NWV Direct Caught Pulling Bait And Switch, Tries To Backpedal

Joshua caught New World Video Direct trying to pull a bait and switch on him with a recent order, so he canceled it and gave them a bad review on resellerratings.com. They contacted him to ask if he’d remove the rating. Joshua wrote back to decline, but he reminded them that it’s actually pretty simple to develop a decent reputation as retailer: “If you want to have anyone trust you as a business you have to only list items you plan to sell for the price you plan to sell them at.”

The problem started when he bought a $28 charger from New World Video’s online store. They list the item as usually shipping in 1 to 2 days, but the next day they called him to tell him the charger was on back-order, and instead they could sell him a $99 off-brand charger. After he hesitated, they cut the price to $45 to sweeten the deal—but it was still $17 over what he originally intended to spend, and for a different product altogether.

Joshua set up a blog to publicize the subsequent email exchange he had with New World Video, and on it he clearly explains why the company is engaging in bait and switch tactics:

The website said (and STILL says) in stock at the low (lower than any other website) price of $28. The rep said it was on backorder and gave me NO option to wait. She immediately tried to sell me another product for $90 saying that I must really need the item fast since I had ordered with expedited shipping!

In his emails to Joshua, an NWV rep named Scott argues that the company never promised the item was in stock, only that it “usually ships in 1 to 2 days.”

Curiously, neither item says “in stock” on the site, but both say they usually ship in 1 or 1-2 days. These are screen caps from 13 October 2008:

We think Scott’s trying to hide behind a technicality, but okay, let’s assume he and the company he represents are legit (despite the fact that Joshua’s bait and switch accusation isn’t the only one on resellerratings.com). Assuming you’re honest, there’s an easy solution to this problem with future customers, Scott. Simply keep your website updated so that the stock situation accurately reflects your store’s true inventory as closely as possible. Oh, and if you do have inventory issues, don’t call customers to try to upsell them a product that’s three times more expensive.

Until then, we’ll agree with Joshua—you’re pulling a bait-and-switch on customers, despite what you say on your home page.

New World Video Direct – Scam or Misunderstanding? [Blogspot]

RELATED:
NWV Direct retailer website

Comments

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  1. Cyco says:

    You might want to correct the datet he screen caps are from, unless your computer can see into the future.

    • closed_account says:

      @Cyco: This is all in the future!

      • chickenfeathers says:

        @chadbailey: Someone should warn Joshua not to buy that charger from them before then.

        On their site, the highest selling product is the product they tried to sell him. I wonder how many bait-and-switches they’ve pulled.

    • Difdi says:

      @Cyco: Yeah…I knew the Consumerist was awesome, but not THAT awesome! How DOES one get screenshots of a website as of December 13 of 2008 on October 13 of 2008?

  2. Cycledoc says:

    I recently purchased a CTA NB2L recharger that looks identical to the one shown above for $12.95. It works fine.

    [cgi.ebay.com]

    Amazing!

  3. aquanutz says:

    Yeah, I bought the exact same generic charger off ebay a few weeks ago. Works like a champ. Companies like this are filth. It sucks to imagine that they manage to stay in business with such shady operations.

  4. rhobite says:

    I’m amazed that these Brooklyn camera stores are still making money with the same old bait and switch business model. I’m also surprised that people continue to order from these places, but that’s another discussion.

    • yikz says:

      @rhobite: I find it hilarious to read any of the digital camera forums. On a daily basis, there are hundreds upon hundreds of utter morons who pop up with, “Hey, I just found a _____ for $____. Can this be real?”
      People respond with, “No, read ____.” The original poster then has the amazing ability to ARGUE that the seller might just be legit. If the first impression was to be suspicious, why argue?

      There are thousands of people that are suckered into these shops every day. These shops know that they skate a thin line. Overnite shipping will cost $200. 2nd air is $125. Both take 2-3 weeks! By the time you realize that you’ve been sold a $139 zoom lens, $10 worth of cheap filters, a nylon gym bag, and a $12 plastic tripod as part of a $900 “digital camera kit” to go with that fantastically priced $800 digital SLR, many people fight, but then give up after they get ignored, threatened with lawsuits, or passed around for several months.

      • howie_in_az says:

        @yikz: People are greedy, one needs only to look at the current state of the economy to figure this out. They want to be the one that gets a highly desired item at the lowest price available, and will thusly talk themselves into the deal even if it looks shady, and even if others point out that it looks shady.

    • zigziggityzoo says:

      @rhobite: If you really want a deal, and can resist the upcharges, it may be worth it to try. I got a super-expensive camera for a great deal from one of these stores. has worked great for the past 14 month’s I’ve had it. (USA camera, with warranty, not grey market).

      It takes some work, and a “call in to verify your order” for upselling opportunity, but once you’re past that, just require them to insure the package and pay with a credit card (I used the One-time use CC numbers from my now closed Citi Card account).

    • dragonfire81 says:

      @rhobite: If something sounds too good to be true…

      I mean there are always great deals to be found online, but you have to do you homework to figure out which ones are legit and which ones are just tactics.

  5. BeeBoo says:

    This should be reported to the Attorney General’s office. Sometimes enough minor complaints will trigger action.

  6. EricaKane says:

    Stockin em deep and sellin em cheap.

  7. jchabotte says:

    Never heard of NWV.. all my photog gear, i get from B&H, never had any problems, customer service at the mothership is top-notch!

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      @jchabotte: Seconding B&H for photo supplies.

    • thefezman says:

      @jchabotte: Another vote for B&H here. After lots of orders and no disappointments, I definitely recommend them.

    • ARP says:

      @jchabotte: 3rd. They are the Zappos of camera gear- a little more pricey, but worth it.

    • Starfury says:

      @jchabotte: I’ve bought a few items from B&H and haven’t had any problems. They beat the west coast prices on a video camera (10 yrs ago) by $400

    • shadowboxer524 says:

      @jchabotte: I really like B&H. I ordered a Tascam audio recorder from them. It was the cheapest anywhere online, AND they threw in a 4GB Kingston SD card!

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @jchabotte: I’m a lone dissenter on B&H, but my experiences happened long ago (at their old location) when they didn’t always treat women with courtesy. Still, I’ll stick to J&R, where I know for sure I won’t be subject to a condescending attitude. :)

      • theczardictates says:

        My wife is a professional photog, and she buys a ton of stuff from B&H (I know because I do the books…). I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t keep re-ordering if they weren’t great as she has been known to rip the throats out of used car dealers for looking at her funny.

        • richcreamerybutter says:

          @theczardictates: Yeah, it was a situation in which I was replacing a bunch of fancy-pants equipment for an employer, and had thousands of dollars burning a hole in my pocket. No one wanted to help me. During another incident, I went to their repair center because said employer had purchased another piece, and it was still under the old B&H account. Again, they were terrifically rude (I encountered a few other women who had had similar experiences). They might be ok now, but I like to stick with places that have given me consistently good service.

      • nsv says:

        @richcreamerybutter: You aren’t the only dissenter on B&H. I had a terrible experience with them, and I made it clear when I called to order that I was ordering things I’d need to photograph a wedding and they had to be here on time. This was THREE WEEKS before the wedding and I lived in Connecticut at the time–they had plenty of time to get the order to me.

        Adorama bailed me out two days before the wedding. And B&H transferred me to a supervisor who promised “We’ll never do that again, I hope we won’t lose you as a customer.” Hmm, how about you guys refund all the extra shipping I had to pay to get the gear in time? Nope…

  8. Triborough says:

    I always buy from reputable companies. You may pay a bit more, but you don’t have to deal with crap.

  9. AMetamorphosis says:

    BestBuy tried to do this last week to me with the movie “Night of The Living Dead” they advertised for 9.99. for the “special edition”

    Amazingly they had rows upon rows of “Night of The Living Dead” “collector’s edition”, but not one copy ofthe on sale “special edition”.

    I walked up to the counter with a copy of the movie in hand. When the salesperson rung it up it of course came up double @ 19.95.

    To make a long story short I explained to the manager what Bait & Switch is and I walked out of BB with “Night of The Living Dead” for 9.99 …

    I didn’t car what edition it was … I just wanted to watch the damn movie.

    Best Buy is notorious for this and I hope they get nailed for it.

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      @AMetamorphosis: I believe that there’s a loophole that says that as long as they have some of the product in stock and actually sell it at the price that they advertise then it’s not Bait and Switch.

      Even if it’s only two items and they were sold shortly after the store opened to friends of employees who hid them over in a different department the night before.

      Of course just because it’s legit doesn’t make it any less sleazy.

      • dahlink_natasha says:

        @Real Cheese Flavor: when I worked at Walgreens not too long ago that’s essentially what happened. We would have an advertised product and then have only two or three on the shelf when the ad took effect on Sunday. It was so embarassing to have people coming in on Monday or Tuesday expecting to find the ad products and we were ALREADY out…Of course they might have some luck if they tried to get it after our truck arrived at the end of the week…but they had to get it in that magical window of “after we unload the truck” and “before the ad expires on Saturday”.

      • AMetamorphosis says:

        @Real Cheese Flavor: Very true.
        I’m still glad that I explained what bait & switch was and it resulted in me getting the movie for the advertised price.

        Funny thing is I went to get the movie Sun morning when the ad came out. With them having rows of the “collector’s edition” and not one copy of the advertised movie, it really DID lead me to belive they were engaging in bait in switch.

        You’re right, its sleazy … or unethical.

        Peace

    • SJActress says:

      @AMetamorphosis:

      Well, considering that “Night of the Living Dead” is officially in the public domain, you paid $9.99 too much.

  10. DoubleEcho says:

    This reminds me of a computer company called BZBoys.com (They also operate under TuffShop and some other name). They’re notorious on ResellerRatings.com, even after nearly a decade after I did business with them.

    Basically you would order a motherboard/CPU combo at their low prices, and they’d email or call you and say that the item was out of stock, but they’d “upgrade” your order with a better CPU for more money. Not only that, but most of the stuff they sold would be defective or would die within months. I have no idea how they did business this long.

    They’d also try the cute little trick of saying “Please give us good feedback on ResellerRatings and you’ll get some promotional item free” before you even receive your stuff.

    • FLEB says:

      @DoubleEcho: (They also operate under TuffShop and some other name).

      That’s your cue right there to walk in a calm, orderly fashion to the nearest exit. Of course, I’m not saying you’d know before hand– the few companies I’d been screwed on before also had that “same exact website under 3 different names” thing going.

  11. vastrightwing says:

    The other way this works is to advertise the cheapest item on the Internet and there is no way to order it on-line: you have to call and talk to a sales person who is trained to upsell you and add all kinds of extras. If you fail to to order any extras, then your item never shows up at the door, oh and you can’t seem to reach anyone on the phone.

    • bbb111 says:

      @vastrightwing:

      I recently bought a “legacy” motherboard to replace a dead one (I wanted the same board so I would not have to reinstall the operating system and deal with any new quirks of the hardware). Six sellers did the same “out of stock” and then upsell (with the web site still showing it as available). Finally found one on the seventh try.

      [same thing with a keyboard from a company that folded about ten years ago - I still find the same ten sites claiming to have it.]

      Unfortunately, this is a common business model.

  12. zentex says:

    interesting…that charger is still listed @ $28 AND it’s on the front page.

    • zentex says:

      @zentex: you idiot, that’s cause it happened in october; NOT december as the post here suggests. RTFA before you post blah blah blah

  13. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    This “New World Video” sounds like a drop ship business. It’s probably some guy running a business from his garage during the day, while he works nights at Burger King. It’s really surprising how easy it is to get a resellers license and an account with Tech Data or Ingram Micro these days. Even though the prices are great, I usually stay away from these types of retailers. Customer service is usually lacking. And if they get too overwhelmed, they just go away for a few months and resurface under a new business name.

    • Eric1285 says:

      @LatherRinseRepeat: I remember back in the day when you could order anything from Ingram Micro through Staples. Slap some of the famous $30 off $150 coupons on your order and you’d be making out like a bandit!

  14. monagray says:

    I work at a camera store and I find it hard to believe an after market charger would be 4x as much as the name brand.

    I agree with jchabotte, use B&H, you’ll be way happier (and that’s not even where I work).

  15. Michael Belisle says:

    Any store that feels a needs to advertise “No Bait, Switch” and “No Upsells” is suffering from an identity crisis.

    This is a perfect example of a recent conclusion: if a unknown entity says “we don’t x“, where x is something bad, always assume the contrary.

    • Michael Belisle says:

      And what the hell does “Always USA” mean on a consumer electronics retailer? None of that shit is made in the USA. They’re 0/3 now on their banner, so it’s reasonable to assume that “Never Grey Market” is a lie too.

      • mugsywwiii says:

        @Michael Belisle:
        Always USA means they only sell products intended by the manufacturer to be sold in the US. A lot of shady places sell equipment intended for other countries, and that’ll leave you with no warranty if you buy it in the US.

  16. mugsywwiii says:

    The best places to buy camera stuff online are:
    B&H
    Adorama
    Beach Camera/BuyDig (same place, different names)
    Amazon.com

    If the price is too good to be true, IT IS.

  17. Lucky225 says:

    Screen Caps from 13 December 2008??? Is this Back to The Future?

  18. bohemian says:

    Thanks for all the camera retailer suggestions. I am looking for some related supplies and the online offerings are a bit confusing.

    I ran into a problem with an Amazon retailer. I ordered an in stock item only to receive an email that it was on backorder. I received a non-answer reply about why it was listed as in stock when it wasn’t. Then it didn’t show up by their backorder date. Ironically once I contacted Amazon for a refund the item shipped about two hours later. They were the only retailer on Amazon selling the same item for $2 less. Colonial Medical Supply, don’t order from them.

    • dweebster says:

      @bohemian: I’ve had terrible luck with the Amazon Retailers – ripped off left and right – from lies in the description or photographs to simply taking the money and running. Amazon will lift a finger – but only once or twice per LIFETIME (yours). However, I ALWAYS pay via credit card and I NEVER give up – if Amazon would rather process chargebacks than run a clean operation that’s their choice.

      I’ve had very few problems with Ebay, have never been ripped off once and the sellers have either corrected the problem or refunded my money without incident. But you need to be eternally vigilant everywhere nowadays.

  19. weakdome says:

    See, the mistake is the website doesn’t advertise “No Bait And Switch”, it advertises “No Bait, Switch”.

    Which is exactly what the OP got – the bait was out of stock, so they tried to switch it with something else!

  20. RebaMink says:

    THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME TWO WEEKS AGO!!! I cant believe Im reading this story…I ordered a Fuji battery charger from New World Video direct,which was listed in stock..They called me to tell me it was out of stock, and offered to sell me a third party one, which was more expensive. I refused, so they droped the price to the same as the Fuji one. I refused that as well and said to cancel my order. Then they cut the price again..I was actually happy with that price and took it. The third party charger shipped out immediately and I am happy with my purchase. I never thought this might be some sort of deceptive practice until now.

  21. elislider says:

    also notice how the Canon charger has 0 reviews but the off-brand $99 one has a bunch of reviews that look suspciously fake. some of that stuff people wouldnt write

  22. GRPeng says:

    Hmm, nobody remembered the Consumerist storyabout NWVDirect back in January about “Holiday Stress Drives Tim To Shout “Fuck Off!” At Customer?”

    consumerist.com/343524/holiday-stress-drives-tim-to-shout-fuck-off-at-customer

  23. dweebster says:

    Sounds like this company doesn’t have a damn thing “in stock” except some massively overpriced knockoffs of OEM products they lowball advertise to bring in the suckers. I just read the OP’s blog and it’s hilarious what twists and turns “Scott” from New World Video does to try and justify their actions. Really, has anyone actually ordered *ANYTHING* “original manufacturer” advertised that actually shipped without incident?

    Sounds like there’s enough complaints against them to give a ring over to the Attorney General’s office to investigate their practices. These type of dealers wreck the whole market environment by stealing business from honest retailers who actually advertise what they can ship in “1-2 days.”

  24. banmojo says:

    this should be illegal and after getting fined for the first 2 infractions these types of shit stores should lose their licence to operate, period.

  25. banmojo says:

    Then again, we Americans fall for the ole ‘bait and switch’ every 4 years when elections come around, don’t we? Think about it.

  26. RedwoodFlyer says:

    Consumerist has been hitting front page of Digg lately…digg this one up people! Make NWV really feel the burn!

  27. AbbottNiger says:

    Sadly, this is very common in this particular industry. I worked (briefly) for a company who did this. Nearly every item was on the website as “in stock” and they would charge credit cards immediately even though they didn’t have the camera/part on hand, then use that money to shop distributors and try to get a price lower than what they sold it to the customer for.

    If they couldn’t find it, they’d let the order rot (and keep the money until the customer was beyond irate).

    Many of the cameras/items shipped were not meant for the USA market, and were “Grey” market cameras (same hardware, set to another country’s language and without the original English documentation).

    Almost all of the profit for these companies are in selling hugely marked-up “accessories”. They try to use the camera itself as a loss-leader, and sell you junk you don’t want or need. B&H is a distributor the company I used to work for used to get things they didn’t have in stock, so I’d recommend going straight to the source, or just spend a few extra dollars and go to a retail store.

    Also, as far as “web reviews” go. . . many of them are fake. There was a whole department dedicated to calling people and offering them money/items/faster shipping if they would just remove the negative comment. Also, someone was tasked with creating multiple free email accounts and logging in to give the company fictional 5 star reviews.

    Just be careful out there guys & gals =)

  28. RichardFergasun says:

    why are camera shops so sketchy?
    i haven’t bought one in ages but i still have bad memories of camera deals in my past. while a student i had to look for deals and it lead to frustration.

    my rule now is always use a known store, dont go for “deals.”

  29. xboxishuge says:

    Way to give Brooklyn a bad name, shady camera dealers. Why is it ALWAYS Brooklyn? Go to Queens or something, damnit!

    This one, going by the address on their site, is only a mile or so from my apartment. I’m willing to bet that if I dropped by, I’d find a dingy warehouse instead of a storefront.

  30. SeanTonberry says:

    SonicCameras.com is the epitome of this Bait-n-Switch b.s. as well as indicating that the product is in-stock or not far away… but, when it comes down to it, they just want to rip you off. BEWARE of companies like this…

  31. Crazytree says:

    lots of New York online retailers operate similarly.

    “we never actually said the item was in stock.”

  32. TheBitterFoodie says:

    I had a very similar problem with Mac of All Trades, an online “Authorized” Apple computer reseller based in Orlando, last fall.

    Bought: a 17″ iMac with 512MB, 60G, Airport Extreme Card, CD/DVD-R, etc.

    The unit I actually received had half the memory, no Airport Extreme card, and a scratched monitor.

    I called MOAT to discuss the problems, and they agreed to replace it, but I had to ship the unit at my expense back to Orlando (an additional $75). They were prompt in getting me a replacement once I provided them a UPS tracking number.

    The new unit, which I still have, also had half the memory. I needed the full memory to install Adobe CS I use for my graphic design work, so I went to Best Buy to purchase a memory card. After attempting to install and subsequently returning THREE memory cards from Best Buy assuming the cards were faulty, which Best Buy said sometimes happens, I had my freind who works at my local Apple Store to take a look at the memory slot to see if there were defects.

    SURE ENOUGH several of the “teeth” that accept the memory card were broken off, something I know I didn’t do myself. It wasn’t until he pointed this out that I noticed they were broken.

    Again, called MOAT to complain about why they couldn’t seem send me what I paid for, and I ended up getting a $50 credit towards my next purchase (in other words, I got nothing for my trouble), which they promptly revoked when they read my review on resellerratings.com.

    Should I be angry about this?

  33. SantayaniAmphinomus says:

    I just had the same experience with this company TODAY!! Fortunately, right after I placed my order i saw this article. I got the “call” that the item was out of stock. I then cancelled my order. Thanks for the heads up consumerist : )

  34. unojack says:

    HA! based out of New York City; lets see what my friends at the State AG office think of them… I despise scum like these people!

  35. ResedaMunier says:

    I got to this posting via finding an obscure Canon wide-angle lens for an HD camcorder at a really good price on New World’s site.

    As I always do with camera places I’m not familiar with, I looked up their domain name’s WHOIS info and found that it was in Brooklyn. That right there is Rule #1 – Don’t Ever Order Anything From Camera Stores With Brooklyn Addresses.

    I thought it would be fun to double-check and find reviews of New World, and reached Joshua’s blog posting and thus this Consumerist thread. Nice to have my usual suspicions confirmed.

    Now if only I could find the damn wide-angle lens somewhere else :(

    RULE #1: DO NOT REPEAT DO NOT EVER BUY ANYTHING FROM A BROOKLYN-BASED CAMERA SHOP

  36. Anonymous says:

    Same thing happened to me today (3-31-09). Some guy called me and told me that the Sony charger I ordered was out of stock. I said that I was not in a hurry. He said that it was backordered with Sony for 12-16 weeks. I thought that sounded ridiculous, but the whole conversation seemed odd, because normally a salesperson will say something like, I’ll cancel your order, or would you like to wait, or do you want me to proceed with the rest of your order, but he just waited me out (slick!). I then asked, “So what should I do?” He eagerly explained that most of their customers are upgrading to the “professional” model. I asked whether that was a non-Sony brand. He said “No,” but that it was an upgrade due to fast charging times and is favored by the professionals. I told him to cancel the order. He countered that I could have it for only $3 more than the Sony after my “backorder rebate credit”. I told him I wanted to look at it on his website. I hung up and then looked at the site. It had a “retail” price of around $130, and was selling for $99. It looked exactly the same as model I’ve seen on ebay at a BuyItNow price of $13. I called and cancelled.

    These guys go to a lot of effort to rip you off. It was almost worth the aggravation to get such a first-hand insight as to how people try to burn you.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I just tried to order the same Canon battery charger this week, March 2009, that was mentioned in the blog from 2008. This is the 2nd time I have tried to order this product form this company (you can see I gave them the benefit of the doubt the 1st time). The 1st time, about 8 months ago, they wanted to sell me the $90 charger instead and I declined. This time they did not offer any other items but got a bit cold to me when I expressed my disappointment with this items still being on their website yet still on apparent ‘Permanent” backorder. I do believe this is a scam. If you want to be a legitimate company with great reviews, just remove the items off your website that you KNOW are not currently available or list them as ‘on backorder’. Also, the way the item’s availability is listed “stock” is very misleading – Is this purposly misleading? I think the answer is YES … particularly after all the reviews I have read today from other people on this same issue. I wish companies could just be straight forward and direct about what they are selling. Too bad business has resorted to these type of tactis.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I really wish I had read this blog site before I placed my order with NWV Direct. Joshua, I to received a call from a Maurice, a day after I place my order for an external flash for my Sony SLR. He told me that my flash was on back order and that they had no ETA has to when it would be in, but he recommended a replacement Vivitar flash and even stated that it was better then the original ordered flash, because he owned one himself. He even told me that he would sell it to me for the same price as the Sony even though it was higher in cost. Well I received the flash, it looked okay, but what got me when I was searching to buy a diffuser for the flash on Amazon (who I normally use for this types of purchases with no problems), I saw the same Vivitar flash I order from New World Video for ½ the price I paid for it. Talk about felling cheated….I would not recommend this company to my worst enemy. New World Video, try Deceitful World Watch Your Back Video, for now on I will stick with Amazon, Adorama & maybe try B&H that was recommended in prior comments.