Rule of Thumb: When buying photographic equipment, check the price at B&H Photo, Adorama Camera, and Amazon.com (all three are linked and recommended at my main photography site). If an item is selling for significantly less than at these three companies, something is downright suspicious.
A friend of mine is looking for a Canon 7D. Prices from reputable dealers are generally in the $1700 price range. He found it at SkyPoint Digital for $879, an apparent savings of over $800. I told him that a price that low raises all kinds of red flags for me. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I might believe someone can sell the 7D for $1600 (and it would probably be gray market), but not $879.
So I Googled SkyPointDigital, and came up with a lot of news, all of it bad.
Thoughts-of-Dave has a good article with lots of links.
ResellerRatings.com has a collection of really bad reviews. Every single reviewer (as of today’s date) gives the company the lowest rating. It is not unusual for a company with a number of bad ratings to start another company with a different name. That means it is risky to do business with a new company without a good ratings history.
There are several complaints at Ripoff Report.
And then there are the people that post their own painful story on their web site. (You’ve got to love finding “Professor Piggington’s” in a web site’s name.)
Here’s one person’s review from Reseller Ratings.
“Like all of the reviews that I read on this website I have fallen victim to Sky Point Digital’s bait and switch tactics. I placed an order with Sky Point Digital for a Canon Rebel XSi with an 18-55mm lens kit for $539. I received the phone call the next day to confirm the order and I received the same salesman speech telling me that what I ordered did not include a battery or charger or any interfacing cables but that I could get all of that with a special package for ONLY $899. I thought that what I had seen on Amazon included everything and it was still under $650 so my gut was telling that something was not right. I got the salesman’s name and direct extension (Mike, extension 7014)and I told him that I wanted him to email me an itemized list of the products that he was trying to sell me so I could research the items first. He told me that he’d have it to me within the hour…that was exactly a week ago and I still have not seen it. They did, however, ship me the merchandise and they have charged $899 to my credit card. Before calling Sky Point Digital this morning, I called my credit card company and told them the story. I told them that I wanted to return all of the merchandise to Sky Point Digital and I wanted Sky Point Digital to issue me a full credit. I was nervous though because the shipping slip says that if I return the merchandise, there is a MINIMUM 10% restocking fee and the refund would exclude all shipping fees. The credit card company said that they could file a dispute, but they have to abide by the company’s return policy and would not be able to prevent him from charging me the restocking fee. So I called Mike at Sky Point Digital and told him that I felt like I had been scammed. Mike quickly transferred me over to customer service. Kevin at customer service gave me the run down on why what I got was a good deal. I told him that I was looking at Amazon at that exact moment at the exact same merchandise for $629. Believe it or not, he actually got onto to Amazon’s webpage while I was on the phone and confirmed that he saw what I saw! He told me that I could return the merchandise but he would have to charge me $180 for shipping fees and restocking!!! That does me no good, it’s a waste of my time! So for now, I’m filing a dispute with my credit card company to pay only the amount that originally agreed to and not for the full $899.”
There are several companies with excellent reviews and good prices that you can deal with a know you will get what you pay for.