I was in the market for a Waterproof Digital Camera that my wife and I could take on our vacation to Hawaii at the end of August. I came across techondigital.com. I found the page from a google search for Olympus 1030 SW. This was the URL for the Ad: http://www.lowpricedigital.com/item.asp?item_Id=161557
They had a 5 star “Trusted” Rating so I proceeded to make the order. I was called back soon thereafter by them and was told that I needed to buy a battery for the camera. This was the first red flag. Why would a reputable company like Olympus sell a mid-range camera with no battery? The sales person then clarified that there was actually a battery but it was a stater battery that was only good for about 15 – 20 pictures. What the sales person didn’t know is that I was already planning on purchasing a second battery for the camera and had found a battery on another site for about $30. So you can imagine my shock when he told be the battery would cost $89! WTF!?
I politely declined his offer and asked if there was anything Else I needed to know about the camera. He said there was. And…..? As it turns out this camera was an “Gray Market” camera from Japan, all of the markings and instructions would be in Japanese. And If I wanted, I could upgrade to the US Model for an additional $179, which put the price way above what I could by the camera for locally here in town plus an extra battery. When I called him on the price of the battery and the fact the model number on the website was for the US Model and told him this sounded like a bait and switch he asked if I would like to cancel my order. He did and I was send a confirmation email the next day saying my order was canceled.
This is when I started to do some more research into this company.
The ratings company that had given this merchant a 5 star rating has its reviews listed here: http://www.lowpricedigital.com/merchant.asp?merchant_id=20, as you can see each and every review has only a pro comment, very generic, and no cons. Not a single negative review I don’t care who you are, you don’t get 200 reviews that don’t have a single negative comment, or con for the product. Also there is no place to add your own review…. hmmm very fishy.
Checked out other websites that had linked this company to many others with similar practices. It all came together when I found this site. http://donwiss.com/pictures/brooklynstores/
There are a dozen or so of these companies operating in New York that are on the same street. Again, very fishy, many of them are even in the same building.
From what I can gather I believe that all these companies are inter-related.
For those of you who are wondering I ended up buying the camera from NewEgg.com. Best price I found, I even got a 2yr Accidental Damage Warranty (Trust me I’ll probably use it twice) and an XD photocard.
Thanks to my reader (to this day I think I only have 1) I found a much better website warning the consumer of these jerks. http://www.broadway-photo-warning.com