Be careful who you dance with

Studio dancers at Downtown DisneyI learned when I purchased my first digital SLR that it’s best to buy your camera from a reputable dealer. I saved a few dollars when I bought my Canon Rebel from one of those distributors who shaves a little bit off the price and includes some low-value extras (like a tiny tabletop tripod that wouldn’t bear the weight of the camera), but they neglected to include the lens, which required follow-up (and some missed photo opportunities).

Following that, my camera supplier of choice has been B&H. They are not the only great camera store, but I’ve always had good experiences with them. Their customer service is great, as is their section. If you are ever in NYC, take the opportunity to visit their Superstore.

A few years later I forgot that lesson. I was eager to get my hands on the new Fujifilm X100 (for good reason!), and rather than wait for B&H to get it in stock, I purchased from an Amazon reseller called Big Value Inc. All seemed well until I needed to have the camera repaired. When I sent it to Fujifilm for repair, they informed me that it was not under warranty because I had been sold an overseas model of the camera (what’s sometimes referred to as a “grey market” camera).

Big Value referred to exchange the overseas model for a model intended to be sold in America. Amazon refused to help since I’d had the camera longer than their exchange period permitted. Luckily, I was able to get in contact with a member of the fraud team at American Express, and they backed me up and reversed the charge.

I’ve purchased all of my cameras from B&H since then, and they recently helped me out in a big way. I was upgrading to a new SLR body, and there was a rebate being offered at the time. I’m not a fan of rebates, but it was worth over $100 and didn’t require the purchase of anything I didn’t want. I followed the submission guidelines to the letter and sent in the form. A few weeks later, I received a letter from Canon stating that my camera’s serial number had already been used for that rebate and I was not eligible. I contacted B&H, they got in touch with Canon, and everything was soon straightened out.

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