Broadway Photo Scam

A family member went online to buy a new (expensive) video camera ... with a few accessories.

At Broadway Photo, we were told that

The first clue should have been that their web site is a mess. Oh, it looks good, but there is no way to find useful information. That is why we had to call them to make the order - their web site is simply worthless.

When the package arrived

Actually, there was a packing slip - after several hours, we looked on the back of the warning notice. That was when we learned about the "handling" fee. However, there was only a single price, no break down of what each item cost.

Buyer beware - these people are nothing but cheats.

Camera | Battery | Memory Card | Tripod | Filters | Extended Warranty | The Phone Call | Returning the Stuff
Bottom Line | What others say | Holding Google, Amazon, and VISA responsible | Complaints | 08-17-09 Update


The camera was a Panasonic Pro AGHMC150PJ 3CCD AVCHD 24fps Camcorder - advertised at Broadway Photo for about $3,179.

According to the specs, this camera uses 9.8 watts at 7.2 volts when recording.

This seems reasonable. According to posts on the web, the 5800 mAh battery should provide about 3 hrs of recording.


One of the known problems with the Panasonic Video camera is the that included battery is not adequate. As a result, most advice on the web is to buy an upgrade.

The sales person at Broadway Photo managed to sell us a VW-VBG6PPKS which would be good for 8 hours of recording. He also said that this would be better than the 5800mAh VW-VBG6PP.

Wait, they charged us $300 for a battery that does not exist, and then substituted a $170 battery without saying so.

(And you wonder why I am upset.)

Memory Card

They sent a 16GB SDHC memory card - $200

Brand - DigitalExtreme (a no-name from China)

A web search obtained no information on this product. is a spammer site (nothing but advertisements from other companies).

The guy at Broadway Photo said that this was a 30 MB/s card ... but there is no speed information on the product packaging.

My experience is that if the speed is not stated, then it is the minimum possible (based on the other provided information). According to wikipedia, the minimum Class 6 speed is 6 MB/s. These are a few prices.

So, I could get a brand name 30MB/s card for $87, or a Broadway Photo no-name knock-off for $200 ... YES ... I feel cheated.

By the way, the video camera requires a 21 Mbps memory card to record at the highest resolution.

When we tried to return the order, the person on the phone said that the cards were considered error free, therefore they would work in any camera. He apparently did not understand the concept of different speed cards.


We were going to buy a tripod with this order, but Broadway Photo said they would add one for free. Good deal.

Scam - they included a lens cleaning kit that includes a 4" (that's four inch) table top mini-tripod designed for pocket sized digital cameras.

This "tripod" might hold a 4-pound video camera but why bother - who shoots video with a table top tripod.

Further proof that this is an unethical company to do business with.

Well, it was "free" (after we overpaid for the battery), and it was mentioned that it was a table top version ... but really, a toy for a $3,000 camera?


They sold us $30 worth of filters for $300.

They said that filters would be ProOptic (or something that sounded like that), but they sent Bower 72mm kit - UV, Polarizer, Fluorescent - Part Number DFK72C3.

All efforts to find this filter kit online failed. The closest I could find was new on ebay - $30.

Extended Warranty

They included an extended warranty for only $400. I know that these are mostly profit for the company, but figured some protection made sense. However, since these crooks lied to us about so many other things, I thought I should check out the warranty company - Consumer Priority Services.

Private DNS listing - I wonder what they are hiding?

The supplied literature says Newark, NJ, but their web page says Brooklyn, NY.

Broadway Photo claimed that they were providing a 5-year warranty for $400, but included a 4-year warranty that lists on their web site for $250.

I searched the internet and found the same $400 4-year warranty for a "video camera under $3,000" for $90. However, this may be too low.

I also found these

The Phone Call

Of course there was a phone call.

Apparently, they lied about the battery and would credit some money to our credit card ... but not enough since the higher quality, longer life battery was the primary reason we selected this company.

The tripod was a scam ... sorry. (Then they agreed to send something that might be usable.)

Trust us, the no-name memory card is 30 MB/s and worth more than a brand name card. (Sorry, I don't trust them ... they have already admitted to lying twice.)

Returning the Stuff

After the box was opened, there was a warning notice indicating that you only have 2 days to inspect the camera and then return it for a full refund ... No Exceptions.

So, we called to arrange a return ... they closed for the holiday and would not reopen for one week. At that point we opened a dispute with the credit card company.

After many hours, someone noticed that the packing slip was on the back of the warning notice. That was when we discovered a $150 packing fee that we did not know about before.

By the way, the box they used was crushed and repaired. When I picked it up, I could hear and feel items sliding around inside. As far as I know (because we never actually opened the camera box), nothing (except the box itself) was damaged.


We were finally able to contact the store on Monday. If possible, there was no way that they were going to allow a single item to be returned.

And boy can he fast talk. It was hard to get a word in edgewise. Sell! Sell! Sell!

Adding insult to injury, they said that the restocking fee was %15 ... not the %5 in the small print.

In addition, they said that the $300 filters were complementary and that we were not charged for them. (Wow, that made the camera much more expensive than I thought.)

After the conversation, I decided to check a few things When I searched Google for AGHMC150, the first advertised entry was Panasonic AGHMC150 $3179 at

The fact that the shipping document did not itemize the price of each item turned out to be a big problem. When we suggested returning the worthless "$300" filters, we were told that they were actually thrown in for free and that they would not refund any of the purchase price.

Together, the warranty, memory card, and filters represent $900 of junk that I don't want and would never use. Since the invoice was not itemized, there is no way to assign fair values to these and, therefore, the entire shipment should be returned at their expense and with no restocking fee.


Our lawyer said that we should simply send the package back and tell the credit card company to cancel the charge ... so we did.

Apparently, information posted on a web site is not legally binding unless you sign something. If these people had sent us a contract to sign, then we would have discovered their dishonest billing and refused to complete the purchase. Therefore, despite the claims they make over the phone, nothing is binding - specifically, the restocking fee is not binding.

We tried to get return authorization from them - they emailed us a form that we had to sign and fax back. If we were that stupid, we would have agreed in writing to giving them almost $900 in free money.

I have no idea what will happen next.

Bottom Line

We wanted a new video camera. Broadway Photo What a deal ... what a scam.

On top of everything

So, when I send this back, these crooks will (try to) keep $400 of my money and I will have to pay for shipping ($13 for a box and $108 for shipping plus insurance, shipping alone was $28). I hope VISA is able to protect me.

My analysis is that they over charged me $700.

Buyer beware - Do not trust these people.

What others say

After writing this page, we found Broadway Photo RipOff - apparently, a lot of people have significant problems with this company. The bloggers claim that Broadway Photo

Be sure to also read over 700 negative reviews at

Shedding some light Provides extremely good information on "Buying Cameras & Electronics Online". It explains that several of the low price photo companies are actually groups of related shady companies. Specifically, their coverage of the Broadway family is gold.

If you want to see photos of the actual stores, I suggest BrooklynStores: Brooklyn Camera/Electronic Dealer StoreFronts. They show 7 different locations for the Broadway family of related companies. I don't have a problem running a business out of your home or from a small warehouse - everyone has to start somewhere. But when several companies are run from the same location, and there are significant problems with one of them, then they are all suspect.

The New York Better Business Bureau provides a summary of reported problems and a list of associated companies, telephone numbers, and addresses.

Holding Google, Amazon, and VISA responsible

Personally, I hold Google, Amazon, and VISA responsible for a large part of this problem because all 3 of these are making a profit on the totally unethical practices of Broadway Photo, and many other dishonest businesses.

In the past, mailorder companies would advertise in magazines. Many of the better magazines had standards that the advertisers had to follow or their ads would no longer be allowed to run. I remember reading articles about how to handle disputes and details on how to contact the magazine when dishonest practices were suspected. The magazines made a point of how you could do business with their advertisers because the magazine would support you.

Today, Google and Amazon have replaced magazines as a source of mailorder type ads - so it is now their responsibility to protect the consumers. It is also in their best interest - if it becomes known that items bought via ads on their sites produce dissatisfied customers, then the value of those ads decreases - causing Google and Amazon to loose money. When the ads of reputable companies are placed near openly dishonest companies, then their names will be hurt by association.

At some point, the people who buy stuff via the internet will no longer trust ads on certain sites and the ability of Google and Amazon to make money will decrease.

If VISA and the other credit card companies refused to allow dishonest companies to accept cards, then these crooks would be out of business. Instead, the credit card companies are making a profit every time some third rate crook steals your money.

Rather than requiring the federal government to regulate this kind of fraud, I want the companies making a profit from these dishonest organizations to regulate the market because it is in their best interest to do so. I am sure that there is some kind of law were you can't discriminate against crooks just because they are crooks, but there must be some way to let customers know that they will be cheated if you click on an ad that Google is getting paid to show. Perhaps VISA should put a 48 hour security hold on any purchase from flagged organizations where you have to call VISA and ok the charge before it will be accepted.

Creative self-regulation can work.


If you had a problem with Broadway Photo, then I recommend filing a complaint with the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. And if your experience includes interstate fraud, the Federal Trade Commission should also be notified.

The New York Better Business Bureau provides a summary of reported problems. If you were burned, be sure to let them know.

07-02-09 Update: As of June 25, 2009, the New York Attorney General’s Office found these crooks guilty of fraud. If you were ripped off by these crooks, the AG wants to hear from you. Broadway Photo page - over 600 negative comments.

08-17-09 Update

These crooks had the gaul to write a letter to the credit card company saying that we still "own" them $237.49 that they stole from us. We received a copy of the letter today - 08-17-09.

09-03-09 Update

The visa crooks put the charges back on our account. We sent a response via registered mail with a return receit.

Author: Robert Clemenzi
URL: http:// / blogs / BroadwayPhotoScam.html