New Workshop - Unscripted!

Real or Steal? Buyer Received 5D mkIII Twice, But No Camera!

January 17th 2013 5:00 AM

I’m not trying to be a skeptic, but something about this story seems off. Do you think this is just a case of really bad luck or a case of pulling a fast one (or two) on Dell? Let us know what you think.

This story by, as picked up by, seems to be a story full of terrible circumstances for Dell Preferred customer Jalal. Recently, he bought a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS Lens from

Much to his horror, the packaged that arrived did NOT contain said camera and lens. Instead, what he found inside the retail package was laminated wood flooring. He documented the unboxing as shown in the following photos.








After a lot of back and forth with Dell’s customer service, Jalal received a replacement unit. But much to his surprise again, the box contained more wood flooring! So after more arguments with Dell, Jalal finally canceled his order. It is a shocking account that has many unanswered questions.

The Original Story As Told on FStopLounge

Here is Jalal’s original story as reported by Leigh Diprose on Let us know what you think of this and whether or not you believe there is more to the story.

I was in the market for a new camera. I’ve been shooting with a Canon EOS 30D for 6 years, and I’m looking to get more serious with my photography and wanted to invest in something I could love for at least another 6 years. After hitting up my local camera stores I decided on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III kit with the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS lens.

I have been a Dell customer for 11 years and have a Dell Preferred Account which is a line of credit.

On January 4th, 2013, I called up Dell Customer Service to see if they would price match their 5D3 kit with other online retailers, Best Buy, B&H, and Amazon. They only could bring the price down by $200, but given that I wanted/needed the camera, I told them ok, and had them order it for me.

Dell’s customer care team is completely based out of India.

January 8th comes around, the package arrives and I’m overly excited – it finally feels like Christmas. I’ve made it a habit of taking photos as I unbox large purchases because you never know what you’re going to find. But also because I’m a giant geek. Everything is packaged perfectly and looks great. I cut open the shipping box, pull out the camera box and start to unbox it…. what do I find? Wood flooring. Perfectly cut and glued together to fit the compartments of the box. No camera, not accessories, no booklets, nothing. Wood mother effin flooring! I was dejected. I went from a super high to a super low in a matter of seconds. There was definite humor in this. Quite frankly I was floored. Badoom pish!

I called up Dell customer care immediately but the department I needed to speak to was closed. The next morning, Wednesday, January 9th, I call up Dell and explained my situation. They tried to tell me Dell wasn’t to blame because they didn’t ship the item themselves. It was their distributors fault. I pointed out to Dell’s customer care that I purchased my product from and they were the company that fulfilled my order. I wasn’t talking to their 3rd party distributor. After expressing my frustration they agreed to send me out a replacement.

They wanted to make me wait a few days but I requested they should ship it next day air. I was dealing with a particular customer care representative that was to be my main point of contact. She said to give them 6 hours to get back to me which is around 4pm that afternoon. So I agreed. In that time I send 3 emails to my case manager and called her direct line several times to see if I could get updates on the situation – she was unavailable. 4pm came around and no one contacted me. I called up and spoke to a different rep who told me my order was in fact shipping overnight and he continued to give me my new order number and tracking info.

After hanging up I checked the tracking number on the FedEx website and it seems they submitted my new camera at 9am that morning! Six hours later after I hung up with Dell I received an email from my case manager with the exact information I received over the phone by someone else.

The morning of Thursday January 10th, I received a new replacement package via FedEx Priority Overnight. I opened it up, WOOD FLOORING AGAIN!!!

At this point I knew that their distribution center’s stock of Canon EOS 5D Mark III kits was compromised and the thieves probably cleaned house. I noticed both Canon boxes had clear circular stickers placed on the box flap, and after consulting with the members of an online Canon forum (which I was a member of) they indicated that Canon never uses stickers to seal their boxes and that it sometimes was done by the vendor.

I contacted Dell’s customer service once again, explained my situation and was told at this point since I received a replacement order and received wood again they would have to investigate this situation with their Fraud and Logistics teams. They would also contact and inform their Distributor. I expressed my extreme frustration and disappointment about receiving another piece of wood instead of my Canon 5D MKIII kit and the ongoing terrible customer service. Again, they tried to say it wasn’t Dell’s fault instead it was their distribution company that was to blame. Again I repeated it was a Dell transaction and they were responsible for everything. They couldn’t push it off on someone else. Their inability to keep tabs on their distributors was not my problem at the least. The shipping labels have all said DELL on them. Not XYZ.

Judging by the box, it looks like my camera was shipped from D&H Distributing Co.
D&H Distributing Co, 909 Katie Court, Harrisburg, PA, (717) 561-4313 –

Doing some research on the web brought up issues they have had with items shipped for other distributors. However the distributor in question wasn’t too blame. Fishy at best.

Friday rolls around and I contacted Dell again. Customer care told me they needed more time and they would contact me when they heard back from their various departments about the issue.

I again explained my frustration with them. I began to explain some previous examples of my experience with them – I was promised a call on Monday 1/7 and didn’t receive a call. They also told me they’ll call the next day. I didn’t happen.

I got a call on Tuesday the 15th January and was told Dell had not heard back from their fraud team and their logistics team found nothing wrong. Further to this the distributor returned their email simply acknowledging the receipt of the news. Nothing more. They said they could try and send me another camera but they couldn’t be 100% sure that I wouldn’t receive wood again. I asked them about the compensation and they said the most they could try to give me was a $100 coupon toward a future purchase. I refused and told them I considered it an insult and a slap in the face. Especially with all the time and the frustration that I had to deal with. I asked to speak to someone higher up about the issue. I was extremely upset with this whole situation and what they were offering me. Some have said that I should be lucky to have even received that. I’d say that some don’t have very high standards and are easily toyed with.

It’s now Wednesday January 16th and I just got off the phone with a higher-up manager from Dell customer care. The absolute best they could offer me was $100 coupon towards a future purchase and that was the most they have ever offered customer. He asked me if he wanted Dell to send me the order and I promptly asked him to cancel my order. I will never be ordering or dealing with Dell again. After 11 years, my relationship with them as a consumer is over. I will make sure to spread this word and make sure that everyone knows what I have experienced.” – Jalal

Be sure to to learn more and to see more photos. Thanks to the original author of the story, Leigh Diprose.


Joe is a rising fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs. Be sure to check out his work at and connect with him on Google Plus and on Facebook

Comments [16]

Please or register to post a comment.

  1. Selene

    He claims he tracked 2nd camera via FedEx website…yet it’s in USPS priority mail package. Not only inconsistent story, but I can’t believe camera would be shipped without tracking/insurance by Dell. Also, large purchases like this made online should be made on credit card with consumer protection or purchased in person. FRAUD!

    | |
  2. Dell Camera purchase gone bad

    […] purchase gone bad Get a load of the problems this guy had when he ordered a camera from Dell: Real or Steal? Buyer Received 5D mkIII Twice, But No Camera! […]

    | |
  3. Anton Ståhl

    give me Exif on those unboxing pictures.!!

    | |
  4. Jonathon G

    I don’t think unboxing pictures proves anything. Maybe a video would, complete with unwrapping the original and sealed box. As a photographer and Photoshop user, it would be really easy to fake an unboxing through a photo story. ANYTHING can happen between any two pictures.

    Can’t say whether or not this guy is telling the truth, but had this happened to me I would have asked to open the box in front of the delivery person as a 2nd witness, perhaps with video. If that did happen, not sure what can be done. Maybe should watch his Flickr account to see if anything taken with a Canon MKIII pops up…

    At least he price-matched though. Would have been worse buying full priced wood flooring.

    | |
  5. Krisztián Storm Kocsis

    I’ve seen similar when people ordered from random retailers from China. But never from a well known company. How would this even be possible? I doubt the Dell guys would have sent wood. So, then who, when, and HOW did replace the camera inside without nobody noticing? Someone at the post office? Sounds unlikely.

    Why the receipt is not shown?

    Why did he document the unpacking?

    When he got his package hijacked once, why he orders to his home AGAIN, instead of picking it up at a store? He could have opened the pack right at the store with the employees witnessing…

    I don’t say it’s not possible, but there are too many unknown factors and strange things. I’m greatly skeptic. We will probably never know what the truth is.

    | |
  6. Chris Rogers

    dell still exists?

    | |
  7. jp online

    very strange – he should have bought the camera at the local store —that he wasted their time and expert information— and would have saved him, hours/days of frustration……. 

    | |
  8. Luc

    why we don’t see any addresses on the box or on the package???
    i’m sceptic

    | |
  9. Guest

    Maybe he used the 5d to take the photos. 

    | |
  10. Arnel Fornoles Cañete

    wow, so basically he got 2 mkIII’s for free. genius.

    | |
  11. Phillip Hill

    Sounds to fishy to me.  First off Dell would never just take such a horrendous claim at someones word.  Also the weights between the wood flooring and the actual kit would be different and would be noted on every shipping document.  Lastly Dell wouldn’t have sent two items, and over the phone just agreed to not investigate.  If so I am about to order to brand new MK III’s and hit up home depot so I can gets me some free kit.  Just saying, I call BS.

    | |
  12. Timjunkaccount

    So he talked to his local camera store then bought it online? What a dick.

    | |
  13. David Liang

    This is such z bizarre story, there really should be other customers speaking up receiving the flooring. It’s bad enough to have it happen once but twice indicates he’s being targeted, there’s a switch happening by mass, or potentially a reverse scam is happening. I wouldn’t suggest this situation is any of those with certainty, but the odds of having 2 in a row seems a significant clue to follow up for the fraud team. If it’s the distributor there has to be more customers getting these floor boards out there.

    | |
  14. Johnny Josch Flash

    Who says that it is the fault of Dell? Whats about the post man :D?

    | |
  15. Mike

    So whos going to visit and check, Dell ? Or Joe ?
    If its for real, where are the other floored customers?

    | |