Friday, November 18, 2005

Digital anger

I think my fears from yesterday were confirmed today.

The online merchant is called Prestige Camera. They are in New York. Although the "average" customer rating is four stars out of a possible five and many of the individual reviews are glowing five-star beauties, there are also about a dozen "Slam" reviews alleging the very kind of practice I figured I was getting hit with.

You can read them if you're interested at this site .

A number of them relate experiences just like ours, with a requirement to call in to "verify" the order, followed by the merchant's attempt to sell the patron accessories they dn't necessarily want at grossly inflated prices. When the patron declines, the item ordered just never seems to ship.

I called today and was told that the order would ship later today. I asked for verification of that since I'd been told earlier that the item had been recalled (that's what they said??) and wouldn't be available for a few days. I had to call three times because I kept getting "disconnected."

Finally a rep told me that, no, it looked like the order would not ship for another "few days." How many is a "few?" He couldn't say, but probably next week.

I cancelled the order. At least they were willing to do that without a hassle. Some of those reviewers report that upon a request to cancel, the buyer was yelled at and rudely hung up on.

Yeah, I'm going to be paying a bit more. But thus far the outfit I've ordered from hasn't asked me to buy anything else besides the camera, and has promised that it will ship on Monday.

If I don't get a tracking number and do get a hassle, I'll let you know.

Meanwhile, I'd recommend giving Prestige Camera a wide berth as you pass them by.

I'll also be writing my own review later today. Guess how many stars they'll get from me!


Karyn Lyndon said...

The same thing happened to me when I bought my son a digital movie camera for graduation. I ended up with $300 worth of "extras" I hadn't planned on. I didn't know it was a scam...I just thought they were being good salesmen.

Duke_of_Earle said...


...and they might have been. I only consider it a scam when the extras are priced WAY above what everyone else on the internet is selling them for.

Even then it's questionable whether or not it's "dishonest" unless (here's the key, to me) they find excuses NOT to ever ship you the cheap main item when you turn down their extras. Then it becomes false advertising.

If they advertise a camera for $xxx, then they ought to sell it for that and ship it no matter if you buy other stuff or not. OR, the ads ought to say "Price $xxx, with the purchase of $yyy of accessories."