Camerabox Review: Buyers Beware

Published: 17 June 2011 By Chris RayFollow me on Twitter 23 Comments
Updated: 22 June 2011

I’m suffering from a bad case of buyer’s remorse at the moment as I have ordered a camera from Camerabox and I am really regretting that bad decision now.

Camerabox are selling cameras at great prices, and that is what tempted me to their website.

I want to buy a Olympus camera which Camerabox sell for £299 whereas the Olympus XZ-1 at Amazon costs £359.00. I should have paid the extra and had the security of buying from a highly reputable company instead.

The Camerabox website said that they had fourteen XZ-1’s in stock and that they accepted PayPal so I went ahead and placed my order – or a least tried to.

This was the first problem I encountered. I should have run away.

When trying to check out, lo and behold, Camerabox no longer take PayPal even though they say that they do on their website.

OK then, I’ll pay by credit card. I entered my card details and pressed the button to make the transaction.

The screen went blank. No order confirmation, no email. Nothing. Great – so what has happened to my order then? More importantly, what has happened to my credit card details?

So I phoned Camerabox to find out. After twenty minutes of hanging on the phone, I finally got to speak to someone. They had not received my order. Could I please try and submit it again.

I should have run away. I really should.

I placed the order again and this time it all went through. I had been told during the phone call that it takes two to four working days to receive delivery. So I waited.

And I waited, until six working days had gone by. The order was still showing as open on my account. So I phoned Camerabox again to find out what was going on.

After another long wait, I finally spoke to someone who said that they were out of stock, even though they were showing 14 items when I placed the order!

I decided to cancel the order, but the so called “customer support” guy said that he couldn’t cancel the order by phone. I would have to send an email.

I would also have to wait “between two and ten days” to get my payment refunded to my credit card.

When I said that they should only debit a credit card at the time of despatch, he responded by saying that I had accepted their terms of sale. The problem is, their terms of sale page is not displayed on their website – you get a page not found error!

So I sent the cancellation email, but by now I was very concerned about the safety of my credit card and the payment I had made.

So after a few hours, I phoned back again. A 25 minute wait on the phone and then I got through to someone else.

Contrary to what the first person had said, he could cancel the order over the phone and would send me an confirmation email by the close of business.

That was yesterday and as yet I have not had the confirmation email, and my account still shows the order as open.

I am really concerned about the appalling way in which Camerabox operates and how badly they treat their customers.

These are the problems that I have encountered, and I have still not been able to cancel the order or get my money back:

  1. Say that they take PayPal on their website, but they don’t
  2. Show items in stock and take your order, but actually they don’t have the stock to fulfil your order
  3. Flaky and risky order system with the order transaction screen going blank. I still don’t know if I was actually charged for the aborted order.
  4. Their terms of sale page does not display so you don’t know what you are agreeing to (I was a fool for proceeding with the order)
  5. You cannot cancel an order from your account screen
  6. They debit your credit card at time of order rather than time of despatch
  7. Appalling phone waiting times – a minimum of twenty minutes to answer and don’t answer at all if you phone after 5pm, even though they say that they are open until 6pm.
  8. Terrible customer support from people who don’t seem to care about you, are surly and give the wrong information
  9. Make promises that they don’t keep

So I am quite annoyed with myself for being tempted by those good prices. I know that you “get what you pay for”. I should have known better.

I still have not resolved the situation with Camerabox. Saving a few pounds was really not worth spending at least two hours on the phone, risking my credit card and subjecting myself to these problems and stress.

I’ll update this post with how things go from here, however please learn from my mistake and do not buy from Camerabox. It just isn’t worth it, however good their prices seem.

Comments

23 Responses to “Camerabox Review: Buyers Beware”
  1. Jim says:

    I purchased goods from Camerabox on the 14th June to the tune of £214.99 and had the same problems as you – in stock but not delivered, phone and was told they were out of stock even though I spoke to them to confirm they had stock at on the 14th . Was told I would get a refund & email on the 17th June after phoning to complain. No refund and no email & now been told they have ceased trading and to apply for chargeback from my visa !

    Jim

    • MoneyhighStreet Staff says:

      Hi Jim

      Many thanks for this information about Camerabox ceasing to trade.

      I found this link which confirms what you said.

      I did eventually receive an email confirming that my order had been cancelled, but I have just checked with my credit card and I have not as yet received the refund. It is still within the appalling 4 – 14 day window mentioned in that link, however I will initiate a charge back in the next few days if I don’t get a refund.

      I have learnt a big lesson.
      Chris

  2. John says:

    Same: Ordered about £1500 worth of stuff from camerabox. They took my money the next day. The following day they sent me an e-mail saying they were cancelling my order for “security/fraud” reasons.. I rang them and they said their Bank security had cancelled the order… Strange… why would their bank take my money if my security data did not check out? So I spoke to their Bank who said they don’t operate like that, and camerabox is telling stories.

    Upshot is – camerabox ceased trading sometime yesterday or day before, yet still offering goods online, which is illegal, and Im still trying to get my money back through my bank with help from Police and Trading Standards. Oh Dear Oh Dear. Join the queue.
    John.

  3. DAvid says:

    i have also order 2 k worth of camera equipment and now they have cease trading, no sign of refund, contacted my bank for a chargeback , lets hope i get my money back like most of the others

  4. MoneyhighStreet Staff says:

    The allure of cheap prices. There must be hundreds of Camerabox customers in this situation.

    Good luck, John and David, with your endeavours to get a chargeback. I’m joining that queue as well.

    Let us know how you get on. I will update the blog with my progress too.

    Chris

  5. I bought stuff form Camerabox before and the service was OK.
    I returned a Nissin Flashgun that was faulty. I received cionfirmation that they had received it on 10th June but have been unable to find out what has happened to it getting several messages saying it coudl take 48 hours to reply but never receiving a proper reply. Today the phone goes directly to a message saying lines are closed and that you should send an email…… Help.!

  6. fbor says:

    I got caught as well.
    Ordered a camera for 400 GBP, got a message on the next day that the order had been cancelled but I did not get my money back…
    Let’s inform each other and coordinate.

  7. Nigone NotCoolpix says:

    Ordered a Nikon plus memory card, over £300, two weeks later no camera, no attempt at delivery made. When I contacted them via email I simply got an email reply saying they had now cancelled my order. When I questioned this, they replied we tried to deliver, the camera came back so we cancelled your order just now!? I asked them for the courier and tracking details, which off course they could not replied. I am still waiting for my refund 4 weeks later. They say they have now stopped trading, yet they still have active websites taking orders. Looks like they will sit on customer’s money as long as possible.

  8. Nigone NotCoolpix says:

    Oh, and when I called the credit card company, they knew the problem transaction before I gave them the details, must have had a “few” complaints from the same company!

  9. Neil says:

    Same story here checked website items shown as in stock, phoned them to double check and told in stock, placed order luckily using Pay Pal. Only recieved one of the two items ordered, luckily kept the invoice and confirmation slip confirming that I was due a refund of just under £800.00 on their headed stationary.

    Any guesses as to whether I recieved the promised refund… yep you’ve gussed it no I did not, now registered with Pay Pal as a dispute. Tell me what sort of company ceases trading over the loss of a member of staff!!! as outlined in camerabox’s auto email response below, and the only people who are experiencing a “difficult period” are the people that they have knowningly and deliberately ripped off!!!

    “After the loss of key members of staff, Camerabox Limited has been forced to temporarily cease trading. We will temporarily cease to take any new orders and all existing and unfulfilled orders have been cancelled. Refunds take between 2-14 days or alternatively you can contact your card issuer to issue a dispute and chargeback. Thank you for your co-operation and patience in this difficult period”.

    Do not waste your time trying to get a responce from Camerabox, go straight to your credit card company or Pay Pal and lodge a dispute..

    • MoneyhighStreet Staff says:

      Thanks for your comments, Neil.

      I was interested to see that you paid by PayPal as I was unable to use PayPal, even though there was a PayPal logo on the Camerabox website. I was also told that they had stopped taking PayPal when I finally got through to someone on the phone.

      Maybe they had been banned from using PayPal by the time I placed my order!

      Chris

      • Neil says:

        My order was orginally placed in late May, maybe they knew that this was on the cards and stopped using the Pay Pal option hoping to hold on to more of the money they have deceitfully taken from people!!??

        • maksi says:

          I got the usual runaround from Camerabox for nearly 2 weeks when trying to order and contacted paypal who sent a message back within 2 minutes saying that camerabox will not speak to them about disputes so advising that I escalate my dispute. Money returned to account next day via paypal. Looks like paypal have cut them off rather than the other way round.

  10. Shona says:

    Same thing here too. £650 worth of stuff from Camerabox ordered 10 June, money taken, then order cancelled over ‘security issues’. And I see they have gone into liquidation.

    Can I get my money back? I’ve asked my bank to do a chargeback and it is in their hands. I am not especially confident they will do it.

    My question is, if it is not simply a case of a company going into liquidation (and we all know customers get the shortest straw there), but a case of criminal practice – how does that affect the legality of getting my money back?

    Mine was a case of criminal practice as they took the money with no intention of supplying the goods.

    Isn’t this basic theft and a matter for the police? How do I proceed? Any help much appreciated.

    • Harminder says:

      Hi guys, I ordered a nikon as a present. On the 10th june, they took the money out of my credit card and then sent me an email saying i did not pass there securiy check and they wll refund my money back within 14 days. I have not had no refund.
      This website was a pure scam.
      I have had to dispute this with my credit card company and they have told me I should get my money back. But when, god knows.

      • stevej says:

        Hi Folks, – CAMERABOX
        I too am in the same boat – ordered Nikon + lens £800 on 13th June – took the credit card
        money instantly and on the 14th June cancelled my order due to failure of a fraud check !!!
        I too was told a credit would be issued in 2 – 14days – obvoiusly nothing came.
        My credit card company said they have to wait 30days from the date of the transaction before taking up the claim. They also said I would not be charged any interest on the amount.

        Now waiting for the 30days to come round and then see what happens next.

        I too feel I have had my money ‘stolen’ and would to be the owners taken to court etc…

        Just one last thought – they are operating another company out of the same building and using the same telephone number but it seems to be TV’s not camera – still beware as its the same people

        stevej

    • George says:

      @ Shona

      Shona… contact the fraud department at your bank and ask for a credit chargeback form, the banks are usually well informed about companies

      … if only they could tell you before pressing “submit payment” on their dodgy misleading website

      “warning, this company are rip offs and crooks, do not continue with order” that would have been a Godsend

  11. JPS says:

    Hi
    Same problem. Ordered Flashgun that showed ‘in stock’. Ordered and my money was taken out of my account. After a week or so, no delivery,so I called. 20 minute wait on the phone. Oh your item is not in stock… so that must be the reason why you didn’t get it. So I ask, why take my money? No reply. I asked to cancel the order. They say: your money will take 2-10 days to arrive back in your account. After 12 days, no money. Tried to call a couple of days ago, but their web-page now says the company has gone bust!!! So better call your bank or creditcard company and see if you can salvage your money…

  12. George says:

    Hey guys

    Same situation, bought a canon worth £1,630 from camerabox on the 5th June, i was told that i would receive the item with in 4-5 days. I was so excited i had been saving up for this camera for AGES and since camerabox were offering the camera at this price, with a 5 year warranty – i couldnt resist!

    I called up with in a few days to find out what was going on but no reply by phone, just annoying answering machine telling me how important i am as a customer and that i should visit the website for more details. – So i wrote an email, i received the most vague and snotty reply stating my

    “order had been cancelled due to system error.”

    that was it, no mention of refund or re ordering or credit note or anything. I immediately contacted my back and ordered a form for credit charge-back. Received the forms, filled them out and am now waiting for a response from the bank.

    CAMERABOX… they are CROOKS. Good luck to us i hope we get our money back

  13. komadori says:

    I placed an order in March with Camerabox, paid by PayPal, was then given the run-around for several weeks before lodging a PayPal dispute in April, at which point they promptly refunded.

    I researched them thoroughly before buying, noticed the many negative reviews (though also some positive ones) but then, as I suspect many others have, decided that the price difference was enough to take the risk… and regretted it as soon as I placed the order, as their ‘live stock’ indications didn’t register that I’d placed the order (they claim if you place an order, the number in stock immediately decreases by one: it didn’t). If you can find your way past the Administrators notice on their website to the product pages, they’re still showing ‘Live stock’ on many items now… two weeks after going into Administration. The other thing that seemed suspicious was that even when they claimed the item had been despatched, there was nothing to say who the courier was, or a tracking number. The reality of course was that it had never gone anywhere.

    I’m lucky enough to have got my money back, but guess it’s another example of the saying “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is [too good to be true].” And the ‘skill’ of Camerabox was in making their prices just not quite ‘good’ enough to scare people off.

  14. John says:

    I ordered a camera from scamerabox too – they sent me an email saying they did not have the item in stock (although their website said they did when i ordered) . They charged my card straight away though despite not having the camera in stock. Their email said that the camera was a discontinued model and therefore no more would be coming into stock. Fine, I said – please just refund me my money then. No reply. Emailed again – no reply. Phoned several times – either got an answering machine or no reply.

    Bank said as I paid by debit card I cannot do a chargeback. This was months ago and camerabox still ignored my emails. Now they are in administration so my money is gone. Just outright theft if you ask me – taking money for an item which they did not have in stock and then ignoring all requests for a refund. Anyone know who the directors are – they need to be named and shamed.

  15. Shona says:

    @ John

    Hello,

    I did get a chargeback payment from my bank yesterday. I paid by debit card but because it was a visa debit card this means it operates in a similar way to credit cards regarding chargebacks. Often bank staff don’t know this – especially in branches, eg Islington! So make sure you push for your chargeback as it is due to you if you have a visa debit card.

  16. Qureshi says:

    Peace be with all of you.

    Want to say THANK YOU for sharing your horror experience with Camerabox because I was going to order equipment myself. From what you all have said: forget that!

    I would advice you to contact Trading Standards and inform them of Camerabox. They cant get away with this. I feel all of you guys pain.

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