I was reading some posts over at dpreview.com today and someone had asked about buying the wonderful Panasonic Lumix LX5 for $279 from a place called Zwee.com. Needless to say, since this camera typically sells for $400-500, it sounded too good to be true. I can’t verify if this place is legit (although I have SERIOUS doubts), but why risk it? Below is my post in reply to the forum member (forum link here). I do have a list of recommendations on the links page of this website.
Why, oh why, oh why do people even consider scam shops like that. Just stick with the classic online photo retailers and you will ALWAYS be fine. Here is a pretty complete list but I’ve probably left someone off. Listed on order of how I’ve used them over the past 10 years with ZERO issues with any of them. BTW, you can get it for $375 from B&H Photo.
In the United States…
On thing to keep in mind is that these sellers are authorized sellers. They carry the full US warranties unless they specify otherwise. With most of the low cost sellers, they almost never carry a warranty because they are no authorized dealers. This is what you will typically find from these “great deal” places:
1) They are selling “gray market”. Not a big deal. These are cameras that were intended to be sold on countries other than your own. As such, they will not carry your country’s warranty. Adorama does have some gray market and they clearly state it as such, but the trade off is a good deal in some cases..your choice.
2) Some of the really low prices are sometimes stolen inventory
3) Sometimes they are knock-offs of the actual products
4) Sometimes there really isn’t a product at all – pure scam
5) A common on is this….they advertise an LX5 for $275. You order the item. You are then contacted to buy accessories before they ship. It’s now you find out that the camera doesn’t include a battery, a battery charger, etc….basically it doesn’t include anything it normally comes with. Then they proceed to charge you a fortune for the items.
Here’s a great one! Look here to see what some of the stores actually are:http://donwiss.com/pictures/brooklynstores/
READ THESE….this type of post should be a sticky.