A tale of one lens and two merchants ...

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by jeffryscott, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    A bit of a vent, but also cautionary tale when selling used gear:

    I recently purchased a 50-200 non-SWD lens on another board to give it a try with my E-M1. It performed great, but left me longing for just that extra bit of performance the SWD version would give me (which it does, well worth the slightly extra cost). Well, I ended up with the SWD version and needed to sell the non-SWD. Tried here and FM for a bit with no interest or offers.

    So I contacted Adorama. Love buying from them and have always had good transactions. A fellow gave me a call, CLEARLY explained two-day shipping to them, that they pay 70% of their SELLING price and the transaction would be smooth and easy. Cool, I thought. Thirty seconds later he'd sent a UPS label and I packaged it up. This is where the seemingly smooth process reminded me of the early 80s with the notorious bait and switch, high pressure that the mail order companies were known for.

    First, it went ground. So two days turned into a week. The quick quote promised took nearly another week and when I did finally receive it, they offered 30% of what they sell the same lens for. Needless to say I was aggravated: two weeks into a process that I was told would take three to four days and they offer 30% instead of the promised 70%. I had them return it, and made sure it was two day UPS.

    So I re-advertised here. Nothing. Amazon has trade-in credits, so I checked. They offered $273 for the lens, pending it met the trade-in criteria. Gave me a packing slip, gave me a UPS label and within one day of receipt I had $273 in trade credit.

    I will still shop with Adorama, but will never offer a trade-in again. I was really disappointed with the tactics used. I've sold to KEH before as well, and they let you know up front what price they will pay (sometimes more than I could sell an item for here or on FM).

    Anyway, so now I've got trade credit for m43 gear on my want list: an E-M5, 12mm, 12-40 or ?
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  2. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Real Name:

    Unless you do a LOT of shooting at 12mm, it doesn't make a lot of sense. The 12-40 is just as sharp (if not sharper), only a stop slower, but MUCH more versatile. Plus, the size balances very well on the E-M1.
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  3. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    Real Name:
    I've gotten nothing but insulting low ball offers from anyone lately. I'll hold on to my old stuff before I give it away.
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  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Actually, the prices of used u43 gear do seem to be dropping at the moment. Not sure whether that's good or bad!
  5. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Trade-in for Amazon credit (if you buy stuff from them) sounds like a superb deal,
    wonder if UK Amazon do it?
  6. Wandering Aengus

    Wandering Aengus Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 23, 2012
    I have had several bad experiences with Adorama. I have written them off as a vendor. The last straw was about a month ago when I bought a used tripod from them. It did not come with a bag, spike feet, or a tool kit even though the ad listing said it did. I called them and they said used merchandise didn't always come with the same accessories as new merchandise. They had used the same ad listing for the used tripod that they used for the new tripod. It said it came with those items. When I priced buying the missing items, the used tripod was going to be more than a new one. I called and got no satisfaction from them. I returned the used tripod and bought a new one from B & H. That will be the last transaction I ever have with Adorama.

    B & H has always handled things to, or even above, my expectations. KEH has always been great as well and I think they give very fair prices for used gear.
  7. cptobvious

    cptobvious Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 8, 2013
    I still buy from Adorama, but I also had a less than positive experience with their used sales dept. Last winter I did their Sony A7 trade-in promotion where you could get $300 off in addition to the value of the trade in. I called and was quoted a $200 "range" for a lens, depending on condition. The lens was in mint condition since I had barely used it, and was less than the eBay value of the lens but I didn't want to deal with the hassle (so I thought) of selling it. I sent it in and they called me and offered $140. I asked the person what happened to $200, and he said that $200 was the selling price of the lens and they only offer 70% of that. Of course that wasn't true since they had used copies of the lens selling for $300+. I didn't bother arguing with him and just had them ship it back to me. I listed the lens on Craigslist and sold it for $200 the next day.

    In contrast, B&H has an automated quote system where you enter the item, the condition and it gives you an estimated quote. I sold a camera to them around the same time and got a check from them for that amount the next week.
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  8. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    Sounds like they played the same game with you. Pretty shady.
  9. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Just for a little counterpoint, I guess I'd rather buy from a company getting this picky about their used lenses.

    Selling, perhaps not! :)
  10. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 20, 2015
    I've been trying to change my own mindset about buying and selling photo gear. For years I've been of the thought that no matter what I buy, I can sell it for a reasonable price on eBay to help fund anything new I might want. Alas, eBay is now a buyer's, NOT a seller's marketplace, because they now force sellers to offer a 180 return window for products "not as described" which means a buyer can "rent" and abuse anything they want and then return it for a full refund. Ebay always sides with buyers. No matter what happened to the gear while in the buyer's clutches.

    I have several older cameras which work fine. Bought them new. Couldn't get $100 back on their initial $1500 cost now, so I keep them. I think that's the way I'm going to try and be from now on -screw B&H, Adorama, and KEH. And most importantly screw eBay. Not interested in playing their game.

    Quit considering camera gear as investments, that's my new motto. Plan on buying it for life.
  11. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I've generally had good luck with eBay, but it's a cruel fact that the camera and lens market is just not as hot as it was 3-8 years ago when DSLR was hitting its peak. There are fewer buyers and a lot more options out there which means your used gear is just not as hot of a commodity.

    Digital Camera bodies are definitely disposable. To many are being made and they obsolesce rapidly. Lenses should still retain at least 50% of value even in worst conditions, though.
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  12. ijm5012

    ijm5012 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 2, 2013
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Real Name:
    Uhhh... who ever told you camera gear was an investment? Like all modern electronics, they're a (rapidly) depreciating asset from the time you purchase them.

    If you're concerned about losing money buying/selling items, then simply buy used from a reputable photography website (like this one). People generally don't abuse their gear, so there's very low risk of buying something used and it not working like new. FWIW, every single camera (GH3 & GH4) and lens (PL25, 45-175PZ, 12-35 f/2.8, 35-100 f/2.8) I own was purchased used with the exception of my PL 15mm, which was bought from Japan for the same price as used ones are selling for. Everything is fully functional and works/looks like new, except I paid 25-50% of the current new price for the same item.
  13. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 20, 2015
    I'm pretty sure I explained what I meant by my comment. I clearly indicated I expected to get back some money but not all. You're missing the point. I'm not talking about buying gear, I'm talking about selling it. One who does not sell doesn't care what the curent going rate is.
  14. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It is nice when your gear retains enough value to do cheap gear swaps/upgrades. I sold my Canon system for about $1700 recently. I paid maybe $2500 to acquire it and I used it for 4 years so that's not too bad. $200 a year is it? The $1700 + a little extra from the tax return helped me get a running start into m4/3. I don't know if m4/3 will retain value as well, but I'm sure it won't drop to zero. I try to help the situation by starting with refurb and used where I can because after a couple of years of use, the resale value is the same as if you started with new.
  15. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Patience is the key - for both selling and buying. Keep your eyes open and be ready to snatch a good deal on lens or body. Relax and just wait when selling - even if that takes weeks or months.

    [Rant ON] It only makes me wonder how some "photographers" fail so miserably in photos to represent their items for sale.. [Rant OFF]
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
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  16. Evan614

    Evan614 Mu-43 Regular

    May 6, 2014
    Sooooo true. I notice "photographers" selling their gear-- they either lack close up photos with detail or they are out of focus. and a few crappy cellphone images. I ALWAYS pass on those items. We should start a thread with a link to those ads-- for a good chuckle.
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