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PSA: Beware of Focus Camera

Discussion in 'Hot Deals - Find a Great Deal? Share It Here.' started by ScottinPollock, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Top Veteran

    This is summarized as best I could, but if you want all of the gory details (including proof of the offer and the used listing described below) they are at: Focus Camera

    I took advantage of the Trade Up offer on the Panasonic DC-G9 that was posted in this forum, but actually it is Focus Camera that took advantage of me.

    I first filled out the trade in form on their web site. They responded by email within a day, but there was no quote for the mint condition DMC-G85 I planned on trading in. When I responded to the email asking for a valuation, I received a phone call later that day.

    In that conversation they valued the camera at US$650.00, and that they would offer me 70% of that ($455.00). But a week later after receiving the camera, they offered $300.00, telling me that due to the popularity of the promotion, the value of the camera had dropped. I told her that was unacceptable to me and to return the camera and I would send them something else.

    She then asked what would it take to complete the transaction as is, and taking them for their word that the G85 did in fact depreciate, I suggested splitting the difference ($375). 4 days later she contacted me with acceptance, and that they would credit that amount to my card (which they did).

    However... a few weeks later I see a "like new in box" G85 in the used section of their web site (exactly like the one I sent them), for $699.99. So it seems the G85 didn't depreciate like I was told, and in fact, they were selling it for $50 more than the original value they had quoted me.

    Long story short... they refused to even acknowledge the pricing discrepancy, and just repeated over and over that they credited me what we agreed upon. And now they no longer respond to my emails.

    I feel they had intentionally low balled me after receiving my G85 so they could strike some kind of deal where they could acquire the camera for less than it was worth, and it clearly worked. Pass it on!
    • Informative Informative x 4
  2. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    That does sound like a bit of a sleazy bait-and-switch situation. I wouldn't be happy with being quoted with one price one day, and then given much less the next day once I'd made up my mind to commit to it.

    However, I think it's quite important to recognize that any business must charge a considerable margin on any goods they sell if they want to keep the lights on and pay their employees, let alone make any profit. Given that retail businesses don't produce what they sell, that margin is by definition the only money they make.

    Keystone pricing is the typical model that is used throughout retail, and that's really just business-speak to say that the price they sell for is double the wholesale cost.

    So in that case, $375*2=$750. The fact that they are selling it for $699.99 actually means that they're accepting a smaller than typical margin on that particular item. If they had given you $455, in ordinary circumstances they might expect to sell the camera for $910, which is of course more than the new price!

    Granted, margins may be shrinking in the camera industry overall (I have no idea if that's true), but that's just a reflection of how unhealthy the market is for both manufacturers and retailers, and is not necessarily something to begrudge them.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Top Veteran

    With all due respect I spent a number of years in retail (both hifi and camera) and new margins were almost always around 35%. This made their offer of 70% of used value seem fair. After they get the camera they drop it 34%. You wouldn't begrudge them of that, huh?
  4. ralf-11

    ralf-11 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 16, 2017
    CA has very strong consumer protection laws - see if the Cal. AG's Office can put some pressure on them

    also the state they are in (NY?); your credit card; and Google reviews
  5. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I specifically said that I thought you were treated poorly, and that had everything to do with the way that they changed the price on you and nothing to do with the price they quoted you and the final retail price.

    I'm sure you would be happier if they offered you $375 in the first place, no?

    In any case, $700 on $375 is a 46% margin. More than 35%, but less than 50%, which I maintain is not an extravagant margin for what I am assuming is a brick & mortar store.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. LilSebastian

    LilSebastian Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 28, 2017
    Pasadena, CA
    Sorry to hear you got the run around. I feel a little bad as I was the OP to highlight the G9 deal at Focus Camera. I hope you are enjoying the new camera, even if the process was stressful.
  7. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Google, Yelp, every photography forum I'm a member... all done.

    Tomorrow it will be certified letters to the CEOs of Panasonic NA, and Focus Camera, followed by Citibank, the BBB, and CA AG, and whatever I can dig up for NY State. Got lots of idle time at the computer while I'm waiting for apps to compile and video to render.
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Sad Sad x 1
  8. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Please don't feel bad... how could you know? Partly my fault as I recalled FC being one of those gray market crap dealers and was surprised to see they were actually an authorized dealer. Should of just tried to see if B&H would match the offer.

    Loving the G9... they fixed so much stuff from the G85, and it handles better than any camera I've had (short of the oddball C registers behavior).
  9. tkbslc

    tkbslc Super Moderator

    G85 on ebay are about $600. Considering ebay charges 10% commission, that puts the value for the seller at under $550. Just because they are trying to ask $699, doesn't mean that they were necessarily wrong about the true market value. It also doesn't mean that they can actually sell it for $699.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  10. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Hey... It's totally up to you. If you want to do business with a retailer that behaves this way, more power to you. I just thought folks here should be aware of it.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Sad Sad x 1
  11. Michael Meissner

    Michael Meissner Mu-43 Regular

    Except I discovered yesterday that the G9 breaks one specific feature that I use in my G85 (and LX10). I had been thinking about upgrading the G85 to the G9, but now it is no sale.

    The feature is the G9 stops video recording at 29 minutes and 59 seconds (i.e. do the old European tariff on video cameras, that some claim is no longer in place). Originally I thought the manual just didn't mention it, but somebody over at dpreview tested and both 1080p at 30fps and 1080p at 60fps stopped at the 30 minute mark.

    The USA models (G85, LX10) don't have a recording limit, while the European models (G80, LX15) do have the recording limit. I recorded a show for a friend, and the entire show was 1.5 hours long, and the G85 happily recorded it. The LX10 I was using as the second camera, gave out after an hour due to the small battery, but I now have a way to power both cameras from external batteries.

    Even without recording a show, sometimes an event runs over. My niece got married recently, and I did the video for them. The service went on for 35 minutes. It would have been a shame to miss the part where the bride and groom kiss and/or walk down the aisle due to the camera stopping at the 30 minute limit.

    I'm sorry to hear about your experience with Focus Camera.
  12. Telonson

    Telonson Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2017
    It's worse than that. Many of the G9's video modes are limited to only 10 minutes.
  13. Michael Meissner

    Michael Meissner Mu-43 Regular

    According to pages 32 and 120 of the manual, it is only 4k video at 150M (50fps or 60fps) that is limited to 10 minutes. 4k video at 100M (24fps, 25fps, or 30fps), FHD (1080p) mp4, and AVCHD are all cut off at 29 minutes and 59 seconds.
  14. Telonson

    Telonson Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2017
    In addition, many of the slow motion modes are also limited to 10 minutes, and there may be some others.
  15. Exporter

    Exporter Mu-43 Rookie Subscribing Member

    Apr 15, 2018
    Other than the difference in quoted price, who cares what asking price they put on the camera? Although the estimate was off, they gave you a chance to accept the final price and you accepted. Why are you blaming them for your poor decision or buyers remorse? Btw, I have no affiliation to focus but i cant see how they are responsible other than for the estimate which may have been either intentionally lowered or fair based on actual market rate.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  16. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Yes... I considered that. But in reality, I don't think I have ever recorded a scene longer than 5 minutes, so it is a non-issue for me.

    For others, maybe not. But for a "$1700" m43 camera without a newer BSI sensor, those limits should not be in play.
  17. dalto

    dalto Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2016
    That is some awesome bait and switch. The camera value dropped by 35% in a week because of the promotion? A reputable vendor would honor their quote, not try to negotiate once they have your camera in-hand.

    From my perspective, once you agreed to the price, the deal was done. There is no going back after to get more money. You probably should have stuck to your guns and asked them to send you the camera back.

    But yes, you be wary of focus camera. Really, I am hesitant to buy from any NY camera vendor other than the big 2, way to many shady electronics operators out there.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  18. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Never accept what someone tells you your item is worth. You set the value and if they do not agree no deal. They will always try and get you down in price especially after they have your item. They will point out every little finger print. Car dealers are good for doing much of the same. This photo tells it all.
    GlobeAZ0406 085-Edit.jpg
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    • Funny Funny x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Jay_M

    Jay_M Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    People sure like to sit on their high horse and tell you what you should have done. Easier said then done when your camera's been out for a month awaiting appraisal from Focus while you have a brand new G9 sitting right there :bowdown:

    Simple fact is they quote you one thing, then magically the value of your item drops significantly. After you call them on the BS offer (they hope to catch a few people who accept the offer), they give you a more realistic offer. It's a scam, because if they told you what they were actually going to offer, which they know ahead of time, there would be a lot fewer trade ins. You think "wow that's a really reasonable deal, let's do it", a month later when you're ready to be done with it, they drop their low ball offer on you. There's no defending that kind of operation, it's unethical. They definitely deserve to have this kind of info plastered all over the internet.
    • Agree Agree x 7
  20. steve16823

    steve16823 Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 26, 2011
    Brookfield, IL
    Didn't they used to advertise as "Honest Abe's" Focus Camera? :rofl:

    Definitely a bait and switch scheme. You can make a Better Business Bureau complaint online. It probably won't change anything but at least they'll be forced to explain themselves to BBB, and will reduce their BBB rating (which is already not stellar).
    • Agree Agree x 1
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