Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

Started Jun 21, 2013 | Discussions
Susan Taylor
Susan Taylor Regular Member • Posts: 238
Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

This question may sound unnecessary and I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask it, but I ordered a new camera and got it today.  I was surprised to see the box wasn't sealed with any tape and then found that the menu was already set as well.  Putting two and two together, I'm now wondering if I was sent a returned item as something "new."  I haven't had a chance yet to try taking any photos as the battery is charging.  But the more I think about it, the most frustrated I am. Why would I pay full price (at least for this vendor) and be satisfied with a possibly pre-used and pre-tested but returned camera?  I'm seriously having the worst luck in trying to get another camera! If I only had a good camera store locally (like we used to have), I wouldn't have to resort to online ordering and taking this kind of chance!

zakkix Regular Member • Posts: 377
Re:

Susan Taylor wrote:

This question may sound unnecessary and I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask it, but I ordered a new camera and got it today. I was surprised to see the box wasn't sealed with any tape and then found that the menu was already set as well. Putting two and two together, I'm now wondering if I was sent a returned item as something "new." I haven't had a chance yet to try taking any photos as the battery is charging. But the more I think about it, the most frustrated I am. Why would I pay full price (at least for this vendor) and be satisfied with a possibly pre-used and pre-tested but returned camera? I'm seriously having the worst luck in trying to get another camera! If I only had a good camera store locally (like we used to have), I wouldn't have to resort to online ordering and taking this kind of chance!

Google "Check shutter count".

Alphoid Veteran Member • Posts: 5,333
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

Boxes are commonly unsealed with most camera brands, probably precisely so you won't be able to tell level of use.

It's fairly common for major stores to sell returned models as new, both on-line and physical. It's also common for physical stores to open up a camera, let a customer play with it, and put it back in the box. Because they do this, it means you can buy a camera and return it without markups/restocking fees/etc. in most cases. In the end, everyone comes out ahead in the long run.

You should check shutter count if you really care. But why does it matter? You get full warranty. It's no more likely to fail, and it sounds like it is like new.

Cailean Gallimore Veteran Member • Posts: 6,083
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

Susan Taylor wrote:

This question may sound unnecessary and I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask it, but I ordered a new camera and got it today. I was surprised to see the box wasn't sealed with any tape and then found that the menu was already set as well. Putting two and two together, I'm now wondering if I was sent a returned item as something "new." I haven't had a chance yet to try taking any photos as the battery is charging. But the more I think about it, the most frustrated I am. Why would I pay full price (at least for this vendor) and be satisfied with a possibly pre-used and pre-tested but returned camera? I'm seriously having the worst luck in trying to get another camera! If I only had a good camera store locally (like we used to have), I wouldn't have to resort to online ordering and taking this kind of chance!

Not worth worrying about.

Get out and have some fun with your camera.

Guidenet
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?
4

Susan Taylor wrote:

This question may sound unnecessary and I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask it, but I ordered a new camera and got it today. I was surprised to see the box wasn't sealed with any tape and then found that the menu was already set as well. Putting two and two together, I'm now wondering if I was sent a returned item as something "new." I haven't had a chance yet to try taking any photos as the battery is charging. But the more I think about it, the most frustrated I am. Why would I pay full price (at least for this vendor) and be satisfied with a possibly pre-used and pre-tested but returned camera? I'm seriously having the worst luck in trying to get another camera! If I only had a good camera store locally (like we used to have), I wouldn't have to resort to online ordering and taking this kind of chance!

Boxes generally are not sealed these days, and maybe the menu is set by the vender. Who knows, but I feel the same way you do. The problem is there are a lot of Run Cully types around us who use the 30 day refund offered by so many online stores as a way to try before they buy not as a protection against faulty merchandise. Some people on these forums buy two or three cameras to compare before sending back all but one or sometimes all of them. Some buy just to say they got a new release first and then claim it didn't meet their needs. Look at the amateur blog writer Ken Rockwell who buys almost everything made by two brands and just took on a third. He messes with them, takes pictures, then sends them all back.

I occasionally order via NPS and my local store some fairly more exotic item as I did with my Nikon 300 f/2.8 VR and some other more expensive items. I always request security tape be sealed over the box or the shipping box not be opened or I will order another and the store can consider that one a demo. When my D3S came in a few years ago, an in store customer wanted to look at one and mine in the back room was all there was. The salesman, not mine but knowing how I felt, still went back and opened mine up and let this greasy fingered twit play with my camera. I happened to come in while this was going one. I told them to put it on the shelf and order me another. This time please do what I request or I'll never buy another here. The owner and my salesman were furious at the salesman. I never saw him again, but I don't now if it was because of this.

The only way to put a stop to this nonsense is to charge a restocking fee unless the camera has a real internal defect. No scrapes or bumps allowed. That restocking fee should equal the amount of discount the average person would expect on a 30 day used camera. I think 15% is about right. Let the abusers consider that. Otherwise the online stores should offer rental to anyone who does this more than once. That's the real fair way to try before you buy rather than making others pay for your play.

Most of us don't do this, but a few here and elsewhere do. You can tell who they are because they're usually quick to defend it and quick to attack those who don't like the practice. LOL Watch. It doesn't matter. Everyone has to take a stand on what they believe is moral and ethical. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

Take care.

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Cheers, Craig
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Deleted1929 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,050
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

I wonder if another reason boxes are not sealed might be for customs and security inspections.  These days some of the checking is extreme, so perhaps there's more going on that just the makers and sellers.  Just speculating.

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StephenG

Guidenet
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Not bad

sjgcit wrote:

I wonder if another reason boxes are not sealed might be for customs and security inspections. These days some of the checking is extreme, so perhaps there's more going on that just the makers and sellers. Just speculating.

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StephenG

Darn, Stephen. Good heads up. I'd have never thought of that, but it certainly could be true.

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MarkInSF Senior Member • Posts: 2,237
Re: Not bad

Guidenet wrote:

sjgcit wrote:

I wonder if another reason boxes are not sealed might be for customs and security inspections. These days some of the checking is extreme, so perhaps there's more going on that just the makers and sellers. Just speculating.

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StephenG

Darn, Stephen. Good heads up. I'd have never thought of that, but it certainly could be true.

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Unlikely.   My sister works for Customs.   Cameras come in containers, not small numbers.   Customs does sample the contents of containers, but not most of them.  Most are not checked anywhere near as most people expect, at least not manually.   There are some sniffers and stuff.   There is really far too much stuff imported to make detailed inspections.   Plenty of electronics do have those little stickers sealing them up, if not cameras.   If the Customs folks want something sampled, they just get one and open it up and do whatever they need to do.   They don't worry about repackaging it or whether their inspection made it hard to sell.   If needs be they use a crowbar on it.  They can do whatever they need to do to ensure it's being imported legally.   Most often they are looking for pirated goods and improper country-of-origin markings.  Cameras don't generally have those problems.   As imports go, they're fairly straightforward, though country-of-origin could get messy.  Many things made in China get shipped through other places and falsely labelled to avoid limits.   I doubt that happens with cameras because they're made in big factories that are well publicized, but it happens with many other goods.   Clothing especially.   Don't think all those clothes made in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Africa really are.   There's a good chance they're from China.

I suspect the first answer was right.   The manufacturers know that dealers need to be able to take these out to display them or show them to customers.   Plenty of small camera stores don't keep multiples of the less popular models.

MarkInSF Senior Member • Posts: 2,237
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

Guidenet wrote:

Susan Taylor wrote:

This question may sound unnecessary and I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask it, but I ordered a new camera and got it today. I was surprised to see the box wasn't sealed with any tape and then found that the menu was already set as well. Putting two and two together, I'm now wondering if I was sent a returned item as something "new." I haven't had a chance yet to try taking any photos as the battery is charging. But the more I think about it, the most frustrated I am. Why would I pay full price (at least for this vendor) and be satisfied with a possibly pre-used and pre-tested but returned camera? I'm seriously having the worst luck in trying to get another camera! If I only had a good camera store locally (like we used to have), I wouldn't have to resort to online ordering and taking this kind of chance!

Boxes generally are not sealed these days, and maybe the menu is set by the vender. Who knows, but I feel the same way you do. The problem is there are a lot of Run Cully types around us who use the 30 day refund offered by so many online stores as a way to try before they buy not as a protection against faulty merchandise. Some people on these forums buy two or three cameras to compare before sending back all but one or sometimes all of them. Some buy just to say they got a new release first and then claim it didn't meet their needs. Look at the amateur blog writer Ken Rockwell who buys almost everything made by two brands and just took on a third. He messes with them, takes pictures, then sends them all back.

I occasionally order via NPS and my local store some fairly more exotic item as I did with my Nikon 300 f/2.8 VR and some other more expensive items. I always request security tape be sealed over the box or the shipping box not be opened or I will order another and the store can consider that one a demo. When my D3S came in a few years ago, an in store customer wanted to look at one and mine in the back room was all there was. The salesman, not mine but knowing how I felt, still went back and opened mine up and let this greasy fingered twit play with my camera. I happened to come in while this was going one. I told them to put it on the shelf and order me another. This time please do what I request or I'll never buy another here. The owner and my salesman were furious at the salesman. I never saw him again, but I don't now if it was because of this.

The only way to put a stop to this nonsense is to charge a restocking fee unless the camera has a real internal defect. No scrapes or bumps allowed. That restocking fee should equal the amount of discount the average person would expect on a 30 day used camera. I think 15% is about right. Let the abusers consider that. Otherwise the online stores should offer rental to anyone who does this more than once. That's the real fair way to try before you buy rather than making others pay for your play.

Most of us don't do this, but a few here and elsewhere do. You can tell who they are because they're usually quick to defend it and quick to attack those who don't like the practice. LOL Watch. It doesn't matter. Everyone has to take a stand on what they believe is moral and ethical. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

Take care.

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Cheers, Craig
Follow me on Twitter @craighardingsr : Equipment in Profile

I don't remember the last time I returned something.   I do the research before I buy.   If it isn't perfect, it's probably close enough I can live with it.

People from retailers have reasonably enough said that the problem with restocking fees is that the people who want to return goods still do it, claiming some kind of internal fault.   It becomes extremely difficult for the store to figure out if there really is some kind of obscure, intermittent, internal problem or not.   Complex electronics do sometimes have those problems, and they can be hard to find.   The store is stuck looking for a problem that may be made-up.  Even now, without charging a restocking fee, people still claim there's something wrong, wasting the store's time and money.   Just so they won't look like they have a good reason for returning the item.

Ken Rockwell is a pathetic loser.   Don't read him.   Please.

Guidenet
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

MarkInSF wrote:

Guidenet wrote:

Susan Taylor wrote:

This question may sound unnecessary and I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask it, but I ordered a new camera and got it today. I was surprised to see the box wasn't sealed with any tape and then found that the menu was already set as well. Putting two and two together, I'm now wondering if I was sent a returned item as something "new." I haven't had a chance yet to try taking any photos as the battery is charging. But the more I think about it, the most frustrated I am. Why would I pay full price (at least for this vendor) and be satisfied with a possibly pre-used and pre-tested but returned camera? I'm seriously having the worst luck in trying to get another camera! If I only had a good camera store locally (like we used to have), I wouldn't have to resort to online ordering and taking this kind of chance!

Boxes generally are not sealed these days, and maybe the menu is set by the vender. Who knows, but I feel the same way you do. The problem is there are a lot of Run Cully types around us who use the 30 day refund offered by so many online stores as a way to try before they buy not as a protection against faulty merchandise. Some people on these forums buy two or three cameras to compare before sending back all but one or sometimes all of them. Some buy just to say they got a new release first and then claim it didn't meet their needs. Look at the amateur blog writer Ken Rockwell who buys almost everything made by two brands and just took on a third. He messes with them, takes pictures, then sends them all back.

I occasionally order via NPS and my local store some fairly more exotic item as I did with my Nikon 300 f/2.8 VR and some other more expensive items. I always request security tape be sealed over the box or the shipping box not be opened or I will order another and the store can consider that one a demo. When my D3S came in a few years ago, an in store customer wanted to look at one and mine in the back room was all there was. The salesman, not mine but knowing how I felt, still went back and opened mine up and let this greasy fingered twit play with my camera. I happened to come in while this was going one. I told them to put it on the shelf and order me another. This time please do what I request or I'll never buy another here. The owner and my salesman were furious at the salesman. I never saw him again, but I don't now if it was because of this.

The only way to put a stop to this nonsense is to charge a restocking fee unless the camera has a real internal defect. No scrapes or bumps allowed. That restocking fee should equal the amount of discount the average person would expect on a 30 day used camera. I think 15% is about right. Let the abusers consider that. Otherwise the online stores should offer rental to anyone who does this more than once. That's the real fair way to try before you buy rather than making others pay for your play.

Most of us don't do this, but a few here and elsewhere do. You can tell who they are because they're usually quick to defend it and quick to attack those who don't like the practice. LOL Watch. It doesn't matter. Everyone has to take a stand on what they believe is moral and ethical. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

Take care.

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Cheers, Craig
Follow me on Twitter @craighardingsr : Equipment in Profile

I don't remember the last time I returned something. I do the research before I buy. If it isn't perfect, it's probably close enough I can live with it.

People from retailers have reasonably enough said that the problem with restocking fees is that the people who want to return goods still do it, claiming some kind of internal fault. It becomes extremely difficult for the store to figure out if there really is some kind of obscure, intermittent, internal problem or not. Complex electronics do sometimes have those problems, and they can be hard to find. The store is stuck looking for a problem that may be made-up. Even now, without charging a restocking fee, people still claim there's something wrong, wasting the store's time and money. Just so they won't look like they have a good reason for returning the item.

Ken Rockwell is a pathetic loser. Don't read him. Please.

I understand people will lie about some internal intermittent issue. I would attempt to duplicate the issue. If I could not, I'd tell the person to return it under warranty for repair. I'd help by paying the freight. I might also offer and exchange for the same camera.

Better yet, the customer comes back in claiming some obscure intermittent issue. Say, "Ohhh.. I think I know what that is. That's an extremely rare firmware lockup." I'll be right back. Go in the back room and have a cup of coffee. Come back front and tell him you were able to replicate the issue so you updated the software patch. It should never have that issue again. Simple fix. First one you've ever seen but the factory rep had mentioned to keep an eye out for it. With the original firmware, the system might have those intermittent lock ups when someone tried to rotate the lens the wrong direction when removing it from the bayonet mount.

LOL that'll fix em. If they come back with something new. You fix it again.

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jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 4,406
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?
1

Susan Taylor wrote:

. . . the more I think about it, the most frustrated I am. Why would I pay full price (at least for this vendor) and be satisfied with a possibly pre-used and pre-tested but returned camera?

I agree.  When I buy something new, I want it to be just that--new.  Not a returned product and not something that has, in effect, been used as a demo model for the store and then repackaged, not even if it was just opened up and looked at.  But I don't know how to ensure that that's what I'm actually getting; all I can do is inspect it, as you have, and return it if I'm suspicious that it's not really a new, never opened, product.  A web-search shows many complaints of getting equipment sold as new that has obviously been opened or handled previously, and from the most reputable of stores.  I would gladly do business with on-line retailers whose policy is simply that they never accept returns.  I don't even care if they know nothing about the products they sell and have never opened a box to see how a camera operates--I don't need their expertise, I just want factory-fresh merchandise.

Deleted1929 Forum Pro • Posts: 13,050
Interesting (nt)
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StephenG

Alphoid Veteran Member • Posts: 5,333
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

Hi Craig,

From my point of view, buying something just to return it is sleazy, unless you're it's already a sleazy company. If a company genuinely tries to cheat its customers, it's only fair they try to cheat it back (very few companies fall in this category -- Sony, UHaul, non-T-Mobile cell carriers, and airlines, perhaps).

On the other hand, I buy everything on-line. I don't see anything conceptually wrong with buying something if you think you want it (>60% odds), and returning it if it doesn't work out. I also see nothing wrong with buying something that someone else used for a couple of days -- so long as it works fine and has full warranty. I'd much rather have no restocking fee, and the freedom to return things.

Of course, practice is different from theory. In practice, shipping something back is enough of a pain-in-the-butt that if something I buy doesn't work out, most of the time it sits in a box and collects dust until I have time to take it to Salvo, give it to a relative, or similar. I've returned three pieces of photographic equipment in my life -- a video camera (which turned out to not support 50p, which I though it would and needed), and two lenses (where I got a sweet deal on a used Zeiss instead, shortly after ordering). I also tried -- and failed -- to return a Sony a55, which I genuinely thought would be a great camera when I pre-ordered it, and which was a complete lemon when I used it. From my point of view, Sony cheated my out of $750, so I don't feel bad encouraging folks to cheat them right back.

Guidenet
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?
1

Alphoid wrote:

I also see nothing wrong with buying something that someone else used for a couple of days -- so long as it works fine and has full warranty. I'd much rather have no restocking fee, and the freedom to return things.

Sony cheated my out of $750, so I don't feel bad encouraging folks to cheat them right back.

I completely understand where you are coming from. I really do, my friend, but I also completely disagree. The reason is that there are some people like you who don't mind buying a repackaged item which works fine and has a warranty. However, there are a lot of people like the OP and me who don't want to receive something handled and tried out by someone else and then repackaged. There's a lot of us as well. Moreover, I'll bet you dollars to donuts that if there were two cameras on the shelf and one had a slightly torn box, you'd pick the other every time.

I'll bet if you saw a stack of a88 cameras and wanted one but the salesman told you he had this one and he'd appreciate it you'd buy it instead. It had been sold to this guy in Atlanta who tried it for a couple of weeks and decided it wasn't what he was looking for. I absolutely know you'd want a discount or you'd demand one of the new boxed models on the shelf.

On the final thing, I think you should take the high road always. If Sony cheats you, just get some other brand after that. Vote with your wallet.

Anyway, we can agree to disagree on this. Take it easy.

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Alphoid Veteran Member • Posts: 5,333
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

Guidenet wrote:

Moreover, I'll bet you dollars to donuts that if there were two cameras on the shelf and one had a slightly torn box, you'd pick the other every time.

With stores I like, in many cases, I've quite explicitly done the opposite, and picked the slightly torn box. It doesn't effect product performance. I don't care and I know others do.

Lenses would be an exception to this, depending on how the box was torn. A drop can cause a lens to fall out-of-calibration. I still wouldn't mind gently tried for a few days (weeks would be pushing it), but I would mind visible impact damage to the box (assuming it corresponded to greater impact than what it normally gets in my camera bag).

Anyway, we can agree to disagree on this. Take it easy.

I'm good with that. In an ideal world, there'd be stores of both kinds for both types. You'd get guaranteed new, and I'd get no or minimal restocking fees.

Guidenet
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

Alphoid wrote:

I'm good with that. In an ideal world, there'd be stores of both kinds for both types. You'd get guaranteed new, and I'd get no or minimal restocking fees.

heheheh. I was thinking the same thing.

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MarkInSF Senior Member • Posts: 2,237
Re: Interesting (nt)

sjgcit wrote:

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StephenG

Thanks.   I always enjoy my sister's stories about the sneaky things importers try to pull.   She worked on watches for years and saw so many fakes, most obvious, but some quite beautifully made.   There is a fake for every retail channel when it comes to stuff like watches and athletic shoes, where the margins are enormous and creating fakes fairly easy.

MarkInSF Senior Member • Posts: 2,237
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

Guidenet wrote:

I understand people will lie about some internal intermittent issue. I would attempt to duplicate the issue. If I could not, I'd tell the person to return it under warranty for repair. I'd help by paying the freight. I might also offer and exchange for the same camera.

Better yet, the customer comes back in claiming some obscure intermittent issue. Say, "Ohhh.. I think I know what that is. That's an extremely rare firmware lockup." I'll be right back. Go in the back room and have a cup of coffee. Come back front and tell him you were able to replicate the issue so you updated the software patch. It should never have that issue again. Simple fix. First one you've ever seen but the factory rep had mentioned to keep an eye out for it. With the original firmware, the system might have those intermittent lock ups when someone tried to rotate the lens the wrong direction when removing it from the bayonet mount.

LOL that'll fix em. If they come back with something new. You fix it again.

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That would be wonderful, but I think most of them are shipped back and the stories aren't very detailed. And there's the problem that a very small percentage really are broken. It wastes an awful lot of time for the retailer if they have to fully test every returned item. Probably cheaper to send it back to the mfgr. and then sell it as refurbished. I get very annoyed at the people who buy several knowing they'll keep one. That's not why we have returns. It's abuse of the policies. For anyone who is reading this who does it, cut it out. You're driving up prices for everyone.

MarkInSF Senior Member • Posts: 2,237
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

Alphoid wrote:

Guidenet wrote:

Moreover, I'll bet you dollars to donuts that if there were two cameras on the shelf and one had a slightly torn box, you'd pick the other every time.

With stores I like, in many cases, I've quite explicitly done the opposite, and picked the slightly torn box. It doesn't effect product performance. I don't care and I know others do.

Lenses would be an exception to this, depending on how the box was torn. A drop can cause a lens to fall out-of-calibration. I still wouldn't mind gently tried for a few days (weeks would be pushing it), but I would mind visible impact damage to the box (assuming it corresponded to greater impact than what it normally gets in my camera bag).

Anyway, we can agree to disagree on this. Take it easy.

I'm good with that. In an ideal world, there'd be stores of both kinds for both types. You'd get guaranteed new, and I'd get no or minimal restocking fees.

Yeah, I'm with Alphoid on this.   I'd be perfectly happy taking the opened box as long as the store had a good return policy.   I'd probably get them to note the damage on the receipt and sign it, if it was obvious.  I've bough demo units (at a discount) and refurbished goods.   They've all worked fine. I don't even mind the restocking fees since I so rarely have returned anything (and those were damaged, not just to my liking.).   I enjoy researching products so have a very good idea what I'm buying.

GreenMountainGirl Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: Should New Camera Be in Sealed Box?

Susan Taylor wrote:

This question may sound unnecessary and I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask it, but I ordered a new camera and got it today. I was surprised to see the box wasn't sealed with any tape and then found that the menu was already set as well. Putting two and two together, I'm now wondering if I was sent a returned item as something "new." I haven't had a chance yet to try taking any photos as the battery is charging. But the more I think about it, the most frustrated I am. Why would I pay full price (at least for this vendor) and be satisfied with a possibly pre-used and pre-tested but returned camera? I'm seriously having the worst luck in trying to get another camera! If I only had a good camera store locally (like we used to have), I wouldn't have to resort to online ordering and taking this kind of chance!

If you purchased your camera from a reputable on-line vendor, you ought to be able to call them and ask the same questions you are asking here.  If they give you any flack, then you can figure they are scamming you.  This is a sure sign you need to exercise your right to return the merchandise.

How was the menu set?  They all arrive with "default" settings which you are able to change to suit your particular preferences and needs.  Was the menu set at something that was not the default?  If there are glaring differences, then you have cause to be concerned about the camera's new status.  It may have been used to demonstrate the different functions to a customer in the store - of course if your vendor doesn't have a brick-and-mortar store, then it also raises the question of the camera's new status.

Actually, on-line order is generally easy (I use B&H and Adorama - they have physical stores in New York City), and I have been very satisfied with their service and products.  I do my home-work on what I am purchasing as much as possible - especially by asking questions in the forums - which helps to avoid costly mistakes.

I hope you can clear up the doubts raised by what you found when your camera arrived.  Try talking to the vendor's customer service.  They will probably want to do what they can to make you happy, because a happy customer is a repeat customer!

Good luck with this.  Let us know how it all turns out.

Susan

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GreenMountainGirl

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