Thursday, December 15, 2011

Adorama and Canadian Orders

 If you intend to order something on line with Adorama to be delivered to Canada, STOP! DON'T DO IT!!

Unless you don't mind paying extreme shipping charges. I recently ordered a DVD from them which cost $99 their cheapest shipping fee was via UPS for an additional $30 a little steep but since this item wasn't available elsewhere I had no other choice. Other shipping methods Adorama made available were through FEDex $50 or $60 depending on speed of delivery. I was naive to think that the $30 would cover some of the duty/tax etc..  I mean I can order a DVD via Amazon in the US and only pay $8 for shipping.
  So the item makes it to Canada and an attempt to deliver was made, and like most people I work thru the day and received a yellow missed delivery slip, which notified me I owned them an additional $25 for their brokerage fee. I expected some fee but 25%, so duty plus how much? I tried to arrange a 2nd delivery, and like most couriers they couldn't provide a set date/time. So I thought lets have it delivered to a UPS store right across from my office downtown, I'll be able to pick it up on the way home. UPS can't do that automatically, YOU the customer must to call the store directly to see if they will even accept the package. If you can convince them, you then call back UPS and advise them of the new UPS Store address What? The UPS store was kind enough to accept the package, but they were also kind enough to charge another $5 for accepting it, lovely.
 So I called the store back the next day (they had closed by the time I got off with UPS central) to instruct them that I'd gone ahead with the redirected delivery only to find out that they don't accept packages with brokerage fees, I'd have to pay in advance. I said fine I'll be right over to pay you, oh no you can't pay us directly you have to pay UPS directly. Are you not UPS? Yes but we are an independent agent we can't accept payments. I call back the REAL UPS and paid the outstanding overpriced brokerage fee over the phone and they were to contact the driver who at this time is already on the road to tell him that the COD charge has been paid. Later that day I get a call from both the independent UPS store and the driver telling me that they cant accept/deliver the package because of the outstanding COD. I tell them that I've paid it, but the driver hasn't heard from UPS central nor can he call to confirm he is just a driver. So that high tech scanner/clipboard thing they carry around must for angry birds because it's linked to absolutely nothing of use to the driver. The UPS store being independent and all can't check the UPS system cause they have no access to the UPS system, What? So I call UPS central, they tell me that the payment information should make it to the dispatch center tomorrow and the driver should be able to deliver the package to the UPS store, sorry independent UPS store. I now understand why they charge so much with drivers who do nothing but drive and have no contact to their dispatch center, and with stores that beyond having a pretty UPS sign in the window and a drop box have nothing to do with UPS they need to recover all of the costs for the extra gas used for truck rolls to actually deliver a package.
 So UPS is useless that much is confirmed, stay away from them, but Adorama is sticking it to us also in their own little way. Say you need a new SD card for your camera, and you're dumb enough to go to them because they have them on sale real cheap $8 for 8G pretty good... Oh but wait they'd never charge $30 to deliver to Canada on something so small would they... Oh yeah you bet they would... Stay away from Adorama unless you can't find it elsewhere... If you must go to the USA for camera stuff B&H or Midwest Photo Exchange have both provided great service for me in the past.

Comparison of a product picked at random that all three stores carry at the same price:

Nik Sharpen Pro 3.0 Plugin $139.99
Store Shipping Customs Total Method
Adorama $30.60 $35.00 $205.59 UPS
MidWest 21.25 18.20 179.44 USPS
B&H $8.62 $20.30 168.91 Purolator

Note: I didn't provide a direct URL for Adorama because I don't want to assist them in any way in taking you to the cleaners.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FlashBus: The Movie

 For those of you that missed the FlashBus tour last spring, it's now available on DVD. The seminar covered everything off camera flash. The manual method of David Hobby and the TTL method of Joe McNally was covered by either slideshow or live demo. I was present for the Buffalo date and found it both informative and entertaining. However I found that David lost track of what we were there for late in his 1/2 of the show. He went into great detail on how he is changing his business model with his HOCO 360 project, sorry but I came here to learn about lighting. Unfortunately his second lighting dvd training set also suffered from the same off track marketing pitch. I was just interested in lighting, not how you intend to run your business in the future. Hobby's first lighting DVD set is more useful I found.

 I've Ordered the DVD and will update this post with a review...

Update (15-Dec-2011): Haven't received  it yet and regret the purchase already.. see next post "Adorama and Canadian Orders"