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

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
ne beginner
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No, the only "rule" would be manufacturers use a factory seal ...
In reply to Patrick McMahon, 7 months ago

... Retailer could do whatever they choose, including no change. The only thing different would be that we as consumers would know definitively if someone has opened the box.

Retailers that choose to let you come in, or will mail you, items to try out can continue to do so. Since you don't mind buying a lens or camera that has been opened and tried out, and many other feel the same way, these retailers that still do this would get your business. Those that do not would not.

Patrick McMahon wrote:

There is a whole host of "what if's" and "how abouts..." that boil down to a consumer either:

1. Not taking responsibility for their own informed choice of retailer.

How can anyone make such an informed decision? Right now we don't know if a retailer is reselling used product as new ...

2. Choosing to purchase from an online retailer to avoid tax.

3. Choosing to purchase from a retailer to potentially take advantage of a liberal return policy if they have buyers remorse/ unhappy.

And I think it is mostly a combination of the the three.

Your initial post contains a whole host of various rules and hoops a retailer may be forced to jump through that Amazon and Alibaba will negotiate away with the greatest of ease.

No hoops or rules, just a factory seal.

Like I said, I like to go in and try things out. Last thing I tried was a piece of Zeiss glass under "supervision." Your regulatory scheme would have that camera store take a completely unnecessary loss on that lens (hundreds of lenses)... Amazon would never take such a loss by virtue of its business model.

No regulatory scheme ... retailers that want to let you come in and try, or buy and try, can continue to do so. The only difference is we would all know.

So in order to try a lens I would need to purchase from Amazon because of their liberal return policies...

Again, if you purchase a piece of equipment which you know has been used and it subjectively bothers you, return it and stop doing business with them. If it is simply a case of black helicopter paranoia then... well... I don't know what to say.

Is my "nullifier" idea going to get panned? I mean what would be more fun than that!

....

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Patrick McMahon
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Re: No, the only "rule" would be manufacturers use a factory seal ...
In reply to ne beginner, 7 months ago

As I said earlier any product with a seal is immediately devalued when that seal is broken. It no longer becomes a matter choosing who would purchase it or not. If that brick an mortar has an online presence or ebay account you have devalued their inventory.

B&M's are already the show rooms for Amazon as it is... they will really be laughing themselves to the bank after you effectively devalue their meager competitions inventory! And the irony is that a percentage of the viewer would be ordering from Amazon anyway.

Like I said earlier... not wholly against the concept. But I think of the Df and how many people needed to get it in their hands to say... "Whoa! This is the most ergonomically uncomfortable camera... I don't like it." More than a few did that at counters... Now with the seal we would have to listen to some douche bag say "Go rent it!" When that is clearly uncalled for.

I also wonder to what degree this is a solution in search of a problem? The times that I have heard of a person getting a previously owned camera has been few, and the retailer was very apologetic sending out a replacement.

Maybe at some point we will start a grass roots movement to put a little stamp on the inside flap of a returned box when the next camera/ lens comes out? Not as fun as my "nullifier" (patent pending), but could see the extent your concerns are justified and who the retailers are that can't be trusted.

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ne beginner
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Re: It's not the 1% of shutter life ... it's who was doing the clicking, and where ...
In reply to Full Frame, 7 months ago

Full Frame wrote:

Think about it, what incentive do thy have to do anything. It is not in their interest. We have to pull teeth just to get a software upgrade. Lets see what happens with the trap focus for D800.

That's the bottom line, isn't it?

I can see a few wins.

First, lets look at the DF.  Nikon hates to acknowledge anything, to the point if letting a minor issue get out of hand, take on a life of its own, all for want of a press release that would take them 30 minutes to write and post.  With sealed boxes, everyone who finds actuation would know their camera was not used and returned, but rather tested by Nikon.  No issue, no internet buzz, fewer returns and, best of all, no need for a communication to explain! How many unnecessary DF returns could that avoid?

Here's another: reputation.  That's actually valued as brand equity.  And measured.  How many consumers are complaining about the same defective cameras and lenses, here and elsewhere, that have been recycled over and over again by retailers that resell returns?  Some people complained that they received and returned several D800's, one after another, remember that? From the same retailers? Some people speculated that these were the same set of defective cameras, recycled.  If so, suppose the D800 left bank issues was exaggerated by several factors because of that?

There are other benefits that may apply. As a manufacturer of consumer products, there are many good business reasons to not leave my retail and whole sale customer over inventoried. Sometimes we can shift that inventory.  But we won't take back product that has been opened. If it is sealed, I can redistribute it, rework it, etc.

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ne beginner
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OK, I broken seal devalues the product, I agree ...
In reply to Patrick McMahon, 7 months ago

But at the same time, if done under the right circumstances, how much? Can the fact that the seal can be broken actually increase retailer revenue?

A retailer that wants to market a liberal return policy does so to attract more customers, and increase loyalty.  So retailers that allow in-store trial only, would attract customers like yourself.  If limited to in-store trial only, these items are not sold and returned, so the retailer is #1. not misrepresenting and therefor has no consumer law liability risk, and #2 can legitimacy sell that product as new because it has not been sold. I would buy from such a retailer, if I trusted that they adhered to their in-store trial only.

How about a re-stocking fee if you return a product?  I would pay a erasable fee for that option, if I knew the item I am buying is new and not used. Used defined as sold, returned, and misrepresented as new.  First, I would be more careful about just randomly buying and trying, and really do my homework so I only buy and try items I am very serious about.  Second, that retailer can offer open box specials at a discount, funded by the restocking fee. You could use those specials to attract customers to the store to see what you have.

Patrick McMahon wrote:

As I said earlier any product with a seal is immediately devalued when that seal is broken. It no longer becomes a matter choosing who would purchase it or not. If that brick an mortar has an online presence or ebay account you have devalued their inventory.

B&M's are already the show rooms for Amazon as it is... they will really be laughing themselves to the bank after you effectively devalue their meager competitions inventory! And the irony is that a percentage of the viewer would be ordering from Amazon anyway.

I don't know .. there are so few B&M's left, and Amazon has a liberal return policy already, I doubt that would change.  They would have to be honest about reselling returns as  new, but plenty of people, such as yourself, would remain customers. Again, it simply allows customers who don't want to be randomly shipped used product to make a decision.

Like I said earlier... not wholly against the concept. But I think of the Df and how many people needed to get it in their hands to say... "Whoa! This is the most ergonomically uncomfortable camera... I don't like it." More than a few did that at counters... Now with the seal we would have to listen to some douche bag say "Go rent it!" When that is clearly uncalled for.

They could still try it in the store.  As stated above, breaking the seal does not have to devalue the product.

I also wonder to what degree this is a solution in search of a problem? The times that I have heard of a person getting a previously owned camera has been few, and the retailer was very apologetic sending out a replacement.

I suspect, as have many others, that the recycling of defective returns creates a problem in itself, and increases the changes of getting a defective product because these items are not being removed from the inventory, but rather resold over again. Retailers caught had better be apologetic because they are likely violating consume protection laws.

Maybe at some point we will start a grass roots movement to put a little stamp on the inside flap of a returned box when the next camera/ lens comes out? Not as fun as my "nullifier" (patent pending), but could see the extent your concerns are justified and who the retailers are that can't be trusted.

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ne beginner
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Like Telsa? Or how Apple started out?
In reply to Selling My Nikon Stuff, 7 months ago

Selling My Nikon Stuff wrote:

I would be in favor of eliminating retailers altogether and buying cameras and lenses straight from the manufacturer. That way the manufacturer can recertify and refurbish returned items, and save buyers the dealer profit.

How about a Nikon store at the mall?

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Patrick McMahon
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Re: OK, I broken seal devalues the product, I agree ...
In reply to ne beginner, 7 months ago

ne beginner wrote:

But at the same time, if done under the right circumstances, how much? Can the fact that the seal can be broken actually increase retailer revenue?

A retailer that wants to market a liberal return policy does so to attract more customers, and increase loyalty. So retailers that allow in-store trial only, would attract customers like yourself. If limited to in-store trial only, these items are not sold and returned, so the retailer is #1. not misrepresenting and therefor has no consumer law liability risk, and #2 can legitimacy sell that product as new because it has not been sold. I would buy from such a retailer, if I trusted that they adhered to their in-store trial only.

I appreciate this and you would clearly...but the fail safe- the seal would be broken... and therefore the trust of others.

How about a re-stocking fee if you return a product? I would pay a erasable fee for that option, if I knew the item I am buying is new and not used. Used defined as sold, returned, and misrepresented as new. First, I would be more careful about just randomly buying and trying, and really do my homework so I only buy and try items I am very serious about. Second, that retailer can offer open box specials at a discount, funded by the restocking fee. You could use those specials to attract customers to the store to see what you have.

BestBuy got rid of their restocking fee because of the beating Amazon put on them.

Patrick McMahon wrote:

As I said earlier any product with a seal is immediately devalued when that seal is broken. It no longer becomes a matter choosing who would purchase it or not. If that brick an mortar has an online presence or ebay account you have devalued their inventory.

B&M's are already the show rooms for Amazon as it is... they will really be laughing themselves to the bank after you effectively devalue their meager competitions inventory! And the irony is that a percentage of the viewer would be ordering from Amazon anyway.

I don't know .. there are so few B&M's left, and Amazon has a liberal return policy already, I doubt that would change. They would have to be honest about reselling returns as new, but plenty of people, such as yourself, would remain customers. Again, it simply allows customers who don't want to be randomly shipped used product to make a decision.

Like I said earlier... not wholly against the concept. But I think of the Df and how many people needed to get it in their hands to say... "Whoa! This is the most ergonomically uncomfortable camera... I don't like it." More than a few did that at counters... Now with the seal we would have to listen to some douche bag say "Go rent it!" When that is clearly uncalled for.

They could still try it in the store. As stated above, breaking the seal does not have to devalue the product.

I also wonder to what degree this is a solution in search of a problem? The times that I have heard of a person getting a previously owned camera has been few, and the retailer was very apologetic sending out a replacement.

I suspect, as have many others, that the recycling of defective returns creates a problem in itself, and increases the changes of getting a defective product because these items are not being removed from the inventory, but rather resold over again. Retailers caught had better be apologetic because they are likely violating consume protection laws.

Maybe at some point we will start a grass roots movement to put a little stamp on the inside flap of a returned box when the next camera/ lens comes out? Not as fun as my "nullifier" (patent pending), but could see the extent your concerns are justified and who the retailers are that can't be trusted.

I appreciate the thought you have put into this and I think it comes down to our opinions on how it would affect the market/ retailers. If I believed, as you do, that it would not adversely affect the B&M, I would support it. Heck- I'll go as far as saying I support it 100% if you make every retailer collect the applicable sales tax. How's that for a compromise.

But as it stands I see it being pro big internet retailer... Wholly my opinion

Weren't the European D4 cameras shipped with a seal, or am I remembering wrong...?

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Patrick McMahon
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interesting
In reply to ne beginner, 7 months ago
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clarnibass
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Re: Liberal Return Policies vs. "has my camera been used?": A way to Solve This
In reply to ne beginner, 7 months ago

ne beginner wrote:

Charge a re-stocking fee to cover the open boxed discount. I'll bet most honest customers would be more than willing to pay a 5% restocking fee for the opportunity to try a camera or lens out, and have be able to return it if you don't like it.

I can only guess, but I think absolteuly no way most honest customers would be willing to pay a 5% restcking fee just to try something.

Here is why I prefer not to have this seal.

I prefer to buy at local stores. These stores let me try e.g. a lens at the store or in the area (if I leave my bag, for example). I want to try a lens before I buy and I want to try the specific lens I'm buying rather than a different one of the same model. If the store has the same lens to try and then I get a new one, that is fine, but I would pay, open it at the store and try it to see it works. I want to see that (e.g.) the lens I'm buying is not defective before I take it with me. Or at least any obvious defect (I've had to return a lens a few days later once when I found a problem that took longer to find).

Since this is what I want to do before buying and IMO it's completely reasonable, then I have no problem with others doing it too. It's entirely possible that the lens I'm trying was takne out of the box for someone else to try before. I don't know and don't care really. I get a full warrenty from the moment I buy it anyway.

Same with my camera. When I went to buy it, I tried a couple, put a couple of lenses on it and on another camera and tried them for a bit. One of them was already out because somoene else was trying to just when I came in.

With an honest store, checking the camera/lens is actually a good opportunity to find defective ones so the chance of defective ones is smaller.

I used to sell saxophones (stopped because I decided I didn't like to sell things). It's a bit different but also very similar. Every single saxophone that came to me from the factory was checked to make sure it's working 100%. Actually, that's one of the reasons people bought from me and not from some stores. This might even mean they get a ripped nylon with the one from me, but it just confirmed that I checked it and made sure it was working, fixed any issues before sale, etc. People come and play the saxophones, then decide if they want to buy or not.

Saxophones are a little different because they usually don't come 100% from the factory, need some adjustments and are completely mechanical and delicate, in comparison with cameras/lenses which have much higher tolerances and when one is slightly out it's basically defective. But for the principal is the same. For me DSLR cameras and lenses are still not on the level of e.g. phones, where you just get one in a box and return if it's defective. I mean, many people do exactly that, but I prefer to check them before buying because they are still more variable.

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Midwest
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Re: Liberal Return Policies vs. "has my camera been used?": A way to Solve This
In reply to ne beginner, 7 months ago

ne beginner wrote:

In this way, everyone gets what they expect. What do you think?

If people want to consider a camera that has been used AT ALL as 'used', then the mfr warranty is no longer in force and the camera is probably is worth at least 20% less now. The seller is still entitled to make a profit on it. I say, items tried and sent back for other than being seriously unsatisfactory should have a very healthy restocking fee attached to them, say 25%.

Defective items can only be returned for exchange, on another of the same model.

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Marty4650
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For God's sake... it's just a freaking camera
In reply to ne beginner, 7 months ago

Imagine if no one would buy a pair of shoes if someone else had tried them on. Or if no one would buy a suit or a dress if someone else had touched them. Or a piece of jewelry that some other customer had tried on. Or if we all refused to buy a car, unless it had zero miles on the odometer. No road tests allowed!

And what would happen if no one would marry someone unless they were pure and "untouched?"

These are just cameras. They aren't medical devices that get implanted in your heart. They don't need to be sterilized and sealed to keep germs out.

Sometimes I wonder if the "I won't buy a camera that was touched by human hands" people actually use the cameras that they do keep. Or maybe they just display them in a glass case, like a museum piece?

The buy and try people are taking advantage of everyone else by driving prices up. Retailers are forced to match liberal return policies of the competitors, so everyone's costs go up. The obvious solution is restocking fees, so only the abusers would have to bear this cost.

Naturally, if something is defective right out of the box, then a return could be made, and the retailer could get credit from the manufacturer. If it breaks down later, then you still have a warranty. But the policy of letting people buy several cameras, try them out, then return them is costing all of us money.

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Marty4650
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Re: Why not just put a factory seal on the box? - here's why
In reply to ne beginner, 7 months ago

ne beginner wrote:

Full Frame wrote:

I am sure that every X amount of cameras are pulled from the assembly line and tested. Are they used. What is acceptable actuations. What about having outside of every box shipped from manufacturer and retailer have the number of actuations on it. This way you know what you are buying.

That way, everyone would know with 100% certainty that the new camera or lens they purchased was not sold, returned, then resold? On a camera, any actuations would have been performed at the factory by Nikon technicians.

Sealing the box doesn't solve the problem.

Sealed boxes will still be purchased, seals broken, tried out, then returned. Then you have the "broken seal" problem, and we all know how easy it is to reseal a box. Every record store in America used to have their own shrink wrap machine for this. Boxes can be EASILY resealed.

The only real solution is to accept returns for defects only. If you simply change your mind, then you should pay a restocking fee. Then the retailer will subtract that fee from the retail price, and sell it as an open box item. This is the ONLY way to prevent the innocent bystanders from paying the price for the "buy and try" customer.

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Eamon Hickey
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wholesalers and uniform retail pricing
In reply to ne beginner, 7 months ago

Just a couple of clarifications, so that you guys can all think about this based on better information:

ne beginner wrote:

Do you mean MAP pricing? Minimum advertised price? Yes, that would make it harder for a large chain to sell a camera or lens for less than the MAP. But that still does not level the playing field.

No, he meant what's sometimes called "uniform retail pricing". About 6-8 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling that opened the door to strict resale price maintenance by a manufacturer -- i.e. Nikon can dictate to its dealers a minimum resale price below which the retailer cannot sell, period. (Not advertise; sell). Nikon does do this. They began this practice about 3-4 years after the court ruling. Nikon is not alone, nor were they the first. Many camera and electronics manufacturers are doing it now. Not every product is covered under these programs, but most of the major hard goods (cameras & lenses) are.

MAP is the old, much weaker, price support mechanism. When manufacturers institute uniform pricing programs, they abandon MAP programs, since MAP would be redundant.

The Supreme Court decision that enabled this shift is called Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc. Wikipedia undoubtedly has some information on it.

Secondly, in the U.S. legitimate, authorized camera stores have never bought from wholesalers; all the major manufacturers sell direct to their authorized retailers. So every authorized retailer, in theory, has access to the same wholesale prices (obviously, there are nuances). When I was a Nikon sales rep, I had a dozen or so tiny little dealers who did the bare minimum to stay authorized ($10,000/yr. in those days) and I had big chain dealers who did many millions of dollars a year in business. Both placed their orders the same way -- by phoning me or the Nikon USA order desk -- and both worked from the same price list. All the other camera manufacturers operated the same way.

There were some camera wholesalers in the U.S. (undoubtedly still are), but they sold to non-authorized retailers, and they sold gray market and refurbished.

Now I left that job over a decade ago, and there have been some changes in the industry since then, but as far as I know, there has been no major shift to using wholesalers in the U.S. camera industry. Wholesalers do play a central role in distribution in many other U.S. industries but not in cameras, to the best of my information.

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bobn2
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Re: Liberal Return Policies vs. "has my camera been used?": A way to Solve This
In reply to Peter Jonas, 7 months ago

Peter Jonas wrote:

Patrick McMahon wrote:

Full Frame wrote:

I am sure that every X amount of cameras are pulled from the assembly line and tested. Are they used. What is acceptable actuations. What about having outside of every box shipped from manufacturer and retailer have the number of actuations on it. This way you know what you are buying.

My Df had 200+ which I (and others) welcomed, they upped their QC. To some though, that is a 1% use of the shutters life.

If the 200 actuations were infact were part of a factory QA testing I would not mind it at all.

I would agree however, that a note in the box from the manufacturer to that effect would be useful.

The 200 actuations are closer to being 0.1% of the Df's shutter life.

I find it hard to believe that 200 actuations were part of factory QC. I would expect that the factory would reset the actuations to 0 before shipping. My D800 had zero when I got it, I don't see why Nikon would use one policy for one camera and another for another. More likely, there were relatively few Dfs distributed, given the old style controls many people wanted to have a fiddle, and many did before it was reboxed and sold.

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bobn2
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Re: Why not just put a factory seal on the box? - here's why
In reply to Marty4650, 7 months ago

Marty4650 wrote:

The only real solution is to accept returns for defects only. If you simply change your mind, then you should pay a restocking fee. Then the retailer will subtract that fee from the retail price, and sell it as an open box item. This is the ONLY way to prevent the innocent bystanders from paying the price for the "buy and try" customer.

I think retailers have a choice. If they choose to have an easy returns policy, they do it because they think it brings more sales. The cost should be that they resell the returned items at a discount to reflect that they are 'nearly new' - many people would buy under that understanding. Then they can estimate that cost and the extra sales it brings and work out if the policy is worthwhile to them. Instead they want to cut out the cost side of the equation by selling 'nearly new' as 'new'. That's sharp practice in my opinion.

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Event_shooter
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Simple solution
In reply to bobn2, 7 months ago

All manufacturers should produce a "durable securely sealed box"  - lets call it tamper proof, factory sealed. Now when anyone orders a camera you stipulate upon purchase "FACTORY SEALED TAMPER PROOF BOX" and if it arrives otherwise - back it goes.

This will prevent dealers from playing games and we the customer will DEMAND these sealed boxes. It happened when the word got out about date stamped tires - people started demanding FRESH date stamped tires upon purchase.

Secondly upon purchase demand zero or under 10 actuations on camera, then the dealer will know - YOU KNOW what to look for.

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Midwest
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Re: But to some people, those 200 actuations ...
In reply to ne beginner, 7 months ago

ne beginner wrote:

Why not put a factory seal on the box? Then there would be zero question that Nikon technicians did it at the factory, and the camera was 100% new.

Then you will have people posting 'ABC camera is putting fake factory seals on used cameras!"

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Midwest
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Re: Why not just put a factory seal on the box? - here's why
In reply to Marty4650, 7 months ago

Marty4650 wrote:

The only real solution is to accept returns for defects only. If you simply change your mind, then you should pay a restocking fee. Then the retailer will subtract that fee from the retail price, and sell it as an open box item. This is the ONLY way to prevent the innocent bystanders from paying the price for the "buy and try" customer.

That is a very good idea, but then you will have people sending back the camera and swearing it does not work correctly. Then instead of just restocking it, they have to send it back to the mfr, get it all tested out, etc. which all costs money to do. All to allow someone to claim it was defective and get a refund.

If there was a way to be certain that the camera was actually defective and not just being claimed so, I would agree this is a very good approach.

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Midwest
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Re: Eliminate Retailers
In reply to Selling My Nikon Stuff, 7 months ago

Selling My Nikon Stuff wrote:

I would be in favor of eliminating retailers altogether and buying cameras and lenses straight from the manufacturer. That way the manufacturer can recertify and refurbish returned items, and save buyers the dealer profit.

And then we could pay higher taxes to support all the people who lost their jobs?

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Midwest
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Re: For God's sake... it's just a freaking camera
In reply to Marty4650, 7 months ago

Marty4650 wrote:

Imagine if no one would buy a pair of shoes if someone else had tried them on. Or if no one would buy a suit or a dress if someone else had touched them. Or a piece of jewelry that some other customer had tried on. Or if we all refused to buy a car, unless it had zero miles on the odometer. No road tests allowed!

And what would happen if no one would marry someone unless they were pure and "untouched?"

These are just cameras. They aren't medical devices that get implanted in your heart. They don't need to be sterilized and sealed to keep germs out.

Sometimes I wonder if the "I won't buy a camera that was touched by human hands" people actually use the cameras that they do keep. Or maybe they just display them in a glass case, like a museum piece?

The buy and try people are taking advantage of everyone else by driving prices up. Retailers are forced to match liberal return policies of the competitors, so everyone's costs go up. The obvious solution is restocking fees, so only the abusers would have to bear this cost.

Naturally, if something is defective right out of the box, then a return could be made, and the retailer could get credit from the manufacturer. If it breaks down later, then you still have a warranty. But the policy of letting people buy several cameras, try them out, then return them is costing all of us money.

Very well said. I've read so many posts from people upset because they bought a camera and the battery was not at 0.00 volts out of the box, or they thought they saw a bit of a fingerprint. One guy saw the tiniest, I mean 1/4 inch if that, little 'mar' line on the LCD frame of a camera. It wasn't even a scratch, it was just a tiny nearly invisible mark. He posted a large photo of the LCD and I could barely see what he was talking about.

You'd think people were going to get cooties or something.

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clarnibass
Senior MemberPosts: 1,338
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Re: Eliminate Retailers
In reply to Selling My Nikon Stuff, 7 months ago

You say it saves the dealer's profit, but in reality it is entirely possible that doing that wouldn't make the camera cheaper, if not even more expensive.

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