Wolf Camera Complaint - Wolf Camera Return Policy

Review by Manuel on 2011-11-22
DENVER, COLORADO -- Last week, I walked into Wolf Camera looking for a Christmas gift (a Nikon digital SLR). They had the camera I was looking for on sale for a good price, and were running a promotion on an additional lens when you purchased the camera.

I was ready to purchase the camera and the additional lens. Since this is a Christmas gift, I asked about the return policy. I will start by saying that the total number of items that I return probably averages to less than 1 per year. I want to make sure I'm covered if, on Christmas, the camera is opened and doesn't work.

The return policy, even in the instance that the camera is defective and has been unopened until Christmas, is 30 days. After that, we would have to go through the trouble of returning it to the manufacturer for repair/replacement (but on a side-note, if I purchased their protection plan....). The salesman indicated that the number of cameras that are defective out of the box is tiny. Basically, telling me that the risk is very small. Well, I'm not going to take that risk upon myself.

He also suggested I wait until December to be within the 30 days, "but the sale ends tomorrow".

I know what some of you are thinking: "How long do you expect them to accept the exchange? What if someone starts their Christmas shopping in July?" I think as soon as a store starts advertising for the Christmas shopping season, you can reasonably expect that people are doing their Christmas shopping.

Well, I bought the same Camera at Wal-Mart. They price-matched, and have a modified Christmas return policy. I just needed to purchase the item after 10/31 (before Christmas) and I get a modified return policy that starts ticking after Christmas! Done!

I would prefer to purchase from a smaller, specialty store. While Wolf isn't exactly tiny, they are specialized. I would expect them to compete based on service. In this case, the mega-store beat them on service as well. How disappointing.
Comments:16 Replies - Latest reply on 2011-11-22
Posted by Churro on 2011-11-22:
You sir are a Savvy Consumer.
Posted by Old Timer on 2011-11-22:
+10, ChuhBaca and Churro.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-11-22:
You made the right decision. I don't care for Walmart but they had the best deal for you. I would have done the same thing.
Posted by T on 2011-11-22:
I think this would be more appropriate as an informative.

The issue that you faced is a common one. I think it is great that there are retailers that have a special Christmas policy, but I don't believe this means that all should.

If the primary concern is a defective camera, I think that is very unlikely but it would be covered. If the primary concern is this item isn't wanted by the receiver, that is another matter.

Kudos to you for checking out the policies, and choosing the option that best fits your needs.
Posted by JayByJay on 2011-11-22:
I too would say it should be informative. As a small store, Wolf likely can't take the risk of the modified return policy.

If I felt strongly about supporting small businesses, I would have bought it and tested it out myself before giving it to the person.
Posted by swimjim on 2011-11-22:
It's 30 days for a very good reason - they don't want you buying the DSLR, then going home and scouring the internet for a better deal that might occur anytime before christmas - and then returning the camera to them leaving them loaded with stock. Electronics and cameras in particular are constantly being improved upon and lose their value quickly. The 800.00 DSLR you buy today will be 720.00 a month or so from now, and so on and so on and so on. A "specialty" store can't absorb the loss on stock as well as a big-box store that sells everything from soup to nuts literally. The Nikon DSLR I bout a scant 5 years ago is likely worth 1/4 what I paid back then. The LENS(es) are the thing to invest in - they can "migrate" from your present camera to your future one - the LENS is what you want to spend your money on if you can. One last thing, the pimple faced teenage clerk you bought your camera from at the Mart store will not have a clue about depth of field, focal point, etc., whereas the guy at the camera store would have.
Posted by Anonymous on 2011-11-22:
Chuh, this is great info. Post Christmas, this site is flooded with complaints about invalid returns because the return period has lapsed. It may not be a policy for all stores to be doing, but it would be nice that when the holiday season kicks off, more stores follow Walmart's lead and have a revised holiday return policy.
Posted by Manuel on 2011-11-22:
My primary concern was a defective camera. It would be covered by the manufacturer, but Wolf made it very clear that 30 days means 30 days and they would not exchange it afterward.

I considered making this an Informative review. My thoughts were that their policy did not meet my needs as their customer. Had I gone ahead and purchased the camera based on the salesman's reassurance of how few defective items there (along with his fake statistic quote) AND the camera was defective, I would have been angry.

Because I chose to protect myself, doesn't make it any less of a complaint; at least that was my reasoning.
Posted by MRM on 2011-11-22:
ChuBaca, if you dont mind me asking, what kind of camera was it? If you had the Nikon D5100 that is a nice SLR with swiveling screen and HD video.
Posted by Manuel on 2011-11-22:
IMO, one of the reasons to support small businesses (and really, does Wolf/Ritz qualify?) is because, ideally, they should be competing with Service.

I don't mind paying a little more to a store that I know is going to take care of me. In this case, their policy was rigid.

As for the knowledgeable salesman, it would have been nice to have that experience, but I am perfectly capable of doing my own research.
Posted by Manuel on 2011-11-22:
MRM, you are correct!
Posted by Old Timer on 2011-11-22:
MRM always knows his tech stuff. Short on words, long on knowledge.
Posted by Churro on 2011-11-22:
I think its more appropriate if ChuBaca chooses whether or not to tag HIS OWN REVIEW as a complaint. Why would anybody even make it an issue. Gee Whiz people.
Posted by Manuel on 2011-11-22:
Thanks Churro! I do think that they have a valid point, given that I did consider labeling it informative.
Posted by Starlord on 2011-11-22:
I agree, MRM is the bomb when it comes to tech. I wish I had the wherewithall to fly him here to look at this box of assorted parts.
Posted by madconsumer on 2011-11-22:
great review and very helpful!

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