View Full Version : International orders problem

jose angel
25-Apr-2005, 04:03
Iīm on a bad experience. I have already received from B&H my awaited Saunders VTrack 16x20 easel (and other items).

Usually, items from B&H are double covered; first covered by the manufacturers cardboard box, and then into a shipping carton. I have received even a 4x5" enlarger in this way.

The easel came into the manufacturers cardboard box, so thin cardboard for the easelīs weight to my thoughts. No added protection or shipping carton. No "fragile" stickers. Even so, the box was OK. Hurray for UPS. This Saunders original box looks previously opened, then closed with B&Hīs paper tape. -"Bad thing"- I thought. Yes, -too bad-. The easel looks used, with some dings, dirty (badly cleaned, it still shows cleaning, paper and blade wear marks!!), and the worst of all, the plate base was absolutely curved and the blade frame bent. It canīt be easily repaired. Some allen bolts have been clumsy tightened: their heads are damaged. Some of them show rust! Incredible. I suspect they have slipped me a demo unit at best. I suppose Saunders easels on top finish quality, isnīt it? Clearly, it is not a shippers mistreat.

I paid for new. I paid for it US$ 413.95 plus 172.00 shipping plus 125.00 taxes. Great.

Of course, it will be returned for exchange or refund. B&H policy accept it, but what about shipping returning charges? I understand that european tax customs are money lost to me (another 125.00 if exchanged), but what about shipping? I must pay return shipping to B&H. Can I demand them for this amount later? I consider this consingment a B&Hīs clear irresponsibility. Have anybody of you experienced something similar with B&H? I wonder if they will support the "shippers mistreat theory". Iīm really disappointed... perhaps your experience could help me... thanks.

25-Apr-2005, 07:01
I deal at B&H, and when I purchase only one item, they frequently open the manufacturer's box and stick the B&H invoice in, then re-tape it. And send it in the original manufacturer's box. It does seem that in the last few years B&H has become less diligent in packing.

I'm in Alaska, and last year purchased something that was defective and had to return it. B&H did reimburse the original postage (2nd day air) to me, but I had to pay return shipping. On another item, after writing a long letter of explaination, they did adjust the bill partially.

It's not right, but what else can you do? We go to B&H because it's the cheapest, don't we?

Gem Singer
25-Apr-2005, 07:38
Hi Jose,

After dealing with Calumet for eighteen years, I switched to B&H because of the price and better availability of the items that I needed. After ten years of dealing with B&H, I have now gone back to Calumet for most of my supply needs. I no longer deal with B&H.

During the last few years, I had experienced problems similar to yours with shipping and packing . I never complained or sent an item back for exchange or refund. However, I think that my main reason for parting company with B&H was the attitude of the telephone order takers when I called to place an order. I had all of the information about the product that I was purchasing off of the B&H website, including the catalogue number. I never needed to ask the phone order taker any questions about the product. If I asked about availability or shipping time, I was given a rude answer. The phone order takers never used the words please, or thank you. I always felt that they were doing me a favor to take my order.

Calumet has made an effort to keep their prices competitive. They keep a fresh stock of merchandise, and they treat people who call in an order like valued customers. Their attention to good service has certainly paid off, as far as I'm concerned.

25-Apr-2005, 09:12
Really sorry to hear that, Jose!

Iīve no experience with B&H, Calumet, ... or any other mailorder-business overseas (Iīm situated in Austria, you are form Spain i guess). The problems you described is the reason why.

I really hope there is an acceptable solution to your problem, but iīm afraid you will have to bite the bullet and take all the expenses.

Exorbitant shipping costs (besides duties and taxes) make most orders completely unattractive unless you make a 2000USD+ purchase - donīt get me wrong - I would be VERY glad to have a B&H, Calumet or any other major retailer with such a huge stock at such competitive prices here in my neighborhood!

So if i could give any advice, it is to watch out for mailorder stores within the European Union, especially in Germany (and even Austria) - youīll find the lowest prices there within the EU. There is no "we-have-it-all" like B&H, but if you know where to get what, itīs ok.

Contact me, if you need some adresses - i know them all...



Jorge Gasteazoro
25-Apr-2005, 15:41
I had exactly the same problem Jose, I bought a Jobo CPP2 new and when I received it was clearly used, it even had water marks. To top it off I was sent a discontinued model with a less powerful motor than the new model. I called B&H, raised a stink and told them I was not going to pay for shipping back to them something they had clearly tried to screw me with. I also let them know that if they did not send for the item I was going to notify my credit card and put a stop payment on the charge....Next day the UPS truck was at my front door.

Dont let them screw you, I hope you paid with a Credit Card and can have the charges reversed if it comes to that.

BTW, that was the last time I used B&H, I got the feeling that they try to pawn the returned items from their store to those using their mail order in the hopes that one will accept them instead of going through the hassle of a return..

Stephen Hall
26-Apr-2005, 03:35
That is the problem, I think, with international orders; you dont want the hassle of returning items, paying extra postage, import duty etc. so companies can afford to treat you a bit shoddily.

I had intended to switch to B&H, hoping they might provide better service than another major US photo store I have been dealing with, name beginning and ending in A.

I recently placed a large order of sheet film and specifically requested a long use-by date as it would be the only order that I would place this year and the film would travel through (potentially) hot storage sheds, x-ray scanners etc before reaching me in North Australia.
All the film they ended up sending me was 6 months out of date! GRRR!!
Had to do a lot of whinging before they offered me a discount but I've still got a fridge full of outdated film!

Jorge Gasteazoro
26-Apr-2005, 07:07
Stephen, why did you take the discount?....I dont know what are the rules for CC payment in Australia, but in Mexico they are pretty much the same as in the US (hell, my bank is own by the citi group). If I go to my bank and request a charge back due to what essentially amounts to fraud, I get it. You should have done the same.

jose angel
26-Apr-2005, 11:23
Jorge, in some situations, it is not possible. Usually, once you click over the "buy" buttom, you are accepting a bilateral contract with the seller. Also, you have a previous contract of payment with the credit card company. Depending of the credit company, solutions could be different, thought. Laws protect sellers against delinquents accounts, and buyers against non ethical sellers (fraud, swindle, etc.).

Thatīs the reason because is compulsory for sellers a buyers proof period . In this period, a possible fraud can be resolved without the hassle of a lawsuit. Some banks (like mine) have an special service to help cheated customers by credit card payments, including internet and mail orders.

But as you said before and Iīm in accordance with you, I feel that some sellers use their mail orders and the hassle of returns to release items that are impossible to sell in presence. Iīm really upset it can occur also with B&H. Curiously, the darkroom department is a characteristic in common.

Even in the case that the item is returned, I think it can be swindle if the shipping costs are applied to the buyer that receive a different item or in different condition as offered. New means never opened, never used. Even like new, just about new, almost or nearly new is a very different condition.

Thank you all for your comments. Rainer, I `ll send you a private email. Anyway, I wish they make honour to their own words,

"B&H has been serving imaging markets for 30 years. Through all those years our goal has been to deserve the trust of our customers... We were determined to combine honest and helpful dealings with the best service before, during, and after the sale. We understood that long - term customer satisfaction depended on our ability to maintain a knowledgeable and courteous customer service staff assisted by the best support systems. And we decided on a way to describe our business... " Wet paper? We will see...