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The newest syndrome - returnitis
Old 09-16-2019   #1
kshapero
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Red face The newest syndrome - returnitis

Way back every town had a camera store or two. We would read about a new camera, lens or flash, etc. Go to the local store and check it out. Touch it, hold it and so forth. GAS was mostly a local human to human hands on transaction. Then came mail order, 42nd St Photo and Shutterbug classifieds. Now the moral dilemma began. Go do the touch thing at your local camera store then decide on whether you bought there or went mail order to save a few bucks (or more than a few).

Flip to 2019, here in South Florida, USA, I think the closest camera store, among the 3 or so left, is 30 miles of traffic from my house. The other 2 are Leica shops. So now I rely almost solely on Internet Shopping (Just another form of mail order), but there is no human touch or feeling until after the purchase is paid for (as in when it is delivered). I now find myself doing returns like never before. Most of these companies make it super easy (thank you) to return purchases. So now I am stuck doing returns on a almost weekly basis. How did we get to this? Was it our desire to always get the "best price", that made the demise of the camera store? I don't think so, because it is happening in almost every sector of business (Go to a mall on a week day. Other than the Apple store, it is a jogging trail for guys my age.). Who knows maybe returnitis is slowing down GAS. The whole thing is just plain weird to me.
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Old 09-16-2019   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
How did we get to this?
*You* got to this.

The worldwide online market wants you to do it (buy, return, re-buy, re-return, re-re-buy, re-re-return...) because it generates some cashflow at some point, while eluding the matter of real people having a job and be paid for their work normally at the same time.

But you don't have to obey. Not yet.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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I was in Canada this summer and noticed that the Big Box stores are not in great shape. These stores killed off the neighborhood stores and now it's their turn to perish. So far, the online sellers get a tactile service for free but when the Big Box stores eventually die, I'm sure the online sellers will invent touch and feel alternatives.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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My wife buys and returns a lot. Most of the time it is not our fault.
Bad quality, wrong sizes.
One time we have to return entire dining set, including huge table.
We barely made it to Costco before heavy snowfall.
It was damaged on factory, wrapped and packaged for shipping. And you can't check it at Costco.

Buy and free returns is what big box stores wants as well. No need to have many stores, just ship from warehouse.
But made in China puts a lot of re-sellers out from business. I buy directly from China. Free shipping and often it is under very reasonable time.
We don't have to drive and waste time on shopping. I'm not a fan of shopping. Some of us, from USSR, have different shopping experience in the past.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
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I bought a ten dollar item on Amazon prime, got it and discovered that I bought the wrong item, returned for credit. Got free shipping both ways, how can that be profitable? Well, because I've bought scads of stuff from Amazon. I subscribe to Prime and for the most part buy all I can from them. I live in a small rural community with very poor shopping opportunity. Wal Mart is about the only game in town for all sorts of things and I refuse to shop them. I have noticed that for one reason or another, the camera store that is nearest me (some 40 miles) has been able to meet the online store prices on a lot of gear. I like that as I prefer to shop local but when the price difference is quite large I'm afraid that the pocketbook rules.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
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I am lucky to be within 40 minutes of central London with numerous dealers, many of whom I have bought from.

I have bought locally from a dealer near my father in Plymouth.

I also happily buy from internet dealers around the country and overseas.

I have been known to buy from Ebay and indeed FB Marketplace (via Paypal)

Thanks to the EU Distance selling regulations I can return goods bought remotely from dealers within 2 weeks of arrival for any reason. I have fewer rights for purchases made in person, though most offer equivalent customer return possibilities.

Anything that isn't as described, or defective in any way goes straight back. If I've made a mistake I treat it as my problem. I will let a physical dealer repair it as I often have no alternative but I've had enough of so doing, so will buy from the internet instead.

There is one physical retailer nearby who doesn't have stock but has things to test, but mostly without working batteries. I've given up on them and on the larger camera chains (such as exist) as they have nothing worthwhile in stock. They will shortly go the way of the dinosaurs - do I want to drive 30 miles, park in some expensive multi-storey and then find they haven't got what I want - but you can order it online sir... (I can do that from anyone)

All the specialists I use have both mail order and physical shops. It is the way of the world.
I do miss the specialist superstore that stocked everything camera related just 3 miles away, but they closed, like the specialist rare classical music CD warehouse near there, about 25 years ago. Hey ho!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
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Competition is great, isn't it? Easy returns.

They want your business, and want to make you happy.

What's not to like?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
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Quote:
Thanks to the EU Distance selling regulations
Let's see how that works a few months from now.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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Originally Posted by Out to Lunch View Post
Let's see how that works a few months from now.
They are incorporated into UK law as the Customer Contracts Regulations (2013), the only legal question would be whether those protections would apply to purchases by me from EU countries. Ebay rules provide a more than adequate substitute.
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Apart from that have a Rolleiflex 3.5F, the odd Minolta XD7, Hasselblad 500cm, a Topcon Super D and an Intrepid 5x4 large format (not the half of it but I am clearing them out, honest).

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
So now I am stuck doing returns on a almost weekly basis.

That's a LOT of returns. I would feel guilty returning stuff that often, regardless how much I decide to keep.

I can recall every single item I bought online and then returned:

1. A Think Tank roller bag accessory which I bought and upon reading the confirmation email, realized I'd clicked on the wrong one, so I sent it back and re-ordered (Adorama). My fault.

2. An expensive video camera I ordered and had second thoughts about as soon as it arrived. I returned it and bought a lesser model (Adorama). I felt guilty.

3. An auto part which was clearly mis-labelled and was nothing like what it was supposed to be (Rock Auto.com). Not my fault.


I also returned a $2800 f2.8 zoom lens to B&H which I hadn't ordered but showed up anyway in an otherwise inexpensive box of film I ordered ("Why is this box so heavy? Ohhhh..."). Returning it was the right thing to do.

But that's all I've ever returned.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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On the other hand, I know a guy who used to buy expensive gear from B&H and then he'd take it on trips with him and use it. As soon as he got home, he'd pack it up in the original boxes and send it back to B&H. Abuse of the policy, in my opinion.


He's now a small business owner. I wonder how he'd like it if customers did it to him?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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People have been buying clothes, wearing them to a party or wedding and then returning them to the shop for a refund for years. A local fiddle was to buy locally but return to the branch in Milton Keynes and get a profit as MK prices were higher.


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
On the other hand, I know a guy who used to buy expensive gear from B&H and then he'd take it on trips with him and use it. As soon as he got home, he'd pack it up in the original boxes and send it back to B&H. Abuse of the policy, in my opinion.


He's now a small business owner. I wonder how he'd like it if customers did it to him?
Totally agree. if I use it (more than checking it out at my desk) and wish to return, I put it up for sale as used. Only fair.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
On the other hand, I know a guy who used to buy expensive gear from B&H and then he'd take it on trips with him and use it. As soon as he got home, he'd pack it up in the original boxes and send it back to B&H. Abuse of the policy, in my opinion.


He's now a small business owner. I wonder how he'd like it if customers did it to him?
I probably live in a different world, out of time: I would never think about doing anything similar...
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
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If you are buying and returning stuff on a weekly basis you have a shopping addiction.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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In my entire photographic life--over 45 years--I have...

1. Returned to B&H a new 400mm Canon lens because it was defective. They sent a replacement.
2. Returned to KEH a used Olympus 12-60mm lens because it was defective. They sent a replacement.
3. Returned to Amazon a new Canon 10-22mm because it was defective. Got my money back on that one.
4. Returned to B&H a used 60mm Micro-Nikkor lens because it was defective. Got a refund and bought a new 60mm Micro-Nikkor from B&H.

Other stuff? I can't recall ever returning anything for any reason other than it was defective. Or, in the case of clothing, it didn't fit.

I guess I'm just not much of a modern shopper.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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Even the easiest product returns are kind of a hassle, so I try to avoid them by minimizing impulse buys, using strategies including:
  • Putting items in my watch/wish lists, where they will often sit for months, or until I get bored of the idea.
  • Lots of advance research regarding specs, possible new models, best available deals, etc.
  • Not going to camera store (or Apple Store!) unless I actually plan on buying something on the spot.
  • Unsubscribing from all "Deals" emails, notifications and print-catalog mailings.
  • Removing Amazon and eBay from my Firefox's list of search engines, using Duckduckgo as my primary search engine.
You're welcome!
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Amazon's loss - Your gain!
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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Amazon's loss - Your gain!

Amazon Warehouse has some real bargains on photo items.
The Domke bags I have purchased were in like-new condition.
I suspect most may have been "buyer's remorse" returns.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by css9450 View Post
On the other hand, I know a guy who used to buy expensive gear from B&H and then he'd take it on trips with him and use it. As soon as he got home, he'd pack it up in the original boxes and send it back to B&H. Abuse of the policy, in my opinion.


He's now a small business owner. I wonder how he'd like it if customers did it to him?

That won't work with any camera with a shot counter.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
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The enjoyment of going to a camera store has always been with me - from the late 1960's to this very day - although today I certainly have to travel over 30 miles to a real store that has film cameras.

Rarely do I buy anything online. The only new photo equipment I've bought online are:

In 2003, a Nikon FM3a from B&H
In 2004, a Polaroid Image 1200 from B&H
In 2006, a Nikon 28-85 AIS lens from B&H

All of which I've kept.

I've bought a few other cameras from KEH. The only camera I've ever returned (KEH) was a Leica R3 which was totally dead-on-arrival.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pál_K View Post
The enjoyment of going to a camera store has always been with me



I used to love going to camera stores and record stores, but they are all gone now. Every last one of them in my area.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #22
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Since retiring a little over 3 years ago I haven’t bought anything online. Why?

1. Most importantly - for the most part I already have everything I need. And, I’m pretty good at learning to live without new materialistic things (except maybe camera lenses).

2. There’s an excellent brick & mortar camera shop not far from where I live that is packed with new and used M-mount and film gear as well as digital stuff too.

3. There is also a Yodobashi Camera store nearby that scratches my itch for my electronics needs.

4. I have plenty of free time to seek out the oddities that intrigue me - Tokyo is only an hour away and if one can’t find what they want there than they probably didn’t need it anyway.

5. There are excellent music stores in the area that sell new and used CDs and vinyl recordings.

The one thing that I do buy on-line is tour, travel and vacation packages. My wife and I love to travel as much as we can afford to. On-line is the best way to get the best prices for that.
I haven’t looked for an actual walk-in-the-door type travel agency in years. I don’t even know if they exist anymore.

Anyway, having said all that, I can’t remember the last time I returned anything.

All the best,
Mike
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
The other 2 are Leica shops.
Lucky you, what else do you need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
... there is no human touch or feeling until after the purchase is paid for ...
That's exactly the reason why Leica went to great lengths and expenses and opened their own stores worldwide.

BTW, ordering and returning is my wife's new hobby. It's like window shopping except that you have the products in your hand for a few days.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #24
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Competition is great, isn't it? Easy returns.
How is this competition great if Amazon is bankrupting all other stores (incl. camera and bookstores) and there is no alternative to online ordering?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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The enjoyment of going to a camera store has always been with me - from the late 1960's to this very day - although today I certainly have to travel over 30 miles to a real store that has film cameras.

Rarely do I buy anything online. The only new photo equipment I've bought online are:

In 2003, a Nikon FM3a from B&H
In 2004, a Polaroid Image 1200 from B&H
In 2006, a Nikon 28-85 AIS lens from B&H

All of which I've kept.

I've bought a few other cameras from KEH. The only camera I've ever returned (KEH) was a Leica R3 which was totally dead-on-arrival.
I live in Lacey, where do you find real camera stores in Puget Sound?
Glaizers? Ha! The only time I had a opportunity to stop there, maybe about 15 years ago, there was a cold reception, like they weren't really interested. Left a sour feeling, haven't braved the I-5 horror show since to go back.
Heard of Kenmore camera, even farther north, maybe, when I can spare a full day, I'll make that trek.
Don't really know of any others.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darthfeeble View Post
...I like that as I prefer to shop local but when the price difference is quite large I'm afraid that the pocketbook rules.
Do you give the local place a chance to match online?

I do, and if they won't play ball, I have no regrets.

One example: My local motorcycle shop only stocks 85% black helmets. I didn't want a black helmet. Do they have one of the same model and brand that my daughter can try on? No. Will they order it and let her try it on? Yes, but no returns. I asked them: "Then why should I pay your higher price, if it is worse than shopping online?" (online helmet purchases can be returned as long as they're not worn out of the house.) Blank look. Left the store, bought online.

The shops that adapt by matching price of big ticket items, and charging a bit more for accessories and service seem to pull through. Others, not.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #27
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Quote:
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I now find myself doing returns like never before. Most of these companies make it super easy (thank you) to return purchases. So now I am stuck doing returns on a almost weekly basis.
FWIW I think this is an American thing.

Down here in Aus there has never been a culture (and retailers generally don't accept) 'change-of-mind' returns. I used to work for an outdoor retailer and we always considered it incredibly rude when people would try to argue for a return on an item that wasn't faulty. Whereas from what I can gather this is commonplace in the US.

A few retailers are starting to offer returns programs here, but there's generally a cost involved (eg. an online running store will send you shoes in two sizes and a postage paid return slip for the pair you don't keep, for an extra $10).

I think I've returned two photographic items over the last decade (one Pentax lens with a failed SDM motor, and one brand new (in box from an authorised dealer) Ricoh GR sold with a third-party battery installed (still haven't figured that one out...).
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuiko85 View Post
I live in Lacey, where do you find real camera stores in Puget Sound?
...
Yes, Glazer's and Kenmore, plus the annual April swap meet in Kent.

A few times per year I'll visit Cabelas in Lacey for my other hobby.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #29
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I remember when e-books first came out... they were the least expensive option, almost exclusively online. Now the online sellers quote different prices depending on who is shopping and for the most part e-books are more expensive than paperbacks. That's how it works for short term savings.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #30
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In 10+ years of photographic equipment purchases I have made exactly one "new" purchase, a Nikon D800E that I got on release. I needed a second camera and wanted to be ahead of the curve on the upgrade cycle, with such a huge leap forward from the D700, and it paid for itself many times over quickly.

This consumption mentality is such a waste of time, money, and resources. There's so much used stuff out there that's basically new, because people buy it and use it for one trip or a couple weeks and then get bored. Photography is a massive hobby, and a massive cash-cow it seems. I am starting to see Nikon Z-series cameras in the wild a lot. I don't get it. The "latest and greatest" is really just a few % points "better" technically and doesn't do anything you couldn't do with the older stuff (heck, I eschewed digital for film anyway). Of course folks can do what they want with their money. Funny though how there's a constant drumbeat of "the sky is falling" but folks keep running out to buy the latest iPhone (X+1) that is basically identical to last years model while sweatshops on the other side of the planet pump them out, along with massive amounts of emissions and waste.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post
Lucky you, what else do you need?


That's exactly the reason why Leica went to great lengths and expenses and opened their own stores worldwide.

BTW, ordering and returning is my wife's new hobby. It's like window shopping except that you have the products in your hand for a few days.
You have a good point. Three cheers to Leica. But new Leica's are to rich for my blood.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #32
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Anyhow, I agree. We "have to" buy online. Then, we have to return the item, because we couldn't handle it. Then they have to either lie and say it is new or charge a restocking fee and sell it as refurbished.

Now, with sales tax becoming universal, ma 'n pa stores may be coming back!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #33
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We do have to buy online for the oddball stuff any DIYer needs. Helical extension tubes, step-up and step-down rings, lens adapters, etc.
As an example; my Olympus 35RC has a 'stupid' filter size, 43.5mm. So, for a 2 or 3 dollars I ordered a 43.5mm to 43mm step-down ring and now it has a much more common, easy to fit filter size.

And no, it doesn't obstruct the meter window.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #34
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I've only ever returned one camera related thing, which was a Leica X1 which I discovered had been used, but sold as new. There were still pictures in the internal memory! Back it went to the brick and mortar shop, and I bought the Fuji X100 instead.

The thought of buying gear, trying/using it and then returning it just doesn't sit well with me at all. I prefer to support local dealers and business, and fortunately there are decent camera shops within half an hour's drive, including three Leica dealers, two secondhand dealers, three big box retail stores, and more if I drive further.

If I buy something online from overseas, it's because the cost savings are significant enough to offset the possibility of warranty issues. Otherwise, I buy in person, or from an Australian interstate retailer, after doing oodles of online research.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #35
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Originally Posted by Ted Striker View Post
That won't work with any camera with a shot counter.
B&H will resell returned cameras that have been shot with as "new." I know from experience. If you really want a new camera, you have to explicitly ask them for a zero counter one IME.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #36
olifaunt
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Originally Posted by nickthetasmaniac View Post
FWIW I think this is an American thing.

Down here in Aus there has never been a culture (and retailers generally don't accept) 'change-of-mind' returns. I used to work for an outdoor retailer and we always considered it incredibly rude when people would try to argue for a return on an item that wasn't faulty. Whereas from what I can gather this is commonplace in the US.
The thing is, if online retailers don't want people to do change of mind returns, they can bloody well invest in brick and mortar stores locally rather than strip the local economies naked as they currently do. I feel no remorse returning stuff to the robber barons that I couldn't check out physically before buying.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #37
Ted Striker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
B&H will resell returned cameras that have been shot with as "new." I know from experience. If you really want a new camera, you have to explicitly ask them for a zero counter one IME.

B & H also takes returns so if you are unhappy with what you got, send it back.


I have never purchased a camera that came with zero shots, from anyone, so I doubt B & H is unique in that area.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #38
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are full time RVer's and finding a brick and mortar shop usually does not exist with out having to travel many miles. So online buying is my only choice. What is bad for me I've become a impulse buyer. Its just to easy find something and boom PayPal and done.

And unless it is something high in cost it just gets put in a drawer or box. My Grandson has a bigger collect of film cameras than me. Space is tight in a 35ft travel trailer.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #39
oftheherd
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Originally Posted by Smaug View Post
Anyhow, I agree. We "have to" buy online. Then, we have to return the item, because we couldn't handle it. Then they have to either lie and say it is new or charge a restocking fee and sell it as refurbished.

Now, with sales tax becoming universal, ma 'n pa stores may be coming back!
Interesting to see if the Mom and Pop stores will return because of that.

In the US our Congress is constantly looking for new sources of income that won't cause a flood of angry constituent letters and threats to vote them out. They (and many states) are trying to find a way to tax internet users at every level and disguise it so it looks like everyone else is paying, rather than that level of user (not realizing costs trickle donw ). I would expect when they figure that out Mom-and-Pop stores might be possible.

Internet stores might be able to lower their costs and remain competitive, but I doubt it will happen as governments seek ways to get more sales income. But brick-and-mortar stores with better access would be nice.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #40
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Originally Posted by Corran View Post
In 10+ years of photographic equipment purchases I have made exactly one "new" purchase, a Nikon D800E that I got on release. I needed a second camera and wanted to be ahead of the curve on the upgrade cycle, with such a huge leap forward from the D700, and it paid for itself many times over quickly.

This consumption mentality is such a waste of time, money, and resources. There's so much used stuff out there that's basically new, because people buy it and use it for one trip or a couple weeks and then get bored. Photography is a massive hobby, and a massive cash-cow it seems. I am starting to see Nikon Z-series cameras in the wild a lot. I don't get it. The "latest and greatest" is really just a few % points "better" technically and doesn't do anything you couldn't do with the older stuff (heck, I eschewed digital for film anyway). Of course folks can do what they want with their money. Funny though how there's a constant drumbeat of "the sky is falling" but folks keep running out to buy the latest iPhone (X+1) that is basically identical to last years model while sweatshops on the other side of the planet pump them out, along with massive amounts of emissions and waste.
Ditto. In college, I bought a refurb iMac (still going strong, several RAM and SSD upgrades later) and haven't bought new-in-box electronics since, save for a pair of earbuds.
I'm in complete agreement; there's an amazing amount of used gear out there, much of it in very good shape. Rehones..obviously countless numbers are lost and broken, but what gets traded in for the latest and greatest is usually pristine. Just picked up an iPhone 7, box and accessories included, for under $200 without a scratch on it.

Regarding B&M shops, I do love my local shop (Glazer's mentioned here a few times) and appreciate that they even have a used department, but I don't find much in what I'm looking for. KEH serves me well. I try and get as much as I can locally regarding supplies and accessories, but as mentioned earlier, there's only certain things B&M retailers choose to carry. I guess we're lucky here in Seattle that all of my hobbies and avocations are well represented.
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