B&H Photo?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by OAFrecords, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. Hello all,

    Long time browser but first time poster. It’s unfortunate that my first post is about something unpleasant but I knew I’d get good information here. Sorry in advance for the long read...

    My wife and I are amateur photographers and she used to order from B&H often. It had been quite some time since she’d used them but when I was looking to purchase a few things for our home and studio, she recommended I give them a try. I first purchased a Sony tv that had a problem right out of the box. It would completely lose its picture for a few seconds before returning to normal. I got in touch with Sony first to make sure it wasn’t user error and after lots of troubleshooting, it was determined that the tv was faulty. Initially they told me it would be easier to return it to the retailer but I did my research and knew I wanted that particular model tv and also didn’t have a way to easily transport a large tv in order to ship it back. While B&H offered to RMA the TV, I took Sony up on their offer of an in home exchange. Even though my first purchase through them didn’t turn out great, I appreciated the customer service from B&H and decided to buy from them again.

    So here we are... I needed a new workstation for editing our work and found a great price on a late 2016 MacBook Pro and made the purchase. It arrived fairly quickly but the shipping box was in horrible shape. Something very heavy had obviously been on top of it at some point. I voiced my concern to the UPS driver who seemed almost embarrassed to even deliver it. This was a $1800 computer... The box was so damaged that one corner was slightly open and I could see inside. After noticing that the laptop was in a separate box (and in an Apple box inside that), I assumed the computer was fine and accepted the shipment. I was wrong. Thankfully B&H has a policy of allowing 2 days to report items damaged in transit.

    Upon opening the box, I noticed most of the packing material was smashed/deflated and the inside box was also pushed in from the top and had 2 puncture marks. The Apple box housing the computer was also noticeably pushed in from the top but not damaged to the extent of the other boxes.

    When I opened the laptop, I was relieved to see that the top wasn’t busted or broken as far as I could tell but I was immediately sick when I saw the screen. It wasn’t shattered but there were very noticeable imprints/markings that I imagine came from the keyboard and trackpad being pushed against it. At this point, I immediately contacted B&H and was sent a prepaid label to ship the computer back. Again, a quick response to my issue.

    Now, after 2 orders from B&H, both of them have arrived with issues and while they were quick to issue me an RMA, I am still a bit disappointed and above all, nervous considering how much money is at stake here. I’ve heard great things about B&H but have also heard some horror stories. Particularly with returns.

    My question to you guys is whether or not this is typical of B&H these days? Will I have any trouble with my return? I can’t imagine anyone would be happy with an even slightly marked up screen on a new laptop. Especially one that was purchased specifically for photo and video editing where the screen is obviously very important. Looking at the tracking, it seems they have had it for a couple days now and it still says “not receieved” when I check the return status.

    This is obviously a very stressful situation and I’d like to hear if anyone else has had any similar experiences with them.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
    sallymack likes this.
  2. Damage during shipping is the responsibility of the carrier. That is where you should file your complaint. Printed prominently on the shipping box is an admonition by B&H to report any damage and/or refuse to accept the shipment. While B&H has a generous policy for returning effective (even unwanted) items, hidden defects are largely the responsibility of the manufacturer.

    I have ordered many items from B&H over the years, large and small, light and heavy, inexpensive and budget-challenging. They have been reliable and timely in all instances. Furthermore they are nearly unique in their ability to keep their website up to date with regard to product information and in-stock status. Other companies are prone to over-promising on highly popular items.

    Two or three days from time of receipt to logging by Customer Service are not unusual. Remember that B&H observes religious holidays which may delay the process.
  3. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I've never had any problems with B&H orders. Seemingly partially blaming them for shipper errors isn't fair.
  4. I appreciate the reply. That’s great to hear. I realize the tape on the shipping box says to report if broken but it was not. The box itself was damaged but believe it or not, the tape stayed intact. I made UPS aware of it and notified B&H within hours of receiving the item. Per the guidelines on their website, you are given 2 days to report shipping damage (I’m not sure why anyone would wait longer) so I’d like to think that by accepting the shipment, I didn’t agree to keep a damaged item. That’s no way to do business and contradicts their own policy. Had it been obvious that all three boxes suffered damage, I would have absolutely refused the package entirely but there was simply no way to know the actual laptop suffered damage until it was opened and examined. Surely, there are instances where the shipping box itself is in great shape but the contents damaged.

    I understand the religious holidays they observe and also that these things take time. Considering 2 out of 2 orders have had a problem and the cost of the item, it just makes me a bit stressed. I am glad that it is normal for it to take a few days after they sign for a delivery that it’s status is changed to “received”. Hopefully tomorrow I will hear back when they return to work.

    I truly appreciate the insight on your experience with them.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  5. I’m not blaming them for any errors that may have been made by UPS, I’m simply asking if I’m just extremely unlucky or if this is common. Maybe it’s the fact that they’re based in New York and I’m all the way in Louisiana. Then again, I’ve never really had problems like this before and I see you that you are as well (Baton Rouge area here).

    I will say that I do think it could have been packed much better. Especially for an item this price and how fragile it is. The outer box was at least three times the size of the package inside (no exaggeration) and there wasn’t much inside in terms of protection.
  6. Everything I have gotten from them has been perfect.
    henryp likes this.
  7. Thanks for the feedback. I have no reason to believe that they won’t do the right thing here. This was more or less to ease my mind a bit by asking others of their experiences.

    I’ve personally never ordered from them so to have two very expensive items (Well over $3000 on these first two orders alone) not turn out well seems like some incredibly bad luck and is a bit frustrating.

    Having said that, considering your replies and how quickly they offered to help, I feel like it will be taken care of.
  8. SCL


    Never had a problem with orders from them. Sounds like you ordered a large item in the midst of the busiest shipping season, when packages seem to experience a lot of rough handling.
    scottroberts and henryp like this.
  9. Good service from B&H for many orders over many years.
    TV sounds like a component of manufacture defect, and Mac sounds like a carrier issue.
    Busy time of year for gifts and returns as well.
    scottroberts, henryp and OAFrecords like this.
  10. New York to Louisiana. How about NY area to Honolulu. B and H has upped their shipping and packing and they typically over pack in my opinion. I have had few returns and problems . Their customer service is definitely more responsive than other outfits I have worked with. I can see no alternative but to stick with a place that has a measurably good track record. So, if you are interested in advice, give the company a fair shot at making it right. UPS here is good too. So I am lucky. And I order a raft of stuff all the time from East Coast vendors. It comes by outrigger canoe but it gets here..:)
    henryp and OAFrecords like this.
  11. Many purchases over the years without a single issue.
    henryp likes this.
  12. I've many purchases from B&H over the years, shipped to various locations in California, Tennessee and Arizona. Never had a problem. It does sound like the carrier might need some attention, though...
    henryp and OAFrecords like this.
  13. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    sorry to hear such nightmares. but realize B&H just packs it off at the mercy of the postal service once it leaves their hands.

    sounds like your postal service should test luggage instead.

    ill be ordering this week. i hope my usps has better handelers.

    btw also call your credit card co n see if they have some kind of insurance on your transaction.
    OAFrecords likes this.
  14. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    The only shipper mentioned by the OP (as far as I can see), us UPS, NOT the Post Office.
  15. Thanks guys. I feel a lot better about the situation seeing your replies. I’m hoping to hear something tomorrow. I realize it’s probably just a combination of bad luck and the way UPS handles things here. Either way, I believe B&H will do the right thing after reading your experiences. It’s just a lot of money to essentially have in limbo and a bit nerve racking when you haven’t ever dealt with the company before. They have a fantastic selection at very good prices so I’d like to think I’ll be a return customer after this is over.

    I definitely look forward to contributing and being a part of this community once I get all this sorted out.
  16. That’s correct. It was UPS ground.
  17. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    hahahaha it doesnt matter who brought it to your door.... b&h didnt smash his boxes.[/QUOTE]
  18. Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  19. Nobody is perfect
    Moreover, manure occurreth

    But like some of the others, I've had no problem in lots of purchases from B&H, including a return where I mistakenly ordered the wrong lens mount
    Another reliable source is KEH.
    OAFrecords likes this.
  20. Thanks. I’m still optimistic that I’ll hear something from them today before they close.

    I’m familiar with KEH and have had nothing but positive dealings with them. Same with Adorama. At this point, I feel like over $3000 for my first orders from a company I never dealt with was probably not the best idea. Maybe I should have ordered some less expensive items to test the waters first. Hindsight, right?

    Either way, judging from the posts here, I think the issue will be taken care of. As I’ve mentioned, I’d really like to continue using B&H even after this due to their selection and prices. We’re in the process of buying and replacing quite a bit of equipment due to a move and getting back into the hobby. I’d like to think I will still look to B&H once this is taken care of...

    I guess we’ll see.

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