Digital Depot / Fraudulent charges
On 10/23/2008 I went into Digital Depot while waiting to meet a friend who was arriving on the subway. I wanted to get a camera I saw in the window for my daughter for Christmas. I also wanted to look for a replacement for my 5 year old Kodak EZ Share. I was high pressured and switched back and forth between two salesmen who ended up selling me a total of 7 products: a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 for 899.99, a Pentax OptioV20 for 189.99, 2 Memory cards 189.99, 2 extra Batteries for the Lumix 149.99, and a 55mm Digital Concepts Lens for a total purchase price of $1830.51 on my credit card and an additional $50 cash. They threw in a case for each camera and some postcards of NY.
After I got home to Missouri, I checked out the products on Amazon and found that I had been totally ripped off. The value of the cameras and especially the accessories had been misrepresented. The $375 lens was available for 29.00, the batteries were less than $15 each, the memory cards were less than $15 each, the Lumix camera was only $300 and the Pentio was $150 . The 'Free' camera cases were worth 10 and 5 respectively.
I filed a dispute with Chase Mastercard, but because I had signed the receipts they could not help me. I then filed Complaint#[protected] with the Dept of Consumer Affairs in NYC. The DCA Agent Bobby Siblis contacted DD. Afshin Hakak, the manager, offered 2 choices for resolution. I could keep all the merchandise and he'd refund me 600 (1/2 of the overcharge) or I could return all the merchandise in original packaging for a full refund. I chose the latter.
Because they had not even given me original packaging for the batteries or memory cards, I purchased identical product and returned unopened battery/memory card blister packs with their cameras, the lens and the 'free' cases and postcards. I believe it is part of their scam to open the product in the store and sell it to the customer without the original packaging so that the customer cannot return it with the original packaging. UPS packed my items carefully and I sent it 'signature required' and insured for the entire purchase price. Mr. Siblis told me to in order to prevent them from claiming it never arrived or was damaged. Using the tracking number I have verified that it was signed for.
Digital Depot now is refusing to refund my money claiming the product is not from their store. These people are professional shysters. They are preying on 'tourists' who they believe will not take them to court due to the prospective loss of wages and travel costs necessary to follow through the hearing and legal process in NYC. They chose the wrong country mouse to swindle. I WILL travel to NYC to testify in court to my experience. I am sure that my extensive documentation and testimony will guarantee a judgment in my favor. I will then ask for a refund of my shipping costs as well as my travel expenses and it will cost them twice as much as if they had just been honest businessmen.
I have contacted both Panasonic and Pentax and have filed complaints with them. I will ask for a Panasonic representative to speak at the hearing. I hope that these companies will withdraw their 'authorized dealer' status from Digital Depot. If I were an electronics company, I would not want to be represented by the likes of these men.
I will update this after I have a hearing date set and will let the [redacted] Site know the outcome of this case.