Authorized dealers are the

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Authorized dealers are the most secure way to go. B&H is the most reputable at this point.

Purchasing from any other you could be getting a gray market item, pay extra for shipping and accessories are overpriced when they shouldn’t be. Here is a small article from our website:

http://www.thedvshow.com/cgi-bin/dvtips/newsscript.pl?record=81

7 Things to Avoid when Buying a Camcorder Online

A quick search reveals that there are well over 100 online retailers that sell camcorders! While this presents great opportunities for savvy buyers, it also creates danger for shoppers who don’t do their homework. Buy from the wrong retailer, and you may regret it.

If you buy a camcorder from the wrong retailer, either online or off, you could end up spending hundreds of dollars too much, sacrificing your right to return a faulty product, or end up with an item not backed up by a manufacturer’s warranty.

Know what you’re buying! Avoid these seven common online shopping mistakes and you’ll be able to shop and buy with complete confidence. These tips will help you find the right camcorder for your needs.

* Mistake #1: Not Checking a Merchant’s Store Rating
* Mistake #2: Not Checking a Retailer’s Camcorder Return Policy
* Mistake #3: Buying From a Camera or Electronics Store
* Mistake #4: Paying Too Much For a Camcorder
* Mistake #5: Unknowgingly Purchasing “Gray Market” Merchandise
* Mistake #6: Buying Overpriced Accessories
* Mistake #7: Paying Too Much for Shipping

Mistake #1: Not Checking a Merchant’s Store Rating

In an effort to provide you with the lowest price available, Camcorder HQ’s price comparison partner Bizrate may show close to a hundred retailers for a single camcorder. Some of these retailers have well-known names, but many do not. A quick scan of the prices will reveal large differences, and it can be very tempting to choose the store with the lowest price.

Choosing the lowest price without checking a merchant’s store rating can be a mistake, however. The lowest prices sometimes offered by retailers who, despite having professional-looking websites, receive consistently low marks for customer service and satisfaction. Among the many pitfalls that wait for shoppers who buy from only the least-expensive retailers are:

* Gray Market Merchandise: Some retailers sell camcorders that were intended for sale abroad but have been redirected back into the U.S. While these cameras often have an attractive price, they will not have U.S. warranties and may come with inoperative accessories and foreign paperwork. For a full explanation see Mistake #5: Unknowgingly Purchasing Gray Market Merchandise
* Overpriced Accessories: Less-than-scrupulous online retailers may sell you a camcorder at an attractive price, only to pressure you into buying grossly-expensive accessories. For a full explanation see Mistake #6: Buying Overpriced Accessories
* Overpriced Shipping: To make up for lower prices, some retailers will charge a shipping fee many times larger than necessary. For a full explanation see Mistake #7: Paying Too Much for Shipping
* Difficult or Impossible Return Policies: If you don’t do your research, you may find yourself unable to return your camcorder, even if it is defective. For a full explanation see Mistake #2.

Mistake #2: Not Checking a Retailer’s Camcorder Return Policy

If you choose a retailer without checking its camcorder return policy, you may find yourself stuck with a product you can’t return, regardless of your reason.

Offline camera and electronics stores often do not accept returns of digital cameras, even if they are unopened. Others charge a large restocking fee (15% or more of the camera’s value), making it very expensive to return a camera you don’t like. Some retailers won’t even accept the return of a defective camera, which they consider to be a warranty issue for the manufacturer to deal with.

Surprised? The Editors at Digital Camera HQ certainly were when we found this out. But don’t take our word for itcheck with your local camera or electronics store. Chances are you’ll find that once you’ve bought a digital camera, it will be difficult, expensive, or both, to return it.

The lesson: Be absolutely sure you know a retailer’s digital camera return policy before you buy a camera.

Mistake #3: Buying From a Camera or Electronics Store

Your local camera store may be a great place to have pictures developed, and the electronics superstore may have a flashy selection of camcorders and accessories, but neither is a good place to buy a camcorder.

Why? Because camera and electronics stores, no matter how convenient they are, cannot compete with the prices and return policies offered by reputable online retailers. If you choose to buy at such a store, you will inevitably pay more money than if you buy online.

Perhaps more worrisome, you may find it difficult or impossible to return your purchase to a camera or electronics store. These stores will often not accept returns on camcorders, or will charge a major restocking fee, potentially leaving you stuck with a camcorder you don’t want.

Mistake #4: Paying Too Much For a Camcorder

Probably the most common mistake made by camcorder shoppers is paying too much. The easiest way to make this mistake is by shopping at a camera or electronics store that charges high prices in exchange for the supposed “peace of mind” that comes with buying from such a store.

Unfortunately, this peace of mind is nothing more than an illusion. With high prices and poor return policies, camera and electronic stores offer no advantage over reputable online retailers, unless you feel like paying more and getting stuck with a camcorder you can’t return.

Mistake #5: Unknowingly Purchasing Gray Market Merchandise

Some online retailers will attempt to sell you so-called “gray market” cameras. Originally intended for sale outside the U.S., gray market cameras are rerouted to stores in this country and offered for sale, sometimes under the guise of being “international models” and sometime with no warning at all.

Though these cameras usually have very attractive prices, camera manufacturers will not honor warranties on gray-market goods, which often come with manuals in foreign languages, adapters that do not work in this country, and various other bugs. If a deal looks too good to be true, you should be wary of being sold gray market products.

To avoid purchasing gray market merchandise, look carefully at any online offer. If the price is remarkably low, or if there is mention of any other warranty than the official U.S. manufacturer’s warranty (i.e. international warranty or store warranty) the camera is probably gray market.

Mistake #6: Buying Overpriced Accessories

Some online retailers will sell you a camcorder at an attractive price, and then pressure you into to buying grossly-expensive accessories. These retailers will often call to discuss your order and then talk you into buying the accessories, sometimes even threatening to alter your order if you refuse. If you haven’t done enough research, it is very easy to be talked into buying unnecessary accessories at inflated prices.

The best way to avoid unscrupulous retailers is to check the store ratings. Any store with unusually low ratings has clearly been the subject of frequent customer complaints and deserves closer scrutiny.

Mistake #7: Paying Too Much for Shipping

To make up for their low prices, some retailers will charge a shipping fee many times larger than necessary. They’ll get you hooked by offering the camcorder at a low price, only to erase any savings you may have gained when they slap you with a huge shipping charge at checkout.

Reputable online retailers charge reasonable shipping fees, and in some cases don’t charge any fee at all. These fees are easily found on their websites, so you can be sure you’ll never be given with a surprise fee at checkout.

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