Problem with B&H...

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Mike_B, Feb 3, 2013.

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  1. Mike_B

    Mike_B Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 30, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    Just wanted to let everyone know about my experience with B&H photo. I’m sure there are many out there who like this company and have never had a problem. This may just be an exception, but I appreciate when someone else warns me about a company or product they have had a problem with, so here goes….

    On 1/19/13 I ordered a refurb Olympus VF-1 viewfinder from B&H. I received it on 1/24/13. When I opened it I found the item was incomplete/ broken and unusable. I called B&H customer service immediately. This is the email I sent later, which explains everything….

    “I had been considering getting a viewfinder for my Olympus E-P3. When I found a Refurbished VF-1 on your website for $50 I thought I had found a great deal so I purchased it as soon as possible. I received the item on Thursday and was disappointed to find the Olympus seal had been opened and then retaped. I was even more disappointed to find the item incomplete once I opened the package. It was missing the bottom piece which slides into the camera's hotshoe and secures the viewfinder to the camera.
    I immediately called your customer service line and was transferred to the "used department". The phone rang and rang then transferred me back to "regular" customer service who apologized and then transferred me back to the "used department". The phone again rang and rang. After more than 15 minutes the "used department" customer service agent picked up the phone. I explained my problem. He then told me the viewfinder did not attach to the camera hotshoe. I elaborated to make him understand how the viewfinder functioned. Then he told me it wasn't made to fit my camera. I again elaborated and explained the viewfinder fit ALL Olympus PEN cameras. He gave me the distinct impression he was trying to find any excuse to place the blame on ME- the customer- for my disatisfaction. No apologies, no asking how he could fix the issue, just that it somehow must be my fault/ error....
    Finally accepting that the item (sold to me as factory refurbished but actually used) actually was incomplete/ defective, he told me he would email a return authorization. I asked to be sent a replacement- no, that wasn't possible, he informed me. If I wanted a replacement I would have to buy one. I explained I shouldn't have to pay again for something that was misrepresented in the first place and should have been functional in the first place. No, he said, it wasn't possible to send me a replacement or guarantee a replacement once my defective viewfinder was received by B&H. Basically, he didn't care and my defective viewfinder was MY problem, not his..... So I sent the defective viewfinder back today (Friday) using the RA emailed to me.
    I spent 8 years in retail management. I know good customer service, and I can certainly recognize bad customer service. I stick with companies that provide good customer service. And avoid those with bad customer service like the plague. I spend a fair amount of money on cameras- Last year I bought 2 DSLR's, 4 additional (not kit) lenses, a flash, 3 point and shoot cameras, and I don't know how many misc. accessories. I've used Amazon, Cameta, and KEH with zero complaints.
    If it matters to anyone at your company, B and H has one last chance to keep me as a customer. Send me a replacement viewfinder now, as quickly as possible. Take care of your customer (ME!). If not, I will never purchase anything from you again and will let everyone I know and have contact with on various forums about the service I've received. When I was in retail I appreciated a second chance to keep a customer, not everyone gives that. I also don't think my request is out of line or unfair. Just give me what I paid for, please....”

    On 1/27/13 I received the following email….

    “I am very sorry that you have had a negative experience with our used customer service. we look forward to improving you future experiences with all of our departments and greatly appreciate your feed back so we can know how to best target such matters. from what I have read below it seems futile in trying to give a reason or explanation for the extend wait time nor the service you have received. therefore we have gone ahead and sent a top priority message to the head of the used department to look into this matter and see how best fit to resolve this matter in a timely fashion. we profusely apologize for the negative experience and any inconvenience you may have incurred. “

    I didn’t hear anything else until today when they sent me an email to tell me my purchase price but not shipping would be refunded. I’m fed up…… Some people might say “It’s only $50 dude, chill out…” It’s not the money, it’s the principle, or lack thereof on B&H’s part. I would think they could have sent a $50 product to keep a satisfied customer. I’ll never use B&H again. I wouldn’t tell anyone else what to do- but at least whoever reads this has some info to make their own decision….

    BTW- I’ve ordered the same refurbished viewfinder directly from Olympus for only $5 more….
  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    and you are talking about the VF-1... the optical viewfinder for the 17mm lens that came with the original E-P1?
  3. youry

    youry Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 9, 2010
    Winston Salem, NC
    I stopped shopping at B&H years ago. They are way too arrogant for my taste.
    I bought a $2k Leica lens which was described as 9+ condition. Received the lens and it was defective. I called to get a return label (I didn't think I should have paid the return shipping being their fault.). When they received the defective lens I was returned the original payment less the shipping. That was the last time I ordered from them.
    Recently I was looking for a lens and checked their website too. While Adorama didn't have it in stock, B&H had it. I chose to wait a couple of weeks for Adorama to have it in stock rather than have it in a couple of days from B&H.
  4. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I've never had an issue with B&H. But I'm northeast based, and the northeast attitude you get sometimes from some folks there doesn't phase me in the slightest. They've been fair and honest with me, with no issues on returns, etc.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2011
    I've had similar experiences with B&H. New sales have been fine, but dealing with used sales, returns, or any customer service problem has been infuriating.
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Apr 17, 2010
    Near Philadephila
    Sorry to hear - I've never had anything but good experiences with B&H, online and in person. They've really gone above and beyond for me on a few occasions. Adorama I've had a few really negative experiences with, mostly in person.

    • Like Like x 1
  7. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    What other forums are you badmouthing to, Mike? A similar post is on DPReview.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Stats are in favor with B&H.
    No business is 100% perfect. 99.9% aint' to shabby for B&H :cool:

    Too many satisfied customers for this post to have any negative effect....
    • Like Like x 1
  9. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Last year I returned a slightly optically defective new $600 Panasonic TM900 camcorder to B&H following all their return instructions. I promptly received a full refund, no questions asked! I was so impressed that I have ordered other products from them including two new cameras and fortunately all those products worked well and no further returns were needed. I have never tried buying used or refurbished products from B&H.

    I have also had a good experience buying a new camera from Cameta. And a good experience buying a 46" HDTV from Adorama that was expertly packed for cross country shipment to my location in California.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    B&H and Adorama can be "brusquely efficient" as WT21 points out. I tend to enjoy the directness of their approach. As for the OP, it sounds like he wound up with someone on the phone who was having a bad day. No excuse for that. If you work in retail you are really not allowed to show that bad day to your customers.

    One thing I would recommend is that if you are returning a $50 item you simply send an email saying the item was received damage and request an RA #. Keep it simple. I would only call if I had a problem, as the email provides an easy record of the communication.

    The email the OP shared here is just sort of ridiculous to me, and would not help him get resolution at B&H or most other retailers. Especially the threatening parts. Yikes.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Halaking

    Halaking Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 17, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I ordered a Canon t4i with 2 lenses deal from the BH last DEC, I placed the order at around 1am in the morning, I was doing a upgrade from t2i, next morning I still think I really want the OMD, so I called in to cancel the order at 9am (witch is the time they just open), the customer service told me that my order can't be cancel, you have to refuse the package, "your order is already on UPS truck", he didn't even call the warehouse, I was thinking how can it be?

    Then I bought my whole OMD system from Adorama.
  12. VasManI

    VasManI Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 21, 2011
    I've never had any issues with B&H. One return I made (this past December) was on my dime, but that's simply cost of doing business for returning something.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. OM Dude

    OM Dude Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 30, 2012
    Ku'u home o Honolulu
    B&H covers themselves with their terms of service. Returns only state refunds of the cost of the item. You can be thankful it was just a small lesson and not too financially costly. I bought a used item from B&H as well for the first time this week. Advertised as 9, we'll see what they come in at. Figured I would start with a cheap item $8 to see how they graded, before I sent them real money for a lens. I've always had great luck with KEH, whose grading I've found to be very conservative (favors the buyer).
  14. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2012
    Could it be because of timezone difference?

    Btw, so far on this thread the positive reports are of new-items sale. For used items sales, there are a couple of negative reports and no positive ones yet.
  15. dino1891

    dino1891 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 8, 2013
    Same here. I had a couple bad experiences with Adorama, but they always gave an honest effort to try to rectify things, which I really appreciated. B&H and Amazon have the best customer service in my opinion.
  16. dino1891

    dino1891 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 8, 2013
    I could see that being annoying sometimes. But what can you say? They are efficient, and ship things out very quickly. I once placed an order at 6AM, they had it on the truck by 9:30AM, and it arrived in front of my door at noon the next day. This was with ground shipping too!

    That happened to me once too. I wanted to change my order but they print out the label so quickly. I just refused the package. Its not like refusing the package costs any money...
    • Like Like x 1
  17. dino1891

    dino1891 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 8, 2013
    I sympathize with you. It is unfortunate that the VF-1 came like that. But I do not really understand why they refused you an exchange. You did not give us the reason that BH gave you for not being able to exchange it for you.

    When you mean replacement, were you expecting a brand new VF-1? The only reason I could think of that they would not guarantee a replacement is that they can't guarantee that they will have more refurbished VF-1 in stock.
  18. HelenOster

    HelenOster Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 1, 2010
    New York, NY
    I was extremely concerned to read this, Ray. If there is anything I can help you with in terms of addressing any past issues, please let me know:
  19. Mike_B

    Mike_B Mu-43 Rookie

    Dec 30, 2012
    St. Louis, MO
    While on the phone with the cust service rep I was looking at a used vf1 viewfinder on their website. I asked for them to send that one to me. That's when I was told I could buy it.

    As far as posting on other forums- yes, I have posted this on all forums I am registered to. I appreciate when others tell about good and bad experiences, which I then use to make my own decisions. Sometimes the only way a company will change bad business practices is when it affects their bottom line. If they push people around and rip them off, and the customers just take it, what incentive is there to change?

    Any time I have an opportunity, I tell people I have had great experiences with Amazon, KEH, and Adorama....
  20. Cruzan80

    Cruzan80 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    Denver, Co
    Sean Rastsmith
    So because they were willing to refund you the money, but not send something directly to you, after speaking with only one person, you post a threatening post about how you will defame them all over the internet? Sounds like bad customer, not bad customer service. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. How about a quiet PM to the B&H rep on this site to see if he could do something, instead of a scathing post?
    • Like Like x 4
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