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Old Nov 29, 2004, 10:41 AM   #1
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I'm looking at purchasing a Canon EOS 20D. I was reviewing some of the advertising at the back a few popular photo mags and the prices vary in some cases by as much as $500.

What been the experience out there? Have they been good/bad/indifferent? Which one of these online places would you recommend?



Thanks

John






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Old Nov 30, 2004, 9:42 PM   #2
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John:

The short answer, if it were me, I'd go with B&H Photo and Video (http://www.bhphotovideo.com ) if I were buying an EOS-20D. They're one of the largest Canon dealers in the country, and actually stock the products they sell.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of "scam artists" around now, many with very nice looking web sites, full page advertisements in popular magazines, etc. You'll see Brooklyn addresses for most of these (for some reason, they can get away with it there).

If a price looks too good to be true, it probably is.It's very competitive now. So, if one store has a price that's much lower than most, watch out.

When using the price search engines, look for a "trusted vendor" with LOTSof customer reviews.

http://www50.shopping.com/xPC-Canon_EOS_20D

Personally, I'd avoid vendors with only a small number of customer reviews (one or two hundred or less), because vendors have been known to "pad their own ratings" by posting numerous "glowing reviews". A well established vendor mayhavea thousand or more*good* customer reviews.

The usual way the bad dealers work, is to advertise something at a lower price than everyone else. Then, they call you to "confirm" your order.

Then, the sales pitch begins (you'll need a better battery, larger memory card, lens accessories, extended warranty, etc.). Of course, many consumers fall for it, since they only check the price of the camera -- not the accessories.

These items are usually sold at outrageous prices, but appear to be heavily discounted (unrealistic prices are shown for the "list prices" of the accessories.).

Usually, this happens:

* They ship you a grey market camera (one not intended for sale in the U.S.). BTW, you probably won't get warranty service if it is grey market, or for that matter any service (most manufacturers will refuse to service a grey market camera, even if you are willing to pay for the service).

and/or

* They are not really going to sell you the camera at the advertised price, unless you agree to buy lots of overpriced extras (poor quality memory cards, case, poor quality lens accessories, generic batteries that they claim are better, extended warranty, etc.).

Of course, by the time you buy the overpriced, poor quality add-on's, you could have gotten a better deal somewhere else -- from a reputable dealer. Another trick these guys play, is to claim the price is for the camera only (again, forcing you to buy the items that are included with the camera anyway, at drastically inflated prices). Otherwise (if you tell them you don't want the add-ons), most of the "scam artists" will refuse to sell it to you for the quoted price.

Or, your camera will suddenly go to backorder status, or even more common, they simply never ship it to you -- leading you along when you try to find out order status, until you finally cancel the order.

Sometimes,they'll ship a partial order (with high unauthorized shippingand insurance tacked on). Then, when you return it, and dispute it with your credit card company, they end up keeping the high shipping charges they added (because credit card companies will often not refund the shipping charges). Of course, they'll try to keep the restocking fees on the partial order shipped, too (since these are clearly stated in the policies section of their web site).

You may also see a combination of the above techniques (grey market camera + trying to scam you with the extras).

These types of techniques arevery Common.

I'd do yourself a favor -- stick with a reputable dealer -- one that will work with you if you have a problem.

Use the customer feedback in the price search engines to spot these dealers, and also use http://www.resellerratings.com (my favorite way to check a vendor is to read several pages of customer reviews here, and look for any sign of them being a scam artist since vendors sometimes appear to pad their own ratings by adding good reviews).

Also, check a vendors return policies section for potential restocking fees (these can run 20% from many online dealers). Personally, I'd go with B&H.

Here's an article you may want to read, too:

http://webpages.charter.net/bbiggers...ml/buying.html
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Old Dec 1, 2004, 3:51 AM   #3
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I'll second the endorsement of B&H. They are very good about helping you buy what you need rather than what they want to sell, also.
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