Like many other types of businesses, camera equipment stores can make a lot of money by upselling, or convincing a customer to also purchase additional products and services. But how far can this upselling go before it becomes unethical? A new camera store receipt published online has many photographers furious and some crying “scam.”
Popular photography YouTuber Ken Wheeler (AKA The Angry Photographer) recently shared this receipt for an order made in 2015 by an older woman from the New York-based camera store 42nd Street Photo. Wheeler says he has confirmed that the receipt is genuine.
“Despicable !!!!!!!!,” writes anankephi. “CHARGED TO OLDER LADY who just didn’t know better”
The Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G lens and Nikon D750 DSLR currently cost $950 and $1,800, respectively, so the lady did receive a pretty nice discount of at least $280 on those items, but then the upselling begins for exorbitantly expensive products and services that appear to be exclusive to 42nd Street Photo…
3 Piece Filter Kit: $450
She was charged $450 for a “Precision Ultra Optics 3 Piece Filter Kit (Multi Coated Glass) 500 Series High Resolution High Definition.” The kit contains a UV, Polarizing, and FD filters by the brand “Precision Ultra Optics.”
Extra DSLR Battery: $200
She was charged $200 for an extra battery… a “Lithium EN-EL15 Extended Rechargeable Battery (3000Mah).”
Granted, the battery has a capacity of 3000Mah compared to the 1900mAh of Nikon’s official EN-EL15 battery, but Nikon’s battery costs $49. You could purchase four genuine Nikon batteries for the price of the off-brand battery this customer was sold.
32GB SDHC Memory Card: $500
The woman was charged a staggering $500 for a “Digital Speed 1200X 32GB Professional High Speed Mach III 160MB/s Error Free (SDHC) HD Memory Card Class 10.”
You can purchase a SanDisk 32GB Extreme PRO UHS-II SDHC card with faster speeds (300MB/s read, 260MB/s write) for just $60. For $500, you can purchase 8 SanDisk cards for a total of 256GB of storage.
The woman was sold a 7-year warranty on the lens for $280 and a 5-year warranty on the camera for $400, resulting in a grand total for the warranties of $680.
Grand Total: $4,307.95
For the Nikon D750, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G lens, some filters, an extra battery, a 32GB SDHC card, and warranties, the lady was charged a staggering total of $4,307.95 (and $4,374.67 when $66.72 in shipping was added). Even using the high estimates, purchasing the alternative products we quoted would only cost less than $3,100 before warranties. The Angry Photographer estimates that she received about $2,500 worth of equipment (especially since the additional accessories were “no-name” products).
So let this be a warning to you: if you’re ever shopping at a camera retailer and they start trying to convince you to add extra accessories to your order, make sure you do your research and are certain that you’re getting a good value on those extra items.
We’ve reached out to 42nd Street Photo multiple times regarding this order but the company has not yet responded to our requests for comment.
Update on 3/12/18: More details have emerged. The customer was reportedly a new widow who had just been diagnosed with cancer when she placed the order, which is why she didn’t pursue this issue with the store.
this is a comment from THE LADY HERSELF who got scammed by 42nd st. Photo……it reads:::::: Maura Caffrey 8 hours ago Thank you so much for taking up my cause – this is my camera and lens, and although I’m not elderly, I was a new widow and had just been diagnosed with cancer when I bought it. I upgraded from a D300 that I loved and used constantly. I often shot with an incredibly fine 105mm prime lens and wanted a full-frame camera to get the most from it. My photography was keeping me going during this very bad time in my life. Your information from Greg is absolutely accurate, but the consumer fraud involved is even more extensive than you’ve reported. Ordinarily, I would have gone right after 42nd St myself, but I’ve been too sick and tired -literally – to pursue it. I am thrilled and grateful to you and to Greg for being my white knights; I’ve really needed someone to help.