New 5D Mark III Box Arrives Full of Laminate Flooring, No Camera

New 5D Mark III Box Arrives Full of Laminate Flooring, No Camera

Most of us would agree that it is quite exciting when the UPS Truck pulls up with some new gear that we purchased especially when it's a new camera body or lens. Like kids on Christmas morning we can't wait to unbox the new toy and put it to test. Sadly one photographer opened the box not to find a new camera body but floor laminate. Read on to learn about his experience, see photos and find out which nationally known dealer did this not just once, but twice to him. 

As a long time buyer and preferred member of, Jalal of JZPhotography, was excited to learn that they would be willing to lower their price on a new Canon 5D Mark III to just about match the same prices he was finding online. He placed his order over the phone with Dell customer service and was shipped what he thought would be a new Canon 5D Mark III with the 24-105mm f4 IS lens. A huge upgrade from his current 30D camera and one that he was extremely excited about. Fortunately, Jaleel documented the unboxing and took pictures of his whole experience with his iPhone 5 which later turned into great evidence to show what he received instead of the new camera he expected.

Fstoppers Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-1 Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-2 Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-3 Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-4 Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-5 Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-6 Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-7 Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-8

The following is the experience told by Jalal himself.

“I wanted to share you with my purchase experience with was in the market for a new camera. I’ve been shooting with a Canon EOS 30D for 6 years, and I’m looking to get more serious with my photography and wanted to invest in something I could love for at least another 6 years. After hitting up my local camera stores I decided on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III kit with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens.

I have been a Dell customer for 11 years and have a Dell Preferred Account which is a line of credit. On January 4th, 2013, I called up Dell Customer Service to see if they would price match their 5D3 kit with other online retailers, Best Buy, B&H, and Amazon. They only could bring the price down by $200, but given that I wanted/needed the camera, I told them ok, and had them order it for me. Dell’s customer care team is completely based out of India.

January 8th comes around, the package arrives and I’m overly excited – it finally feels like Christmas. I’ve made it a habit of taking photos as I unbox large purchases because you never know what you’re going to find. But also because I’m a giant geek. Everything is packaged perfectly and looks great. I cut open the shipping box, pull out the camera box and start to unbox it…. what do I find? Wood flooring. Perfectly cut and glued together to fit the compartments of the box. No camera, not accessories, no booklets, nothing. Wood mother effin flooring! I was dejected. I went from a super high to a super low in a matter of seconds. There was definite humor in this. Quite frankly I was floored. Badoom pish!

I called up Dell customer care immediately but the department I needed to speak to was closed. The next morning, Wednesday, January 9th, I call up Dell and explained my situation. They tried to tell me Dell wasn’t to blame because they didn’t ship the item themselves. It was their distributors fault. I pointed out to Dell’s customer care that I purchased my product from and they were the company that fulfilled my order. I wasn’t talking to their 3rd party distributor. After expressing my frustration they agreed to send me out a replacement. They wanted to make me wait a few days but I requested they should ship it next day air. I was dealing with a particular customer care representative that was to be my main point of contact. She said to give them 6 hours to get back to me which is around 4pm that afternoon. So I agreed. In that time I send 3 emails to my case manager and called her direct line several times to see if I could get updates on the situation – she was unavailable. 4pm came around and no one contacted me. I called up and spoke to a different rep who told me my order was in fact shipping overnight and he continued to give me my new order number and tracking info.

After hanging up I checked the tracking number on the FedEx website and it seems they submitted my new camera at 9am that morning! Six hours later after I hung up with Dell I received an email from my case manager with the exact information I received over the phone by someone else.

The morning of Thursday January 10th, I received a new replacement package via FedEx Priority Overnight. I opened it up, WOOD FLOORING AGAIN!!!

Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-9 Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-10 Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-11 Received-Laminate-Flooring-instead-of-a-camera-13

At this point I knew that their distribution center’s stock of Canon EOS 5D Mark III kits was compromised and the thieves probably cleaned house. I noticed both Canon boxes had clear circular stickers placed on the box flap, and after consulting with the members of an online Canon forum (which I was a member of) they indicated that Canon never uses stickers to seal their boxes and that it sometimes was done by the vendor.

I contacted Dell’s customer service once again, explained my situation and was told at this point since I received a replacement order and received wood again they would have to investigate this situation with their Fraud and Logistics teams. They would also contact and inform their Distributor. I expressed my extreme frustration and disappointment about receiving another piece of wood instead of my Canon 5D MKIII kit and the ongoing terrible customer service. Again, they tried to say it wasn’t Dell’s fault instead it was their distribution company that was to blame. Again I repeated it was a Dell transaction and they were responsible for everything. They couldn’t push it off on someone else. Their inability to keep tabs on their distributors was not my problem at the least. The shipping labels have all said DELL on them. Not XYZ.

Judging by the box, it looks like my camera was shipped from D&H Distributing Co.
D&H Distributing Co, 909 Katie Court, Harrisburg, PA, (717) 561-4313 -

Doing some research on the web brought up issues they have had with items shipped for other distributors. However the distributor in question wasn’t too blame. Fishy at best.
Friday rolls around and I contacted Dell again. Customer care told me they needed more time and they would contact me when they heard back from their various departments about the issue. I again explained my frustration with them. I began to explain some previous examples of my experience with them – I was promised a call on Monday 1/7 and didn’t receive a call. They also told me they’ll call the next day. I didn’t happen.

I got a call on Tuesday the 15th January and was told Dell had not heard back from their fraud team and their logistics team found nothing wrong. Further to this the distributor returned their email simply acknowledging the receipt of the news. Nothing more. They said they could try and send me another camera but they couldn’t be 100% sure that I wouldn’t receive wood again. I asked them about the compensation and they said the most they could try to give me was a $100 coupon toward a future purchase. I refused and told them I considered it an insult and a slap in the face. Especially with all the time and the frustration that I had to deal with. I asked to speak to someone higher up about the issue. I was extremely upset with this whole situation and what they were offering me. Some have said that I should be lucky to have even received that. I’d say that some don’t have very high standards and are easily toyed with.

It’s now Wednesday January 16th and I just got off the phone with a higher-up manager from Dell customer care. The absolute best they could offer me was $100 coupon towards a future purchase and that was the most they have ever offered customer. He asked me if he wanted Dell to send me the order and I promptly asked him to cancel my order. I will never be ordering or dealing with Dell again. After 11 years, my relationship with them as a consumer is over. I will make sure to spread this word and make sure that everyone knows what I have experienced.” – Jalal

[Via F Stop Lounge]

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I never considered ordering camera gear from dell and now I definitely won't ever.

That is RIDICULOUS.  I can't believe they sent you wood BOTH times.  I would contact your local news stations, blast it EVERYWHERE.  I also can't believe they pathetically offered you $100 toward your next purchase, what BS. 

I sincerely hope you get your 5d3 eventually and that dell gets what they deserve for dropping the ball so many times with you.

Good luck!

You know, I don't understand why companies do stuff like this. We as consumers have easy access to social media and blogs and Youtube, and people love exposing things like this. Wouldn't it have just been easier for Dell to take care of this situation before blogs start picking it up and reporting it? Then Dell's PR department will finally get involved and do the right thing, but only AFTER they've allowed their image to be damaged. I don't get it.

That's exactly right.

Chris Helton's picture

 I think they dont care. Like a lot of big tech companies they have contracts with other big companies and Gov. They dont care that one guy is upset, or if 1000 people dont order from them. just my thoughts though. pretty shitty none the less!!
B&H and Amazon all the way. AWESOME support!

OR Foto Care!

I love dell, but i purchase my camera directly from canon

Have you noticed the quality of photos over on have gotten really good recently....(coincidence?)

lol... Classic!

James Robertson's picture

Haven't ordered from dell since I had a laptop screen completely fall off (like, the screen half broke off from the keyboard half completely, hanging there by wires) 2 months after I purchased it, called CS and was told it wasn't their fault and my extended warranty wouldn't cover it. Visa however did refund me.

D and H, huh? Instead of B and H? Sounds like the company was shady from the get go...

Spacenoodle's picture

How do we know this guy is telling the truth? 

I totally agree.  Who takes that many detailed photos of a box opening?  The whole thing seems weird.  Sounds like Jalal is trying to scam his way in to a free camera.  Sorry bud, fork over the cash like the rest of us.  

Seriously? Go to youtube or google and search for "unboxing". Hundreds of thousands of people take pictures and videos of them unboxing a new piece of awesome gear. I did it with my first MacBook Pro Retina, my Thunderbolt Cinema Display, my iPhone5, and probably 10-20 other items that I've received.

And how is he trying to scam for a free camera? He obviously paid for it to have it shipped. He didn't ask them to send it again and refund the price of the camera, he ended up just canceling the order altogether.

Nobilis Bellator's picture

 That would be two cameras, not one...;-) I also am somewhat suspicous and frankly in front of a judge this guy would lose his case. I don't care how many photos he has to share, even if he had made a Timelapse sequence. There remains the doubt that something was changed between photos. Only a video could have proven him right, because there are ways to see if a video timeline was tampered with.

Hi Nobilis, you have every right in questioning the correctness of this post. I was the original publisher of the story. I can reveal there will be a follow up post on story including some updated images showing both camera boxes and the like. I haven't published the story yet as I am still waiting an official reply from Dell Management. The follow up story will be posted on

Kyle's picture

There is no way he is telling the truth or the story is true. 

Lee Whitman's picture

 You're kidding right?  This happens all the time.

that is exactly what I was thinking, ummmmm, really?

Angie Wheeler's picture

PLEASE tell me you got a full refund at least. How crazy!

You know, I've always had good experience with Dell customer service.

But this is beyond insane.

Definitely blow it up, contact a news agency, and perhaps ask a lawyer for assistance.

Something is fishy....Wood flooring, twice? If it had not been sent to him it would have been sent to someone else. So it seems there should be more than one person complaining about wood flooring being delivered instead of a camera...It has only happened twice and both times it was to him? Is anyone else complaining about the same thing happening. I mean what are the odds he gets wood flooring twice and no one else gets wood flooring?

Not saying this happened but. A person could very easily accept an order from UPS, carefully open the box and take out the contents. Then replace it with floor tiles, place it back in the box and go down to the post office or Fed Ex and get another box or envelope, put it in there and seal it....and then open it on camera or while taking pics.....

Spacenoodle's picture

Exactly, also the guy doesn't come across as either the most understanding or the most patient, or easy to deal with. Having worked in customer service during my uni years, there was something all too familiar about this type of customer. Some of the things just made me cringe.

"... she said to give them 6 hours to get back to me which is around 4pm that
afternoon. So I agreed. In that time I send 3 emails to my case manager
and called her direct line several times to see if I could get updates
on the situation – she was unavailable. 4pm came around and no one
contacted me."

They say 'ok we're on it we'll get back to you', and he sent 3 emails in 6 hours anyway? It's this type of behavior that will almost guarantee sub-standard service from someone feeling bullied and harassed,  while earning minimum wage answering phones.

I had the exact same thought. I also Googled D&H Distributing Company and over the last 3 years, they have only had 3 complaints to the Better Business Bureau. If this is true, there should be a lot more than 3 complaints. 

And seriously, why on earth would you order a camera from a computer company? When it comes to camera equipment I stick with B&H or Adorama. Not even Amazon will do when it comes to that.

Ordering a camera from a computer company probably because he had a "line of credit" there...people do it every day, if NOT, Dell wouldn't be selling cameras, ya think?

It's not like Dell is selling knockoffs...

Kyle's picture in my opinion is betetr the B&H and Adorama. I have ordered cameras from all 3. I have had issues with orders from all three also.

One time shipped me a camera with a screen that had dead pixels on Friday I got it at 8:30 PM. I called customer service and a new camera was at my house the next day early afternoon. I also was sent a shipping label to return the camera after the new one arrived.

Call me a skeptic, but I thought the same thing--why would a person take pictures at each step of the unboxing process? I mean, I'm a gear geek, but I wouldn't do that. Why would you take so many pictures of each step of the unboxing process if you were simply just getting to the goodies? And it doesn't prove anything. A still shot is a still shot. If you had video of the whole process, it would be a LITTLE more convincing(but not un-fakeable). As an honest observer, I don't think his case is proven. If I were Dell, I would be sending it insured... 

 Believe it or not, youtube is full of videos from people unboxing stuff, it's not THAT uncommon....

There are in fact so many unboxing videos on youtube, that there are videos that make mockery of unboxing videos.

When you go after them, note that it is also ILLEGAL to use those Priority Mail materials (as in the second shipment photo) for anything other than shipping via that method.  Clearly, they are in violation.  The materials (in this case, the padded mailing envelope) are provided free of charge for the sole purpose of USPS Priority Mail shipment.