GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO -- I called USAPhotoNation to purchase a Canon S3 IS digital camera. The service rep told me that the camera was available. He then tried to hard ball sell me all the accessories for the camera. I explained that I could find these same accessories for much less at a local store, he informed me that he no longer had the camera. His price with shipping was $341.00 - I was able to purchase the camera locally for $349.00 without the backbreaking hassle. I also saved over $150.00 on the accessories.
I was looking for the best deal on a Canon EOS 5D. I did the research by using the price comparison web sites on the internet. A company called USAPhotoNation.com came up as by far the lowest price. The price seemed too good to be true. The really misleading thing is that these people have a toll free USA number, and answer their phones like a real company. It is very easy for a consumer that is being careful to be mislead by this front. Their website looks professional, and they seem professional when they answer their telephones.
They tell you that the reason the price is so low is that the camera is a "Chinese model" or a "Japanese model." They say that it comes without batteries, cables, or manuals, even though the web description of the product doesn't say so. I didn't care about manuals or cables, and asked if there were any differences between the import models and the USA models. They said that the camera bodies were made from a different metal. They also said that the LCD readouts were in Chinese, and could not be changed to English or any other language.
This sounded strange, so I called and wrote Canon Corporate to find out. Canon vehemently clarified that they DO NOT make variations on quality or design of the EOS 5D, and that there are internet retailers using "misinformation" to attract customers. They were clear on the fact that ALL EOS 5D cameras have the option of being changed to 12 different languages, and that no 5D is made to different specifications regardless of where it is sold.
With a little more research on the internet I was able to get down to their intentions. They sell you the camera, and then insist that you pay an upcharge to get the batteries and English language manuals. If you don't want them, your order is all of the sudden put on "backorder."
Many consumers have been burnt by these guys and others like them. Consumers never receive the camera. Their orders are put on indefinite backorder. If you try to cancel your order, they charge either a 7% or 15% restocking or cancellation fee. My suggestion is that anyone that has had contact with these crooks write to consumer advocates like 20/20 and others like them.
On October 15, 2004, I ordered a digital camera from USAPhotoNation.com. The camera was supposed to arrive in 7-12 business days. A few days after my purchase, I received a call from ** of USAPhotoNation, telling me that if I didn't order the USA version (for almost $100 more), the camera would come with a manual in Japanese. I told him to send it anyway and simply printed the manual off the web.
Almost a month later, after still not having received the camera, I checked the company's online tracking system and found that the order had a hold on it. After calling customer service, ** once again got on the line and said that I had told him I would call him to confirm which version I wanted. AN OUTRIGHT LIE! The old bait-and switch in action. When I complained that he had a very dissatisfied customer, he said that his company was too big for me to do any harm.
This is why I'm writing this and am asking anyone who reads this to copy this and post it to any other customer complaint sites you know. When I indicated that its service like this that gives business a bad name, he said that the reputation people have of his firm doesn't matter when he's just trying to be the lowest price retailer. Let's show him he's wrong! I cancelled my order and want everyone to know that you should avoid USAPhotoNation.com like the plague because they are a scam!!!
A warning to future buyers. I also did not bother to read the reviews of this company before I first placed my order. To be fair, after driving me crazy the customer service DID cancel my order without any problems, questions or hassles.
Now the problem, after doing my research and getting prices of "Froogle" USAPhotonation had the best price. I even called and asked if the camera I wanted was "New" or refurbished and was assured that the camera was "new." I placed my order on the 14th as I needed the camera (for my mother) by the end of the month. Six days after the order was placed the company called my home and tried to convince my wife that I NEEDED more stuff. First my wife did not even know I ordered a camera (what if it was a surprise) but when she told them that I knew what I wanted and to just send the camera "as ordered" she was told it would be a two week back-order.
My wife called me at work and just told me there would be some sort of delay. I called USAPhotonation and was run through a major "sales pitch!" First that good price they had posted was ONLY for the camera, no instruction, no cables no nothin' but the camera and for a mere $70 more I could get "everything" that should have been in the retail box. I should have known better - I buy on-line so I can make an informed choice. The tactic was "high pressure sales" and my big mistake was I said will it ship today! I was assured it would be sent TODAY and as I was at work I said fine.
Next day I went to check my on-line order and it did not show it as sent. I called and was told it would ship today for sure!! The next day I called again at 5pm and asked if my order went out and was again informed that it would go out the very next morning. I had enough, not to mention that the GREAT DEAL that had attracted me to the company had now turned into a so-so deal with what seemed like a good possibility the camera would NOT come in time.
Again, I will credit the Customer Service Dept for cancelling my order and sending me confirmation of the same but I will never deal with this company again. I will also never break MY rule and allow a company to call for a change of order without allowing me to make a calm informed choice without a salesman playing me for a chump! That was my fault but I learned.
I went back to "Froogle" found another company with the same camera that I wanted (better "real" price) retail box with all the stuff and shipped that day as promised. DHL with a tracking number was provided and confirmed. This time from "getyourdigitalhere.com " - so far so good.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- I bought a Canon Elura 70 which was advertised over $100 below what others were selling for. First of all, the guy on the phone pressured me to purchase other accessories. I ended up to purchase an extra (4 hours) battery for $179. When I started to use the battery it took forever to charge and it only held the charge for a minute. Obviously it is a defective battery.
I called them back for a replacement but they insisted that I've to go through manufacturer for replacement. The manufacturer sends me back to them. Also, I bought a rapid charger which is nothing but a regular chargers. I wish I would have done my research on USAPHOTONATION.com company. They are a lot of complaints out there. My last comment, never buy anything from New York resellers. They advertise the best deal and get you one way or another.