Tam Nguyen Photography

New York Beauty and Fashion Photographer

Stay Away from 42nd Street Photo in New York. It’s a Total Scam!

Posted on April 25, 2012 in Personal, Tips

Stay Away from 42nd Street Photo in New York. It’s a Total Scam!

It’s true: this place is a TOTAL SCAM. I knew it was too good to be true.

When I saw the low price of the brand new Nikon D7000 on 42nd Street Photo website, I couldn’t help but making the purchase. I got the confirmation email, but the order status never changed from “Being Picked”. 2 days later, I got a call from one of their reps, asking whether I wanted any protection plan. I told him no, as I’d be happy with Nikon’s 1-year manufacturer warranty. The guy said no, it only comes with a 30-day store warranty, as this is an import model. NOWHERE does it say on their website that this was an import model. I guess that’s why the price was low. I told the guy I no longer wanted the camera from them, and that I wanted to cancel my order.

While I understand the benefit of upselling your products, I don’t agree with the way these guys do business here. They hold up your order until they call and bug you and about the add-ons and protection plan. If this is a brand new camera from the manufacturer, why would I need the protection plan? Oh, that’s right, these cameras are import models, which they totally fail to mention on their website. I seriously don’t know how they manage to have such high rating on resellerratings.com and on their Google business place. One thing I do notice from reading all the “good” reviews is how generic they sound, as opposed to the bad ones, which sound more like a true story.

I’m very upset and disappointed, but I guess I knew this going in. I was just hoping they’d treat me differently. That old saying is never wrong: if it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true. Stay away from these guys.


  1. Frank @Memorie di Angelina November 29, 2013

    Yes,I just got ripped off myself. Bought a Nikon D600 and 85mm lens, both at fair prices. But then they sold me two no-name SC cards at—get this—over $400 a piece. Only I didn’t figure that out until I was back home. Never even thought to ask how much a memory card would cost… shame on me. But shame on them, too. I’ve just called in my dispute to AMEX. Let’s hope this ends well.

    • Alan March 6, 2014

      When I asked about the warranty on the Canon XF100, they hung up on me…. when I called back another agent said there even though it was a new camera, there was NO warranty on it from the factory!!!! 42nd st. is a ripoff in my opinion.

    • Andrea August 11, 2015

      Unfortunately practices have not changed and I did not see the many negative reviews prior to placing my order for a Sony model HXR-MC2500 Camcorder on July 15, 2015 The same situation happen to me with the call to up-sell to a Sony USA model and add accessories to order. I had called prior to placing order to check inventory and no mentioned was made that the website deal is for a Sony’import’ model not for USA use, but under the same Model Number that I wanted and the item description on website doesn’t specify anything about being made for international orders. For the accessory up-sell, I was charged $149.00 for a 1-hr rapid charger (no brand or model number mentioned during call) but when it arrived 3.5 weeks later, it’a Vivitar QC-100 charger, that sells for under $10.00 everywhere. Website offered a “free promotion” item, that has never been shipped. I’ve been given fictitious shipping information when calling to track items. 42nd Street Photo now isn’t responding to emails or phone calls to get price adjustment. Next step is to reach Mr. Elliot Braha, owner and notify my Bank, and hope for rapid resolution.

  2. Sam September 21, 2014

    42 St photo is a total scam. They never mentioned that the lens I was purchasing was a gray market.. as with other people commenting here, I got a call from a salesman asking if I wanted a warranty.. long story short, I agreed for due to the relative scarcity of the lens. They LIED.. status on their wired purchase status site said “shipping”. Never was ever shipped. When I called a several days later, they said Nikon “made a mistake” and wanted to sell me another lens. The salesman became rude and aggressive. I am still trying to recover my money.

  3. ehutch January 1, 2015

    I agree completely. Getting the call to explain that you have been suckered, and it will cost a hundred, or a few hundred, more to fix your stupidity is less than fun. They advertise a price for the D7100 that is $350 below the regular price. But the MSRP price is from a reputable Nikon dealer. 42st (directly imports) and the cameras they sell will not be honored by Nikon warranty or service. Don’t buy any of the accessories the high pressure sales call will suggest. They are wildly over-priced. I will never buy anything else from these crooks.

  4. ggazcamper March 27, 2015

    I had the same experience with Canon 7D ii, advertised as the lowest price. After selling it to me, they called my husband and said the camera was Mandarine, along with the manual, and wanted to know if I wanted the English version. My husband didn’t know what was going on and said ‘yes’. Of course, that version was almost $300. more. I complained bitterly, as there was nothing on their website that said it was a foreign made camera in Mandarin! They then told me I had to purchase the $199/ each high speed cards for the camera, because no other card would work. Finally, they said their only profit was $89. and they would refund that to me and through in a long life special battery. What arrived: a battery made by a company not known on the Internet; a gray market camera made in Japan; two $199./e SD cards which I don’t need. Furthermore, when I called the Canon company, they informed me that they would NOT service that gray market camera at any cost. They also told me that I didn’t need those “fancy” SD cards or that “special’ long life battery.

    • buyer beware April 7, 2015

      I had the same experience today with the purchase of a sony camera.
      WHen I wanted to cancel, I was offered the USA version with the warranty. It is a classic bait and switch. I felt like I was talking to a car salesman. Not sure if I will go through with the purchase. Perhaps AMAZON is woth the extra price.

  5. Tj May 26, 2015

    Yep. Who researches a store before a purchase? I saw the ratings that were obvious, which looked okay. After I received my order I thought I would do a price comparison on the items. I found 42nd st was the only store in the world to carry some of these items – even though there were other places that listed these items for sale like Amazon – ALL TRAILS LEAD BACK TO 42nd ST for purchase. Like the 500 series filters for a video camera – everywhere else you can by filters for 30 or 40$ 42nd St filters $449. Try to find the factory. You can’t. 42nd St repackages or relabels items you can find anywhere else. The Grey Market exists – but I have never seen such a markup in pricing. The Digital Speed SD card has NO superior qualities – it works – but so do the $40 cards – 42nd St card, $500. You will see for yourself if you purchase from 42nd St. Try to find these brands anywhere else – you can’t. Everything works fine but I paid about $800 for $125 worth of stuff at 42nd St. Very shady operation. Buy somewhere else. I thought deceptive practices were illegal. I guess not. 42nd St is still ripping people off.

  6. Chris September 20, 2015

    Everything you see in the negative reviews here is true…you need to avoid this store! This is not a trustworthy or reputable seller!

    Instead of selling me the American version of the camera I was purchasing, they sent me a “European” replacement without giving me any notice whatsoever or listing it as such on the website. The European model had inferior specs to the American counterpart and came with no useful battery at all. What’s worse, they then attempted to sell me a battery akin to what should have come with it in the first place and did not respond to repeated attempts I made to resolve the situation with them.

    No wonder their prices are so low! Save yourself the trouble and buy from a reputable seller like Amazon or B&H–not 42nd Street Photo.

  7. marie December 1, 2015

    well thank-you all for your honest comments, it certainly helped me decide not to purchase the Macro lens that I so desire ..:)))))))

  8. Carl December 18, 2015

    In addition to all of the other bad reviews, 42nd St. Photo is a bait & switch rip-off operation. I researched prices for a Canon EOS 70D Camera Body. 42nd St. Camera had everyone beat by 20%, so I purchased the camera for my daughter. I got a call the next day telling me I had ordered the “European Version,” and that the American Version was, you guessed it, over $200.00, now making 42nd St. Photo the highest price for this camera. As I needed it by Christmas, I had to fork over the extra money. I went back to the description on the 42nd St. Photo website and it said nothing about it being the European Version. I then called Canon USA. I found out that 42nd St. Photo is not even an authorized Canon dealer. The representative for Canon told me to immediately cancel the order. I called 42nd St. Photo back 90 minutes after the bait and switch, and was told the order had already shipped. Evidently the UPS truck was parked outside with the motor running. The representative from 42nd St. Photo could not have been more rude and unprofessional. Now I know why the Better Business Bureau gives them an F rating. Avoid this unethical company at all costs, or it will most certainly cost you.

  9. Bob January 15, 2016

    “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”
    -Obi-Wan Kenobi, referring to Mos Eisley Spaceport and 42nd St. Photo

    This is going to be a long review.

    I have never EVER dealt with such a dishonest bunch of douchenozzles in all my days. They turned what should have been a simple internet Nikon camera purchase into a nightmare.

    Although it doesn’t say it anywhere on their web site, 42nd Photo is a “gray market” dealer. They are not authorized. Nikon explains:

    What does owning a “Gray Market” Nikon product mean to you?

    Nikon Inc. USA cannot provide any technical support or warranty service on Gray Market items. Additionally Nikon Inc. USA cannot perform any fee-based repair work on Gray Market items. Please do not contact Nikon Inc. USA for help with any Gray Market products. Please contact the reseller or importer of your Gray Market items for warranty and service information as well as software updates and downloads.

    Does owning a “Gray Market” Nikon product mean I don’t have a warranty?

    No! All Nikon products come with a warranty by the manufacturer. The designated Nikon service center will always repair “in warranty” Nikon products and perform “out of warranty” repairs. If you own a Gray Market product it will need to be returned to the reseller or importer for service. Refer to your reseller or to the warranty cards included with the product for service contact information.

    After purchasing my camera, 42nd St. called me to inform me that I had bought an “import model” and that it had no warranty. (Lie #1) They offered to sell me three year warranty for $199. I agreed, but when I discovered their deceit, I emailed them and asked for my money back on the warranty, which was billed as an “extended” warranty, and asked that they reply IN WRITING so I would have a record. How can one “extend” something that supposedly doesn’t exist? They could not explain this anomoly.

    Then the fun began. Naturally, I wrote a one-star Yelp review explaining their fraud and treachery. They did not respond to my email, but they DID respond to my Yelp review. “Give us your phone number,” they said. “Reply in writing,” I said.

    They called the next morning four times, using a combination of blocked numbers and other numbers. I didn’t answer. So they looked up where I worked (I had the camera shipped to me at work) and called me there.

    “I asked you to respond in writing.”

    “We don’t do that,” was the response. Well, I can see why. He then proceeded to call me a liar, said there was no warranty, that the warranty they sold me was better. But if I would give them a “glowing five star Yelp review” (I have since found out this this is a common practice with them, having talked to other Yelpers with a VERY similar experience) they would refund me what they charged when I sent the warranty card back.

    I told them review-changing wasn’t going to happen until I got a refund. He insisted. I told him, “Well, looks like we got ourselves a Mexican standoff. There is no use continuing this conversation.”

    “What makes you think I’m going to let you go?” was his reply.

    Just creepy. But funny, in a kind of impotent, sleazy New York City camera salesman kind of way.

    So I hung up on him and went to lunch. He called back, and the secretary told him I was with a client, but he insisted she interrrupt me so he could talk to me. She refused.

    I’m home eating my sandwich when I get an email apologizing, and saying they were going to let me KEEP the warranty and refund the money they charged me for it. And he gave me another battery. And he put it in writing.

    I contacted other Yelp reviewers and they had very similar stories. Bait and switch, rude behavior, harrassment. Just amazing.

    Since there was no way I was going to give them a good review, and figuring they could do some damage now that they had my credit card number, I just deleted by first Yelp review.

    MORAL: If you’re willing to save a few bucks and want to spend some time bitch-slapping Adam and the other ‘tards that work at 42nd St. Photo, you can get a great deal. But you will spend several days doing it before they finally roll over like the bitches they are.

  10. Richard February 12, 2016

    Same story. It’s a bait and switch operation. I ordered a D750 at an attractive price and got a call from a salesman who said it was a “Chinese” model and tried to sell me the “USA” model. When I told him that the “Chinese” model was just fine, he just ignored me.

    I finally bit on the higher price and probably got a grey market camera for the same price I could have bought a legitimate camera at Amazon.

    Based on what Bob said, I’ll make sure I have my credit cards turned off for these guys!

    • Richard February 12, 2016

      Just me again

      Left a bad review on another web site and within minutes, got a call from 42nd Street Photo from a bogus phone number. The man objected to my review and called it “slander.”

      I insisted that everything in my review was true and I intend to stand by it. He kept asking me what I wanted and eventually offered me a free battery and a “high speed” SD card worth $300. Probably trash after market products worth $5.

      I finally relented and took down my review. Maybe I’ll see his offer and maybe I won’t

      It’s amazing that these people are so desperate. Maybe they should change their marketing philosophy!

  11. Maz February 27, 2016

    Thank you All for the reviews. I was about to fork around 3k buying a new Canon camera and gear.
    Much appreciated!

  12. Andrew April 19, 2016

    Thank you for putting this out there! I was about to purchase 750D from these sharks! I will certainly spread the word.

  13. Amir May 3, 2016

    Several weeks ago, I ordered online Canon 70D body from 42nd Street Photo. It said on their website that the camera was new — and it also was considerably cheaper than at other places I had researched (about $849 as compared to most other stores selling it for $999). A great deal, I thought.

    Two days after placing the order, I got a phone call from the store representative telling me that they were about to ship my camera. Also, he said that – in case I was not aware of it – the camera I had ordered was not the “standard model” but the version designed for the European market. If I had preferred to buy the “standard US model,” I would have needed to pay additional $120. I asked what the difference was between the two “versions” and my sales representative explained that the European version comes with instructions and operating system in Chinese(!). Which, of course, made perfect sense as British, Germans, French and the others in Europe no doubt prefer to have the instructions and the operating system set in Chinese! The plausibility issue aside, I protested that this was nowhere mentioned on their website, but he told me that I was wrong — I just did not look hard enough. (Later I checked again on their site and there was still no mention of camera being designed for the US or European market.)

    After I asked to have my order canceled, the person on the phone offered to reduce the price for almost one hundred dollars for I was the first time customer. I refused, needless to say. My trust in this store was irreversibly compromised at that moment.

  14. Mark June 16, 2016

    Has anyone ever return anything to them? I’m about to send them the money order for the restocking fee and than they will email me a return order thing for shipping the product. They will give me the full money back I paid for the products. Do they actually do this? Let me know. Thanks!

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  19. Karl January 16, 2018

    I’ve read all the above stories and I concur that this is a grey market photo sales operation. I’m stuck with a Nikon lens without a Nikon warranty. The warranties offered by 42nd Street Photo stop short because some repair work will require Nikon calibration, particularly the silent wave focusing mechanism that is sensitive to being dropped. And, I don’t know what else in a VR zoom lens, not to mention, repairs to a Nikon SLR such as the D-7series and above. If the lens has a US designation in front of the SN. Mine doesn’t, and Nikon will not work on it. So, how does their warranty(s) get around the need for Nikon calibration and replacement parts? I think I’m screwed. Their 20% restocking fee is robbery and reflects the type of operation: scam and grey market product distributors. I’ve never been treated like this.

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  21. Robert April 26, 2018

    Wanted to buy a new camera. Got a heavily used one

    I found 42Photo on the internet and saw that their price was much better than in other photo stores. B&H Photo had for example the Canon 6D camera on sale for 990$, but the offer was over when I got to New York, so I went for the Canon 6D from 42Photo which they priced at 1090$ which I thought was a good deal for a new camera.

    When I got to the store I asked for the 6D body and I was told that I was the third person to buy this product, which was weird as they had only been open for an hour.
    He went to the back of the store to fetch the camera, and some elderly gentlemen started to sum up the bill in front of me. The bill was handwritten.
    When he got back with the box that contained the camera, I noticed that the box was beaten up and looked like it had some wearing and tearing. I asked them if the camera wasn’t new, for I wanted to buy a new camera. The old man in front of me told me that everything they sold was brand new. Then he offered me to take a look at the camera which I did. While I was inspecting the camera they started to try to sell me extra battery pack and faster memory card. I didn’t find anything wrong with how the camera looked so I thought nothing about it.

    At the hotel I tried to charge the “Ultra battery pack” they sold me. It was broken, so I had to go to the store the day after to ask for a replacement.
    The clerk tried to charge the battery and replaced it after he saw that it was broken.

    When I got home and was going to put a mounting bracket on the bottom off the camera, I noticed that there had been a mounting bracket there before, as there were marks from it. So I wanted to make sure that my suspicion from the store was not correct, so I used GPhoto2 which reads shutter clicks from cameras and found out that my “brand new” camera was already 39800 clicks in. So it was actually heavily used. Canon guarantees up to 100.000 clicks.

    I sent email to the company, and a person named Elliot told me that he didn’t know how this could happen and asked me to call him immediately.
    After a discussion with him, he wanted me to send the camera to the store and they would replace it.

    After discussing this issue with my credit card company and reading the bad reviews this store has got, I decided to take the advice the credit card company gave me and hold back the payment.

    My experience is very bad and I am not even sure if the battery I got is also used.

    I recommend that people contact their credit card company and stop the money transfer as soon as they realise they have been scammed.

    • Róbert Marvin Gíslason May 17, 2018

      They refunded the camera, the sending cost and the pre-sale check cost.
      I give them credit to have the will to fix the issue.

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