Me: Nevermind than, give me the neoprene case for free so that we're even.

Jeff: OK, I guess I can do that for you....Now, just so you know, the camera only has a 90-day limited warranty, and if it would break before that you would have to send it to us since its a Japanese model, and we send it Sony's Japanese division, so it could be months before you get your camera back. And once the 90 days are up, the servicing of your camera will probaly cost between $400 to $500 to fix, which doesn't make a lot of sense when the camera costs less than that. Now, our extended warranty only costs $90 and....

Me: (I cut him off) No thank you, I already have protection for that through my credit card company. Is that all?

Jeff: Well unless you need anything else...

Me: No I don't- just make sure I get my slipcase for free.

Jeff: Alright, your total is $414 with shipping.

Me: $414!!? My order total came out to $394 including the $15 ground shipping charges when I placed the order!

Jeff: I'm sorry, I selected the wrong shipping option.

Me: Well make sure you change it back.

Jeff: Ok, your total is now $398.50

Me: (Ok, whatever!) Fine. Are you certain that you have it in stock?

Jeff: The blue model is the "most popular", but we have 5 pieces left, I'll "put it aside" for you.

Me: Thank you, have a nice day.

What exactly is going on? Why am I playing along with these antics? Why have I highlighted and quoted certain keywords? Well starting with the first instance, "Jeff" in this case. Yes, its possible that it's his name, but in the YoYo business, Jeff can also go by the name of Jack, Morris, Joe and Mike depending if he's answering for the sales, shipping, invoicing, packaging, or customer service department when you call. He won't even bothering hiding his voice. Call him "Jeff" when he introduces himself as Francis and hear him stutter on the line, because he gets confused to which role he is playing.

The standard battery that Sony includes last about 90 minutes. If you fall for his ruse and order the 2, 4 or 6 hour battery, he doesn't even touch your package other than to add $55 or $100 to your order amount.

The American and Japanese model is another scam. They only carry the import, grey-market items (it happens to be that the American version of the DSC-T33 is yet to be released.) The import version is always cheaper, and comes with everything in English. If you order the American version, you get the same import box for $20 more.

The bit where I tell him I was in his store was a lie. But 99% of these internet stores are retail stores doing internet business on the side. I don't even know he has a storefront, I simply assumed so, and as you see he fell for it.

The shipping costs is another scam. To send the camera with UPS ground, it costs him about $4-$6. If you select that through their website, it's a minimum of $15. If you do your order over the phone, it's a minimum quote of $19.99. He tried to take on another $19 when he quoted me $414, and probably would still have sent it via UPS ground.

The most popular model/color is whatever your'e buying. The "I'll put it aside" is a reassurance for something they never intend to do.

If you haven't guessed by now, the warranty bit is also a fraud, trust me. These business close one day and reopen as another business the next day.

Now you want to know why I go through all this, after all I could have told him right away that I'm not interested in any accessory or warranty. He would have then been very courteous and assured me it would go out right away, and said goodbye. What would happen though, is that your account and order are blacklisted. You can never place another order with them again. What occurs then is that the item you ordered is "on backorder", and indefinitely. You can call them back for the next 3 months, and they will never have got it "back in stock". At that point, most of those people give up and cancel their order.

This is all because they sell the camera at the cost price. If they don't make a little "PR" or profit, they drop you like a hot potato. This is why I had to go through the entire shpiel. I winced, but allowed the guy to bring the price up from a total of $394 to $398, if only because those $4 were getting me the camera at this very low cost price.

Caveat Emptor!

12:31 PM  
Edward Shepard said...

Here are a couple of photos PriceRitePhoto.com's actual store front: http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/h0136.htm & http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/h0135.htm

12:32 PM  
Anonymous said...

dirty russian fucks

12:38 PM  
Duncan said...

http://www.aviransplace.com/index.php/archives/2005/11/30/digg-users-take-revenge-at-bad-online-store/

12:46 PM  
Steven J. Ackerman said...

ABC News has an article about B & H photo in New York:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1359191&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312

12:56 PM  
Batman said...

As a guy who grew up in Brooklyn, I can honestly say that I never do any business with anyone from Brooklyn or Jersey because there is a high percentage of dirtbags there.

I relaxed this rule a few months ago to buy a used laptop that I just needed for simple stuff. They required me to call to confirm the order and then tried to sell me a higher priced one. I cancelled the order and renewed my vow to never deal with anyone from NYC or NJ.

1:09 PM  
Greg Spira said...

My father ran a photographic accessories mail-order house called Spiratone for many years in NYC, and he considered many of his competitors to be crooks and liars. The exception was B&H, which has always been a first-rate retailer. Adorama doesn't have quite as pure a history as B&H, but it too is generally honest retailer. J&R also has a good reputation these days. Beyond those places, I would be very, very careful about buying electronics/cameras over the web from any NYC metropolitan area dealer.

1:19 PM  
j.verhine said...

I know first hand how unbelievable this kind of harassment is to deal with. I had a *similar* situation where I commented about a website and recieved death threats. This would eventually sever a partnership overnight.

Meet Bill Perkins

Don't underestimate the power of the internet. You'll get your justice!

1:37 PM  
Snarkdog said...

I got scammed by Expressphoto.com. Same deal. I filed a report with the BBB and sent them a letter. They offered to refund me $147. That brought the price of the merchandise I bought down to the industry average.Nothing near their advertised price on their website.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous said...

The two owners of PriceRitePhoto and TheCameraMall dot com are Eduardo Sanchez and Eduardo Lopez. Sounds pretty sketchy to me...

2:08 PM  
Anonymous said...

I reckon one rule of thumb is to only deal with online outfits that are honest about it: there's no need for an online camera store to have a huge warehouse and a dozen staff, so if they're claiming to have ... why?

When you phone/email Foo's Cameras, and speak straight to Foo, and he says "Sure, I'll get that packed this morning and pop it in the mail for you on my way to lunch", that's a good sign.

-----sharks

2:21 PM  
Anonymous said...

This is a very old story. This guy has been doing this for decades. And when one of his online stores gets enough complaints and starts getting investigated he just opens another one under a different name (and of course our government is so corrupt and useless that they find this switch impossible to penetrate).

This guy said the same stuff to my father after calling him up trying to get him to buy batteries and that was a good 3 years ago. I

I just cant believe its taken this many years for everyone on the net to write about it.....

2:25 PM  
Anonymous said...

After dealing with several NYC camera dealers online and by phone trying to buy telescope accessories, I vowed ever to do business with any optics shop in NYC again. It's just too risky. I'm sure there are good ones, but there's no way to find out unless someone you know has done business there before.

2:26 PM  
Never teh bride said...

I worked at such a store once in the billing department. It is standard practise to use the excuse of verifying some billing detail (address, CV2, etc.) to call the customer to encourage him to buy pricey accessories. At such "fine NYC electronics establishments" they typically do not bill you automatically when you make an online purchase. They have someone like me punch in each cc# manually only after they get you to buy more crap. If you refuse to buy more crap, the product will suddenly be out of stock.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous said...

I know it's been said many times, but B&H is a really great place for online camera orders: www.bhphotovideo.com

(I guess I'm responding to the next-to-last comment before mine: "I vowed [n]ever to do business with any optics shop in NYC again. It's just too risky. I'm sure there are good ones, but there's no way to find out unless someone you know has done business there before.")

I've put down about $10K with B&H in the last year on cams and accessories for my small biz, and they have NEVER failed to get my item to me Very quickly and in perfect condition.

Great experience all around. And their prices are great, too.

2:37 PM  
paulsepp said...

I think everyone should call this company and ask the sales clerk what's it's like to work for a company that rips people off. I just did and the answer is pretty cool.

1-888-365-4300

Try it for yourself, it's toll free!

2:40 PM  
Anonymous said...

Check reselleratings before you place an order.

If the price is too good to be true, that's the first clue you should check before you buy.

I don't mind a deceptive business getting negative publicity, but this is also a story about a buyer who was gullible and didn't do his homework.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous said...

we all know someone who has had a bad experience buying an item through ebay. Whilst there are many excellent vendors using this site it's far too easy for crooks to manipulate this service. These idiots know feel they do not hold the legal or moral highground. This is a scam. using ebay is a gamble

2:51 PM  
Adam Guha said...

Sorry to hear about your unfortunate experience. I once bought a refurbished computer only to have it arrive broken, and the company to have completely disappeared. Since I did not use a credit card to pay for it (big mistake), I didn't really have any options unfortunately.

We've ordered from J&R back in the 90's and had good experiences with them. These days I tend to prefer to go into a retailer so I can actually talk to someone face to face about the product, warranty options, etc. Yeah, it might cost more- but that can prove to be fewer headaches later on.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous said...

Anyone have a list of photo mags where these guys advertise? They should be leaned on to remove them and any associated companies. And to make sure they don't pop up in a reincarnation.

2:53 PM  
jf421 said...

one more useful thing...since he has threatened you that the FBI would be calling, you should call the FBI and complain. I believe there are statutes governing such false claims...and the FBI may contact him.

2:53 PM  
dirtgirl said...

Call the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. That is the agency that licenses retail businesses in the City. He'll be up shit creek if he loses his license.

3:10 PM  
ciaron said...

My advice, FWIW, is: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous said...

I can also recommend B&H (I've purchased from both their website and brick and mortar store).

When I lived in New York a few years back I made the mistake of going into one of these shops when I was pricing monitors. I was caught off guard by the pushy sales guy and ended up paying too much for a used monitor.

I'm also sure the camera that was stolen from my wife's luggage in Newark ended up at one of these places.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous said...

I've been through this with them before -- it's their busy time of the year. The scam works best at Christmas time. They sell the body below cost but if you don't order all the accessories at markup then the body is "backordered" until well after Christmas.

They do it every year and they keep several websites running each time.

3:16 PM  
Brian said...

I'm sure this is mentioned somewhere above, but you can't go wrong with B&H. I bought a Canon EOS 20D a few months back and the customer service was really great.

3:19 PM  
Hank said...

> Ed Spira / Spiratone

A blessing on your father's name. I was a mail-order photography kid in the South, growing up in the 1950s and '60s, with no one knowledgeable around to help me, and I was always able to rely on Spiratone for photo gear.

I'm still using my Spiratone electronic flash.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous said...

They probably scam people on sales tax too. Check out this quote:

"For instance, if you purchase items for use in the State of California, USA, you would be charged California Sales Tax. If you live outside the USA, the taxes you pay depend on the country you live in. The tax zones are the various jurisdictions under which you could fall. "

My understanding is that you can only charge tax if you have a physical presence in the state i.e. store, warehouse, etc...

They probably charge tax and then keep it!

3:30 PM  
Anonymous said...

As a professional photographer who has always bought equiptment from PriceRite Photo, to this date I have never had a bad experience with them in the 3 yrs that I have done business with them. I bought a 1DS from them plus I bought a lot of lenses from them. I think that it is unfair that everybody is ripping this company. You guys have no idea if this person is lying. I have learned that you shouldn't judge before you do business with them. I feel that this guy is trying to make a name for himself by killing a company. You guys need a life for ripping a company that you people probably never did business with. This fool who wrote this blog could also be a competitor of them. Well I am going to keep doing business with because I never had a problem with them.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment, Steve Phillips!

3:54 PM  
miscblogger said...

I really hate when people do the bait and switch. It is a really clever trick but it is annoying. It is sorta like black friday sales.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous said...

Have you considered contacted Verisign? If you click on the Verisign seal on their site, it should tell you about the company's Seal. There is a Report Seal Misuse button on there. On of Verisign's stipulations for misuse is "The seal is being used to promote phishing or illegal activities" We should all report is. I think thousands of reports would get a Verisign response!

4:06 PM  
Anonymous said...

>>Anonymous said...

As a professional photographer who has always bought equiptment from PriceRite Photo, to this date I have never had a bad experience with them in the 3 yrs that I have done business with them. I bought a 1DS from them plus I bought a lot of
>>>

HAHAHAHA!!! What a bunch of fuck wits! You honestly believe that we don't know who posted this crap?!

Get a clue morons. I hope this is costing you big time!

4:07 PM  
Anonymous said...

Excuse my misspelling in the previous post. It should read: Have you considered contacting Verisign.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous said...

What a perfect example of how people have completely lost touch with the FIRST AMENDMENT. The founding fathers made it first for a reason, yet it's always forgotten by people when you actually try to exercise it.

4:09 PM  
Matthew said...

Wow. Thanks for your informative review! I ordered a Mini-DV camcorder a while back from a place in New York, so I can somewhat relate to your situation. Thanks for keeping the web community informed about merchants like this.

4:12 PM  
Administrator said...

http://digg.com/links/Behind_the_scenes_at_Apple

4:13 PM  
Anonymous said...

Sorry about your epxerience, but you obviously didn't do your homework before ordering form this place. There are literally dozens of these so-called camera shops, a large majority of them in Brooklyn, exploiting various scams like this one and others (selling non-US products that don't come with any warranty, for example). This has been reported on exptensively before, and one guy even went around a photographed the storefronts of most of these places, which usually looked like abandoned buildings. Buyer beware!

4:16 PM  
Der_General said...

Unfortunately this is often par for the course with the big east coast dealers. I am also an amateur photographer and am fortunate to have an excellent locally-owned chain in my city that I go to for processing & accessories, but they just can't compete with the prices of bodies & lenses offered by the high-volume mail order houses (they will match prices locally, but not against mail-order). I usually stick with B&H, they seem to be the most reputable...

4:18 PM  
AnDy631 said...

That sucks Thomas--I hope you get it all figured out. I plan to learn from your mistake and never buy cameras online from NYC. What a bunch of pricks.

Andy.

4:27 PM  
Me said...

I understand the service was unacceptable and his response was psychotic, but I wonder why you told him you were planning to write an article about it? Was it a threat? Were you trying to intimidate him to remedy the situation? Were you warning him for his own good? It seems to me it was a weak threat that he escalated exponentially.

4:31 PM  
Anonymous said...

"I wonder why you told him you were planning to write an article about it?"

What, do you prefer not letting people know when you write critical things about them?

4:40 PM  
brem said...

Good for you.

But didn't your little inner light and alarm system tell you: too good to be true, must be a scam?

It is WELL KNOWN among digital photographers that online stores uses this technique as a scam.

I can only be happy that another one will bite the dust, but come on people... if you can't afford a camera, don't fall for the scam!

Sheesh.

4:44 PM  
Gaijin Biker said...

I strongly doubt that that guy is an attorney. Acting that way could get him disbarred. I hope he gets what's coming to him.

4:52 PM  
american edit said...

GOOD FOR YOU!!! this story is unbeleivable. email this to everybody you know, not inly should this store be slammed,, and hawk be aplauded for spreading this story, but its become an interseting internet phenomenon. Gizmodo'd, boing's, dugged nearly 5000 times, (I DUGGED IT! and its now number 1) engadeget'd i think, and floated through the blogosphere it is cool! POST AMERICAN EDIT!!! ITS GREY TUESDAY RERUN!!

5:01 PM  
BWG said...

Sorry to hear you had so much trouble.

I live in Hong Kong, and when I went online to check camera prices in the U.S. for comparison, I noted numerous negative reviews of PriceRitePhoto as well as the other two companies you mentioned.

"Too good to be true" kept running through my mind as I checked out their sites.

In the end, I was able to purchase most of my gear locally at slightly better prices, but I did find a nice lens at B&H Photo at a much cheaper price - even with shipping.

Thanks for warning other consumers!

5:03 PM  
Nabeel said...

i am glad u stepped up when it came to this. After reading ur post I will never shop at PriceRight.

What a looser guy that Philip dude is .. damn .. is his email listed on that website? Someone should send this link to that guy so he can understand that what his actions led too ..

I am glad that pricegrabber removed priceright from their listings.

5:10 PM  
Anonymous said...

I dont think anyone would read this, but since i read the article i tried going to all the rating websites and wrote the worst comments i can think of... i hope this stops people from going there!

5:14 PM  
furrybut1 said...

wow you people are so funny, why dont u grab some balls and get out to this company, if they fucked ytou hard. go there andnfuck them back. dont be pussys and fuckn talk to about it behind there back. go to there office. if your not gonna do that then your all just a buncha little girls so i recommend you get a life and a set off balls or call your mommy to get the mean old man named steve phillips away.. boo hoo you little girl. suck it up. get a life. im sure u could find something to to besides right up shit.. get down there man!

5:20 PM  
furrybut1 said...

hey so you got scammed?
BIG DEAL! People get scammed all the time, why don't you cry to you're mommy instead. Seems thats what you should do. Its not like they charged your card or anything. Your just a big baby who can't stand up for himself. So a suggest from me, get a life and cut it out with your bullshit and stop being a little girl. If your really mad, go down there and beat their ass.. if you're not gonna do so, then go cry to you're mommy because you aren't going no where with your life. Personally, I wouldnt buy anything under retail cost. you're the idiot. there is always a catch. I GUESS YOUR JUST AN IDIOT!

5:25 PM  
Anonymous said...

#1 digg story of all time!!!

5:29 PM  
furrybut1-kicker said...

Please, refrain yourself. Obviously intelligent discourse is not your forte... maybe you'll understand this: fucking moron!

5:32 PM  
ydnar said...

Thomas Hawk. The internet consumer's hero.

5:32 PM  
Buckets said...

happened to me, too. wawadigital.com. i later did research and found that this is a common thing among camera dealers.

-i'll never buy again from NYC
-i'll never buy anything without checking resellerratings.com

6:02 PM  
Jason said...

furrybut1: Are you kidding me? Look: "You're" is a contraction for "you are" while "your" is an adjective that means "of or relating to you or yourself or yourselves especially as possessor". There's a similar lesson regarding "their", "there" and "they're", but I'll leave you to learn that one on your own.

I'm usually not so impolite as to point these things out, but the fact that you broke the rules of grammar every time you typed a word, compounded with the fact that you appear to be a total douche, made me feel much better about my lapse of manners.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous said...

Tom, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I’m the Director of Marketing at Yahoo! Shopping. I passed this matter along to our Customer Care team for investigation. I’ll also send you an email with my contact information in case you’d like to follow up with me directly.

Ratings and reviews are the primary mechanism we have at Yahoo! to identify merchants with poor service levels and shoddy business practices. We don’t track activity once a customer leaves our site and buys an item from one of our merchant partners. Rather, we rely on our community of consumers to share feedback with each other through ratings and reviews on our site. That system works well, but it’s not perfect. So, we encourage people like you to contact us if they see reviews that are suspect, abusive, off-topic, or otherwise objectionable. Filing a report is easy - just click on the "report abuse" link that you see next to reviews on our site. Yahoo! Shopping Customer Care will look at the review and take appropriate action in accordance with our Guidelines and Terms of Service. I’m not personally familiar with the store you mentioned, but I assure you that we take these issues very seriously.

I hope that this one bad experience with the merchant you mentioned doesn’t cloud your impression of Yahoo! Shopping. Our site features over 100,000 stores and a huge collection of unbiased product and merchant reviews. Feedback from people like you is essential to the comparison shopping services that we provide.

I hope you’ll continue to use our service, especially as you shop for gifts during this Holiday season.

http://shopping.yahoo.com
(shameless self-promotion ;)

~ Joe

6:04 PM  
Anthony Hall said...

Hey you learned the hard way. It has taken me 3 scams over 12 years to realize the simple truth... you SHOULD NEVER BUY ANYTHING CAMERA RELATED FROM NY OR NJ...as far as I can tell the entire business model of these dealers is to set unrealistically low prices and then make up the difference through scams.

The main scams are pressure to buy overpriced and unneeded extras. Grey market product... the most popular scam. The other one I've encountered and have heard from others about is the "in stock" item which is nothing of the sort. The buyer is told that the item is unexpectedly back ordered... meanwhile they take weeks or months to gather enough orders to buy the items that never had in sufficient bulk to match the unrealistic price they set to start with...

I hate these people! All NYC camera dealers are petty mobsters and sleazoids!

6:05 PM  
Anonymous said...

Dude, this is common. As a rule I never buy electronic gear from a NY or NJ store, no matter how good the price seems (J&R is the exception). They do this bait and switch all the time.

Always check out the retailer's ratings at resellerratings.com before buying!

6:06 PM  
Jason said...

Actually, B&H is a NY business, and I buy most of my photo gear there.

6:13 PM  
Anonymous said...

jeez, can't we get visa to remove their ability to process credit card payments?!

6:18 PM  
Jon said...

Yanno, my girlfriend read this on LJ bad service Comm, and it rung a bell. 6 months to a year ago, I was looking for a camera, and stumbled on some website. I dont remember now what it was, but by everything I've read, and of various reviews on pricerunner, I'm pretty sure its the exact same company, as they're doing the exact same things. (calling to confirm, pressuring for sales, "backordering" your camera, etc)

horrible horrible people.

6:21 PM  
Mikhail Capone said...

Wow! I've read quite a few horror stories but this is pretty bad.

6:22 PM  
Anonymous said...

OK, a little help for many of you out there.

1. You read a story about someone getting ripped off.

Do you:
A. Tell them they are stupid for getting ripped off while "expressing your sympathy."
B. Shut the hell up.

The answer is B idiots.
If you answer A. you need to ask yourself this, "Why do I need so badly to feel superior to someone, at least briefly? Am I really really stupid? Do I need therapy? Am I a teenager who should wait a few years before commenting on websites?"

Good luck to you!

6:33 PM  
TomW said...

My mom had the same experience and tried to get them delisted on Yahoo Shopping to no avail. My mother placed a $800 camera order on a Monday. She was called 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
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.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous said...

Furybut1 = steve phillips maybe?

LOL what a luser

6:40 PM  
Anonymous said...

Haha so sorry to hear your story but I think you've got a lot of people on your side now. I sent them an email letting them know I certainly won't be buying any equipment from them.

6:41 PM  
Matisse Enzer said...

Another vote of confidence here for B&H Photo - very good service, been around for decades. When they sell "grey market" stuff they explicitly say so, they have good used department where you can find high-quality used lenses etc.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous said...

Anonymous Idiot said...

"OK, a little help for many of you out there.
"1. You read a story about someone getting ripped off. Do you:
"A. Tell them they are stupid for getting ripped off while "expressing your sympathy."
"B. Shut the hell up."

If you answer B, ask yourself: "Am I such a wuss that I let myself get intimidated by bullies who want to go on scamming?"

The answer is C: Make the scammers' activity known and prevent others from getting ripped off.

7:17 PM  
Horseonovich said...

Hi - My name is Tom Horseonovich Colligan, and I saw this story at www.cruel.com. I just want to say that I feel for you, man. I have been abused by people at Cruel.com before. They sent me a pizza that I had to pay for, told everyone where I live, and never fail to point out that I am a bit overweight. They are not nice, and I hate myself because of it. I have a putrid fat body, yes - but I have feelings too. - Best of luck to you,

Horseonovich

7:23 PM  
Anonymous said...

I won't have a futon delivered to my house anymore. They send some seriously shady characters to deliver stuff like that. Some of these Russian guys(i live in Brooklyn too) came to deliver a futon. They said it was part of what I'd already paid for to have it assembled so I said okay. As they were assembling it they kept asking me inappropriate questions about my belongings and what I was browsing on my computer. Then the Alpha character asks me "did you hear about the dead body they found a few blocks from here?" I said no. So he's kind of elaborating on the story and tells me it was in the newspaper etc. By that point I was concerned and was asking him for more information. He let it go for quite a long time, then he says:"Yea - that was our boss who did it - he doesn't like when he doesn't get his money" and he continued to laugh. Oh, I see - you were kidding - I said. Good thing I've already paid

When they were finished, without having exited the house yet, one of them glaring at me with his head tipped forward, "don't you have tips for nice guys?". I said "of course" but it was obviously intended to be another threatening remark. I was ready to tip them as they left the door as is normal custom but they wanted to bring it up right there in my living room as they both made faces at me. After I gave them 7 bucks they snorted and made a remark and told me they'd take the box and plastic out to the trash for an extra charge. I said no thanks, I'd do it myself. They didn't look happy about that and glared at me all the way out. They acted like bad guy, mob characters in a scary movie!

I guess I got mugged in a sense? I dunno - but watch the people who enter your house - plumber, delivery whatever - we've had things stolen too.

Those delivery guys told me they were Russian and the futon place they work for is the one in Greenpoint behind the keyfood on McGuiness. Watch out for those guys!

7:23 PM  
Studio4F said...

As a pro photographer and a frequent equipment buyer/renter I wanted to clarify the term "grey market". I only buy from B&H, and if you buy grey from them, it is covered by their warranty. Same terms, different "ship to". You send it to them for repair/replace instead.
Link: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist.jsp&A=getpage&Q=GreyMarketStatic.jsp
If you see a better deal than B&H, be wary. They have the best arrangements with the manufacturers in the world.
The only other point that needs mentioning is that grey mkt products are meant for sale in markets that use metric measurements, so markers on lenses etc will use meters rather than feet, and may only show numbers with no indication of unit of measurement. This has lead to a lot of frustration to beginning photographers.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous said...

furrybut1's use of your & you're is pretty funny. "why don't you cry to you are mommy instead." minus the question mark...

7:31 PM  
Anonymous said...

The sad truth is that once their original name is tarnished beyond repair, they will only assume another. Scum always floats to the surface.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous said...

Ha, its great how they have an ad on their site saying:

"Want a FREE AC Adapter or LCD Screen Protector? All you have to do is click here and post a review online of your shopping experience with PriceRitePhoto."

And then links to Yahoo shopping, PriGrabber, etc.

" To qualify for FREE ITEM you must post a Review on top 3 Sites. To qualify for both items you must post a review on all sites..
After Your Reviews have been posted, please copy and paste the reviews from All Search Engines and send them to reviews@priceritephoto.com"

7:49 PM  
Bob said...

Just to reinforce other posts along this vein: there are very respectable electronics stores operating in NYC that have storefronts to go along with their online business: B&H, J&R, Tekserve to name a few. There are also many of the "Brooklyn" stores that do deliver at very low prices. It would be a mistake to generalize based on this (very bad) experience.

8:01 PM  
EDgAr H. said...

You got 223 comment, 5000 something hits on Digg... You did get somekink of revenge !! =D

Good for you !

8:01 PM  
Anonymous said...

i thought you might get a kick out of this. i went to that site thru the link i saw here, and take a look at the shopping cart at the top right of the screenshot i took. i have NEVER been to this site, and i assure you i did NOT just fill up a cart for a joke. i welcome someone else to click the link to their site here and see what happens. here is a link to the screenshot i took.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v348/john13901/priceritebull.jpg

seleman_1@yahoo.com

8:02 PM  
Anonymous said...

the url for the pic got cut off. i will post it again.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/
v348/john13901/priceritebull.jpg

just copy and paste it to see the screenshot.

seleman_1@yahoo.com

8:05 PM  
Anonymous said...

I would guess that this camera store is just a front for the Russian mob. Odds are, nothing will ever happen to them, (which is why they are so blatently inviting federal investigation).

Why won't anything happen to them? Because we live in a country that has dismissed organized crime as a fact of life and has a wink and a nod agreement with these crooks.

How many major crime syndicate busts have you seen in the last decade?

Wake up America; you've been sold out by BOTH parties. They're looting this country because they KNOW that our way of life will change forever as technology makes mass destruction easier for all.

America, how did you like being pillaged today by your career politicians? Be sure to vote Democrat or Republican in 2006 please.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous said...

If you want to make this company squirm, post this email address to some other forums.

***

remote-printer.PriceRitePhoto_Sucks/AllOverTheWWW@18883756700.iddd.tpc.int

***

That's all one line, no spaces.

Every email that gets sent to that email address is sent to their fax machine. At least, that's the theory anyway. Dunno if it actually works or not.

Feel free to use this email address instead of your own. Oh look, I just won an Xbox CrashCity... And it's asking for my email address. Oh, coolsavings wants one too? Awesome...

8:10 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thank you Thomas for posting your bad experience with PriceRitePhoto. This remind of another "bad" merchant that I had confronted with: Broadway Photo. Look at their advertise prices on Videomaker magazine and Popular Photography magazine you will notice their price are always ridiculous low. Lately, I called them for a Canon Powershot Pro1, and had had the same problem like yours. They asked me to buy an extra battery (I already got a Canon G5 that uses the same battery), then asked me for compact flash memory, then extended warranty, when I refused everything he asked, he flatly told me the product was out of order.
This Broadway Photo has another store with the exact way of dealing with orders (i.e. we have to buy their kit which in turn cost more than a "non-kit" from a "regular" store).
By the way, my favorite stores are: B&H, Adorama, Tristates, Smile (they went bankrupted few months ago). these stores I deal for over 14 year with no problem whatsoever. They are all very honest, reliable, though the way they talk might scare some of you.

8:10 PM  
Mike Panic said...

epinions and resellerratings can be a huge help in situations like this. I run a site called iPhotoForum.com and like the name suggest, it is a photography forum. There have been several people who have tried to order from shady Brooklyn camera shops with similar results, sad to say. There is also a website that has cataloged what these storefronts actually look like, its rather impressive to see the list and extent that this person has gone to. Link is somehwere in the forums.

In any event, stick with larger online companies, check Canon's official website to see who they say are offical retailers in your area, or pay the slightly higher price to buy it locally to avoid all hassles with this sad situation.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous said...

I ran into the same type of issue with about 3 vendors selling mid- range video cameras. They were interested in selling me the accessories, but not the camera. I had to cancel 3 orders before I gave up, and paid more at a reliable dealer for the camera.

I have never run into this particualr scam except for camera purchases. Not sure why.

Good luck and keep posting the updates.

8:25 PM  
Anonymous said...

I've got to say, I think these types of stories/lessons are especially important now, around the holiday season. I know plenty of young people who have gotten these camera type deals from their parents, w/ weird memory cards, bad cases, and no lenses. The parents didn't know better, and that's what their kids (most photography students) asked for... In an age when many, many people are still sort of internet shopping illiterate, we have to do everything we can to make sure people know about scams, and know what's right, and what's definitely not. Typically, good deals only go so far, and no amount of price break is worth even more hassle this holiday season.

8:43 PM  
Leo said...

Whoa, shady stuff.

Note to self: never give out a cc's security code over the phone.

8:46 PM  
Nicholas Bedworth said...

This post has been removed by the author.

8:55 PM  
Nicholas Bedworth said...

The heavy-handed attempts to sell unneeded accessories, worthless extended warrantees, and so forth are typical for the New York City camera trade. It's a really low-rent business...

At least Abes of Maine is reliable, honest, handles credits without a fuss, and has been in business for, what, 40 years.

As to calling your boss, what a bizarre approach. Presumably the vendor is involved in some kind of criminal scam, and his extreme behavior suggests that he was terrified that he had an articulate and well-connected customer who was going to expose them.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous said...

Wow. I once had a vaguely similar experience here in Australia where I ordered an XBOX game via an online electronics store (I did it online because I hadn't been able to find the particular game in any stores). Similarly, the website told me that the item was in stock and that it would ship within 2 days.

Well, 2 weeks later, I still had not recieved anything, although my card had been charged. After checking my order status, it advised me that the order was "shipping". Maybe it was coming from the far side of the moon.

Because the purchase was only around $100, I didn't think too much of it and opted to wait.

Another week later, I emailed their customer service centre, and received no reply. After a couple of days of lonely emails I called the company and got a recorded message to the tune of "all ou operators are out... try again later".

Not being a complete idiot, I smelt a rat. So I wrote another email stating that I want to cancel the order and have a full refund, otherwise I'll be reporting this with the ACCC (an Australian Government consumer watchdog) and within an hour I received a reply saying that I'd been given a full refund, with the receipt attached, and that they apologised that the item was "out of stock" even though the site clearly stated that it was in stock (the site even regularly updated the stock levels).

Although this was only a $100 purchase and not a $3000 camera, my advise is that if it's a major purchase, do your homework, or go in-store. Believe me, I love the convience of online shopping, but there are some times when you just have to get in your car and trek across town.

I also noticed that one person responded to your story saying that they'd been asked for their security number (after they'd already given it). NEVER ever give this number to anyone. It's easy for someone to get your credit card number, but not so easy to get the security number, and it's all someone needs to start using your card online.

There was a big scam here in Oz where "representatives" from Master Card were calling card holders to confirm their security numbers (and not "Is this your number? Yes or no" but "Can you tell me your number"). I received such a call, and when I asked that seeing they're my credit card company, shouldn't they already have that information on record, the call abruptly ended.

So the moral of the story is that threatening to get your watchdog involved (I don't know what the US equilevant is) generally gets results.

And one last thing to my afternoon procrastination. I came across this link for C&A Marketing aka PriceRitePhoto aka Camera Mall:

http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/h0136.htm

I think you'll all agree that it looks like nothing less than a reputable company.

Chris

9:06 PM  
estarz said...

There are only a couple of NYC shops I trust! I remember back in the day checking all these camera shops in shutterbug and getting excited with some of the pricing. Only to learn about Gray market products! Anyhow its great now with the net...the info is quickly available.

Sorry to hear about your experience but I have always been weary of buying from NYC shops...all except a few.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous said...

just emailed them from my russian account asking how they like being criminal / scammers among other fun questions :)

9:39 PM  
Tartarfan said...

You have my support. I will spread the word in Southern California to all I know not to use these criminals.

I had a similar story, which was corrected after I contacted the FBI's Internet Fraud Department via there website.

Give it a try, and also the BBB of new York.

Good luck to you!!

10:17 PM  
Aaron said...

I feel your pain, I went through a similar hassle over a 35mm body a few years ago. Kudos to you for going public though. In the end I went with Cameta camera (which someone above also recommended) and had an excellent experience w/ great price. My only dealings with them was the one body (Nikon n80) several years ago, but for what its worth I was very pleased.

10:27 PM  
Annie Tran said...

This post has been removed by the author.

10:35 PM  
Annie said...

I am an employee for a "Mom & Pop" camera shop in Oregon. We have actual store locations and have been in business for the last 35 years. I have personally sold two of the Canon EOS 5D's, and helped sell another 2 for my manager. We have it priced as competitively as we can with other AUTHORIZED Canon dealers. We also deal with lots of customers who price shop online for smaller cameras who have also been screwed over. The most common issue I've encountered is that the customer gets the camera online, saving an average of $30, but still has to pay for shipping, and in the end still has to pay for basic accessories that are normally supplied with the camera. Some of these online resellers will "white box," or strip cameras of necessary accessories to get you to buy the camera. Other sellers will only sell you the camera at the lower price if you buy all of the extra accessories they recommend with it.

My 2 cents about this is that you should be buying from an actual camera store that has a good reputation. More importantly, buy from someone you trust. In most cases, "if a deal looks too good to be true, then it's not good" so that saying goes.

The company I work for has a website, although it's not maintained as well as it could be. You still have the option to call our 1-800 number to talk to someone at our office and order via phone, which we have had people do -- and best of all, we charge no tax. If there are any questions or issues, you are able to call us (the company or an individual rep) and we do our best to help you out.

Just some food for thought. Thank you for this eye-opening report on one of internet camera "retailers."

By the way, I did mean a store that specializes in selling cameras when looking for a camera, especially a small business "Mom & Pop" shop. Chances are very good that any rep you talk to will know about the camera, how to use, and how to get you one, WITHOUT ripping you off. Plus, you get the added satisfaction of have live human interaction if you have any questions. I can tell you BestBuy, CircuitCity, OfficeMax, OfficeDepot, Costco, etc. (the big name department stores) have been known to pull "bait and switch" scenarios as well, but they protect themselves with disclaimers that the item is "limited to stock on hand," which means they'll sell you something else as soon as you're in the store.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous said...

I am quite sorry to hear about this sickening abuse. It is wonderful to see how you stuck up for what you knew is correct, and reported him to the Attorney General's office. :)

Also, this story has reached the ranks of Slashdot! The News is getting out! You will be getting flooded soon. ;)

10:50 PM  
Anonymous said...

Great job there chief. Next time save everyone the drama. A tiny bit of research before your purchase would've saved everyone one the hassle: http://www.resellerratings.com/seller8613.html

10:57 PM  
Anonymous said...

Took the freedom of posting your story on my website http://www.400iso.com ... We need to spread this story to avoid anybody else to get scammed by these people. Thanks for sharing !

Fred @ 400iso.com

10:58 PM  
Anonymous said...

That is really unfortunate. I am sorry you had such a miserable experience with them.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous said...

shoulda used B&H!they are about the
only ones who are not douchebags.

11:08 PM  
Robert Marini said...

well, judging by their location in brooklyn i'm not entirely sure i'd have bought anything from them myself... sunset park stores aren't exactly known for ethical business practices.

trust me, if this guy has any ties to the fbi its probably because their investigating him ;-)

11:15 PM  
Anonymous said...

leave reviews on the sites they link to:

http://www.priceritephoto.com/priceritephoto/offer.htm

11:29 PM  
Anonymous said...

Just to add here another sad story. I purchased a $700 digital camera in 2001 as a wedding present for my brother from one of these New York internet camera shops. Went thru the same "up-sell" swindle attempts and deceptions. Finally got the thing, shipped to me in a very large box, with the camera package (small box) bouncing around inside with absolutely NO PACKAGING material! Thankfully, it still worked. I had to unpackage and fully check it out myself before wrapping in gift wrap. Didn't want my brother to get a dud gift. Anyway, this crap has been going on for years (at least 4+ by my count) and we must crack down hard and make the crooks pay by exchanging info here on the net and getting the authorites to go after known scammers in a big way. The most leverage we have as consumers is probably to publically shame the big semi-endorser of these guys internet shops (Yahoo in this case) into revoking their affiliation. It will cripple the scammers operation and kill some roaches at the same time. P.S. Always check epinions and resellerratings sites before buying from an unknown. And don't ever let techno-lust keep you from making these checks first. Anyone on earth can post a price on the internet. That doesn't mean they aren't a liar.

11:33 PM  
Petrifiedcow said...

http://www.priceritephoto.com/priceritephoto/offer_new.htm


They offer free accessories for anyone who gives them positive reviews on shopping sites, one of the reasons that they nagative reviews are buried under an avalanche of positive.

11:38 PM  
Drew Logan said...

Part of the problem is Yahoo. I have had an incredible bad experience with Yahoo. I had three domains that were do for renewal. The credit card I had originally used had expired. I gave them new credit card info and told them over the phone to only renew one.
They of course renewed all three. I complained about being slammed and they told me that was too bad. I closed the existing domain and asked for my money back and they said no after keeping me on the hook for thirty days. I am now at google and very happy. I admire the man who runs yahoo but I really think he has the pirates of the caribbean working for him. I tried the comptrollers office and was told too bad.

11:41 PM  
Anonymous said...

This is a good time to point out that some credit card companies (like citibank) offer virtual one time use credit card numbers that you can use to make online purchases. This usually works by logging into your companies website and using some tool there to generate a credit card number that maps to your real one. It can only be used once so companies can't keep adding charges or do other illegal bad things.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous said...

I have a tip:
File a complaint regarding this e-tailer to every credit card company that they accept. CC companies are sensitive to potential problems with 'disputes' because you can refuse to pay the bill. They may drop the e-tailer if they get enough complaints.

Also BEWARE that there is a common practice to sell an 'import' version without warrantee or US version accessories. 'Import' versions will have NO Manufacturer warrantee available from the USA distributor !!! Ran into this with my NIKON purchase.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous said...

To the person who said this:

"Just to reinforce other posts along this vein: there are very respectable electronics stores operating in NYC that have storefronts to go along with their online business: B&H, J&R, Tekserve to name a few."

J&R is full of lying, shameless salesman same as anywhere - they just have more selection. I h8 that fuggin place.

11:51 PM  
Jiri said...

Hi, I have been shopping for my camera three years ago and I had bad experiences with several shops that started like yours but did not escalate so much and I managed to cancel the orders in the end. When I studied what these shops had in common, I have found that all three had been based in Brooklyn, NY. I would never again buy anything online from any store based in the NY state. I am sorry I cannot provide names, its already three years.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous said...

You're registered with Google? Thats a new one for me... (wtf?)

11:59 PM  
Anonymous said...

I've had the same problem with ALL online photo stores based in NY, they say they have the camera with retail box at a fixed price but when you order they will call you and say its OEM or that they're sold out. How exactly do they sell anything when they're such A-holes about everything?

12:07 AM  
Noble Brown said...

Slashdotted! If you didn't get enough negative attention focused on these buttplugs, you have now recruited the wrath of the online geek community. PriceRitePhoto doesn't stand a chance now. I forsee a DDoS in the near future...

12:08 AM  
Anonymous said...

Hey! Holland calling in. Found your story on Slashdot: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/01/0359252&from=rss

Let's hope we can take this store out of business soon. This reminds me of Charlie Wenzel (www.wenzeled.com). Maybe he works there?

12:10 AM  
Anonymous said...

A common thread amongst bad sellers seems to be the "restocking fee". Unless it is a well known name this is almost always a sign of trouble.. this is coming from personal experience. Hey, these guys even make TigerDirect look good now.

12:15 AM  
Ron Severdia said...

Good job.... I have had simliar problems with Amazon sellers. Luckily, Amazon protects you...

http://www.severdia.com/blog/archives/2005_03.html

12:29 AM  
JackWhispers said...

Very informative article ... thank you for sharing ... the comments here have really added to the magnitude of this issue as well.

Exhausting all your report and complaint processes is a good idea ... enough of that and they will be investigated and shut down ... but your most effective move was getting this BLOG entry on slashdot ... congratulations!

12:33 AM  
Matt said...

I read this, and all the comments, and the only thing that ran through my mind is that for all our consumer protection laws, both in Canada and the US, crap like this still happens after all these years...

As a legitmate online retailer, I'm saddened to hear how scammers are only hurting all of us with these stunts.

However, there are a couple things you can do to try and get even, other than blogging about it. First off, for an internet company, or at least an internet arm of a company, getting a means of payment is absolutely critical. If you can't get paid, its pointless to scam. For the internet, this pretty much means you must have either a credit card, and a means of processing it, or else have a paypal or paypal equivalent system. For the Credit Card system, some of them, Visa, Amex, Mastercard have all told me explictly, in writing, that if chargebacks are on 2% or more of my transactions they will terminate my ability to process CCs, not to mention bill me some outrageous fee per chargeback (the reason I say outrageous is that I've found a bit of a problem with CC fraud at the buyer's end, and I have no reliable way to identify them because of data handling limitations). I'm also not positive on this, but for merchants, I believe Visa requires merchants to jump through something like 30 hoops if they are doing online transactions to reduce or prevent fraud, some of them relate to information handling, and that should Visa determine that they are not abiding by those terms, then Visa will not honor any transaction with that company (I'm not sure because I use a third party handling system, and so its someone else's headache). Either way, in reporting them, and/or contesting the charges with the credit companies is particularly important in fighting these guys because the major credit card companies have an interest in making sure scammers don't get into their networks.

Paypal-like accounts and payment systems are the other major means for scammers to get paid, and I've had nothing but abuse from Paypal (I swear by whatever you want me to swear by I'm legit, which pisses me off no end because I'm not the one at fault here). Paypal IMHO pretty much screws retailers, someone even complains to them of fraud, and paypal doesn't check twice, they simply freeze the retailer account, sieze all assets in it, and refund the complainer, all without informing the retailer, or even verifying the source of the complaint. This has happened in my case twice, and both cases the actual fraud was buyer side, and I never recieved a response to my requests for information from Paypal. I now no longer deal with Paypal. Either way you look at it, there are two extremely easy ways to really affect these scammers: make it extremely difficult for them to recieve payment for their attempts.

The other major thing to do, most police forces will have both a high-tech crimes, and an economic crimes divisions. I've talked to my municipal, regional, national, and now even International police agencies regarding these fields in conjunction with complaints of this nature. The single biggest point they had to make to me was that most of this stuff goes unreported. They can only act on, and get funding for the stuff they know about, and for that, you have to report this. It sucks, but thats the important part: Call your police depts, if they need to pass it to the FBI, I assume they will. I know the Canuck police branches in those fields are wonderfully connected, and share information on those regularly so that those who need, and can act on the information have it available when they need it.

Lastly, I hate to say this, but you guys down there are mighty litigious as a society. First off, any transaction, esp if it involves your CCs, make sure you get a reciept. That reciept is a contract, and contracts are fun for legal purposes...he's a lawyer, lets find out how good of one... also, if the contract is formed (parties, property, price) and both parties agree to it, they in offering it to you in that manner, and you submitting your payment info, it should be binding. They have to honor it. Now if its ambiguous and all that crap...they, as the contract creator, are at a disadvantage. In Canada we call it the Contra Proferentum Rule, basically means that if you wrote it, and its unclear, then it'll be interpreted against you. Standard form contracts can be a very very bad thing. If you have a complete contract, with a reciept of payment, suddenly if you're feeling ambitious, you can sue them for breach of contract. Although, at that point, they close up shop and reincorporate the next day. Also, if they call you up, and ask you to fax them stuff, I make a point of asking them to fax me a copy if the entire agreement in writing of exactly what is happening in this transaction. They won't do it, then they have something to hide.

Either way you look at it, Scammers are a problem, and always will be. They make a point of operating in unclear or chaotic areas of the world, all you can do is try and do your best to not get burnt, and when you do, make em pay for it. You've started it here in this case, and I hope they get nailed for all they're worth. I don't like scammers and cons.

12:39 AM  
Anonymous said...

According to the BBB they operate under at least 10 names (below).

A. Heffco Technologies, Inc.

C&A Marketing

Dealz Net

Hype Audio

Ideal Audio/Video

Ideal Photo and Video

Let's Go Digital

LGD Superstore

Price Rite Photo

Prices Rite Photo

12:41 AM  
Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about B&H since I live in Taiwan, but I feel like B&H is spamming your great post. 1 out of 5 posts are saying how great B&H is which just seems suspicious.

also, use Control-Find and type in the word "crusader". That post is a threat post by most likely Price Rite. The tone of the story just sounds wrong. "Keep this in mind in the future please. While you may feel like a Crusader for exposing these scumbags, remember what happened to most of the crusaders."

You can delete that crusader post or keep it if you want. Just a heads up.

sigh, yes, I actually read through all 265 comments. But I learned something ^_^ I plan to buy a Canon Digital Rebel. Now I will only buy from an official Canon branch store. Luckily they have one in Taipei.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous said...

GO YOU, thank you for being one of few who do something about people like this, you are a good man and i hope everything works out for you in the end.

1:10 AM  
Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with a Yahoo! Shopping vendor called Cellpoint (http://shop.store.yahoo.com/cellpoint/). It wasn't as abusive as this, but it dragged on for months and I had to dispute the charge with my credit card company. The issue is that it seems to be easy for these vendors to fill their feedback reviews with shills; you have to dig deep to find the negative reviews.

1:12 AM  
Michael said...

Amazing story, Thomas.

These people are disgusting, and I hope free speech and the internet brings them to their needs. Hopefully while behind bars.

Good job, Digg. I'm proud.

1:32 AM  
Anonymous said...

WE should all email the store links to these articles !!!!! HahAHaha fockers

1:37 AM  
Adam Jacob Muller said...

http://blog.adamjacobmuller.com/2005/12/01/priceritephotousaphotonation/

1:38 AM  
galanin said...

heres an email address, i couldnt find steve phillips but maybe title it after him

customerservice@priceritephoto.com

1:47 AM  
Anonymous said...

Uhh, B&H is not spamming this website. B&H is one of the best photo retailers out there.

Do some research on B&H on the web. I'd recommend browsing the forums on one of the most well known photo sites out there, www.dpreview.com. You'll see that B&H is mentioned a lot, in very good ways.

There are people who have posted saying NEVER trust a dealer based in NY/NJ. B&H is in NY/NJ, so I hope people don't flat out decide not to buy from them just based on this.

1:54 AM  
Anonymous said...

You're even listed in the ODP here.

1:55 AM  
Anonymous said...

With a ODP listing you'll probably be #1 in Google for "PriceRitePhoto"... harhar.

1:58 AM  
Anonymous said...

I really have to say that for one we shouldn't have to worry about things like this. If you advertise something then you should be held accountable. It sickens me to see people get burned. I also think that police agencies should make it really easy to file complaints about his. I don't really know what i think really. I just am sickened but am very glad that you can find information about companies.

Maybe one day everyone will be able to use the internet this way (I mean people will find about companies first) and then we can weed out the bad ones. Then again people still buy things from SPAM so I guess I'm dreaming.

2:04 AM  
Freetolio said...

As everyone else has said: RESELLERRATINGS.COM

2:25 AM  
Anonymous said...

Numerous suggestions that "due diligence" wasn't performed concern me here. There appears to be an expectation that online consumers know all about how to Google to find negative info about an online company. Many consumers are lucky simply to find a company that purports to sell the item they seek.

Blaming the consumer hardly seems appropriate, especially when the consumer has used a portal with ratings.

Online or B&M, there are fraudulent sellers and it's unfortunate that online sellers are generally more remote and anonymous than B&M so probably hook more buyers.

Hopefully, a combination of law enforcement and better rating systems will reduce this travesty that casts a cloud over all etailing.

2:27 AM  
Anonymous said...

congrats on your blog by now likely to have been read by half the internet and quite possibly change the way some businesses operate:)

as many of your commenters have said, the guy can't do a damned thing to you, half the stuff he told you was VERY likely illegal (i'm an attorney [you should have asked where he got his BAR exam], the crap about the FBI and police, definately the threat about making sure you'de never be able to buy anything on the net' again, as well as the obvious threats like "You have no idea who you're dealing with", the obvious alias during a business transaction of "John Hancock", contacting your boss over personal transactions [maybe if your company purchased it, but since it seems you used personal money], and again definately because of the harassment (the sales pitchs after declining them, the REPEATED threats).

What kinds of threats that he could have of made could he actually carry out (maybe "I'll kill you", which even if he could find you in person, it could likely have of been filed with the police as "conspiracy to commit murder"

2:30 AM  
Jessica said...

jesus christ, what a nightmare! yeah, i bet the fbi and the fuzz alike will be involved, but not in the way that mr. phillips had fantasized. can we say prison, anyone? did you know that to threaten someone on the phone, over state lines, is a federal offense? years of call center work at least taught me that one. thanks for the info, and i'll be sure to stay away from these jerkoffs.

2:43 AM  
Anonymous said...

I find it astounding that people buy from the lowest price and are then surprising that they're dealing with crooks. Caveat emptor, and all that. If it seems too good to be true, it's too good to be true. I have a personal assumption that all online retailers (including eBay) are crooks until proven otherwise, and I'm quite happy to let other people use their money to provide that proof. I only use online stores on personal recommendation.

3:00 AM  
Andrew S said...

You have some great pictures on Flickr!

Anyway, someone mentioned Abes of Maine here as a reputable retailer, and I would disagree. First of all, their NAME is deceptive, as they're another Brooklyn retailer, despite their "Maine" claim.

Secondly, many folks (including my brother), have made purchases from them for NEW items, which have turned out to be used, returned items. For example, my brother's camera had a memory card that already contained someone else's pictures, and all of the seals were broken!

While Abes of "Maine" may be better than priceritephoto, it's still awful compared to the good folks like Adorama and B&H, as well as the regular retailers/box movers like Amazon and Dell.

3:14 AM  
Rich Boakes said...

Looking at the IP addresses, there may be a third website, which I don't see mentioned here yet:

209.200.8.187 TheCameraMall.com
209.200.8.186 PriceRitePhoto.com
209.200.8.185 EmpirePhoto.com

All the sites appear to use the same software too: "Everest E-Commerce Advanced Edition : Enterprise"

Additionally the FAQ/Help pages for each are remarkably similar:

TheCameraMall FAQ
PriceRitePhoto FAQ
EmpirePhoto FAQ.

Also, their "New Arrivals", "Holiday Specials" and just about everything else show the same products in the same order.

This is possibly a total coincidence, or this third company may be a victim of circumstance, but I thought it worthy of a note in case others have had similar experiences.

3:24 AM  
Anonymous said...

This may be usefull. . . .


Registrant:
PriceRitePhoto
1274 49th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11218
US

Domain Name: PRICERITEPHOTO.COM

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
PriceRitePhoto
Eduardo Lopez
1274 49th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11218
US
(718)404-6404
webmaster@priceritephoto.com

4:05 AM  
Nick Soper said...

I am a firm believer in buying online and I feeel that buyers should not have to worry about these kinds of thing. Shut them down!
Thanks for letting everyone know. I hope PriceRitePhoto.com closes down.
Nicko

------------------------------------
Nick Soper's Home
Free Finance Advice

4:10 AM  
Anonymous said...

Fargin bastages!
This is fargin war!

Long live the blog,
crush the evil retailers!

I hope they burn in
fargin hades!

4:54 AM  
Liam said...

Anyone think to check to see if "Steven Phillips" is registered with the NY Bar Association? _IF_ this person really is who and what they say,you can report them to the Bar. Of course, given that everything _else_ was a a scam....

Turns out, there are actually two Steven Phillips registered within New York, neither of which appears to be your guy.

It might still be worth reporting to the Bar. I'm sure they won't be happy about someone claiming to be one of their lawyers...

4:56 AM  
James said...

I can't get over how utterly wimpy so many of you are!

These guys are complete scumbags. They simply need their asses kicked.

They need to be dragged into the street, beaten, and tied naked to a stockade right there on 49th Street.

That's always been my critique of NYC. Not only are people like these jerks a dime a dozen, but the worst part is that SOOO many people just LET THEM act this way. I swear to God, when anyone treats me this way, I will stomp them.

The first time an NYC deli counter guy got rude and abusive to me I started to go over the counter and he ran in the back screaming. These punks are all talk and we're all to blame somewhat as long as we don't properly stand up and smack them down.

5:02 AM  
Anonymous said...

Things brings back bad memories for me. I had a very similar experience with this same merchant a year ago, and I wrote the attached letter. I sent it through the mail to the New York BBB and the PriceGrabber offices out in CA. At that time (October, 2004), I spoke with a PriceGrabber rep on the phone and they removed PriceRitePhoto from their site. So how come these bastards got listed again?


To whom it may concern:

I am writing this letter to describe the experiences that I have had with a business called PriceRitePhoto.com. Their address is:1274 49th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219 and their customer service phone number is (888) 365-4300. I found this business through the PriceGrabber.com website and attempted to purchase a camera from them. However this company was more interested in lying to me and manipulating me than selling me a camera.
I am spending my time and effort in order to inform you of the dirty tactics used by PriceRitePhoto.com with the hope that my story will save other potential customers the headaches and lost sleep that I have endured. The manager of PriceRitePhoto.com has already tried to silence my opinion through bribery and extortion but I think that the potential customers *deserve* to know the business strategies employed by PriceRitePhoto.com before deciding to do business with them.
I understand that I am the kind of customer that PriceRitePhoto.com doesn't want. I am an informed consumer and a comparison shopper. If they had simply been honest with me and told me that they were unwilling to sell me the Canon Digital Rebel camera unless I purchased some other accessories, I would have just found another company from which to purchase this camera. I probably wouldn't have submitted a negative review on PriceGrabber.com - I just would have gone my own way. But what I got instead of honesty were lies and manipulation, and I think these strategies are completely unacceptable for a professional organization and ought to be publicized.
I first read about the Canon Digital Rebel camera more than a year ago, and I instantly wanted one. However I was not able to afford to purchase one until recently. Several months ago I began researching the Digital Rebel and several other cameras in preparation for a purchase. I found the PriceGrabber.com website which offered reviews of many different merchants selling this camera, in addition to their prices. I saw that the various merchants fell into several different strata - about 7 or 8 were in the very lowest price range, from $799 to $850 including shipping. I found a merchant in the middle of this price range with a high rating and mostly positive reviews: PriceRitePhoto.com. I knew that I would also need some other accessories with the camera, and I planned on purchasing a USB 2.0 Compact Flash card reader and a Compact Flash card. I found that PriceRitePhoto.com had a USB 1.0 CF reader for $49, but did not offer a USB 2.0 reader. However Best Buy sold a USB 2.0 reader for $15, so I drove to purchase this item at Best Buy. After some research I decided that the CF card that I wanted was the Lexar 80x 1 gigabyte card. I looked on the PriceRitePhoto.com website but found that this merchant did not offer this card for sale, so instead I purchased it from TigerDirect.com.
So the only item left was the camera. On Thursday, September 16th, 2004 I placed order #7490 from PriceRitePhoto.com for a Canon Digital Rebel camera with 18-55mm EF-S lens for $799 plus $24.80 shipping. I thought I was getting a great deal at this time, but I had no idea what abuse I was in store for.
It began on the following Sunday, September 19th. I received an email at about 11:00 am, stating that I needed to call PriceRitePhoto.com to "confirm the information on your order". This is where the deceptions began, because the real purpose of this phone call was not in fact to verify my order information, but to sell me some additional items. What follows is certainly one of the most unpleasant experiences that I've ever endured on the phone.
I called the PriceRitePhoto.com toll-free phone number at about 2pm in the afternoon. I was switched between several different people and spent several minutes on hold before I was routed to the sales representative.
Before I lay out the gruesome details of this initial conversation, I need to explain some personal background information about me. I am a professional engineer, and one of the trademark characteristics of engineers is the discovery and reliance upon the *truth*. One cannot lie to mother nature and make an invention work, nor can one write a computer program with false statements and expect it to perform correctly. So I am dedicated to finding the truth. Also I am a gentle person. I treat others with honesty and straightforwardness, and I expect others to treat me in the same manner. Of course as I have learned in my adult life, this world is sometimes a harsh one full of people with evil intentions. And so I have developed a strong mistrust for sales-people. I have found that often a salesman will make statements without any regard for the truth, in order to achieve his goal of selling something. Since this is completely at odds with my own philosophy, I detest and have absolutely no respect for these sales tactics. Naturally I have been taken advantage of many times by these types of people, and so I have developed a defense mechanism to prevent being ‘taken to the cleaners'.
My defense mechanism is very simple: whenever I begin to perceive that someone is trying to sell me something, I begin to resist. I tell him or her politely that I'm not interested, that I don't need whatever he or she is selling. The harder he tries to sell, the harder I resist and the more I push back. I make my decisions when I am at peace, considering all of the alternatives, not when some sales person is jabbering at my face. Understanding this, you will have an appreciation for the reasons why the following events unfolded as they did.
To say that the salesman with whom I spoke on September 19th was trying as hard as he could to sell some camera accessories would be an understatement. He started by informing me that I would need a memory card and a memory card reader, and I told him that I already had both of these items. Then he started to turn on the sales language and my defense mechanism started to kick in. He tried to persuade me to purchase extra batteries and lens filters, saying things like "you absolutely need to have these (batteries, filters, etc) to be able to really use the camera". Statements like that really turn me off, because they are patently false. The camera comes with a rechargeable Canon battery which lasts for over 400 shots. I think I can use that one without purchasing another, as I doubt that I will take more than 400 pictures in one day. This went on for a while and I informed him (in all sincerity) that I wasn't interested and didn't have the money to purchase these accessories right now, but that I was interested in buying a macro lens in several weeks and I would certainly come back to PriceRitePhoto.com if they satisfied me with this camera purchase.
But it wasn't enough for him. He continued pressing me to buy more items, and moved on to an extended warranty. This one seemed to go on forever. I didn't even want to hear about it, because I never buy extended warranties. He argued that being short of money was actually a greater reason to purchase the warranty, because I wouldn't be able to afford to replace the camera if it broke. I told him that I was going to be in Russia for six months beginning in December, and asked if the warranty would cover the camera while I was there. He replied without hesitation that it would - he said "They probably have an office in Moscow where you could get it repaired". Of course that wouldn't do me any good, because I'll be a 24 hour train-ride away from Moscow, but that word "probably" which he used, set off bells in my mind. It told me with no uncertainty that he was just ‘making this up' and that he actually had no idea if the warranty would be good in Russia, or whether there is a repair office in Moscow. Since this ‘extended warranty' was most likely through a third-party company (not Canon), I'm sure that they do not have an office in Russia. There's not even a Wal-mart in Russia.
So by this time my defense mechanism was in full force and I had absolutely zero trust that anything that this salesman was saying to me was true, so I kept politely but firmly telling him no. But he wouldn't take ‘no' for an answer. He told me that I was an incredibly hard sell and asked me if I was married (what does that have to do with not wanting to buy camera accessories)? He lowered the price on the extended warranty twice, from 50 per year to 40 per year to 30 per year. He claimed, "I'm just trying to make sure that you will be happy with this camera purchase". When he said that I began to feel anger, because it's such an obvious lie. I thought I'd trap him in it (and I did), by saying "What would make me the absolute happiest, would be if you would sell me this camera at the price that you have displayed on your website." Of course he proved his own deceitfulness by continuing his sales pitches, becoming even more aggressive. After about 20 minutes on the phone I started to doubt whether they would sell me the camera. I said point blank, "Are you or are you not going to sell this camera that I want to purchase". He dismissed me by saying, "Yes we are going to sell you this camera. Don't even bring that up again." I began to become more angry and frustrated, but used my patience to remain civil and not show my anger (which is what I desperately wanted to do). Finally after probably 25 or 30 minutes this guy gave up. Perhaps another customer was waiting to be harassed. I asked him when the camera would ship, and he told me that it would ship on Monday (September 20th) and that I would receive an email confirmation.
This conversation left me highly disturbed, and I needed to get away from the situation to calm down. So I drove to the grocery store and bought groceries. When I came back I heard the phone ringing but didn't reach it in time. As I was putting away my groceries, the phone rang again. This time it was the manager of PriceRitePhoto.com. I don't know what this guy's name is but since he plays a big part in the remainder of this story I'll just call him Rudy. This guy is a Grade A jerk, and he pretty much told me as much on the phone. He asked me if I had some kind of a problem with his salesman earlier. I told him that I didn't really have a problem but his salesman was way too aggressive and I really didn't appreciate the harassment. He said, "All of my sales people are tough, because I make them tough." I thought, "Oh, so you're like the king Jerk then." He said, "We try to sell accessories to make a profit, because we're selling the cameras at our purchase price and lose money on the credit card transactions." Okay, I understand that, but he admitted, "But that's not your problem - that's our problem." He said that he was concerned that I might be a re-seller who just wanted to buy the camera to sell it for a profit on ebay. (I don't know how that's a crime, since it's exactly what PriceRite is doing - they don't make the cameras). He said that I would not be able to use the camera without accessories (memory card and reader) and I told him that I had already purchased these. He asked me which ones I had bought, and from whom, and I told him. He seemed satisfied that I wasn't a re-seller. He tried to sell me a battery or filter and I declined, and the end of the conversation came near. I asked him when my camera would ship, and he also said that it would ship on Monday and that I would receive a confirmation email with the tracking number. That was the end of this phone call - no major problems with Rudy yet.
At this point I started to become worried. I wondered what these guys were going to do to me - what kind of games they were going to play. After the harassment that I received on the phone I didn't trust them to actually sell me the camera. So I went back onto PriceGrabber.com and started really digging through the reviews of some of the merchants selling the Digital Rebel at the lowest prices. I found some reviews from customers who said they waited months to receive their order and got the run-around from the merchant - claims of out-of-stock items, back-orders, etc. But what worried me the most were some reviews stating the cameras that they received appeared to be already used, with fingerprints on the LCD and/or lens, etc. I decided that if I was going to pay nearly a thousand dollars for a camera, I certainly wanted one that was new. I wasn't sure what to do, but I finally decided to at least allow PriceRitePhoto.com to make good on their word. I decided that if they were halfway reputable and actually shipped me the camera as they had told me that they would, then I would go ahead and purchase that lens from them, even though their price was a little more expensive than some of the other merchants.
On Monday, September 20th, I did not receive the email as stated. So on Tuesday the 21st I called PriceRitePhoto.com in the morning to inquire about the status of my order. This is when the real lying and deception began in earnest. I spoke with a customer service representative (I'll call him Jake). I gave him my order number and told him that I was told by his boss that the order should have shipped on Monday, yet it didn't. He said that he could not find the order in his computer, and asked to call me back. So I said sure and gave him my work number, and went about my business. He called back in a few minutes and said that he still could not find my order. He offered to continue looking for my order during the day and cancel the order if he hadn't found it by the end of the day. I told him that this was fine with me.
By the end of Tuesday I hadn't heard back from PriceRitePhoto.com via phone or email, so I decided that my order had been canceled. I placed an order for the exact same camera, using the exact same credit card, from B&H Photo on Tuesday night. On Wednesday I left a negative review (1-star) on PriceGrabber.com, expressing frustration with this company for their aggressive sales tactics, lies, and deception.
On Thursday, September 23rd, PriceRitePhoto.com left a response to my negative review which stated, "This person must have us confused with another merchant because we have no record of him." This statement was another lie. That night I received my Canon Digital Rebel via UPS.. As I was unpacking it and checking it out, the phone rang. Upon answering the phone, I was speaking again with the customer service representative Jake. This reveals the statement on PriceGrabber.com to be false - if they had no record of me, how did they have my home phone number? Jake was upset at the negative review that I left for PriceRitePhoto.com. I explained that I had been told by two different people that my order would ship on Monday, but it didn't. He tried to play the victim, saying "How can you be mad at us - I only did what you wanted us to do. You told me to cancel your order, and I did." Sorry, but you don't get any points for canceling the order. I told him that what I really wanted was to purchase this camera, but that PriceRitePhoto had lied and tried to manipulate me. He said that the order took longer to process because my shipping address and billing address were not the same. This is a very important statement to consider, because it reveals two lies. Firstly, this statement in and of itself is a lie - B&H didn't have any problems processing my order with the same credit card, and I had the camera in my hands 48 hours after I placed the order. Secondly, the fact that Jake knew that my billing and shipping addresses were not the same is further proof that PriceRitePhoto never ‘lost' my order or my personal information. They were probably just going to wait until I either canceled the order or until they got a returned camera that they could send to me. I started to feel anger at PriceRitePhoto.com at this point and just stated that I would not change my review because they completely deserved it, and hung up the phone.
Several weeks went by. I thought that this bad situation was over and done. But sadly it was not. My review on PriceGrabber must have significantly hurt their online business, because on Sunday, October 3rd I got yet another phone call, this time it was Rudy. He asked me why I was unhappy with his company's service and I told him. He asked if I had purchased the camera from another vendor and I said that I had. He said that cameras are like food (I'm not sure exactly what he meant by that - I think it has something to do with trust, which is a joke because these people are the LEAST trustworthy businesspeople that I've ever known), and he wanted to make me happy with his company. He tried playing the victim again, suggesting that they had lost my order through an honest mistake. He said, "When a sales representative is looking at an order on the computer, it only takes one keypress to completely delete the order." I'm sure that's also a lie - I haven't seen too many computer programs that would let you delete something important without requiring a confirmation. He began to offer to give me a filter or an extra battery for my camera. I told him that it sounded like he was trying to bribe me to change my review on PriceGrabber.com. He said that he absolutely was not trying to bribe me, but he just want to ‘put a good taste in my mouth' about the experience with his PriceRitePhoto.com. He said that he didn't care about my negative review - that he already had a 5-star rating overall and my review didn't hurt his rating very much. That was a lie, as will be revealed shortly. He said that if he could make me feel better about his company, maybe I could give him not a 5-star rating, but a 3 or 4 star rating. I told him that he could not take away the abuse that his company had already heaped upon me, and I would not be bought out. I told him that I thought that his potential customers should know about his business tactics and perhaps that would motivate him to change his strategies.
At this point he decided to ‘play hardball'. He said, "I really didn't want to have to do this, but you forced me into this position." I knew something very bad was coming. He started out by saying that PriceRitePhoto has a 25% restocking fee, and at that point I became absolutely livid and started freaking out. I yelled that he hadn't even sent me the camera so he couldn't charge me a re-stocking fee. He said that it wasn't a restocking fee, but an order cancellation fee. I said that it was fraud and extortion and I would dispute the charge with my credit card. He said that he would win the dispute resolution because this charge was clearly displayed on his website. He said that he kept meticulous records. (Sure, but they ‘lose' orders).
By threatening me in this manner he clearly showed his earlier statement to be a lie, that he did in fact care very much about my negative review and that it was probably greatly hurting his business. He further threatened to add 10% to the order cancellation fee because he had to call me.
Okay. Stop right here. This is extortion, and I believe that it is illegal. This is not an ‘order cancellation' fee - if it were, it would have been charged when I canceled my order on September 22nd. This is a retaliation fee for leaving a negative review on PriceGrabber.com, plain and simple. This company, PriceRitePhoto.com, unambiguously threatened me. Rudy said, "I don't want you to leave a 3 or 4 star review. I want you to completely remove your review from PriceGrabber.com. We have already charged your credit card, and if you don't remove the review by the end of the day then we will not refund the charge."
Now I'm a man of principles, but I'm not about to eat a $200 charge because of these jerks. I figured that Rudy was probably bluffing about the charge, but I didn't want to take the risk. I didn't see any choice but to give in. I told him that I would delete the review, and I did delete it later that day. The next day I searched through all of the PriceRitePhoto.com website to find this supposed "25% order cancellation fee", but couldn't find it anywhere. Apparently that was another lie. I found mention of a 15% restocking fee for returned items, but the only mention I could find for canceled orders states: "To cancel an order, you must contact our customer service executive either by mail of through telephone and they will give you further information". Jake certainly never said anything about a 25% fee when I canceled my order.
His statement about the credit card charge turned out not to be a bluff after all - he did actually make a charge of $199.99 on my card on October 3rd, and refunded it the same day. So if they had lost my order, as he still claimed, how did he have my credit card number? So my credit card number is in the hands of these criminals.
I believe that the truth needs to be told, and I really am not at all happy about letting this dishonest man silence my opinion and revelations of his mafia-like business tactics. Consequently I have canceled the credit card with which I placed the order with PriceRitePhoto.com, so that they can no longer persecute me with threats of illegal credit card charges. And I have spent several hours writing this letter in order to inform PriceGrabber.com and the Better Business Bureau about the tactics used by this dirty organization. And tomorrow I intend to re-submit my negative review on PriceGrabber.com, so that other unsuspecting customers will know to avoid these guys. I encourage you to take whatever action you believe is appropriate to protect consumers from these criminals and convince PriceRitePhoto.com that its business tactics will not bring success.

5:12 AM  
Chris Bennett said...

This is a REALLY common scam in Brooklyn and its a problem that really needs some national exposure. Too many people are falling victims to the high pressure sales tactics.

Before buying from an unknown online retailer you should ALWAYS check with the various rating services.

One of these services is http://www.ripoffreport.com/ and and another is http://www.resellerratings.com .

On ResellerRatings, a quick lookup of "PriceRitePhoto" returns horrible results. If you had scene these ratings before your purchase you never would have followed through with the purchase.

5:22 AM  
Andrew Lenahan said...

Thanks for letting us know about this. It takes courage, and I truly mean that. Not necessarily just because of your experience over the phone, but because a lot of people who have been through such an experience keep quiet out of fear of ridicule ("You should have known" etc.)

I hope the store in question has some response to this. Any response, even a flat denial, would be better than stony silence. I doubt they'll be getting any of my dollars, though.

If anything else happens, please follow up this story with updates.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous said...

Why not look them up here? Or add them. The site is moderated and known scam stores have fakes reviews removed.

http://www.photo.net/neighbor/one-subcategory?id=2&by_date_p=t

5:36 AM  
KC2IXE said...

Someone mentioned Cammeta in Hicksville - good guys - have a B&M storefront. B&H are the "Big Boys" with a BIG B&M storefront - ditto J&R. Adorama is also good. There are some pretty sleezly looking dealers in the photo district that are/were very good - but you really have to do research into them - and I always felt a lot better with some of them walking in and buying in person. Back when I was a serious amatuer, and living in NYC, the word of mouth chain used to let you know which of these "upstairs over the deli" places was real, and which were not - some had been around 10-20 years, but others were a joke

5:37 AM  
Anonymous said...

This guy picked this retailer because he was trying to save 0.367%. Deserves what he gets. Should've bought local instead of being a price whore.

5:42 AM  
ChaOS said...

make sure you all go to www.resellerrating.com and leave horrible feedback! Don't let them get away with this!

5:46 AM  
Gordy said...

I had a similar experience over a year ago with a camera place from Brooklyn. I was looking at the Nikon D70 and they had it for about $100 less than everyone else (other than a few other web sites that looked very similar to the site from which I tried to buy). After I placed the order, I received an email asking me to call to confirm some info. At that point they tried to sell me the battery for over $100 which the site had said was part of the deal. Fortunately, the guy I talked to didn't protest too much - he did protest some - and I cancelled my order. I will never attempt to purchase anything from a camera shop located in Brooklyn.

5:53 AM  
furrybut1 said...

fuckn losers get a life
































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































haha foolss

5:59 AM  
Anonymous said...

someone said there are a suspicious number of posts praising B&H... I have actually ordered things from them, and
I got the items in a reasonable time,
and packaged properly...all that aside
I work at UPS and we see packages from B&H on the belt every day,they have their name printed on their tape.
Maybe all those other camera stores ship FedEx, so I don't see the packages...maybe they really don't ship at all!

6:00 AM  
furrybut1 said...

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!



















































































































































































































!!!!!!!!!!!



















!!!!!!





















































































pussys

6:01 AM  
Anonymous said...

The guy with the Jewish theory is right. I live in Queens and I know as a fact that most shady camera stores are owned by Russian Jews. Nothing against the religion though.

6:02 AM  
Anonymous said...

Thomas - I've never visited your site before nor am I a camera enthusiast but I loved your story. Thanks. - Keith

6:02 AM  
Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
This guy picked this retailer because he was trying to save 0.367%. Deserves what he gets. Should've bought local instead of being a price whore."

who ever this guy is must be from remote china and has yet to grasp the concept of a free market econonmy.

at anyrate these guys will get what they deserve. the only way to keep online retailers honest is by policing the community ourselves. this is a great example of how we can do this effectivly. kudos to your persistence and i hope you get your camera!

6:06 AM  
Anonymous said...

furrybut1 please help yourself to a nice cup of SHUT THE FUCK UP..
thanks
the rest of the internet

6:09 AM  
Anonymous said...

Yeah I tried to order a Mark II Dn from them... Had the same problems. I mean the price was great... Should have been the tip off I guess...

6:13 AM  
Anonymous said...

Hey Thomas, we're with you in this!
This has been added and linked :–)
flickr Memories

6:19 AM  
Anonymous said...

Whenever I purchase at an online store, I always use Shop Safe on my Visa or Discover card. Both credit card companies have their own software for download or over the Internet (for purchases at work). This is great since it automatically creates a random credit card number for one time use at a single merchant. You also set up a max limit so they can't charge you more than you purchased. Just don't use this for Airline or Movie tickets since the number on the card doesn't match up.

6:20 AM  
furrybut1 said...

faggots
get a
life dammit
buncha
fuckn
losers
you
are
you
see
the
price is
to
good to
be
true be
smart about
it.. fuckers

6:22 AM  
Anonymous said...

Hello Thomas,
have you thought about suing them for
compensation?
You have a contract with them to deliver a camera for X USD, they don't deliver, so they owe you the amount (or now the difference after booking back) the camera costs in a store that can deliver.

Christian Leber

6:26 AM  
Anonymous said...

You can get your Canon EOS 350 D body from pricejapan.com delivered to you for USD 2,966. I have not used them yet but they seem interesting. Actually you may face some customs duty, maybe 2, 3, 5 %. I would of course do your research on them first, (as you should have with PriceRitePhoto) and Eliot Spitzer won't be able to help you if there is a problem. But its an interesting option. Good on ya for pummeling PriceRitePhoto. Ya gotta read the ratings at pricegrabber first. Pricewatch has cheap stuff too, but more for computer stuff, and they seem to have some sketchier dealers IMHO.

6:33 AM  
phule said...

Always always always check http://resellerratings.com before buying from a new store.

Always.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous said...

Looks like ole furybutt is trying his own "denial of service" attack against this site.
Good luck, buddy, I've been calling you all day with SKYPE.

If you dial 1-888-375-6700,
you can press 1 to leave a 3 minute message...I think I'm up to 60 minutes of messages now.

Shut the site down! Shut his Fax down! Shut his Phones down!

I've had the same problems with NY camera shops...I tried buying a Sony CamCorder a few years ago...same story...cheap camera, but won't see it to you unless you buy the complete (overpriced) kit.

6:39 AM  
Duncan said...

An idea for Thomas from a digg comment:

"If I was Thomas Hawk I'd be opening a Paypal donation site for the purchase of a new camera in exchange for all of the entertainment provided. LOL.

I'm guessing PriceRitePhoto is probably wishing they gave him a camera for free right about now."

6:47 AM  
Anonymous said...

looks like Furrybut1's real... Or should I say Ezra Halawani

Can't imagine there being too many Furrybut1's in the world... One seems bad enough!

http://www.xanga.com/Furrybut1

6:54 AM  
Anonymous said...

Good thing you did the right steps in preventing any further abuse. Thanks for letting us all know about this story and site.
It's amusing, it seems that PriceRitePhoto.com has been slashdotted to the full effect! In otherwords the site is not very responsive at this time ;)

6:56 AM  
Tony said...

Dude,

That is just wrong that a place can do that. I'd like to help your effort. If you have time, log onto my website, http://www.eArticlesOnline.com and post your article and I'll put it online. This should help it get into google pretty good, and picked up by other people with photography sites so other people don't have to deal with this jerk.

Tony
-----------------
http://www.eArticlesOnline.com

6:58 AM  
Anonymous said...

PriceRitePhoto admists they are scum!

Just click here to what they have to say about this problem

Yes, this is just some XSS fun...but still!

7:02 AM  
Anonymous said...

I also have to praise B&H, I've had nothing but good experiences with them and I really had no clue where they were based out of.

I'm sorry that you had to deal with this suckiness..

7:04 AM  
Monkeymark said...

Yet another sign that these folks are not operating above board is this photo from a great series of storefronts of Brooklyn Photo Stores.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous said...

Same thing happened to me last year. I ordered a camera from.. ah, I can't even remember the name of the company. They were from Brooklyn though. I got a call early.. EARLY sunday morning wanting me to buy more stuff. They stated that the memory card that I ordered was not right and that I needed a "special" one. I was half asleep and really wasn't sure what was going on. I agreed to it, but when I finally woke up later, realized that I had been jipped. I called back to cancel the order and they stated that it was too late. The order was already billed and ready to be shipped. Within a few hours of the call on Sunday. In other words, they nicely told me I was SOL.

After about Tuesday, no info on shipping. I called back to find out the status of my order and they stated that it would ship within the next few days. Waited.. still nothing. I finally realized that I had been scammed and called my credit card company to cancel the order. I also requested a new card/number.

I get a letter from them (with my credit card number printed everywhere on it) stating that I had to follow through with my order. It was a binding contract.. blah blah. I reported them to my CC company and through the BBB. They actually sent a consumer claims company after me, saying that I had recieved the camera and that I was the one that was actually trying to rip them off!!

To help cover my ass, I did a little bit of investigating. I started searching the company's name, address, phone numbers and websites. It turns out that the company had many many many different websites on the net selling the same stuff. They were all leading back to the same area, Brooklyn. All, and I mean ALL of the websites looked exactly the same. www.priceritephoto.com looks exactly the same as the others I found as well. All from brooklyn.

I was able to resolve my issue, thank god, and it sounds like you are/will as well. Good luck and hopefully some of my ramblings will help bring these bastards down once and for all.

7:15 AM  
Andi C said...

Good for you Thom, keep your chin up, you doing good. I think that this cartoon pretty much sums it up...

http://www.cad-comic.com/comic.php?d=20021202

7:19 AM  
Anonymous said...

The BBB is good for issues that arise after you make a purchase and the retailer won't make good on it.

Epinions is better for doing research before making a purchase

7:21 AM  
Anonymous said...

I'll chime in with a caveat. I'd also like to recommend B&H as a reputable option from the NYC area. While I agree that they have done "follow up" confirmations on orders as an opportunity to try to sell extras and/or warranties, I have never had a problem or delay with an order from B&H whether I purchased said extras or not. Purchased several items over the last few years without incident (thankfully), and all items came complete as expected. However, I have not had to deal with any defective items. ==CS in MA.

7:23 AM  
HTMLSpinnr said...

I had an experience like this about 6 years ago when I bought my first Digital Camera. The company name sounds very familiar, and the tactics were no different then. Buy the camera REALLY cheap, they assure you it's in stock, but they want to push all sorts of accessories. This was back in the day when digital cameras actually came with a decent amount of accessoires. I politely declined their pushiness, and then was told the camera was out of stock and would take a few weeks to ship. I do recall my credit card being charged very shortly thereafter, but the order taking a few weeks to ship. I got the impression after the pushy sales call that had I ordered their extra crap at a high profit margin that the camera would have shipped much more quickly.

I've since avoided any site that looks too good to be true based out of the NY/NJ region - just bad business.

Amazing that business tactics like this have survived this long!

7:26 AM  
Anonymous said...

First off, there's nothing he can do; you made no implicit or explicit non-disclosure agreement. You also have the right to free speech, guaranteed by the first amendment.

Personally, I would contact American Express, and report this incident to them. I believe they would revoke his merchant account with them, and that other card agencies would follow suit shortly thereafter. At the very least, they would ensure that you were not responsible for paying for a product that you will never receive.

There is no way this guy will take legal action; doing so would result in an investigation of his business, which would probably result in jail time for him.

7:40 AM  
nordilux said...

thomas, it is 10:39 AM December 1 and it seems like your article has had an affect - a possitive one as far as consumers are concerned.

as of now, www.priceritephoto.com website is down. their listings don't show up on Yahoo! Shopping.

they still show up on eBay and a bunch of other shopping sites, but your activism definitely has had an impact!

job well done!

7:42 AM  
Anonymous said...

Victory?

"Our website is currently being upgraded in order to better serve you.

We apologize for the inconvenience."

7:48 AM  
Kevin Teljeur said...

I bought a Canon from B&H photo/video a couple of years back; while the abrupt New Yoik phone manner took some getting used to, they were great, and sent the kit immediately. I was tempted to buy cheaper, but the economics didn't add up and I decided to go with a known reseller charging slightly more. They still send me details of offers and stuff like that. Indeed, a very good offer is likely to be just a trap if you can't see the goods first.

Great article. Shame that some people are getting extreme about it.

8:04 AM  
Anonymous said...

slashdotter:

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]

8:04 AM  
Levois said...

That's enought for me to decide never to purchase anything online.

8:06 AM  
Anonymous said...

I had the same problem with these guys when I tried to buy a Sony PD-150 about 2 years ago. I was lucky though. I called the number to place the order, rather than placing the order over the internet. The first thing the guy did was try to sell me extra batteries. I said I didn't need them, and he tried to sell me an extended warrenty. I said I didn't need that either, but he continued to persist. The man was extremely rude, and the sale felt sketchy to me, so I decided not to order from him. I ended up ordering from B&H instead, and they were great. B&H actually called me the day after I placed my order to confirm that I in fact had placed to order, to help me avoid credit card fraud. I was very grateful for that, and always order from B&H now.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous said...

@update 10
No, it's down. Check it out!

8:22 AM  
Anonymous said...

There are several well known scammers like PriceRite (they usually operate under several different names) that run the same exact scam. They advertise prices well below market, then they jerk you around unless you agree to buy a bunch of useless overpriced accessories, which is how they make money.

I have been ordering equipment from B&H for 20 years and I haven't found a reason to switch. If you find a price that is well below B&H, then you know its a scam.

8:28 AM  
Jenzabar said...

We had a similar experience with Digitalfuze.com which is probably owned by the same people. My husband ordered a camera, got the call back and upsell. The guy who phoned was really pushy and when he refused the extras called him all sorts of names, asked "why would you f**k with someone who has your credit card number" then threatened to come to our house to beat my husband up. It was totally unbeliveable. We called their ISP, Enom, and filed a complaint but the site is still up. I for one am really glad to hear there's some vigilante justice going on. Proper channels- RIGHT, file a complaint (which we did with the ISP, BBB and FBI) and nothing happens. Based on the whois search on Enom, Digitalfuze is the same company as Oneclickdigital.com;
Best Buy Digital, a.k.a. Circuit Digital, d.b.a. circuitdigital.com, sourcefordigital.com, etc. 1080 McDonald Ave, Suite 303
No doubt we should have done more research on them before placing an order but they deserve to be shut down becuase obviously the whole operation is fraudulent. Here's where the slimes are operating out of:
http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/
Major Thanks to Don Wiss for the great resource!!

8:29 AM  
Michael said...

At least you used a credit card and not paypal or a debit card. That gives you a little more recourse.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous said...

I’m pretty sure this is the place I ordered my Casio EX-Z3, and back then I was expecting it to arrive fairly quickly since the item was listed as in stock, and they are located where I am – in Brooklyn (roughly two miles separate us). However, more than a week passed without any word from them, while my card was already charged.

I called them and asked about the status of my order, and two phrases were burned into my memory:
(1) “so, you want the camera?” – needless to say, that was the dumbest rhetorical question I've ever heard.
(2) “< sigh > all right, we'll send it out” – it’s as if I was forcing him to do something he didn’t want to do.

I finally received the camera a few days later, and I made my mind not to ever buy there again. It was obvious to me that it’s a small operations run by some cheap bastards, who were interested in keeping your money as long as they can before having to ship the goods.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous said...

The "Review Us" links on their website are now just pictures and not links to the review sites..

8:50 AM  
Anonymous said...

Mr. Hawk, you are my hero!

For years I have wondered how these camera shops are allowed to stay in business. Mr. Spitzer, please take these guys out. They have committed crimes and deserve jail. And would the Attorneys General in Pennsylvania (Philly area stores) and New Jersey please get on the ball too?

Crooks like these tarnish the reputation of honest retailers in these communities. Local politicos take note!

And why haven't the credit card companies suspended these folks' accounts?

BTW, to those admonishing Mr. Hawk for not performing due diligence... sure, if it sounds to good to be true it probably is, but one might also expect that eventuallly crooks get caught and tossed out of business. Not sure why this hasn't yet happened with the crooked camera shops that everyone knows are crooked.

Anyway, thank you, Mr. Hawk.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous said...

Ouch... Their site is taking a serious beating now.

9:03 AM  
mageraine said...

My brother linked me to this article, and I've read the entire thing, plus all the comments (I believe, I may have missed some).

I have to say that the situation does indeed suck. Dishonest merchants are a terrible plague to sellers who actually care about their customers and their products.

The problem I see here is that too many people believe that all online customers have the ability to know everything there is about checking a retailer's reliability. Too many people know nothing about news sites, ratings sites, or even Google. And these are the people who these scammers prey upon.

The solution, I believe, is not to berate this guy for making a poor choice. We've all made poor choices, I'm sure. The thing to do is do what we can to make sure that nobody else falls for this scam. If our online shopper community wisens up, these jerks will find themselves hurting.

As someone familiar with the media industry (having been a part of it for four years now) I can tell you that this is the time of year that news sources look for "feature stories." Stories that will grab the attention of anybody - and this one could definitely catch the attention of anybody looking to make Christmas purchases of any kind.

So write or call your local news media. Ask them to do a feature story on the dangers of buying things online. Ask them to give the viewers resources so people can check the reliability of these sites before they give out their credit card numbers.

We may love the internet, but the television reaches more homes than the web does. The story has been broken - now it just needs to spread.

9:03 AM  
Mr. Ortiz said...

I just sent the following email to all of the merchant review sites listed on the priceritephoto.com home page. Hopefully something will come of it:

"I just wanted to let you know that the web site 'www.priceritephoto.com' is using your logo without linking back to your site. This is a known scam site, as documented here: http://thomashawk.com/2005/11/priceritephoto-abusive-bait-and-switch.html

I trust you will take the appropriate action."

9:07 AM  
Mark Falge said...

Digital Moose Ebay experience

Had a similar experience a couple of years ago on Ebay with Digital Moose out of Canada. It was my first and last experience on Ebay. Long story short I tried to purchase an iPod through this company, that had their own web site at digital-moose.com, and that had very good ratings by other users. After many frustrating attempts talking (phone,fax,mail,email) to the 'President' Jonathan Nightingale, trying to get my money back I gave up. I found out that many other consumers had been tricked by him and some, in Canada, tried to sue but nothing came of it. He got away with quite a bit of money but his web site did eventually close down. I have no doubt that he has opened up in some other form...I keep searching. Good work with the story and I wish blogs had had the same effectiveness when I had my experience...the best thing I had was Bad Business Bureau (http://www.badbusinessbureau.com/reports/ripoff101007.htm)

Cheers,
Mark

9:08 AM  
Anonymous said...

I had similar problems with USAphotonation.com when buying a Cannon Digital Rebel XT. Placed an order online, got a call to call them back to check on the order, tried to get me to buy all kind of accessories (stupidly I ended up buying an extra battery, which I don't really need), had to call back again when they told me my order was not the consumer kit but the body only (no lens). Argued with the sales person over this. Had to file a report with the BBB and the FTC, and asked my credit card company to cancel the order. The sales person was threatening, telling me that they had a "relationship" with the credit card company and that they would not cancel the order. Finally the CEO of the company called me back and we came to an agreement, I'd get the lens for an $100, I'd reverse by BBB complain, and we'd call it even. Never do business with this bastards.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous said...

Road Trip anyone?

http://www.bbbnewyork.org/businessreports/Default.aspx?id=1026

9:11 AM  
Dennis S said...

Sorry you had to go through this horrible ordeal, There are many dishonest online merchants, And Mainly in New York! They are extremely rude, And yes if the price is too good to be true, its a scam, or its a product made for another country, which will not work in the US, I will never buy from any of these New York based Crooks!
Always read the reviews about the seller befor commiting, and call them, Lot of these set up a temporary shop, sell at a low price, then dissapear.
DennisS

9:15 AM  
Atle Veka said...

I've run into the same type of people, well, save for the threats and the boss-calling. That's some crazy stuff. I wrote a blog entry last March about a company named, Wawa Digital/Starlight Camera/Accessoriesland, who also partake in the bate and switch tacticts. I also was curious why they were allowed to sell on Yahoo! Shopping for so long with such terrible rating, but after checking now I noticed that a) they are not on Yahoo! Shopping anymore b) they are actually not around anymore at all.. :)

9:17 AM  
Anonymous said...

I will continue to use B&H photo and Amazon who may be a bit more expensive but are reliable. These guys sound like fucking scum bags, I'm sure they probably are Russian...

9:28 AM  
Anonymous said...

Congrats on being Slashdotted...

9:28 AM  
Anonymous said...

I got burned by a Yahoo Shopping retailer about a year ago on cell phone accessories (do NOT get near sfmobile.net!!). They charged my CC the day of order, promised receipt of product within 10 days, and never shipped anything until 2 mo. later after many attempts to contact and finally disputing the charge with CC company.

Not the same scale of problem, but my point being that Yahoo Shopping is totally useless at filtering out the bad apples and I'll never trust Yahoo Shopping again.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous said...

Thank you for going through all the work to expose unethical merchants like this!!!

9:32 AM  
Anonymous said...

Gotta love Crooklyn! Never trust anything on Yahoo (even their news is untruthfull sometimes.) Sorry to hear your experience.

9:36 AM  
Ian Yates said...

In my view fault lies with the referral services that fail to properly vet the stores that they use in their listings but Tony's article mentions Yahoo Shopping so that came as a bit of suprise. I am aware of the sales method of these stores and also that they do 'seed' referral sites with positive comments. You can always tell the fake positives and can almost hear the eastern European accents that made them. The law says caveat emptor so watch it! Again, I blame not the stores, good look to them. I do blame pricegrabbers and others that lead buyers to these stores, it is these people that should be put up against a wall & shot. Come the revolution they will be the first to go.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous said...

For a photo of their operation:
http://www.donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/h0121.htm

10:08 AM  
Anonymous said...

Other locations can be seen here, along with photos of other online photo scams grey market places:
http://www.donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/#121

10:10 AM  
Anonymous said...

Well, since we've all come to know and love (more like hate IMO) our good friend
*******************
** FURRYBUT1 **
*******************
perhaps we should get to know him a little better... say hello to our 18yr old Brooklyn friend at http://www.myspace.com/furrybut1

10:11 AM  
cryptojoe said...

I can't believe I read every comment! I had heard about this scam a while back when a friend was searching for a digital camera. What surprises me, that this type of thing hasn't reached its way into other markets, like PCs and accessories. IE: Advertise the latest video card at a cut rate price, but then try to extort you into buying other things at inflated prices.
cryptojoe.blogspot.com

10:16 AM  
Anonymous said...

I had similar experience with those camera stores in NY, Brooklyn area.
What pisses me the most is, how can someone observe Shabbat and run such an dishonest business!!!
If you look around you'll find big similarities between stores in NYC, LA downtown and SF Fisherman's Warf camera and electronics stores. What a disgrace!!!

10:27 AM  
Anonymous said...

Hehehe. The Internet has spoken, they are doomed.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous said...

Go here: http://www.oag.state.ny.us/consumer/consumer_issues.html

CONSUMER HELPLINE: 1-800-771-7755

The Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection prosecutes businesses and individuals engaged in fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or illegal trade practices. In addition to litigating, the Bureau mediates thousands of complaints each year from individual consumers. A large percentage of these complaints are resolved satisfactorily through the mediation process. As part of its mission, the Bureau provides information to consumers and seeks to ensure a fair and vigorous market place. The Bureau also drafts legislation and conducts studies and writes reports on emerging consumer problems and issues.

File a complaint in NY here:

http://www.oag.state.ny.us/complaints/complaints.html

10:32 AM  
Aaron said...

I understand your frustration, we have encountered some bad egg companies, however some have been great. I usually try to stick to a hand full of good retailers I like. However it looks like the price on the EOS 5D may have dropped since the original post. Take a look here:

http://froogle.google.com/froogle?sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGGL,GGGL:2005-09,GGGL:en&q=Canon%20EOS%205D&sa=N&tab=wf

Thanks for the heads up..I came into your blog from Slashdot and am glad to see you fighting for whats right aginst those cyber bullies

10:39 AM  
Anonymous said...

pwnd

http://priceritephoto.com/priceritephoto/accRegister.asp?from=CheckCookie&msg=035&CookieMsg=100&user=%22%3E%3Cscript%3Ealert('PriceRitePhoto%20will%20rip%20you%20off!%20Guarenteed!')%3C/script%3E%3Ctest=%22

read error

10:54 AM  
Anonymous said...

So it takes 6000+ diggs, dozens of news stories thousands of complaints to pretty much anyone who will listen for Thomas Hawk to get the camera at the advertised price. What a load of BS.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous said...

I live in Brooklyn and love it - but man, there are dishonest sleazebags here.
I just hope that if there is an afterlife - they'll spend it in hell with Furybut1.

11:07 AM  
Alan, Silver Spring, Md. said...

I've seen comments favoring B&H Photo, and seen a recent AP article praising it( e.g. http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/nation/13300921.htm )
As others have said, not all the Brooklyn (and other boro) stores are ripoffs, though many on the Internet may well be.

Years ago I dealt with Focus Camera, www.focuscamera.com, which also sells some electronics stuff, and I've been to their store in Brooklyn. They remind me of a much smaller version of 47th St. Photo (www.47thstphoto.com), Manhattan, which has had a good rep.

As for me, will be much more wary about Yahoo stores from now on on top of my general skepticism.

11:09 AM  
BinkBink said...

A quick Google search for the owner of these businesses, Jack Heffner, led me to this site -

http://www.m4040.com/AssholeFiles/Let's%20Go%20Digital.htm

Looks like he's got bogus operations set up for selling audio equipment as well. Crash this site! Visit www.hypeaudio.com!

11:12 AM  
Anonymous said...

I had the same experience with usaphotonation.com. They called, I verified my security code, went through the whole upsell scam and asked me why I had purchased the wholesale kit which didn't even include the docking station. It was the only version of the camera listed on their site. He had me search for "z750 usa" and sure enough a higher priced retail kit appeared in the results. When you search for just "z750" though only one camera kit shows. I tested this method of adding "usa" to the end of products and their whole site is rigged this way. Unbelievable.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous said...

It appears that they operate under several names, check this out under the BBB for New York:
http://www.bbbnewyork.org/businessreports/Default.aspx?id=1026&page=1&NameValue=Price%20Rite%20Photo&action=search1

11:22 AM  
Anonymous said...

It's a scary story, but did you have to blatently ignore Reseller Rating's copywright notice to tell it? C&Ping whole reviews from other web sites is not "fair use".

11:23 AM  
Rob_G said...

Yep... they're down now. Webair.com has changed their DNS entry on the web to 127.0.0.1. WTG!

11:23 AM  
Anonymous said...

Another regarding the validity of comments praising B&H. Search any photography forum you can think of, and you'll always come back with the same impression. B&H are far from the cheapest out there, but have a loyal following because they've earned it.

11:35 AM  
paisley said...

did ya geta refund yet?

just Google "Paisley Does Dallas"

11:41 AM  
JosiahQ said...

Good job man! way score one for the good guys.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous said...

Spitzer is a useless turd. He won't do a thing for you.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous said...

A similar New York ripoff camera dealer is Hot Buys Electronics.

Here's my experience: http://hbe.baudbarf.com/

12:15 PM  
Grendel said...

Thanks for the heads up. Personally, I don't care how many "honest dealers" there are in NYC; I won't buy anything sold there now. The way I see it, if enough people decide to shop elsewhere, more stringent controls will be put into place to ensure that the customer (that's right..not consumer, but customer, there is a difference) is better protected in the future. The economic power wielded by the public is immense, especially if said public can by unified, by such means as articles like yours. It's time for comapanies, big and small, to wake up, smell the coffee, and realize that the control is in the hands of the people. No company or government is so large that it cannot be brought down, even by one man, should greed and corruption raise its head.
Let us all continue to show the world that the customer is a force to be reckoned with.

12:15 PM  
Ezra said...

Thanks for making your experience public.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous said...

Me2!

I have also had a similiar experience with a camera company in Broklyn NY. I'm surprised that the BBB and other enforcement agencies in NY seems to be very lax in responding to this behaviour.

The description you give is not a once off, it is their common business practise.

I also ordered a camera from a broklyn camera company and did not do enough research before clicking "OK". I luckily found out my error and cancelled the order.

They left me an email and asked me to call and confirm the order. Then when I called, offered me a battery, an extended warranty, a lens cover, etc... They said it was a new camera but the camera price was more like a reconditioned unit and had a warranty that matched.

I'm glad a journalist has taken up the cause and caused them grief!

12:46 PM  
Anonymous said...

This sounds like the same crowd who run thier scam under several business names, another being ROYALCAMERA.COM

Online it looks great, but then they caal you and make you add stuff you did not want to the order - memory cards at 4x what you can get retail locally, a lens adapter for $100 ($24 value in reality), etc. And VERY ABUSIVE if you firmly decline.

We got burned by these people a year ago and it still hurts. From the accent on the phone, these are Middle Eastern persons. Why are they still in the USA and free?

12:48 PM  
Anonymous said...

why are you a racist and free?

12:53 PM  
mr. shark attack said...

reminds me of overstock.com. i once ordered a cd there and it took something like two months to get it off my credit card. oh yeah, and i never got my cd. small potatoes compared to a $3,000 camera, I know. Great post!

12:58 PM  
r. said...

As has been said before, this practice is so common that I'm (happily) surprised so many are paying attention now. To the commenter deciding to blame every/any shop in NYC for this... is this the fault of NYC or the asshats at PriceRite (and elsewhere - sorry to report having had this experience as well) who's doing the jerking? Strange logic...

1:03 PM  
Anonymous said...

What a sleeze...

Just so everyone know's they have a ebay presence with the same name. I filed a claim with Ebay about them. As well as CNET list for shoppers.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous said...

I never even bother reading positive reviews of companies and products. I read negative ones and try to find things in common. If there are enough legitimate complaints, I take my business elsewhere.

1:21 PM  
M Kenyon said...

I have had an extremely similar situation with Prestige, Broadway, Regal, A&M, all falling under the same umbrella. I dug up these links:
http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/h0180.htm
http://www.resellerratings.com/seller1995.html

1:24 PM  
Anonymous said...

I have also had a few experiences with these bait & switch tactics from online camera stores - GeniusCameras & USAPhotoNation. My orders just ended up being cancelled.

No online company should need to confirm anything verbally with you before shipping. This is an obvious tip-off that they are going to try and sell you additional stuff.

The thing that really annoys me is that these guys are able to advertise in magazines like Outdoor Photographer (which is how I found them) and other similar magazines. As an amateur photographer, I assumed that these resources would point me towards legitimate businesses...

It would be really nice if the photography magazines could be pressured into not accepting advertising from these scam artists or convinced to at least do some research into a company's background before printing their advertisements.

1:59 PM  
Anonymous said...

Looks like said scumbags' site is down. Ain't that a shame.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous said...

eheh that is awsome that you took a stand, exact same thing happen to me, placed and order then I had to call back to verfy something. he tried to sell me the memory.

Unfortunetly dont think you won becauswe the site is down, when I called I noticed few sites that I visited had the same phone number for service so they have many fronts. You just ook one down.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous said...

I had a similiar problem with one unscrupulous camera operator operating out of New York. I got the order cancelled...finally after many calls and arguements. Make sure it's USA camera and not an Asian model, they baited and switched us like that. They suck. -Kidd

2:43 PM  
Anonymous said...

Looks as though Furrybut1 is Steve's little boytoy.

2:43 PM  
SGCCMDR said...

First of all anyone who berates a person because they're trying to save a buck these days, needs to lay off the sauce. Who cares what percentage he was trying to save. He knows better now and that's all that matters and for once, the little guy had a say for a change. Sure it may not change things in general but as I said for once someone had the stones to speak out and they were heard. Kudos Tom.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous said...

Now who is going to buy him a camera for all this trouble.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous said...

Good work man. I will make sure that other people know about this. you know you made www.slashdot.com right?

3:35 PM  
Anonymous said...

Just to say, I currently work for a company which sells electronic goods, cameras, etc (and no, I'm not posting the name :p) and if priceritephoto is anything like us they'll be making a *loss* on any main items. All the profit comes from accessories. This might explain why they were so adamant to try and sell you additional items. It might also be that each employee has a quota to reach on accessories and people are pressuring customers so that they meet that quota. Not tat it makes it any more acceptable, just an idea

3:35 PM  
Kurt Driver said...

Is Lopez's real name Sanchez? That is the name of the administrative contact for both PriceRitePhoto.com and TheCameraMall.com although they use different address to register their websites.
Registrant:
TheCameraMall.com
924 Bergen Ave Suite 160
Jersey City, NJ 07306
US

Domain Name: THECAMERAMALL.COM

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
TheCameraMall.com
Eduardo Sanchez
924 Bergen Ave Suite 160
Jersey City, NJ 07306
US
(888)912-7300
(888)915-6300 [fax]
webmaster@thecameramall.com

Domain created on 03-Jan-2000
Domain expires on 03-Jan-2010
Last updated on 01-Dec-2005

Domain servers in listed order:

NS0.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS1.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS2.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS3.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS4.DNSMADEEASY.COM

Registrant:
PriceRitePhoto
1274 49th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11218
US

Domain Name: PRICERITEPHOTO.COM

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
PriceRitePhoto
Eduardo Lopez
1274 49th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11218
US
(888)365-4300
webmaster@priceritephoto.com

Domain created on 22-Jun-2003
Domain expires on 20-Jun-2015
Last updated on 01-Dec-2005

Domain servers in listed order:

NS0.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS1.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS2.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS3.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS4.DNSMADEEASY.COM

3:47 PM  
Anonymous said...

EXACTLY what happened to me w/ Broadway Photo - bad bad people. I wish I knew why the government allows these operations to stay in business - they are worse than drug dealers.

4:01 PM  
Bob said...

Yeah Tom i feel bad for you, but I absolutely think you did the right thing not only keeping calm but encouraging other people to do the same. That's a respectable thing to do. It's an awesome feeling though to see all these ppl tryin to take down scammers, whether the company can be represented that way or not. I only hope they are a bad company, and that this wasn't an isolated incident, 'cause right about now this company is gonna tank.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous said...

Straight-up advice: Never buy the extended warranty. Never. And if the salesperson gives you any grief over that decision, tell them this will be the last time you ever shop there and walk away.

Extended warranties in and of themselves are scams. If they won't simply sell you what you came to buy, then they are a dishonest business and should be shut down by word-of-mouth.

4:29 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I shall spread the word to my friends....

Robert,
California

4:32 PM  
squidman said...

well from what I have read and what I have seen these people are some real dirtbags. I'm glad they have been reported, and I hope they suffer for their sins

4:35 PM  
Anonymous said...

their site has gone down :)

4:38 PM  
Anonymous said...

Server Used: [ whois.domaindiscover.com ]

priceritephoto.com = [ 205.234.196.98 ]


Registrant:
PriceRitePhoto
1274 49th Street
Brooklyn NY 11218
US
Domain Name: PRICERITEPHOTO.COM
Administrative Contact Technical Contact Zone Contact:
PriceRitePhoto
Eduardo Lopez
1274 49th Street
Brooklyn NY 11218
US
(888)365-4300
webmaster@priceritephoto.com

Domain created on 22-Jun-2003
Domain expires on 20-Jun-2015
Last updated on 01-Dec-2005
Domain servers in listed order:
NS0.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS1.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS2.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS3.DNSMADEEASY.COM
NS4.DNSMADEEASY.COM
Register or transfer domains at www.BuyDomains.com - as low as 9/year.
Including FREE: Responsive toll-free support URL/frame/email forwarding
easy management system and full featured DNS.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous said...

Something happen to me - not as bad, but dont be fooled. They "say" they will fire him. How do you know? Maybe it was his brother calling and who knows who that other "CEO" is. Trying to sweep it under the rug and etc. Stand to your story. Keep consumers informed. Small victory, at a high price - dont submit!

Goodluck and Good Job!

5:03 PM  
Anonymous said...

Right now, message on website:

There is no website configured at this address.


You are seeing this page because there is nothing configured for the site you have requested. If you think you are seeing this page in error, please contact the site administrator or datacenter responsible for this site.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous said...

You should only buy products from authorized dealers who are selling sealed, US Warranty products.

Disreputable internet dealers will play games such as:

• listing a product as "in stock" when its really not in stock. Then after collecting interest on your money that they're holding, they'll either return you the money, or try to sell you something else (bait-and-switch).

• selling "Grey Market" cameras from overseas, which do not have a US warranty.

• selling Used/Opened/Demo/Refurbished products as new.

• removing the product from its original packaging, so that they can cannibalize the included accessories, or include inferior accessories (so that they can resell the standard accessories).

• list the price of a product at “below cost” and then charge you exorbitant shipping/handling/processing fees.

• take your personal information and sell it to marketers.

Beyond that, by dealing with one of these shady places, you’re missing out on advice and expertise from experienced dealers who get feedback from consumers and professionals like yourself on a daily basis. Experienced dealers can help you make decisions that will cost you less money and frustration in the long run, while increasing your productivity and positive experience immediately.

For instance, would a shady internet dealer:

• recommend that you buy a protective UV filter for a lens, and be able to recommend different quality UV filters for different quality lenses?

• be able to recommend FROM EXPERIENCE a lens (considering the lens conversion factor for many digital SLRs) and/or a lighting kit for portrait, macro, industrial, architectural, real estate, sports, journalism, product marketing, or medical photography?

• be able to take care of you if your product was D.O.A., needed warranty repair, or needed repair out of warranty?

In conclusion, if you want to save yourself time, money, and emotional frustration, then go to an experienced and reputable dealer. You will be glad that you did.

Disclosure: I work for an internationally renowned camera and video specialty store (established in 1974) in Newton, Massachusetts. And yes, we have New, US Warranty, Canon EOS 5D bodies in stock.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous said...

After this blog getting s front page link on Slashdot, I dont think they will be ripping anybody off again.

I do beleive that about a milion people have got the word out about this company, and apparently the buzz about it has succeded in causing an accidental Denial Of Service situation with ther website.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous said...

Fotoconnection.com - same story for me, last year with a camera lens.

8:39 PM  
FUCK BLOGS said...

hahaha! i used to live near the address of that store. that's little jerusalem, dog, the only thing i'd buy there is some fucking FLEISCHMANS KOSHER SUSHI!!!

New York City is pure evil. never trust anyone from there.

9:08 PM  
Kakashi said...

Damn! thats just brutal... eBay is pretty much the same thing... this online store deserve some beating...

10:20 PM  
Anonymous said...

I was looking at buying a Nikon digital SLR and during the price comparison process, I checked out the prices at Froogle. The cheapest of the stores at Froogle were all listed as stores in Brooklyn, NY and surprisingly, many were next door neighbors if the addresses are to be believed. I was suspicious that there were 3 camera stores in the same block on the same street, so I called one of them. I verified their physical address but since I live in Seattle I couldn't go there to see them. So I asked them what retailer was next door. The guy on the phone could not answer this question. He said, "we are in an office building, I don't know who is next door." I found this highly unbelievable so I hung up, paid more to get a camera from B&H Photo who I had done business with before and was completely happy.

12:00 AM  
Sprudeln said...

I ordered a dual deck VCR for my parents a few years ago as a Christmas gift. They were the only ones to claim it was in stock, so I ordered in the beginning of November. I live outside of the US so I had them send it to my sister's work address (a public high school). They couldn't find the address in the phone book(!), so they refused to send it there. Family friends all have unlisted phone numbers - same problem. I eventually had to have it sent to my mom's place of work. When it didn't arrive for Christmas, I tried to cancel the order (I had to purchase something else on Christmas Eve), but they refused to cancel it. The player arrived in March (yes - 5 months after it was orderd); I tried to return it, but they refused to take delivery of it. Now I buy expensive items or things I need quickly from brick and mortar stores.

Oh yeah, and don't buy from CaimanAmerika on Amazon - they don't ship orders, either. I ordered three books but only received two. They state that they have no way to know that I didn't get the order. At least that was only a $15 mistake...

1:47 AM  
Anonymous said...

This is the email I received from CNET NY..

"Discussion Thread
Response (Annie) 12/01/2005 11:09 PM
Hello,

Thank you for writing and bringing this to our attention. We are truly sorry the merchant you shopped from hasn't provided you with adequate assistance. We have forwarded your message to our Customer Service Manager who will investigate this issue further with the merchant to ensure that they provide a quality service to our users.

We appreciate the time you have taken to notify us of the service you have received from this merchant. We do value and monitor customer feedback. When we are made aware of a continual pattern of unsatisfactory customer service from a merchant listed on our site, they are removed.

Please let us know if we may be of further assistance."

5:21 AM  
Anonymous said...

Next time anyone has problems with an online camera store just send them the link to Thomas Hawk's blog. That should clear up any problems pretty quick. If not, just follow Thomas's example.

6:17 AM  
Anonymous said...

amazing!! my mother had the SAME ISSUE with steve philips of price rite photos a few months ago!!

good job! :D

8:50 AM  
Ernest de León said...

This think blew up just about as big as it possibly could have on this thief. To have paid all those people all that money or given them all those accessories to buy his ratings, to have opened all of the mirror sites and done the same thing....expending all of that money to build his rip-off empire, then have it all come crashing down in 24 hours is almost enough to make me have an orgasm. I wish I could be there in person in front of him taunting him as he realizes that his entire life is now gone. He isn't worthless, now he has negative worth. This is, of course, aside from the fact that the authorities are going to pursue him soon. All I wish is that the local police pick him up and book him in time to prevent him from trying to leave the country. I hope the legal system makes an example out of this guy and bends him over the bench with no vaseline. GO DIGG!!!

10:37 AM  
Sylvian said...

All I can say is that you made my day!
As you said very nicely many people have been/will be in this situation.

Although you have been lucky to get such attention (and you deserved it!) it is unlickely it will happen again anytime soon.

But at least you gave me the inspiration to complain publically of a scam I believe I may have been the victim, for more details:
http://www.maplefrog.com/?p=111

In a nutshell: There might be a UK Residential Letting Scam. I recently moved house and was charged £311 for Checkout and cleaning fees. When my partner and I cleaned the house thoroughly for 4 days!!!

I am not excepting your success or to get my money back really. But seeing you posting your story, made me realise that if you don't try you will never get anything anyway!!!

Unlike you, I am expecting nasty call after I complaint (i.e.: tomorrow from the letting agency and the checkout company).

Which brings me to a last point, wouldn't it be nice to have a central place/blog where people could complains online about scam they were victim of? Or maybe it already exists... Or by looking at most of the comments (including mine) people are now using *your* site to reveal their scam issues! ;)

Very well done!
As I said, you made my day!

11:33 AM  
Anonymous said...

Yes, they're still a seller on Ebay, but note the "149 feedback mutually withdrawn".
This is usually a sign that the seller has either resolved the problem (but 149 problems out of 5000?), or blackmailed the buyer with a negative on the buyer's own feedback.
It's happened to me.
Beenthere.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thought you would find this page of interest. I see that the only negative feedback is being investigated and the rest of the reviews appear to 100% address all of the negative issues with the company. They also share the same language and perfect grammar/punctuation. Highly suspect despite the fact that they came from resellerratings.com. I suspect that this is a highly organized scam and that legal action, if brought, would uncover alot more shady activity.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thought you would find this page of interest:

http://www.pricerunner.com/retailer/14312/reviews/3

I see that the only negative feedback is being investigated and the rest of the reviews appear to 100% address all of the negative issues with the company. They also share the same language and perfect grammar/punctuation. Highly suspect despite the fact that they came from resellerratings.com. I suspect that this is a highly organized scam and that legal action, if brought, would uncover alot more shady activity.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous said...

EBay, for all of their faults, takes a dim view of feedback extortion since feedback is such an integral part of EBay's success. The $100 charge that Price Rite et al attempt to charge for negative feedback is a gross violation of EBay TOS. Anyone who has experienced this should report the violation to EBay.

I have never seen a merchant with 149 mutually withdrawn feedbacks before. That is a very, very bad sign of possible extortion.

4:28 PM  
artr said...

I wanted to buy a Casio exilim camera about 6 weeks ago. They had the best price. I saw some bad reviews so I called them to verify. Salesman confirmed the price, and in stock availability that could ship that same day. Then he asked me what kind of memory card did I want, my options seemed to be the overpriced one or the really overpriced one. I politely declined both. Then it was the battery. Told him it came with the battery as per the Casio web site. He said 'not this one' and proceeded to suggest a battery again. Then I asked what exactly they were selling me and he indicated that it was just the camera, no USB dock, no retail package. When I asked some more questions I got, "hold on" and was put on hold. When he came back I asked another question, and again "hold on". After a couple more of these, he hung up.
End of my attempt to deal with them.

5:56 PM  
diana said...

I almost bought a Nikon D70 from A&M Photo several months ago -- it was listed at an amazingly low price, and I almost went through with the transaction. Luckily, I checked Google before I hit the Submit button, and I found dozens of dissatisfied customers with the exact same bait-and-switch issues as you've described.

I still don't have a Nikon DSLR, but at least I didn't get jerked around, I suppose.

8:28 PM  
Dead Guy said...

I think you have done the public a service in your actions and reportage on this. Not to mention the fact that the dammage such companies do to legitimate online retailers. I even worked for a small ISP-Computer shop that had an online store. After we were bought out, by a straight up ISP only operation. About a year leter, I (last of the old guys) got called into the COO's office, one afternoon, over a complaint about the old "out of business actually, on-line site. It seems the web guys never knew about it and so never deleted the site. It seems that some one had placed an order and since no one was "Minding The Store", we didn't even know the site was still up, much less that the ordering mechanism was still in place and operating. The COO's instructions were short and simple, "Fill the order at cost and get it done ASAP if not today." So, yes I got it done "today" at cost that was far less than the the advertised price. The web guys even updated the site to show it was closed and ofering to fill any other out standing orders also at cost. I think that sort of top down attitude is the way any online business should be opperated.

7:54 AM  
RC said...

* this is not legal advice from a lawyer, contacct one on your own*

I have to say that cause i am in law school and can get in trouble with the bar if i don't.

That being said if you live in texas you can punish this guy for a breach of contract suit. Texas is special cause you get to recover attorney's fees in contract suits, but if they do business on the internet i am betting you can pull them into court here.

Anyways most attorney's offices will at least hear you out for free, so if you are still upset i would go talk to somebody. Sounds like they do this stuff alot which would open the door to a very big lawsuit.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous said...

ExpressCamera.com is no better. I wanted to buy a Nikon D70 professional package for $999.99 and when I went to confirm my order I was told that the price would be $1299.99 because of the extras that I would need. I hope not all internet sales are scams. I have lost faith in internet buying and this was the first and only time I have or will try to buy online.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous said...

P.S. to the ExpressCamera.com comment. The sales person on the other end of the phone was named Scott. After arguing with him for about 20 minutes, I ask to speak to his boss. He said he was the head supervisor for sales. I said you have to have a boss. He said his boss was God. Very errogant, little creep. He finally after about a 15 minute hold came back on the line and gave me a name of someone I could talk to tommorrow. I didn't wait. I called to leave a message while my memory was still fresh. I'm glad I did. The voice mail answered and the voice of that same little punk came on. He was trying to side step me. I called him back and said to cancel my order. I hope his boss (God) gives him what he deserves when the time comes.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous said...

Crazy. Thanks alot Thomas for getting this out in the open. I couldn't believe the nerve of those guys. War David beating Goliath every time. Peace.....

Oh, and furrybut1, take your teeny-bopper potty mouth right back to your Daddy's house and try to make something useful out of your life.

10:23 AM  
Anonymous said...

I had simliar experiences back in 2000 trying to buy a digital camera. Most camera shops in NY are just like this. They all try to sell you stuff that you don't want and when you refuse to buy they don't ship your product. You should report them to Yahoo.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous said...

I can't believe the amount of people taking the risk of buying (or in most cases trying to buy) very expensive electronic equipment online from very shady retailers.

Comments like "I kinda knew it was too good to be true but the price was great" are common. How ignorant can you be? Retailers have to pay a certain price for a product to distributors or manufacurers and margins on electronic equipment are generally quite low. So if a certain store advertises agressively with a price that is much lower than ANY other store there must be a catch.

Risking 3000 $ for the slight chance of saving a few hundred? I know i wouldn't..

Where I live (The Netherlands) there have been several examples of this, always with very popular state of the art electronics.

For example, brand new Ipod's and navigation systems were offered on a certain website for ridiculously low prices.
I've read several comments of people on forums who ordered it saying they don't believe it's possible yet still paid IN ADVANCE.. Not one not two but thousands have done the same.

I have no sympathy with them whatsoever because greedy idiots like that are the main reason scammers exist in the first place.

12:35 PM  
Bassguy said...

Jesus... too many comments. Who is going to read this shit?

7:24 PM  
Anonymous said...

nice tip, that scam tool works !

7:59 PM  
lewiston1 said...

Don't know how I got here but just spent 2 hours reading this from top to bottom. It's HOT

3:32 AM  
Ross Dawson said...

An important question to ask: is this mob justice? I personally don't doubt the veracity of Thomas's tale, and that he has done many a favor by spreading word widely. Yet this is a power that can be abused. This does not mean that stories of poor treatment by companies shouldn't be shouted from the rooftops. It does mean that companies need to be ready to exercise the right to response. Blogging is a powerful weapon that stacks the odds. For more commentary on this see:
http://www.rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2005/12/business_transp.html

2:46 AM  
Anonymous said...

LOL - this is posted at PriceRitePhoto now:

"For those of you who tried to contact us in the past few days, we would like to apologize for any inconvenience that you may have incurred. Our website was down for maintenance and we are back up and fully operational. If you have placed an order with us please be assured that it will be shipped in a timely manner. Happy Holidays."

Down for maintenance - too funny!

7:13 AM  
Anonymous said...

I HAD A GOOD EXPERIANCE WITH PRICERITEPHOTO.COM!

I had a personal experience with priceritephoto.com not too long ago(before the thomashawk thing) that I would like to share. Basically, One could say I actually had a good experience with priceritephoto.com ...

All right - I only say I had a great experience because I received an apparently brand new working camera at a very very low price... and I received it in 4 days (even though they told me it would take 5-7). That sounds like a great experience, right? So far it has been ...

My Purchasing Story:
After checking yahoo shopping, I saw that I could purchase the camera at a very low price. Priceritephoto.com's rating was 4.5 out of 5 and they had a lot of reviews, so without checking I (stupidly) went out to purchase from them. They were listed in yahoo shopping… that’s a reliable source, right? I checked out the website and then called in over the phone to get the free camera bag that they were offering with phone orders. They were very helpful and although they asked if I wanted a bunch of extra stuff… they didn’t push me to buy anything. We did decide to buy an extra battery and I received my entire purchase at a very low price.

A little while after my purchase (and before this thomas hawk thing) I was bored so I thought I'd read some of the reviews left for priceritephoto.com. It is then that I learned what the term "grey market" meant... and it is then that I found many many negative comments about priceritephoto.com and saw pictures of their store front. I did a lot of research, called the camera manufacturer to inquire about "grey markets" and priceritephoto.com. I was so scared about my stupid purchase that I had trouble getting to sleep at night. However, I decided to stick it out and see if I actually got my camera because it appeared that even some of the customers who left bad yahoo reviews for priceritephoto.com seemed to always work it out right in the end.

Four days later, I received my camera and everything was brand new and works great. For those of you saying that it was a bad idea to purchase from them, you are right. I consider myself to be lucky with my experience so far. I am even still confident that something is not right. Will the camera break in its first week or two of use? Is it actually stolen or from a grey market? I intend to find out they answers to these questions as soon as I can.

11:20 AM  
Paul said...

From the current PriceRitePhoto front page (my emphasis):

"For those of you who tried to contact us in the past few days, we would like to apologize for any inconvenience that you may have incurred. Our website was down for maintenance and we are back up and fully operational."

God, they just can't stop lying can they? It must be like breathing for them.

P.

http://oceanclub.blogspot.com

11:44 AM  
Anonymous said...

Be sure to check out www.badcorp.org

they have alot of companies

1:46 PM  
Hugh said...

Eddy thank you for your mistake for in doing so you have opened a can of rotten worms so fetid that I can smell them from where I am sitting and thats almost 3,000 miles away.

This company almost got an order from me but luckly I thought if it seams too good to be true than it probably is and so left it well alone no matter how tempted.

To the man/men/people running this company.
you are vermin! you think that you can rob/trick/extort hard working people from what they have earned through sweat and blood and get away with it. Wrong!
if the police dont get you and if you and your conscious does no better when you least expect it it will come and when it does don't bother saying my god, why me!

3:00 PM  
Hugh said...

Eddy thank you for your mistake for in doing so you have opened a can of rotten worms so fetid that I can smell them from where I am sitting and thats almost 3,000 miles away.

This company almost got an order from me but luckly I thought if it seams too good to be true than it probably is and so left it well alone no matter how tempted.

To the man/men/people running this company.
you are vermin! you think that you can rob/trick/extort hard working people from what they have earned through sweat and blood and get away with it. Wrong!
if the police dont get you and if you and your conscious does no better when you least expect it it will come and when it does don't bother saying my god, why me!

3:00 PM  
Anonymous said...

This company and many others are owned by the same person. They use Heffco as thier parent company. Thet sell Audio
and other electronics.
Do a search for Heffco and see what pops up.

5:22 PM  
Anonymous said...

if you look through their ebay feedback, there's a lot, A LOT, of negative feedback that has been "mutually withdrawn". I assume because PriceRite threatened negative feedback in return. These guys should be run out of business IMHO

6:57 PM  
Anonymous said...

Before everyone bad mouths every shop in NY/NYC, B&H Photo and Video (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/) is a reputable operation with a real, physical store front you can walk in to and try the stuff before buying it, which I have done a couple of times now. Knowledgable staff. Friends that have bought online have been happy too.

So please don't paint all NYC camera shops the same.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous said...

I dont think they are so bad!
can i ask an honest q.
how many of you bloggers have ever bought something from price rite photo ?
because one guy had a bad experince it does nit mean he is all bad, BTW C&A markting is a major B & H Photo supplier, so you guys keep on prasising BH Photo, you should know that if he is good for BH Photo he is good enough for you, but then again this whole thing is only based on revenge and by people who have a lot of time on their hand, so they are not intresting to hear only bad things because the good is no news,
so i just added my 2 cents worth
BTW i am a professional photographer in Hartford CT and i have safe full of Canon Lenses and 10d's and 20D's that i all picked up at Price Rite Photo

10:16 AM  
Anonymous said...

BHPhoto is reputable, but don't go there for service.

5:24 PM  
Tim said...

Totally nuts! I Wont be ordering there, glad your point got put accross,

7:51 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thomas, you saved my cookies by going public in such an effective way. Thank you.

I found this story just in time. I had just placed an order 48 hours prior with a different Brooklyn-based too-good-to-be-true priced retailer WAWADIGITAL.COM and had experienced my first 'confirmation call' The upsell attempt was not high pressure, but they tried to sell me a discounted extended life battery for over $50 (the camera in question uses AA cells. I knew it was BS, but kept it polite.

Later the same day I heard the Diggnation podcast mention the PriceRitePhoto story and a went to the Digg.com site and clicked through to here.

Following advice I read in the comments I googled "WAWADIGITAL + scam" and found much the same sort of fraud & abuse stories about them on a bunch of other feedback sites.

Next, I called my credit card customer service line, confirmed that the charge had not yet been made, blocked charges from that merchant and ordered a replacement card (killing the number).

Finally I sent the email below to WAWADIGITAL cancelling my order. I include it here because I thought some of you might be amused by the tone of it. Not included here is a photo I pasted in of their physical location...

http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/h0062.htm

...which also came up on the Google search. The site contains photos of dozens of current and former Brooklyn Camera shop addreses -- an interesting clue to their legitimacy (or lasck thereof).


By the way, others posting to this site have recommended B&H and J&R. I can confirm that they are both large honest companies with knowledgeable staff and above board business practices.

17th St Photo is another, but in many cases has slightly better prices due to the Avis effect (they're a little smaller).

I just moved out of NYC last month and my office is on the same block as 17th St Photo. They are for real, and just like B&H serve many pro photographers in NYC on a walk-in basis.



----- Original Message -----
To: sales@wawadigital.com
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 6:38 AM
Subject: Re: Order Confirmation - cancel


The transaction below (your order # xxxxxx) has been blocked with Visa. You may consider the order cancelled with this notice.

The confirmation phone call used to up-sell overpriced and unnecessary accessories raised an alarm with me and I have since researched your company name and found many complaints about your business practices. I have also ordered a replacement for the Visa card used, so don't bother selling the cardholder info, it's already deactivated.

For more information about the web-community's growing awareness of, and reaction to, Brooklyn-based third-tier camera merchants you can look here:

http://thomashawk.com/2005/11/priceritephoto-abusive-bait-and-switch.html

For a look at your own company's public reputation you can check these examples, which are typical:

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff145583.htm
http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff149517.htm
http://www.leeholmes.com/blog/CustomerServiceAtWaWaDigitalImGoingToBreakYourNeck.aspx
http://www.resellerratings.com/seller9573.html

Etcetera. There is a lot more of this sort of thing on all the search engines (60 on Google alone).

The economics behind your business model make sense, but is short-sighted and ultimately self defeating. You are also lowering your own quality of life by living as though other people are worthless and only exist for you to take advantage of. Besides showing a lack of imagination (is this really the most satisfying thing you can come up with you spend your life on?), you are spending 24x7 with a dishonest person you has a very sad outlook on the value of life.

I've run an honest business for 25 years. In the beginning it's harder than fooling people or stealing, but much more satisfying when it succeeds. In the end it pays a lot better too.

I don't imagine you get many letters like this one. Because I managed to pull the plug on this situation before suffering any personal harm, I can address myself to you without anger. But more and more people are watching what you are doing, and it's reasonable to expect not everyone else's reaction can be counted on to be as dispassionate as mine.

I hope you manage to find your way to a more worthwhile existence sooner than later. In that, at least, I can wish you good luck.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous said...

Don't know if its been mentioned, but always check a new reseller. The best comprehensive review site I found is http://www.resellerratings.com/ I sometimes can laugh at the stories people tell of how these guys will keep trying different scams.

8:28 AM  
.::| M |::. said...

Another way that internet stores get people to post positive feedback is they will waive the shipping cost for the item for feedback ahead of time. This very thing happened to me, and the first camera I got turned out to be quite a lemon, but after enough hassle they replaced it in a reasonable amount of time. Luckily I didn't fall into this PriceRite snake pit.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous said...

DAMN! YOU SERIOUSLY ROKK! Justice for the "little guy". What an inspiration!

10:20 AM  
Anonymous said...

I work a nyc mailorder co. We dont bait and switch but we do advertise our prices to a point where we cant ship the product unless an accessory is bought with it or we lose money. Is this wrong? Yes. But the business got so competitive.. Imageine if all of us small stores have the same price as bestbuy and amazon etc. we wouldnt get a sale.. Truth is after you buy the camera with an accessory or 2, you still end up paying less than at your local bestbuy or circuit city. We wish the business never became like this, but thats where it is and we have to make a living somehow. We dont rip anyone off, and we dont steal. We just cant ship a camera when were losing 50 dollars on it. At the same time we cant tell customers this so we just say its out of stock if they refuse any accessories.

Open up your newspaper go to the first car dealer ad, and lease a 2005 lexus for $199/month..

Realize this, if your shopping for a camera that cost $600 at you local bestbuy and someone online is selling it for $350, than theres gotta be a catch. The catch is buy a case, a memory card, rechargeable batteries,,, whatever,, just get something, you need a case for the camera, you need a memory card.. If not you will end up buying the camera alone for more money at a reputable place, and still need a case, memory card, etc..

Happy Shopping and Happy Holiday's to all.

12:10 PM  
Al said...

Read it all sounded very familiar. I had the same experience on a Minolta DiMage Z6 with wawadigital (batteries then memory then warranty said it didn't come with any, not even the manufacturer....). I really have to wonder if all these Brooklyn shops are just different phone numbers to the same boiler room.

I looked back at the vendor I tried "wawadigital" (should of known). I couldn't find the price compare that I used, but I found this.
http://www.resellerratings.com/seller_rating_history.pl?id=9573

Should of done it earlier. They rate just above absolute zero.

Ended up getting our Minolta DiMage Z6 at CostCo.

Thanks for picking up the torch for all of us.

Al

1:52 PM  
jrfk2 said...

Hate to be a wet blanket, but I got a camcorder from these guys, ordered 11/25 and received following wednesday. Yeah I got the package deal but what I was offered was a good deal IMHO, all went well except extra battery not as good as promised, supposedly they are sending another to make up for it.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous said...

jrfk2, you're not being a wet blanket your experience is support that this stores policies will only help those who buy extra stuff from them. If you had not gotten the package deal do you really think you would have had a different experience vs. the many others who have had problems with the store?

7:54 PM  
¥€$ said...

Funny

12:06 AM  
jrfk2 said...

Yeah, thats what makes me think I had a narrow escape, buying the package deal, as I don't normally / always get those .. but I needed tapes and an extra battery anyway and my recent luck with electronics has made me more open to extended waranties ...

I did get the extra battery in the mail ..

8:18 AM  
Anonymous said...

It has already hit the autosurf for cash websites industry 4daily.com is one such site. He stole thousands of money from users and threatens people who call him a scam artist just like what happend to ya camra folks.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous said...

I would not have any thing repaired by geeksquad. They charge higher at the Augusta, GA one compared to what is stated on website. They refused to fix a pc with a simple disk in the computer and only wanted to put a downgraded OS on the system. WHat a bunch of rip off

5:32 PM  
Anonymous said...

Geek squad is one rip off

5:44 PM  
DHB Photography said...

Thank you for all the information; I will avoid them. You should write a review on Alexa!

http://info.alexa.com/data/details?amzn_id=dhbphotography-20&p=TBSIPopup_T_g_40_L1&url=http://www.priceritephoto.com/priceritephoto/index.asp?CartId={C0027CF0-9C0EVERESTA-4350-A29B-31DEF953EB17}

9:16 PM  
DHB Photography said...

This post has been removed by the author.

9:22 PM  
DHB Photography said...

New info: Found out they use an AOL account. I dont have AOL so I can not see the profile. May beable to find some more information out. Their email is priceritephoto@aol.com

9:24 PM  
ian said...

wow this is some of the most infuriating stuff ive read ever, that camera shop better be begging after the suing has ended and they should suffer, no joke

8:53 PM  
Murray M. said...

Aviod at all costs -- any dealers in Brooklyn, Boro Park or related areas. The majority of them are scam artists and con men. Complaining to the attorney general of NY's office will do you no good, as these scam artists are Hasidic Jews, who have a huge political power over the politics of New York City. Buy your electronics at trusted dealers, not off the back of a stationwagon parked in the driveway of a mock "temple".

10:01 PM  
Anonymous said...

Prestige Camera is affiliated with Priceritephoto. They are rude,conniving, evil and I should have known better. I cancelled an order, got yelled at and hung up on. I cancelled my credit card they had to prevent any problems. I hope they get caught.

12:38 PM  
Chris "Krang" Yang said...

Concerning the nyc mailorder employee who posted earlier, I don't think it's wrong to offer competitive prices in an effort to grab buyers's attention but it is unethical not to advertise that it is a special price that is only included with package deals. Obviously if somebody is offering anything at half off the average retail price, something must be amiss but most buyers would be willing to forgo caveat emptor warnings for the sake of their own wallet. It's true that buyers should be cautious when purchasing but it doesn't discount the ethical responsibility of the seller to make their position clear. I'd happily pay for a package deal if I knew what it was before I tried buying it. I feel that most retailers feel some sort of ethical immunity trying to use competitive pricing as an excuse for underhanded marketing techniques. Retailers who feel trapped do retaliate and often do so at the expense of the very people that do support their products. After all, pricerite's tactics only encourage buyers to do research before purchasing and everybody who does any sort of research will never purchase from them. They may only be in business for the short run but they are hurting the principles through which e-commerce should be thriving under.

As far as Jrfk2's comment, I admire your courage to tell a positive story about pricerite but I wonder what will happen if your camera breaks and you try and honor their warrenty agreement.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous said...

Ross Dawson - Yes, this is justice. This is the closest thing to Internet justice there is. It may seem like a mob scene but if pricerite's padding comments on cnet and other price comparison websites, as well as using their internet anonymity by making threatening phone calls and exploiting the amount of information is gathered through online purchases such as calling your boss and threatening police action at your house, then this comment flood is what we have to retaliate with. My only concern is that commenting on a blog's not enough. We need to exploit this power as far as it can go so that pricerite wannabe retailers don't think that they can get away with this bullshit. What other course of retaliation do we have? Notifying the BBB? Notifying the attorny general? This battle's between e-tailers and tech-literate shoppers. Joe Schmoe on the street might just treat this as a bad experience. He'll cancel his card and buy his camera from a more reputable dealer. It's not going to stop Jack Schmoe from buying from them. We need to show that this kind of business practice is not only not effective but hurtful. That's why jurors award punitive damages.

2:03 PM  
SirChadlington said...

Great story. Thanks for sharing. Its great to see that a group of online bloggers, working together, can persuade the big companies out there to take action and remove this awful company from their sites and stop all affiliations with them. Thanks, it really made my day.

--Chad
www.playvortex.com
www.toolblast.com
www.chamberofgold.com

10:23 PM  
Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to contact 60 Minutes, their email address is 60m@cbsnews.com

10:14 AM  
Badass Christian MoFo Hail Jesus H Christ. A-Fuckin' Men said...

Whoa. Time well spent.

3:00 PM  
John Federico said...

I just had nearly the same experience with Best Price Cameras (http://www.bestpricecameras.com).

Here's an email I received from them:

---
Thank you for placing your order with www.bestpricecameras.com Please call us to confirm your order.

1800-281-1823 X.240 (Within US)
1718-998-7986 X.240 (Outside US)

david

www.bestpricecameras.com

Mon-Thur 9:30am - 8:30pm EST
Fri 9:30am - 6:00pm
Sun 10am - 6:00pm

---

When I called to confirm my order, I asked for "David". (There is no David.)

They gave me the hard upsell on batteries, memory and the like. When I declined, I was told that my order would arrive in 3-6 weeks, even AFTER the site said the camera was in-stock and I paid for 2nd-day air delivery.

I wasn't going to deal with them.

I said, "Yeah, I know this game. Cancel my order. I'm going to call American Express and dispute the charge."

His response? "Good luck finding one a**hole."

I can't believe these guys don't get busted for these practices.

3:24 PM  
Rachel said...

Could DigitalFuze.com also be the same company? I had an almost identical situation with this company and also learned of a few other alias': Best Buy Digital, a.k.a. Circuit Digital, d.b.a. circuitdigital.com, sourcefordigital.com, oneclickdigital.com, a.k.a. Digital Fuze & Digitalfotoclub.com.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous said...

Damn the man. Way to go.

7:09 PM  
Greg said...

Regular employees aren't fired at board meetings..this guy was yanking your chain.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous said...

I have similar experience with several New York Camera Dealers... ROYAL CAMERA, for ex.
When I placed an order for the Canon Rebel XT plus 2 leanses, on line, I received an email to call them... I was talked into buying a more expensive long lense and the Rebel XT kit (with a wide angle lense included). They also tried to sell me many other accessories, which I declined.
I received the 2 lenses, however, no camera. The order for Rebel Xt with kit was split. This was two months ago. I have been calling them every week but each time, they tried to sell me the camera with other accessaries. When I declined, they told me that the body only was backordered, although the camera was still shown "in stock" on their website (even right now). I also called the Sales Department to see if this camera body only was in stock and available for shipping the next day, they would confirm that. But as soon as I told them I did not need the other accessories, then they immediately either hung up or told me it was out of stock. Fortunately, I was charged only for the two lenses.
I tried to call a few other stores, and came across exactly the same thing.
I mentioned this to my Camera Club and a club member sent me your link. Thank you for drawing the attention of this type of scam to the appropriate agents that at least PriceRitePhoto was exposed. Too bad that there are still many of similar scams and crooks out there. Jan

12:24 PM  
Anonymous said...

AMAZING! Haven't you people learned that every corrupt russian, middle-eastern, israeli, vietnamese, korean, and other 3rd-world rejects come to NYC just to scam clueless Americans??!! Look at the NYC cab drivers! Look at the knock-off joints on times square and canal st. Take it from me "If it looks to good to be true... it probably is!!!"

Look at the guy who runs PriceRitePhoto (et al)... His first name was "Chaim". Duh!!! That should have been your first clue to dig deeper. Then the mailing address was in or near NYC! Jeez!

I do not know one serious photog that purchases big-ticket photog-equip over the internet or even mailorder. Most will only go to walk-in places to touch-n-feel. Maybe go to Wal-Mart after T-Giving, XMAS, or inventory time. WM has a really good line up of big-brandname cams for decent prices already. What's wrong with Target, Circuit City, etc.? Their prices are not all that bad. Plus their return and warranty policies ain't as bad as PriceRite Photo...

How many "real" Americans would call a customer and threaten with calls to their boss, CEO, police, FBI, etc? Come on only a stupid 3rd-world-reject from his "police-state" dictatorship would think that gestapo-like tactics like this also apply to USA. I mean what customer service person even calls a customer and have a non-standard conversation peppered with idle threats and colorful metaphors? How many CSD's actually even call customers at all? Remember real corporate CSD's are in Bangelore India today (i.e. offshore outsourcing)!!! Therefore if your particular CSD person doesn't have an annoying Hindi accent then... :-)

I think that buyer's "common sense" should be the order of the day here.

Caveat Emptor!

PS - One of you stunads' blamed the "mafia"? Will you get a friggin' clue... dat' aint der' bag dude! Actually if a guy in a black leather coat with a vowel in his last name offers you a good deal on a camera dat' "fell off of da' back of a truck"... I assure you it will be a very very cheap deal. I mean his name will be something like "Paulie Walnuts" from "Jorsey" and he will offer the same $3,300 camera for a coupla' "C-notes" - okay maybe at least a "yard" - in a NY minute! However, no warranty, no returns, no receipts, etc. Also there will be no brick and mortar address nor any CSD division... ;->

6:31 AM  
Anonymous said...

"Murray M. said...
Aviod at all costs -- any dealers in Brooklyn, Boro Park or related areas. The majority of them are scam artists and con men... these scam artists are Hasidic Jews, who have a huge political power over the politics of New York City. Buy your electronics at trusted dealers, not off the back of a stationwagon parked in the driveway of a mock temple."

Murray I agree with "most" of what you said. However, Hasidim are primarily and traditionally diamond merchants and hangout mainly in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. They have more violent run-ins with NYPD than any other NY Jewish group as they have very exacting orthodox standards that they will not tolerate being violated.

If they are selling knock-offs or cut-rate cameras out the back of station wagons I really doubt. I think they have this "thing" about "cars". Also you can spot them by their little sideburn curls and black clothing. They are mainly up near "West Point" at Monroe NY in their own little community. They are buying up property in Connecticut too.

No... you must be talking about "Hasidic-fakers" dressed up like them. I pity the faker-sucker who gets caught by a bunch of strolling Hisidim. They are not known for their tolerance or benevolent behavior in NYC. No, IMO you are more likely to be sold a camera out the back of a stationwagon (or clipjoint) in NYC by a guy name "Habib", "Ivan", "Li", "Guido", "Leroy", or "Eduardo" than a guy named "Chaim"! :-> (sublime humor!)

However, I do agree with you that "some" of the "scammers" and "con artists" in NYC may be of the same "power-base" ethnic group which seems to wield heavy power amongst the neocons like NYC (R) Mayor "Bloomberg" and prez (R) George "Likud-Party" Bush lately.

Caveat Emptor!

7:16 AM  
Anonymous said...

wow, what's with the cowardly people that are afraid of things like the company charging them if they don't take their review off? people need to be more honest.
i guess it's cause they're older, and haven't grown up in a generation in which we know credit cards (and use them) like nothing else, and are not afraid to dispute charges

3:22 AM  
Anonymous said...

I called on a mon to buy a canon eos d20 got a call the next day trying to sell me the world afraid I wasn’t going to get my camera I told the guy okokok like a fool. I got so annoyed toward the end of the conversation I told him I JUST WANT THE CAMERA ONLY and he hung up on me. They were very rude even after I told him I was a poor student who was using loan money to pay for the camera for school work & he still persisted on asking me if I wanted more and more accessories. I got fed up and they broke me sorry guys they got me with the fear tactics…. I ended up paying $1.410 which is what I would have paid in a retail store. (added cleaning kit which looks like it costs $1 an extra battery that’s $50 extended bull warranty and 2day shipping… I don’t think that was worth the extra money and high blood pressure) are we sure the name isn’t PRICEJERKuOFFRITEPHOTO.com

10:47 PM  
Anonymous said...

NYC as a whole is Full Of S***. Go to your local shop and pay a few bucks more to support them. You can walk out with the product in hand and know that you've helped a small business survive. Saving $100 on a camera is not worth the chance of getting screwed by anyone.

1:36 AM  
mikefrombklyn said...

There are some great shops in NY.
In addition to B&H, don't forget J&R music world on Park Row. A little secret - if you go in person, many marked prices are NEGOTIABLE!!!
Also, don't be afraid to use Abe's of Maine in Brooklyn, I bought from them and had no problems. They have a good rating from the BBB too.
I don't have any relationship with these businesses except satisfied customer.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous said...

I just had a very funny conversation with a sales person at PriceRitePhoto -- I phoned them and asked where they are located. He responded "New York." I asked what his address was and the salesman said "I am not at liberty to give out my store's address." I asked him a few different ways, and each time he refused to give any address. It was entertaining, to say the least. Try it yourself: 888-365-4300

8:37 AM  
big nick digger said...

i pooped my pants

10:18 PM  
Mr. T said...

Treat her right, treat your mother right.

11:57 AM  
BillyWarhol said...

CLASSIC!!***********

Funny story dude********

luvv yer photos*

Cheers!! Billy ;))

10:26 PM  
Fistolio said...

Nasty. Very Nasty. Some online stores are crap indeed. Here in Australia, I purchased camera from centre.net.au and they delivered it within 23 hours of payment, all the way across Oz!

My 2nd camera was also purchased online from a street store with an online presence. They assured me they had stock and they delivered on the dot.

Although I never researched either, it would be easy to get caught out by scammers, a bit like the Hong Kong tourist bait and switchers. I saw this happen first hand and we got out lucky because they messed up their CC handling.

Hope it all works out!

5:58 AM  
xamox said...

Power to the blogger. They can have their people fill out fake customer surveys but they can't take away the blog. Poor price rite photo, I'm sure if anyone searches for that name on the net your bound to come across this blog. hahaha.

1:36 PM  
Christopher Boffoli said...

I cannot tell you the number of times when I have had a simple Internet transaction that has devolved quickly into a similarly horrible situation that is not worth all of the time and trouble. I'm impressed with the amount of attention you were able to call to this. Nicely done. A couple off obvious things: Always be wary about the lowest price vendor. If you consider the value of your time, you might have "saved" in the long run by spending a few hundred more with an alternate vendor. Try to find a good credit card with ironclad fraud and buyer protection. I agree with the posters here who say that the BBB is irrelevant. They are. Complaints to most Attorneys General offices are not much more effective. You want to be careful too about threatening even a bad business. It is one thing for a customer who has had a bad experience to share that experience with other consumers so they can make up their own minds about doing business with a certain company. However, less carefully worded threats to say negative things about a business can be construed as tortious interference with someones business and they can sue you for that. They might not win but they could cause a lot of trouble. What works better for me is to report an out of state company to the office of your home state's Secretary of State. Most states require businesses to register for a Certificate of Authority to do business in that state. Many IInternet businesses are too lazy to do this because it requires a lot of time and paperwork. But the fines can be steep if someone reports them. You should check with the Secretary of State's office to find out if Priceritephoto ever registered for a Certificate of Authority to do business in the State of California. I'd wager they probably didn't. I've used this backup before in negotiating with certain companies who have been difficult about refunds. They always cave.

10:39 AM  
Jerry Pennington said...

Had a similar experience with a place called pcandplasma.com trying to buy a Nikon D70 for my aunt. Once I realized they had no intention of sending me my item, they "let me cancel." I then ordered from a place on eBay called Camweis that also operated a Web site called camweis.com. The owner said his name was Joel Weiss. I did eventually receive a camera, that shortly thereafter had problems and when it was sent to Nikon, they sent it back unrepaired saying it was a gray market item, even though the listing said it carried a manufacturer's warranty.
I also complained to the NY Attorney General, and after several calls to Mr. Weiss, he eventually agreed to repair the camera. So, we sent it back and this went on for months, and in the meantime his eBay account and web site were taken down. I happened to find an e-mail address for him through an old eBay listing, and contacted him that way, and he said he had been trying to contact me (yeah, right). He said the "repair fee" was $250. I went nuts and told him all the action I had taken and planned to take, and he finally shipped the repaired camera back. Now, my aunt is stuck with a gray market Nikon. Although it is working now, there's no guarantee that if anything else goes wrong we won't be stuck with some huge repair bill.

5:56 AM  
btezra said...

~Thomas, great job, I applaud your tenacity and the results you furnished through your efforts...I hope you got that 5D, it's one helluva dslr, and thanx for making QUITE a few people aware of the perils of dealing w/ shady camera e-retailers...all the best!~

btezra from Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/btezra/

7:52 AM  
Melissa said...

I had a similar experience, although not nearly as bad that you can read about on my blog. http://haloscan.com/tb/littlemp/113587143498996034 I'm glad I got my order cancelled before it got to that degree. It's frustrating that places like that are still operating!!

10:57 AM  
Anonymous said...

This is the longest single blog I have seen. I have shopped at priceritephoto.com other than the fact they are very rude, my order came in good order.
But I can imagine those guys using such deceitful techniques and scams.

I recommend using store ratings and reviews before buying anything. Use sites like http://www.PriceComparison.com

Just my 2 cents

10:47 AM  
jennconspiracy said...

Dude! What an incredible story. You should check with the "Five on your side" guys or some consumer reporting show. :)

Good work!

10:16 PM  
alms said...

Thank you (and the other commenters!) for this very valuable information on shady camera retailers. I've bookmarked this post so that I can reference it often.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous said...

Well done, I think you have done a fantasitic job at sticking to your guns. You knew you were right and you had every right to the purchase. I'm very glad to see you have won this battle and hope other vendors take note. Consumers have a very big impact especially with the internet and poor customer service will not be tolerated.

2:02 AM  
Anonymous said...

Well done, I think you have done a fantasitic job at sticking to your guns. You knew you had every right to the purchase. I'm very glad to see you have won this battle and hope other vendors take note. Consumers have a very big impact especially with the internet and poor customer service will not be tolerated.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous said...

Sadly, this isn't a situation restricted to camera outlets. You'll find a very similar experience if you ever need to contract a moving company based in Florida (if you know better--you NEVER will!).

6:57 AM  
Kronicade said...

Wow, top Digg!!!! Good Job!!

11:47 AM  
phrakture said...

I must say that reading this gave me chills. For a long time people have been under the thumb of those 'larger' than themselves - mainly because there was no mainstream way to get in touch with those on your side. With the advent of this sort of blog-o-sphere power, the fulcrum has shifted.

Mr Hawk, I thank your for your contribution to all us little consumers out here. And props to all you other people for bringing this story into the lime-light.

Cheers

1:48 PM  
Anonymous said...

I am head of marketing for a major online camera / electronics retailer. We have been complaining to the shopping comparison engines and portals for years regarding unethical online selling practices and meaningless rating systems. Happy to see that due to Thomas Hawk's persistence and tenacity, they finally started listening.

Well done! Thomas, if you're still interested in purchasing the Canon 5D, let me know and we will sell it to you at our cost...no games, no add ons.

2:36 PM  
Thomas Hawk said...

Already bought it at B&H. Thanks.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thomas, just wanna say keep fighting the good fight! I had similar experiences with vendors from Brooklyn. Their giving a great borough a bad name! My brother (whose was new to purchasing anything online) basically just searched the lowest price for a Sony digicam and a Sony video recorder. It came out realativly cheap, but decided to call the company to see if it was too good to be true. We see a smiliar relation to the guy who seems nice and respectable on the phone. Well he basically gives him the same crap about needing accesories. He says he'll get a warranty, lens, battery charger, tripod, etc for basically a crapload of money. Being the fool he is, my bro falls for it. But since he did we didnt really get harrased. Later after I realized what he had done, I almost slapped for doing such a stupid mistake! Well at least we didnt get into to much trouble. Still .... those guys are pricks.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous said...

Just a HEADS UP! Companies pay money to belong to the Better Business Bureau. The BBB is not the Consumer Advocate that you think it is. The BBB is more like a club of merchants that pay money to belong to the club. Thus, the fact that the listing for this store changes on the BBB site is not surprising. If the store is listed that means it's a part of the club.

If you're looking to complain about a business DO NOT go to the BBB. Go to the Attny Gen or, if your state has one, the Industrial Commission, or the Consumer Protection Agency. Any of these types of agencies is better than the BBB. Complaining to the BBB about a business that is listed with them is like complaining to the Police dept. about Officer abuse. It won't do any good.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous said...

I also had a similar experience online but then i heard ebay has much better sellers since you cant fake feedback like you can online. i saw the "pricerite photo" ebay store and they were selling the cameras much higher than their website was. ithen went to japanexpress2 which had an amazing feedback and also had the camera i wanted at a real low price and i reeceived it in 2 days after i placed my order. those other scum really have some nerve trying to force it on you but good for you not to be a victim.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous said...

I work for a finance company and almost bought a camera from a similar company. I decided to buy the camera from one of the Suppliers that we had financed for. We do a lot of investigation before we will pay someone for any equipment. I choose B&H Photo based on that investigation. I would recomend them to everyone.

12:28 PM  
karl said...

Having lived in NY for 8 years I know that there are a tonne of very unscrupulous camera and electronic shops. New York's 5th avenue is famous for it's "going out of business" sales, and incredibly aggressive high pressure sales. It's not surprising that many of these kind of companies are moving onto the internet.

I'm an avid photographer and can highly recomend B&H photo, yes they can be abrupt, but they know they're stuff inside out. Visiting their store in New York is worth the trip, it is an amazing store, and quite a unique "New York" experience.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous said...

I was about to buy a camera from Barclay's photo on evbay and did some lookinbg into them and found the bad feedback. I will not buy from them under any circumstance.

Kevin from Vancouver Canada

12:39 PM  
Anonymous said...

Wish I had found this site before dealing (HDTV) with IBUYDIGITAL.com (A/K/A IBUYPLASMA, DIGITAL
MEGASTORE,DBUYS,REAL DEAL SHOP,CENTRAL DIGITAL). Same bait and switch tactics. Send them back to where they came from, but only after they're put out of business.

4:14 AM  
Anonymous said...

priceritephoto sold me an stolen camera, I found out because the camera broke few weeks after I received it an i sent it to the manufacturer for warranty service, they did not return me the camera because it was stolen from their warehouse few months ago.

6:29 PM  
celaka communication said...

I've posted on my forum with short URL for consumer complaints.

take a look Sayno.to/PriceRitePhoto

7:12 PM  
Anonymous said...

wow - that steve phillips guy sounds either crazy, or crazy on drugs. why?:
- grandiose : I'll sue you, I'm an attorney, I'll call your boss and have you fired
-persecutory: I know you're flooding my call centre.
all pretty simple stuff, which would be consistent with amphetamine abuse in a psychosis-susceptible individual, who would need it for, say, a high speed stressful job.

speed! it'll get your goat eventually!

3:35 AM  
Neil said...

It's amusing all the discussion about Hasidic Jews being the problem when the *only* photo store in New York that I'd buy from (www.bhphotovideo.com) is run by Hasidim. They're brisk on the phone, but honest and awesome in person.

3:29 PM  
Heywood said...

B and H are brisk in person too, but like you, I would never buy photo equip from anywhere else. I have trusted their used gear for years and you know you will never beat their prices.

If most of the crooked camera biz and the only reputable camera biz in NY are controlled by hasidism, its simply because the camera biz in NY is controlled by hasidic folks.

I think it has less to do with their culture than the fact that its easier to cheat people than it is to try and take on a solid and honest place like b and h fairly.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous said...

theyre back!

1:52 PM  
Anonymous said...

I made the mistake of bidding on a camera on ebay with them. I was told 3 weeks later that the camera shipment was CANCELLED by the manufacturer and the only way I found out was when I CALLED them. Got a refund, and left them a negative feedback, and they want to mediate with me to retract the feedback that I put in. After reading this, I am not going to. Thank you for this informative information.

2:29 PM  
florini said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I spent a good few minutes reading this...

I was just looking to buy a Canon EOS 5D camera, as i found it a few hundred dollars cheaper on a couple of sites. After talking to my colleague at work, he directed me to your blog.

I was shocked to learn about what what happened to some of you. It appears that these businesses are run by criminals.

I'll be much more careful in the future.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous said...

you are a bunch of mother fffvfgvc

11:56 AM  
Jackie Dobson said...

Yahoo Shopping is one of the strongest pro spam support sites on the web. I would buy nothing from a merchant that uses Yahoo Shopping.

9:36 AM  
mATOK said...

I really hope you see the above comment and remove it.

I enjoyed reading your article and about your triumph but was immediatly put off by the last most assuming and disgusting comment.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous said...

Holly Sh1t...great story.
Just so you all know.. THIS STORY HAS JUST BEEN PICKED UP IN AUSTRAIA, and is a feature story in APC (Australian Personal Computer) magazine.

7:02 PM  
cxjv said...

oh, man. i just placed an order with what i'm pretty sure is one of these related outfits, 42nd street photo -- a familiar street name, no? the camera got here fine, earlier than expected, actually, but i feel like i could have been ripped off easily. and now, having done a little research after the fact, i see there are all kinds of people who have been ripped off. not to mention i hate the fact i probably helped these guys stay in business. yep, i bought the accessories, too, which actually weren't too overpriced in my case. i have no idea why i got so lucky. but one thing's for sure -- i won't deal with anyone other than b&h et al. from now on..

you've really got to do the research and trust your instincts out there.. thanks to everyone who's helped get this story out there..

1:51 AM  
Anonymous said...

I placed an order today from one of their other sites. WaWa Digital. I received a telephone call right back from them. They ask me why I bought a refurbished camera. I told them I ordered a new one. WRONG ... BAIT AND SWITCH. I then told them to cancel my order. The guy on the other end told me he had my social security number and my credit card number. And they were going to use it to destroy me. Credit card number yes.. social NO. I called my credit card company and told them what happened. They canceled my card.

I then called back, told them I canceled my card and they were angry. They told me if I didn't send them a $140.00 Cashiers check in three days they were going to destroy me ... meaning my credit. I LEARNED!

4:42 PM  
Anonymous said...

Could this company be selling on Amazon.com as NuMark Photo? Check the feedback from John4623 dated 5/17/2006. Here's a link: http://tinyurl.com/le6uv

4:34 PM  
Anonymous said...

I too was recently burned by WaWa Digital... same bait & switch, order cancellation, etc. I cancelled my card because I just had a feeling they were going to steal my credit card info... Sure enough, transactions were attempted for several days after placing my order. As an added bonus, fraudulent inquiries began showing up on my credit report!

It's amazing that law enforcement can't seem to stop these people.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous said...

I am going through this same problem right now with FotoConnection.com. You've inspired me to address the whole issue not just my piece of the problem. I'm now out for a "Hawk-ish" revamp of the shopping aggregators. Down with FotoConnection!

5:54 PM  
paul said...

I just researched the name Chaim Pikarski again, and see his name, and the afrementioned address listed now with filmshop.com. Filmshop.com now forwards you to uniquephoto.com Buyers beware!

5:42 PM  
Anonymous said...

The funniest part about their unique photo site is in the About Us page:

Price, Quality, Dependability and Service ... Since 1947

Right!

2:20 PM  
Anonymous said...

yea, i tried to use the calledge technics on train ingineers, but they seem to just run on dienosics and cant jump outta their realm of realtiy.

it was just a hobby, so i moved on qite easyly, to some things else.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous said...

now make a choice.

a. stay in an abstracted northen perseption, and ether work for or be steered by chunky cheese's for the rest of you exstance.

or

b. turn that crack to fun da mentals, turn that evo to wonder and modifycation to feed your creative being, and turn that alcohol to wave absorbation and shift through what invokes you, love is nether for sale or fated, it is yours axadental and pure, so fuck the rubbing alchole. enter my perseption and venture. keep your personallty create and explore.

the choice is yours, and who ever well enter.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous said...

all of u r shit sucks and u can suck my big fat cock if u dont think so so fuck u u ass hole and eat shit and die

11:15 AM  
Anonymous said...

de only thing u all can beat up iz ur dick so im gonna kick u alls ass and bust a nut on ur head and smoke a fuckin huge blunt after word and then sniff a line of crack ok mother fucker and my name is lance carver

11:18 AM  
Anonymous said...

u r gay talkin bout cameras
i'l beat all ur fuckin ass

11:21 AM  
Anonymous said...

My name is trey davis and my phone number iz (336)504-5316. and call me i just wrote all three of dem bitches talkin shit to u all and u all can suck my dick u geeks and i luv pussy in ur mom bitch

11:24 AM  
Anonymous said...

These experinces are very interesting, but they all lack one thing -- the resolution. Did the cc companies come through for the victims? What other tatics did the photo companies try after the cc's were cancelled? Did they manage to collect restocking or reshipping fees? Were the victims' credit reports affected?

Posters, please volunteer this information so others know what to expect following the initial scam.

Thanks.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous said...

My God! I think the company you are talking about changed their name to Best Price Camera/Infinity Cameras. The same thing happened to my husband. We paid for a camera with our Discover Card and printed out the order with the confirmation number. The next day, someone called my husband and said they needed to "confirm" the order. They also said the camera didn't come with a battery and my husband said, "That's odd, on the Web site it says it comes in the box". My husband said he didn't want it and thank you for contacting me.

We received the camera two days later and that's when the fun started. They sent a "kit" with a battery and lens for an additional $500. We never authorized them to charge us for these additional items. Meanwhile, my husband tried in vain to call Best Price Camera/Infinity Cameras) to tell them they over-charged us and to fix the order. The battery came with the camera, but they charged us anyway for this stupid kit. Anyway, for four months we disputed with Discover. Don't even get me started on that! We tried and tried to get hold of Best Price Cameras via the phone and the Web. They always had a recording on. Meanwhile, Discover kept taking our charge in and out of dispute. My husband showed how they changed our order (the order number even changed because the crook on the phone put in a new order). We couldn't get hold of the company to get an RMA or even discuss the order. Finally, Discover said they would not dispute any further because we still had the merchandise. We decided to just FedEx it back and then Discover said they would dispute again. Best Price Cameras accepted the return. My husband called them after accepted the return and said he wanted the credit back. The slimy sales guy he originally talked with said that since we opened the box, we couldn't return. We had no choice but open the box. They opened it first and put the receipt in the camera box. My husband had thoroughly documented the whole transaction, took pictures of the box and showed they had changed our order and charged our credit card without our authorization. Two weeks later we had a full refund on our credit card. We threatened them with going to the Better Business Bureau and also filing a formal charge with the NY Attorney General.

Take-aways from our experience:
1. Always use AMEX for big purchases like this. I've NEVER, EVER had AMEX not go to bat for me.

2. DO NOT USE BEST PRICE CAMERA /INFINITY CAMERAS! THEY ARE CROOKS AND THE SLIME OF THE EARTH.

3. Your best bet is to go to a place like B&H Camera. That's where many professional photographers buy their equipment. We bought a camera from them and it was the best online shopping experience we have ever had.

4. Make sure you spread the word about these unethical, criminal outfits. Maybe we can put these people out of business.


Signed,

Learned a Lesson in Virginia

12:04 PM  
Anonymous said...

The NY AG's office is great at Fraud Protection.

You have done a great service to the online community here. The time and resources spent are enormous. I am online researching cameras for a purchase, and stumbled across your site. Yeah, so there's an hour and a half of life I'll never get back, but a great story. Just wanted to say thank you, and let you know that there and millions of anonymous people out here who appreciate what you've done.

2:04 AM  
Anonymous said...

Another one to watch out for is MOBILEDIA.COM. I ordered a Sprint cell phone plan with two phones, two days later it was cancelled by MOBILEDIA.com. I called 2 days later to confirm the cancelled order. Then 2 weeks later I receive the two phones and plan. Cost: $325. This all happened after I bought cell phones and did not need or want the cell phones from mobiledia.com. I still have not received my refund!

8:38 PM  
Anonymous said...

Same thing - Camera City Brooklyn, New York. Extremely bad experience. It should be illegal!

8:39 AM  
Mewzeek TV said...

Wish I had read your blog before I stepped into this mess. My first part is about calling BestPriceCameras.com I was interested in the MG-GZ505 Camcorder and this is the explaination I finally sent to my credit card company to try and get out of the mess:

"I found Best Price Camera's online at www.bestpricecameras.com and was buying a JVC GZ-MG505 Camcorder listed at $729.00. I started on internet but called their customer service department who sent me to a salesman named Jonathan. He started an order and then was trying to sell me accessories. I was interested in some of the things so I ended up ordering the JVC GZ-MG505 camcorder ($729.00), Full size tripod ($79.95 discounted to $59.95), 37mm high resolution UV filter ($29.95), Lens cleaning kit ($29.95), High speed rapid 90 minute charger ($199.95) and he then offerred me the 6 hour battery listed at $249.00 for $199.00 and if I bought 2 he would upgrade second one to 8 hour battery for same price of $199.95 so I agreed to 2 batteries $199.95 ea. one 6 hour and 1 8 hour. At this point he said my total was $1499.00 and for an additional $100.00 he would give me a 4 year warranty with 3 camera cleanings included and I agreed. I asked him if he could email me an itemization of what I just ordered and he said they don't do that and that my invoice would come with the order in the box. I gave him my paypal debit card number and that was on 10-23-06.
On 10-31-06 I received a package that had an invoice in it but no itemization just a total of $1599.00 plus $19.99 freight and some of the items listed that I ordered but no check marks or any type of marks on invoice showing what they put in box. I recieved the tripod, 4 year warranty, lens cleaning kit, 37mm high resolution UV filter and the box with camera JVC GZ-MG505, manual, software disk and here was first problem. The battery included was the BN-VF707 (a 2 hour battery that comes stock with camcorder) and the AP-V14U charger that is also the overnight stock charger not the 90 minute quick charger. No other batteries are in the box. I call customer service and they send me back to Jonathan the salesman who took my original order. I explain that I got the wrong battery and am missing the other battery and also the wrong charger. He insists that I got the right battery and charger. I ask him what is the model/part number for the 6 hour battery and the 90 minute quick charger and he says he doesn't know that because he is a salesman. I look both items up on internet using google and it shows that the charger is the one sold with camera and the battery is the 2 hour battery sold with camera as stock items. I ask him to ask shipping for numbers for 6 hour battery and the quick charger and he then sends me to shipping. The guy in shipping tells me that he doesn't know the numbers for the different size batteries or the charger and I ask him how can they ship items if they don't know the numbers. He says that the charger and battery comes in with camera and its illegal for him to open the boxes and look at those things. I look at box I was sent and it doesn't show anything on outside of box about type of charger or battery in box. It does have a blurb that says Don't forget a battery backup and lists 3 batteries BN-VF707 (one I got 2 hour battery), BN-VF714 (4 hour battery), and BN-VF733 (six hour battery). He sends me back to Jonathan and he says he can send me out a 6 hour battery for only an additional $100.00 and no freight. I tell him that I already paid for 2 batteries and the one I received is neither of the ones I ordered and I won't pay for more batteries as he owes me batteries. At this point I ask for a manager and he finally sends me to a guy who says he is the manager. I notice in all conversations with any people there I hear alot of background noise of people on phones like in boiler rooms. As the manager quotes almost exactly the same thing to me that Jonathan did I suspect he is not manager but another salesman acting as manager. He also can't come up with any part/model numbers, he then sends me to another girl who says she is a manager and she can't find models/parts either but says I can have battery sent no charge to take care of the order. Then Jonathan gets on phone and says ok everything is fixed and I say no we haven't even figured out what I received versus what I paid and I say I would rather just start over and send it all back and just order 2 of the JVC GZ-MG505 camcorders instead and order accessories seperate. He says he would charge me 20% restocking fee and add additional $350.00 handling penalty fee if I returned stuff and if I re-ordered the camera's I would see them for 6 months. He also said I should be trying to buy the camera's at $729.00 when they are valued at $1499.00. Like the package deal was why I paid so cheap for camera's but thats not the case as these camera's are listed on their site at that price. He then says he will add another 10% aggravation fee to the restock so its 30% restocking fee plus the $350.00 handling fee. I then explain his manager girl said I could have the battery sent no charge and he says he can do that but will charge me $25.00 shipping and $25.00 insurance fee on the free battery. I argue that this is not right and that I shouldn't be paying any freight charge as its their shipping mistake and I still am not getting an 8 hour battery and 6 hour battery that they charged me for but only getting a 2 hour battery and a 6 hour battery. He then says he is shipping the BN-VF714 battery (this is 4 hour battery) and I say that he should atleast send the 6 hour battery and he then says he will charge $10.00 freight. At this point I'm fed up so I just say ok. I call back the customer service line and the guy that answers I explain to him that I was already talking to sales and did not want to be sent back there. I explain I need a supervisor and he says "I'm the Customer Service Manager" I start to explain the problem and he says "hold on" and then sends me back to Jonathan in sales the same guy that I have been talking to for 1 1/2 hours. I just ask him for the number of the order for the additional battery and he says "oh by the way I'm sending the BN-VF733 battery (6 hour battery).
I suspect that all the numbers for this company are in same room and that by the noise in the background all these people are sales people in a boiler room type operation. I think all the managers were really just other sales people acting like managers because they all said same thing and the phone was switched back and forth real quick with conversations continuing like they all heard all the conversations. I could not reach anyone in charge to cancel my order correctly and with their open end policy on restock charges and the fact they have already bilked me for $1619.98 I can't work with them. Please make sure they cannot debit my paypal debit card for any additional payments as they have my information in their system.
I will gladly send them back everything they sent me for a full refund. I would even buy 2 of the JVC GZ-MG505 Camcorders from them for 729.00 ea. plus 19.95 shipping like on their website instead of the problems on this order. I suspect they will not sell the product as its a bait and switch type deal."

Ok after that and several reviews later I decide to not even buy that type 3ccd camcorder but to go with the Sony HDR-SR1 AVC HD 30GB HANDYCAM CAMCORDER and call century21electronics.com and order this camcorder for $769.00 and tell them its a gift and I don't need accessories. They say it will take 2 to 4 weeks to ship. I call back to see about the ad on the site about express shipping and am told yes I get that but the item has to be ordered from china. He then sends me to a order verifier and guess what?? He is Jonathan the same guy from bestpricecameras.com so I don't say anything but verify the order number and get off the phone. I then go to whois.net online and check these two companies and guess what?? They are both owned by company in Vancouver Washington and have same contact info and phone numbers. I realize they are same company with different cover name and all the orders go to same sales department in Brooklyn New York.
So next I go online and find another company usaphotonation.com with a price about 80.00 higher then others and call them and get another salesman with New York accent I ask him if the Sony Camcorder is in stock and he says "yes" I ask him if it can ship right away and he says "yes" I ask is right away in a day or two and he says "we might be able to ship today!!" I say I only want camcorder with no accessories and he explains that I can't just buy the camera without the (high price) accessories from anybody. He says there are two types of these cameras a grey market and a retail. The retail comes in a box with small battery, lens cap, software and stuff from usa and he can sell me that one for $1199.00 or the grey market is camcorder alone made in China with chinese language set internally in camcorder so you have to send it to sony to change to english and that one takes about 4 weeks to send and comes with nothing at the price listed on the site. I might point out the site shows usa pictured camera and all the specs and is "hot" item and ready to ship.
So I thank him and say I'll think about it. I next call Royalcameras.com who is selling camera for about $30.00 more then usaphotonation (I check whois first and they show a different state and numbers for domain name) At first the auto operator sounds very official then I get transfered to sales department and guess what??
I could swear it was Jonathan the same salesman that worked at bestpricecameras.com

So there you have it. The whole industry is phoney and my advise is DON'T BUY ANY CAMCORDERS ONLINE cause there is only one salesman for all of them and his name is
JONATHAN.EILQDOLJ

1:28 PM  

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