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Clint Harmon March 12th, 2009 07:52 AM

B&H Unnecessary Stress
I have a large shoot coming up this weekend that has been in the plans for monthes. Unfortunatly I did not get the excutive producer to sign the contract and issue the down payment until late Monday.

Murphy's Law made sure that B&H was closed on Tuesday so I could not order equipment until Wednesday.

I CALLED and ordered equipment first thing on Wednesday with overnight shipping to get it by Thursday (today).

Later Wednesday evening I had a small shoot I had to take care of when apparently B&H tried to call and email me to "verify" order. I was unable to get call or email and when I got home around 11pm I realized that they did not ship the order because I did not answer the "verification" call. WTH I called in the order, why do they need to call me to verify? They got my moeny, and my voice stating what I ordered...Just ship the stuff...

So I called them and tried to stay as civil as possible, and the representative said it was my fault for not answering the verification call and that I am just going to have to wait till Friday to get my equipment.

So upset with B&H right now. Also upset that when I call them I seem to keep calling India...

Chris Hurd March 12th, 2009 08:10 AM

I can understand and appreciate that you're upset, but based on your description, B&H has done nothing wrong here. Their holiday schedule is posted online (and linked to from our sponsors page at DV Info Net Sponsors Index).

If you've known about this shoot for months, then I'm sure that you'll agree that the equipment should have been ordered much sooner than it was. Also, there's no need to miss a call when you're on a shoot -- your phone should be placed in the hands of an assistant, a PA, a wife, a friend, etc., preferably on set or nearby and switched to silent or meeting mode.

Finally, the verification phone call isn't B&H's frivolous way of messing up your life; instead it's there for your protection and theirs, and I'm sure that policy was implemented after learning the hard way that they and their customers needed it.

In my opinion, I think you need to re-evaluate what went wrong in this process and why, and consider the positive aspect: that these types of mistakes aren't likely to happen again. Hope this helps,

Gary Bettan March 12th, 2009 08:35 AM

Videoguys' also requires additional verification on many large orders, orders with different bill-to and ship-to addresses and certain orders that just fall into the "Red Flag" zone.

While I understand your frustration, catalog and on-line resellers have to protect ourselves. I don't know if you realize it, but in cases of credit card fraud the dealer has to give the money back to the bank. We have no recourse, they simply deduct it from our next days credit card totals. Then we can go and fight it, but 9 out of 10 times we lose.


Edward Phillips March 12th, 2009 09:27 AM

Sounds more like B&H is the scapegoat here. A big shoot planned for so long should have had the equipment ready. If the executve producer didn't sign off until now then the best thing would have been to have the equipment already ordered and in house still in boxes ready to return in case the project gets axed. The EP's procrastination or lack of pressuring and informing the EP on possible delays are much more to blame here.

Credit card and ID theives would love if companies shipped large expensive orders without verification, it would make their "jobs" much easier. Hopefully Murphy's Law won't affect FedEx or UPS delivering the stuff. Make sure someone's around to sign for it when it arrives!

Peter Gjevre March 12th, 2009 10:07 AM

I have had a similar experience with B and H, and while I was annoyed at the time, I'm actually quite thankful that they take the time to verify things, especially with identity theft so rampant these days. Since that experience, I have always made sure that I plan for extra time when placing large orders.

It makes sense really. We spend alot of time debating the relative merits of various pieces of equipment, so it shouldn't be a big deal to allow a little additional time for a verification call.

Garrett Low March 12th, 2009 10:29 AM

A rule of thumb I have for any equipment I'm going to order for a shoot is that I try to have it in hand 1 month ahead of the shoot or at the very least 2 weeks ahead. The reasons are:

1. I need time to get familiar with the operation of the equipment and work out any technical bugs

2. I need to practice set up and breakdown of the equipment. Nothing makes a a client more nervous than to see the person they hired fumbling with setting up their own equipment.

3. It gives me time to pick up any necessary accessories or additional equipment that I didn't anticipate needing, such as wires or extra power options.

and perhaps most importantly

4. If the delivered equipment is faulty I need time to send it back and get a replacement.

If I can't full fill this rule I make other plans to fill in what that equipment was suppose to do. I may still use my new stuff but I won't count on it.

As for verification of internet and phone orders I've been on both ends. As long as it is a true verification call and not a bate and switch call I greatly appreciate it. And, I've had to go through the hassle of providing proof to the banks that an order was indeed placed by the person in order to get my money. That is a major pain for any retailer.

Just my thoughts,

Clint Harmon March 12th, 2009 12:10 PM

Yes I admit that the equipment should have been ordered MUCH MUCH MUCH sooner. Unfortunately I did not receive the money or a signed contract until Monday. I would have been a moron if I ordered equipment before hand and then for the client to just back out. If this was a small project that would bring in only marginal gains then I would have canceled or delayed the project. This however is not the case. And I agree having extra time to work with the equipment before hand but I gotta do what I gotta do to get the job done.

I am not blaming them for trying to make my life more stressful then it has to be. And I am not blaming them for being closed on Tuesday (I found that funny actually). I am however still sore on the matter that I called and placed the order and the guy whom took the order not once mentioned "be advised there will be a verification call."

Also I was in a location that had no signal, and that is why I didnt answer phone...because it didnt ring.

All in all I will most likely order from B&H again. But right now I could have done without the extra stress. I do not wish to smear their name, just venting and letting others know to be ready for that call when anticipating supplies from B&H.

Garrett Low March 12th, 2009 12:18 PM

Clint, I hear you on the stress. I totally understand about venting too.

As for the sales person alerting you to a follow up call, they may feel that that is kind of like telling the meth dealer that I'll be by on Tuesday to raid your lab. Kind of defeats the purpose.

And, this is why many people I know will not order online or via phone. They only will use brick and mortor stores. There is something to be said about being able to go into a store and dealing with a physical person rather than a voice over the phone.

Good luck with your shoot and hope it all turns out well.


Edward Phillips March 13th, 2009 03:13 PM

This does bring up a very valid point that if you are on the phone ordering equipment you need ASAP and you will be unavailable to contact later is there some sort of instant verification you can request when you place your order? And how would it work for the good honest consumers/suppliers and keep the bad guys away?

Perhaps the only thing is to make sure there's a contact number they have that WILL be answered by someone if they call.

Garrett Low March 14th, 2009 11:17 PM


If I need it ASAP I go to the store and walk out with it and test it immediately. In those situations I naturally pay a premium but that's the price you pay for not having enough lead time to get the equipment. If the time crunch is my fault I loose the profits. If it's the fault of the client they pay a premium. All other businesses work on this model.


Henry Posner March 18th, 2009 11:42 AM


Originally Posted by Clint Harmon (Post 1026519)
So I called them and tried to stay as civil as possible, and the representative said it was my fault for not answering the verification call and that I am just going to have to wait till Friday to get my equipment.

I am sorry you had a frustrating experience and regret it's distressed you. Verification deters credit card fraud and identity theft and as others have been kind enough to confirm it's become almost mandatory for card-absent (web & e-mail) transactions. Depending on circumstances our verification employee might have bumped your shipping to a speedier rush option. I will have to investigate.

For some phone orders, our computer tells our sales associate to transfer the customer to verification right away, but not always. Each customer and each transaction is unique.


I am however still sore on the matter that I called and placed the order and the guy whom took the order not once mentioned "be advised there will be a verification call."
If there's no "transfer to verification now" notice near the conclusion of the order, the sales guys don't know.


So upset with B&H right now. Also upset that when I call them I seem to keep calling India...
Everyone you talked to is in Manhattan. Some are multi-lingual. Good luck with the gig, BTW.

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