Don’t get ripped off on an overpriced, lousy quality lens from an unscrupulous company that has an “F” rating at the BBB. Good luck trying to get a refund as you will read in Annie’s story below. I see ads like this on Facebook almost every day. These ads are costly so they must be making a lot of money. These companies change names and addresses all the time to keep ahead of the bad reviews, so be careful out there.
The Story on Cheap Chinese Lenses
Here’s the story on these cheap Chinese lenses. You can learn more at the series links below.
These lenses are usually purchased in bulk from China for $2 or $3 each and resold in the U.S. You can buy them at Amazon for about $12 or less, and on eBay for about $3. But some unscrupulous dealers are selling them for $36, $59, and as high as $220. That is a huge rip off.
These are cheap plastic lenses with lousy image quality (read my hands on comparison test).
If you click on the link to check out these lenses you will read totally false claims about the image quality, complete with fake lens tests that say these lenses are better than lenses from Nikon, Zeiss, Leica, and Canon. Some ads even have quotes from a fake German engineer.
I knew it was impossible to take many of the photos in the ads with one of these Chinese lenses, so I tracked down many of the original photos used in the ads. They were all stolen from professional photographers without their knowledge. The photos were taken with professional DSLRs and professional lenses, not these cheap Chinese phone lenses. I know because I contacted the photographers. Stealing copyrighted photos without permission is illegal which says a lot about these companies.
Some of the scam artists selling these lenses add huge shipping charges. And good luck trying to getting a refund. You can wait weeks for your lens to arrive and it may not arrive at all, but you will get a credit card charge.
There are several different companies using some of the same photos and some of the same text in their ads. It would not surprise me to learn that the same person is actually operating several different companies. When too many bad reviews show up online for one pf the companies, the name and address gets changed.
Fake review sites have also been created to write rave reviews for these lenses.
Getting A Refund – Annie’s Story
With Annie’s permission, I am sharing her story. She is getting a real run around. I left out parts of our emails unrelated to the refund mess.
This is her initial email.
“I have been reading your comparisons and information on the Chinese lenses. Since you purchased them for a comparison, did you ever attempt to return them for a refund?
The return/refund is the real scam.
“HD Pixel Pro has a return address on your confirmation. When you send it to that address and it is ‘undeliverable’—you contact the company, via email, because the phones have a recorded message. They send you another address, via email. And another. The 4th address seems to be where the returned merchandise is finally accepted, only to sit there and never (?) be picked up. They ‘haven’t received it’, therefore you are out the purchase price (what a deal!) and shipping, shipping, shipping. No refund.”
Please let me know if you have tried to return this merchandise.”
In my response I said:
“You are correct. Returning the items to the dishonest companies who sell them at outrageous prices in the first place is a real scam. I purchased the lenses from Amazon.com at very cheap prices. I have not tried to return them since I might use them for future testing. The nice thing about buying them from Amazon is I am protected by Amazon’s guarantee. Your email sounds like a personal experience. May I quote you in a future article?”
This is Annie’s reply.
“It is a personal experience. I purchased 2 on 12/12/17, from their website. $68.38. I did check for reviews, but now know, thanks to you, those are bogus.
I tracked my order from Shenzhen, China on 12/15, making it’s way through Los Angeles, Memphis and finally Orlando on 12/24. I received them on 12/26. The boxes were torn open on the ends and slightly crushed. Hmmmm, wonder why? Maybe something else was in the boxes and removed? 😉
I mailed them to the address provided, on 1/2/18. (2550 E. Desert Inn Rd. Las Vegas, Nevada.) On 1/6/18, tracking informed me they “could not deliver, a problem with the address”. On 1/11/18 I found a phone number for that address. It is a Post Office Station. They searched for my package, found it and agreed to return it to me.
In the meantime, I emailed the company asking them what I should do and they told me to send it to 817 Bowsprit Rd., Chula Vista, Ca. Well Jim, that is a real estate office with no knowledge of Pixel Pro. I contacted the company again and this time I am to send it to 848 N. Rainbow Blvd. #1673 Las Vegas, NV.
That is a Mail Link store, and Pixel Pro does have a ‘box’ there, but the returned packages are just sitting there not being picked up, says one of the supervisors.
I looked up the BBB in Las Vegas and low and behold is a 4th address for Pixel Pro, 3400 Paradise Rd. #211 Las Vegas, NV. This is the Renaissance Hotel. They have a UPS store inside the hotel, but they have no knowledge of the company.
Long story to answer a simple question……..I have only spent $6.38 for shipping, because a. I don’t have the package yet, and b. I’m not sure what to do when I get it.
I do not mind you relaying this to your followers.
I thank you for your time. If this little story is in ‘Chinese Lenses Rip-Off #10’, I hope it helps.”
Annie should not have to go through this kind of hassle. Neither should anyone else.
Here’s the 848 Rainbow Avenue address HD Pixel Pro gave Annie. This is not a real brick and mortar company. This is, as she said just a rent-a-mail-box address.
Note the 3400 Paradise Rd address in the BBB rating page that follows. As Annie pointed out, 3400 Paradise Rd “is the Renaissance Hotel. They have a UPS store inside the hotel, but they have no knowledge of the company.”
The Better Business Bureau Rating
Thanks to terrible business practices the Better Business Bureau gives HD Zoom Pro/HD Pixel Pro an F rating. As of the date I wrote this article over 60% of the complaints against this company have not been resolved.
Every single review is negative. This review is typical:
“I ordered two HD PixelPro kits for smart phones. Placed my order on black friday but didnt receive my kits until about Dec 23, too late to be useful as christmas gifts. Thank goodness because I would be embarrassed to give these to anybody. They are complete junk. They dont work.”
Nancy H. is right, these lenses are complete junk.
Based on Annie’s experience none of this is surprising.
The same lens is advertised using lots of different names. Here are two examples.
This is the same lens sold with a different name (Flux HD Zoom) by a different company.
And this is a review of the same lens sold under yet another name (LUX HD 450) from a very unhappy customer. The address in this review, 2658 Del Mar Heights, is another mail box store.
There are more examples of different addresses, lens names, and companies in the articles linked below.
What if You Want One of These Lenses?
The moral of this story is clear, don’t buy an overpriced lens from one of these shady companies.
But I get it, some of you might be curious to find out just how bad these lenses are. After all, I was.
If you really want to buy one and play around with it, go to Amazon and buy one for about $12 from a company with a good rating. You will be protected by Amazon’s guarantee.
I got a set of four lenses (not just the zoom lens) here at Amazon for $12.99. Since then the price has gone up to $22.99. Before you order, remember, these really are crummy lenses.
The Chinese Lens Rip Off Series – Overpriced Camera Phone Lenses
How Many Identities Can One Man Have Before You Get Suspicious? Would you Believe 17? – Another fake German engineer used in the Chinese lens rip off ads.
Don’t Fall for B.S. Camera Gear Ads – at PetaPixel
Apexel Set of Four Camera Phone Lenses – One of the sets of lenses I bought at Amazon to test cheap, poor quality Chinese lenses.
Buyer’s Guide Series Link
This article is also one in a series of articles that will guide you to the best of all things photographic. The rest of the series is here: Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More.