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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 Dell.com, 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 Dell.com.I 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 Dell.com 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 - www.dandh.com.

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 Dell.com 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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163 Comments

TSY87's picture

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

Lenn Long's picture

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

Eric Lilly's picture

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.

Ann's picture

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? 

Andrew Kowalyshyn's picture

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.  

brandoncordell's picture

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.

Leigh Diprose's picture

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 http://fstoplounge.com

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.

Cindy Teter's picture

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!

Kenith Leung's picture

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.

PugLover66's picture

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.

Rob Sargent's picture

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?

Greg Sullivan's picture

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

Kyle's picture

Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com 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... 

Benjamin Schaper's picture

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

Mister PrimeMinister's picture

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

Rachelle Diaz's picture

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.

PugLover66's picture

Am I the only one who finds it fishy that something that was supposed to be INSIDE the box containing the camera, is wrapped in a priority mail envelope? And note all the boxes with shipping labels in the background on the very last picture. Some thing is definitely fishy about this.

The mom's picture

Are you saying the author is fishy? Because there is one labeled box in the back and I believe that's what the first camera box came in.   

Sarra Nelson's picture

Since they shipped it overnight, it seems to me that he would still have the packaging/Canon box from the first shipment hanging around. That isn't suspicious to me at all.

brokerthanajoker's picture

I ordered a computer from Dell ONCE and only ONCE, and I received the wrong computer. Called customer service in India, very nice man, but also very hard to understand. He ships me a new computer and oops wrong one. I had 3 computers sitting here before the right one arrived! They then put in a order for UPS to pick up the others. So don't be so hasty to call something fishy if you've never dealt with the situation.

Lee Whitman's picture

 I had this issue with Dell once too, only it was monitors.  I ended up with four monitors, of various sizes, sitting in my living-room one weekend. 

David Arthur's picture

Everyone should tweet this to @dell and @michaeldell:twitter 

Richard McGibbon's picture

I think Dell equipment is great but I have had nothing but trouble with their delivery service. Nothing this bad though. 

David Arthur's picture

Patient? I would a little impatient if they sent me wood instead of expensive camera equipment! What do you think YOU would do?

They sent him wood twice? Did not happen. You know how many boxes Fed Ex or UPS handles and the time frame involved? No way someone had time to look through every box to find the camera, not once but twice.  Or that he is the only one complaining about receiving flooring, not once but twice. 

 And they took his word for it the first time and just sent out a replacement. How many companies just up and agree to send out merchandise without any return or proof. This is not a $30 shirt, it's a $3,000 camera.....oh, sorry sir about the box of wood, we will just take your word for it and send you a replacement box of wood...thats what about $7,000 of taking his word for it....Seems pretty good customer service to me. To just replace a 5D MIII based on his word that he did not get a camera....

± More or less fox's picture

Having worked with people who work in those industries, you get really good about figuring out what an "XH405" box contains (Hint: a $200 hunk of toner that you can re-sell for $300). You learn that "ACI" means its an Apple product or repair part (More likely a Sealed In-Box apple product and not a copy of OSX, as those are sent by "ACSI" and in huge batches).

It would not phase me at all that someone figured out from a pack slip that it was a camera. 

However, I'm going to also mention that when you work in a fulfillment center (or hell, a costco, wal-mart, or other box-vendor) you have little accountability in terms of making sure what's in the box matches what's *on* the box.

I've seen people walk in with a box of "fish" and walk out with a box of "chips" containing the same items. Hint: It wasn't fish /or/ chips. It doesn't surprise me a bit that someone swapped contents.

Veneta Britt's picture

ir you paid with a credit card call the company and request they refund your money and deduct it from dell;

Justin Tibbitts's picture

What was the weight ratio on the tracking slip? Every package must be weighed precisely...

Nicole Kossum's picture

That's a very good question! Would love to know the answer as well. Maybe it's a legit weight...maybe that's why the "perps" chose wood?? Maybe not... Something is very strange about this story but I cannot fathom someone going so public with this if they weren't being truthful....right!?! I can imagine he could get in quite a bit of trouble for making something like this up. I've dealt with Dell before too....Idk that I've ever had an ideal experience with them and don't do business with them anymore. Anywho, none of really know the truth right now.....but I'd love to hear Dell's side!

Excellent point! I'd love to hear the answer, too! And good point from Nicole about "Why go public with it"...unless he thinks it will go nowhere unless he brings the heat...let's see the shipping bill!

Coincidently he was "documenting" his new purchase by taking photos that ended up being "great evidence" of the fraud...

hmmm. I don't think I have ever taken photos of myself opening a box, step by step....

Rob Sargent's picture

When I order something expensive, I'm like a kid at Christmas...ripping the paper to get to the goodies!

Savannah Daras's picture

People constantly take photos/make videos unboxing new items, whether they are expensive or not. It's not an odd thing in the least.

Damaris Mia @ Le Magnifique's picture

This makes no sense at all. It's mind-boggling to me.. something about this guy's story is just off...

alphotography's picture

This honestly doesn't shock me. I ordered a new computer two years ago from them and when I got it it was broken. and I dont mean there was a glitch or anything I mean the computer was actually busted and it looked like someone had torn open the box that it came in. I took it into the store and demanded a refund or that they send me a new computer immediately and I was refused any service I was given a $30 gift card ....for the $800 computer I had ordered brand new..........

Rob Sargent's picture

The distributor  should be investigated...might possibly be a theft ring...but twice is too much of a coincidence.

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