As of a 10pm ET recheck, the B&H Photo website is back online!
As of the time of writing of this post, the B&H Photo website is temporarily down! None of the links to the B&H Photo website will work while the website is down. We obviously cannot go back and temporarily update hundreds of posts with links to B&H Photo, so this post serves as a general-purpose alert.
Ritz Camera (the brick and mortar stores) is a separate business entity from the online RitzCamera.com, which filed for bankruptcy of its own in 2011. A brief history of all things Ritz via Wikipedia.
A discussion of the situation from the perspective of a photographer who had a paid pre-order can be found in the dpreview forums.
This has ended!
The Best Buy website is under previously scheduled maintenance again. They expect the website to return at around 11:59pm Central time tonight Sunday April 8, 2012. (I don't want to write midnight because that creates confusion, so 11:59pm or 12:01am are better ways to describe time in order to prevent potential confusions).
This is over!
Attention Best Buy shoppers! The Best Buy website will be undergoing planned maintenance between Tuesday 9pm and Wednesday 2pm Central time. During this time, you will not be able to make purchases. Judging by the length of time set aside, it might be a user interface overhaul, or perhaps behind the scenes infrastructure work. We will find out when they return on Wedn at around 2pm Central.
KEH Camera has just posted an alert on their blog that their website and at least two other photography retailer websites have been under hacker attack. The KEH website is down. Their blog is hosted separately at Google's Blogger/Blogspot. [we do not know what the other two photography retailer websites are]
B&H Photo has extended their return policy for the Holidays. Items purchased on November 20, 2011 and later can be returned until January 18, 2012 (or later if their 30-day window is after Jan-18). As you may recall, a few months ago B&H Photo increased their standard return policy from 14 days to 30 days. Check the aforelinked page for all the details.
This special has ended!
Abe's of Maine is offering 10% off the current prices of these Sigma lenses when you enter coupon code DEAL10 before the end of day on October 12, 2011.
UPDATE: you can also try coupons LOYALTY15 ($15 off $400+) or LOYALTY10 ($10 off $150+) or ABESAVES5 ($5 off $75+).
Best Buy has now expanded their website to allow third-party sellers to sell in their marketplace. The list includes Buy.com which also has their own third-party seller marketplace - this may cause a tear in the fabric of the retailer-space continuum ;-) Details at Yahoo Finance.
As of a 7:52pm EST check, the Best Buy website is accepting orders again. Previous update after the jump for the web-hosting historians (do they exist?)...
B&H Photo has just announced a new return policy effective today, within 30 days of the day of purchase! This is great news for shoppers! Read the new return policy at B&H Photo.
Helen Oster, Adorama's ambassador to the internets, has a new blog-post, "Rebate or Rip-Off? Canon price rises explained!", explaining the Canon instant rebates and price changes from the retailer's perspective.
Just like the great thinker Stephen T. Colbert, DFA, we are big fans of letting the free market decide prices, instead of the manufacturers trying to control/manipulate prices by using "authorized dealer" status to circumvent the invisible hand of the market. And the free market works when it is not manipulated or WallStreet'ed - part of the reason the Pentax K-x [stock status page] became a big success was that its prices were going up and down, with the down ticks bringing in more buyers that would have otherwise not taken a chance on the camera. It also helps if you have a solid camera, and K-x's ISO performance certainly was a big factor.
If you are a frequent Crutchfield shopper you will be thrilled to know that they have launched a rewards program. The program page does not mention how many points per dollar you earn (maybe we can assume 1 point per $1?). The interesting thing with this rewards program is that the more points you redeem at one time, the bigger your reward percentage. The conversion ranges from 2% up to 5% if you redeem 3000+ points at once. They currently have a promotion that gets you 150 rewards points just for signing up.
In rare good news for consumers, our Corporate OverLords have decided to give us a break ;-) Best Buy has decided to stop charging 15% restocking fees on a variety of products (except special orders), including digital cameras and such. Details via Consumerist, Engadget, Daily Tech, Slick Deals, and Best Buy Corporate.
Better yet, according to an internal email obtained by The Consumerist, if you were charged a restocking fee at Best Buy between November 17 and December 17, 2010, you can take the paperwork to your local store and ask for a refund of the restocking fee.
In other pro-consumer news, in recent months, Buy.com extended their return policy to 45 days (only applies to items sold by Buy.com, not the third-party sellers), while Adorama extended theirs to 30 days. Meanwhile, J&R World has extended the holiday shopping return period to February 1st.
American Express has launched a new (at least new to me) service that for $50 per year gives you extended protection on purchases. Think of it as insurance policy perhaps. Their page does a poor job of explaining exactly what's covered. Maybe they cut/pasted it from a previous program since they prominently feature ...Videotapes and ...Audiotapes. Digital cameras are not listed in the "What's Covered" section but the first paragraph mentions them explicitly. If you are not sure, be sure to contact AMEX to get an explicit clarification before signing up for it. We do not know any more than what is written on the above pages. This is discussed/via the Fat Wallet forums.
According to AMEX's "How to Use" section, if you have an unsatisfactory item that the merchant you purchased from will not take back, AMEX will take it as a return and refund up to $600 per item plus up to $20 in return shipping fees. You must initiate this process within 180 days of purchasing the item! Maximum benefits are $2500 in prodcut refunds and $100 in shipping refunds per year.
With this program, you don't have to be an American Express cardmember and you don't have to use an American Express card to pay for the items. AMEX already has a similar program for current AMEX cardholders.
If you are planning to make purchases from the B&H Photo website this month, be sure to make note of their upcoming website ordering schedule. Online ordering will not be available at the following dates and times as shown in the table below (screenshot crop from B&H website):
Helen Oster is Adorama's customer service ambassador to the Republic of the Internets and has a blog where she posts some "behind the scenes" updates and answers questions from shoppers. In today's blog-post, a reader's question about the confusion of in-stock/out-of-stock for limited availability/high-demand cameras is answered.
One month ago Buy.com extended their return policy from 30-days to 45-days. At that time we wondered and speculated whether this would start a new "return-policy" extension trend among retailers. This week, when you visit the Adorama home page you see a prominently-featured banner announcing their new 30-day return policy! So if you are interested in buying from Adorama, you now have a 30-day return policy.
So next question is, who will be the next to extend their return policy? :)
We have good news from a consumer's perspective! Buy.com has now extended their return policy from 30 days to 45 days. This applies to items sold and shipped by Buy.com itself, not by any of the many marketplace sellers that do business there. You can read the complete Buy.com return policy if you like. You will spot the new 45-day return-policy graphic on their website when it applies.
Even if you don't shop at Buy.com, this may be good news for you, as it may encourage other retailers to extend their return policies as well and trigger "return policy wars". We've already seen a parallel - a discounting war brought the e-book readers down to more consumer-friendly prices a few weeks ago.
This development may (or may not) be related to the purchase of Buy.com by Japanese retail giant Rakuten about two months ago.
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