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Friday, 24 April 2020

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Thanks for the warning. I sent a nasty note. Hope others will too.

Some newspapers have consumer services columns where they can advocate to address such problems (e.g. our Madison paper does). Maybe he should contact them. Companies don't like bad press.

I have sent an e-mail to the GoPro address that you gave. I told them that their behaviour was completely unacceptable. Perhaps others could do the same.

Contact your state's attorney general consumer protection office and file a formal complaint. Write it down start to finish. If you used any sort of credit card, contact the CC company and lodge a dispute on the charge. It will put a hold on any funds to the company, maybe.

If Kenny has a friend who's a lawyer he might want to ask the lawyer to write them a letter. I would address it to the CEO by name. There is also the Federal Trade Commission. I also don't believe in losing sleep
over things like this, but I also think it is good to not let actions like this go unchallenged.

Your friend might try contacting the B.B.B. local to GoPro.
I wonder what this farce is going to end up costing GoPro?
Hopefully a lot of missed sales.

GoPro is well known for having powerless customer service, particularly after sale. It's not that the people on the phone or via email (etc) are actively trying to screw customers over, just that they have been given no latitude to make it right.

I had similar experiences with one of their ill-fated Karma drones (alas, the kind of Karma that doesn't come back to you). Swapping parts and doing firmware updates in a circle for months, and paying more and more for something I bought "on sale." Sadly, their biggest drone competitor is DJI, who are infamous for having almost nonexistent customer service. So which do you choose?

My sympathies to Kenny, and I hope he's at least happy with the $300 action camera.

I would imagine that GoPro probably has no idea where the camera in question is other than in a big heap of traded in cameras to be sold by the pallet load to some refurbisher, and the person who knows that has been laid off. I’ve seen some of those traded in piles and it’s easy to imagine that some guy spent a day with a snow shovel scooping up Canon rebels off the floor and dumping them into burlap sacks for shipment.

From what I read in the news, covid has pretty much wrecked GoPro’s business.

Even though it makes absolutely perfect sense, I would have inquired first about being able to get the sale price and the trade in deal in one transaction- simply because I know that companies don't like to uphold their own policies when it favors the consumer.

That said, they have no right, NO right whatsoever, to keep his trade in if they renege on the deal! That's outright THEFT...

After purchasing three GoPro cameras I will never buy another. The engineering of them is lackluster. 30 minute battery life is just unacceptable not to mention shutting off because it overheated in the sunlight. I guess It's only meant to be used under water for cooling purposes. Then there is the total freeze when the charging gets interrupted necessitating removing the battery and putting it back in for a reset. No, no more GoPro for me. GoPro supposedly is having financial problems so the problem you describe doesn't really surprise me but always read the fine print of any promotion.

Mike, this is where attorneys earn their keep. File a class action lawsuit against go pro and ask for punitive as well as regular damages.This could be a big payday for attorneys.

Re GoPro, Good of you to highlight the story, that is a really shady practice, and it appears to be their standard practice--if it wasn't it would have been fixed with the first inquiry.
Their sales have never matched the first year, and their stock price which briefly hit $85 after the IPO currently trades below $3.
I hope you get some action.
There are lots of other companies who make action cameras.

Forward to your friend if you think it is relevant.
I had a similar experience many years ago with a New York City camera store. I finally contacted the Office of the Attorney General in New York City and the problem was solved very quickly. Since GoPro's headquarters are in San Mateo, CA, I suggest contacting:
Office of the Attorney General
455 Golden Gate, Suite 11000
San Francisco, CA 94102-7004
(415) 510-4400
[You do not need to post this comment, just trying to help your friend based on my own experience.]

I got screwed out of an $800 deposit I made like a year before I signed up for an in demand class. It was sort of blurry about whether I was owed the money or not, but I thought I was. It was also a time when $800 was a whole lot of money for me. It still is but it was a really big part of my net worth at the moment.

It drove me crazy for months trying to get it back. It's like a double loss. You lose the money and you lose some precious life by being miserable. Actually triple, because you know full well that there's nothing you can do about it.

I really work hard on trying to forgive the people involved in those situations. As they say, hate is like taking a poison and hoping the other person dies. Easy to say, hard to do.

The school went out of business a few years later. Not surprised.

Kenny and anyone else similarly ripped off should contact the consumer fraud division of their state's attorney General's office and file a complaint.

Sometimes the best way to get a company's attention is to call them out on Twitter. Kenny might want to post on Twitter about the theft of his camera by GoPro. He might get a response pretty darn quick.

Also, if Kenny lives in New England, the consumer affairs columnist for The Boston Globe, Sean Murphy, might take up his case. Sean has a good batting average fighting consumer fraud.

So, not to take sides, but if you click on the Terms & Conditions, the second sentence is:

"Cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts or promo codes, or applied to previous purchases."

Whenever I buy something with an offer, I always look at the Terms & Conditions, for the very reason he encountered. Their lack of returning the old camera is an entirely different matter that I would definitely pursue!

He should dispute the charge with his credit card company. These disputes are a real pain for companies so they will often give in. It can’t hurt.

Interesting that in these dark days of environmental degradation, when we lose species to extinction daily, the weasels are doing just fine…indeed at times it seems their numbers are increasing.

> Kenny is an ex-Marine

Kenny is a former Marine. There is no such thing as an ex-Marine.

[Yes that is certainly true in Ken's case. The back window of his big red pickup is emblazoned "USMC" in large letters. --Mike]

State Attorney General or US Attorney's office for deceptive business practices?
Maybe call the FBI or U.S. Postal inspectors, depending on how it was shipped?
Local Police as it is a business scam hitting him where he lives.
Don't let them get away with it.

I would report this to the Postmaster General. It smells like mail fraud or wire fraud to me, especially if there are others who have been burned.
Now that we have been warned about GoPro, there are alternatives, such as Garmin, Sony, Yi and Akaso.

Posted in the correct thread.
From user c.a.m at PentaxForums:
The Terms and Conditions (GoPro Official Website - Capture + share your world - TradeUp Program Terms + Conditions) specify a number of limitations, including:

"The Program is non-transferable and cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts or promo codes, or applied to previous purchases.

Once you have shipped the Eligible Used Device to GoPro, GoPro cannot guarantee its return to you.

Trade-in transactions are final; after you trade in your Eligible Used Device, you cannot get it back."

Additional information is provided at: https://community.gopro.com/t5/en/GoPro-TradeUp-Program-Frequently-Asked-Questions/ta-p/394287#


In my (non-expert) opinion, the buyer had two options for the purchase -- either the discounted special price (regular $399 on sale for $299), or the regular price ($399) less the $100 value of the trade-in camera. The buyer's submission of the camera to the seller implied that he opted for the second option, and the seller honoured the TradeUp.

According to the original description, the buyer "assumed" that the two offers could be combined, but the Terms and Conditions clearly do not permit combinations.

Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/173-general-photography/406097-did-gopro-steal-my-friend-kennys-camera.html#ixzz6Ka0U8dN9

Kenny did not read the agreement.

I had something not quite as bad happen with Apple. I needed two lines. I traded in my old 6+ for a credit toward an 11, which they promised would have full functionality
for two lines. It did not. I returned the 11
but there was no way to get my 6 back.
I ended up having to buy two 8s.

I guess this kinda bugs me, when someone doesn't read the terms, complains, and then a bunch of people pile on.

From the GoPro web site page for "trade-ins":

"Trade-in transactions are final; after you trade in your Eligible Used Device, you cannot get it back.

Terms + Conditions
Applies only to purchases of the MAX and HERO8 Black camera made on gopro.com and delivered in . . . Cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts or promo codes, or applied to previous purchases. "

It seems to me that the phrase "Cannot be combined with any other offers, discounts or promo codes. " is virtually ubiquitous on sites offering multiple sales or promotions.

Working on the solid principle "If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn't true." I always check. And sure enough, there's that magic phrase at the bottom of the page.

Letters from lawyers, to FTC, to politicians, and so forth, aren't going to change anything when the terms are right there at the point of sale.

OMG, I thought my experience with GoPro was an anomaly. I can corroborate the unethical behaviour of GoPro.

When the GoPro 7 was released, they had a trade-in offer as well. I had a like new earlier model, and I thought it was a good deal, so I ordered the new model, and indicated I had a camera to trade-in. GoPro even sent me return shipping for my old camera.

Well, more than a couple of weeks passed, and no camera. So I call them, and the customer service rep first denied there was ever a promotion, then didn't believe I had returned a camera. Luckily I had saved all my emails regarding this and could provide proof that I had paid for a camera and that the camera was in their warehouse. This woman even contacted the warehouse and was told my old camera was there.

I was pretty pissed and even though the rep apologized, I wondered if I would actually get a new camera. Fortunately, it did show up. The customer rep spoke in a condescending and patronizing manner, and I should have tried to report her but I just wanted the episode closed.

I thought I was an isolated case, but after reading about Kenny's experience, obviously not. I will never buy another GoPro camera again. The company deserves to go out of business with this kind of behaviour.

I would imagine GoPro junked the camera

Their problem is that they don't have the old camera as they've destroyed it, so they can't return it. The solution (and this would Just Work in a legislation where there were consumer protections that were worth anything, which the US probably isn't) is that they send him the $100 they valued it at. They can probably then make him ineligible for further offers, so he could get a friend to buy a camera with the discount, although that would, of course, be a bit naughty.

The immediate fix will be to write a letter which smells as if it comes from a lawyer and send it to them. The smell does have to be right though, which means the language must be very lawyeroid. We've done this in the UK (actually, in Scotland, which has a different legal system & hence different legal language to England) with some success.

I passed this along to a friend of mine who has contacts in old and new media. This needs to be widely publicized. At minimum the company and the behavior need to be publicly shamed.

Thanks for sharing this, Mike.

Cheers,
Dan

While truly egregious conduct, in today’s climate, unfortunately not surprising. These companies think they can get away with anything and often do to our detriment.

On the printer column, I owned the 24” Epson 7900 for many years. It was a behemoth in my smallish room. Over the first few years I turned out some very nice prints that still adorn the walls of my home as well as those of my relatives. However, after a while I used it less and less and the ink expired. A new set would cost almost 1500 bucks. The heads always clogged, using perhaps 50 dollars in ink in sometimes failed attempt to clear. I recently rolled it out to by garbage, and it cost me a C note to boot to have the garbage company come do a bulk pickup.

Sadly I have to agree, The last time I bought a product from them was a new GoPro6, they failed to deliver but still charged for it, it was a nightmare as every customer service agent had a different story and policy, it took me 3 weeks (3weeks....) of almost daily calls to them as well as 2 calls to my Credit card, and 2 calls to Fedex to finally sort it out. I will - NEVER - purchase another GoPro product, and I know they don't care!
The good news is the space is now well served by DJI, insta 360 and other Asian brands, so no need to have to purchase any of their products.

In the UK there is always the small claims court for claims under £5000 I think. Is there nothing similar in the US?

Seconding the suggestions to reach out to the state attorney-general.

It is never nice when people lose money, and certainly, my sympathy is with your friend Kenny.

Nonetheless, in my view, the answer to the question you pose in the first line of your article is: No, GoPro did not steal your friend Kenny's camera.

What is hard to understand for me is that once he called GoPro, and discussed the transaction with them, how it was not clarified that the $299 cash price was actually a promotional price and that he would not be able to combine the two promotions.

Also, there was an opportunity for him to get suspicious when he saw that the check out price was not what he'd expected it to be. At this point it would still not have been to late to clarify the matter.

The Terms + Conditions link was right there on his phone screen in a very prominent position, so it would be difficult to suggest that GoPro was trying to hide the fine print.

I am not sure at which point Kenny realised this deal was not what he expected. The terms clearly state that the traded in camera becomes GoPro's property once they receive the traded in camera AND process the full payment for it. It follows, that if Kenny contacted GoPro after the payment was processed, there was never any hope of getting his camera back.

There are other details we do not know in order to form a fully informed opinion: did the terms and conditions link on Kenny's phone screen point to those for the trade up offer, or to those of the cash discount; or was there in fact separate Terms and Conditions for the two separate promotions; or was the 32GB SD card part of both promotions or just the cash discount promotion).

But one thing would definitely support Kenny's ultimately incorrect assumption about the promotional price: Why anyone in their right mind would want to trade in a perfectly good camera, when they can get the same price without doing so? I think GoPro could do well to offer their explanations in that regard.

But then again, why was this not cleared up during the phone call Kenny made to GoPro?

In my view, once Kenny agreed to the "Terms and conditions of sale" (even though he may not have actually read them), GoPro was legally entitled to take ownership of Kenny's traded in camera. Once they processed the transaction (and most likely threw his camera in a bin), it was simply physically impossible for them to return it to Kenny.

Was GoPro morally wrong in not returning Kenny's camera? This is not such a clear cut, black and white case, and I wouldn't say either way. Surely, they could have been clearer about this on their "Buy" page, but it would be difficult to prove that they deliberately set out to mislead potential and actual buyers.

I say again that I feel sympathy for Kenny to lose $100. None of us would like to be in the same position. But I feel that there is not a lot one can do about it now, and if there is anything, it would certainly cost more than $100. In my view, in this case it is not worth throwing good money after bad.

It is not my intention to lecture Kenny or anyone else. However, my advice is: turn this into an opportunity to adopt an attitude of being suspicious beforehand, rather than angry and disappointed after. Specially in relation to online purchases. Then move on, and try to enjoy your new GoPro camera if you still have it.

Regards,

Peter Jonas - Sydney, Australia

PS: I do hope GoPro will respond to your email. I would be interested to see their point of view on the case.

I suspect these "trade-in" programs are really just designed to suck you into their ecosystem by removing your ability to go back to your old system.

As for your old gear, it was likely tossed in in the trash compactor, or sold off to a bulk recycler. It's highly unlikely they are going to spend the time or resources to tag, store, or resell it.

I have not seen anyone suggest what I think is the true error of Gopro: to concurrently run 2 promotions for the sameproduct with one promotion being clearly worse than the other. As others have said or implied: 1. Special offers are never combined. 2. Terms and conditions clear GoPro of any _legal_ wrongdoing. 3. The camera may well be irretrievable. 4. It's not theft when you give someone something and they don't give it back. The valid argument against GoPro to me seems only the misleading practice of introducing a better offer ($100 off) without canceling the previous one ($100 off in exchange for your old camera). This could have happened by mistake. Someone at GoPro should have said, "Oops!", sent Kenny a second-to-last model brand new camera to replace his old one, and removed the trade-in promotion.

Mike,
A couple of things:
First the info on the bottom of the ad on the phone ad is misleading as it implies on the bottom of the page that the $100.00 trade in offer applies to both the Hero 8 and the Max models when in fact it only applies to the Max model. This is MUCH clearer when you view the deal on their website.
Bottomline - The customer rep (goPro) misrepresented the offer to Kenny and as such either owes him his trade-in camera returned or a check for 100 dollars

I am not sure how you concluded that the trade up program only applies to the Max model. As far as I can see on the GoPro website, the trade up applies to both the Hero 8 and the Max models. Should be able to verify it here:

https://gopro.com/en/us/shop/tradeup

I am glad you just posted this. I ordered a Hero 8 expecting it would be
199. Checked with GoPro and was told it would be 299. It
Seems highly misleading to post a price on the website and also promoting the trade up offer knowing that the trade up wouldn’t make the camera cheaper. Cancelled the order and will write off the camera I already sent in. This leaves a very bad taste with GoPro.

Wow, how crazy. I had a similar experience with them although not quite as bad. I decided to purchase my first GoPro when I saw this promotion. As I was also eligible for a student discount I expected that I would get an even better deal by putting in my student promotional code. Am I being greedy? Maybe but really I’m just trying to get the best deal I can.

However GoPro ended up charging me $320 — $20 more than their advertised price and did not include the free memory card. When I asked them they said it was because they would only honour one promotion at a time. You might think that they would give you the best deal but they gave me the worst of the two. So I asked them to fix it — credit me $20 to their online store and send me the memory card. But they would not. They did however pay for the return shipping and give me a full refund as i asked to return it. I like the company but am sad to say, this is why they’re going down.

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