fake, scam, fraud, rip-off

TECHONdigital’s A Retail Scam

I fell for this one. Just the other day I wrote about being so excited because I was getting a new digital camera for Mother’s day (along with two great memory cards). Turns out I’m not getting a camera at all — at least not from the retail site we ordered it from.

I know we should have checked out this retail site before we made the purchase, but we didn’t. I tend to make purchases from retail sites I’ve shopped before, but occasionally we find something we want and we order it even though we haven’t heard of the retailer. Most of the time we get what we paid for and have a good experience. But from now on, we’ll make sure to open that new browser window and do our homework!

Looking this morning I see that ResellerRatings.com has a nice thread going already about how this site (and many others) scams consumers.

Here’s the background on what happened to me (and lots of others, I’m sure) as well as a warning to all to leave TECHONdigital and the other Digital Nerds sites alone.

We ordered a camera on May 4th from TECHONdigital and got this email reply immediately:

Your order has been received.
Order Date: Sun May 04 09:56:39 2008

Sub Total: $ 315.00
Discount: $ 0.00
Shipping: $ 14.90
Shipping Method: Ground 7-10 Business Days

So that looked good, right. Then on the 5th of May we got another email from TECHONdigital but it wasn’t the “your order has been shipped” email we were expecting to receive. Instead it said this:

Please call william from our order confirmation department at ext: 205 to confirm your order at 800-958-0054

So my husband called to confirm. But the call wasn’t at all to confirm our order, it was actually an attempt to up-sell additional accessories for the camera we’d ordered. My husband explained that we didn’t need anything but what we’d ordered and hung up.

Then on May 9th we got THIS email:

We thank you for your order and appreciate you shopping with us .

Due to the product you ordered being out of stock for 6-8 weeks from today’s date. We regret to inform you that the order is canceled due to the product being on backorder. when or if we get the product again in stock soon will send you an email to place an order please do not resubmit your order again . sorry again and thanks for your understanding .

Ahhhh, so THIS is their Internet retail business model. Offer great prices on digital cameras, email anyone who purchases with an 800 number to confirm the order, make money off the way-over-priced accessories they purchase, and, if they don’t purchase additional accessories, simply ditch all attempts at professional English correspondence and cancel the order.

This is how they do business. Here’s what DifferenceMaker, a user over at RsellerRatings.com, said after he’d gone through the same process of a confirmation call and then an ‘out of stock’ notice:

Their web site said it was “available” so I called. This time I said I would take the 1G sd memory card for $179.00 (it was $120.00 when I confirmed the order) and they told me that both were in stock. When I told him about the email I received, he said it was only available as a package deal but that isn’t what the web site said.

In short, this is a SCAM! They have things but will only sell them to you if you buy the OVER PRICED extras!!!

What a shame and what a disappointment. There’s no money lost, but it’s nearly as bad to suffer the humiliation of ordering from a bait & switch scam artist. I fell for the bait, so I’m writing about it to save others from suffering the same aggravation or worse, save them from actually spending $100 on a memory card they could purchase anywhere else for $29.99!

So stay away from TECHONdigital.com. But there’s more. These jerks own domains like it’s going out of style. Whether or not they’re all the same jerk, a network of jerks, or just like-minded jerks who don’t know each other but all attended the same “An Internet Retail Bait & Switch Business Model that Works” conference… I don’t know. But I do know there’s a list of similar sites with similar domain registration information and a lot of resources out there online to help me pre-qualify any retailer I’m thinking of ordering from. So from now on I’ll make better use of those, and make sure my husband looks up a site before ordering from anywhere new as well.

Bait & Switch Sites

Stay Away From:

  • TECHONdigital (techondigital dot com)
  • The Digital Nerds
  • Starlight Camera
  • Accessories Land
  • I.N.S. Digital World
  • Stargate Photo Inc.
  • The Camera Whiz
  • The Digital Expo
  • Wawa Digital
  • Everyprice.com
  • Several Warnings I Failed to Look at Prior to Purchasing

  • ResellerRatings.com TechonDigital
  • Yahoo Answers TechonDigital
  • cNet Forums on Techon Digital
  • ResellerRatings.com Digital Nerds
  • Rip-Off Report: TECHONdigital.com
  • My3cents.com – Techondigital Complaint
  • Amazon.com: TECHONdigital.com and 86th Street Photo & Video Scam Artists
  • So, Eric Tursan, or whatever your name(s) is(are), I appreciate the headache. Hopefully I can return the favor some day and, if not, the Karma will surely get your sooner or later. What comes around goes around and all that jazz…

    If you’re thinking of purchasing a digital camera (or purchasing anything from any retail site online) look them up on Whois.org and make sure you don’t see any of this information there:

    Registrant:
    eric tursan
    83 ave o
    brooklyn, New York 11204
    United States

    Domain Name: TECHONDIGITAL.COM
    Created on: 20-Jul-07
    Expires on: 20-Jul-10
    Last Updated on: 11-Jan-08

    Administrative Contact:
    tursan, azmat info@techondigital.com
    83 ave o
    brooklyn, New York 11204
    United States
    (718) 259-4353 Fax —

    Technical Contact:
    tursan, azmat info@techondigital.com
    83 ave o
    brooklyn, New York 11204
    United States
    (718) 259-4353 Fax —

    I’ve gone over to the BBB and filled out a complaint but I’m sure these guys pop up all over the place and dupe enough people to make it profitable and continue slapping up the bait and switch on multiple domains. New York BBB Reliability Report for STARLIGHT CAMERA. Maybe I’ll pursue it even more, depending on how much time I find I can devote to making it harder for them to scam folks. Writing this at least warns people who are smart enough to do their homework!

36 comments

  1. Yes, yes, and yes. I was shaking my head all the way though your article regarding the above company, techonDigital, if you can call it a company. After speaking with those rude A-hole’s trying to sell me more expensive products, i felt i had to alert my credit card company and suspend it to avoid a bad charge. I plan to spend some time log jambing there web site to at least distract them from getting other folks like ourselves.
    Thanks for setting up this blog, more power to you.
    christian carter

  2. Thank you SO much for the comment Christin. I felt like such an idiot – so all the more reason to share. The problem, too, is that they (or folks just like them) have thousands of these ‘bait-and-switch’ sites and sometimes it’s just hard to know.

    I should also point out here that the memory I ordered via Memory Suppliers mentioned in the article turned out GREAT! It came really quickly and I was very pleased.

  3. I had the same experience today. Reporting them to the BBB, too! I wish I had checked more thoroghly before giving these guys my credit card information. Thank you!

  4. Denise – I’m sorry you had the same experience I did but am so glad you left a comment here. Maybe we can save the next person from making the same mistake.

  5. Oh Crap! I wish I had found and read this before hand. I just placed an order with them for a GPS. They have my cc number, and there is a 20% cancellation fee. So I’m left waiting for the inevitable second email. At least I know that if I don’t buy accessories they cancel the order.
    Cross your fingers for me.

  6. Stephen – I’ve got my fingers crossed for you. It wouldn’t hurt you to research the price of some accessories so you know what you’re dealing with prior to the “upsell.” GOOD LUCK!

  7. Thanks, Lisa and Denise. I was just about to order a camera, but I checked Craigslist to see if I could find one cheaper. I talked to the seller of one, and they said it sounded like a scam. I immediately did a search for “TechonDIGITAL scam”, and found this posting. Wow am I glad I did. I guess I owe the Craigslist seller a big “thank you” for keeping my head on straight because I often type “XXXXX scam” when researching something, but didn’t this time.

    By the way, no need to worry about the CC number. Just call the card issuer, cancel the card you used, and get a new one sent to you in 7 days with a new number. It’s inconvenient, but better than having your number out there in the hands of scammers.

  8. How fusterating…I had the same experience happen yesterday. I said no to the extras and they ‘cancel’ my order due to back order. I hate the idea of having to cancel my debit card but I hate the idea of them having it even more!

  9. I JUST CANCELLED MY CREDIT CARD TO KEEP THIS OUTFIT FROM CHARGING MY CREDIT CARD ON THE SAME SCAM ON A GPS THAT THEY TRIED TO GET ME ON WITH THE OVERPRICED CARD

  10. TECHONDIGITAL BEAT ME. I CANCELLED BY CARD AND THE CARD CONPANY LOOK FOR THEM BUT LET MY OTHER CHARGES GO THROUGH AND THEY SHIPPED UNDER ANOTHER NAME THE CAMERA WHIZ,INC THE BOX HAD ANOTHER NAME JAND J DIGITAL

  11. Thanks for the good info. What happened to the editor here happened TO THE WORD to me as well. I tried to order a Canon S5, they had it listed for $225!! Most other places started at $299!! I was thinking what a GREAT DEAL this was!!! I got the run around, the man was rude (had a strong NY accent) and was pushed to purchase a bloated price SD card, once I could buy at Best Buy’s site for $14.99!! I resisted his sales pitch, was told the cam was in Japanese, and the “english” version would be $379!! I told him it was NO deal, as my friend had just bought the cam for $299 off Circuit City’s website a week earlier!! He had NO comment to that!! I told him NO DEAL, and told him to NOT charge my credit card for if he did I would dispute it. I called immediately after that and cancelled my credit card, a new one was issued. THESE GUYS ARE BAIT AND SWITCH SCAM ARTISTS!!! I HONESTLY DO NOT THINK THEY EVEN HAVE LEGIT ELECTRONICS THAT THEY SELL!!!
    Thanks for all your hard work, I too have posted EVERY where I can on
    the web about these clowns!! I honestly have NOT seen anywhere on the web where someone has gotten a package from these guys. What kind of merchandise are they selling?? Anyone know???

  12. @Keely: That’s precisely why we dared to order with them, too. Because they had such a better price listed than anywhere else. (I should have known there would be a catch.) I never got anything from them so I have no idea what it is they are actually selling if you DO get talked into purchasing the additional SD card or whatever else they’re pushing.

  13. I just got scammed in precisely the same way trying to buy a GPS but canceled the order. To add to it, the man on the phone was actually insulting and started saying I was rude when I wouldn’t say yes to the unneeded and ridiculously overpriced accessory and instead asked him questions about it and said I had to look into it. Ugh.

  14. I called them to enquire about availability of G9 before ordering ( the scam internet page say it is available). Arude man first hangs up. Then I call again,he goes very rudely ” all sold out”!!

    Thank you for your site. I found out that they are scam!!!

  15. I was told I had to order a special SD card for the camera I was also ordering from them. No where in the manual does it say this is necessary. So I fell for that one, but managed to slip by a couple of others. I wish I’d read this first!

  16. @Lalah: That’s what they told my husband we needed too – a special SD card to work with the camera he was trying to order. So since you agreed to add the SD card to your order did you actually get the camera? And I’m curious to know if it appeared to be a new camera in the retail box… Feel free to share more details if you like. If you got the camera plus the inflated card you might not be out too much grief!

  17. Just went through the same experience. I ordered a Nikon s550 for the insanely low price of $139 and immediately received the call to confirm order email. The guy who did answer the phone was pleasant and didn’t try to pressure me to buy the accessories after I told him the camera was a gift and I wasn’t the one that was going to be purchasing the accessories for the person. He told me that he hoped the recipient would enjoy the camera because it was a great little camera. And that he’d get my order straight to the shipping department.

    No less than 2 minutes later I received the “your order has been canceled” email. So I called back and talked to the customer service department… if you could call that service. I explained to the guy, who oddly sounded like the first, my situation and asked for a little clarity. He was rude and said well we can’t always update the website quickly when we run out of items. If this was a legitimate business the sales department would know if something was in stock or back ordered.

  18. @ Jessi: Man, that was quick thinking – to just say it was a gift and that you weren’t going to buy the person any accessories! Nicely done. And a crying shame that they just cancel any orders that don’t buy the upsells. I guess it’s not technically illegal but it certainly isn’t good business!

  19. Funny … not really, but I had an identical experience with this site. I Ordered a GPS, got an email to call to confirm order, when I called they tried to sell me a memory card, when I said no thanks they tried to sell me an overpriced extended warranty ($90 on a $300 product), when I said no thanks I got the exact same email (word for word) on the order being canceled due to the item being on back order 6-8 weeks.

    If they try to charge my card I’ll just dispute the charge.

  20. Darn it! I didn’t think to do my homework, makes me mad. And people are wondering whats wrong with America! I can’t understand how people can do this to fellow human beings. Just like you said though, karma what goes around comes around. All my husband and I can do it laugh…but never again, I’ve learned my lesson! Thanks for you post!

  21. got the same crap, thought I got a great deal on a GPS, got the same e-mail to call and confirm, got an ignorant person, tried to sell me accessories I didn’t want or need, person hung up on me, sent an email to check the shipping status and got an email back, the order is out of stock, don’t resubmit order. Total scam site, needs to be shutdown. Asked to remove my info, doubt that will happen.
    Stay away from this scaa site.
    Wish I would have researhed before I bought.

  22. I fell for the scam. It was just as you said but for a GPS. They canceled my order af few days afdter when I did not buy the over priced memory cards or extended warrantee. Wish i had read your site first.

  23. Thank you very much for your posting, Lisa. I was going to order a camera and a GPS from this Scam-master. Luckily I googled its name and discovered your excellent warning/research

  24. Wow the exact same thing happened to me with techondigital. The man on the phone called me rude and told me to shut up and listen to him when I started trying to tell him I didn’t need anything extra!!The battery they were trying to sell me wasn’t even the battery that the camera used according to the picture on the website, I guess I was being stubborn so then the man also told me that I wouldn’t even be able to use my camera that I was ordering because it was in Japanese!!!! I was amazed at how terrible this company was!

  25. In the process right now to *try* to cancel my order with this SCAM site. I called my CC co. and they will “dispute” any charges from them. I will never order anything on line again without checking to see if it’s a legit site again. Now I have to cancel my current CC and get a new one issued.

  26. I ordered several times knowing it ws a supose-id bad site. 1 my credit card claims I will not be held responsable if they stole my card number and 2 I am watching it and can make sure I am not having crazy charges and when I do I can just dipute it. so didnt care they had it. I was wishing they would have done something crazy so i could sue them.

    Also I thought I read it was illegal to say an item is IN STOCK when it is not in stock.

    So I tape recorded our conversation. He got real p-od about that. I think about trying it agaion but smarter. I am going to document how many time I place an order and when I talk and how many times he says his site is updating … and then send it to a lawyer.

    whatever to say the least n o i have not received antyhing yet but I am working on it. Besides maybe someone will make a mistake and either mail it to me or charge my card and once that happens hell will ran down upon them.

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