Texas Sues Broadway Photo for Bait & Switch Scams

by on November 30, 2008

in News

Don’t Mess With Texas

The State of Texas has just lit up Broadway Photo and Starlight Camera & Video (aka everyprice.com) for their unlawful bait and switch tactics.  Broadway Photo, among others, has long been the bane of consumers who have been unfortunate enough to order a “too good to be true” deal from them only to get suckered into buying an overpriced battery, memory card or some other scam during a “confirmation call”.

If you’ve never had the misfortune of dealing with Broadway Photo, check out Reseller Ratings’ user reviews of them.  And here’s the Reseller Ratings for Starlight Camera & Video.

Granted this is just the beginning of the lawsuit; however, it would be nice to see some of these scam shops shut down.

Check out the actual pleadings and the Texas Attorney General’s press release below.

Broadway Photo Complaint

Starlight Camera & Video Complaint

PRESS RELEASE

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today charged two online digital camera and electronics retailers with conducting an unlawful bait-and-switch sales scheme. Today’s enforcement action seeks restitution for Texans who suffered financially because of the defendants’ unlawful conduct.

According to state investigators, Broadway Photo, L.L.C. and Starlight Camera & Video Inc., both of Brooklyn, N.Y., attempted to attract customers by offering the lowest retail prices on price-comparison Web sites. Once customers selected merchandise and made credit card purchases via the defendants’ Web sites, customers were notified that their orders had been processed. Despite the order-processing notice, customers were subsequently asked to call a specified telephone number to confirm their orders.

However, rather than use the calls to confirm customers orders, the defendants instead initiated aggressive, high-pressure sales pitches promoting over-priced accessories, including memory cards and batteries. The defendants’ telemarketers insisted these upgraded accessories were needed in order for the customers’ confirmed merchandise to function normally.

When customers refused these offers, the defendants told the customers the confirmed merchandise was substandard and lacked warranties. The defendants’ telemarketers encouraged customers to purchase different, more expensive products. If customers refused, the defendants canceled the orders, claiming the products were indefinitely back-ordered. When the defendants actually did ship orders, customers who intended to purchase new merchandise often received used or refurbished products.

The Office of the Attorney General is seeking injunctions halting this conduct and civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

-30-

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{ 8 comments }

1 Dean November 30, 2008 at 7:33 am

I hope they shut them down. Never buy from New York scum. BTW, If you are from New York and don’t like this, MOVE!

2 Eric November 30, 2008 at 7:38 pm

I’m not from NYC, but I feel the urge to defend two stores there. B&H and Adorama are arguably the two best photography stores on the web. There’s no need to lump all NYC stores together just because there are a few scam shops set up in NY.

3 Eric November 30, 2008 at 8:42 pm

@(other) Eric – I agree. I shop at both B&H and Adorama and have nothing but good experiences to report back. They are two of the trustworthy retailers that I highly recommend here on PB. Perhaps Dean has never shopped with these great stores before.

4 George December 1, 2008 at 12:29 am

I was in New York only once and I was blessed that I had time to visit B & H Superstore. I am their buyer since then and order over the telephone several times a year. Delivery to Russia is under two weeks, pity they have increased shipping charges recently.

5 Dean December 1, 2008 at 12:39 am

I’m glad that Eric & (other) Eric can name two stores in the whole city of New York that they’ve had good experiences with. Do a Google search on electronic stores that scam people and let me know how many you find, that are outside of the New York area.

6 Steve G in Atlanta December 1, 2008 at 4:55 am

http://donwiss.com/pictures/BrooklynStores/

Most of the scam stores are owned by the same three families.

They have been around for almost 50 years in one form or another

7 Mike Washe December 2, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Hmmm. Sounds like this company runs under a lot of different names.

I was recently taken in by what I thought was an awesome black friday/cyber monday sale on a Nikon digital camera from “Shop Digital Direct”. The advertised price for a D90 kit with the lens was $799, about $350 cheaper than the next cheapest price I could find. I put it on my debt card. When I called to confirm the order they told me that the camera did not come with a battery, charger, or memory card.

Their price for the rechargable LI battery that should come with the camera? $205.95
Going rate for an extra? $47.95

The battery charger that should come with the camera? $215.95
Going rate for an extra? $49.95

SD Memory Card – High speed 2 gb (buy one get one free LOL) $245.89
Going rate? $13.88 at Walmart

Total price: $1466.79. Far above the going rate for the kit.

Needless to say I told them I just wanted the Camera and lens. At this time the rep told me it would be 2-3 weeks and hung up on me. After calling back to customer service, I was told the camera was on back order. Evidently this is part of their MO. Either they tell customers who do not purchase the extras that the product is back ordered and eventually cancel the order themselves, or they charge your card more than the advertised price.

http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Shop_Digital_Direct

Today I have been trying to call their customer service to cancel the order to no avail. I was on hold for 20 minutes and the automated message says that customer service is closed. My current intention is to keep calling back till I can get the order canceled and purchase the camera from a reputable dealer like Newegg, then cancel my card after that transaction and get a new one to be sure they cannot tap my account at a later date.

The old adage remains true. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Not sure if this really is the same company but here are some of the other names attributed to the company I dealt with:

Best Price Camera
Best Stop Camera
C.I.S. Brokerage Inc.
C.I.S. Trading System
Century 21
CIS Brokerage Inc.
CityWideDigital.com
Crystal International Services Inc.
Digital EBuys
Enterprise Photo
Hello Camera
INF/MRAC/JF
Infiniti Cameras
Infiniti Photo
Infinity Cameras
J&K Cameras, Inc.
Mr. Accessory
PhotoDynasty.com
Razz Photo
Regency Camera
Regency Photo & Video, Inc.
ShopDigitalDirect.com

8 Scott S January 26, 2009 at 6:42 pm

If at all interested, please sign up with the Facebook group I created to catalog horror stories about these jokers & as an informational resource to help prevent any more people from being duped like I was. I stand to gain nothing from this other than the satisfaction of trying to fight back.

Thanks,

http://www.facebook.com/posted.php?id=56964309273&success#/group.php?gid=56964309273

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