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  1. #41
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    While not wishing to criticise anyone for patronising any particular second-hand camera dealer, I would say that what KEH appears to have done is to practice on a large scale what smaller photo dealers have done for decades, namely take in second-hand cameras, wipe them over with a cloth, put them on the shelf without any detailed examination and sell them with a limited-period warranty. As I have said, this makes the customers the quality-control department. The difference relative to the small dealer is that KEH sell largely by mail order, so that the process of returning defective goods, which costs nothing if you buy from a dealer in your home town, ends up being quite costly. Presumably the business model is based on the fact (or assumption) that it is cheaper for the dealer to deal only with faults detected by customers than it is to check all cameras over before sale. The model does however include the possibility that some of the items on offer may be complete dogs (since grading covers only cosmetic appearance). I am sure "jmcd" is annoyed about his M2, I'm sure he'd be a whole lot more annoyed if the camera had worked acceptably until just after the warranty period expired and then turned out to need a total rebuild. KEH obviously try to forestall annoyed customers by being "generous" with their gradings, apparently enough of their customers are satisified with this.

    There does seem, if our US friends will pardon me for saying it, a cultural difference between Europe and the USA, insofar as Americans seem to expect salespeople to lie and are prepared to accept that they as customers need to fight fire with fire. KEH and other businesses seem to offer a more "adventurous" way of buying things which I for one am absolutely not looking for. Misdescribing items, advertising goods with pictures of other goods without explanation, etc. are regarded as illegal in Europe, and perpetrators can expect to be fined heavily and even shut down. Incidentally, I REALLY don't think that KEH invented the standard grading system!

    Regards,

    David
    Last edited by David H. Bebbington; 03-23-2008 at 07:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by jd callow View Post
    Other than having a far better and infinitely more consistent rating policy, immediate delivery, customer service, a long positive history, and an inventory that is far easier to browse I'd agree. Ebay and KEH: nearly identical.
    KEH.com has a rating policy that considers *only* the cosmetic attributes of the camera. They do apply it consistently and that's fortunate - as they do not provide pictures of the actual item.

    On eBay, I am generally offered several pictures of the item at various angles. I always ask seveal questions about the mechanical condition of the camera and if I do not receive any answers or I am not satisified with the answers - I do not bid. I have purchased cameras on eBay that did not function propertly but I have always been able to return them for refunds. Call that a combination of screening the sellers mixed with a dash of good fortune...

    If you call KEH.com customer service and ask about a specific camera's mechanical condition you will only be told that unless the camera is sold "AS-IS" it can be expected to work and may be returned if it does not.

    These days, I am mostly shopping M42 cameras and lenses that sell for less than $200. I feel that - with a bit of care - eBay services that market segment for me as well or better than KEH. If I were dropping, say, $3K on a Hasselblad system - I would probably view things differently.
    Last edited by aldevo; 03-23-2008 at 07:26 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington View Post
    While not wishing to criticise anyone for patronising any particular second-hand camera dealer, I would say that what KEH appears to have done is to practice on a large scale what smaller photo dealers have done for decades, namely take in second-hand cameras, wipe them over with a cloth, put them on the shelf without any detailed examination and sell them with a limited-period warranty. As I have said, this makes the customers the quality-control department. The difference relative to the small dealer is that KEH sell largely by mail order, so that the process of returning defective goods, which costs nothing if you buy from a dealer in your home town, ends up being quite costly. Presumably the business model is based on the fact (or assumption) that it is cheaper for the dealer to deal only with faults detected by customers than it is to check all cameras over before sale. The model does however include the possibility that some of the items on offer may be complete dogs (since grading covers only cosmetic appearance). I am sure "jmcd" is annoyed about his M2, I'm sure he'd be a whole lot more annoyed if the camera had worked acceptably until just after the warranty period expired and then turned out to need a total rebuild. KEH obviously try to forestall annoyed customers by being "generous" with their gradings, apparently enough of their customers are satisified with this.

    There does seem, if our US friends will pardon me for saying it, a cultural difference between Europe and the USA, insofar as Americans seem to expect salespeople to lie and are prepared to accept that they as customers need to fight fire with fire. KEH and other businesses seem to offer a more "adventurous" way of buying things which I for one am absolutely not looking for. Misdescribing items, advertising goods with pictures of other goods without explanation, etc. are regarded as illegal in Europe, and perpetrators can expect to be fined heavily and even shut down. Incidentally, I REALLY don't think that KEH invented the standard grading system!

    Regards,

    David
    Have you actually dealt with KEH?

    I've dealt with them extensively and they certainly have not behaved dishonestly to me. One simply should not expect that KEH.com - or any other 2nd hand seller - is going to conduct an extensive inspection of a camera that they are going to sell for, say, less than $150 USD. It's simply easier to have the customer return the camera if there is a problem. As there are not many sellers that even allow for that, KEH can expect that their customers will be forgiving in such circumstances.

    As for their grading system - I have already noted that it largely considers cosmetic considerations, rather than operational ones - but I've always felt that KEH.com is *conservative* in grading their inventory (i.e. items are in at least as good a cosmetic condition as they are graded).
    Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..

  4. #44
    Uncle Bill's Avatar
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    I have not dealt with KEH personally, my brother shops with them and is a really happy camper. I have built a fair chunk of my camera kit via Ebay and never had any issues with the sellers I have done business. Now if KEH allowed transactions for Canadian customers with Paypal, I am on board in an instant.
    "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
    Ferris Bueller

  5. #45
    Dan Henderson's Avatar
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    Definitely a good place to shop.


    web site: Dan Henderson, Photographer.com

    blog: https://danhendersonphotographer.wordpress.com/

    I am not anti-digital. I am pro-film.

  6. #46

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    David,

    Hmmm...I'll leave the culturally ridiculous statement aside and say this. You don't like to be dealt with is a crappy manner. No one does. You have been treated poorly by some non-US companies "Amstrad, Ericsson and Leica UK come immediately to mind!" If it were me I would not do business with these people. I do not do business with Adorama.

    We make a choice about who we deal with and we all, no matter what country we may be from, have our own standards. That being said, maybe you should never order from KEH because they do not meet your standards. Ragging about a company you have never dealt with makes about as much sense, to me, as dealing with a company that treats you poorly. I buy from KEH, when it suits my needs, because it is not adventurous. I know what I get will be as good as or most likely better than described. If I get a dud I will send it back. That is what warranties are for.

    My father has a saying. "Dig deep enough and long enough and you are going to find out everyone is a biggot, or a bastard."
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  7. #47
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aldevo View Post
    KEH.com has a rating policy that considers *only* the cosmetic attributes of the camera. They do apply it consistently and that's fortunate - as they do not provide pictures of the actual item.
    I keep reading your words and I still keep coming back to the fact that they do not reflect my experience. I always ask if the item is mechanically sound (especially if buying less than EX) and they always tell me yes. I would think that KEH would be in big trouble if they went on cosmetic alone. I would be very surprised if they didn't test the items first. Granted it may be that the $35, $50 and $75 items may not get inspected too closely, but the 300, 400, and 800 dollar item's I've bought all were mechanically and cosmetically as described.

    Quote Originally Posted by aldevo View Post
    On eBay, I am generally offered several pictures of the item at various angles. I always ask seveal questions about the mechanical condition of the camera and if I do not receive any answers or I am not satisified with the answers - I do not bid. I have purchased cameras on eBay that did not function propertly but I have always been able to return them for refunds. Call that a combination of screening the sellers mixed with a dash of good fortune...
    I have purchased from ebay and I feel more comfortable buying without a picture from someone I 'know' than with 6 pictures from someone I have yet to meet. If I'm looking for a specific item and I have the time i shop ebay or even craigs list, but neither have the reputation or offer the recourse of KEH when buying used. Often I don't have the time and don't wish to tempt fate. I've also sold over a 100k worth of 'stuff' on ebay (for someone else not myself). It is a sellers market when done correctly.

    I just bought a lens sight unseen from KEH, that looks as good or better than those that had been sold and are being auctioned on ebay for less. It would have been stupid to have bought from ebay -- assuming I won. I love and trust my fellow man as much or more than the next, but I am pretty sure everyone on ebay would have told me there lens is: Perfect , the glass is immaculate, it focuses smoothly, and there is only very minor wear on the barrel. I know if I get it from KEH 1) its cheaper 2) it will be as advertised and 3) if anything goes south it'll be replaced prior to my shoot.

    The pressure to stretch the truth is great. Slice it as you will for my money KEH is a full step up from ebay.

    Quote Originally Posted by aldevo View Post
    If you call KEH.com customer service and ask about a specific camera's mechanical condition you will only be told that unless the camera is sold "AS-IS" it can be expected to work and may be returned if it does not.
    I have had them get descriptions for me. I even had the guy pull the body he thought looked less used -- who knows he may have pulled the uglier one as I'm sure I'd become a PIA.

    Quote Originally Posted by aldevo View Post
    These days, I am mostly shopping M42 cameras and lenses that sell for less than $200. I feel that - with a bit of care - eBay services that market segment for me as well or better than KEH. If I were dropping, say, $3K on a Hasselblad system - I would probably view things differently.
    200.00 and no pressure i'd still see if KEH is competitive. KEH was not competitive I'd look at ebay or worse. For a 3k item, I'm renting, failing that I'm buying new, or used from someone I know or KEH
    Last edited by jd callow; 03-23-2008 at 11:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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  8. #48
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aldevo View Post
    Have you actually dealt with KEH? ...
    As you might guess - the answer is "NO!" My expectations are: Private seller -> Caveat emptor, Corporate seller -> Goods which are checked, all working, fully and accurately described and guaranteed. I appreciate that KEH appeals to some people, not to me. I have permanently black-listed suppliers in the UK who have behaved like KEH. On the other hand, I have on occasion used, for example, Gray's of Westminster, whose business model is to sell only Nikon, work at the high end of the market, with premises in a high-rent district of London, and sell only near-mint equipment. Their prices are of course correspondingly high, but worth it. I am sure KEH can manage fine without me.

  9. #49
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David H. Bebbington View Post
    As you might guess - the answer is "NO!" My expectations are: Private seller -> Caveat emptor, Corporate seller -> Goods which are checked, all working, fully and accurately described and guaranteed. I appreciate that KEH appeals to some people, not to me. I have permanently black-listed suppliers in the UK who have behaved like KEH.
    And how have KEH behaved?
    Other than not providing you with a photo on their website what is that they do that would warrant black listing? By your own admission you don't know how they do business -- You assume. You and a couple others say they don't test their equipment and leave it to the user to test it. I find this hard to believe. Have you asked them if they tested the equipment? I've gotten descriptions of the actual item and had it compared to others prior to purchase. Another has claimed to have received photos and all claim that they stand behind there product. KEH is a mail order house after all. In days gone by these folks would send out a thick pulp catalogue using 6pt type and blocked up line art. None would compare them to a high street merchant if only because the high street merchant has a store front and prices to match. I understand not wanting to have something shipped over seas only to have to ship it back if something goes wrong, but black listing based upon ignorance is a bit much.

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  10. #50
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jd callow View Post
    And how have KEH behaved? ... black listing based upon ignorance is a bit much.
    While not wishing to drag this subject out for very much longer ... I am sure that you, like me, pay attention to the experiences and opinions of fellow enthusiasts. Furthermore, my first-hand experience of the KEH website was very negative - cameras are offered with the same ill-defined grading for prices varying by $150 or more between $600 and $800, no pictures or detailed description, and all backed by a guarantee which may take 2 months to deliver. We are going to have to leave this subject soon, but I would simply ask you to accept that I have expectations based on European consumer-protection legislation, which is apparently far stricter than that in the US, and on my conviction that commercial businesses need to offer clear added value if they are to justify their existence.

    If people are happy with KEH, then I am confident they will ignore me completely, but for me their concept is "We will buy equipment in from other dealers, do nothing to it, charge you upfront for any repair work [in the form of a profit margin] but not actually carry out any work unless you the customer find out for yourself that it is necessary, in which case we will 'generously' carry it out in a timeframe of a couple of months". Sorry, just can't see the benefit over e-bay. And, with that, goodnight!



 

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