Why buy from a dealer? We often hear some members of the public rudely announcing whist looking in our window: “You can get it cheaper on Ebay”
Maybe you can. But the days of the dead cert Ebay bargain are well and truly gone now…whilst there’s still the odd bargain to be had, they’re getting fewer and further between.
People being people have learned how to work the system, and being so remote from their buyers means they never have to meet them face to face, have no legal obligation toward them and sadly many show little conscience.
They can even justify it to themselves..
The sellers’ get out of jail disclaimer: “I don’t know anything about it….I can’t test it because I don’t know how….I’m not a photographer so…” and then “Looks to be in working order….” thus implanting in your head the notion that it must be alright.
The worst one we think “The batteries are (a) missing or (b) dead so I am unable to test it” – does it occur to anyone that it could be beneficial to go out and spend a quid or so on a new set and reassure your potential buyer?
Here’s some copied and pasted that we found today:
“I don’t know anything about this camera so don’t know if it works or not.
Sold as seen.”
I HAVE BEEN GIVEN SEVERAL CAMERAS FROM A COLLECTOR AND I REALLY DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THEM SO THIS IS SOLD AS SEEN”
“in used condition . see photos . dont know how to use it , so cant test it the mechanism seems fine , so should be in working order” (for an Olympus Trip….With instructions!!)
So, aren’t we all familiar with it? But when you really want that camera….take a punt eh?
No, we hear more and more horror stories, the denial of knowledge disclaimer when they know perfectly well that the camera is broken, or faulty.
The end result is that when you complain they can say hard luck…you were told, bought as untested. And there’s nothing you can do about it and Ebay will site the auction description as accurate.
Ebay are starting to recognise this as the huge problem it really is and are starting to try to do something about it but there’s little faith in their dedication to managing this massive issue.
It’s gotten so bad for some folk that they’ve reached the stage now where we are being asked to source specific cameras by people that have had their fingers burned by trying to save a few quid on the auctions, mainly on pro level kit.
Tip: Professional press photographers wrapped their cameras in duct tape. When it comes to selling them on they remove the duct tape and underneath is a mint camera… 😉
Things like the big Mamiyas have mostly seen a lot of heavy duty use. They were built to be thrashed and thrashed they have been! So far we’ve always turned up trumps when asked to source them…and sourced them with a warranty too!
Oh, and do also bear in mind that Ebay and Paypal are both based in offshore tax havens and there is much reduced legal comeback on either because of this. Don’t believe their hype too much.
There are other things to consider too, not least of them are the light seals. A whole lot of our favourite film cameras are over 20 years old or more, that’s why nearly each and every one of them is a classic to some body. So they’re genuinely entitled to have wear and tear etc, not least of all the LIGHT SEALS !!!
Light seal foam ages, we find that around 80%+ of the cameras we take in have what appears to be black goo in place of light seals. Replacing them isn’t a five minute job, it can tan ages to clean all that goo out and make ready for new ones. Many camera repairers will charge £50-£70 because of the time taken.
Who factors that simple but important thing into their budget?
Unlike Ebay sellers, and the vast majority of other dealers, we put in that little bit extra….our cameras get new seals as a matter of course, we replace them in all cases unless they really are not needed…
Batteries….ah ha ha! We mentioned before that they cost just a couple of quid and that’s true….the most common batteries used in 35mm SLR cameras are SR44 and a couple of quid will get you a set.
There are others…one of today’s favourites the Olympus OM1 takes a mercury cell for example. Mercury batteries are highly toxic when burst and are now outlawed. The PX625 is a 1.3v battery, the PX 625A will fit but is a 1.5v battery. The end result? – Incorrect light readings and eventually a burned out meter For the OM1 there is an engineer fix that costs roughly £70 (plus post) There is also a replacement battery known as a Wein Cell..we stock these, they’re not cheap but they do the job nicely with least fuss and faffing about!
Talking of batteries there are a many models of older cameras that took now banned or defunct batteries. Most have a hack or a mod that can be applied so it’s worth researching this before hitting the bid button.
Again, buy that camera from us and you’ll find that modification has already been done!
Postage, most are good but still there are some Ebay sellers that really do take the mickey…you’d think that camera was the size and weight of an anvil given what they want to charge! Or they don’t insure nor track it…then the fight starts!
We’ll only send insured Special Deliver or Courier. No worries all around, and we won’t charge you the earth for it either!
So the Ebay way: You pays your money and you takes your chances.No warranty…not a legally binding one in any case. As we inferred previously, Ebay/Paypal Terms & Conditions are not UK law and in many cases they actually conflict with our laws.
The Nik & Trick way: No need to take those chances, it could actually be cheaper long term to buy from a dealer 🙂
Other benefits…a customer relationship…one that can involve trust and such this as:
Free advice: you need some, you’re a customer?  Call us, mail us! You talk to us…not some uncaring, hard pushed customer service person but directly to us!
Ammunition: we stock a vast range of films and supplies, we process them too, and we’re looking for more to play with. Check out our range of rare films for example…
Add ons: accessories needed maybe?& We usually knock them out cheap as they take up space.
So add it all up, cost, service, consumables advice, trust…the latter being truly priceless!