Camera Store GREED

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by digitalandfilm, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    I can't fathom why camera stores who profess to "pay top dollar" for excellent used equipment *gouge* the same folks that keep them in business.

    I went to Bergen County Camera, and the owner not only doesn't give a fair amount for used gear, but outright refused to honor the price for a lens that all the other stores were advertising (Oly Rebate)

    Then, I go to Unique Camera and they offer $82 for a $250 lens (Tamron 28-75 F2.8 A09) which was pathetic. That lens sold for a hundred dollars more on e-bay in 5 minutes!

    Adorama and B&H are no different.

    I will never go to a Retail Camera Store with used equipment again... all my stuff will go on E-Bay.

    Then- to top it off.. I order a lens rated EXC from KEH and when it comes you needed a pipe wrench to focus it. EXC my ass.. is Stevie Wonder doing the grading at KEH.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    Good gear, presented with lots of excellent pictures and detailed text description, definitely brings top dollar on eBay. Holds true for cameras and lots of other items as well.
  3. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Let's try and break this down...

    1) No employee salary costs
    2) No building rental fees
    3) No utilities costs
    4) No insurance costs

    Of course you're going to get more on eBay....
  4. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Real Name:
    Years and years ago I had the same experience, so since then I sell my stuff on a Dutch auction site, which mostly works well. Recently eBay changed its rates, now being 8 % of the selling price :eek:. For now I stopped selling on eBay because of the new rate, but also because the prices I got weren't very good lately. Also, selling on eBay means a lot work, because it's such a hassle to accurately describe the gear, not to forget any small imperfections and make the best pictures you possibly can.

    Here in Holland it's about the same, you get something like 30 % of the price for a new item. In defence of camera shops (I'm not one of them BTW): I'm guessing you need to use a large margin on second-hand camera gear to make a decent profit, a.o. to make up for guarantee costs. More than once I bought second-hand stuff in a shop and had it repaired which must have put quite a dent in the seller's profit. But as said, I simply sell my stuff privately, internet offers ample opportunities for it these days.
  5. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    Unfortunately that's not just camera stores, it's pretty much all stores.

    There's so many stores complainning about "online" sending them out of business... well no, they're sending themselves out of business because their providing over priced, poor service, and poor selection.

    Most store owners are use to large premiums and haven't realised just how big the price difference is online / private sales. I'm willing to pay a slight price difference for the convenience of buying "on the spot" and "from a store" and the extra service, but like in your example... over 100% difference in price is ridiculous and something they just haven't properly comprehended.

    The way I see it, it's justice finally served to the retailers who have been gouging the customers for so long.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. squeegee

    squeegee Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 26, 2010
    this is not entirely true, ebay does have to pay
    1) employees
    2) building / realestate
    3) electricity
    4) insurance

    They're just more effective at managing it and leveraging the advantages of online. You pay for that embedded in the fees the seller pays.

    There are some retailers which have gone online as well and compete just as effectively as online retailers and or ebay (like ,, (who also sells directly on ebay themselves)) In the computer world you'll find large companies which still have large physical stores and also have prices online, as good as other online retailers and ebay (like /,, heck even is reasonably comparatively priced sometimes.). As a matter of fact, if you look at the computer scene, you'll find that those retailers can somtimes be cheaper for new item than ebay for used items.

    So... no I just call them over priced businesses.
  7. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    EBay volume is much higher so they can maintain lower costs :smile:
  8. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Just like Adorama and B&H photo sales volume is much higher than a brick and mortar store, hence their lower costs too :smile:
  9. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Just a few thoughts...

    1) I am a good customer of BergenCountyCamera and have always had A1 service from them. There is a reason why 5 of the local stores have closed and Bergen is expanding (recently to Englewood). I walk in and they greet me by name. Yes, I know their prices are slightly higher but I consider it payment for the personal service I get. They have no problem loaning me equipment under consideration for a weekend (within reason) often forgoing rental or any type of fee. They also know exactly how/what I like to shoot... and very upfront of what they think will and will not fit ME. They have steered me away from potential $100's maybe $1000s of sales simply because they didn't think it was a good fit.

    Also note... Bergen County Camera is in the middle of a very very very affluent neighborhood. Pure capitalism... more power to them.

    2) -> rebates (i see $100 for EPL1) -> participating auth dealer-> zip. I do not see Bergen listed. I would assume that's why although I don't know the details of your specific situation.. so it could very well be valid complaint. There's always a ranking manager there... They are always accommodating within their business limits.

    3) Used equipment. 1st and foremost. Bergen has two programs. Consignment and trade in for cash. Very different results. Adorama and BH will give Much Much Much less. Just like any product (cars included) you will always ALWAYS come out short if you are not going to sell the item yourself. There is an inherent risk and effort involved with the resale... they don't want the stuff unless they are going to make big bucks off of it. To compare used equip sales to ebay is a bit unfair.... that's what their primary business (similar to the debate of the cost of building a computer versus buying prebuilt). There are winners and loosers on ebay... (I do quite a bit of resale on ebay). You are taking the risk of being a looser when you sell on ebay. When you go through a retailer for resale, they are taking the risk of being the looser. BH offered me $500 for a $1800 item in mint condition... I shook the guys hand and said thank you very much. I posted on craigslist and got $1300 for it. I have no malice towards BH... they are just doing a business and nothing is forcing me.

    PS> I too don't do much resale now. Ebay fees, paypal fees, shipping fees, bogus bidders, snippers, etc... Ebay is a love hate for me. I don't like their format.. its not a true auction. I almost always avoid Expensive used purchases from ebay. The risk of not having someone to complain and get a refund is just too high. Gladly pay extra to deal for those locally.

    4) Speaking of Ebay, I get people ranting badly about them all the time on other forums. Its interesting to see someone say "everything from ebay" for once. Remember, ebay is a marketplace NOT a retailer. So you experience may vary from one seller to the next.

    5) The opposite with KEH. I see people in other forums raving how good they are. I've always had good business from them as well. I would not hesitate.

    6) (Steps on Soap Box) Sales tax is a load of crap here. The fact that we forcing local retailers to charge sales tax to local customers but not force online sales (to non-resident-businesses) to be tax is a violation of a fair market. Ok done... off my chest. (PS> legally you are required to declare those non-taxed items on your income tax forms so that a federal sales tax can be levied... but hey... does the honesty system ever really work?) I worked retail for many years and know the behind the counter stories. I would have to agree..... the online business IS making it difficult to compete on so many levels. Sales tax is just one of them. The MANUFACTURERS are another problem too. I guess you don't really know until you've been in their shoes. No way in hell I'd start a camera shop these days.... I always thought it would be nice to run one for fun as a retirement. That won't happen.

    Honestly, you are the consumer and its your right to pick and choose who you do business with. Its going to be pretty darn limiting to just do Ebay in my opinion. But go ahead more power to you. Your expectations are a bit higher than mine... that's probably all it comes down to.
    • Like Like x 3
  10. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Real Name:
    Don't forget that Time = Money. Time spent photographing your lens, time spent typing a description, time spent answering inane questions from interested buyers, time spent packaging your camera for safe transit, time spent driving to the post office, time spent answering email from enthusiastic high bidder wanting to know where the package is.

    "Oh, it's not in the condition you said it was in.....I'm returning it for a refund"

    "When it arrived here, the front element was cracked.....did you insure it?" (If you didn't, YOU are out the and safe delivery is assumed by the buyer and if you don't refund the money, they will file a chargeback through Paypal, and Paypal WILL take the money back from you). And if you did pay for it, remember to subtract that cost from your profits, because the buyer will not pay them.

    eBay takes their cut (hidden in obscure smaller fees that add up to usually around 10%. Paypal takes their cut around 3-5%.

    Don't forget to factor in such costs and boxes, packing tape, printing labels, ink toner, gas used to get to the post office.

    The time you were doing all this other stuff, could you have been making other money? Or having fun? There's a very real cost there to that is hard to quantify. Admittedly, in the instance of selling one item like this you may be better off selling it yourself on eBay. But sometimes people don't see the whole of the costs associated with selling. Additionally, the retailer has even more costs.
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  11. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Real Name:
    Just to say, I've bought many bargain lenses and bodies from KEH over the years and have never had any problems. Maybe you should send it back.
  12. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Ebay prices are what the camera store can hope to get when they resell what you sell them, so if they buy it from you at that price, they are not going to profit. That's how I look at it. My local store always tells me I would get more on Ebay but that I can sell it/trade it to them for less if I find it more convenient to do so.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Ebay is not without it's own problems, but it remains the only place that I have ever sold camera equipment, and with only a few exceptions (including here) is the only place where I have bought camera equipment in recent years. I think my last purchase of brand new equipment would have been in about 2006.
  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Exactly. Selling or trading used equipment to a dealer is like trading in a used car. You NEVER get anywhere close to what you could get for it selling it on your own. What you pay for is the convenience of not having to go through the hassle of listing and haggling and shipping and whatnot. That's not greed - that's how they stay in business.

    I'd always sell camera gear and bicycle gear on my own. If I have an old car that worth little enough, I'll sometimes trade it in to avoid having to sell it. Since I don't buy cars but about every ten to fifteen years, that's usually the best strategy for me. But if I had newer cars to dispose of, a trade in would be too big of a hit and I'd sell it myself, which I've done a few times in the past.

  15. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    My local camera store says the same thing.:smile:
  16. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    Real Name:
    I've had exactly the opposite experience with KEH--things labeled "bargain" are really nicer than that, and something "Excellent-" might as well be mint. To be fair, I've only bought three lenses from them but in each case the lens was in MUCH better condition than what I thought I was getting.

    Maybe I have low expectations!

    Seriously, did you give KEH a call and complain? Given their reputation (which I've heard repeated many times on this and other forums), I'd be surprised if they wouldn't try to make it right immediately. Sounds like a screw-up, not a policy.
  17. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    You are spot on here! :cool:

    On a side note, like you, I too buy from my local brick & mortar store fully knowing that I'll be paying a bit more than other venues of purchase...:smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  18. linkedit

    linkedit Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2010
    New Jersey, USA
    psst... a camera store is buying your lens to re sell it, not to keep it and use. that would be why they low ball people that bring i used equipment.

    unique photo is an awesome store btw. i love driving over there.
  19. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    You have obviously never run a business, never had dead inventory, never paid the rent, and never worried about making payroll. Oh, and never personally guaranteed a business loan that was big enough to wipe out your personal net worth. Ignorance is bliss.
    My point exactly.
    Nor any other small business selling commodity items like photographic equipment. Between the big box stores and the internet it's basically financial suicide.
    Yes. A good way to make a small fortune. Out of a big one.
    • Like Like x 2
  20. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    The new merchandise, accessories, film and print development, and ancillary income streams *certainly* pay the freight for most *big* retail stores.

    You're missing the point- there's a difference between costs and gouging.