Chinese version of Canon cameras
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 "Japenese 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.