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Bad experience with B&H Photo

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Chris Hick, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. Chris Hick

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    I'll be the first in line to post a good review when I have had a good experience, but I'll also be first in line if I have a bad experience. I'm not sure if this post will be perceived as crying over spilt milk or being a cry baby, but here goes anyway.

    I bought my Phantom 2V+ in June from B&H Photo mainly because of their reputation as having outstanding customer service. There are plenty of online retailers selling Phantoms all at exactly the same price, so when deciding who to purchase from reputation was the deciding factor for me. Had fun with it for a couple of months, and yes I had a crash. I'm sure most new pilots have.

    I took it out for a flight one evening and one motor would not start. Long story short, I took it to 2 different hobby shops. Replaced 1 ESC and 1 motor. No luck. Swapped ESCs and motors from one position to another to verify that they were in fact working. Still no luck. At this point I'm thinking, I know the ESCs and motors are all operational but when connected in the rear left position they do not work. So it must be the main board, right???

    Hearing all of the bad news about getting repairs from DJI directly I figured I wouldn't even waste my time contacting them. At this point I contacted B&H. It was outside of their 30 day window but I figured what the heck, lets see if they can do anything for me. Not really expecting much, I was surprised when they issued an RMA to send it back for exchange. I was extremely happy and ready to sing their praises everywhere I had a chance. I mean, what kind of a company takes back a used product after 40-50 days? Pretty cool.

    Now at this point I should say that I was VERY upfront about what work had been done to the Phantom, both by the hobby shops AND by myself, in an attempt to diagnose the problem. At this point they could have to me to go pound sand but I will cut and past "I appreciate that you checked the unit out before coming back to us. I will extend the return for you as a courtesy. Please send the unit back to us and we will exchange it for you. "

    This is where things fell apart. I received an email on 8/12 telling me they had received my Phantom and to allow up to 3 days to process the return. On 8/18 I get a voice mail from someone wanting to talk to me about my return. I call back and leave a voice mail. No reply. Call again. No reply. Etc... Finally about 1 1/2 weeks later I manage to catch him at his desk. He says the Phantom has been crashed and has been worked on by unauthorized repair centers. I told him that this was all disclosed BEFORE the RMA was issued, that it is not unusual to have a crash (minor body damage BTW) and how would he have any idea what shops did the work and if they were authorized or not? If that was going to be a problem they should not have issued an RMA in the first place. He says he will talk to his bosses and see what they say. No reply for over a week so I start calling again. When I finally get through he states they cannot exchange the unit and would I like a quote for repairs? I said yes.

    Waiting, waiting, waiting. They've had my Phantom for almost 2 months now. On 10/7 I finally send a nasty email to customer service asking for the status of my Phantom and stating that at this point I would just like to get it back, fixed or not. Later that night I receive a reply stating "To try and expedite the process for you, I asked one of my support agents to follow up on this and to get back to you with more info as soon as he gets it. " More waiting. Two more weeks waiting......

    Today, 10/22, I get a call telling me they will replace the shell (not sure why, other than cosmetic damage) one ESC and one motor for $580. I inform this person that is only $107 worth of parts and he says there is labor also. $473 worth of labor, really? To replace a motor and ESC that have both already been verified as operational? At this point I told him to just send it back to me.

    So there's my story, take it as you will. I'm sure they are still a great company to deal with, as evidenced by the many great reviews. But my dealings with them.... not so much. Am I wrong to be upset? I didn't expect them to do anything at all, but the length of time it has taken (2 1/2 months) and the apparent gouging to replace 3 parts that in my opinion don't need replaced, has left a very bad taste.

    I guess I'll be buying a $59 main board this weekend and we'll see if that fixes the problem. Thanks for listening.
     
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  2. SteveMann

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    B&H is a great source for camera gear. If I were buying a new DSLR or Video camera, they are my vendor of choice. They are hard to beat. But, drones is not within their core competence. (You will note that their kits are noted as ineligible for return - your fault, maybe?)

    I bought my first Phantom through a dealer who had pretty good reviews on the forums. The dealer has the technicians who are very familiar with the Phantom and they stock the replacement parts. As I said, B&H is my first choice for cameras, but the Phantom is more than a fancy tripod.
     
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  3. Chris Hick

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    Hmm, not that it really makes a difference, but where did you see that? I just double checked and couldn't find anything.

    My issue is not really that they wouldn't take it back, I was surprised when they initially said they would. It's the lack of communication, amount of time to reach a resolve, and inflated repair cost.
     
  4. GoodnNuff

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    Cannot find that anywhere on BH's website. I've known people who have had B&H replace defective equipment and parts.
    And if there policy was "no returns" they certainly wouldn't issue an RMA.
     
  5. Chris Hick

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    I think he was referring just to UAVs.
     
  6. Timtro

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    B&H does not have an in-house service facility for DJI products, as they will freely admit ...but only if you ask. They ship it out. As has been said, B&H is a great source for camera gear (most of the time), but their expertise does not extend to RPAs. I rely on either Atlanta Hobby or UAV-Outlet for purchase and service. Both have served me well.
     
  7. henryp

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    Chris: I am sorry for your situation and the disatisfaction it has caused. Unfortunately I cannot find your original transaction and so cannot find any subsequent order notes in our sales database.

    Please email the original order number (and a brief reminder note) to me at henryp[at]bhphoto.com and I will see what is what.

    As another poster noted, we do not have an onsite repair facility. Depending on the product we may send it to an independent repair shop or to the manufacturer's repair shop. Since I cannot find any order notes i don't know what happened in this instance, but DJI parts are not widely distributed which,. I am sure, contributed to the delay.
     
  8. GoodnNuff

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    That is what I was looking for. I see nothing on the Phantom pages that say that.
     
  9. Chris Hick

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    Nor in the return policy. Oh well.....

    "No Return/Exchange on the following:

    TVs, combos and monitors 37" and larger once any of the packaging has been opened.
    Computers and Computer Software, once any of the manufacturer's packaging has been opened.
    Electronic Software Downloads are not returnable or refundable.
    All consumable items (e.g., film, tapes, paper, bulbs, CD, DVDs, etc.) once unwrapped.
    Any computers built or modified by B&H to customer's specifications.
    Special Order merchandise or any item indicated on the website as non-returnable.
    Underwater equipment that has been submerged.
    Educational tapes and books once unwrapped.
    B&H Gift Cards are redeemable for merchandise only and may not be redeemed for cash."
     
  10. SteveMann

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    It's in the fine print after you place the order:

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. henryp

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    The same information is on the product information page before you put it into a shopping cart. The note says, "Availability Details: This item requires custom installation, Please allow ADDITIONAL 2-4 weeks for delivery. Your order will be charged at time of installation. Item is non-cancelable and non-returnable
     
  12. Chris Hick

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    Re: Bad experience with B&H Photo

    Yeah, I do see that on the custom bundles. It does not say that on the main Phantom V2+ page.
     
  13. Chris Hick

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    Re: Bad experience with B&H Photo

    Been trying since Wednesday to find out where is my Phantom and when will I receive it back? Can't seem to get an answer. Just more delays. Let's see if we can make it 3 months??
     
  14. tpallred

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    Henry, I've read multiple posts from many people praising B&H for their easy return/replace policy with the phantom line as compared to some other vendors. I was leaning strongly toward B&H as the vendor for my P2V+ (or maybe P3 depending) purchase but it seems like you're emphasizing that return/replace of these products isn't something to be counted on. Is that correct? The fact that the OP had some repairs done by another party seems a very complicating factor in this case so I'll be clear that I'm talking about having problems with an unmodified product in the 30 day time frame. Thanks.
     
  15. Chris Hick

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    Re: Bad experience with B&H Photo

    As long as you don't buy one of the custom kits I believe you would be fine within the 30 day return period. My situation arose from being 40-50 days after purchase and the repairs that were done by other shops. That being said, there's still no excuse for the shabby service I have received.
     
  16. henryp

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    Chris's comment is correct. Most items we sell fall within our standard 30-day return policy. Those which do not (special order, custom installations, some drop-ship items, etc.) are marked, "Item is non-cancelable and non-returnable," or words to that effect on the product's individual info page and throughout the order process.
     
  17. Chris Hick

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    Well, it's been almost 2 weeks since I asked to have my Phantom returned to me. Bad publicity doesn't seem to have any effect. I filed a complaint with the BBB. I'm at a loss as to what to do next. I'm beginning to wonder if they have lost it.

    I was promised that it would ship no later than last Friday and the UPS tracking # would be sent to me once it was shipped. No tracking # as of this Monday afternoon......

    They have had it for almost 3 months now. This is crazy. I just want my Phantom back. Please. I had a great opportunity to use it this weekend.

    Any other suggestions on what to do? I guess a this point I just sit back and wait? Maybe I'll get it back eventually. I guess you can tell I've gone from mildly annoyed to flat out infuriated. As I see it right now, the only tool I have at my disposal to apply pressure is my negative publicity campaign.

    What would you do?
     
  18. henryp

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    It was shipped Oct 29th and UPS reports it was delivered 10:22am today, 11/3.
     
  19. Chris Hick

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    Wasn't delivered to my house. Tracking number? I hope it was insured.
     
  20. MrDrone27

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    I'm sorry, but this is so sad. The fact that you have to deal with a dealer over a forum and can't get an actual response from them. :eek:
    Any word on when you might get it back?