How to Shop for a Digital Camera

Digital camera price scams

Written by Gail Bjork

If the price of the digital camera is too good to be true, it probably is. The adage “buyer beware” is true whether shopping online or offline.

Mouse trap ready to grab your moneyMany digital camera buyers often turn to the internet to find the best deal. But if in your search the price of a camera is too good to be true, watch out.

Many people who fall for these internet scams end up with a little more than a hole in their pocket.

Warning signs

Digital camera websites that are scams may appear legitimate. But watch out for the red flags and warning signs, which indicate that a site may be out to trap you:

  • The prices of cameras are unrealistically low, sometime half the price of what respected online discount companies sell them for.
  • The shipping costs are unusually low.
  • The “company” doesn’t list a telephone number.
  • The “company” doesn’t accept payment through more conventional ways such as credit card, check, wire transfer or reputable online payment systems (eg. PayPal, Google Checkout). The “company” instructs how and where to deposit the monies.
  • The name of any contact person, if given at all, is often very strange.
  • Once an order is placed, the “company” contacts you for additional personal such as date and place of birth. Providing personal information leaves you wide open to identity theft.

Bait and switch

Some sites do sell digital cameras at drastically low prices but then use “bait and switch” techniques.

Once an online order is received, they may send an email asking you to call a sales representative to confirm your order. The salesperson starts a hard sell and tries to cajole you into buying overpriced accessories, even some that should come in the box with the camera.

If you do not agree to buy the accessories, the salesperson may cancel the order saying the item is “out of stock.” Even worse, the individual may become aggressive and still charge your credit card even if you didn’t place an order for an item. If you do agree to buy the accessories, they may not send the right items or overcharge you, or both.

Before buying

Before buying a digital camera online, check out the reputation of the merchant. Also make sure that the merchant is an authorized camera dealer.

If you’re a victim of an internet scam

Hopefully, you’re reading this article before you become a victim of a scam. If not and believe you’ve been defrauded, file a complaint with an organization such as the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

4 Comments

  • “who are these people ??? ” If we only knew? There are always dreges of the earth trying to scam people. The internet makes it particularly easy. The best advice for purchasing electronic products, such as a digital camera, is to use well-established, well-known companies. You may pay a little more but, when all is said and done, you’re probably not. Plus you have peace of mind.

  • same here, same camera. I spent an hour on the phone with these guys  just trying to get an RMA. I havent even used the product just looked at the contents and it is clear they are trying to scam even down to the last process even after we agree to pay 400$ restocking fee.

    Time 2 Envy, but i suspect these people change names often.  who are these people ??? 

    Its sad, because we will be sending it back but who knows what will happen? we have started a case  file at our bank however. they are nice enough to look at all the e-mails and even make copies, ect. for us………. I have even made record with UPS that i plan to send the product back. I will also complain to UPS that these people do scams.

  • Canon 5d Mark ll
    ***BUYERS BEWARE*** Some companies mislead and lie about selling Canon USA Cameras and are NOT authorized dealers.They sell Gray market cameras with NO Canon WARRANTY cards even after specifying with the sales people and their customer service people that you want to buy a USA Canon Camera and a USA Canon Warranty. Once you have the camera and realize the scam, they will promise to send warranty cards, to prolong the return time period and then charge re-stocking fees or deny returns with RMA. One company has my $3600. I have no Warranty and its not covered by Canon. They sent me two defective cameras with the promise of USA warranty cards and have not delivered and will not allow returning the product. Beware, they know the system and will scam unsuspecting customers!