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The Dangers of Shopping for Cameras Online

As one of the few locally owned and operated brick-and-mortar camera stores still left, we value our customers and care about the quality of what they purchase.

Here are the myths we are about to bust for you:

  1. Your local camera store is already offering you the lowest price, guaranteed.

  2. Big box stores and local stores have the exact same price, as they have the same agreement with the manufacturers.

  3. Within 30 days, all retailers usually offer a 'lowest price guarantee', so if the price is reduced and you remember to bring your receipt in during the sale -- you will be given the difference back!

  4. All prices that seem significantly lower on "new" camera gear, is most likely pre-owned, open-box or grey market!

Saving a few bucks on a camera or lens online, could cost you in the long term.

You're online, and you notice that so-and-so is selling the camera you're looking at -- for a significant amount less than everyone else! You print off the ad to bring to your local camera store, hoping to get the cheaper price, and you quickly find out that they cannot sell you the camera at the price that is listed. In the store you see signs saying, "Lowest Price Guaranteed!", and think, "Wow, that's false advertising".

Well, if the store doesn't give you the price you found, you may as well go buy it off of that online retailer. Saving $100 on your lens could just help you get that nice filter you've wanted to try, or let you upgrade to a new camera bag. No big deal -- right?

Wrong! You could be buying grey market, or a product that isn't actually what you want.

What is grey market? Grey market is what we call products that are purchased for lower prices overseas and sold in the U.S for a little less than the competition. Not only is the online retailer getting more profit from selling gear like this, you are actually losing in the long term as you won't have a valid U.S manufacturer's warranty -- as they are not an authorized retailer.

Why does the warranty matter? Repair facilities will reject all repair requests on that product, and if you find out that the product was damaged prior to you receiving it (maybe even while in the factory) -- you won't be able to get any help from the manufacturer. On top of it all, we have actually even seen cameras that have been purchased online, that have been altered to look like a different product (the real-life example: Canon T2i disguised to look like a T6i using paint).

In order to protect their customers from grey market products, manufacturers recommend only purchasing products from authorized retailers (like The Shutterbug). We are bound by an agreement to only sell products at a certain price, set by the manufacturer. All "price drops", "blow-out sales" and "Holiday Deals!", are all scheduled by the manufacturers. If an item is sold outside of that price, the retailer can lose their authorized dealer status. Another little secret: Sales are usually only offered on products that they have plenty of -- at the time!

Manufacturers manage prices for a variety of industries, including TVs, cameras, and even non-generic branded medicine (like Tylenol).

The more you know, the more we are doing our job at The Shutterbug!

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