Sneaky, But Not Technically Illegal
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK -- My husband and I often purchase online and have had no problems over the years. A few weeks ago, we decided to order an Olympus Stylus 1030SW from Techondigital. They had a great price, and we do shop prices (we've even bought vehicles online with no problems). Then, on Sunday afternoon, I got two messages from the company on my answering machine saying that they needed to confirm my order. We live in a rural location, and this had happened before due to our address being changed and not always being recognized by UPS, so I didn't think much of it.
When I called the company to confirm, the salesman said I needed to purchase a battery. I said, "doesn't it come with one?" He answered that the one that comes with the camera only lasts about 20 minutes. He offered me two upgrades with a "deal" if I would buy it today. Unfortunately, I had not researched the battery, and seeing that Christmas was coming, I ordered. He then tried to sell me a memory card, but I had already bought one in person at a retail store, so I declined (twice).
After hanging up the phone, I felt uneasy, so I began to search online and discovered that an extra battery is not really needed. I then started to research Techondigital and found hundreds of complaints. I learned that the company uses several different business names. I then called the company back, but of course they were closed. I called my credit card company to see if I could do something like a "stop check" so they wouldn't pay them and I could cancel the order. They said I would have to wait until the charge showed up and the refute the charges if I did not get my merchandise. I then e-mailed Techondigital's "customer support" to cancel the battery, but they never responded.
To make a long story a little bit shorter, the company had already charged my card (under another name: Camera Wiz). After reading several complaints, I decided to cancel my credit card and have a new one issued, just in case.
Monday morning I tried to cancel the battery by phone and order only the camera, but they said the order had already processed and shipped. When I asked them for a tracking number, they said it went by Yellow Truck to UPS and the tracking number was not yet available.
I called back the following Sunday and they said my order had shipped, but that a tracking number could be obtained the next day.
To my surpise, the item did arrive by UPS. Here's the catch: the extra battery was a generic that you can buy online for around $13. I paid $109 (I know, it's my own fault). Also, the camera came with the exact same battery, only the real Olympus brand, not the generic, so now I have two. The receipt had $00.00 by each item with the total at the bottom saying it was sold as a "package". That's where they get you. If you read their policies online, you have to return the whole "package" and not just part of it, for a 20% restock fee.
All in all, the company is "shady" and sneaky; dishonest, but not truly lying; deceitful, but not really illegal. Smart guys.
I ended up paying about an extra $50-$75 compared to if I had bought from a known business or store such as Amazon.com or Circuit City...with a lot more hassle!
Oh, and their customer service and personalities are terrible!