Dirt Cheap Cameras hits the dirt, perhaps

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by Stephen, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. Stephen

    Stephen Guest

    Dirt Cheap Cameras has been recommended a number of times in this group.

    They (and their parent, Impact Cameras) appear to be in receivership OR
    have been acquired (depending on whom I talk to), and the adminstrator of
    their assets is not yet clear whether I will see the deposit I paid on a
    camera - it depends on the creditors in place when the company is wound up.

    Not ideal, really...

    Perhaps the newly restructured/acquired company will be more robust. But a
    potentially lost deposit is not a good start.
    Stephen, Jul 2, 2004
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  2. Stephen

    Warmingup Guest

    Many thanks for this post......I was window "shopping" online this morning.

    Good luck with the refund.

    Warmingup, Jul 2, 2004
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  3. Stephen

    Seb Guest

    I get the feeling it's only a matter of time before they are not so "dirt
    cheap" any more.

    Seb, Jul 2, 2004
  4. Stephen

    Obake Guest

    if you paid buy credit card try contacting your bank. i use mastercard all
    the time for this reason. a little while back the same thing happened to me
    with e-store. i ordered an item from them and they went into receivership.
    all i had to do was go to the bank and fill out a form. got *all* my money
    Obake, Jul 2, 2004
  5. Stephen

    Scott Howard Guest

    How did you pay the deposit? If it was by credit card then you will get
    your money back one way or the other - just contact your bank and discuss
    it with them.

    Scott Howard, Jul 2, 2004
  6. Stephen

    Miro Guest

    The ASIC online database will reflect any changes in ownership or winding up
    Miro, Jul 2, 2004
  7. Stephen

    Freedom Guest

    they arent cheap.
    Just like every other bullshit sale in this country. Nothing is cheap, you
    always get ripped off.
    The cheaper they claim to be, the more expensive they actually are!
    Freedom, Jul 2, 2004
  8. Stephen

    Kakadu Guest

    I have always believed that firms like dirt cheap are never intended to last
    any length of time. It is an accounting reality that unless you make enough
    profit to maintain your business, pay your taxes, provide an income and
    replace equipment as it ages, you cannot have a viable, long term business.

    It is impossible to maintain any business for any length of time on the
    profit margins DC operate on. Eventually they had to buckle at the knees,
    which is what just happened.

    The part I can't quite comprehend is that so many people buy from these
    sunset firms that their continuous revival after bankruptcy is assured, even
    though it destabilizes a whole industry, forcing businesses with viability
    to risk bankruptcy trying to stay afloat in competition until they too,
    decide to call it a day. All that is left are department stores and "Teds"
    type chains who bastardise product ranges to "offer" cheaper prices.

    Democracy is what we call it when you can do whatever you please, regardless
    of how it affects others. Maybe distrust, stupidity and deception is part of
    society now. I hope not. Maybe if ASIC required a simple test before letting
    idiots go into business. Something like: How many accountants does it take
    before you learn 10% gross profit will send you broke?

    Even the name???
    Dirt Cheap... Gimme a break!
    Kakadu, Jul 2, 2004
  9. Stephen

    Stephen Guest

    Thanks for the pointer. It says:

    ABN 50 003 455 801

    31/05/2004 020313947 2 505U Notification of Appt of Administrator Under
    S.436a, 436b, 436c, 436e(4), 449b, 449c(1), 449c(4) or 449(6)

    Stephen, Jul 2, 2004
  10. Stephen

    Justin Thyme Guest

    Agreed. Having spent ages in computer retail, the same thing happened there
    too. I'm not in retail anymore but still have plenty of very close
    contacts. One thing that really pisses me off is when customers will go
    into camera/computer shop and ask all the relevant questions, feel the
    product, test it etc, make sure that it will do the job. They'll spend ages
    with a salesperson, then when they are happy with it and ready to buy, they
    come back with "I can buy it from the web for $xxx, can you match it". The
    very reason it is more expensive at the specialist store than from the web
    is because the store has staff who are (or at least should be)
    knowledgeable, who are prepared to spend time with a customer, these staff
    are expensive. The store has retail showroom area which costs a damned site
    more than warehouse space. As a result the store's operating costs are
    significantly higher, so that they _CAN_ show the customer how it works etc,
    so the customer _CAN_ make an informed decision.
    I know HN's are normally not real flash, but the one near me actually has a
    couple of working photographers on their staff - these guys really know
    their stuff. Next door to them are the good-guys - I've actually heard the
    good-guys say "i don't know much about these, but go next door to HN, and
    once you find out the best one for you, come back and we'll knock 10% off
    their price".
    The trouble is, the modern customer doesn't give any value to service, and
    is quite happy to spend an hour with a salesman to get the product info,
    then go away and buy on best price. Ultimately what will happen, is that the
    better class of store will die off, or at the very least stop employing
    knowledgeable people and replace them with 16yo schoolkids. The customer
    won't have any pre-sales service other than what they can get from product
    brochures, and will ultimately waste money on products that aren't suitable.
    I can't remember the exact wording but I heard a saying that went something
    along the lines of "you'll still be enjoying a good product, long after
    you've forgotten the purchase price".
    Justin Thyme, Jul 2, 2004
  11. Stephen

    Miro Guest

    Doesnt sound good.
    Miro, Jul 3, 2004
  12. Stephen

    Miro Guest

    Obviously another G&V imaging customer.
    Miro, Jul 3, 2004
  13. Stephen

    s Guest

    Justin Thyme wrote:

    I LOVE getting good customer service, and if i can find a place that serves
    me well, i'll stick with them as long as the bank-balance will allow, even
    to the point where i might be able to purchase products marginally cheaper

    Problem is it's not always easy to find. I spent many many years ( and many
    $10,000's of dollars :( ) , at a hi-fi store primarily because they knew
    me, when i arrived they'd great me by name. salesmen that knew of me, would
    even go an fetch the salesrep i regularly dealt. The service was excellent.
    Got to the point where they'd lend me gear to try at home. That stopped
    after they got ripped off a few times by other customers! I got to the
    point where i knew the salesrep's wife, and she chatted to my wife.
    Favourite incident was when i showed up one day, they were too busy, so
    handed my a bunch of remotes and sent me off to one of the sound rooms to
    entertain myself for an hour or so. I heartily recommended them to mates,
    and over time, directed 4-5 peole towards them. They loved that .. so in
    the end their customer service paid off.

    By comparison, other places i shopped knew less about their gear than i did,
    so i never shopped their. Interestingly a couple of places i visited while
    shopping around for DVD players, knew bugger-all and even lied about
    products. I was pleasantly suprised when at least one of them went

    In the 9-12 months i've been buying cameras bits, i've built up a little
    familiarity with at least one store, unfortunately they don't carry much
    stuch as they are primarily a processing lab. Another shop i've been to a
    few times, doesn't have seem to have the staff or the time to attend to
    customers. They are busy, but the last sales rep i dealt with didn't seem
    to concerned about whether the lens hood they were selling me was actually
    meant for the lens i had in my hand. Turns out it wasn't and i found out
    the hardway, so i'm going back today to see if i can get the right one.

    Online shopping is great though, when the savings are of the order of 10% -
    30%, then it's hard to resist. To be fair, i've only once looked at gear in
    a shop that i've ended up purchasing online.
    Hi-fi stored i shopped at one similar, "the disappointment of a cheap
    product will outlast the joy of a few dollars saved".

    They also had "if you like our products, tell someone, if you don't like our
    products, tell us!" So i did a couple of times and they happily exchanged
    gear with no charge.
    s, Jul 3, 2004
  14. Stephen

    Scott Howard Guest

    DC has/had what is, in theory at least, a good business model. They had
    a number of bricks-and-mortar retail outlets, selling at relatively
    standard bricks-and-mortar prices, and then they had an unrelated (as far
    as the general public knew) on-line shop selling at lower margins due to
    the lower overheards associated with the online shop.

    The profit margins may have been low, but I suspect that they were based
    on the fact that most of the once-off charges were being covered by the
    B&M shops, so the additional overheads of the online shop were low.

    At the end of the day, I suspect that when really went under was the
    "Impact Camera House" shops (ie, the physical shops) rather than Dirt
    Cheap Cameras.

    Scott Howard, Jul 3, 2004
  15. Stephen

    Kakadu Guest

    How can you say that Scott?
    If a business has a good business model it will survive. If the plan is
    flawed, they will fail. 42 years ago a hardware store (my father had 4 of
    them) needed 33.3% mark-up to make a long term viable business.

    Today, independent hardware stores don't exist because they cannot make
    that profit margin and either went out of business or were swallowed up by
    Multi-National chains. This is my prophecy for camera stores.

    Your suggestion of "bricks and mortar" stores dragging down an on-line
    venture is odd, to say the least. Neither operation made enough profit to be
    viable. It was a dud business!
    Kakadu, Jul 3, 2004
  16. Stephen

    DJ! Guest

    Ummmm... yes there are still some left. In fact, there's one about
    15mins from here that does very well - despite being with a 5km radius
    of a Mitre10 store, a True Value store, a Bunnings warehouse, a
    KMart, and a BigW.

    They fail because they fail to provide the LEVEL AND TYPE OF SERVICE
    (the sole strategic advantage most of them can offer) that can justify
    a higher gross margin on the items they sell.

    Cheers... Derek (DJ)
    DJ!, Jul 3, 2004
  17. "Yes Sir, we can. But there is 1 1/2 hrs at $75/hr plus a 3 hour
    minimum hire fee for the body you have been using. Step this way,
    Masters or Visa?"

    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    West Australia 6076
    comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
    Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
    EPIC, The Architecture of the future, always has been, always will be.
    Paul Repacholi, Jul 4, 2004
  18. Stephen

    Peter Gordon Guest

    I while back, I was in a Chandlers store and had to wait for two
    customers before me before being served. One bought a DVD and the
    next one bought a fridge. I bought a $400 VCR. As my order was being
    processed, I mentioned to the salesman that he was doing well. Three
    good sales in less than 30 minuites. He replied that when a new
    product arrives he reads the instruction book. I had looked in
    other stores but couldn't get sensible answers to my questions.
    The much vaunted "service" mentioned above is almost non-existant.
    You may as well shop mail or web order and save the dollars.

    However, back to the subject. Neil at DirtCheap has given me
    far superior advice and service to that which I get in my local
    specialist camera store. The only dis-advantage is that I can't
    handle the products. This is often the same for the camera store
    as they don't have the item in stock but will order it in if I
    am prepared to pay a 50% deposit. I not dis-advantaged by buying
    on the web and save a few bucks in the process.

    Peter Gordon, Jul 5, 2004
  19. I know they say "no shop front" and they have a St Leonards (?) NSW postal
    address, but does anyone know if they allow self-pickup at all.....?

    David Springthorpe, Jul 6, 2004
  20. Stephen

    Edge Guest

    My experience is that they don't which is why I didn't buy my D100 from them
    (I wanted it *now*) :D
    Edge, Jul 6, 2004
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