Liberal Return Policies vs. "has my camera been used?": A way to Solve This

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
ne beginner
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Re: You probably don't realize this....
In reply to Marty4650, 5 months ago

Marty4650 wrote:

But those brick and mortar stores are essentially showrooms for Amazon.com and B&H.com.

People wander in to these stores, handle their cameras, see how they feel, then... if they like them, they go home and order them from an online vendor to save money.

This is yet another big disadvantage for them. They get to be someone else's showroom. They have all the costs of displaying and demonstrating the items, while someone else undercuts their price and makes the sale.

So now you come along and have decided you will help these brick and mortar stores by applying a seal to the box, and requiring them to label every camera inspected by a potential customer as "open box" and then sold at a discount!

Marty, here's where you start to sound like Roseanne Rosannadanna from those old SNL skits.

As I have stated throughout this thread, even on responses to you, including the one you just responded to, I am talking about items that have been sold, taken from the store, used for a period of time, and then returned. That is clearly an open box.

You keep wanting to lump that in with demo's in the store. If it hasn't been sold, opened and used by the new owner,  it is not "used". Handled, yes, but under supervision and in a controlled setting.

There are over 300 new cameras released every year. Very few stores except the largest megastores can stock them all, much less have a demonstrator model for each one. Should they refuse to show a camera to a customer, or should they show it and run the risk the customer decides not buy it... and now they are stuck with a broken seal?

There is absolutely nothing unethical about selling something as new that has been shown to a customer before.

Agreed ... but as stated, not what this is about.

This happens for every commodity you buy. And digital cameras should be no different. Those brand new shoes you purchased might have been tried on by someone else. And someone might have handled that eggplant you bought at the supermarket last week.

Correct. Would you consider that same eggplant to be new if someone purchased it, took it home, maybe even started to cook, then changed their mind and returned it, and the grocer wiped it off and put it back in the bin with the rest?

In my own experience manufacturers always HONOR the warranty if the item was sold by an authorized dealer and was never registered by the buyer.

Have you considered that may only be because the manufacturer does not know it was sold previously because it was not registered? What if it But what if it WAS registered by the original owner before they returned it?  Then you are the second owner.

Even if the item was returned and resold, the warranty is still honored.

See above.

You say "they might not honor the warranty" despite the fact that they always do honor it. You are citing possibilities, and ignoring realities.

You are drawing a conclusion based on a few points of data. You may want to read some warranty cards. Some specifically state the warranty is to the original owner and is not transferrable.

In reality, in the US, manufacturers are by law required to, regardless what their warranty states, repair or replace an item you send them that has a known defect, or has been subject to a recalled. Even if you are the 5th owner. Most will also repair something if the problem is a manufacturing defect, no questions asked, depending on how old the product is, and the condition.

Where you may not be so lucky is if the the problem is determined to be the cause of damage or poor handling. That is an out of warranty repair. That's the risk you run when you buy a used item: that the original owner did something to it that the merchant was unaware of before they passed if off to you as new.

You know as well as I do that people on this very site have from time to time shared experiences like that, where they got a big repair estimate for some hidden damage they swear they knew nothing about.

I have even purchased USED cameras and have had warranty work done on them. The manufacturers really don't have an obsession with chain of ownership or broken seals. They just care about whether the item was imported through an authorized dealer and whether the warranty period is still in effect.

Seals, no, that would be irrelevant and unknown. But they do care what is the cause of the problem. That's the first thing they do: is this a warranty repair or not.

Ask yourself... WHY would any manufacturer want to make it HARDER for their dealers to sell their products, by imposing a chain of ownership requirement on the warranty? Your assumptions just don't make any sense.

Roseanne .... nothing is being imposed on anyone ... except maybe a merchant who elects to misrepresent sold, used, and returned merchandise as new. Manufacturers simply seal their products. The rest is between retailers and customers. No chain of ownership, just honest representation of what the product is.

Your scenario about a "poorly re-packed return, with dog-eared cardboard flaps, misaligned stickers, smudges, dust, missing accessories, etc." is entertaining, but extremely far fetched. I really doubt the retailer would kick the box around the floor to make it more appealing for the next customer. I really think you are trying too hard to invent circumstances to support your case.

I believe you have perhaps mentioned in a post above somewhere seeing clumsily re-packaged products at the shelf in stores? Some one did, if not you. You have never seen that? Someone mentioned Best Buy and their open box bin. Know why that happened? They were fined not that long ago for re-selling returns.

Have you every received a pre-sold item as new? I have, twice. Clear signs of wear in the box flaps, tape on manuals torn, etc. Many people have also reported on this board the condition of recycled products. Your position like saying there is no snow at the South Pole because you have not been there to see it yourself.

There is nothing unethical about a car dealer letting a potential customer take a test drive, then washing the car to make it more attractive to the next potential customer.

No there is not. Again, you are off on a tangent, arguing a point that has never been part of the discussion.

But to use your example in a way that is relevant, what if the dealer sold the car, and then took it back 4 weeks later ...  can he sell it to you as new?

How about if he details it?  Touches up a few minor scratches and a dent?  Come on, it's car, right? It's durable. What's a few thousand miles and a few dents?

Maybe he could pull some of that new car plastic they use on exteriors panels from an actual new car, same as yours, maybe the one he sells me, and manages to re-apply it to yours so it looks new?  Maybe re-wrap the steering wheel and seats with that new car plastic?

Is it OK as long as he can fool you? You're good with paying the exact same thing I paid for the identical car, just sans dent, scratches and extra milage?

I realize you have given this a lot of thought, and you think box seals are a perfect solution. But you haven't thought it through completely. Your suggestion would hurt the small brick and mortar retailer rather than help them. If anyone has the resources to repackage a product properly it is the largest online retailers, and not the smallest brick and mortar vendors.

I'm not saying seals are the answer, just posing this as an idea for discussion. I appreciate all the responses and different points of views. What prompted my thinking is that this whole "how many clicks" thing has come up again.

And I'm not thinking of it in terms of hurting ... or helping ... a retailer. I'm looking at this purely from the customer perspective. I want to know that when I buy something represented as new, it is indeed new, and not used and returned.

As a photo hobbyist, I would not care if I was in your store, and the seal was broken on a lens, as long as I knew you just showed it to a few people. I would not even think to ask you for a deal, because I trusted your reputation not to sneak in returns.

And if you had a return, and offered it to me for 5 or 10% off (funded by a restocking fee perhaps from the original buyer), and you told me you checked it out your self, I'd also trust you, if you had a good reputation.

As a manufacturer, I would also not be concerned if you broke seals to show people things, either. Or charged full price on open boxed. But if you were passing off used items as new to unsuspecting customers, and I found out, you would risk loosing status as an authorized dealer of my product. And, depending on the state you operate in, if had evidence presented to me, I might have no choice but to report you.

Amazon probably has an entire crew devoted to that task. And they are probably experts at doing it.

If so, they are hopefully doing it in a place where this is legal. Companies I have worked for have contracted out this kind of work, and I could see Amazon perhaps winning such a deal. But there would be protocol and process. Probably repackaging.  And any product determined to have been used would have to go to refurb.

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