A friend just told me he had ordered a camera from Broadway Photo. After a little research, it turns out that they have more negative reviews than any other mail order camera store.
A friend just told me he had ordered a camera from Broadway Photo. After a little research, it turns out that they have more negative reviews than any other mail order camera store.
Just noticed that Broadway Photo has a two page ad in the current issue of Shutterbug. Any chance of dropping them as an advertiser so no other photographers get ripped off? ResellerRatings.com determined that over 50 positive reviews on their web site were created fraudulently.
I see in the April issue of SB, they are advertising the Canon 5D for $2349.99. I wonder if anyone actually gets that camera at that price?
I really would like to hear from Shutterbug management why sleazeball companies like Broadway Photo and many others are still allowed to advertise in Shutterbug. When I shopped for my Nikon D70 in late 2004, I got the bait and switch routine in addition to very rude behavior from this and many other vendors that are advertising in Shutterbug (and other photographic magazines). I'll spare everybody the gory details but be assured it was as bad as you read in some reviews. Many people must be duped by these kind of companies, because they keep on advertising. A letter that I wrote to Shutterbug at the time went unanswered!
I don't like seeing Broadway Photo's ads in my favorite magazine, either. But I think Shutterbug might have a legal problem if they start pulling advertising based on undocumented consumer complaints. Don't get me wrong. I think the complaints are valid. But knowing that, and proving it to a jury, are two different things. Now, if the NYC DA or New York's Attorney General were to take legal action for fraud against these scam operations, that would be a different matter. Then, Shutterbug would be justified in pulling their ads, if not actually obligated to do so.
So, if you want to go after the real culprits, I've already named them above. You have to wonder why the NYC or the State of New York haven't taken action so far. Are they building a case? Or, could it be that no one thinks to file complaints with law enforcement? Until the law does take action, I guess our job is to make sure the word gets out so that the money the scam operations spend on advertising is, as much as possible, wasted.
By the way, I'm not a lawyer. But, one year of law school and twenty years with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department convinced me that lawyers are just sharks circling the deep pockets. (I was going to say something else, but decorum won out.)
I don't think that relying on the judicial branch of government is the only or necessarily the best answer. Magazines have a major stake in this because of the advertising revenue, but they also have a major responsibility that I think most shun. The responses I got from Shutterbug (no response) and some other magazines ("Thank you for your inputs. We will contact the companies that you have had a less than satisfying experience with and we will let you know of the results." This was followed by a big silence) are very telling.
IF magazines were serious about protecting their readers interests and the integrity of the industry, then there is a lot they could do, but in my opinion they don't because of the $$ involved. For starters they could actively work with (read put the fire to the feet of) advertisers to set effective standards. They also could publish warnings, possibly combined with reader feedback. This would very quickly expose the rotten apples.
Another popular ;) photo magazine has a "check rated" program whereby companies agree to meet certain standards in order to display the magazine's badge of honor in their ads.
The irony is that Broadway Photo is one of those companies, and their little symbol of integrity even appears in their ads in SB. It kind of defeats the purpose to certify such a disreputable outfit as honest.
It used to be not that many years ago when Shutterbug was a magazine that was part of a small privately owned publishing company and most of its advertising was from retailers that the editor and writers often knew the principles of the sellers who advertised on a face-to-face basis, and when problems readers experienced developed they often got taken care of with one or two personal telephone calls.
That world doesn't exist any more. Shutterbug is now owned and run by a large media corporation. In just the last ten years since I had to quit traveling due to health issues, few of the many people I knew in the business are still involved, some have passed on, many others have retired or moved on. And I think since the internet and digital photography took off the very nature and culture that was the photo business community in the past has largely morphed into something quite different.
It is a two-way street though as "customers" have changed too in attitudes and they way they shop. It is a much more atomized, impersonal, and cost-price driven environment, and getting much more so day by day. Fortunately there are some exceptions among vendors, at least for those who are not driven just by the lowest price that can be found.
You are absolutely right and Broadway Photo isn't the only check rated advertiser in this magazine (that for some strange reason I still hesitate to mention on the Shutterbug forum) that treated me like I was an imbecile and didn't see right through their scam ("the D70 only works with this special 512MB memory card that is not yet normally available on the US market, but we can provide it to you for a mere $300 and you better buy two of them"; I'm not kidding here, this is literally what one of them claimed). This "other" publication at least acknowledged my complaints but never followed up on them.
OK, guys, I just sent email to Ron Leach and George Schaub objecting to the Broadway Photo ad. Here's the text:
I noticed that the April issue of Shutterbug has a two page ad for Broadway Photo (pp. 112-113). According to feedback on Reseller Ratings (http://www.resellerratings.com/seller1995-p5-s1-d1.html#reviews), this is a pretty notorious scam operation that operates under several different names. It is interesting to note that, although there are some "Very Satisfied" ratings, the website has a statement at the top indicating they have detected and disabled over 50 fraudulent "Very Satisfied" ratings. In the two forums I frequent (Shutterbug's and photo.net), all of the comments are very, very negative.
I think the inclusion of an ad by Broadway Photo is insulting to your readership, as well as the reputable dealers who have to share space with them. Is there any chance that you can screen your advertisers and hold them to at least a minimum standard of honesty?
Anyone else want to jump on the wagon?
David, you paint a pretty bleak picture of the business. Maybe I have my head in the sand, but I still believe most of the dealers out there are reputable and the bad apples, though in the minority, get all the attention - kind of like the few folks whose cameras don't work after they drop them.
I also believe that, as long as there are people at Shutterbug who give a damn, like you and George Schaub, then it's worth the effort to keep the scam scum out of it's pages.....
Of course I support your action! I've also notified the moderator of this category, but I haven't heard anything back yet.
It would really be helpful if some highly respected photography magazine (naming no names) would do some invesigative reporting on these scam operations (oooohhh, talk about lawsuit bait!) It's pretty pathetic to see so many folks post the almost identical question on various forums: "I can get a 5D body for only $250 from scamscum.com. Is this too good to be true?" You suspect they already know the answer, but are hoping they're wrong.
Resellerratings.com puts up a lot of warning signs about these operations, with hundreds of "Very Dissatisfied" ratings from those who got stung. But, think about it: If all those victims knew enough about resellerratins.com to post negative reviews there after the fact....why didn't they check before purchase? Either they got the word too late, or P.T. Barnum was more right than he knew.....
I agree with you Bill, and I am sure both the editor and publisher of Shutterbug do as well. However, if an effective policy is put in place or not and our immediate leadership has the authority and resources to take action I am afraid rests with the corporation that owns the magazine. And, all but a couple of photo publications are pretty much in the same boat.
Even just logically it would seem to make sense to do everything possible to protect readers from scam photo dealers. But these days does logic and good sense prevail anywhere? I'm not just being pessimistic and dubious for any emotional reason, but from what I see too many people today seem to not care enough to stand up for themselves and just leave everything to someone else.
In a way what I am suggesting is maybe the most effective way to squelch the scammers is what is going on here. With media like this forum people can do for themselves more than what any relatively small organization like a photo magazine or a newspaper could ever do in the past. The most effective weapon against dishonest merchants is information. Rather than call for Shutterbug for instance to mount an investigation and police the retails photo dealer environment, take the time and effort to mount a popular campaign to identify the cheats and warn others, take the time to send an e-mail to everyone one you know in photography, get on every public website and make sure the message is repeated so everyone knows.
One last word: today too many are driven to look for the lowest price for everything, and that in itself is an invitation to becoming prey to the dishonest and unscrupulous merchants. You cannot protect those who will do nothing to protect themselves. Caveat emptor still must be the rule.
Thanks, David. I don't know if anyone has seen this before, but I'll post the link, anyway. It's a NY Times article from 1/11/06 about the Brooklyn camera scams, the gray market and the investigtions:
The link is too long to click on, just copy and paste. It's worth the effort.
Your post reminds me of a conversation I had a few weeks ago with an old gentleman who stopped and talked to me while I was shooting an old barn. He's a retired miner from W. Virginia. This was shortly after the latest mine disaster in WVA, and I mentioned that I couldn't understand how mining companies could operate in good conscience with such disregard for safety. He got a very sad look on his face and said, "Sometimes we see dollars, and forget".
I think that kind of sums up the problems you alluded to in our arena........
It was good of you to post the NYT article URL. The New York camera market however, has had its problems like this current imbroglio with Broadway for as long as I can remember, and gray market became rampant in the 70's.
But to some extent the degree of control and price fixing and the way some company owned distributors dealt with camera stores invited a lot of the problems like the gray market developing. About the only thing that seems to change is which store name in NY's photo district is the shadiest at any given time.
I think a forum like this is the best approach for checking a supplier. It doesn't really matter if ads are run in the top magazines and though the rating sites are helpful, I've always wondered if all are truthful. I thnk the comments you get in a forum like this paint the best picture. These are genuinely people who are interested in photography and in helping each other. The comments made in this forum tell you truthfully whether or not to deal with a supplier.
I agree that forums are a good place to go for this kind of information. However, the number of people responding to a forum post may be significantly small and statistically insignificant. The resellerratings.com website has a very favorable reputation for having credible information. They even publish information about rating scams, so they at least verify the inputs to a certain extent.
Over the last year or so I've bought a lot of equipment from a wide variety of sellers, including three NY retailers (B&H, Abes of Maine - really Brooklyn - and Adorama), our local (Milwaukee area) store (Art's Cameras Plus), eBay private sellers, eBay stores (including PhotoSam of Boston), and KEH.
Lumping the NY stores together is I think misleading. I have had good service from B&H, which I use quite a bit as I can buy some things like printers through work and B&H is an approved vendor. I have no complaints at all. Adorama and Abes did put on a sales pitch about other products but it wasn't hard to say "no" and I am not an aggressive personality. However, I did notice and did decide not to go back there. I also believe in supporting our local store (Art's), where I have bought three cameras and other products and have a lens on order. They provide good advice (at least once you learn who to ask) and provide unusual services like repairs.
eBay is a funny environment as most of you will realize. One peculiarity is that items may well go for more than their current market value. And I will no longer buy from private sellers except for rare items (like the Paramender for Mamiya TLRs), but on balance I did get good deals. PhotoSam was very good.
Recently I've gone only to KEH for used stuff (I've built up a kit of Nikkor lenses, which are pretty cheap these days). I'd heard that their items tend to be better than advertised and that's been my experience (I hope it's true as I have a 20-35mm f/2.8 Nikkor arriving today). So you see that whether or not I've learned who to go to (B&H, KEH, and our local specialist) I've certainly had fun.
I don't think we're lumping all the NY stores together when we take on Broadway Photo, Genius Camera, Infiniti Photo, and some of the others I refer to as scamscum.com. In fact, if you hang around here long enough, you'll see that whenever anyone comes looking for an online dealer recommendation, he or she usually gets the big three: B&H Photo, Adorama and KEH. (Yeah, I know, KEH is in Atlanta.) I use B&H almost exclusively for film and new equipmnent, and KEH for used gear.
One of my chief complaints about the bad guys is exactly what you alluded to, that all the online dealers get tarred with the same brush in people's minds if they don't know the score. That's why resellerratings.com is so important. All you have to do is look at the rating average for B&H (9.47 out of 10), and compare it to Broadway Photo's average which is almost in negative numbers. As for eBay, well, not only caveat emptor but caveat emptor maximus......
Back in October of last year I tried to purchase a Pentax *ISTDL from Broadway. My experience was not positive either. I was given the run around by almost everyone I talked to at that store.I will not deal with them again for anything.
So, where is the official response from Shutterbug to all these inputs? Can George Schaub please comment?
As I'm certain you know perfectly well Frans, there isn't going to be any "official" response from Shutterbug and I'm pretty certain that George isn't going to comment in the public forum either. I don't blame them a bit. After all, the advertising dollars from scamscum.com (nice handle, Bill!) are every bit as green as those from B&H or Adorama.
It's sad, but it's just a fact of life. Without those dollars, yet another magazine would simply bite the dust. I'd rather keep the magazine with the understanding that some of the advertisers simply aren't very reputable. At least Shutterbug isn't like that other photo magazine who seemingly bestows high ratings on good and bad alike...
The purpose of these Forums is to air comments, both good and bad, on various topics, and hopefully to get constructive suggestions and tips on all manner of subjects. This retailer forum serves that purpose well, and our setting it up is a way for all to share their experiences. There are many positive experinces that have been related here as well on various retailers, and those reading the range of comments will learn from the overall impressions of Forum contributors.
You couldn't have made it any clearer: at Shutterbug money trumps integrity. One of your competitors, Popular Photography and Imaging, has banned Broadway Photo and other scammers from their publication. It's good to see that at least some people have the courage to do the right thing.
You are making an assumption regarding Shutterbug policy for which you have provided no evidence. You are welcome to your opinion, but not everyone wants magazines and other institutions to be a "big brother" and decide for them what is good and what is bad. And, have you ever thought because some customers have gotten bad deals, it may not be because there is an intention to cheat by a seller, but that the sellers just don't always have their act together. Black-balling a seller can be done fairly only if there is undeniable evidence of intention to commit fraud. If you don't have the means to and do gather the evidence that proves fraud, taking action to ban a seller could be libelous.
Personally it is my individual opinion based on a long and active history of doing business in photography and being privy to many tales of people who have gotten the short end of the stick, most who get scammed put themselves in harms way by trying to get something for less than it is worth. In other words the greedy take advantage of the greedy.
Since when do I need to provide evidence about an assumption I'm not making? I'm stating the inescapable conclusion that for Shutterbug money trumps integrity.
If you are really interested in undeniable evidence of Broadway Photo's intention to commit fraud, all you have to do is look for it. Look at my written complaints to Shutterbug about this scammer (complaints that Shutterbug never responded to). Get serious about gathering information from your readers and forum users. Go to www.resellerratings.com and look at the mostly very negative 1100+ reviews with all the gory details spelled out for you and Shutterbug management to read.
Your post does nothing else than whitewash reprehensible practices.
There is a difference between criminal fraud and reprehensible practices. If the Broadway organization is practicing criminal fraud then victims need to file a complaint with the authorities and if the plaintiffs are in fact guilty a court, and only a court can make that determination.
If there is so much evidence, which I do not doubt, and it is easy to access, as purchaser reports of dissatisfaction, as you point out are so readily available, why is Shutterbug obliged to assume responsibility for consumers who do not exercise responsibility for themselves?
There is no inescapable conclusion as you wish us to believe, unless it is a fact Broadway has been convicted in a court of law of fraudulent business practices.
This is I think still a democracy of liberty and freedom and that includes the marketplace. It is no whitewash to expect ordinary citizen consumers to be responsible for themselves in the marketplace.
Say what you want, fact is that Shutterbug whitewashes what is going on by continuing to accept advertising of these scammers. If others can weed out the bad seeds, so can Shutterbug. You don't need court convictions to behave ethically. Shutterbug chooses to do business with these outfits and it has been duly noticed.
We are aware of your opinion. I disagree that corporations and business should be in any way self-censoring based on the assumption they should assume a responsibility individuals should shoulder themselves. I don't want any company making decisions for me, and I am sorry you advocate a big-brother solution to that which should be an individual responsibility at the expense of everyone's liberty and freedom.
I really have mixed feelings about this issue. First (and I could be wrong about this), I think we have to recognize that Shutterbug Magazine, per se, has no more control over advertising policy than we do. That, I believe, is controlled by the publisher, Primedia. I'd be willing to bet that the same thing is true of Popular Photography Magazine, and their publishing house. So we really can't take Shutterbug to task for not dumping Broadway Photo. It wasn't their call. This, of course, puts George Schaub and David Brooks squarely in the middle of this, to their discomfort.
Furthermore, I do think David is correct in saying that "caveat emptor" very much applies here. I'm always amazed at the number of people who post forum questions like, "Broadway Photo is selling 20Ds for only $100. IS THIS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?" Well, yeah, it is. But there are so many people who want to believe it's a good deal that they go ahead with it regardless of resselerratings.com or warnings on the forum. They're the ones who end up getting burned, and then post negative ratings on Reseller. And, you know what? I don't think they all got there as a result of an ad in Shutterbug.
Having said all that, I really think the photographic community (meaning us, in part) should be able to find a way to take these guys down. As David, said, apparently there's not any legal violations going on or the New York District Attorney would have gotten involved before now. But think about this: What if it were WalMart or K-Mart, for instance, that was doing business this way? How long would they last? And who would bring them down but the customers who no longer shop there? And how much publicity would there be, that would make this happen?
OK, so much for the rainy Saturday morning rant.....
Again I must thank you for putting a down-to-earth perspective on this issue. You are probably correct about Shutterbug, George and myself being in the middle so to speak. Primedia the corporate owners with dozens of magazines does set the policy I am sure, although I am not personally privy to the particulars.
But like me you are an old-timer and "Broadway's" have been a part of the photo scene since I got involved in the early 50's, although the names change from time to time , the New York photo district has always had a few sleazy operators doing "mail order" and many more quite reputable dealers as well.
Today, however there is something we never had as readily available in the past, and that is the web sites, blogs, forums for easy access to find out whether a dealer is in fact reputable and reliable. That gives the sucker less of an excuse, but I think regardless there is as the circus people said, "a sucker is born every minute". And last night on ABC's 20/20 John Stossel presented some choice examples of how America gets hoaxed.
It's not that I am unsympathetic, but providing protection for the naive and gullible comes with a high price of unintended consequences limiting the very freedom and liberty that makes this system work so well to most people's benefit.
Now, I too will get off my soapbox on this one and hope it is a dead horse.
This is not an issue of companies sensoring themselves, taking over responsibilities from individuals, making decisions for me, advocating a big-brother solution, liberty or freedom. It is an issue of business ethics, plain and simple and people with integrity know the difference and act upon it.
They opened many websites to fool buyers. They have one distribution center for all their websites. According to New York BBB, I knew Broadway photo does business under the following names.
A&M Photo World
Digital Liquidators LLC
Maybe some more as well
All of them are owned by the same company!!!
These people give New Yorkers a bad name. They keep opening new website and try to rip you off any way they can. They are so bad that we now should refer to them as 'Fraud way Photo'!
Somebody recently wrote to Shutterbug about a bad experience with Broadway Photo and he received what he considers an evasive response. It is pasted below:
Dear Mr. L.....,
Thank you for contacting us in regard to Broadway Photo. Shutterbug policy states that an advertiser may be removed from the publication if they have 3 open complaints in their file. As of now, Broadway Photo has no complaints on file with us and therefore they can not be barred from advertising. It is also our policy to keep a record of all complaints and compliments concerning the companies that advertise with us. If a customer wishes to know the reputation of a company before making a purchase they are more than welcome to contact us for information.
Customer Service Manager
Book Editor: Shutterbug
More proof that Shutterbug doesn't care that scammers advertise in their publication.
Also, I wrote a letter in December 2004 to Shutterbug to complain about Broadway Photo, so how come Cynthia claims that no complaints are on file? Mine and this other person's are at least 2, if I can still count correctly. And given Broadway Photo's abysmal reputation in the industry in general and on www.resellerratings.com in particular (over 1100 complaints!) I find it even harder to believe Cynthia's claim.
At least one other member mentioned a letter he had written to Shutterbug management. I happen to agree with Frans, this is an ethics issue. I read the suggestions about free speech, and buyer beware. There's an element of truth there, but not a valid excuse for this situation.
My cousin is the editor of a magazine. I wrote to him and asked him:
I have exchanged several emails now with Cynthia Boylan of Primedia, Shutterbug's parent company, the person who responded to your complaint about Broadway Photo. Sofar, she has regurgitated the stated policy and stated that she has no authority to change that policy, so I've asked her to elevate the issue to someone with such authority. Let's see what happens.
Very interseting thread. I only have a few comments (for which I am sure I shall be lambasted)...
First, I personally, and several others I know, have had positive experiences with Broadway. Ergo, not everyone has a problem. Of course, I did my transaction via web only (no phone & no sales pitch) and used a controlled credit card that would kick back the funds if there were a problem.
Second, it has been my personal experience that many (not all, granted) of the people who suffer problems with on-line purchases often created a majority of the problems themselves. Naturally, shopping for a too-good-to-be-true bargain is begging for trouble.
In re SB's advertizing policies, I believe that SB is not a non-profit organization. Their object is to make money. We, as readers and the buyers of equipment that may be adveritized therein have a personal responsibility to protect ourselves. That is not SB's job!
If you are too lazy to protect yourself from a rip-off artist, shame on you! Don't look to someone else to relieve you of that responsibility--not SB, and not some government agency. It is YOUR problem, not theirs.
Peace, and good hunting in the wilds of cameraland.
Like I said before, this is an issue of business ethics, plain and simple and people with integrity know the difference and act upon it.
The ethical questions would be best placed at the foot of whichever company you are making a contention of fraud against. Until they act fraudulently in their dealings with whomever they are taking out advertising through, most any legal counsel will strenuously warn against terminating a busness relationship with another company or person on the basis of a non-law enforcement person's contentions of illegal activity. Companies have been taken to court before for such dealings. The primary thing to remember is what is one of the first topics taught in any good business managment class, you are first and foremost in business to make a profit and owe your loyalty to the company first. Also, unless things are majorly different at Shutterbug, complaining to their in house management will result in little if anything being done as most magazines advertising is controlled by the umbrella holding company. In that light, it is disengenuous to keep putting them in the same boat with whatever copmany you have a problem with when the issue is decided elsewhere.
If you had read through the previous posts on this thread, you would have seen that I have contacted Shutterbugs parent company, but they did not respond.
Sorry to say so but hiding behind the excuses that you bring to the table don't cut it for me.
PC World did a pretty effective bit on these scammers. It should be required reading prior to attempting to buying on-line.
As others have said in effect, David and George are not the publisher's ad sales-dudes. Beating upon them is of no service to anyone.
The fact that this tribe is still doing business in spite of law enforcement, pretty much means they have retained a pack of Rottweiler-Class attack-lawyers who would very likely sue the publisher if the ad were pulled. If the New York DA can't get the goods on them to shut them down, then certainly a photo magazine is unlikely to have the investigative resources and subpoena power to come into court with incontrovertible evidence sufficient to defend themselves against charges of libel or slander.
While they use bait and switch, and are rude and overbearing, in the end I expect that customers get what they consent to, though getting there is an unpleasant experience. If the scammers find themselves in a position where the profit is insufficient, they just cancel the sale and don't debit the card. At least marginally legal, if unpleasant.
Certainly their dealings are on the edge of fraud, but probably just short of something that can be prosecuted. One can not be prosecuted for using high-pressure sales tactics and rudeness. I expect their legal counsel has told them just how far they can go and they take it to that limit most every time.
A friend ordered a camera like mine at several hundred less than what I paid for it. The scammer sold the camera at the price quoted, but only the camera - everything I got in the box was sold as extra accessories. The camera was also grey market. However, he never asked if it was grey market, nor did he realize that the stuff in the box was what normally came with the camera. In the end, he paid a couple hundred more than I did, but he actually got what he ordered at the price he agreed to. Nasty, but not quite fraud. He could have terminated the sale at any time, just by hanging up.
Defence in a libel/slander suit is difficult, and losing can be very costly. In such cases, the burden of proof is upon the defence, and doing the police-work to build a defence would appear to be nearly impossible - since the police themselves appear unable to do so.
If Broadway sued and actually [b]lost[/b] , incorporating as a new business under a new name would once again get this crew on the advertising pages. A new business has no bad track record against them, so the cycle would begin all over again. Again it would be nearly impossible to prove that they actually were the old Broadway, but doing business under a new name. They already do business under a variety of names, to the best of our knowledge. It would be little more than an inconvenience for them.
The only hope is that law enforcement would be able to link the people who own and run the businesses to the scams and prosecute them personally. They would also have to convince the court to issue an injunction against doing business or levy fines sufficient to shut them down. I expect that the trail of ownership is so convoluted, that finding who is actually pulling the strings would take a forensic team decades to unravel and build a watertight case. These are not amateurs.
Reasons used from a businesses perspective are not excuses and I have to say I take a slight offense at the off hand classification of what i said. It is one thing to say as an individual person, don't do business with such and such because of all this evidece I have from people's experiences. It is quite another in the legal world of business where they have to consider the ramifications of going off of what would essentially be hearsay evidence in a legal proceeding. Most businesses that are well managed would not make the leap you are calling for without some form of valid proof from a law authority. As for my reading through all the posts, sir, I did. In the one in which I was drawing from, indication that you contacted Primedia instead of Shutterbug was not clear since you attributed her directly to Shutterbug and not the parent company in the information below her name. I had forgotten the attribution of contacting Primedia. Business practices purported to being practiced by Broadway are certainly not good in my book. But unlike those who claim to have been defrauded by them, I did my homework long before I picked a supply house for my photographic equipment. Even at that, i can not say that I am 100% pleased with B&H, as i am still waiting on something months after the order was placed but I did do my homework beforehand since there is responsibility placed on the consumer to investigate if the enitiy they are buying from is reputable.
P.T. Barnum apparently never said, "There's a sucker born every minute", but later expressed regret that he had not said it. Personally, I think it's an underestimate, by at least an order of magnitude. The suckers are breeding like rabbits, and that's what keeps the scamscum.com operations in business. Caveat emptor was the rule in Barnum's day, and it still applies - along with "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
The point that Larry was making is that these guys are always lawyered up, and it costs them very little to file a lawsuit that will keep publishers, magazine editors, et al tied up in court for a long time and for a lot of money. The suit itself may be frivolous, but it doesn't matter. It's going to cost the respondents a great deal of cash to get to the point where a judge says it's frivolous. This is why most civil litigation is settled out of court, because it's much less expensive than going to trial. It has nothing to do with right and wrong, and everything to do with the bottom line. Yes, that sucks, but it's the reality.
So, the best we can do while waiting for someone with some clout to step up to the plate, is to keep warning people away from these guys and keep referring them to resellerratings.com. And, hopefully, one of these days Broadway Photo will cross a line and really step on it's willy, legally speaking, and the NY DA'a office will finally nail them. In the meantime, let's drink a toast to Mr. Barnum, the optimist.
This wsy to the Egress......
Larry and others,
Sorry folks, but what you say is impossible to do because of legal issues, has been done many times over by Popular Photography. They use secret shoppers and listen to their readers and ACT by refusing ads from scammers.
Not to split hairs over which magazine is better at what in terms of advertising allowed in their publication, but I can think of one ad from a company which advertises in Pop Photo also who has complaints against it for being misleading.
One suggestion I would have, since the Primedia contact person you wrote to obviously was unsympathetic to your concerns, would be to instead write directly to the CEO of the company or the head of the Board of Directors. More often than not action will be taken, usually by one of their assistants, then to at least contact back and say why or why not something can be done. I know I've had to go that route when dealing with the parent copmany of a print publication over some issues when the intitial contact person refused to do anything.
I'm tired of trying to get Shutterbug/Primedia to address this issue, so once again money wins over business ethics.
Frans, the solution is simple. Don't buy from Broadway. Encourage your friends and aquaintances not to buy from Broadway. If enough of you do this, Broadway will disappear.
As to writing to the CEO as suggested in the link immediately previous, I am sure that would elicit a response. Whether that response will result in any action is a different matter entirely. I am reminded of the famous (or infamous) B&O "bedbug letter" of the mid 50s (Okay, so I'm old! Wanna make something of it?!?) That, I suspect is the response you would receive.
I subscribe to Popular Photography (and many other photo magazines) and sent a letter of complaint last year for allowing those false advertisers ($1000 for a, just put in the market, EOS 30D and $5000 for the EOS1ds which cost everywhere else $7999) since they have a reputation for being crooks (lots of websites reporting on their more than dubious activities), I also provided links to tons of complaints toward BP. Pop Photo never replied to my letter but they did drop them from the advertisers section. Shutterbug and every other magazine should do the same.
Since dropping the advertisers doesn't seem to be an option, why not devote a side bar near the front of the magazine, say near the table of contents, that says something like:
"Make sure you are dealing with a reputable mail order company, please check http://www.resellerratings.com (and a few others which I won't list, but you should) before ordering."
That way Shutterbug isn't making any recommendations against any specific dealer and you're not running into any laws about accepting advertising. You WOULD be doing your readers a service by letting them know about this sort of site BEFORE they buy rather than kicking themselves afterwards. If an advertiser complains, well they don't need to buy ads. :D
Hey, maybe resellerratings.com could take out an ad.