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03-02-2015, 04:10 PM - 1 Like   #1
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KEH quality control

KEH quality control might be slipping. Emphasis on "might" because I'm only working off of 2 data points so far. I'm starting this thread for other people to post similar incidents. If it's just 2 isolated cases I wouldn't hesitate to buy from KEH but if we get a flurry of reports then we know to be cautious.

As I hear of more cases I'll add summaries to this top post. If weeks pass and I only get a tiny number of cases, I'll update accordingly. I am not looking to beat up on KEH just trying to gather collective wisdom.

I'll start with the good news first. KEH made the return process as easy as possible. They paid for return shipping, refunded my purchase price including the original shipping, promptly answered phone calls, and replied to email within 1 business day. I couldn't ask for anything better from their customer service. They provide 14 day returns and a full 6 month warranty, very good for used gear.

Now on to the less than good news:

Case 1: I ordered an "excellent" DA 15. It had a dead-on-arrival electronics issue where the lens stopped communicating with the camera every time it reached infinity focus. I verified the problem on 2 camera bodies.

Case 2: Fungus in a lens rated "excellent".


Last edited by DeadJohn; 03-02-2015 at 06:26 PM.
03-02-2015, 04:37 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
KEH quality control might be slipping.
Perhaps...The question that immediately comes to mind is whether they waffled on the warranty.* In your case #1, there should not have been a question regarding return. What's more, I would not fault them for having not detected the fault as part of their inspection process. As for case #2, I read the other thread shortly after the original post. Excellent by KEH definition means slight optical imperfections that will not affect image quality and 80-89% of original condition. I guess that leaves room for a little fungus in the same way that it leaves room for a little dust or a small scratch on the edge of the front element. That being said, I would not accept such a lens. If they give you argument, my suggestion would be:
  • Request that the problem "elevated", meaning that the issue will be handled by someone higher up on the chain of command
  • Once elevated, if no satisfaction, suggest that you will request a charge-back to your credit card
  • If no satisfaction, follow through with your threat regarding the charge-back and buy from a more reputable seller next time around
Notice that "shaming" on Internet forums is not on the list.

Steve

* FWIW, my personal history with KEH is that returns based on condition have been honored, no questions asked, with one exception. The exception was a fungus-infected lens listed in "bargain" condition. In that case, they said "sorry", gave me full credit including shipping, and suggested I find an acceptable means of disposal.

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-02-2015 at 04:46 PM.
03-02-2015, 04:52 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Over the course of 6 years, 5 of my 9 transactions with KEH have been unsatisfactory. Once they even charged me return shipping on a badly decentered lens they described as "Exc+". 2 of the problematic items had somewhat subtle defects, the other 3 were obvious upon handling the items.

Most recently, I had to return a lens they listed as AF because they sent me an MF version. When I shot KEH an email explaining the situation, the reply from the rep said, "We do not have anything remotely resembling what you thought we were selling you." I thought they were selling me what they stated they were selling me. I subsequently emailed the rep a screenshot of their listing for the item in question (states lens is autofocus), got no reply.
03-02-2015, 05:33 PM   #4
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I have not dealt with them in several months, but I believe that I've only returned one item about 7 years ago, and not for quality concerns. I am sorry to hear they have sold items that were immediately defective or misrepresented. I've owned several BGN lenses with no regret and an UG that deserved the label but still performed to my satisfaction.

03-02-2015, 05:53 PM   #5
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I bought a number of lenses from KEH (5?), most of them BGN grade and I never had trouble with them. One of the lenses had a lot of dust, but that's about it. Most recent purchase was a few months ago.
03-02-2015, 05:58 PM   #6
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I quit using them when they sent me an engraved LX (no mention of course), which shipped 4 days after I paid for it - and I tried to cancel the order on day 2. They do not have QA. They have a "looks good, let's let the customer QA it" philosophy.
03-02-2015, 06:04 PM   #7
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Bought and returned without hassle a bargain or ugly 300mm some years ago. Red fringe.

Bought an ex Canon 5D that only had a scratch on the top.

No complaints.
03-02-2015, 06:06 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wolfeye Quote
They have a "looks good, let's let the customer QA it" philosophy.
Interesting...my Canon P had been fully CLA'd


Steve

03-02-2015, 06:56 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wolfeye Quote
I quit using them when they sent me an engraved LX (no mention of course), which shipped 4 days after I paid for it - and I tried to cancel the order on day 2. They do not have QA. They have a "looks good, let's let the customer QA it" philosophy.
I believe there is some truth to that. I have only bought lenses from them, but any problem that is not immediately obvious you can expect them to miss. But still, they will take anything back no questions asked, and will pay for shipping (I think a few years ago you sometimes got stuck with shipping, but now for any problem lens they send you a prepaid Fedex label). They will also sometimes downgrade a lens for what I guess is an obvious problem or even a phantom problem, but also with an obvious solution. I've gotten "bargain" lenses that were actually near-mint, and just needed a wipe with a lens cloth to get off some little smear. I bought an "AI" (as-is) lens for about 2 bucks (that normally would be worth about $80) and I couldn't find a damn thing wrong with it -- it was perfect, and no subtle problems cropped up with use later. So it would seem their evaluation is very quick, involves no real testing, and can work both for and against you.

The fungus thing is a little disturbing because they actually tried to defend the grading of it. Hopefully that will not become a pattern. Anyway, it is used stuff, and some percentage of it is going to have problems. Of course I'm sure many people have equipment that looks fine but has some hidden problem so they unload it to KEH, and then we end up buying it. Goes with the territory. As long as returns are easy, I'll deal with it...
03-02-2015, 07:24 PM   #10
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the problem with keh is that they don't mount lenses on the cameras, and test for defects like decentering.

i had to return a 24/2.8 oly lens, an ex+ that cost something like $225, because it was very noticeably decentered... plus the glass wasn't cleaned well, which after i did, showed haze under the rear glass.

the replacement for the oly lens was also decentered, but not as badly... i tried using it for awhile, but ended up selling it back to 'em, at a loss.

things like haze and fungus should never go out the door, it's really easy to check for that stuff.
03-02-2015, 08:21 PM   #11
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I've had LOTS of dealings with KEH and generally favorable but lately it's been hit or miss.

They actually balked at sending me a return pickup label today after I told them I was not satisfied with a purchase.
On the other hand I purchased a "bargain" lens last week that arrived in "like new" condition and was very pleasantly surprised.
The thing that they have going for them is the 6 month warranty...without that, you might as well just buy stuff on Ebay.
03-03-2015, 04:33 AM   #12
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I've been a regular shopper with KEH for nearly as long as I've been into photography. In all that time I never had a problem. I will give them credit they took it back no problem, but recently when I ordered a second body of a particular camera from them as a back up that was supposed to be in "excellent" condition it came severely scratched up and was in nowhere near that shape. I was not happy. I paid extra to get that body because it was supposedly like new and it just wasn't at all. I do think they have slipped a little in terms of their ratings lately. That incident has made me a bit more reluctant to spend money there.
03-03-2015, 05:09 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
I believe there is some truth to that. I have only bought lenses from them, but any problem that is not immediately obvious you can expect them to miss. But still, they will take anything back no questions asked, and will pay for shipping (I think a few years ago you sometimes got stuck with shipping, but now for any problem lens they send you a prepaid Fedex label). They will also sometimes downgrade a lens for what I guess is an obvious problem or even a phantom problem, but also with an obvious solution. I've gotten "bargain" lenses that were actually near-mint, and just needed a wipe with a lens cloth to get off some little smear. I bought an "AI" (as-is) lens for about 2 bucks (that normally would be worth about $80) and I couldn't find a damn thing wrong with it -- it was perfect, and no subtle problems cropped up with use later. So it would seem their evaluation is very quick, involves no real testing, and can work both for and against you.

The fungus thing is a little disturbing because they actually tried to defend the grading of it. Hopefully that will not become a pattern. Anyway, it is used stuff, and some percentage of it is going to have problems. Of course I'm sure many people have equipment that looks fine but has some hidden problem so they unload it to KEH, and then we end up buying it. Goes with the territory. As long as returns are easy, I'll deal with it...
Aye, well, in my instance, I'd still use them if that return was easy, but it wasn't. They made me pay for return shipping.
03-11-2015, 10:53 AM   #14
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For what it's worth, my Keh lens purchasing experiences (about 15 purchases over 15 years, most recently a DA 12-24 last year) have all been very good, with equipment at least as good as described.

FYI, Keh changed ownership in late 2012/early 2013 (sold to a private equity group). See Private equity deals - Fortune
03-11-2015, 11:03 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lititz Quote
For what it's worth, my Keh lens purchasing experiences (about 15 purchases over 15 years, most recently a DA 12-24 last year) have all been very good, with equipment at least as good as described.

FYI, Keh changed ownership in late 2012/early 2013 (sold to a private equity group). See Private equity deals - Fortune
Private equity groups are good are ruining companies for their own bottom line. But some run them right. They've "upgraded" the website recently, and they seem more aggressive with sales and promotions while base prices maybe are a bit higher? Not surprising if they start to cut corners here and there...
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