Royal Camera – a study in deceptive practices

No_cameras_1
Royal Camera is a star in the firmament of "bait and switch" retailers. They have a long history of rip off sales and substitution of damaged or used equipment. They make the worst used car salesmen look upright and honest by comparison.

Most Recent Update: Add CCI Camera City
Inc., 342 Kings Highway, Brooklyn, NY 11223 to your list of online
camera shops to avoid. CCI has the same address as Royal Camera!


If you Google "CCI Camera City problems", you will find the same list
of bait and switch complaints and grey market product complaints that
Royal Camera is known for.

Royalcamera0009Here the Brooklyn storefront which houses Royal Camera and CCI Camera. Would you buy a camera from this store and expect to have a warranty that meant anything? Click on image to enlarge.

Thanks to Don Wiss <donwiss@panix.com>

Their business plan and brand mantra would make a fascinating study project for a Business School grad, because they have managed to turn this activity into a long term paying proposition.

Their deceptive business practices are well-documented in scores of forums and business alert sites. If you contrast their website with the links provided below, you can see that they seem to employ con artists at many levels in the organization.

I have been buying products on the internet for many years and have never encountered a more determinedly corrupt set of business practices.

I purchased a Sony DSC-F828 camera from them in November at the advertised price of $405.00. It was advertised as in stock. The next day, I received a call from a salesman who tried to sell me memory cards, batteries and filters at prices 35% – 50% above retail. When I didn’t go for that, he told me that delivery would take 4-6 weeks.

Six weeks later, I checked on my order and was told that delivery would take another 10-12 weeks.

I finally did what I should have done earlier. I Googled: Royal Camera problems, Royal Camera complaints, Royal Camera scams, Royal Camera rip offs, Royal Camera ratings, Royal Camera bait and switch. The negative reports went on and on and on

The results were appalling. These were not isolated bad reports, these were entire forum threads devoted to Royal Camera’s deceptive business activities. The reports went back years and numbered in the hundreds.  Contrast these reports with their web site that promises a smooth online shopping experience. It was so well written that I believed the web site. Live and learn!

I will cancel have cancelled my order, so the only thing I lost was time. I have learned from this experience because this was the most outstandingly deceptive business I have encountered on the web in many years.

Calling Royal Camera a camera retailer is like calling the James Gang a bunch of cowboys. 

I could have saved myself time and trouble by Googling the company name combined with every negative remark I could imagine.

If there is a company that you are concerned about, I suggets you use Google to see if they specialize in corrupt practices.

You may be surprised.

You also should read my other posts on this company:

Warning – Royal Camera has reinvented itself.
Is there a meltdown in store for Royal Camera?
Google + blogs = influence

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0 Responses to Royal Camera – a study in deceptive practices

  1. GBGames says:

    I had a problem with featureprice.com. When I originally signed up for hosting with them, they were inexpensive and had great service.

    At one point I lost email access. I went to their website to file a report, but their help desk system was being upgraded and wasn’t available…then I noticed that it said it should be up by a month that had passed over two months before.

    I did some googling and found whole websites, forums, and posts discussing problems that people have had with featureprice.com. I was amazed because up until then I hadn’t had any problems, but I guess I was just one of the lucky ones who hadn’t been affected yet.

    Since then, any time I want to buy something from someone I don’t know, I google for “[name of store] complaint” or use similar search terms.

  2. Matt says:

    I’ve found that http://www.resellerratings.com/ is a great place to go to find out who the good electronics retailers are, and who are the rip-off artists.

    A bit more focused than googling…

  3. Jim T. says:

    I too was a victim of Royal Camera. After dealing with some of the rudest people I have ever spoken with, I have decided to be a proactive consumer that will do everything in my power to protect the public from the company. I have created a site called Royal-Camera.com that mirrors their site but I would like it to be an open forum for anyone who has had misdealings with them. Please foward this URL to as many people as you would like and hopefully we can put them out of business.

  4. Ron Mitchell says:

    THANK YOU! I almost bit on Royal’s ad for a Canon 20D at $909 ….

  5. mike says:

    Thanks, I was just calling Royal Camera to talk about a camera that was listed at half of b & h’s price…then I found your site. I appreciate your info on Royal Cam. I will not be buying from them…ever!

    Mike

  6. Eileen says:

    Holy cow!! I am so glad I just googled and found your site. I was literally minutes from ordering the Canon Rebel from them. Thank you!

  7. DJ says:

    Your a life (& money) saver. I was actually considering buying an XL2 from royal camera. I’ll stick to a Canon authorized dealer instead. Thanks!

  8. Sherry says:

    I am so frustrated we have beed ripped off by Royal Camera too, we tried the Visa Dispute, but that didn’t work. there must be something that we can do together, I am contacting the magazine that it was in, if anything we can contact all the magazines and block them from advertizing.
    We need to have a plan…….
    Sherry

  9. Michelle says:

    I have actually had a great experience with royal camera. they gave me what i wanted when i wanted. sure it was a couple extra dollars but it was worth getting everything i needed and they have great customer service. i wasnt sure on how to use the camera and they sat with me walking me through it instead of telling me to call the manufacture like other companies did.

  10. Anonymous “Michelle” is one of Royal Camera’s lame attempts to counter the hundreds of accounts of bait and switch by Royal Camera.

    They must have woken up to the fact that their name is now synonymous with the worst example of shabby business practices.

    All you have to do to verify Royal camera’s continuing scam is to Google Royal Camera. I did this yeaterday and the complainers are now listed ahead of Royal Camera’s website.

    Talk about just retribution! If this continues, they may have to change their name again!

    UPDATE: Just got another anonymous shill raving about Royal camera’s excellent service. Forget the shills, RC, improve your service.

  11. allan bush says:

    I ordered a nikon d 70 camera package spent a $1000 dollars got myself a camera,2 lenses,highspeed 1gig,and filters. and found out that i saved 356 dollars then purchasing from b& h or adorama i think this site is being runned by b&h and adorama so people can buy from them and not from royal camera.

  12. Allan and a previous shill (now deleted) use the same IP address and have the same grammar and spelling problems.

    I guess Royal Camera is getting desperate.

  13. Mike says:

    There is something you can do if you are a victim of bait-and-switch. Fill out a complaint at the Federal Trade Commission. If enough people complain to the FTC, they will investigate and take law enforcement action. https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

  14. AC says:

    well i wish i would of seen this site before i decided to place an order. I purchased the rebel xt body for 539 i believe. After i searched royal camera i found various complaints about them. A couple of days after the purchase i tryed to cancel the order but the lady i was speakng to said they had already shipped it off. She said it would arrive in aobut 2-3 days. I hope they give me wut i asked for and not something else extra. I turned down all of their offers on battery, chargers, and lens. I forgot i also ordered a 1 mega pixel card. The total was about 888 including shipping and handling. They werent rude at all. wut should i do if a problem occurs? wut bad could possibly happen?? can anyone fill me in??

  15. Thanks a bunch :) says:

    Hey, thanks for the tip off about royal camera. I had filled my details on their yahoo ‘hacker safe’ store and was about to confirm when I read their terms and conditions and thought I’d better do a search for ‘royal camera bad’ on google.
    I was about to drop $2300 usd on their site. The ‘we ship worldwide’ bit in their ‘terms and conditions’ + the ‘pictures may vary from actual products’ made me suspicious. No (sane/legit) merchant accepts $2300 international visa transactions, they are simply too risky.

  16. paul says:

    I tried to buy a camera from them to bring to a friend in Finland and ran into the same bait and switch tactics. I ordered a Canon 75-300 lens and they sent a Sigma one instead along with the basic lens for the Canon rebel camera I ordered. But they called my wife to tell her that the camera would not be available for some time and could she get an American model $100 more expensive, along with a battery pack. She politely declined. I am now out $549 for the two lenses and who knows about the camera. I will call them Sunday if they are open and try to send back everything and cancel the order. I have also sent them an email expressing my anger and intention to complain to the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and the BBB. Do I have any chance with this?

  17. Mario says:

    Thank you for saving me from these crooks.

  18. Dennis McMahon says:

    I almost bought a Nikon D70 from them, but the ‘price is to good to be true’ led me to here and other sites. For some amusement, check out the digital camera dealers listed at http://www.resellerratings.com with this URL – http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/. Made we stick with the local guys!

  19. steph says:

    wow, i was about to buy a 20D from them TODAY, but decided to google them because it really seemed too good to be true. thanks for your posting. i will call them back and let them know i won’t do business with them due to the hundreds upon hundreds of horror stories. yikes!

  20. Barry Weathers says:

    I am sad to say it; but, I attempted a purchase from Royal Camera today. After being lied to and treated worse than a rat, I cancelled my order because RC refused to honor its advertised and confirmed price when I refused to order overpriced accessories. I have purchased the camera elsewhere and I will file suit to make Royal Camera pay the difference plus my attorney’s fees. I will not tolerate this inappropriate conduct. Most states have a Consumer Protection laws that punish pathetic companies like Royal Camera. NO ONE should ever shop with these jerks.

  21. Dougal says:

    thank you,thank you,thank you.
    I was about to buy a Canon GL2 from this outfit and thought it would be a good idea to check them out first, boy am I glad I did.
    Guess where I am NOT shopping!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you

  22. The Royal Flush says:

    I too wasted my time with the Royal Scam. Bait & Switch is their only game. We should collectively decimate this fraudulent business through a class action. Anyone else game?

  23. Klarissa says:

    I bought a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT from them. After two months of calling and only being told it was on back order then being sold some other package I looked into them more. I am going to cancel my order now. Thanks for the info

  24. Mark says:

    I to was saved by the odd chance of googling RC and saw the slew of complaints against them. I all but hit the submit button for an order in excess of $7G when the inner voice said wait… sleep on it…
    The following day I googled & was very happy I did. Thank you all & sorry for your loss. Get those bastards behind bars!

  25. John says:

    I found Royal Camera’s price on a Sony camcorder to be the best on the web and was about to place my order. I had already compared prices, but had yet to check on their reputation. I’m glad I did. I am not going to buy from them after reading all of the bad accounts of others from dealing with these con artists. I am shocked that they are allowed to remain in business. Thank you all for the warning… I’ll shop elsewhere. And a great round of appreciation to all of those who had to suffer for my and others benefit.

  26. Leslie says:

    Thanks so much for the heads-up! I was just about to order a Canon GL2 for $1000!

  27. Heather says:

    Oh wow, I ordered from them on Friday online, haven’t talked to them at all. Everything seems to be okay. But now I’m scared after reading all these horrible reviews! I did 3-day Shipping, so I am going to wait until thursday before I start freaking out and cancelling my order, etc. I wish I had read the reviews first! Has anyone actually ever received their order? If so, was it in tact? Ack! Now I’m panicking!

  28. alex says:

    thanks yall,
    a was about to make a $5,000 purchase from Royal Camera. When I called and asked questions, the sales rep did not know much about the product. That said, he was really pushy about selling the product, so I googled ROYAL CAMERA FRAUD and endless number of sites popped up……..definitely a no go.
    i believe they are also knows as Camera CIti….

  29. JOHN K. FINLEY says:

    I JUST DISCOVERED THIS SITE AND JUST HAD A FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE WITH THE (ASSHOLES PLEASE EXCUSE THE LANGUAGE)WITH RICK AND PETER AT ROYAL CAMERA & VIDEO, THEY ARE ADVERTISING SEVERAL DIFFERENT PACKAGES FOR THE SONY HVR-Z1 I PLACED AN ORDER ON JUNE 26,O6 FOR PACKAGE 1 FOR THE SONY HVR-Z1 FOR $3,500.00 AND WHAT I GOT WAS A SONY HVR-A1 KIT WHEN I CALL AND COMPLAIN THEY ARE NASTY RUDE AND RICK EVEN TOLD ME HE WILL COME TO MY HOUSE AND DO WHAT EVER, WHEN I CALLED ALL I WANTED WAS A RETURN NO. FOR THE CAMERA PACKAGE AND I HAD TO LISTEN TO THESE ASSHOLES RANT AND RAVE ABOUT ME RETURNING THE CRAP THEY SOLD ME, AND TELLING ME THEY WILL CHARGE ME SOME CRAZY AMOUNT FOR RE STOCKING, WHAT CAN WE DO TO STOP THESE PEOPLE, I FOUND THIS SITE AFTER MY PURCHASE WAS MADE BUT THANK YOU FOR THE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS BOGUS COMPANY.

  30. Ron says:

    ROYAL PAIN IN THE BUTT.

    After talking about getting a D50 camera for a good price, The rude person I was talking to asked how I was going to supply the power. I was told it didn’t come with a battery and charger. So I asked how much.
    Well the price was 189.00 dollars.
    I said I could get both at best buy for around 60.00 dollars. He didn’t like that and said well then go to BEST BUY. Typical bait and switch

  31. Tracy says:

    HEADS UP PEOPLE! DO NOT buy from this bogus company. I bought Canon 30d kit ($1249) and got a European Canon 30 d with half of the accessories packaged in bubble wrap stuffed in the “fake” box with no serial numbers on the box or USA warantee. Lies after lies from these guys, even the managers Ronny Shy and Peter Sullivan. Everything you read is true – lying pushing sales reps, difficult return policy (they want to exchange with you), yelling, hanging up! It is the CRAZIEST place ever. I wish I had done my research and read all this before experiencing it. Don’t walk away, RUN!!

  32. Jake says:

    I ordered a Nikkor 85mm 1.8 exactly one month ago and cancelled my order today after the rep told me it was on backorder and would be in in a couple of days, which was the same spiel I received a week ago. Then he tried selling me a completely different lens as if that would make it all kosher. It’s worth the little extra for B&H and Adorama to be sure I’m getting what I need when I need it.

  33. Jerry says:

    I’m waiting for the outcome; I guess I’m the latest to get scammed by Royal Camera in the tune of $3,666 (quote was $3,228). Same story as all the other’s, order one thing, get another, sales pitch to convince you what you received is what you really want (at an inflated price). Shipping charge and restocking fee going to be $365. I’m sending the ‘stuff’ back, we’ll now see how much my Charge Card People can back me. I don’t know how I missed all the negative reviews, I’m sure finding them now!

  34. Luis says:

    hey i have same problems than everybody with Royal Camera & Video, i did buy a camera 30D and a lens Canon 17-40 mm and they give one price (excelent price) but when i opened my package, guees what, was a camera 30D “the Kit” and a Sigma lens for Canon, plus $150.00 for shipping, i tray to fixed the problem but the man from Royal scream at my and say is all you have keep it o reutrned all will be a Restock fee, you know sigma is shipper than Canon plus we never spoke about $150.00 for shipping, is a lot, than they don’t afraid to threaten at you and i have family for them i do not want to be un problems

  35. Jon says:

    Hello!
    THANK YOU!
    I saw the price for a Nikon D70s and called them (Royal Camera)…he asked if I needed a battery and a charger for more than the price of the camera, making it MORE EXPENSIVE (and GREY MARKET) than the US version with all necessary “stuff”. Glad I Googled! They should be beaten unmercifully!

  36. jenny says:

    Uh oh, I made the mistake of ordering before googling RC. I’m supposed to recieve my product today, but I never got a confirmation email which made me start to get a little suspicious. Hopefully I will be able to cancel and order from a legit store.

    File a complaint! Everyone should work together so we can bring these guys down:

    https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

  37. jenny says:

    i placed an order for 2day air delivery at this store only to discover all these negative comments about it. i called the store on the day i was supposed to recieve the camera (which costed a very expensive shipping price ). The answering machine tells me to call a different number. So i call that number and its not in service! Then I call RC directly from the website phone number, and they tell me they haven’t even shipped it yet and some guy is trying to sell me extra stuff! I canceled the order right there.

  38. Joey Narte says:

    I Called CCI CAMERAS and i inquired about an advertised Nikon D80. I called them and i said, i will order the body. He tried selling me lenses and i said , i have bunch of Nikon Lenses. Told Him i only need the body with out lens, no Battery and no Memory. I told him i have a Extreme III SD, and he said That will not work. And he told me RUDELY that “How can you use this camera without Battery?” This Guy is so RUDE. He started getting pissed off because I told Him, i only need the “Body” and nothing else! Then he just Hung up on me. DONT EVEN TRY CALLING THIS STORE…It will just make your day Sooooo BAD!!!!

  39. Peter Mareš says:

    I am a UK citizen and have only just come across your forum. However, I am pleased to advise that Royal Camera meltdown is progressing well! Last October, 2006, I placed a written order for the purchase of a number of items of Canon digital photographic equipment at Royal Camera. Not only did they overcharge my credit card, they also replaced a Canon lens with a cheaper, third party equivalent. I notified VISA who immediately commenced legal procedings for recovery in full, which is expected any day now.

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