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.

  • Simon Ponder

    Financial troubles are really hitting Dell

  • axxxl

    next time stick to reputable camera stores.

  • Jason Barresi

    In all fairness, although they don’t primarily deal in cameras, Dell is a name you don’t expect to get screwed over by.

  • John

    Amazing story!! Someone, somewhere, is shifting brand new Canon cameras and making good money off it….

  • Samanie Warren

    Whats wrong with going to your local camera shop and buying one there….?

  • H

    If you’re really a photographer why are you ordering your next camera from a company that primarily sells computers? That’s like getting medical advice from the guy that collects your recycling. He ordered the camera through Dell and it was fulfilled by a 3rd party distributor (which isn’t even Dell), the second time was also fulfilled by the 3rd party distributor. I don’t know why he is angry with Dell, they’re the ones getting cheated out of merchandise.

  • Tiffany Smith

    and this is why i spend my money at the circus that is B&H

  • JJ

    I didn’t know Canon did laminate floors too lol

  • gabe sturdevant

    Dell is the worst. Why not shop locally?

  • H

    EXACTLY. Dell isn’t a camera store, and they obviously carry the item themselves. It’s his own fault for not trying to get a price match from a local camera store or at least Adorama.

  • kinora

    Glad he was able to get the transaction cancelled. Just as well, I hear laminate flooring has serious moire issues.

  • uksnapper

    feel sorry for this man AND Dell who are the victims too

  • Benji

    Hooray for Dell..

    Dell: 1

    Consumer: 0

  • Greg Schmidt

    Stick with Adorama.

  • JJ Black

    Holy crap, that is one giant ball of fail. This guy deserves a medal for dealing with sh!t like that.

  • JJ Black

    Dell is the organization organizing the transaction, they are the ones accountable for what happened. It doesn’t matter if you see them as a “company that primarily sells computers”. The truth is, they’re a consumer electronics company now, more than ever.

  • AGT

    Wasn’t there a problem like this with MacBooks a few years back, and it turned out the consumers were the ones perpetrating the fraud? Stories like this need to be verified before they’re spread around the web.

  • Greg Lynch

    No self respecting photographer orders high end camera gear from anyone other than B&H or Adorama out of NYC. End of story.

  • Sean Lucky

    Man, I feel your pain. I can only imagine opening up my brand new camera box only to find something as disappointing as wood flooring. That being said, expecting more of a discount in this situation is kind of insane. Retailers make a very small profit margin off of Canon gear, DSLR pro gear especially. They were probably already taking a loss by having this stuff shipped around for no reason.

    That being said, maybe next time don’t go into a camera store and waste the employees time by trying out their demo product and then buying the product online to save a buck. It’s disrespectful in the first place, and you paid for it dearly.

  • Guest

    Who’s to say he didn’t put the wood in the box?

  • Stigzy Clarke

    This sounds all a bit too fishy. It seems quite unfeasible that a
    worker in a distribution company could bring laminate flooring to work
    or collect it from the shelf, cut it to size and put it in the camera
    box without any managers or team leaders seeing it. Further to that, it
    happened twice to the same customer who has a weird habit of taking
    pictures while opening products and with no reported cases of it
    happening to any other customers. Other than perhaps at Christmas, who takes pictures while opening their products?

  • Todd Evans

    Stop saying that the customer shouldn’t have bought from Dell. Let me tell you something, geniuses – Dell offers a LINE OF CREDIT. When you’re buying an item like a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, for A LOT of people credit is the only way they can get it. I don’t have enough expendable income to buy a camera like that outright, and I probably NEVER WILL. Maybe this was the only way he could afford to buy the camera. Stop being such TOOLS.

  • Aizenmyou

    He may live in an area that has no Dell presence and didn’t want to pay sales tax. Plus he said he was an 11 year Dell “preferred” customer so why not.

  • JL Huls

    For those asking why this guy went through Dell and not a local store or Adorama/BH, he said clearly that he has credit with Dell, which means he was purchasing this on credit.

  • 232323

    yeh well i can fake an unboxing too…. nice way to get two cameras…

  • xlerate

    Still, there is the chance that this guy is the one pulling the hoax and now has 2 5DMKIII Kits and his money back.

  • Losu33q


  • Machine Becomes

    Horrible experience…true…BUT what that he’ll are you doing ordering cameras and gear from DELL. No offense, but it doesn’t sound like someone super serious about photography.

  • Robert Fitzgerald

    If I were the employee at Dell the fact that this person decided to photo document the opening of the box would make me highly suspicious. If it was a video I would have a bit more faith. There is an obvious moment in between photographs where an opportunity exists to replace the contents of the box. I don’t mean to be cynical here but why would anybody photo document the opening of a package?

  • axxxl

    really… have you ever owned a dell computer?


    Yea I think he is documenting his own scam to make it more believable. Meanwhile he has two extra 5D mk3 to sell. Nice one buddy!

  • Pets Photography

    the photographer is in Perth, Australia so I imagine this box passed through quite a few hands if it was shipped from the US I did not realize there was next day shipping from US to Aus

  • Jan Kowalewski

    If I ordered such an expensive camera I would move my behind to the store or if ordered in an internet store I would open the parcel in presence of the courier ONLY. Not by myself after he’s gone! Never do that stuff!

  • Cee_Major

    Yeah…. I stick with getting all my really pricey stuff from my 100+ year old local brick & mortar camera store. I know them; they know me. Problems are not a problem.

  • Troy Robinson

    I would love to see a video of the unboxing.

  • lindac

    A lot of people document the unboxing of items they are excited about. It’s a thing. Go to YouTube and search for “unboxing.” You will find lots of unboxing videos.

  • Leigh Diprose

    Jalal was the purchaser of the Camera. He is based in the USA. I am the original publisher of the story, based in Perth, Western Australia.

  • timo musgrove

    i had a dell once, it was biggest piece of 2000 dollar garbage i owned. even my asus that i bought used, and has an over heating issue is better (and cheaper). they skimped out on the hdd size, screen, processor, it wasnt even the computer we ordered. do not buy from dell, im more likely to trust ebay than that company.

  • AGT

    Why was my last post deleted, PetaPixel? ‘Unboxing’ or not, it seems odd to have the photo documentation. It’s also odd that the story is so detailed. AND that he got wooden flooring twice in a row when other people haven’t reported such problems.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to have clear photos of the shipping labels?
    Like I said in my deleted post, stories like this need third-party verification before they’re just spread unsubstantiated on the web, especially on a site like PetaPixel with a large readership and a good reputation.

  • Nick Stephens

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, and I’m gonna say – that photo of the hand using the Bostitch to open the box? That doesn’t look like a Jalal. It may be a Jim hand, but it isn’t a Jalal hand.

  • Daimos

    He should’ve ordered laminate flooring the second time and maybe he’ll get the camera ;)

  • D. Lambert

    Oh, thank GOD! I’ve been sitting here with a pile of cameras for a week trying to figure out how to get them to cover my kitchen floor.

  • Bob

    I don’t believe a word this guy is saying, he obviously is pulling a fast one!

  • gputah

    Yes, I have owned several, had a business account where we dealt with over 200 dell computers every year. They typically have outstanding customer service. Never had a problem with warranty or anything else.

    I’m guessing you purchased the cheapest Dell computer possible with a limited warranty and when the computer had issues you blamed Dell. you get what you pay for.

  • Rama

    I thought that this type of issues only happens here in Brazil. Our costumer services are terrible, in any segment of industry and commerce. Mainly in e-commerce. It’s a shame from Dell. Unexpected too.

  • 12

    “Other than perhaps at Christmas, who takes pictures while opening their products?”

    so many people.. google “unboxing”.

    do agree this is fishy though. If he had taken a video it would be more convincing.

  • lifesart

    I bet the pictures are from the second shipment, which he would have wanted to document. I have had similar experiences with other companies and I have always documented what happened with the second shipment.

  • Dayne

    Sadly, that seems very typical of Dell customer support. I have had similar terrible experiences with them, and this sounds all too familiar to me. I used to be a loyal Dell customer, but had my worst ever experience of terrible customer support from Dell (very similar to this case – lots of passing the buck, incorrect answers, etc.), at which I point I vowed never to use them again.

  • slvrscoobie

    B+H all Effin day. Going through dell and price matching? Then documenting each step? It smells fishier than the the Pike St Market!

  • Melissa

    Dell is the absolute worst company I have ever dealt with! I ordered a computer and the representatives promised it would include programs to my specifications as well as a dvd burner. Which I payed extra for! It came with basic programing and no burner. I ended up being transferred around to many different associates and was never allowed to speak to a manager. They never sent me the programming or burner I purchased. I didn’t get any of my money refunded for the missing things. I will never purchase anything from that company again. Ever wonder why company’s need advertising. Well if their products are truly good then they would sell without all the fancy commercials.