Top Five Sleazy Electronics Sellers

I went through the ResellerRatings.com website and did a purely unscientific survey to find what might be the worst electronics company out there to order from. I looked at only companies with 100+ reviews, and weighted them to give worse ratings to those with more reviews.

I recommend checking out the links to see the experience customers had with each of the companies. If you're planning on ordering any electronics before the spring season, this will give you an idea of what to expect if you're not careful. Fortunately there are a lot of good places out there to choose from.

So, without further adieu, here's the results:

5. The Digital Dog Out of business, New York City (archived website)
283 reviews averaging 0.97 on a scale of 1-10
This company has been out of business for four years; the website was taken over by graphics designers. The Digital Dog ratings show a lot of outright theft.

4. USA Photo Nation, New York City (website)
284 reviews averaging 0.75 on a scale of 1-10
The reviews show lots of the classic upselling. Here's their storefront if you want to drop by there. The place has a small but unfavorable BBB file.

3. EMS Computing Out of business, Gainesville, Florida (archived website)
508 reviews averaging 2.58 on a scale of 1-10
They went out of business in 2003 but stole a lot of money from people. It must have sucked to place an order and then see this on their website. One customer said " I tried filing with the BBB and I was e-mailed back saying that this is an "uncooperative company" and basically try someplace else." Other customers did some interesting digging and found a huge fraud ring, which got the attention of the Florida attorney general (but presumably nothing more).

2. Best Buy, Richfield, MN, national chain (website)
425 reviews averaging 2.03 on a scale of 1-10
Holy cow, a big box store made the list. Why? The latest reviews show a trail of store pickup screwups, rude employees, restocking fees, and botched inventory. One scary account shows that Best Buy somehow shipped to a customer's old address, which the customer saw on the order confirmation, and they refused to correct the mistake.

1. A&M Photo World, New York City (website)
594 reviews averaging 0.55 on a scale of 1-10
Somehow this company (whose BBB file shows it operates as Broadway Photo) picked up 586 reviews that averaged 0.55. According to my weighting scheme, this is more than double that of the second worst company. Reviews in the past week mention the usual: salesmen calling and trying to upsell, refused RMAs, on and on. The company's web site claims "we pride ourselves in providing the best and most courteous customer service possible"! And here's their storefront:



Caveat emptor!
 
Ironically, I've only had my credit card info stolen once... from you guessed it... Best Buy. I'd say 25% of the time I went to Best Buy growing up (in Rockford, IL) there was a cop car out front hauling off some employee who "misbehaved".

Aaron
 
A few years ago at a best buy store my father had his credit card charged an extra 550$. We were upgrading the family computer and this guy tried to pass it off as a video card upgrade. So I opened up the computer and noticed the video card was the same. Well it ended up he got the video card for himself. I don't quite recall but if you steal over 500$ worth of stuff it becomes allot more serious, sucks for him it was 50$ more over 500$.
 
I had a problem with Best Buy during the summer. I decided it was finally time to buy a new laptop. Found a really good deal in the Sunday paper, so I checked online on Bestbuy.com to see if any of the stores in Tulsa had it in stock. They did, so I ordered it and selected "In-Store Pickup."

This is exactly how I bought my previous laptop three years ago. What is supposed to happen is they go back, look in the inventory, find the item, mark it has "sold online, in-store pickup" then it's set aside. A pick-up email is then sent to the buyer.

I received my pick-up email about 5 hours later. So, I go over to the store on my lunch break to get the computer. I stand around for 45 minutes, and they can't find it. So, I call the next day to see if they have it...they can't find it. I go over to the store the next day and am told by a manager that they are completely out-of-stock, even though according to Bestbuy.com they have one in their store.

It is explained to me that two of these computers will be on a truck the following week and that I am "guaranteed" one of these. Another couple of days pass. I get an email from Bestbuy.com saying that if I don't pick my order up within 48 hrs, my order will be canceled. I call Bestbuy.com and explain that there isn't one in the store. They couldn't seem to get it through their heads that one isn't in stock. I simply get, "Well, you've got a pick-up email. So, it's there. Go get it."

I reply, "What about 'the store doesn't have the laptop' don't you understand? Their in-store inventory is empty. Your inventory shows you have one? What's the deal? Sync up your computers! You've got $1000 of my money and I've got nothin. You just stole from me!"

I get in touch with the store manager again. We eventually work out that I'm going to cancel my online order, then wait for the shipment to come in and they will guarantee me the price that I paid online.

So, I wait. Shipment arrives. No laptop. They were not going to get any in at all, and acted like I was stupid when I told them I was promised one. I was also told it was a clearout and they have no more in any warehouses. Store manager offered to sell me another computer...that was $400 more expensive and not as good. I tell him, "Why should I spend $400 more on a computer that's worse and not what I want? You guys should be more concerned with what's going on. You've got a missing computer. Somebody's stealing from you."

I had a good experence with Bestbuy.com the first time three years ago. I enjoyed buying my laptop from them because I got a good price on a three-year service plan that included free battery replacements. That's why I went back. But, after this, I will NEVER order anything online from Bestbuy.com again. I might if it's something under $200 and is a good deal. Other than that, forget it.

Two months later, I decide to go back to my first choice and order a Dell. I have been extremely pleased with it, and will probably order another. It nearly outperfoms my desktop, and it was a great deal, even though it was $300 more than what I wanted to pay. It is a far superior computer in terms of hardware and performance that anything else I considered. Expcet maybe Alienware. But that's why out of my price range. :shock:

It's not really surprising that Best Buy has received such a low rating. They deal with really expensive merchandise, and when things screw up, they go horribly wrong and usually cost someone a lot of money. However, they have more things happen right than wrong. So, they have a large loyal customer base that will provide a profit margin that more than overshadows their screw ups.

Why should a big buisness like Best Buy be concerned with problems like that when they still make a ton of money?
 
I know someone who bought a digital camera from Best Buy, and when he tried it out when he got home, it had the pictures of employees and a representation. It was apparently opened, used by employees for both official and non-official store conduct, then reboxed to be displayed as new.

Yeah...he gave 'em hell.
 
I know someone who bought a digital camera from Best Buy, and when he tried it out when he got home, it had the pictures of employees and a representation. It was apparently opened, used by employees for both official and non-official store conduct, then reboxed to be displayed as new.

Yeah...he gave 'em hell.

I'm not condoning or defending anybody, especially the top 5 above or sleezy camera stores. But come on, everyone has horror stories. Best Buy sells millions of items every day, and you never hear kudos for a product working properly. You can say the same thing about all the big electronic stores. I bet people even have horror stories from the highly rated stores. People make mistakes, and most of the time they are resolved. Fraud and theft is another story, there's no excuse for that.
 
Honestly though, 90% of the items in Best Buy you can find online for cheaper. That's the real reason why I don't shop there (or many other places for retail electronics) anymore. Hell... I just bought tires online for both of my vehicles because they were cheaper.

Aaron
 
Best Buy is only good to go in, check out an item, grab it, play with it, then go home and order it from a reputable online store for usually $100 less. (bought two digital cameras and a digital camcorder this way) Theyre way overpriced!

Aaron, alot of people are onto the online tire buying, I deliver alot of those!!
 
Just a quick tip about Best Buy. Even though they may have prices that are a bit higher than other stores, they still have a seldom known about Price Match Guarantee

From their website:
Two more great reasons to buy with confidence. If you're about to buy and discover a lower price than ours, let us know and we'll match that price on the spot. Already bought? We'll refund you the price difference, plus an additional 10% of that difference — up to 30 days after your purchase (14 days on desktop computers, notebooks, projectors, monitors, printers, camcorders, digital cameras and radar detectors). In either case, simply bring in proof of the price on the same available brand and model, from a local retail competitor. Exclusions apply. For full details, see our store price guarantee.


I rarely buy from Best Buy due to their higher prices, but this is pretty nice.
 
Just a quick tip about Best Buy. Even though they may have prices that are a bit higher than other stores, they still have a seldom known about Price Match Guarantee

From their website:
Two more great reasons to buy with confidence. If you're about to buy and discover a lower price than ours, let us know and we'll match that price on the spot. Already bought? We'll refund you the price difference, plus an additional 10% of that difference — up to 30 days after your purchase (14 days on desktop computers, notebooks, projectors, monitors, printers, camcorders, digital cameras and radar detectors). In either case, simply bring in proof of the price on the same available brand and model, from a local retail competitor. Exclusions apply. For full details, see our store price guarantee.


I rarely buy from Best Buy due to their higher prices, but this is pretty nice.

Ahh... It's those famous couple words "Exclusions apply" - usually internet retailers don't apply because of their rock bottom prices and very low overhead.
 
I bought my Sony digital camcorder from The Digital Dog years ago. Same old story. They call you up and try to sell you every accessory known to man and when you don't play their game, they slow play you.
It finally took a letter from my attorney to get them to ship my camera. I am glad they are out of business and I hope they rot. Crooks, liars and thieves. Caveat Emptor is right!!!
 
In recent years I've been giving serious consideration to the idea that New York state officials and perhaps a few key people in the banking industry are in collusion with these shady merchants. You look around and California, Florida, Texas, etc doesn't have a problem anywhere near the scale that New York does. And it's mind-boggling how these firms can just operate for years and years with no accountability. How do merchant banks allow them to operate, considering they probably have a high chargeback rate? It all smells really fishy.

Tim
 
In recent years I've been giving serious consideration to the idea that New York state officials and perhaps a few key people in the banking industry are in collusion with these shady merchants. You look around and California, Florida, Texas, etc doesn't have a problem anywhere near the scale that New York does. And it's mind-boggling how these firms can just operate for years and years with no accountability. How do merchant banks allow them to operate, considering they probably have a high chargeback rate? It all smells really fishy.

Tim

Corruption would not be an improper word to use here. Just like Lousiana, there's not shortage of it in New York City. Although, I think its much improved from what it used to be...and way better than New Jersey.

Also, in New York City you can get away with a lot if things. They just don't have the time and money to address all these problems. The fake purse sellers are the best. They all walk around with big sheets full of knock off purses. Its no secret what they are doing, but nobody ever gets arrested for it. The list goes on too, its a big city. Speed limits in New York City, again, not very enforceable. Its not uncommon to go 50-60mph up and down the avenues late at night. NYC is not known for its speed traps.

I think we are preaching to the choir here. Hopefully all Stormtrack members will steer clear of the sleezy NYC places. Stick to B&H...just don't go there on Friday afternoon or Saturday, they're closed.
 
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