The Darker side of Dealers

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by colin_elliott, May 11, 2005.

  1. Now here is a sign of the times and a sad commentary at that.
    I have just learned that my local large photographic dealer, no
    longer takes trades! Over the years (30) I have purchased various
    Leica and Contax bodies,lenses,etc.from them and am recognised. They
    are "virtually" out of the film camera business but will bring in
    equipment if I pay for it first!. I somewhat humourously offered to
    trade in my Leica M6(Panda) and numerous lenses for a Canon 1Ds11
    and lenses.Total refusal. Suggested selling on consignment(have done
    before).No deal. I was blown away with this news and don't expect to
    shop there again as I'm not into digital. I was looking for a Metz
    45CL flash which they said could be brought in, if I paid upfront.Is
    anyone else experiencing this attitude and business practice?
     
  2. The tone of your post suggests there is something unethical or wrong about your dealer, but to my mind he is merely adapting to today's market. He is finding film cameras difficult to sell so he doesn't want to do it, when there is a healthy digital market out there. He's there to earn a living, not to cater to your particular preferences.
    I have a local dealer who still buys and sells old film cameras and I know I'm lucky. And I won't bad mouth him if decides he's had enough and stops doing it.
     
  3. Be mindful that it's not you and don't take it personally. Some "bad apples" probably put in an order for film cameras and never paid for and/or claimed them, thus your dealer was stuck with equipment he/she couldn't sell. That's the sign of the times these days because of bad experiences.
     
  4. Try KEH.com - they have a lot of used film equipment. And they stand behind what they sell. I had a problem with a film back and they swapped it out. And they paid for shipping the item.

    Robert
     
  5. Colin,

    I learned the same thing from my local camera store and at first I was slightly put off too but after some thought I understood their reasoning.

    The second post in this thread explains it quite well. My local camera shop is not required to take my equipment in for trade. They are in business to make a profit and the owner has a family to support and he believes film camera sales are not as strong as they used to be.

    I can understand your feelings. However, I didn't experience any attitude. Good luck.
     
  6. Yes. For a few years now, I have been giving nearly all my business to a little shop (not so little - second largest Leica dealer in the country). I reasoned it was fair to pay a little more on gear in exchange for them providing a fair and liquid market for when I wanted to trade in or up. <p>
    Things changed abruptly when an official Leica dealer says he will not trade in my MP for ANY amount of money - won't touch it with a barge pole. <p>
    Spoke recently with Robert White in the UK - they too said don't even come near us with Hasselblad gear - we won't touch it.<p>
    All the business is now going the ebay way I guess. Pity.
     
  7. It's not the darker side it's just the harsh cold light of modern day photographic reality.

    It goes for so many small shops.The internet,the growth and power of the major chains and in many trading areas the rise of fleabay are just too much competition for them to cope with.Check out the small antique shops,the small furniture stores,the butcher etc. etc.....get used to it because it is here to stay - sadly.
     
  8. The dealers dont make much on film cameras these days and lots of local ones near me have closed up. I dont think they were doing anything to cheat you but are just trying to keep the doors open...
    I have only 1 good used/new camera store here that takes consignments and sells new canon gear and tons of used other brands, also sells lots of darkroom stuff too. It is a small store but they manage to employ 5 people and every time I am in there during the weekday they have 5 or 6 customers buying, not just looking...
     
  9. The dealers are trying to stay one jump ahead of WalMart and the internet retailers.
     
  10. I guess I agree with other respondents. You seem to think that somehow this dealer is SUPPOSED to take in trades. Why would you think that? It was obviously a business practice that made sense at some point because there existed a market for 2nd hand gear. If that market is now gone then it's gone.

    We can't have it both ways. If the market place has tilted towards large monopoly internet equipment sellers so that we've turned away from small outlets to save a few bucks, why do feel outrage when the little guys disappear or ask for deposits for expensive gear?
     
  11. Wow I must be strange I never trade off my old equipment. I keep it sell it or give it away .... But that is just me I also drive a 92 Toyota with 300K on it and still get 34 miles a gallon.
     
  12. Sounds like your dealer is having cash flow problems.
     
  13. It is a sign, but nothing underhanded on the part of the dealer. There was an established film camera business in our town. Sort of like the general store, on Saturday the local club members and photographers would gather to see the newest gadgets, and show their stuff. The shop had a steady business in used/trade-ins. Then Ebay happened, and the locals found they could get more for it by selling themselves. The camera shop eventually let its used shelves dwindle, and finally sold the remains off as boxed lots, but the shop still catered to film camera sales.
    Then a new camera shop opened right across the street. He also carried film and film cameras, but his focus was digital.
    The old line shop is now shuttered, and the new shop has expanded, and photography is still served in our town, but it is now almost totally digital.
     
  14. That is exactly what happened in my small town (30,000). The inventory is now almost entirely digital cameras and a few P&S film cameras. No trade-ins because most digital cameras lose value so quickly, new ones are coming out all the time and there is very little demand for high-end film cameras. (They used to stock Hasselblad and Leicas). Add to that the fact that buying on the internet is having a huge impact on retail sales, and there ya go.
     
  15. Here in Vancouver, BC, it's the same thing. Well established dealors have either gone completely digital or are in the process of doing so. The local mom & pop photo finishing labs aren't getting much business. The lab that I use, I figure, will soon be closing its doors.
     
  16. Robert: I agree entirely with your post, but why do you view large internet equipment sellers as "monopoly"?
     
  17. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    The refusal to buy-in used equipment isn't just (or even mainly) a result of difficulty in selling film cameras in a digital-dominated market. I suspect that a bigger issue on used gear is eBay which has made the pricing of used gear more transparent and more difficult for the dealer to make a profit. He can't buy well because the seller can always put the stuff on eBay. He can't sell at decent prices because he'll have eBay prices thrown at him by potential customers. Meanwhile the stuff's harder and slower to sell so he needs to make more to reflect his stockholding. Add to that the fact that its probably easier to put together a comprehensive kit from eBay than it is from a dealer or even several dealers, and this is just looking like a dead market except for a very few customers who might be prepared to pay a premium for the dealer selecting carefully/fixing when necessary/clening it up/providing a warranty. But most people here would rather save a few dollars and take some risk, is my impression. There's a lot more questions about how to save money than about how to buy better quality.

    So don't be surprised if your dealer won't buy used because his customers won't buy used from him. It's going to get pretty interesting when digital slrs start to be upgraded in volume- where's that volume going to go I wonder?
     
  18. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    The refusal to buy-in used equipment isn't just (or even mainly) a result of difficulty in selling film cameras in a digital-dominated market. I suspect that a bigger issue on used gear is eBay which has made the pricing of used gear more transparent and more difficult for the dealer to make a profit. He can't buy well because the seller can always put the stuff on eBay. He can't sell at decent prices because he'll have eBay prices thrown at him by potential customers. Meanwhile the stuff's harder and slower to sell so he needs to make more to reflect his stockholding. Add to that the fact that its probably easier to put together a comprehensive kit from eBay than it is from a dealer or even several dealers, and this is just looking like a dead market except for a very few customers who might be prepared to pay a premium for the dealer selecting carefully/fixing when necessary/clening it up/providing a warranty. But most people here would rather save a few dollars and take some risk, is my impression. There's a lot more questions about how to save money than about how to buy better quality.

    So don't be surprised if your dealer won't buy used because his customers won't buy used from him. It's going to get pretty interesting when digital slrs start to be upgraded in volume- where's that volume going to go I wonder?
     
  19. Thanks for your comments. I guess it came as a shock. So sudden to find out how they are working. This is no mom and pop shop but a large photographic dealer with a number of branches. I still have a problem understanding why they would not accept a mint,boxed Leica M6 on consignment, just sitting in a showcase. They charged 30% in the days they did do it.I thought it would be "good money" from their point of view. If one buys a Canon 1DsMk11 and in 6 months wants to buy the Mk111 or whatever, I think it reasonable to expect the store to offer a trade-in programme. Personally I would not buy from a store that is not interested in my return business.
     
  20. Jon - why view them as a monopoly - well that is what they are trying to become.

    David - "wheres all that volume going to go" - lovely question (even if you asked it twice). How about down in price and on to fleabay ?
     
  21. Here we have one of those medium sized chains, too. They have lots of fine used equipment in their windows. Sometimes at rediculous prices somtimes not.
    I don't think they moved their older equipment in the past three years, at least the Leica M4-2s, M4-Ps and M5s are there for more than three years. The IIIf I traded for a Contax TVS last year is still there, three Contax G1s I had a look at when I entered this segment in 2002 are still there.

    Seven new Leica M6-TTL are now rebated to 2,300 Euro from 3,000 and still don't sell.

    In their downtown shops with lots of passers by, they promote CD-Rs, Inkjetpaper and digital P&S as well as on our development of digital pictures.

    But they don't stock developer anymore, film is down to a small rack behind one of the counters, they sell tripods but no heads, .....

    It is a sign of the times!
     
  22. My dealer used to have a very nice and extensive 'used' section which was the source of much of my Contax gear...but recently (over the past couple of years) they have also stopped taking trade-ins and they really discourage people by offering next to nothing on trade-in value. Their advice is that I can get more by putting the item up for on-line auction...I suppose that takes the load off them since theyb will never be lumbered with something that will sit on their shelves for years. Of course, there is no point in taking in digital for trade-in either since they become technologically obsolete long before their working life is over and so their stock of 'used' digitals has also diminished. On-line auction sites are fine but I sometimes like the opportunity to evaluate the camera in my hands before handing over the money...sometimes I decide to pass. Another place where you can still find camera equipment is in pawnshops but this must be an awful business to run because every pawnshop owner I have encountered is (at best) angry, impatient and bitter. They seem to work under the assumption that everybody is out to cheat them and so it is best to strike first. Cameras that have sat in the window and in the sun for the past 20 years are likely to have dried up and had whatever lubricant was in place hardened to the consistency of cement. They have little idea of cameras but set thier pricing based on (out of date) 'blue book' figures plus an exhorbitant mark-up. The best spot to pick up something that is likely going to work is at a camera swap meet or sale...other camera enthusiasts are at least going to have some pride and interest in the gear..and prices will be pretty accurate. We are having a big show here in the Toronto area at the end of the month. PHSC Fair
     
  23. Local camera shops - oh, you mean those arrogant guys who over-charged for sponges because they were "photographic" sponges? By by baby and don't let the door hit you on the way out. What goes around, comes around. Maybe there were some good guys, but I never met many.

    I'd been living in Monterey until a couple years ago. On my return to LA I visited some old camera haunts and was surprised by how low they had slipped before finally throwing in the towel. No more mighty Hassys, no more Bronicas. More like junk shops now.

    The camera shops that died were not able to adapt obviously. Some shops did survive by going into the imaging business.......and so it goes...
     
  24. I was in the camera business in the late eighties and already the signs of the times were beginning to show a definite change in the overall health of the business. The point and shoot had begun to supplant the more traditional cameras and the trade-in situation was changing. We began to accumulate more than we sold and finally had to curtail the trade-ins to a certain extent. After I got out of it the guys who bought us out tried to revive the second hand business and then the digital revolution started. Last I heard they had dropped the second hand end of the business and were struggling to keep going with digital. No trade-ins! The camera business has always had a cur-throat image and even the good guys finally threw in the towel. It is amazing that there are still a few decent outfits to trade with.
     
  25. Your local dealera is a very very wise businessman; maybe this is the darker side of customers?.

    What He would really have to give you in trade for your "film camera gear" would seem insulting to you. He is in business. You are a consumer. You love your gear; and think alot about you paid for it. The businessman has to carry inventory; and hold gear worth less that what you think it is worth; for months or two years. He may have to warranty it awhile; and eat the "risky used unknown conditon camera item". He has to pay rent; taxes; sometimes taxes on inventory too. You just said "They are "virtually" out of the film camera business If so why in the heck would be he be so dumb as to tie up hard assets; ie cash; it a slow store where there is no demand for the item? This is like selling snow to the eskimos.

    This is really NOT a new thing at all.

    Gluts in items sold go back since the beginning of time; thousands and thousands of years.

    After WW2 Graphics were smashed; buried in trenchs; to prevent a collapse of the camera market .In the late 1960's a Leica or Nikon rangefinder was not worth beans as a trade in. A used NIKKOR 5cm F2 with a nice coating was only 9 dollars from a NYC dealer. They had a horrid; massive glut of the damn obsolete garbage lenses. A Summicron might be sold then for 30 bucks; a NYC dealer would give you 15 for it in cash; maybe 20 in tradein on a high profit Petri you just bought new.

    There is NO darker side in the dealer you mentioned; just a honesty in not wanting to buy your gear at what you think it is worth. The dealer competes with Ebay sellers; who mostly pay no federal or state taxes; pay no rent; pay no insurance; pay no city taxes; pay no alarm fees; pay no business rate phone bills.

    I am abit blown away by a lack some folks here's lack of understanding on how a business works; the expenses involved; and how trade in works. A decent about of trade in is feeding the buyers ego with an inflated worth of the trade in; and somehow just barely making a darn margin to stay afloat.

    There is absolutely NO dark side in refusing an expensive slow moving film camera as a trade in. You have insulted the dealer with such weird thoughts. You dont want the risk of an consignment deal; where the risk is in your own court. In some areas film cameras are in free fall; and are thinly traded. An expensive camera at a store would have to be close to Ebay prices; for it to actually move. He would have to give you way less than the Ebay rates; because the camera has a vastly higher risk than actual cash.

    Local sports stores often resale cast iron weights at 50 percent of new price. They will buy your used ones for 50 percent of the used sale price. Thus a dumb as sliced bread barbell that sells for 20 new; sells for 10 used; they will give you 5 for it. This is how they make money to pay all the darn heath insurance; taxes; and light bill; and rent. the weights have no CLA's; calibration at DAG or Sherry required. Your Leica has a vastly higher risk than the barbells; it can break; be dropped; be stolen; be dented; get a nick or scratch.

    The dealer would have offer you 50 to 70 percent of the going Ebay sales price of your Leica M6(Panda); in order to turn a nickle. This is nothing new; there is no dark side in trying to make a buck to survive; and make the typical 4 percent maybe at the end of the year in profit.

    This "attitude and business practice" is thousands of years old; and is required because most businesses fail due to cash flow; inventory too large; low turnover. In evaluating a business; inventory is often BS; risky; and is discounted when the business is sold. Your dealer doesnt want to hold slow moving items; ie junk that doesnt move quickly and has grave risk

    You should sell our gear on ebay if you want a better deal. It has been like this for swords; horses; cars; cameras; etc. A private sale will fetch you more money.: but then know you are a mini business; and you are now the evil one for trying to make a profit.:)

    In used cars the dealer will give you more allowance for your old car; there is fluff and magic in the numbers. Take the old car down to five points at the iron lot; and the old cars worth in a quick sale is maybe 50 percent or retail.
     
  26. When I was buying some spare Nikon F bodies with no finders from KEH in the early 1980's; the buying going price was 49 to 59 bucks each;day in and day out 24/7. I called them up after about 3 purchases; and found they would buy them for no more than 30 buck each. This is without prisms or WL finders; but with the token A screens. <BR><BR>Once one could actually vist theri atlanta store; and see all stuff they had on Shutterbug; and buy it right on the spot.<BR><BR>Many places have no more local camera stores anymore.
     
  27. There is a local store near me that's trying to keep the used business afloat by buying equipment at about half of what it sells for on eBay, and then turning it over on eBay themselves. Although some may find this seedy, the reality is that they're in business to make money, and I give them credit for finding a way to continue to keep used inventory flowing through the store and keeping the store afloat. Their new camera business is about 80% digital now, as it must be to keep sales up. Other than accessories, they sell very little in the new film camera area. Given the widespread availability of discounted digital camera equipment, the prices these stores are getting for new equipment aren't leaving much room for profit in a brick-and-mortar environment.

    I've seen people become very upset when the store offers a price for the equipment that the seller feels is insulting. The response from the store sounds flippant, but is actually very fair. "You can sell it yourself on eBay." They don't say this in a condescending way...they actually are trying to help people who want more money for their equipment than the store can give. I've watched them be very upfront about their ability to make money on camera equipment, and I've watched sellers storm out in an absolute rage because they couldn't walk in off of the street and sell their equipment at eBay prices. Although I feel sorry for the people who don't understand the business, it's not because I think they're being ripped off. It's because I think they should have taken the time to research the price of their goods, and realized that the store isn't going to give them the amount of money for their equipment that the store can sell it for. Doing so would be the fastest way to put themselves out of business.

    Cameras are a poor investment. In the past, it was possible to minimize the impact of that reality by trading up from time to time. Today, you're much better off selling your equipment on eBay and putting the cash into something else, or just keeping what you have and using it. With the extremely quick turnover of digital camera generations, all cameras have lost value on the used market. This is neither a good or bad thing, it's just a thing. The economics of camera equipment have changed dramatically over the past decade, and they aren't going to change back any time soon.
     
  28. In the UK Jessops which is one of the biggest selles of photographic equipment in the country also does Ebay.So does Canon and many other reputable retailers in hifi equipment.

    What is bad about that?
     
  29. It seems to me that the last few additions to this thread are missing the point. Naturally, for anyone to expect a business to pay above-normal prices for gear is begging for disappointment. However, in the economics of the camera store, it's not simply whether to buy that Leica or Hassie or Nikon off Joe Blow and at what price. The question of the matter is, is it worth me taking that camera off Joe in exhange for a sale of something else.<p>
    There are two possibilities: I take the gear and sell him something else, or I don't take the gear and don't sell him a thing. In my case, I wanted to trade in some stuff for about 35% of the value of a new complete Leica MP with 35/50/90 glass - all new. In exchange for this ability to "trade-up", I have been willing to pay a bit above fair market (Ebay or int'l retailers) for gear. No longer.
     
  30. I'll challenge the assumption that "the last few additions to this thread are missing the point".

    You believe that the equipment you want to trade in is worth "about 35% of the value of a new complete Leica MP with 35/50/90 glass - all new".

    Apparently, the store doesn't believe that. As I said, "Cameras are a poor investment. In the past, it was possible to minimize the impact of that reality by trading up from time to time. Today, you're much better off selling your equipment on eBay and putting the cash into something else, or just keeping what you have and using it."

    Whether you're trying to sell your equipment for cash or for a reduced price on new equipment, you're asking the person at the store to give you value in return for your equipment. The person with whom you dealt didn't think the equipment you were offering would have that amount of value for the store, and was willing to take the chance of losing your future business by not taking the deal you offered.

    Perhaps in the pre-eBay days the deal would have been much easier for the store to make, but today the store is in direct competition with any- and everyone who's selling equipment on line. The value of any equipment you walk into a store with is less than the value of the same equipment on eBay (or KEH or whatever barometer you use for pricing), as the store must compete with those prices and still make a profit.

    You've decided to take your business elsewhere, and that's also a fair decision. But whether you want cash for your equipment or a reduced price on new equipment, you're asking the store to trade value (immediate or potential future) for your equipment. The additional possibility of losing your future business by not taking the deal is a reality that the stores deal with every day. The stores that will survive are the ones who carefully weigh all of the variables and make their decisions accordingly. Did the store you went to do that? I have no idea. But if they're still in business in this economic climate, they've done something right up until this point.

    The economics of camera sales have not only changed for the stores; they've also changed for the buyers and sellers who walk into the stores. Again, "The economics of camera equipment have changed dramatically over the past decade, and they aren't going to change back any time soon."
     
  31. Again, maybe I didn't make my distinction clear enough. The issue isn't whether I or the store thought my stuff was worth 1000, 2000 or 3000, the issue is that the store would not take it AT ALL, at ANY value, against that purchase. So, no purchase was made, at all. You could argue they thought a two month old Leica MP was worth zero, and zero is a value. A bit of a paradox considering their chosen profession IS to sell Leicas.
     
  32. Nikos-

    If the store isn't taking any trade-ins on new equipment, then they have indeed decided that the value of a trade-in is zero to them. Their current business model is not to take trade-ins, so they place no value on trade-ins. It is a strange decision to make, but they've made it. I don't blame you in the least for taking your business elsewhere.

    My original post applauded those stores that had learned to do business in this day of eBay and KEH...the store you're dealing with probably isn't one of those.
     
  33. Nikos...

    Consider this: Anytime you trade in fairly expensive equipment in order to buy something new, the dealer sees no profit until he sells your trade in. His profit could be delayed for months, even years. This is because his profit on the sale of the new item is probably less than the trade in allowance. This might create a serious cashflow problem for the dealer, especially if he already has used stock he can't sell.

    A friend who owns a car dealership once told me he would be out of business if EVERY buyer had a trade in, because he wouldn't see the cash until he made that second sale.

    Don't take it personally. Dealers cannot afford to buy things they cannot sell quickly, and still stay in business.
     
  34. Martin, car dealers don't hold the cars they take in as trades. They send them straight to auction. The used cars that dealers sell are rarely trades, most are bought at auction.

    At least some of the camera shops that accept trades send the tradeins to auction (yes, eBay) or to other dealers who sell used equipment in quantity. KEH, for one, used to and may still have a fellow who visited some camera stores every few months. Adorama still has an employee who goes to "camera shows." In fact, before eBay one of camera shows major functions was to bring a quantity of used gear together so that it made sense for, e.g., Adorama, to send a buyer.

    On another topic, I understand that KEH is getting very choosy these days.
     
  35. Most of the camera shops in Tucson have died off in the last 10 years. This trend started even before digital cameras, but has accellerated recently. Since I'm not a camera shop owner, I'm not familiar with the economics of Camera store operational models. But I'm sure that places like Best Buy and Circuit city have played a major role in this scene. Photography as we would like to see it has placed itself in a crisis. At the University of Arizona, the Center for Creative photography is treated like an ugly stepchild. (Even the building is deteriorating and needs major repairs)The fact is, that for the majority of folks in the newer generation, film is dead and the equipment that uses film is also dead.
     
  36. In darkroom equipment the market glut is often worse than cameras. They are more bulky to sell on Ebay; and are often available a garage sales very cheap.<BR><BR> I bought a 135mm F5.6 Mint Componon-S off Ebay; it was only 63 dollars 4 years ago.. I got it for my 4x5 scan PhaseOne back. The lens was 63 with shipping. I called the chap up before mailing off my money order; and asked him if he had the retaining ring; he threw it in the deal for free. In asking if he had any other enlarging lenses; we offered a 50mm f2.8 componon-S for 10 dollars more. Thus I got two nice well respected lenses for 73 dollars; that are for practical purposes really brand new; latest models; with caps; with retaining rings.<BR><BR> The current B&H price new for the 135mm f/5.6 Componon-S Enlarging Lens is Price : $ 449.95; Buy Used $ 179.00. The current price of the Schneider 50mm f/2.8 Componon-S Enlarging Lens - M39 Lens is Price : $ 229.95 dollars. <BR><BR>BOTH the ebay lenses I bought are the current latest models; and could pass as new; only I dont have the boxes. They must have never been used; and have all caps too. <BR><BR>The used 135mm at B&H today is priced at 3 times what I paid for mine used.<BR><BR><BR><BR> I suppose IF some folks here bought the new one for 450 bucks; they would expect a decent trade in at B&H for it. Their used price is 179 bucks for the 135mm; 39.78 percent of list. ie about 60 % off from list. Maybe they buy the used ones from ebay; or as trade ins at 50 to 70 bucks; about what mine was bought for. Thus my 63 dollar 135mm is 63/450 = 0.14 14 percent of new list. <BR><BR>Thus that new Leica body for 3000 bucks might be worth only 420 bucks if sales drop like enlarging lenses. and resold at say 1800 bucks used.
     
  37. Hi: Here in Finland we experience the same. Digital cameras sold now by computer vendors with a mark up profit in 5-10% region. They are pushed to a tough competition with cellphone dealers who offer new NOKIA cameraphone with Carl Zeiss lens and 2-3 mega pictures!
    Nokia is now the worlds biggest CAMERA manufacturer! The pictures can be sent directly to your computer via wireless so you never run out of storage space... The situation with Leica is undertandable as Hermes has allowed 2 months to Leica to make a viable plan to make profit... It wont happen. After that it is a question of who will take Leica and will the value drop to zero!
     

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