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01-21-2011, 12:07 PM   #1
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Is it ethical to purchase a camera, the use it and return it

I have a friend who purchased a camera and found that it already had over 2,000 shutter actuations on it. Someone obviously purchased it, used it through the return timeframe of the retailer then returned it. He's pretty pissed about this, as he discovered this after the return period for him expired.

I liken it to a woman that buys a dress, wears it to a party then returns it the next day.

01-21-2011, 12:38 PM   #2
Ira
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Considering that a cam can come out of the factory with hundreds of activations, 2,000 is not ridiculous.

And no--it is not unethical to buy something and return it if you don't like it.

The ethics question is where did he buy it and how was it represented?

Also, if the return period expired before he "discovered" this, how the hell does he know how many of those shots he took himself?
01-21-2011, 12:41 PM   #3
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That is one of many reasons I support defective items going to the manufacturer and not the reseller. (I understand it may not have been returned as defective).

And only truly unused items should be accepted by the reseller.

That is the Customer Service manager in me speaking:-)

If resellers have the almost-anything goes return policy, such as Amazon, that as consumers we love, they better make sure they they handle those properly, and assume the loss (open-box, scratch and dent, etc) that goes along with it.
01-21-2011, 12:51 PM   #4
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The shutter count by using the filenames from the time he got it was 212, but PhotoME showed 2173, a couple hundred were his, and if there were three hundred out of the factory, then there were still 1500+ taken between when it left the factory and when he got it. Does it really take 1500 shots to figure out if you like a camera?

I don't think I asked if it was ethical to return something if you don't like it, I just am trying to find where the line is crossed between legitimate testing and abuse of a return policy.

This was a reputable online dealer (no need to name names because I use them often and most of the people on this forum would have positive things to say about them) and it was represented as new.

01-21-2011, 01:18 PM   #5
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Uhhhhhh...1,500 is the equivalent of 40 rolls of 35 36 exposure.

And uhhhhhh again:

I don't think that's an unreasonable amount of exposures with DIGITAL to determine whether you like the camera or not.
01-21-2011, 03:04 PM   #6
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To answer the original question, as it was asked, it depends on the circumstances.

Is it ethical to purchase a camera, use it, look at pics, not like how they are coming out, and return it? Yes.

Is it ethical to purchase a camera, use it, decide that it's not the massive improvement over your old camera that you thought it would be, change your mind, and return it? Yes.

Is it ethical to purchase a camera, use it for a wedding or other event, love the pics, and return it? No.

To me, ethics go hand in hand with intent.
01-21-2011, 03:51 PM   #7
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In the Netherlands you have a 7 day period for return on internet purchase, and it's different for a purchase in a chop. You can't just bring it back after using it. There must be a good reason for that. a mallfunction is to be repaired or for moneyreturn if repairing is not an option. So not as in the USA.
01-21-2011, 08:47 PM   #8
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To me the ethics issue is with the retailer who sold a used item as new.
I think the ethics of returning an item has to do with the return policy of the store and whether or not the person was honest and forthright in the return transaction.

David

01-21-2011, 08:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by lavascript Quote
To answer the original question, as it was asked, it depends on the circumstances.

Is it ethical to purchase a camera, use it, look at pics, not like how they are coming out, and return it? Yes.

Is it ethical to purchase a camera, use it, decide that it's not the massive improvement over your old camera that you thought it would be, change your mind, and return it? Yes.

Is it ethical to purchase a camera, use it for a wedding or other event, love the pics, and return it? No.

To me, ethics go hand in hand with intent.
It is not ethical in the far east, the purchaser has to bear some responsibilities either pay restocking charge or other reasons such as defective before the item can be returned. The reseller can not take the item back after it has been used for a few days and put it back on sale as a brand new item.
01-21-2011, 09:19 PM   #10
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I have never worked selling camera equipment. I have always been on the other side of the counter! However, to me new means new, I am the first one to take it out of the box and the store. If it was slightly used, and returned with most all of the packaging, then maybe you could resell it as "demonstration". It was only "used" for a short time with the idea that it was being tried out. Again, it comes down to intent. Technically the equipment is "used" but it could simply be equipment that was only used for a short time by the purchaser and which is still in exceptional/like almost new condition.

At least this is an upfront understanding that the equipment left the store.

Last edited by BigDave; 01-21-2011 at 10:32 PM. Reason: typos
01-21-2011, 09:29 PM - 1 Like   #11
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greg, you're really raising two questions: what is the ethical behavior for the buyer of a product, and what is the ethical behavior for selling a product.

In either case, while other behavior "rules" may influence the transaction, the ethical intent of the previous buyer/returner (if one exists), or of the seller, or of you friend, drags a simple denontological "right action" discussion into the murky post-modern world of normative (situational) ethics.

Trust me on this, I know from bitter personal experience, that discussing ethics is tough in this kind of forum (particularly if you take an unpopular position) , and it gets even tougher when the notion of intent starts muddying the waters,
Brian
01-21-2011, 09:36 PM   #12
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My "new" K-r had about 100 actuations on it before I started. Am I concerned? Not really, its every bit the camera I hoped, and I did get it for about $150 off RRP, so... not an issue here. If it had had thousands... well... I think I probably would have returned it. I'm guessing someone bought it, tried it, didn't like it, took it back, and the reseller sold it as new but with the discount I got, I just don't care.
01-22-2011, 03:18 AM   #13
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1500 shots over a week is not so many when you really think about it. That's what 225 shots a day? I can shoot 400 shots in a few hours easy with a digital camera. Think about it. That's someone playing with a camera for maybe 3 or four sessions, trying it out and deciding that it's just not working for them. Maybe upgrading to the next level up or whatever and returning the camera because it simply isn't enough camera for them or they're not comfortable with it.

I definitely don't think that camera should be just taken back and resold by the seller as new. It's an open box, returned item and should be discounted accordingly, or returned back to the manufacturer and re-sold as reconditioned. New is new, as in it's never been out of the box, period. 20 shots to test the camera once it's been purchased, that's fine by me, but if I see a camera with a picture count in the thousands I know it's either been used as a demo model or someone has bought it and returned it. Neither is necessarily bad, but don't then sell it to me as a new item and expect full price for it.

No, I don't think you should buy a camera, shoot a big event, then return it. That is like buying a formal, wearing it to the prom or whatever then returning it tag still on complete with sweat stains and body odor. That's just lame. But buying a camera, checking it out for a few hours, and then deciding you want to upgrade or whatever? I don't think that's so bad. It's not too great for the retailer when someone does that, of course, but it's not necessarily bad for the average consumer and sometimes it's actually the only way the consumer can thoroughly check a camera out.

It can be hard to really check out a camera in a store. A lot of places you go they have a camera there so you can view it, but you can't even turn it on much past seeing the menus and such, let alone shoot with it a bit to see if you like it. You try and you're locked out and a lot of the time the salesperson will just shrug and tell you that they can't show it to you, unlocked. Unless you have the benefit of a really good camera store with proper demos that work like the real cameras do? You're taking your chances and $500 plus is a lot of money to just buy a camera that looks good on the shelf and seems to have the specs you want listed without a proper check out first. Buying new cameras should be like buying new cars. You should be able to walk into a camera store and have fully working demos of the current models there for you to really check out and use for a little while. If you can't? Then I do think you should have the option to return one if it just doesn't work for you.
01-22-2011, 04:58 AM   #14
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2000 actuations would be ridiculous if new from the factory. Has anyone ever heard of a number even remotely close to this in all the threads about this subject over the years? I haven't. Ethical to return a camera with 2000 shots on it is a gray area in my opinion, but a camera retailer selling one as new if it had in fact been returned with 2000 actuations for whatever reason is completely unethical. If he is past his return date, I would still most certainly let the retailer know if he is unhappy about this and follow up accordingly, but if it is past the date to return it, then thems the rules.

Jason
01-22-2011, 05:05 AM   #15
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Am I crass and immoral? Some years ago I bought a (non-camera) device at a BEST BUY store. I used it a couple days and decided that its performance wasn't worth the retail price, so I returned it. The store re-stocked it as an "opened, returned" item with a heavy discount -- and I then decided it WAS worth that discounted price, and bought it again, and I still have it.

Was I unethical? I had no *intent* to scam the store. I thought about repeating that with other items, but decided that to *intentionally* play that game WOULD be unethical. Do others with fewer scruples play this game? Undoubtedly. Or think of it this way: By playing that game, we force the seller to drop the price to what the item is actually worth. Is *that* unethical?

Restocking fees would discourage this -- but having been ripped-off by Dell/Alienware over a return, I no longer make purchases where restocking fees may be imposed. I don't trust such sellers. Sellers who don't charge for restocking, have restocking costs figured into their pricing structures -- they've calculated just how much to trust their customers, while engendering the trust of those customers. A balance of trusts...
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