I haven't purchased a camera from Olympus, but I purchased a VF-2 a few weeks ago from the Olympus Store since they were out of stock at the usual reputable sites (Amazon, B&H, Adorama). I ordered January 29th and had the VF-2 on February 3rd. It arrived in perfect condition and they offer a 30-day return policy assuming everything is as new.
As you said, they wouldn't be my first choice since typically their prices are higher and you pay sales tax + shipping (though I got a coupon for a discount + free shipping on an accessory order when I registered my E-PL1 online), but if you want it now and its out of stock elsewhere they are a viable option.
The E-PL2 comes with the new 14-42mm II lens. In order for it to have the older lens, a seller would either have to take a body-only set and add one, or swap it out for some reason (in either case they would be obligated to make this clear).
Hey! This morning I got an e-mail from Olympus asking for my opinion on the PEN system :smile:
I filled out the survey and they sent me a coupon for 20% off for accessories at their store. Plus I got to tell them what I wanted to see in future upgrades, such as, focus confirm with legacy lenses, higher IQ, built-in EVF, faster auto-focus, faster primes,... (i.e., I don't ask for much).
I ordered my E-PL2 directly from Olympus. Actually, I found the price to be lower $549, free shipping, plus 30 day return policy. I called a local #b/c I thought it was a retail store near me--I think they do repairs, but you can also order over the phone: 631-881-6500 if you're interested. They guy was really nice and told me to call back when I get the camera so he can help set it up and get started.
I did buy a camera case for EP 2 from them (out of stock elsewhere). I had a bad experience. They charged me for special shipping and sent it by ordinary shipping. I ddi not get it on time for my travel plans. The product itself was very poor. End result is that I don't use it. Sad.