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.

  • jon

    Used to work in receiving for a few companies twoish years ago, and when we ordered X from Y, sometimes to meet deadlines, they’d ship a single brick in a box to say their deadline was met, and was ours. But we wouldn’t get the actual order for a few more days. Loopholes

  • Andrew Kitchen

    And this is a fake. In one of the pictures you can see where the standard shipping tape has been taken off the box and replaced with clear shipping tape. DELL does not reuse boxes for customers. Mainly because it looks bad. These are a fake and hopefully DELL will seek damages!!!!

  • Marcus

    How would he open the box if he’s using one hand to record himself with his iPhone? I guess he could have waited for a friend to come by and record him but he was probably too excited.

  • gputah

    Its funny, in the 2 years I worked with Dell, probably ordering over 400 computers, I never once received the wrong product. Of course this was a business account. But still, not once did I have a reason to complain. People base their entire opinion of a company and would be willing to put them out of business based on one bad thing. Everyone makes mistakes. Now, what happened with this camera and how they handled it really is inexcusable. But how many people that have had problems with their computers have actually contacted Dell during the product warranty to try to fix it? Probably very few. Dell even states, or they used to that their computers life expectancy for the entree level machines is 18 months. It is more for the higher up machines. But if your computer dies after 2 or more years and you turn and blame Dell, that is just plain stupid. It had nothing to do with Dell as a company that your computer died because of age.

  • Erick Flores

    exif on the documenting pictures show they were taken with a Canon 5D mkIII.

  • Daimos

    I really have the this weird feeling that this guy is a scam and trying to rip off Dell. I used to be a powerseller on eBay and I’ve been hit couple of times with this kind of issue. They buy insurance and then complain of item not received or item “swapped”.

  • Daz

    Someone who can afford a 5D should at least be able to buy a new bedspread!

  • G

    I think one of us might be moving off topic here, but it seems they did at least send you a computer and not floorboards… ?

  • das

    not everyone is frome america…

  • opiapr

    I reply something similar to this. That said dell offer flexible financing and the buyer probably had a credit line he used to get the camera and that where uou buy your gear is irrelevant. But the comment got deleted and I will appreciate if PP let me know why.

  • Rguptawalia

    That is BS. I think you work for Dell in India dont you? On 3 ocassions Dell have given me crap service, they dont know what customer service is. I have spent over £2500 on a single system with Dell and their priority is to get sales and they even misinform you to get sales and then try to sell you something else to coorect the lies they told you in the fisrt place. THIS HAS HAPPENED 3 TIMES to me in 7 years. I just returned an xps8500 2 weeks ago for a refund. This was due to incompatibilty with theirOWN prducts. No compensation and the refund was also 5p short. Your claim about Dell is BS

  • Michael Lieberman

    Yeah, you had a business account. I had both a personal and business account with them. Business account, always had great service. My own personal account however, horrendous service and that includes ordering some expensive equipment from Dell.

  • niXerKG

    I don’t see the problem here. I actually think he got a good deal. The laminate floor is actually useful!

    But all kidding aside. I don’t think it seems too fishy. Buying from Dell is actually a legit option. I know a bunch of people did it to get Xbox 360s and during Black Friday/Christmas you got crazy good deals on stuff.

    Now I am not saying he is/isn’t scamming. But it could easily be solved by checking the package weight. A friend of mine ordered something on Adorama once and they somehow forget to send the camera but when my friend called in, they confirmed he wasn’t scamming them by checking the package weight. If it was the correct weight when shipped then he is scamming them if not, then he isn’t because I doubt anyone went through the trouble of getting the weight right.

    Also if you guys don’t know about unboxing videos/pics you need to internets more and taking pictures of your brand new toy isn’t new. I know I did when I wanted to brag err share to my friends about my new purchases.

  • Samuel

    I cant find a single picture on this story nor two of the linked sites that has any exif data left in place. Link ?

  • lidocaineus

    Yep – gputah’s right on target. If you have a business account with Dell there is nothing better. If I even say “I think it might be this part,” they’ll immediately ship out the item to me, unless it’s critical, in which place they’ll usually replace it same-day. The consumer side of things? Who knows, but Dell’s business side is nothing short of amazing.

  • Amadeusz Leonardo Juskowiak

    Who buys camera from computer manufacturer?

    I’m based in Europe, anyway, whats wrong with Amazon, B&H, Craigslist, eBay etc ? Why Dell, just because they had overpriced cameras and they guy had their premium account?

  • gputah

    I’m going off my experience with Dell, not as an employee but as a customer. And I wasn’t a fan of Dell before I took the IT job for the company that had the service contract with Dell. But Dell changed my mind. And to say I work for Dell is ridiculous You can google my user name and find out what I do.

    Anyway, off topic completely now. I had a great experience with Dell. Some people don’t and its too bad this guy with the MK III did. Of course, I would never purchase such a high end camera from Dell and would much rather stick with Amazon, Adoroma and B&H.

  • Geoff

    Yet another reason why I’m sticking with my 5D Mk. II. :)

  • emjaysea

    Because he had a line of credit with Dell, that’s why.

  • emjaysea

    Because it costs more to buy locally!

  • Thurnis Haley

    you sir are a god

  • Marc Tobolski

    If I want to pay at least 20% more for gear I always shop locally.

  • independentskeptic

    If you want an internet price, tell the camera shop that you can find it cheaper online and ask for a discount. This at least gives the camera shop a legit chance to earn the business. Know that while brick and mortar stores often can’t meet internet prices, they can usually come close. And don’t you want the local guy to stay in business anyway???

  • Marco Couto

    Ok He had problem , they send him two packages with wood, but men , the guy is a Douchebag.. I dont think they should give him more than the free shipping for the problem, problems there is everywhere, they tryed to fix it the best they could, and this guy tottally acts like a drama queen and the princess of Uk. He wanted what ?the free camera because of a logistic problem ?

  • Trying this again

    My local camera shop charges 50% more and delivers rude and crappy customer service to boot. When I tried to return an unopened $10 step up ring ($5 on Adorama,) they opened it and then refused to take it because it had been opened.

  • tibo

    this is hilarious

  • CrackerJacker

    Unboxing my 5D Mark III gave me wood, too!

  • Mick Orlosky

    I’d be interested to weigh his box with laminate flooring that he claims and see if it matches exactly the weight that the shipper printed on the label. Very interested.

  • Rob

    Any of you people complaining that the guy should not have ordered from Dell should go back and read the article it specifically tells you why he ordered from Dell.


    I have quit buying Dell products due to their absolutely terrible service. Never again will I buy any Dell product. All they want to do is make the sale, but after they get your money, watch out. They will never do anything they say they will do, if one can even get to talk with some one.

  • Junebug

    I swear those thieves man.. I hope Karma will get them.

  • Junebug

    this is why sometimes I don’t trust those phony website were they be selling cheap camera . next time just go to those Legit Camera Stores.

  • wilmark johnatty

    I must say this is quite fishy. I am wondering why this gentleman admitted to paying more for this product from dell. The 5D Mark III could be had for discounts of up to 1000$ and from reputable camera dealers online over the past 4 months. Why pay more to buy it from a dealer who did NOT match you price nor sells this product on a regular basis. I will tell you something though – Dell may be more susceptible to fraud and willing to just refund the guy and move on while those stores like Bigvalue or even on ebay or even B & H will tell this guy to take a hike. Hey Jalal – know anyone willing to sell me a 5Dmk3 for about 1000$? PM me!

  • LionelatDell


    Thanks to bringing this to our attention. We’ve reached out to the customer and are working with him to resolve.


  • Eldorath

    I suspect it’s because he already had a line of credit from Dell. For someone with less than stellar credit, sometimes the 25-30% APR lines of credit that Dell and other online stores offer (often thru GE Capital) are the only way they can get the item they want/need.

    Additionally, even in the business world.. many companies will skip discounts/rebates/lower prices if it means having to go through a hassle of credit checks and D&B reports.

    (That said.. I do think it’s a bit odd that he claims he photographs everything he receives. If he’s that paranoid about it, he should just go ahead and get his packages sent to a service center by the shipping company, and open it in front of them… [Been there.. done that])

  • gregg

    Easy fix. Walk into a local store that supports your local community and buy it and take it home.

  • Keith D

    Add this to the already large list of reasons to avoid Dell.

  • Nailed

    I’m putting an order into Dell now… I’ve got to recover my living room floor…..BAM !

  • E

    Do you really think he’d make so much fuzz out of this, and draw attention to himself, if he did? He’d be the happy owner of two 5DmkIII’s for free and keep his mouth shut.

  • jay500px

    When buying expensive items, it is better to buy from authentic companies. I bought camera and lens directly from Amazon and accessories from BH or Adorama.

  • Jason Madden

    This is a BS comment.

  • Danny Lim

    The moral of the story is to buy it from a reputable camera shop physically or buy it from places like B&H. Buying a camera from a computer company (even it’s one of the biggest company in US) does not guarantee you will get your goods.

  • Andrē B

    It seems like it was one of two people deceptive in this story. Either the transport company (or worker there) or the Photog thought he’d try and pull one over and get two cameras for the price of one! Hmmm, which one to pick?

  • Nathan Blaney

    I’ll gladly trade my 5DMKII and L glass for some new hardwood floors. Any takers? Fuji X Series cameras have taken over my studio.

  • Doctor Octothorpe

    Canon flooring is terrible. I prefer Nikon.

  • wilmark johnatty

    This would have been really funny if it were true!

  • Jackson Cheese

    My take is that somebody else pulled a job on Dell when they bought that camera first, swapped it with the laminate flooring, and returned it. The Dell folks lazily just restocked it, and resold it.

    I say this because I’ve worked for a big electronic retailer and it happens all the time. People will buy a new TV, put their old one back in the box and return it. I’ve seen bricks, phone books, you name it.

    There’s a reason we had a fraud department.

  • Jackson Cheese

    What very likely happened is that somebody else bought the camera, removed it, replaced it with the flooring, and returned it. Dell restocked and resold it.

    This type of fraud is actually a common problem with electronic retailers.

  • Jackson Cheese

    Yeah, let’s blame the victim.

  • Jackson Cheese

    It’s a good thing we don’t all feel this way or we’d all be working for Walmart & Amazon for minimum wage while every local business goes under.