Sunday, April 7, 2013

So Consumer Beware!

 Early mid-week last week, I get a call about doing a survey out of Fort Collins, Colorado on energy efficiency.  Nice survey and took only 5 minutes like they said and had some good questions.  Well, if you give them your address, you are entered to win a gas card of anywhere from $25 to $100.  Guess what we won a $40 gas card.

Now hold on.  They deliver the gas card but ask that you give them an opinion on a piece of energy efficient equipment, and only an opinion nothing is being sold, and you then get your gas card after the person spends an hour getting your opinion.

Well, I say okay.  The guy shows up and first thing he says is out of these prizes which one would you take in addition to the gas card.  I say, "None."  They all looked cool but were all cheap, probably everything only about $50.

Next thing is he is trying to sell a air cleaner, a super special air filter and ultimately even a super cool vacuum cleaner.  Nothing about just asking our opinion, everything was for sell.  And supposedly the company only did surveys.    I did find out that if we did buy the special air filter we would have had to call a number to day we were getting it and they would send one of the prizes the guy mentioned at first.

Well we wasted one hour of time our time to get a $40 gas card and fortunately were smart enough not to buy anything.  We never asked the price of anything but we figured it would be expensive.  We did get the $40 gas card.

The gas card is ridiculous. You have to get your gas and receipt, send the receipt in with the card filled out and get back four $10 coupons that you can only use one a month over four months.  It takes at least 10 weeks to get the coupons back. I will see if we really get the coupons but I don't expect much for the effort.

From what I can tell the entire deal was a scam.  We were pretty careful not to buy anything and not to show the person around the house or leave anything expensive out.  Based on all this I think everyone they called won a gas card of some value.

So beware if you get a call for a survey and then an offer of a prize at the end of it and they tell you they will deliver it to you. Oh! And they just want an hour of your time for your opinion on a piece of equipment.  Run away, say NO! This is a total scam.    ----   Remember the old adage, if it is too good to be true it is probably a scam.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Camera Insurance, Do you have it?

If you don't have insurance for your camera gear, why not?  Yes, it costs money but your gear cost a lot more money and would cost even more to replace out of your own pocket.  If you are a professional photographer you probably have insurance and if you don't you need to consider it.  If you are an amateur, you should have insurance for your gear.

So after buying a Nikon D800 and several lenses along with a Nikon D90, I have several thousand dollars invested in this gear, to lose it, have it stolen or even broken would cost me even more.  I thought my home owners insurance would cover the gear and it did to a point, stolen or lost in a fire or tornado.  My home owners insurance did not cover the gear if it was in my car or if I dropped the gear in a lake.  Also, with my home owners insurance I have a $1,000 deductible and for some items the money would come out of my own pocket.

So I called my insurance company +USAA and talked to a person about insuring my gear. It was pretty simple, I provided an inventory of gear and what it cost me with tax included.  I had receipts and serial numbers already in a file so that made life very easy (Take a look at +Evernote, as I had note with everything in it.)  So for about $100 a year, I can insure about $10,000 of gear or for about $50 a year I can insure about $5,000 of gear.  Depending on the gear and coverage the amount will vary. Each quarter I evaluate what gear I have and pretty much anything over $100 gets insured.  If the gear is stolen, dropped, lost in a lake or the ocean, etc, I am covered.  Yes, I'll have the loss to deal with and the hassle of buying new gear and dealing with the insurance company but I'll get gear at least.

So are you insured?  If not consider it.  You may loss the gear you have and the pictures on that gear but the cost won't be as bad as it would have been without insurance.

Note: I have a love/hate relationship with insurance companies.  My house was hit with a tornado in 2008 and the insurance company was there and made life easy.  Last year my truck was t-boned by a semi and having to deal with auto insurance (two of them at that) was a pain I don't want to go through again.  So choose the company you deal with wisely.