Interesting business model – legit company; grey outlook.
So, despite the numerous forums that strongly advise against using SLRHut for various ‘dodgy’ reasons, I took the plunge and am now going to give a little feedback that I hope reflects the true nature of SLRHut’s business. I’m based in the UK, London. I did little research before making my order, after which I regretted the more I read forums and discussion boards online. I gave SLRHut a couple of phonecalls to try and sus out whether the whole thing was a scam or not and thought I’d take the risk of my goods never arriving after speaking to them.
Summary: Placed the order shortly after new years; gave SLRHut a call after placing the order as I was presented with a discount coupon during the order process that could be applied via phone only. I foolishly overpaid for a battery when using the discount coupon (after checking on the internet I could see an equivalent battery for £8), the rep did however mention it would be a Canon-branded battery (which it wasn’t on arrival! – leaving a sour taste that I’d been ripped off on the extras). SLRHut made amends very quickly when discussed after the sale by sending me a $7 tripod advertised at $130 (£80).. rather insulting. So just a warning – don’t make hasty decisions on the extra’s front. Overall I’m pleased with the camera though, but don't believe a thing about accessories, they're all s**t.
Delivery 5/5: The third party delivery company handled the delivery seamlessly. I was able to track the parcel from the US > Europe > Mainland UK, and despite me choosing the standard 7 - 10 working day delivery, and it being new years, the camera arrives within 4 days of placing the order. That was my first sigh of relief. SLRHut handle the shipping and any additional charges, which allows for some peace of mind during the transit phase.
Packaging 3/5: about average/good; however there were no labels on the box to mark it as ‘fragile’ or ‘handle with care’. The outside box looked in good shape. The camera box which had been opened (I expected this after speaking with SLRHut on the phone as they open all cameras, check the contents, take bits out and sell them as single-items, or create their own bundles – this is their biz model), and the case I’d ordered was wrapped and placed next to the camera box. There was Styrofoam bits scattered around the box to stop things from shaking about during transit.
Condition of goods 3/5: The camera itself looked brand new and was in full working order – no issues there. The add-ons thrown in were ok and nothing particularly special (some tiny desk stand which you might use once or twice, but is in no way a substitute to a tripod, some screen covers which I won’t use, and some cleaning kit which again, I won’t use). I suspect I have a US-model, but to be honest it makes no difference to the quality of the images that come out the camera if I’s a European, US or Asia-based model, so I’ve no issues with using a product intended for those across the pond. Accessories were dire.
Value for money 3/5: This was the main reason I chose SLRHut. The cam cost quite a bit less than it does in the UK, however the inflated price of the battery and case (which were both not as described – battery was unbranded, case wasn’t what the picture showed but quite nice, snug and very usable nonetheless), meant my savings were somewhat reduced, but still left me better off. Word of warning (again, I expected this from reading the forums) – the US/Canadian warranty isn't valid in the UK, so UK-buyers better have some insurance handy or be careful with their products if they’re used to relying on warranties or guarantees. Camera price great. Accessories prices horrendous.
Other things to note 1/5:
1) SLRHut says they’ve been in operation more than 10 years, when you look them up for the UK it says active since 2011 – I suspect this is when they decided to have a UK presence, so it doesn’t really render their 10-year statement false.
2) SLRHut is also registered to some mailbox room in Kennington, London. I checked out the place, it’s nothing more than a sorting/PO Box office, and I think it’s been registered for legal reasons – the company is based in the US and operates US hours.
3) Looking up the company in the US proved useless (which generally added to my concerns after I’d placed the order – but the company is real and does send goods out from somewhere; I doubt it’s where they appear on Google maps when you search for their US address though).
If I were to rate them on their grey-ness (i.e. perceived reliability in the online marketplace, I’m afraid it’d be a low-ish 2.5/5 score, mainly because they don’t do much to help their own online reputation.)
4) The reason TrustPilot seems to be the only website with very good reviews for SLRHut is because when an order’s received SLRHut ask the purchaser to submit a review on TP in order to receive a free starter pack. So the incentive is for purchasers to make small but positive reviews in order to get the freebie (I’m not interested personally, which is why I’ve gone for making a long but hopefully meaningful review)
5) Something I noticed that threw a few people off was UK-buyers showing up as US-based on TrustPilot. FYI I’m UK-based, and in London. Not sure how it’ll show when I do the post but wanted to mention it here so I don’t get ruled as another ‘fake’ post. Also, this is my first TrustPilot review, and I don’t intend on reviewing for anyone else for some time. It's a shame SLRHut don't have the best perceived reputation on the internet amongst other online e-tailers, as I'm sure they'd so even better if the positive word spread. I'll certainly be spreading the word about SLRHut.
Now, despite the mixed experience, I would use them again for the camera, but would be careful in how I place my order the next time, i.e. carefully selected extra’s after I’ve researched them myself and know the market price of the items. Because of the consistently poor after-sales service, my ratings for SLRHut average out at 1/5.
EDIT: SLR Hut call you up if you rate them badly and offer to send you free (but appallingly bad) accessories if you change your ratings from a bad star rating to 5/5 on TrustPilot. Not worth it.. You'll still be disappointed. The tripod they sent was lightr than the camera itself! (google Vivitar 50" tripod. SLR sell for over $100 and a certain large US supermarket sell it for $7!!)
James Tucker found this review useful
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