Broadway Photo’s Sheisty-Looking Business Addresses

Broadway Photo is a New York area camera cabal infamous for ripping customers off. First they lure in people with camera kits below market value. Then they try to upsell customers on all sorts of accessories and try to make them believe their gear won’t work without it. People have experienced unauthorized charges and report being verbally abused when they try to dispute the charges.

For example, this person’s experience:

To make my point very clear, I told him, “Look Steve, I wipe my ass with Sigma lenses.” (Nothing against Sigma, I just wanted to make my point emphatically.) Apparently he understood this and offered to cancel the order but still charge me the shipping and restocking fee. We went around on this point for a little while and ended with him vowing to fight me on this. I disputed the charge right away with my credit card company…

Recently, Vincent Ferrari decided to take pictures of all the “business locations” listed in Broadway Photo’s BBB report.

The less than confidence inspiring results, inside…


Photo credits: Vincent Ferrari.

315.jpg315 East 89th Street: M.A.N Textile Corp

321.jpg321 East 89th Street is a door with an awning and a sticker with the number.

2922.jpg2922 Avenue L is EO Optics

1412.jpg1412 Avenue M is Mail-N-Pack (meaning they’re using a maildrop for their mail)

checkinthemail.jpg5014 16th Avenue is a Check Cashing store….

electronics.jpg….the interesting thing is that right next to it is an appliance store


BBB REPORT.

BROADWAY PHOTO
337 East 89th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11236
View Location Map

Principal: Darin Krask, Manager

Phone Number: (718) 338-1800

Additional Phone Numbers:
(718) 338-0634 (800) 951-9542 (718) 338-1352
(800) 709-4491 (866) 407-3425 (800) 432-2180
(800) 572-6152 (718) 338-0634 (718) 837-5999
(718) 837-2666

Fax Number: (718) 338-3029

Website: http://www.bwayphoto.com

Type of Business: Photographic Equipment & Supplies-Retail, Computers-Dealers, Electronic Equipment & Supplies-Dealers

Membership Status: This company is not a member.

The information in this report has either been provided by the company, or has been compiled by the Bureau from other sources.
Nature of Business

Complaints to the Bureau indicate that this firm uses high pressures sales tactics after consumers place their orders. After ordering merchandise consumers report receiving a phone call from the firm’s customer representatives attempting to sell additional items. Representatives allegedly try to persuade consumers to buy the U.S. warranty, as well as accessories like cables, peripherals, and software, or lead consumers to believe the product will not work if additional merchandise is not purchased. In some cases, if the consumers declined, an email was sent advising them to cancel their orders because the item was on back-order despite being listed as available on the firm’s website. Consumers also reported unauthorized charges on their invoices. When trying to dispute such charges, consumers report difficulty talking to management, claiming they are verbally abused by the company’s staff.
Customer Experience

Based on BBB files, this business has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau, because there is a pattern of complaints, and the business has not corrected the underlying reason for the complaints.

The company’s size, volume of business, and number of transactions may have a bearing on the number of complaints received by the BBB. The number of complaints filed against a company may not be as important as the type of complaints, and how the company handled them. The BBB generally does not pass judgment on the validity of complaints filed.

Complaint Outcome Statistics:
Complaint Outcome Last 12 Months Last 12..36 Months Total
Resolved
Consumer received the requested resolution 152 290 442
Resolved
Consumer received part of the requested resolution 40 77 117
Administratively Judged Resolved
The Company has responded to the complaint(s) addressing the disputed issues, however, the consumer remains dissatisfied 23 69 92
No Response
The Company has failed to respond to complaints 11 16 27
TOTAL 226 452 678

Complaint Issues:

Please understand that complaints may concern more than one issue
Complaint Issue Last 12 Months Last 12..36 Months Total
Advertising Issues 21 64 85
Contract Disputes 4 2 6
Credit or Billing Disputes 39 54 93
Delivery Issues 19 29 48
Guarantee or Warranty Issues 11 11 22
Product Quality 11 14 25
Refund Practices 23 41 64
Repair Issues 3 3 6
Selling Practices 90 223 313
Service Issues 5 11 16
TOTAL 226 452 678
Additional Business Names

This firm also does business under the following names. This is not necessarily a complete list.

A&M Photo World

Cameratopia

Digital Liquidators LLC

Ghu, LLC

Preferred Photo

Prestige Camera

Regal Camera

Tronicity

Wild Digital LLC
Additional Locations

This firm also does business at the following locations.

2922 Avenue L
Brooklyn, NY 11210

315 East 89th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11236

5014 16th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11204

1412 Avenue M
Brooklyn, NY 11230

321 East 89th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11236

Report as of: 1/25/2007

— BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. MeOhMy says:

    There are so many screwy places selling photo equipment on-line it’s almost impossible to do it. If you manage to actually get what you ordered, it ends up being gray market anyway.

  2. pronell says:

    I remember reading about them a few years ago under the name Prestige Camera.

    Can’t they get this guy arrested for fraud, or something? I’d think that using a huge variety of different business names to evade customer complaints and word of mouth has to be illegal somehow.

    I hate it when corporations do it to distance themselves from their own previous misdeeds, and I think it’s just as scummy – sometimes worse – when you’re pretending to be a struggling small businessman.

    It’s what drives people into the big box stores in the first place: knowing that when there is a small, local alternative, there’s a reasonable chance it’s a scam or a front.

  3. Kudos to Vinny! Is there any chance this is related to the PriceRitePhoto scams that were covered on the consumerist back in 05?

  4. homerjay says:

    Wow, Vin, you’re becoming quite the investigative reporter. :) If I may ask, what do you actually do for work?

  5. valkin says:

    Something_amazing, that’s exactly the thought I had. That guy had photos of locations as well.

  6. rubberpants says:

    Wow, those look like the kind of places you go have somebody whacked. Capiche?

  7. valkin says:

    actually, some of these photos are of the same places covered in the 2005 article:

    http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/

  8. Vinny says:

    Thanks Homer… I work for a cellular phone company, actually… In the IT department…

    I just have a major hard on for scam artists and if I can bust ‘em, so be it.

  9. unsunder says:

    I thought it was funny when I saw the same add on two pages in a magazine, one under the name Bway Photo and the other Digital Liquidators.I tried to order two cameras from them about three years ago. I don’t remember which one I called. As soon as I told them what I wanted to buy he quoted me a price much higher than the ad.The new price was still way below anyone else so I went on. I gave them all the credit card and shipping info. Then they gave me total to be charged $350 of which was for ground shipping. No way. Save yourself some trouble spend a little more and shop B&H.

  10. NeoteriX says:

    For the record, Sigma can make some pretty decent lenses for the money, especially for those who are still students… :)

  11. LintMan says:

    The horror stories you can hear about all those assorted New York camera stores are never ending if you read some photo forums.

    Some people think they’ll just avoid the upsell pitch and get a good deal, but savvy customers who refuse the upsell pitch either get charged anyway for stuff they didn’t want, or are forever told “out of stock”. And then trying to cancel an order is impossible because “it’s already been shipped”, even if you just placed your order 15 minutes earlier.

    The general concensus I’ve seen is that the two most reputable New York camera stores are B&H Photo (bhphoto.com) and Adorama. They are completely legit. I’ve ordered most of the photo/video/imaging equipment I’ve bought over the past 10 years from B&H, without ever having a problem, and their prices are among the best I’ve seen from a reputable place. I’ve used Adorama a few times as well with good results.

  12. Thomas Hawk says:

    Thanks for putting this up Ben and thanks Vincent for taking those shots. What’s amazing to me is that no surprise Yahoo Shopping has these guys on their service. And guess what, yep, they are currently the low price leader for the FujiFinePix S9100. Thanks Yahoo.

    http://thomashawk.com/2007/01/whos-worse-yahoo-shopping-or

  13. graymalkn says:

    I was suckered by them many years ago when they were doing business as Regal Camera. Just as the post says, they had a low price then tried to upsell by saying it wouldn’t work without the ad-ons. Then there were the shipping problems, which rose to an almost comical scale.

    Come to think of it, that incident was probably what started me down the road to Wise Consumerdom.

  14. Good Job Vinny! You need to be an uncle so the kids can call you “Uncle Vinny”.

  15. rubberpants says:

    I would love nothing more than to see these guys in federal prison.

  16. rubberpants says:

    Here’s some additional information about these scumbags:

    http://sheddingsomelight.com/buy-cameras/list/dealers-bway

  17. j.b. says:

    Of the internet electronics/camera stores, buydig.com seems to be the cheapest that’s still concerned about their legality and service. The web site might seem scammy, but I’ve bought a number of things through them and everything went fine.

  18. rich815 says:

    Being a serious hobbyist photog for about 30 years now and knowing about scumbags like these for about the same it’s all well-known amongst the photography community that if you want to buy mail order from the “NY outfits” your only safe bets are Adorama and B&H (adorama.com and bhphoto.com). KEH.com in Atlanta are reputable too.

  19. hop says:

    rich815 is right….B&H and Adorama are ok to do business with…..iv’e used both and have been pleased with their service…..

  20. Vinny says:

    Moonshine Mike: I am, and that’s what my nephew calls me :-)

  21. Shutterman says:

    You can’t make an online photo purchase these days without getting the dreaded “Please call to confirm your order” email. After which you call and get the major hard sell to buy extra items.

    The trick I found is some of the extras are actually useful, like a spare battery and such, so I keep saying “no” while I watch TV until the sales guy gets desperate and lets you negotiate the price of the extras. Since most of them get paid by sales volume, they care more about selling extras then how much they are selling them for.

  22. I wrote a blog post about dealing with “shady” New York photo resellers. The donwiss.com page is cited (it’s got the best coverage of these scammers).

    http://www.photocritique.us/2006/10/03/the-beginners-buyer

    B&H and Adorama are the most reputable resellers in this area, but there are others. Check resellerratings.com if you have any doubts.

  23. Trai_Dep says:

    More kudos for B&H Photo. Good prices, good customer service. I’ve bought numerous things from them and they’ve been dandy. Pricegrabber likes them too (more objective?).

  24. bonj says:

    If the nasty language and the filthy appearance of the premises turn you off, you can still shop the legit dealers and go to ebay to get pregnant.

  25. ClarkKent says:

    Talked to these bozos today, prior to reading this stuff. They had a flash unit for sale at a good price. I ordered it online weeks ago, but they insisted that I “call to verify my order” in e-mail, to which I replied in e-mail that the order had been placed, it was a valid order, I was not interested in upsells, so would they please ship the order. They did not.

    Callled today, and of course, here comes the bogus upsell – trying to say that the flash unit does not come with a “power pack” and that I can get it at “half price” of $39.95. Well, this unit takes AA batteries, so I would have been paying $10 per AA battery!

    These guys are shameless ripoff artists.

  26. dmoff says:

    How in the WORLD do these people stay in business when their fraudulent practices are so completely visible and bold??

    These guys are slick and dishonest. I did my research and found a refurbished LP 120 projector at this site. The wording clearly stated “New item”, but there were no other disclaimers or qualifying small print.

    When I had to make the obligatory call (in order to complete your order, you need to call…)-the sales pressure was unbelievable. I had to keep interrupting the guy just to say no.

    Here’s the kicker-he then asked me why I bought the international version. Huh? Sure, he says, all the manuals are in a foreign language, but we do have the English version available for only another $100!!!

    Needless to say I got a little incensed, but he insisted the website clearly indicated this was an international version. Bull pucky.

    No it didn’t, nowhere, nada, not even in small print.

    Of course, I canceled, and encourage all of you to stay away in droves.

  27. mrodjr12 says:

    I, too, was almost taken in by their deceptive practices. I ordered a Nikon d40 for $455.00. I kept calling on the status of my order and I was asked why I ordered a gray market camera. I told him that their Internet ad stated that it was it came with a US warranty. Then he told me that it was a Japanese version, whereby I added that I could read and write Japanese (a lie). He wouldn’t back off. It would need to be purchased with the ‘SPECIAL’ unlock mechanism sold only by them. I didn’t bite. Finally, feeling a little disgusted, he told me he could have it sent but it would be at least a 7 – 10 week waiting period put could get one earlier from a salesman friend at another store for $625.00. I told him to just cancel my order and that I would buy from another source.

  28. drd5500 says:

    I have a Broadway Photo ripoff story. They almost got me… I am filing fraud charges.

  29. jasinlee says:

    Make friends for life at BROADWAY PHOTO.
    I unfortunately did not read this until after I purchased JVC Everio GZ-MG130 30GB Hard Disk Drive Camcorder. They made me call after an e-mail prompted me to do so; at this point I am thinking that there was something wrong with the order. The sales guy, “Bernard” x265, told me that the battery that it comes with only lasts 30 min. 30 min? So I added the 4 hour battery for $169.00, not knowing that I had been taken for. What is a good price for a battery anyhow? Bernard looked in his crystal ball and told me that I would receive the item by 4/20/07 after initially placing the order on 4/15/07 online, UPS shows 4/24/07. I guess his crystal ball malfunctioned, but that ladies and gentlemen was just the beginning. I am leaving to Las Vegas on 4/23/07 so I needed my camera for the trip. On 4/20/07 I called….6 different times! I called because I wanted answers on why I was misled about the ship date. If they would have just processed the order on 4/15/07 as I wanted online and not have made me wait till 4/17/07 for the call back e-mail maybe I could have been good to go? Finally after speaking with a front desk operator, whom I must say if the emotion, “angry-depression”, had a headquarters, she was the President/CEO! But nonetheless, I….”Mr. there is nothing that can shock me now”, was shocked at how I was treated over the phone. I had to call 6 times due to the operator and sales staff hanging up on me or transferring me to a closed extension. Pinocchio…I mean Bernard, was not there so I finally spoke with a lovely man named “Burt” @ ext 231. Burt must have been in the NAVY, because with a vernacular as his you have to be a sailor of some sorts. Burt and I did not really hit it off on our first date. I tried to explain to him that I was a concerned customer who could have shopped anywhere and out of all the merchants I picked his company to do business with. I should have known that Burt was raised by wolves since the barking came soon after my comments. Out of all the things most unpleasant I have experienced in my life, and that, ladies and gentlemen, includes getting poked in the eye by a sharp stick, it would have to be speaking with Broadway Photo’s award winning operator and sales staff…namely my new best friend Burt @ ext 231. I just wish I was there in person to settle the differences…especially with Burt first hand.
    I even sent customer service an e-mail not knowing until now that they are all part of the same scam. They must be wiping themselves with it as we speak.

    To whom it may concern:

    I called 6 times today to get some answers as to why my product was not placed on expedited shipping. I was transferred to a closed customer service 5 times and finally got a hold of Burt at ext 231. After asking Burt to help me out with some info, he became frustrated with me, and then told me that he could not help me out and that I was “WASTING HIS TIME”. I then asked who was my original sales rep’s boss and he told me that “IT WOULD NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE SITUATION EVEN IF I GAVE YOU ALL OF THE STOCKHOLDERS INFO”, which I did not ask for…all I wanted was Bernard’s boss’s extension which he declined to give me. After owning several businesses and working in a sales environment for over 12 years, I have never experienced the lack of concern and pure disrespect that was displayed by your sales rep Burt. I will never again do business with your company, not because my package was not here on time, but specifically because of Burt’s attitude with me as the CUSTOMER! I would also like to add that I was not combative over the phone; I was so shocked and could not believe how Burt was talking to me that I did not have time to react with hostility. Truly disturbing! I will be following up on this e-mail with customer service next week. I hope that you relay to Burt that people do talk and give advise to one another as to where the good deals and customer service is on the internet. UNBELIEVABLE!

  30. drfaust77 says:

    :cryin:
    AVOID BROADWAY PHOTO AT ALL COST !!!!!!
    I was given a camcorder for xmas and called them 3 days after too exchange, boy was I in for a surprise! The &*%$less pathetic excuse for a human being who referred himself as a representative was antagonistic from the start. After I inquired why I couldn’t exchange the gift he said we were too late, b/c it was purchased in november. I asked him “So should I have asked what my mother in law got me for xmas?” He didn’t like that, and really disliked it when I inquired why their online prices didn’t match the expensive quotes he was giving me over the phone.
    Again, he threatened to offer no exchange and I countered that I would see his company in small claims court. And after I asked to speak to a supervisor, he responded “I am the the supervisor”, what is this, and episode of the Chappelle Show? Then for the grand finale, I was transferred to the gallows manager, and folks, I kid you not, I started by saying “Hello Gabe, how are you?” and his heartwarming response, “Great, until I had to talk to you.”
    The facts…
    -We contacted our credit card immediately, they were very helpful in helping us getting our money back. Document everything, make copies of receipts, etc..
    – Contact BBB and new york attorney general, file a formal complaint
    – Blog, let other people know.

    If Hitler’s henchmen were alive, I truly believe they could find employment at none other than….BROADWAY PHOTO.

    Screw these guys and may they rot in _ _ _ _ !!!!!

  31. stantiva says:

    Broadway Photo and their DBA locations are outright liars. I have filed a complaint with the NY Attorney General. I did get a full refund after 4 months. What a battle!

  32. kellygirl says:

    I wish I would have done more research! I researched cameras, memory cards and lenses, but I forgot the most important: the seller. I’m so frustrated at CameraAddict (or BroadwayPhoto, or whatever their name-of-the-moment is,) and it makes me even more upset that I’m reading about hundred of people who were lied to and insulted by them.

    Here’s my experience, put in short:

    -A rep said, “Have your husband call me,” when I declined their ridiculous accessory bs.
    -A different rep (x241) told me that the camera and manual I ordered a week ago was the Chinese version, and that I could “upgrade” to English for only $90.
    -My husband was hung up on 3 times.
    -A rep told me that my battery was a temporary one, and that I needed to purchase a “permanent one.”
    -Both my husband and I were transferred, put on hold and disconnected several times.
    -Because this company seems to consist of a few very rude, unethical employees and no manager or owner, we were declined when we asked to speak to someone else.

    There are more offenses, but these are the main ones.

    So, I’ve read about people’s experiences, but I haven’t read a lot on what to do about it. Any suggestions?

  33. dpwolf says:

    I to have tried to order a camera that was the web site. After my order I received three emails and a phone call to confirm my order. The person that called said their name was Andy on the Vm.
    -Andy tried to sell me a battery I said no thanks
    -Andy then tried to tell me I needed filters I said no I don’t no thanks
    – Andy then told me that I was buying the Japanese version of the camera and that all the menus were in Japanese
    -I then asked him for the exact part number I was ordering because I was not aware that there was a language specific model number and that it made no mention of this on the web posting. He said he didn’t have the part numbers there but just a note in his system. The cost for the US version was about $100 more than what was listed on my purchase. I then said I wanted to know more about this ie model number and why there isn’t a distinction on the web site. He then told me he couldn’t help me. I asked who could and he said would you like the US model. I had to tell him again I wanted to discuss this with someone and asked for his supervisor. He said that the supervisor wasn’t available. I ask for someone else to talk to and he could not provided that. I asked him what I should do and he was willing to transfer me to Customer Service but they had left for the day.
    – I asked for his name and he said Bill. Which on the VM he said it was Andy. strange.
    – I then asked for my order to be put on hold and I would call Customer Support tomorrow.
    – He agreed and I began to ask more questions and he got angry with me, and put me on hold indefinitely.
    – I called back and was put on hold
    -I called back again and spoke with Andy who when I asked said he didn’t have a name, I asked if was paid to lie and mislead customers he said he “didn’t get paid”. He then began to tell me stories how he was wealth and worked for free. I asked if he enjoyed his job and he did. He began to tell me how he liked being wealthy but need to pass the time and work. I said I don’t believe anything you are telling me because it is 6:15pm and you are working even though you don’t have too.
    – I called Customer service the next day and talked to Adam who told me that I ordered the DCR-SR45 and asked what language that was in. He said he didn’t know and I asked what the part number was for the US model. He said he didn’t know.
    – I asked who could tell me this and he said he was going to transfer me to sales. I said I talked to sales last night and they told me to talk to you. He then said I’ll transfer you to someone who can help.
    – He transfered me and I asked who I was talking to.
    – The rep said Andy. I was overjoyed.
    – After giving him my order number he asked if I wanted to place the order. I ask what was included, he got irritated and said all the accessories. I ask the ones listed on the web site. He said yes and then was ready to ship it, I said ok as long as the menus are in English. He got more irritated and said “Just like Best Buy” I ask in America or Japan. He said America.
    – He said I’ll place the order, I said what is the total. He gave me the price on the web which was what I was looking for.
    – he said ok and I asked when it would ship he said 24-36 hours.

    Good I was happy.

    But the next day, today, I got an email saying the order was on hold b/ the camera was on back order and there was a link to cancel my order.
    I am amazed that a sales based company would want me to cancel my order.

    I can’t wait to call them back. I’ve sent an email asking why the order is on back order but it shows available on the web site.

    We will see. Maybe I’ll call first to see if the camera is available. Not telling my real name.

    I want to bring them down. Who do I complain to?

  34. astronautswife says:

    I just had an unfortunate encounter with them today! They are a bunch of scam artists. I will spare you the long conversation but he (I didn’t get his name) used a very high pressure selling tactic-I told him that I wanted to stick with my original price ($580.) but he wouldn’t stop! He said that the battery that came with my camera would last only 20 minutes…I said that he could add a battery for $50.00…in the end my bill should have been around $630.00 was quoted as $799.00 and when I questioned that he got very defensive and asked me how much money I had to work with-I told him I would like to stay around the original price because I had a budget…he told me ” you have wasted my time..”!! I thought it was a joke at first-I have never in all my life been treated like that as a consumer. He sounded very angry that I had wasted his time so I told him “Cancel my order,I will order from somewhere else”—he hung up on me! I got an email a few minutes later saying that my order was canceled. I don’t like the fact that he has my credit card number. I then decided to call Prestige photo but something didn’t feel right-it was set up a lot like Broadway Photo and I ended up ordering through Amazon. Thank God! It was a horrible experience and I hope these guys get busted. Now I just have to hold my breath praying that I don’t have any surprises on my Credit card bill. I wish I would have checked them out before giving them my number.

  35. oncebittwiceshy says:

    I’ve had a similar problem with a different New York camera vendor. (not Broadway Photo though unless it’s just another alias for the vendor who reamed me) Anybody familiar with a company called Camera For Less? Well I guess all the details should be saved for a seperate complaint posted in the near future. Suffice to say that I was promised a new item and received a used item and gouged on shipping and handling. Under no circumstances should anyone purchase from this company. If you do may God, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Krishna, Zeus, Odin, etc. help you. :-(

  36. Anonymous says:

    The same thjing happened to me, im very sorry i didnt read this reviews before. I just bought a camera and they charge me 500 dlls and they only had it for 283 dlls, but they insisted that i need the battery and warranty. Well they send the package with the camera only and not with the things they said they going to include in this extraordinary package. So anybody knws if i returnit could i get my money back or should i just leave it that way and loose my money. Im worry that if i send it back they dont give my money back.