Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today, inside my bubble ...

Were we "Ripped Off"?!!

With a new hobby in photography and having just purchased a new camera Nikon D5000, Ray and myself happily went shopping for extra accessories to compliment it last Saturday. We wanted to be ready to capture all the actions during the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur International Marathon. Ray had checked his stuff over the internet forums and knew exactly what he wanted.

Off we went to the city, headed first to Pertama Complex in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. We wanted to purchase a Nikon flash SB60 and a carry case there. We successfully got the items at the price we wanted.
We were also looking for the Nikon 55-200mm lens as well. Unfortunately we could not close the deal at the price we wanted at this outlet. So off we went to Sungei Wang Plaza at Jalan Bukit Bintang, which is on another part of the city. No problem, we had time to kill anyway because we had a late evening appointment for a traditional massage on the opposite side of the city, Setapak.

Upon reaching Sungei Wang Plaza, we headed straight for the shop that sold us the Nikon D5000. Checked and unfortunately again, we could not get the lenses at our preferred price. We went around the complex, checking from one outlet to another, until we came to Tarita Photo & AV.

Andy, a bald-headed forty-something salesman there attended to our initial enquiry of the Nikon 55-200mm lens. Their price wasn't right for us either. However, Andy suggested that we try the Sigma lens for 70-300mm instead. He claimed it to be better if not the same as Nikon's lenses since they are from the same manufacturer. We tested the lens on our camera and found it to be working beautifully. He quoted his retail price at $1500 and gave us discounts to lower the price to $1420. Being a newbie and as we have not checked on this item before, we were apprehensive to commit to the purchase. We wanted to check around first but Andy pushed on and gave further discounts. Against our better judgement, we actually went ahead and bought the Sigma 70-300mm DG Macro lens at $1300.

Horrified could not possibly described our feelings when we unintentionally found another shop selling the lens at $500 cheaper. This shop was selling a Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro unit. We went back to Andy immediately to check with him on the difference between APO and our unit that's non-APO. With an air of confidence, he claimed that the other outlet's APO unit were old models and that the unit that we purchased were the better unit. Surprisingly, he could not provide a satisfactory answer to the technical difference between APO and non-APO.

We left Sungei Wang Plaza with a sense of uneasiness, hoping that Andy had been a trustworthy salesman. Judging from his looks, if he turns out otherwise ... well, I guess it's true with the saying "Do not judge a book by its cover."

After our painful traditional massage in the hands of a 60-year-old 'Makcik' and a hearty supper of 'durians'and 'nasi lemak', we went home eager to check online to validate our purchase. We immediately checked Sigma website and to our regret, we found that our purchased model were indeed the older model compared to the APO units. All the online photography enthusiasts were only recommending the APO unit and at prices that were way below our purchase price in the range of about $800. We actually do not have any technical complain about our purchase, only the price. We were beginning to feel cheated.

Next morning, Ray checked the internet forums and called several other camera shops to enquire about the price. It was such a disturbing Sunday when he found that the actual price for the non-APO lens should range between $750-$800. One shop even offered him at $600. Since it was a Sunday, we could not get hold of Andy nor could we contact the authorised distributor. It was quick becoming a moody Sunday.

I assured Ray that we will find an amicable solution. What happen has happened. We just need to confirm the price with the authorised dealer on Monday and approached Andy for a refund. I am still giving Andy the benefit of a doubt that he just probably quoted and sold to us at the wrong price. There is always a possibility of human error.

Stay tuned for the rest of the episode after my call to the authorised dealer yesterday to get to the bottom of this unfortunate incident.


8 Bubbles:

Aiks.... Aiya...Ouch..
Hope you get your refund.. You can go back to Andy and tell him that the serious photography community is a small one, and any bad reviews / comments about his shop / service will render his business 'gone'... Prolly a last resort la, but sometimes a bit of 'aggresiveness' works wonders..

we hope this issue can be settled with this shop willing to refund. Otherwise, we can help 'promote' them and their cheat online. Tell them so. Eugene is right - in this case, you have all the right to be aggressive!.

I even had bad customer who is aggressive WITHOUT a reason, sigh!

Hey, thanks for the support you all. It has provided a little bit more fire to continue with the fight.

So when you getting your 70-200mm f2.8 VR?? =)

I thought 70-300mm is better than 70-200mm, right? Of course, ours is without VR but don't really understand f2.8 wor. Any advice?

Oh... no lor... the 70-200mm 2.8 VR prolly cost 6 grand.. hehe..
The whole explanation of 2.8 and 200mm or 300mm could prolly break the limits of your comment box, so we'll talk about it when we see each other during the next run/training... :)

Ya ... looking forward to know more from you. See you soon ... may be at the SCKLIM? :)