Couple Buys $7,000 Camera from Amazon, Gets Empty Boxes Instead

Photography Gear

A photography duo from Alamosa, Colorado recently ordered a Sony Alpha 1 camera from Amazon as an investment in their business in a transaction that they report cost them more than $7,000. But instead of receiving the new camera, the two only found empty boxes.

In an interview with The Denver Channel, Bill and Kelly Chiles said that they ordered the new camera because they believed the high resolution combined with the high frame rate appealed to their wedding, senior photo, and graduation photography business. While the model number of the camera is never explicitly stated by The Denver Channel, the specifications that the two note match up with Sony’s latest flagship.

“We love that extra frame rate. It’s a 50-megapixel camera,” Bill Chiles says. “We like to stay cutting edge.”

Due to what is being blamed on the global microchip shortage, the two waited for almost two months before the camera finally shipped. Unfortunately, when it arrived, Bill Chiles said he opened the package only to find two camera boxes inside, both empty.

Chiles says the experience shocked him.

“I had heard of this with third-party deliveries, but not Amazon,” he says.

Worse, Chiles found that Amazon insisted that the package had been properly delivered, verified, and refused to issue him a refund. When speaking to an Amazon representative, his problems were dismissed.

“She literally told me, ‘Since there’s nothing more I can do for you. I’m going to disconnect you now,’” he recalls.

Chiles says that he and his wife have proof that the package was not correctly delivered, as the UPS tracking label lists the weight of the box as just two pounds. The Sony Alpha 1 box weighs 3.22 pounds according to official listings, while the camera alone weighs one pound, 10 ounces. He insists that someone along the line stole not only his camera, but another as his package had two empty boxes. Adding to his suspicions, he reports that he has seen Alpha 1 cameras listed for much less than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price on second-hand sites from his area.

“Somebody stole it somewhere,” he tells The Denver Channel. “I think they got ripped off. Somebody in Amazon blew it, in my opinion, and they’re just trying to cover their position.”

As The Denver Channel started its own investigation, Chiles emailed Jeff Bezos directly and received an email back from the company stating that it would process his refund. While it seems as though the two will get their money back, Bill Chiles says he wants people to be aware of the lack of protections consumers have if this happens to them.

“We really had to save for this camera,” Kelly Chiles said. “And it’s just shattering, really. You can’t make that back.”

This is not the first time such a situation has been reported. In 2018, a popular YouTuber known as Chaseontwowheels says he ordered a Canon 1DX Mark II only to receive a box of rocks. After a second package was sent to replace the first, he found it to be filled with bricks.


Image credits: Header image by The Denver Channel.

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