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Old Aug 29, 2003, 8:45 AM   #1
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Default charging credit card for backordered camera?


for the past few weeks I have been trying to order an Olympus C5050 digital camera. I tried using two "DealTime" certified web sites. The first site was BuyDig.com (http://www.buydig.com), and the listing of vendors from this site showed that BuyDig had the unit in stock.

I ordered the unit over the phone, the salesman told me it was in stock. A few days later I called to see where the order was and they fwd'd me to customer service who told me it was backordered. So I was a bit frustrated and cancelled the order. The frustrating thing was that they had already charged my credit card (didn't tell me about that). So they did put a credit in and zeroed out the balance.

I then tried the same thing from beachcamera.com, but they told me upfront it was not in stock but should be in about 3 days. They also charged my credit card. Its been a week now and its still not in stock.

Now either there is a run on these cameras and nobody has them in stock, or someone is trying to make extra money on their balance sheet by charging before merchandise is shipped.

Is this policy of charging before a unit is even shipped or in stock the norm in this industry?

thanks for your comments.

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Old Aug 29, 2003, 9:00 AM   #2
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In U.K, our credit laws don't allow merchants to charge cards for good until they are despatched. I think this is also contract law, since the other party has not fulfilled their part of the bargain.

You should contact your credit card company who are acting as your purchase agent, claim your purchase agreement has not been fulfilled (goods not in stock), that you have not agreed to delayed delivery and get them to refund the money to your account and they will then claim from the supplier.

I don't know what Ritz camera policy is, but perhaps a reputable vendor or two could indicate their policy here. I once did something like this with a disreputable Internet service re-seller where I cancelled a contract within the agreement, but they kept taking the money. VOX
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Old Aug 29, 2003, 9:02 AM   #3
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I will just call BeachCamera and cancel the order. I am certain that Amazon.com would never do this. Their price is a bit more, but this is getting ridiculous.


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Old Aug 29, 2003, 10:48 AM   #4
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There are a lot of unscroupolus camera "vendors" out there (the term vendor is used loosely to describe them as many think they are crooks). When buying something as expensive as a camera you should look to the better vendors who will treat you honestly and have a good reputation. Always check sites like http://www.resellerratings.com before putting down your card.

Anyway, here's a great article about the worst of the worst camera "vendors":
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 12:42 PM   #5
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I had the same problem when ordering the Tcon lens from Smile Photo. Bought over the phone to make sure lens was instock. After charging my credit card and several phone calls where they told me item was shipped, (said they couldn't give me order tracking info because not all sysems were back after blackout), they finally admitted that item was backordered. Took over a week for them to credit my MC!

Anyway...called 17Street Photo. The man I spoke with gave me an order number on the spot, and his name and phone number in case I had a problem with anything. Product arrived VERY promptly. My order was super easy to track online. This company has superb customer satisfaction (check bizrate.com), so give them a call! At least they will be honest with you.

good luck
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Old Sep 6, 2003, 6:56 PM   #6
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What most people don't realize, is the vast majority of dealers use the same distributors. They are only taking the orders, with the product being dropped shipped from the distributor (techdata and Ingram Micro are usually used by all of them for most digital camera products -- even the larger, more "reputable" dealers - buy.com, dell.com, etc.).

When they say a product is "in stock", the distributor is showing it as in stock. Sometimes, the on hand/on hold/on order quantities shown are not synchronized, when a lot of orders come in at once.

So, you end up with a backorder problem.

Buydig.com is actually one of the better ones (for prices). Unlike some of the "scam artists", they don't try to advertise the products at below cost, then refuse to ship it when you don't by add-ons at inflated prices.

But, they are lean on the customer service end of things (that's one of the reasons they have lower prices). So, once you place an order, if the distributor has it in stock, it will ship when the order is processed. If the distributor is out of stock, the order will be delayed.

So, if you turn around and order the product from somebody else -- guess what? You'll have the same problem (because they are using the same distributors).

Sure, they may have different policies about charging your card ,and may be nicer to you on the phone, but the same problem with the product being out of stock will apply.

Even when you return a product for a refund or exchange, it's going back to the distributor (Techdata or Ingram Micro). The distributor handles it. The address given to you buy the dealer is one of the return locations for these distributors (if you don't believe me, check out the warehouse locations on the distriburors web sites -- these addresses will match up to the addresses given by the dealers for returns).

So, if you want the best prices for an in stock item, buydig.com is a good source. If you want better customer service, go with someone with higher prices (but it won't get your product to you any faster, and you'll pay more for it).
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