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).