- Camera website sells used camera as “new”
- Web search reveals it was used in YouTube demo
- You don’t want to know where this camera has been.
LET this be a warning to anyone who buys tech products online.
New doesn’t always mean new.
A hugely popular photography company, DigitalRev has been busted selling used cameras advertised as brand new.
Photographer Rob Dunlop told News.com.au that he found out through a website which helps you see if your camera is stolen, that the Canon 5D MkIII which he bought from DigitalRev had been used by the company in one of its YouTube camera reviews.
(DigitalRev’s YouTube channel has more than 500,000 subscribers and has received more than 100 million views. It also has its own social network).
“I stumbled across a website called StolenCameraFinder.com, which searches the internet for photographs matching a camera’s serial number, so if your camera is stolen you can track down the new owner,” Mr Dunlop said.
The website works by allowing people to type in the camera’s serial number which it then uses to search the web for any images that have the same number embedded in its photo file.
Though his camera wasn’t stolen, Mr Dunlop found some photos belonging to DigitalRev which had been taken with his camera.
“That’s when alarm bells started to ring! This was a shot taken by my camera, before it was sold to me, and it was a street scene,” he said.
“Then I found other photos DigitalRev had taken with my camera, before it dawned on me that the images were actually from product reviews by DigitalRev TV.”
“When I watched the reviews, I saw that my camera was being used as part of their production equipment.”
To make matters even worse, the presenter handling the camera was featured complaining about being “particularly sweaty and odorous” that day and even wiped himself down with a feminine hygiene product. He also put his hands down his pants before using the camera again.
Scroll down to watch the video.
The video also showed there was a light drizzle the day the company used it in its YouTube video. Though the Canon 5D MkIII is “weather sealed”, it is only guaranteed with certain lenses. Mr Dunlop said DigitalRev did not use suitable lenses and therefore ran the risk of increasing the chances of moisture entering the body.
“The crew apparently changed the lens twice during the shoot, which increased the chances of moisture entering the body,” he said. “While the risk of damage to my camera may have been slim, it’s not a risk they were entitled to take.”
The photographer says he is trying to give the company the benefit of the doubt and hopes that the problem was caused by “laziness, (my camera was nearby when they needed one), disorganisation or ineptitude as opposed to wilful unethical behaviour”.
He said DigitalRev responded with a “respectful tone” after he contacted and promised in an email – sighted by News.com.au – to conduct a “thorough internal investigation”.
He posted an excerpt of the company’s response on his blog in which it stated that the cameras used in reviews came from a number of sources including press units, display units from distributors, partners, rental companies or were “borrowed or donated” from the Digital Rev online store.
“The practice in the past is that if we have to loan something to DigtialRev TV, it is either written off (and thereby become DRTV’s equipment) or sold to third party companies for clearance afterwards,” the company wrote.
“It is definitely not DigitalRev Online Store’s police to allow any loan product to DRTV to be recirculated back into the store’s logistic flow, especially as it doesn’t make sense to risk damaging our reputation when we could have sold them to third party companies at cost with the conditions of the product clearly stated.”
The spokesperson also said the DigitalRev team had access to four 5D MkIII cameras so it was unclear “why DRTV was handed this camera, and why it was returned to the inventory.
The photographer has received hundreds of angry responses to his blog post.
“I’ve seen a lot of people swear they will never use DigitalRev ever again, which just goes to show that if a company disrespects one customer, they are really disrespecting them all,” he said.
“The internet has brought us all together so we can share our experiences instantly, good or bad. The right attitude at every stage of one’s business pays dividends now, more than ever before.”
Likewise Mr Dunlop says DigitalRev needs to act “decisively and honestly” to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future, or face losing the goodwill they once had.
Head of marketing and PR for Digital Rev, Julia Poon told News.com.au that an internal audit revealed three violations carried out by the logistic team that resulted in products lent to DigitalRev TV to be returned to the Online Store’s inventory.
“The logistic team, keen to meet the performance indicators set by the company, have in three occasions when the products were out of stock managed to return the products to the inventory,” Ms Poon said.
“DigitalRev Online Store is now in touch with three affected customers to recall their products for refund or replacement.”
Though it had discovered a few isolated violations of internal policy, Digital Rev said it takes the matter “extremely seriously.”
“We have made it the management’s top priority to make sure more trainings are provided and no further violation is going to happen. We are also hiring internal auditors to ensure internal compliance of the operation,” Ms Poon said.
“All products offered on DigitalRev.com are brand new products. DigitalRev Online Store does not sell used or refurbished products, and we value the trust our customers have placed in us over the years. We wish to offer our most sincere apology to the customers affected and will make sure that similar incidents will not occur in the future.”