Photographic Mail Order Survey

This is an exact copy of the Photographic Mail Order Survey that is posted monthly to the Usenet newsgroups rec.photo.misc and/or rec.video. We realize that not everyone has Usenet access, and that some sites expire their news quickly, so we provide a web-accessible copy here.

The survey is maintained by Douglas Blondin; you may contact him at blondin@lucent.com (further contact info for him is in the introduction section of the survey). Comments regarding the survey should go directly to him.

This copy is provided as part of the web site of Leslie O'Shaughnessy Studios. Be sure to visit our extensive photography resources page, which includes contact info for most photo-related manufacturers, distributors, and major mail-order vendors.

The survey is about 100K bytes long. Enjoy!


       Photographic Equipment/Video Mail Order Company Survey
 
           When Generated: Sun Jul  9 17:17:59 MDT 2000


 
0. NEW STUFF

	1-Sep-1999: ADDING EXPERIENCES   **** IMPORTANT ***  When adding
	experiences, make sure to include (1) company (2) date of experience
	(3) categorization (no problem, minor problem, major problem or avoid).
	When providing company, please use the names in my survey. Don't use
	ambiguous names like "Camera World" and "Abes".  Survey entries not
	meeting these criteria can NOT be tabulated.

	1-Sep-1999: ONLY LAST 3 YEARS SHOWN:  This survey has been going in 
	place for over 11 years!!!  Thinking of that, one wonders if it's
	meaningful to show responses from all 11 years.  For a while, the
	survey has had the "last 3 month" and "last year" breakout of data.
	Starting with this month, the survey will no longer have the tabulation
	from the entire 11 years of data.  Instead, it will now show only the
	last 3 years worth.  The thought here is not to inflate/deflate a
	company rating by "real old" data.  Any comments on this new approach
	are welcome. [And I still have the old data archived, if needed].

	1-May-1999: "WHY ISN'T COMPANY xyz LISTED": I get many inquiries as to 
	why a company is NOT listed in the survey.  The answer is very simple -- 
	this survey is a compilation of experiences reported to me.  If no 
	experiences are reported, a company won't be listed.  This is NOT a list 
	of all photo mail order houses.  I will NOT list a company until I get 
	at least one experience reported.

	1-May-1999: "I WISH THERE WAS MORE DATA":  I also get a number of 
	inquiries wishing I had more experiences on a company.  I suppose I could 
	have some threshold -- don't post data until I get at least X experiences 
	reported.  I guess I do have a threshold, but my X value is "1".  I guess 
	I feel that any data is valid and leave it to the judgement of people to 
	understand the problems with drawing conclusions from a small data sample.

I. INTRODUCTION

        Here is the latest version of the Photographic Equipment/Video
        Mail Order Survey.  The article consists of 5 sections:

                I.   Introduction - this section
                II.  Explanation of the Chart
                III. Chart of overall experiences,
                           last few months and past year's numbers also shown
                IV.  Tips for shopping from mail order firms
                V.   The experiences received since the last posting

        NB: If providing input, please read section below on "NEW EXPERIENCES".

        DISCLAIMER:  The figures presented here represent neither an
        endorsement or a condemnation of any particular company.  Rather,
        this table is simply a compilation of experiences sent in by various
        netnews readers.  Experiences are personal experiences and are NOT
        related to the company of the editor nor of any company of a person
        who is relating an experience. Also, this is a non-scientific survey,
        the chart may not reflect the reality of experiences for any given
        company.  Your actual ordering experience may differ, and companies
        may change over time.

        USE OF THE SURVEY:  This survey is maintained for the readers of
        netnews to aid them in choosing a company from which to order
        equipment.  Companies may also use the survey to see what some
        customers are saying about their company (or competitors).  Any other
        use of the survey, such as in advertising, is strictly prohibited.
        Questions about possible use of the survey should be directed to the
        editor.

        WEB SITE ACCESS : Because of company firewall restrictions, I am
        unable to provide web access to the Photographic Survey.  However,
        a number of folks have taken copies and posted the survey.

            - http://www.cmpsolv.com/los/pmos.shtml

            [If you want to post a copy on your web site, please contact me]

        POSTING, REQUESTS, MAILING LISTS:  This survey is posted once a
        month, around the beginning of the month, to rec.photo.misc and 
        rec.video.  Please look for the survey there, at those times (and 
        save a copy).  I've found that posting the survey is a good stimulus 
        to people to send in their input.  I believe that once a month is 
        frequent enough.  I get many requests for a copy of the survey.  
        First, it's hard to respond to all requests.  Second, I'm naive in 
        use of the mailer and often get my reply "bounced" back to me.  
        Finally, I get many requests to be "put on the mailing list".  
        There is NOT a mailing list for the survey.  You receive it by reading 
        the rec.photo.misc and/or rec.video newsgroups.


        UPDATES/NEW EXPERIENCES/OTHER INPUT:  Your easiest method is to
        send your experiences at the e-mail address listed below.  I have
        also listed my US-MAIL address and phone number.  While I read
        rec.photo*, due to the sheer volume of messages, it's not feasible
        for me to look there for survey additions (I don't read rec.video).

        When sending input, please make sure that your message contains
        the following information:

                - company name :: be careful in spelling et al; I don't
                  know all companies, so may mistake a misspelling for
                  a new company name
                - categorization of experience (no problem, minor problem,
                   major problem, avoid) :: I can't read minds and do not
                  like to try to infer from your other words;  submittals
                  that do NOT contain a categorization run the likely fate
                  of being unceremoniously left out of the survey
                - timeliness :: MUST include year, month & (optionally) day
                  of the ordering experience.  As you can see in the survey 
                  below, I'm trying to maintain a time element to the survey

        Unless otherwise noted in your input, the text of your experience
        will be including in next month's posting.  As editor, I reserve
        the right to edit for clarity, spelling, formatting et al.

        RATINGS BY MAGAZINES:  Some magazines have added ratings and
        disclaimers to assure the reader that ordering from those
        companies will be trouble-free (e.g., Popular Photography's
        "Check Rating").  While these magazines may be honest in their
        concern for the consumer (and I strongly encourage you to inform
        magazines if you have problems with "certified" companies),
        you should also realize that the magazines depend on the
        companies for ad revenue.  Some readers of this survey have
        also noted that some "certified" companies have repeatedly
        been low-rated by this survey.   Maybe this survey is out of
        whack with reality, consumers are not informing the magazines,
        or the complaints do not constitute enough to remove the rating.

		NEW YORK CITY - Department of Consumer Affairs:  I have been
		contacted by Dennis P. Fredlin, Supervising Inspector of the
		NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).  DCA investigates
		issues related to FTC Mail Order Rule violations, fraud,
		misrepresentation, non-conforming/defective merchandise,
		billing problems and any other NYC vendor ripoffs.  If you
		encounter such problems with NYC vendors, go to the web site
		(http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/dca/home.html) and following
		instructions on how to e-mail a complaint.  If you don't have
		web access, you can call 212-487-4444 (9-5 Eastern, M-F) or
		write: NYC Consumer Affairs, 42 Broadway, New York, NY 10004

        SURVEYS IN GENERAL: The consumer must take all input (magazine
        ratings, this survey, other surveys, friend's advice, ...) and
        put whatever faith in them that they will. Companies may change
        over time (both for better and worse), and different people/magazines
        may have different standards.  In the final analysis, you must
        make the decision and you're likely to have a unique experience
        from anyone else.

        KEEPER of the SURVEY:

                Douglas Blondin          11900 N. Pecos St.  Rm. 30H16
                                         Denver, Colorado  80234
                blondin@lucent.com
                (303) 538-4874


                II.  Explanation of the Chart

                SAMPLE ENTRY -- a sample entry might look like

  | 7/4/1993                    800-555-1234 |       |       |       |  [ 1] |
  | www.address                 303-555-9876 |       |  { 3} |  { 1} |  { 2} |
  | ABC Photographic & Video Supply Store    |    4  |    5  |    1  |    4  |
  |------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|

      The date, here 7/4/1993, indicates the latest date that I received
      an experience for this company (no date indicates no data received
      since I took over the survey).

      The 2 phone numbers are, hopefully, the 2 most useful numbers to this
      company -- a 800 order line (if available) and an information number.

      www.address -- the World Wide Web address

      Numbers in the ratings in []'s are the number of experiences reported
      over the past few months.  Numbers in {}'s are for the past year.
	  The next line of numbers cover the past few years.

      If there are no numbers show, this company did not receive any
      reports over those time periods.

      Experiences:     The numerical summary of experiences reported
                       by readers.  They are split into 4 categories:

          No problems:   Got what you ordered, in reasonable time,
                         at expected price, no unpleasant surprises.

          Minor hassles: Minor delays, unpleasant saleperson, hard to
                         get through to toll free line; probably not
                         enough to keep you from ordering from them again.

          Major hassles: Major problems occurred, but you were satisfied
                         enough with with the way they were resolved that
                         you might consider ordering from them again when
                         you cool off.

          Avoid:         Major problems occurred that either were not
                         satisfactorily corrected or that you feel were
                         significant enough to begin with that you
                         wouldn't consider ordering from them again
                         under any circumstances.



              III.  Overall Chart of Experiences

        Data this chart generated: Sun Jul  9 17:17:59 MDT 2000

        Numbers in []'s cover the period (4/1/2000 - 7/9/2000)

        Numbers in {}'s cover the period (8/1/1999 - 7/9/2000)

        Other numbers cover the period (8/1/1997 - 7/9/2000)



|                                            |  NO   | MINOR | MAJOR |       |
| COMPANY                                    |Problem|Problem|Problem| AVOID |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 1/21/1999                                  |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| 21st Century                               |    0  |    1  |    0  |    2  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 9/16/1999                     800-221-9521 |       |       |       |       |
|                               212-242-5800 |       |       |       |  { 2} |
| AAA                                        |    1  |    1  |    0  |   10  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 10/20/1997                    800-252-2239 |       |       |       |       |
| www.abbeycamera.com                        |       |       |       |       |
| Abbey Camera Inc                           |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 5/2/2000                      800-227-0400 |       |       |       |  [ 1] |
|                               800-992-2379 |       |       |       |  { 1} |
| Abe's Camera & Electronics of Maine        |    1  |    0  |    2  |    9  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 9/6/1998                                   |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Access Discount Camera                     |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 6/8/2000                      800-223-2500 |  [ 3] |       |       |       |
| www.adoramacamera.com         212-741-0052 |  { 4} |       |       |       |
| Adorama                                    |   23  |    4  |    0  |    2  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 6/23/1998                                  |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Audio Advisor                              |    0  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 7/9/2000                      800-606-6969 |       |  [ 1] |       |       |
| www.bhphotovideo.com          212-444-6615 |  { 7} |  { 2} |  { 2} |  { 2} |
| B&H                                        |   86  |    9  |    8  |    3  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 4/14/1999                     888-BARN-888 |       |       |       |       |
| www.batterybarn.com           888-513-BARN |       |       |       |       |
| Battery Barn                               |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 6/30/2000                     800-634-1811 |  [ 1] |       |       |       |
| www.beachcamera.com           908-424-1101 |  { 3} |       |       |       |
| Beach Camera of Maine                      |    4  |    2  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 4/15/1998                     800-841-4118 |       |       |       |       |
| www.bergencountycamera.com    201-664-4113 |       |       |       |       |
| Bergen County Camera                       |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 10/31/1999                    800-339-8357 |       |       |       |       |
| www.beststopdigital.com       800-332-6924 |       |       |       |  { 1} |
| BestStopDigital (aka Digitial&Audio)       |    0  |    0  |    0  |    2  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 10/3/1997                     423-354-0971 |       |       |       |       |
| www.usit.net/billings                      |       |       |       |       |
| Billings Photo                             |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 9/21/1999                     808-842-5718 |       |       |       |       |
| www.usedphoto.com                          |  { 1} |       |       |       |
| Brad's Collectibles                        |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 11/9/1997                     800-262-4160 |       |       |       |       |
| www.berger-bros.com           516-264-4169 |       |       |       |       |
| Burger Bros. Camera & Video Exchange       |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 11/3/1999                      800-CALUMET |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |  { 1} |       |       |       |
| Calumet                                    |    5  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/28/1998                     800-667-8878 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Cam America                                |    0  |    0  |    1  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/28/2000                     800-221-2253 |       |       |       |       |
|                               212-675-8600 |  { 1} |       |  { 1} |  { 2} |
| Cambridge                                  |    1  |    0  |    4  |   17  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 11/8/1999                     800-896-2626 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |  { 1} |
| Camera City, Inc (CCI)                     |    0  |    0  |    0  |   11  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 7/19/1999                     718-336-6667 |       |       |       |       |
| www.cameratradersltd.com      718-998-4819 |       |       |       |       |
| Camera Traders                             |    3  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 5/7/2000                      800-222-1557 |  [ 1] |       |       |       |
| www.cameraworld.com           503-222-7070 |  {10} |       |       |  { 2} |
| Camera World of Oregon                     |   81  |    4  |    6  |    5  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/29/1999                     516-691-1190 |       |       |       |       |
| www.cameta.com                516-598-3350 |       |       |       |       |
| Cameta's                                   |    2  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 12/31/1997                    312-427-5580 |       |       |       |       |
| www.central-camera.com        312-427-1898 |       |       |       |       |
| Central Camera (Chicago)                   |    0  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 4/30/2000                                  |  [ 1] |       |       |       |
|                                            |  { 1} |       |       |       |
| Charlotte Camera Brokers                   |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 8/20/1998                     540-985-0682 |       |       |       |       |
| www.classic-cameras.com                    |       |       |       |       |
| Classic and Used Camera                    |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 6/7/1999                      800-788-5555 |       |       |       |       |
|                               718-265-6800 |       |       |       |       |
| Coast to Coast                             |    1  |    0  |    1  |   10  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 9/27/1999                     800-423-8277 |       |       |       |       |
| www.c-com.net/~colonel        713-486-8866 |       |       |       |  { 1} |
| Colonel Video & Audio - Houston            |    2  |    0  |    0  |    3  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 5/10/1999                     614-267-0686 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Columbus Camera Group                      |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 11/26/1997                                 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| CompUSA                                    |    0  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 10/18/1998                                 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Dale Laboratories                          |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 6/30/1998                                  |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Darkroom Innovations                       |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/24/2000                     805-962-7557 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |  { 1} |       |       |       |
| Del's Photo                                |    3  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 5/28/1998                                  |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Diamond Camera                             |    0  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/29/2000                     800-516-9483 |       |       |       |       |
|                               908-925-8548 |       |       |       |  { 1} |
| Discovery Camera & Electronics             |    3  |    0  |    0  |   12  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 11/14/1997                                 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Don Chatterton                             |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/11/1998                     800-45-PHOTO |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Executive Digital & Imaging                |    0  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/11/1999                     800-335-7468 |       |       |       |       |
|                              800-405-PHOTO |       |       |       |       |
| Family Photo & Video                       |    0  |    0  |    1  |    2  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 10/26/1999                    888-221-0828 |       |       |       |       |
| www.focuscamera.com           718-436-6262 |  { 1} |       |       |       |
| Focus Camera & Video (Honest Abe's)        |    4  |    2  |    0  |    2  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 8/31/1998                     800-292-6137 |       |       |       |       |
| www.freestylesalesco.com      213-660-3460 |       |       |       |       |
| Freestyle                                  |    2  |    1  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/31/1999                      800-GIFTIME |       |       |       |       |
|                               201-886-7400 |       |       |       |       |
| Giftime Discount Center                    |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 4/23/1999                     206-624.1100 |       |       |       |       |
| www.glazerscamera.com         206-624.8065 |       |       |       |       |
| Glazers Camera Supply                      |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 10/15/1997                    800-621-6471 |       |       |       |       |
|                               312-421-6000 |       |       |       |       |
| HELIX (Chicago)                            |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 8/28/1999                     775-588-9873 |       |       |       |       |
| www.isofilms.com              775-588-9003 |  { 1} |       |       |       |
| ISOFILMS                                   |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/22/2000                                  |       |       |       |       |
| www.imageologists.com                      |       |       |  { 1} |       |
| Imageologists                              |    0  |    0  |    1  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 10/25/1999                    800-221-8180 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |  { 1} |
| J&R's Music World in NYC                   |    2  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 1/29/1998                            (765) |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Jack's Camera                              |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/1/1998                      515-225-0110 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Jim Kuehl & Company                        |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 6/2/2000                      404-892-5522 |  [ 2] |  [ 1] |       |       |
| www.keh.com                   404-892-1251 |  { 2} |  { 1} |  { 2} |       |
| KEH Camera Brokers                         |   16  |    4  |    3  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 11/14/1997                                 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Ken-Mar Camera & Video                     |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 8/26/1999                     888-485-7447 |       |       |       |       |
| www.kcamera.com               425-485-7447 |  { 1} |       |       |       |
| Kenmore Camera                             |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 11/3/1997                     605-588-9090 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Le Camera                                  |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/29/1998                                  |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Lens Exchange (Saul Kaminsky)              |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 12/31/1998                    800-828-6216 |       |       |       |       |
| www.lightimpressionsdirect.com             |       |       |       |       |
| Light Impressions                          |    2  |    0  |    1  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 11/2/1997                     800-606-6746 |       |       |       |       |
| www.mmphoto.com               718-437-1059 |       |       |       |       |
| M&M Photo Source Ltd.                      |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/22/1999                     800-448-8811 |       |       |       |       |
|                               718-891-1844 |       |       |       |       |
| Marine Park Camera & Video                 |    1  |    1  |    0  |    4  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 5/31/2000                     614-261-1264 |  [ 1] |       |       |       |
|                               614-261-1637 |  { 1} |       |       |       |
| Midwest Photo                              |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 6/14/1999                                  |       |       |       |       |
| 99                                         |       |       |       |       |
| Morgantown Camera & Video Repair           |    0  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/20/1998                                  |       |       |       |       |
| www.mysticcolorlab.com                     |       |       |       |       |
| Mystic Color                               |    6  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 10/25/1999                    877-654-7357 |       |       |       |       |
| www.nationpc.com                           |  { 1} |       |       |       |
| NationPC                                   |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/8/1999                                   |       |       |       |       |
| 0                                          |       |       |       |       |
| Olympus Guy                                |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 7/5/2000                      800-ONE-KALL |  [ 1] |       |       |       |
| www.onecall.com               800-340-4770 |  { 2} |       |       |       |
| One Call West                              |   14  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 4/16/2000                                  |       |       |  [ 1] |       |
| 800-845-3705                               |       |       |  { 1} |  { 2} |
| PHOTOKina                                  |    0  |    0  |    1  |    2  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 9/1/1998                              P.O. |       |       |       |       |
| www.teleport.com/~pacrim            Salem, |       |       |       |       |
| Pacific Rim                                |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/10/1999                     800-834-0884 |       |       |       |       |
|                               718-236-5559 |       |       |       |       |
| Photo Graphic (Photo & Video Inc).         |    0  |    0  |    1  |    5  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 10/26/1998                    800-521-4311 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Photographer's Warehouse                   |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 4/29/1998                     800-553-2001 |       |       |       |       |
| www.porters.com                            |       |       |       |       |
| Porter's                                   |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/9/2000                                   |       |       |       |       |
| www.profeel.com                            |  { 4} |       |       |       |
| Profeel                                    |    5  |    0  |    0  |    2  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 7/31/1999                     805-528-6321 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Really Right Stuff                         |    6  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 11/29/1999                                 |       |       |       |       |
| www.ritzcam.com                            |       |       |  { 1} |       |
| Ritz Collectables                          |    1  |    0  |    1  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 11/19/1999                    800-321-4726 |       |       |       |       |
| www.samys.com                              |  { 2} |  { 2} |       |  { 1} |
| Samy's Camera (LA)                         |   14  |    2  |    1  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 9/30/1997                     206-281-1390 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Seattle Filmworks                          |    0  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 5/20/1999                                  |       |       |       |       |
| 800-344-3776                               |       |       |       |       |
| Service Photo                              |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/8/1998                      402-334-8723 |       |       |       |       |
| www.top.net/shea                           |       |       |       |       |
| Shea's Shutter Shack                       |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/17/1998                                  |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Shutan Camera & Video                      |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 1/10/2000                     800-489-3677 |       |       |       |       |
|                               800-366-6993 |       |       |       |  { 3} |
| Smile Photo                                |    0  |    0  |    0  |    8  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/14/1999                                  |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Supreme Video & Electronics                |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/21/1999                     800-632-6076 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| The Southern Advantage Co.                 |    0  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 10/19/1998                    770-422-2189 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Todco                                      |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 6/21/1999                     800-221-1926 |       |       |       |       |
|                               212-633-2290 |       |       |       |       |
| Tri-State                                  |    2  |    1  |    1  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 4/20/1998                                  |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| United Camera & Electronics                |    0  |    0  |    0  |    1  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/20/1998                     800-872-3456 |       |       |       |       |
|                          732-905-2062(fax) |       |       |       |       |
| Universal Distributors                     |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 6/23/1998                     617-662-6685 |       |       |       |       |
| www.wbhunt.com                             |       |       |       |       |
| W.B. Hunt's                                |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 8/10/1997                     800-675-2602 |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Wilson Country Camera                      |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 3/31/1999                     516-599-6013 |       |       |       |       |
| www.woodcam.com                            |       |       |       |       |
| Woodmere Camera                            |    2  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 2/19/1999                                  |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| World Photo                                |    0  |    0  |    0  |    2  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 12/1/1999                     800-617-4686 |       |       |       |       |
| www.buydig.com                732-752-4466 |       |       |       |  { 2} |
| Worldwide Direct                           |    0  |    0  |    0  |    2  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 9/30/1997                                  |       |       |       |       |
|                                            |       |       |       |       |
| Worldwide Photo                            |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 12/22/1999                                 |       |       |       |       |
| www.theweb-shop.com                        |       |  { 1} |       |       |
| kpmarketing (theweb-shop)                  |    0  |    1  |    0  |    4  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|
| 8/11/1999                                  |       |       |       |       |
| www.netphotostore.com                      |  { 1} |       |       |       |
| netphotostore                              |    1  |    0  |    0  |    0  |
|--------------------------------------------|-------|-------|-------|-------|


                IV.  Tips for shopping from mail order firms

    These are some general guidelines developed by readers over the years.
    As with any guideline, there are times when it is appropriate to "break"
    them.  However, as many survey users can attest, if you don't follow one
    of the following there is a good chance that you'll be sorry.

1.  ORDER BY CREDIT CARD ONLY.  Don't pay the credit card bill until you have
    received the goods in satisfactory condition.  To avoid interest charges,
    when you pay the rest of the credit card bill, include a note explaining
    the contested charge.

2.  ASK WHAT THE SHIPPING AND HANDLING CHARGES WILL BE.  Most stores no longer
    just charge you the freight, but also include a sizable handling charge.

3.  ASK IF THE ITEM CARRIES A U.S. WARRANTY.  New York stores (but not others)
    now have to tell you whether what they are selling you carries a U.S.
    warranty.  Grey market material does not carry a U.S. warranty and is
    sold at a significantly lower price.  International warranties may be
    worthless, but you may not feel you need the warranty protection.  Some
    stores do not allow returns of grey market material.  If the material
    arrives damaged you must file an insurance claim.  The price advertized
    in photography magazines is frequently the grey market price.  And they
    may not have the grey market item in stock, but only the higher priced
    U.S. warranty item.  NOTE: May want to ask if it's a Manufactur's U.S.
    Warranty.

4.  DON'T AGREE TO BUY ANYTHING YOU HADN'T PLANNED TO BUY WHEN YOU CALLED.
    For example, often when buying a lens, the salesperson may try to
    get you to buy a filter.  Be sure you know what you're getting : there
    many different filters available, of varying quality and price.  You
    likely spent time determining the right lens, your filter is just as
    important.  Filters may be as cheap, or just a little more, at
    your local camera store.  As a general rule, don't buy anything solely
    on the phone salesman's recommendations.  Though there may be exceptions,
    most are not there to help you.

5.  WHEN ORDERING, ASK FOR THE NAME OF THE SALESPERSON.  Record this piece
    of information along with the time, date, and agreed upon sales price and
    merchandise.

6.  WHEN YOU GET YOUR EQUIPMENT, TEST IT IMMEDIATELY.  If it is defective, call
    the mail order company immediately and arrange for returning it.  See #1
    above.  Ask for a return authorization number and get the name of the
    person you talk to.  Most stores give you rather short period for
    returning defective equipment, so waste a roll of film and get it
    developed at a one day service place.

7.  ASK IF THE ITEM IS IN STOCK.  There appears, however, to be no reason to
    believe their answer.

8.  Call around and get the best price with the desired warranty, including
    shipping and handling.  Add 10 or 15 per cent for nuisance.  Then call
    around to your local stores and see if they can come close.  Very
    frequently they will.

9.  Low end items, like small autofocus cameras, are frequently just as cheap,
    if not cheaper when you consider the shipping and handling, in the local
    discount department stores.

10. IF YOU PAID FOR SHIPPING ALREADY, YOUR SHIPPING COMPANY SHOULDN'T CHARGE
    YOU ANYTHING FOR "EXTRA" SERVICE.  If you paid for shipping to your
    mail-order company, that mail order company should mail your goods to your
    house.  If you get a phone call from the local shipping company saying they
    need an extra "service fee", refuse to pay.  You can give the shipping
    company the phone number of the mail-order company so they can hash it out,
    or call the mail-order company directly and complain.  You already paid
    shipping.  Don't give any extra money to the shippers.

11. IF REORDERING, CONSIDERING ASKING FOR THE SAME SALESPERSON:  A few folks
    have noted that they receive better experience this way.  A salesperson's
    day is usually spent speaking to a bunch of anonymous folks.  If you
    notice a salesperson it probably would make them feel better and might
    get you that little extra service.

12. INTERNATIONAL ORDERS: In the past I (Rune Riisnaes) had some unpleasant
    experiences with international deliveries where the salesperson or
    shipping dept. get the address all wrong or can't figure out how to get
    a foreign address into their order entry system.  "What, no zip code?
    Must be wrong. Let's keep the package here until the customer asks for it,
    then get the right address..." Now, I always call and get a qoute, then
    fax the order.  That ensures my address is entered and spelled correctly.


                V.   The experiences received since the last posting

==============================================================================
=============================================================================
From: michaelw@mail.sc.cninfo.net (Michael Woerner)
Subject: Re: photographic mail order survey
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 12:00:00 +0800


On December the 6th of last year (1999) I ordered a Nikon N60 with a 28-80
zoom lens from a company called B&H Photo out of New York. I live and work
in China and I wanted the camera for our vacation which we were taking in
the US. I told them I would be on vacation and since we would be stopping
first to visit my brother who lives in Florida I had them express mail it
to his house. I had never used Nikon before but it looked like the set-up
went okay. The problem was that the first couple of rolls of film never
took. Not even partial. The first time it happened I accused the place
doing the developing of destroying the film while developing. Then when it
happened again I thought it might have been something I was doing wrong.
When we got back to China from vacation I took a good look at everything in
the book and decided it was not something I was doing. I then took it to
the Nikon authorized repair shop in Beijing where they said the camera was
in fact defective.  Of course when I contacted B&H they refused to accept
responsibility and said since it was past their 14 day period I would have
to contact Nikon. That is what I am trying to do now. But, I believe B&H
knew the camera was defective when they shipped it to me and thought they
had a way of unloading it on to someone who couldn't do much about it since
I lived in another country. 
My suggestion is to AVOID doing business with this company unless you live
in New York where you can go down to their office if you have a problem!

Thanks
Michael Woerner
=============================================================================
Sender: "Rolando Ramirez Ortiz" 
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 16:19:00 -0400

Please add a No Problem entry to KEH Camera Brokers.
I placed my order on Wednesday April 5th 2000, and 
received all the items today, Monday 10th, as ordered
and in perfect condition. 

KEH bundled the box and FedEx International Priority 
did the delivery from the US to Canada. Very good
service.

thanks,
Rolando
=============================================================================
From: "David Beach" 
Original-To: 
Date: Sun, 7 May 2000 19:27:00 -0500

I would like to submit a "No Problem" rating for CAMERAWORLD.COM in
Portland Oregon.

This was my first order I have placed at any photo related website.  I 
had shopped for several weeks and was about to place an order at another 
company when I happened upon your survey site.  I discovered very poor 
ratings and some specific horror stories from your survey respondents 
regarding two companies that I was seriously considering. 

I decided to spend a few dollars more and went with cameraworld.com.  
They were very professional, filled my order as requested, delivered in 
good condition exactly on the day they promised.  I would buy from them 
again.  Your survey may have saved me a real headache.

Thanks, DB
=============================================================================
Date: Fri, 12 May 2000 07:10:24 -0700
From: Todd & Sharon Peach 

I'd like to log a 'No Problem' for Charlotte Camera Brokers.

My purchase was in April 2000.  

I ordered a Nikon MD-3 w/ MB-2 in used '8' condition for $99.  This
being about half the going price, I figured 'what the hey'.

When it arrived, it was obviously used, with marks on most surfaces. 
Loading it up with batteries, I attached it to my F2AS.  It worked fine
for a few minutes, then it stumbled and died.  Loading a second set of
batteries was no help.

Oh well.  I sent it back.  Charlotte sent it out for repair.  After a
few phone calls for status, they told me they couldn't adequately test
it as they didn't have an F2.  They refunded my money in full.

Obviously, I'd rather have my 'toy', but it's nice to know their return
policy works.  I can trust them for my next purchase.

-Todd
-- 
Todd & Sharon Peach
Seattle, Washington
tpeach@gte.net 
http://www.thepeaches.com/
=============================================================================
>From - Fri May 19 16:12:15 2000
Return-Path: 

Photokina     4/16/2000        Major
=============================================================================
From: Keith Reed 
To: "'blondin@lucent.com'" 
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 16:15:41 -0400

Hi, I have feedback for your survey. I just wish I had known about it before
I had ordered!
 
Company: Abe's of Maine (Brooklyn, NY)
Category: Avoid
Time: Ordered 5/2/00
Experience: I ordered a camcorder on 5/2/00. My credit card was charged
5/2/00. After not hearing anything for a couple weeks, I called and was 
promised that they would be in "in 3-4 days". I was promised this every 
3-4 days until I files a dispute w/my credit card company after a month 
of not receiving a straight answer.  Talking to the store manager was 
no more helpful.
--
Keith Reed
Network Administrator
Soave Enterprises, LLC
(313) 567-5700, x201
=============================================================================
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 11:46:57 +0000
From: Alan Barr 

Re:	Cambridge Camera
	February, 2000
	Rating: Avoid

Description of Problem: Price on camera by phone was significantly higher
than that posted on website ($429 vs $338). After receiving quote on Ricoh
GR-1 with date function, was tranferred to second person for taking credit
card information. 

When the second person rang up the charges, I had him confirm that this
model had the date function.  He said it did not and charged an additional
$45 for the date function. He also said that unlike other cameras from
other mailorder stores, this Ricoh would have a U.S. warranty.  When the
camera was delivered it, of course, did not have the date function or a
U.S. warranty. They said to send the camera back, but I wasn't about to let
them have both the camera AND my money. Result: I'm out $45 on a camera
with no warranty (which cost $90 more than the price they post on their
website to this very day).

Alan Barr
504 Congress Ave.
Austin, Tx.
=============================================================================
From: "Jonathan White" 
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2000 09:29:15 -0400

First, thanks for the listings.  I used them to choose a supplier.  On
5/30/00 I ordered a Nikon F100, Tameron 28-200 lens and other equipment from
Adorama, NY, NY.  I spoke with Bruce who was very helpful in advising,
suggesting and checking stock.  I experienced NO pressure to switch items.
All items were in stock and promised within 3 to 5 days.  The items arrived
in perfect condition, at the price quoted, within 4 days.  All in all I
rated their service and prices a 5.  Thanks again for your page.
Sincerely, Jonathan White
=============================================================================
Return-Path: 
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 03:19:54 -0300

1) May/2000
KEH Camera Brokers
Minor Problems

Regards,
Joao Nuno Moreira
joaonuno@svn.com.br
=============================================================================
Return-Path: 
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 03:19:54 -0300

2) May 2000
Adorama Camera
No Problems

Regards,
Joao Nuno Moreira
joaonuno@svn.com.br
=============================================================================
Return-Path: 
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 03:19:54 -0300

3) June, 2nd 2000
KEH Camera Brokers
No Problems

Regards,
Joao Nuno Moreira
joaonuno@svn.com.br
=============================================================================
Return-Path: 
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 03:19:54 -0300

4) June, 8th 2000
Adorama Camera
No Problems

Regards,
Joao Nuno Moreira
joaonuno@svn.com.br
=============================================================================
>From - Wed Jun 14 14:32:39 2000
Return-Path: 

Midwest Photo; 5/2000--puchased a view camera, excellent over-the-phone
advice, very good service.  Very pleased with transaction

Thanks,
TAC
=============================================================================
>From - Mon Jul 03 08:08:41 2000
Return-Path: 

    I ordered a Canon 28-135 lens and Speedlite 380EX from Beach Camera of 
Maine  in June 2000.  Their service was courteous and prompt and so far 
reliable. I had no problem and would order from them again.

    Thanks for keeping this survey.  It was a big help in sorting out whom to 
buy from.

Bob Fearman
=============================================================================
>From - Wed Jul 05 16:37:18 2000
Return-Path: 

I dealt with One Call West in Washington state. I would rate my experience a
NO Problem. Please ad me to the 16 others.

Thanks,
C. David Caston
Williamsburg, VA
=============================================================================
>From - Sun Jul 09 16:44:33 2000
From: Ken Tam 

     I bought a Canon 28-105 lens from B&H Photo Video
in New York City via the phone, and had a minor
problem with them.  I am a person in the US military
stationed in Naples, Italy, and the lens was to be
delivered to an stateside address which the military
will then ship to my overseas location.  Kudos to B&H
for actually shipping to an APO (military) address,
the minor problem was that it took 3 weeks for the
lens to arrive, and normal delivery time is 1.5 weeks.
 There was a 10 day delay between when the order was
called in and my credit card was billed, and when the
package was actually postmarked.
    I am satisfied with the order, and would order
from B&H again.

V/R

Kenneth Tam


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