Ever deal with an online merchant and have a bad experience? You call customer service only to find yourself on the phone with someone who clearly doesn’t want to be bothered with actually sending you the merchandise you just ordered. The customer service representative representative has a heavy New York accent, and you try to visualize the surroundings. Well, good news, someone has done the dirty work for you. Don Wiss looked up the addresses of a bunch of camera dealers in Brooklyn and took some pictures. It’s interesting to see some of these “businesses”. I’ve had a encounters with shifty camera dealers in New York. Read on…
Anyone have any online retailer horror stories?
This comes as little surprise to me. I used to live at the intersection of 32nd and 5th Ave. in New York, and there must have been at least 10 different tourist trap “electronics” stores near the Empire State Building. Any store that has a big neon sign that reads “cheap electronics” is probably selling cheap knock offs, grey market goods, or used merchandise rewrapped in new packaging. Read “Camera Confidential” from PC World for a picture of one of these places. I can personally attest to the pushy sales pitch and the sketchy merchandise. If you’ve ever walked through Midtown Manhattan you know what I’m talking about.
While not abusive, I’ve had a few bad experiences with online retailers in the past. Companies that will charge your credit card for $400 and then “forget” to send you the merchandise you ordered. For instance, I can’t exactly recall the name of the store in question, but my wife and I ordered some bedding for a crib in June. Around July we started to wonder if they had lost our order, and after a few phone calls we came to realize that the storefront in question was effectively /dev/null for credit card charges. Eventually after an email and a phone call, they did send us a hand written business check in an envelope, but the experience reinforced by tendency to avoid purchasing anything over $150 unless I can pick it up and take it out of the store myself. (With a few exceptions for Dell, Amazon, etc.) In my case, I believe the problem was a website that successfully transmitted by order to a payment processor, but failed to correctly update a row in an order table. (Note: I blame every computer error on the apostrophe in my last name, computers discriminate against the Irish.)
Credit to memepool for linking to this page. In the context of my own experience and that of Thomas Hawk, I tend to do most of my shopping at physical retailers when it comes to big ticket items.