Photog Receives Laminate Flooring After Ordering a Canon 5D MKIII From Dell


You know that feeling of extreme excitement when an Internet package arrives in the mail? That’s what a guy named Jalal felt recently after ordering a Canon 5D Mark III and 24-105mm f/4L kit from Unfortunately for him, what he received wasn’t quite what he had expected.

Rewinding a bit… After a six year stint with the Canon 30D, Jalal had decided it was time to upgrade. After looking at prices online, he visited to see if they could price match some online pricing.

They came close and so I decided to order the 5D3 Kit with EF 24-105mm f/4L IS. Place my order over the phone… I start opening the box and [documented] every step of the way. Extreme high, to bitter sad low.

You’ll understand the roller-coaster of emotions Jalal experienced as he captured the unboxing event using his iPhone 5. Here’s what he experienced as seen through his snapshots:

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Here’s what happened in Jalal’s own words:

I wanted to share you with my purchase experience with

I was in the market for a new camera. I’ve been shooting with a Canon EOS 30D for 6 years, and I’m looking to get more serious with my photography and wanted to invest in something I could love for at least another 6 years. After hitting up my local camera stores I decided on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III kit with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens.

I have been a Dell customer for 11 years and have a Dell Preferred Account which is a line of credit.

On January 4th, 2013, I called up Dell Customer Service to see if they would price match their 5D3 kit with other online retailers, Best Buy, B&H, and Amazon. They only could bring the price down by $200, but given that I wanted/needed the camera, I told them ok, and had them order it for me.

Dell’s customer care team is completely based out of India.

January 8th comes around, the package arrives and I’m overly excited – it finally feels like Christmas. I’ve made it a habit of taking photos as I unbox large purchases because you never know what you’re going to find. But also because I’m a giant geek. Everything is packaged perfectly and looks great. I cut open the shipping box, pull out the camera box and start to unbox it… what do I find? Wood flooring. Perfectly cut and glued together to fit the compartments of the box. No camera, not accessories, no booklets, nothing. Wood mother effin flooring! I was dejected. I went from a super high to a super low in a matter of seconds. There was definite humor in this. Quite frankly I was floored. Badoom pish!

I called up Dell customer care immediately but the department I needed to speak to was closed. The next morning, Wednesday, January 9th, I call up Dell and explained my situation. They tried to tell me Dell wasn’t to blame because they didn’t ship the item themselves. It was their distributors fault. I pointed out to Dell’s customer care that I purchased my product from and they were the company that fulfilled my order. I wasn’t talking to their 3rd party distributor. After expressing my frustration they agreed to send me out a replacement. They wanted to make me wait a few days but I requested they should ship it next day air. I was dealing with a particular customer care representative that was to be my main point of contact. She said to give them 6 hours to get back to me which is around 4pm that afternoon. So I agreed. In that time I send 3 emails to my case manager and called her direct line several times to see if I could get updates on the situation – she was unavailable. 4pm came around and no one contacted me. I called up and spoke to a different rep who told me my order was in fact shipping overnight and he continued to give me my new order number and tracking info.

After hanging up I checked the tracking number on the FedEx website and it seems they submitted my new camera at 9am that morning! Six hours later after I hung up with Dell I received an email from my case manager with the exact information I received over the phone by someone else.

The morning of Thursday January 10th, I received a new replacement package via FedEx Priority Overnight. I opened it up, WOOD FLOORING AGAIN!!!

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At this point I knew that their distribution center’s stock of Canon EOS 5D Mark III kits was compromised and the thieves probably cleaned house. I noticed both Canon boxes had clear circular stickers placed on the box flap, and after consulting with the members of an online Canon forum (which I was a member of) they indicated that Canon never uses stickers to seal their boxes and that it sometimes was done by the vendor.

I contacted Dell’s customer service once again, explained my situation and was told at this point since I received a replacement order and received wood again they would have to investigate this situation with their Fraud and Logistics teams. They would also contact and inform their distributor.

I expressed my extreme frustration and disappointment about receiving another piece of wood instead of my Canon 5D MKIII kit and the ongoing terrible customer service. Again, they tried to say it wasn’t Dell’s fault instead it was their distribution company that was to blame. Again I repeated it was a Dell transaction and they were responsible for everything. They couldn’t push it off on someone else. Their inability to keep tabs on their distributors was not my problem at the least. The shipping labels have all said DELL on them. Not XYZ.

Judging by the box, it looks like my camera was shipped from D&H Distributing Co.

D&H Distributing Co
909 Katie Court
Harrisburg, PA
(717) 561-4313

Doing some research on the web brought up issues they have had with items shipped for other distributors. However the distributor in question wasn’t too blame. Fishy at best.

Friday rolls around and I contacted Dell again. Customer care told me they needed more time and they would contact me when they heard back from their various departments about the issue. I again explained my frustration with them. I began to explain some previous examples of my experience with them – I was promised a call on Monday 1/7 and didn’t receive a call. They also told me they’ll call the next day. I didn’t happen.

I got a call on Tuesday the 15th January and was told Dell had not heard back from their fraud team and their logistics team found nothing wrong. Further to this the distributor returned their email simply acknowledging the receipt of the news. Nothing more. They said they could try and send me another camera but they couldn’t be 100% sure that I wouldn’t receive wood again.

I asked them about the compensation and they said the most they could try to give me was a $100 coupon toward a future purchase. I refused and told them I considered it an insult and a slap in the face. Especially with all the time and the frustration that I had to deal with. I asked to speak to someone higher up about the issue. I was extremely upset with this whole situation and what they were offering me. Some have said that I should be lucky to have even received that. I’d say that some don’t have very high standards and are easily toyed with.

It’s now Wednesday January 16th and I just got off the phone with a higher-up manager from Dell customer care. The absolute best they could offer me was $100 coupon towards a future purchase and that was the most they have ever offered customer. He asked me if he wanted Dell to send me the order and I promptly asked him to cancel my order. I will never be ordering or dealing with Dell again. After 11 years, my relationship with them as a consumer is over. I will make sure to spread this word and make sure that everyone knows what I have experienced.

Dell has not yet responded to our request for comment. We will update this post if/when they issue a statement.

Have any of you experienced anything similar when purchasing camera gear online?

Update: A Dell representative named Lionel has left a comment below saying that the company is now in touch with Jalal in order to resolve this issue.

About the author: Leigh Diprose is a photographer based in Perth, Western Australia. Visit his website here. This article was originally published here.

  • David Iwanow

    What other household items does Dell stock these days….

  • Nitpicker

    The whole story could have been resumed in 4-6 lines …

  • Dell man

    What a scam! There were so many loopholes in his story! He must be thinking Dell is stupid or what?

  • Choen Lee

    this is one of the funniest stories i have read concerning online shopping.

  • Johnny C

    Not a camera, but I ordered a computer from Dell a few years ago and when it arrived they hadn’t installed the hard drive. After a lengthy battle with customer service they sent me a free 1 TB external hard drive, which at the time was worth more than $100. That was the last transaction I’ve had with Dell, and probably will remain the last.

  • Kathleen Grace

    I’ve had multiple experiences with Dell and had nothing but problems, and once even had one of their reps tell me the same thing that her computer was a mess. I ordered them for business as well as personal use and all of them had problems. And, we ordered the higher end products. I won’t ever deal with Dell again, and the company I handled IT purchasing for eliminated them from their list of suppliers.

  • Samuel

    Maybe people ought not to buy stuff they can’t afford, then. We’re not talking heating oil or food, we’re talking a $4,000 camera. No wonder this country is in such a rut – people have their wants confused with their needs and the credit card companies are raking it in.

  • Samuel

    People do it all the time – look on YouTube. I don’t know that I get why, but there are tons of unboxing vids.

  • Lorrie Prothero

    seems a little wonky to me. I think it’s fraud. Especially to happen twice – I’d be videotaping the sequences.

  • Dozi Meda

    At least you got two new 5D Mark III bodies + 100$ coupon from Dell. What are you complaining about, Jaleel, Mustafa, or whatever you name is…

  • Michel Nadeau

    That is the risk of dealing with online, I often find a competitive price and I try to by it from brick & mortar if they match or try to come close. I understand your frustration and think that this is a perfect example of why I try with a brick and mortar dealer id possible. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • Roy

    We don’t all work in retail and I’m quite sure that the argument about the pending demise of local businesses is lost on someone who already indicated that they don’t shop there to begin with.

  • Roy

    Finding amusement in someone’s misfortune. How Youtubesque.

  • wjm

    The benefits of shopping local . . . especially in Australia . . . it provides jobs and tax revenue for local services . . . however, being an American it is nice to see Australians supporting US retailers who have lower cost of business and less consumer regulations than Australia . . . so thank you for supporting our economy and weakening your own. Very kind of you . . .

  • DM

    This is too fishy to be true. If he bought online and was unsatisfied, he can dispute the credit card charge. NOBODY takes pictures of opening the box the first time they get something, MAYBE the second shipment, if it were true. Either trying to get attention or an outright scam.

  • Jeff Greene

    Yeah, but they’re walking around on bare floors…

  • Jeff Greene

    I find Canon flooring is much better than Nikon when working in RAW…

  • John Sluder

    B&H Safe and fast!!!

  • songwriter52

    The cannon D5 mark 111 weighs 2.09 pounds i have worked with wood all my life and flooring the package i see weighs more than 2.09 pounds so if one was to look at shipping label maybe mystery would be solved

  • doh

    ya, people do unboxing videos all the time, but despite my opinion of that, the big difference here is, all those videos on youtube are VIDEOs. not photos. Seems awful strange that he would bother taking stills…

  • wjm

    Australia has some very “unique” consumer laws that require retailers to add significant dollars to the retail price to pay for all these things their government believes the consumer wants. Additionally the mandatory holidays, benefits, base pay along with unbelievable rents make Australia one of the highest cost retail markets in the world. The number of Australian retailers going broke is close to on par with US and UK retailers going broke. Government and consumers put burdens on local retailers that they do not put on interenet retailers. Then wonder, why are there no shops left? Why can’t government spend money on policy, fire, health care, etc? Local buying leaves some employment and taxes in the local economy. Internet doesn’t. You will get the world you deserve by how you vote with your dollars.

  • Gopi

    Yep. Sounds fishy. Attention seeking behaviour

  • Kris

    Thinking about it I think that someone between the transaction who deals with the packaging might have done this.

  • gabe sturdevant

    Yes it costs more but it can be worth it. I have bought two Dell products and never will again. First was a desktop where the 1 year warranty magically ran out at 6 months and had to pay $30 for phone support. (Did not pay it, just sold the computer instead). Second was ordered a new laptop direct from Dell student services or whatever. Computer came and did not work, would not power on. Dell said i would have to send the computer back at my expense and wait 2 weeks for a replacement. Went to a local computer store, had a computer built with better specs for less money. Yea, Dell sucks.

  • Mick

    Yeah I dunno, this sounds extremely suspicious to me.
    As for Dell, I’ve had nothing but excellent service from them.

  • Darin Vance

    Well, Canon has a pretty good finish lineup, and great customer service; that’s what has kept me with them. Nikon flooring has almost no grain, though. LOL!

  • Sara C.

    I’ve had HORRIBLE customer service from Dell. I’ve spent hours upon hours on the phone trying to get them to send me a box to get my computer fixed. And not to mention that i’ve had to send my computer in for fixing 3 times, none of which were operator errors. Awful. I will not buy a computer from them ever again. And after seeing this article, I refuse to buy ANYTHING from them again.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    “Dell even states, or they used to that their computers life expectancy for the entree level machines is 18 months”

    You said it, not me. Who the hell wants to buy a POS that will die in 18 months?

  • PARKAY909

    If you were wasting the time of the local camera shops, whos salesmen probably live off commission, why did you not just buy the camera from them.

  • digidaddy

    This is why Brick and Mortar stores still rule!

  • Alan Goldstein

    Having a line of credit has nothing to do with whether you can afford something or not.

  • sawn

    Dell is the worst company on the planet!! I had horrible experiences with the several times. I would rather pay some $$ more somewhere else that buy again from these idiots. Horrible service, horrible contact info, horrible website…I mean, you orders tracking info never shows online..horrible responses.

  • ajitesh sharma

    something like that happenned with me awhile ago…i ordered some computer parts from an online store and they shipped me 12+year old computer parts…itanium processor with 4Mb of ram,motherboard nd some baby toys
    when i contacted them they told that its not their fault as i have ordered those items but the reciept had clearly mentioned the items that i have ordered which included AMD FX8150 ,asus M5a99x evo and 4gb ram…

  • adrian j nyaoi

    If he is a scam, and had the camera free then he better not post photos taken with that camera on the net.: the SN can be trace back to the camera…

  • chetan

    Wow… How can Dell screw up like this. Perfect example of morons running the company.

  • Michael Darcy

    Dell is the worst company on this planet. Never buy anything from them. They are run by crooks.