If you’ve stumbled across this blog post then you’re probably thinking about making a purchase from So Cameras of Brighton. You may be looking So Cameras reviews just to settle your mind that purchasing from them or part-exchanging your camera is a good idea. This blog aims to help you make up your mind. In short – find another company!
A Part-Ex Deal
Usually I’m quite good when it comes to online purchases. When it comes to cameras I usually go to Wex, London Camera Exchange or eBay sellers with excellent ratings. However So Cameras came up on a Google Shopping search and they had a model I wanted at a fair price. I had a Sony A7iii to part-ex and the response was quick and fair. A deal was struck and so far so good. However I did start to have doubts, especially after looking at reviews of So Camera online. Although the part-ex deal was struck I offered the next day to pay the full cash price and revisit the trade-in at another time. This was turned down as apparently the model I was after had had a lot of interest and they would only accept a part-ex deal. They offered to cancel the order. That kind of bothered me a little but despite growing reservations I ploughed on with the deal. The A7iii was sent off via UPS.
Cancelled The Order
Interestingly your part-ex doesn’t go to Brighton, but to a location in Dudley. This worried me some more but customer services were mostly being responsive. I had hoped that once my camera had arrived that it’d be checked and my purchase sent out. With it being Easter week that required So Cameras to turn around things not unreasonably quickly. However it quickly became evident that they had zero interest in beating the bank holiday breaks. Growing doubts and annoyance finally compounded when I phoned their customer services line. There was music playing in the background, the girl on the phone wasn’t helpful and the coup de grace was being told I’d have to wait 24 to 48 hours for what was a simple question. At this point I cancelled the order.
By cancelling the order I would get back my camera and a full refund. Refunds by debit card are notoriously slow and as I write this we’re still in a “fair” period for it to reappear in my bank account. More on that in a moment. First the positive news and that was the swift return of my A7iii. They could have got it back quicker but despite initial concerns it has returned. It never left the box it was sent in, no one opened the box, no one checked the camera. In comparison I sent a camera to Wex for part-ex at the same time, I received notice it had arrived the next day and by mid-morning the camera had been checked out. So Cameras despite the size of the purchase being made couldn’t even be bothered to open the parcel and “check it in”. But it was returned via UPS so I acknowledge that.
No Refund – Yet
The refund so far hasn’t hit my bank account and it’s business day six now. It could take up to 10 business days – maybe even 14. However whilst I try and be patient with respect to the refund, one thing So Cameras can’t seem to fulfill is a request for a receipt acknowledging that they have refunded my card. I have a cancellation invoice but nothing from Zettle (their payment gateway) that says “£x has been refunded to card xxxx”. I requested confirmation of a refund for two reasons (1) if they can confirm they’ve refunded then it’s in the hands of the banks and (2) it’s useful to have as much info if a chargeback needs to be raised. Given So Camera’s credentials when it comes to refunds knowing about chargebacks to debit cards is a good thing.
Where’s My Receipt?
But So Cameras haven’t been able to provide evidence of a refund. They’re ignoring my emails and cut me off their web chat system. Ollie did reply to one email and said “we’ll request this from payment gateway and update you as soon as we get a response”. I don’t know about you but it shouldn’t take any company several hours to provide a customer with a simple receipt or notification of refund. Out of the customer service representatives Ollie seems to at least be the one who is more useful. If you get to deal with Harmony then you’re just unlucky.
Think Before You Use So Cameras
Hopefully a refund will be forthcoming in the next few working days. If/when it arrives I’ll update accordingly. However I’ve already raised the issue with my bank and I’ve contacted trading standards because I’m pretty sure a retailer should be providing the basics like receipts when you get a refund. I have written a review on Trustpilot but those reviews can often get pushed down and easily glossed over – even more so when the company in question has a notice on it’s Trustpilot page about fake reviews. In hindsight I wish I’d not used this company and listened to my head not my heart. Their website is badly out of date, many links to products go to page doesn’t exist, they’re flagged about fake reviews etc. If you do choose to do business with them then good luck to you. My advice is to go with the likes of MPB, Wex etc. and not to choose So Cameras.
Update 26th April 2022
Finally I got some kind of response from So Cameras. It’s sad that it took this article to illicit a response. However, rather than send me the requested receipt which would provide evidence they have refunded me (and so far there’s still no refund), they instead opted to say that I “did not behave in a courteous or reasonable manner” when talking to a customer representative on 13th April and that I have “gone online to make defamatory statements”. Apparently their legal representatives will be in touch. Which is great because all the above is factual and based on my experience of dealing with this company. I have apologised if I came across discourteous on the phone but to be honest I don’t see how that stops them actually sending out a receipt/evidence of refund. Instead of trying to claim some moral high ground or threaten legal intervention because they dislike bad reviews, surely it’s simpler to print off evidence that they’ve actioned the refund? You decide.
Update 29th April 2022
Still no refund and still no sign of a receipt. Emails are now being ignored so I tried ringing. The lady on reception was very polite and understanding although when I tried the third time my number got blocked. So I tried with my landline and that too got blocked when I tried to call again. Now if I had an upset and irate customer journaling their bad experience of my business I’d be thinking what could be the best way to resolve this situation. Wouldn’t it be easier to just send them the evidence of the refund as requested rather than act exactly the same way as documented in other bad reviews published on Google and Trustpilot? By not sending a receipt they’re either hiding the fact they’ve not refunded me or that they have refunded me but they don’t want to reveal the date it was actually done. If they had nothing to hide they’d have sent the receipt to me on Monday and I’d not be adding more evidence as to why you should really think very very carefully before using So Cameras.
Update 3rd May 2022
Now over 10 business days and still no sign of a refund and zero communication.
Update 4th May 2022
Today I got a full refund into my account via an HSBC dispute claim. In terms of a timeline it’s taken 21 days since the order was cancelled – or 25 days since placing the order – to get the funds back into my account. It’s also 13 days since I had an email saying “the refund has been processed on our side, so should reflect back to you in the next few business days”. Not once did I receive a receipt indicating when the refund was actioned. One thing that does intrigue me is what happened to the camera I was originally trying to purchase. Because it never returned to the website for sale. Did it even exist? Anyway that will get filed under one of life’s mysteries. Thankfully my worst online camera shopping experience is now over. If you do choose to shop with So Cameras I suggest you insist on seeing pictures of the actual camera you’re after before you purchase to prove they actually have it in stock, and use your credit card if you decide to spend money.