Leica Dealers & BS. Dealing or not with Newtonville Camera

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by chris c, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. I thought I would throw this story out there to encourage discussion
    on your best/worse Leica dealer experiences. <P>I called down to
    Newtonville Camera outside Boston regarding a Leica LHSA model. I was
    told that we have 2-3 available new. Great. Drive the 1 1/2 hours in
    driving rain to meet with the salesguy Mike. He commences to showing
    me a virtual who is who of Leica collectables. Titanium, Dragons,
    LHSA .58, it was great. <P>Ok time to see the LHSA I drove down for.
    AHHH well only have one factory reman unit and it is not eligible for
    the $500.oo rebate.<P> Strike One.<P> But we have a new .58 which is
    not only eligible for the rebate but also has 10% discount as a
    result of Leica days. <P>Great I will take it...<P>Well, we have to
    confirm with the "Leica Rep" tomorrow that we can offer the 10% and
    allow you the rebate. Call me tommorrow.<P> I call as instructed and
    I am told that Leica will not allow the Rebate & the 10%. Sounds like
    BS to me.<P> Strike Two. <P>So I call Leica. They tell me they don't
    have any impact on the 10% and the rebate is stand alone. <P>So I
    call Newtonville and tell them that I will take the body with the 10%
    and forget about the rebate. I will work that out with Leica.<P> Bet
    you can guess that 10% was not available anymore.<P> Strike Three.
    Newtonville Camera is out of here. <P>I would think that Leica USA
    dealers have a hard enough time fighting against grey market product
    that they don't have to drive business away.<P>
    I would be interested in any stay away stories or recommendations
    for Leica dealers
  2. You might try Park Square Camera in Boston. I've had good luck with them. They have a much narrower audience so perhaps are less likely to come up with this sort of foolishness.
  3. pcg


    Then again, your experience may have been just that individual salesman.
    We've bought over $7000 in video equipment from Newtonville in the last
    three years. Always professional & a pleasure to deal with. But I wouldn't
    dream of buying Leica cameras from them.
  4. Chris: I would suggest you bag Newtonville and try the dealers in
    New York such as Ken Hansen (212 3170923.) I have dealt with
    theem for years and if he has it you will have it ASAP. You will
    also save the tax.
  5. Tamarkin is offering black paint M6TTL LHSA cameras in any magnification (0.72, 0.58, or 0.85) for $ 2395 (after rebate) with Leica USA passport. I don't know if you can get an additional discount by buying on a Leica day.
  6. Chris,

    I work for a Leica dealer in the DC area. You are right about the discount and rebates. (FYI- The discount does not apply to the M7 or R9, though they will extend the warranty two years (not Passport) on the M7)

    Sorry you had the problems. Though with strike one, there is no issue with that, becuase the LHSA .58 is not covered under the rebate. You had stated that you called to see if they carried the LHSA model, but didn't say whether you asked specificaly about the .58 finder.

    And with strike three you didn't say whether you did the calling to Leica on the day that Newtonville was having their Leica day. If you did not call them on their Leica Day, there is no way for a dealer to back date a purchase. Leica Day discounts are available only on the day of the event. (FYI- there is no problem "preordering" to ensure the product availability on the event day.) Leica is very protective of the the Leica Day discounts given to their dealers.

    It is disappointing the overall experience that you had. I will pass this message on to our managers, so that we can stress the importance of knowing the rules of discounts and rebates offered by the vendors.

    Hope you have better experience with another dealer.

  7. Chris- At the top of the page is a COMMUNITY heading. Click on that and then find the "Camera Store" topic. You will see a list of stores as long as your arm, with people's reports on them, much as you have just done.
  8. Chris,

    Sorry to hear about your experience.Most of the time I just lurk on this list, but your header caught my eye.

    I've bought Leica gear at Newtonville Camera for years now and never had a problem with them. I've gotten some good deals on used equipment there and have always been treated fairly. I think I deal with the same Mike, who reminds me to wait for a Leica day to buy something (on those too rare occasions when I am thinking of buying new gear) to take advantage of the 10% discount.

    To date (knock wood) I have not had a bad experience with any of the Leica dealers in the greater Boston area. Park Square Camera is very good, New England Camera in Arlington is too.

    Newtonville is the closest to me, though, so my experience with them goes back to the days when they had a branch even closer, out in Framingham.

    For Leica gear, I prefer to deal with local dealers just because the stuff is so expensive. If there is something wrong, I can talk to them personally. I usually compare prices for what I pay locally with what others are asking on the net and don't find that there is that much of a difference.

  9. I have dealt with Eli Kurland (Kurland Photo) Anytime I had a problem with Leica gear, he swapped right out for me, not even waiting till he recd mine back yet! I have 2 M7's and doubles of some of the focal lengths. He's swapped out even little things, like I don't think the shade on my 35 summicron sits as well as it should! Pleasure to deal with.
  10. That is the type of service one would expect given the premium your willing to pay for the equipment. <P>Maureen it sounds like you have had a better experience over the years with Newtonville than I had recently. <P> I undoubtably ran into a situation where a sales guy smelled a sale and was a bit to anxious to say whatever he thought it would take to close it. <P> I have spoken with Rich @ Photo Village on more than one occassion and he seems like a straight shooter.
  11. Hi Chris, all -
    First, I must state that Newtonville Camera is THE best place in
    New England (and probably ranks in the top ten worldwide) to
    buy ANY camera, especially Leica. I have been a steady
    customer since I was twelve years old (I am now 43), and have
    NEVER encountered a problem there. Anything that needed
    correction - and they were so minor and few – had always been
    treated promptly and professionally. Mike, head of camera sales,
    is both a knowledgeable salesperson and honorable to the
    highest degree. I have purchased all my gear from them, mostly
    Leica. Not a Leica Day goes by that will not see me in the store!
    Mike works hard to keep a stellar inventory, unmatched by area
    stores. He also keeps prices VERY reasonable - ask Park
    Square Camera about a price or a trade in! But I won’t Dealer
    Bash any more here.
    Chris – There is no "Strike One" – A used, rare, or demo product
    doesn’t qualify for any rebate or factory discount, period. Well,
    that leads us to "Strike Two" – which is also an illogical
    conclusion. MANY times Mike has had to call Leica for me to see
    if an item would be supported under a rebate program, or10
    percent on Leica Day. He is holding something now for me
    where on Dec. 5, I will get the rebate, but not the 10 percent –
    and he’ll hold any item for anyone, with no deposit. You see
    Chris Leica DOES sponsor the rebate AND indirectly the 10
    percent. Mike would give you a form, you register the camera,
    and Leica cuts you a rebate check. BUT NOT on EVERYTHING –
    M7’s, R9’s for example are exempt, even from 10 percent – so
    are rare or unusual special models (read the Leica bulletin and
    it mentions only the 0.85 and 0.72 LHSA cameras). When the
    store sells a product that Leica does back the 10 percent on,
    they discount that amount from the next store purchase, so Mike
    NEEDS to be certain Leica will do this. Mike is, above all,
    genuine and honest – he checks when in doubt and plays fairly.
    So there goes "Strike Three" – BTW – Did you call Mike back after
    speaking with whomever you spoke to at Leica? I know he would
    have triple checked for you. See Chip's answer above. He's a rep
    and backs this up!
    Anyone should not hesitate to buy Leica from Mike – he is
    knowledgable, more than fair, and one of the nicest people I
    have come to know. Why else would all our Boston newspaper
    shooters go to him?
    Chris, I think you missed out on a good deal, but more important,
    the start of the THE best Leica dealer-customer relationship you
    could have had. For that, I am sorry.

    Dr. Ed Caliguri
  12. gl5


    I would deal with a larger dealer like B&H over any of the smaller
    dealers. B&H's return policy is straightforward and clear,
    whereas the smaller dealers will often do anything they can to
    avoid you making a return. Often their policies are ambigious
    and subject to the employee or owner's mood that day.
  13. I got by old beater M3 Leica body from and old retired guy in Palm Springs,CA off of E*bay. I got a good deal at 550 bucks.
  14. Chris,

    For a great price and superb service I recommend Jimmy Koh at: www.kohscamera.com -- he doesnt have any 0.58's left, [I bought the last one], but he does have 0.72 and 0.85's left -- he's a good guy to do business with. If you really want a 0.58 you will have to go to either Sam Shosan: www.leicasam.com or Rich Pinto: www.photovillage.com -- however in both instances the 0.58 has rocketed to over $3000+, as these are the last ones left that they have. Rich is a very helpful guy.

    Tamarkin does not have any LHSA's anymore, their website is WAY out of date. Eli Kurland: www.kurlandphoto.com has some left and he's a fair guy to deal with also.

    Chip: why is the 0.58 not eligible for the rebate? -- is it because only 70 were converted and it cost leica money to convert them and hence did not want to loose anymore money by offering a rebate?

    Best of luck chris,
  15. I think you can have a bad experience with any dealer on a particular sale. Sometimes many people say they will buy item X, but never follow through leaving the dealer having to wear too many hats to sell his goods without offending anybody. There is not alot of markup in new Leica products and I think most dealers should be praised for the time they spend and the calls they return to sell a single item. To publically berate a dealer in this instance in my view is not productive or beneficial to anyone.
  16. i am ver sorry to hear about your treatment at newtonville camera. ordinarily i would not respond to such a post -- your comments speak for themselves. however, i have had so many good experiences at newtonville camera, especially with michael (the only person to deal with there), over such a long period of time, that i feel compelled to speak up on their behalf. impossibly, michael gives high trade on values when you are selling, and ultra cheap prices when you are buying. further, as your post amply illustrates, newtonville is unmatched in terms of stock, especially of special editions, discontinued models, dealer refurbs/demos at special prices, etc. finally, michale is just a really nice guy to deal with. if he has a fault, it is in the way he is always aggressively looking for ways to save you money -- can he get you a rebate/extended warranty/extra discount/demo model, etc. reading between the lines here, it sounds like maybe he was trying too hard, promising things that in the end he couldn't deliver. anyway, it is really a great shop. i have purchased many things at ken hansen (vico is great), photo village, and tamarkin (always ask for george), nobody has treated me better over the long haul than michael at newtonville. he always manages to find what you need, and will ALWAYS give you the best possible price. BTW, newtonville is THE palce to go for clean m6 cameras. $1000 for a solid ex+ user body.
  17. Some good issues raised just above.
    You make a great point about dealer X on Y day above.
    Sometimes Newtonville is so crowded, and Mike is the only guy
    who is working the camera sales desk. One thing though. I
    disagree with concerning the large vs. small store post above. I
    buy 'small or Grey items' from B+H a few times (very few) and
    they are OK. But a smaller dealer such as Newtonville will bend
    over backward for you if you give them the chance to make the
    customer happy - but the operative word is 'chance', and that
    may take time. One can always have ‘Face Time’ with that exact
    dealer, and show him or her, the exact problem. Calling a rep,
    then calling Leica to confirm and so on takes time, and smaller
    dealers get it done faster. And the Leica Day policies are VERY
    strict for each store, they don't want to loose the privilege of
    having them. It helps them sell, and enables us to afford a very
    expensive profession or hobby.
    One more item of note - just because they are ‘small’ in space
    and/or employee number, do not be fooled. Newtonville’s
    inventory of Leica, new and used, is unreal! An example -want a
    Demo 35 – 70mm f/2.8 Elmar R ASPH? They have one that
    looks MINT for $4500.00. And keeping it all going is Mike – he
    does a superlative job, especially when one considers the
    Holiday Rush is on (even before you defrost your Turkey! :)

    Dr. Ed
  18. Ed, I admire your strong support of Newtonville and mike. And I am understanding of the need to confirm details with Leica in regard to products and rebates.<P> All that being said there was ample opportunity to verify the facts and stock prior to my driving to the store. <P>It is inexcusable to not verify claims you make with authority especially when asked to confirm them several times.<P> I don't hold a grudge against Mike or Newtonville. My problem was with this series of events and what I felt was less than stellar customer service. <P>Based on your comments I am willing to admit it is likely the exception and not the rule. <P>Having said that I would have welcomed the straight poop at any point during the several pre trip calls, the 45 minutes I waited for assistance or even the two follow up calls after I left. <P>It took all that and 24 hours to finally end up with the facts.<P> No matter how you break it down that is poor customer service. <P> The exception probably but the reality none the less.
  19. Sparkie,

    They have not told me directly, but a manufacturer usually places a rebate only on items that they want to sell through (either to buy market share, to reduce inventory, or to clear inventory). Given the rumors (except for the M6TTL .72's - which is confirmed) that the M6TTL's are being discontinued, it makes sense. The LHSA .58 sell very well by themselves, and are much more limited (I heard rumors that 300 were produced).

  20. Chris,

    You are right, the ball was dropped. Have to admire your persistance. Hope your next experience is better.

    I am still curious about the timing of some of the calls you made though.

  21. Chris. This comment does not apply to you or your situation (and I think you have a valid complaint), but is a general comment.

    There are obviously some not so great dealers, who don't pay attention to their customers and overrate their merchandise. I have experienced this myself. But there are also some unreasonable customers, and complainers who make a big deal over some very little things. I've seen a lot of ranting on this site over things that are so minor that you really have to wonder about the person complaining.

    I have come across a number of good reasonable dealers over the years. I have yet to come across anyone who is perfect, as at times I have discovered significant problems with items even from good dealers with whom I have done business many times before.

    It is hard to know who is at fault in many situations, since we rarely, if ever, get to hear the dealer's side. Do they have a website to complain about bad customers? :)

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