Shyster No Shysting!

posted in Miscellaneous, Pressed & Bound on May 17, 2008

It comes to pass that when one starts a video podcast that very soon whatever equipment one had started with becomes very obsolete. Whether or not the equipment is obsolete is in the eye of the beholder, but, regardless, it’s bound to happen. So, of course, being one who hosts a show, upgrading equipment is always fun.. This week I finally broke down and bought a new camera for the show. Unfortunately, I may have made a grave mistake.

The mistake that was made is not for buying the camera itself. The mistake may be from where I purchased it. Upon looking for deals for the camera, I stumbled across a site that had the camera I wanted for a whopping $200 less than the MSRP. That sounded like a whale of a deal, so of course I jumped on it. Now, the price listed – before I possibly inadvertently paint a bad picture about the place I bought the camera – there were other sites that had prices around the one I found here, but this one was the lowest. Now that that disclaimer is out of the way, I found the optimal price listed at US1Photo.com. The site itself looked professional enough, and the purchasing process was easy enough. What has made me curious, though, are some things that have happened after the purchase.

If anyone keeps up with my Pownce, you’d have seen that I made a post concerning shifty websites trying to sell you things. In fact, just the other day I found an amazing deal on the camera that I want. Turns out that the website is a total sham. How I found this out was through ResellerRatings.com.

It doesn't LOOK bad...The first website with the amazing deal ($600 off MSRP), was SonicCameras.com, and before I had checked on its validity, I went ahead and made a username for the site. I was, of course, sent a confirmation email regarding this information. At this time, I noticed a couple of things that looked a little queer for a business. Outside of the extremely low price of the unit, I saw – after registering – multiple spelling errors on some of the pages. That is definitely a red flag. You want to sell me an expensive electronics unit? Maybe hit Spell Check first. So of course I did not proceed with any purchasing, and requested my information be removed from the site. It turns that on ResellerRatings, the site currently has a 1.27/10 rating for overall customer satisfaction and service. Dodged the bullet on that one.

I tell this story to support the remainder of the post. Now that I have purchased from this new place, I am finding some scary similarities. Firstly, the form for creating your username and password is identical to the other site. Additionally, the checkout form looks very similar, all the up to the same graphics for a couple of things. For whatever reason, these things did not catch my eye at the time. What quelled my fears regarding the site, is that through both ResellerRatings and PriceGrabber.com, the site has about a 8.0/10 review rating. Even though I did see some similarities with that other site, there were people here who had success with the site, and that didn’t make me think too much of it. That is until I checked my email.

Loot at this photo...Reading the reviews of the site, it showed mostly just some general dissatisfaction: late shipments, talked to an idiot on the phone, etc. Because of this, I felt fairly confident that the site was legit enough to purchase from. After making the purchase, I checked my email for confirmation like any normal person. The confirmation email looked good enough, and had all the pertinent information. Then I noticed the email they sent for signing up with the site. ...And see if it looks like anything like this...It just so happens that their email looks identical to the super crappy, scamo-licious site I disowned a few days prior. EXACTLY. The change, and only change, is the name of the site listed at the top. A fast chill went up my spine, then slowly jumped down each vertebrae like a child leaping from puddle to puddle on his way home from school. Could I have just made a very expensive mistake?

The next place I looked happened to be my bank. Wouldn’t you know that the money has already been taken out. The chill at this point in time crept away from my spine and took residence next to me, touching my arm or neck every so often just to let me know he’s there. Although the possibility for fraud was knocking me in the brainpan, I decided to let it slide for at least a couple of hours; maybe I would get an email confirming a shipment. Unfortunately, at this time I was going to need to get ready for work, so even if I needed to make a complaint, I couldn’t. I would have to wait another eleven hours before checking the status of what’s going on.

At this time I am hopeful that the reviews listed on those sites are not fraudulent as well. Logic tells me that if there are hundreds of mostly positive reviews, they should be somewhat truthful. If a bogus site was spending all of their time writing bogus reviews, they could have spent that amount of time to make a legitimate business.

So now, after work, what, if anything has happened? Nothing. Overnight I have yet to get a confirmation on the shipping for the site. The product IS listed as “ready to ship,” so why they’re waiting I don’t know. We shall see. I think at this point in time that I will wait until Monday, since I know nothing will happen during the weekend. If on Monday nothing happens, consider this order cancelled. I should have just bit the bullet and spent just a little more for peace of mind. But we all make mistakes. Here’s to hoping everything works out. And I will definitely update this once I know how it all turns out.

  • Did you use your debit card? I’d check your terms with the bank to see if it’s one that’ll let you do chargebacks like a normal credit card. I have a feeling this site isn’t going to nicely put the money back in your bank account.

  • I actually did call them this morning regarding the issue. The company that I bought it from conveniently isn’t open on the weekends, but I called my bank and they said that at this time unfortunately they cannot intervene. If the company refuses to refund the money, though, they can get involved. I’ve had to do this once before, and my bank is really good about it, but since it was bought with a debit card in this instance, they were unable to do anything.

  • Ugh, that’s frustrating.

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