Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refund

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Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refund

Postby Murray Foote on Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:13 pm

I purchased an MB-D12 battery grip for a D800 from Topbuy.com.au in November 2012 and three Nikon batteries for the D800, paying around $450. Instead of genuine Nikon items, they turned out to be fakes that were all but worthless.

I don't have the original receipt for the battery grip due to a computer failure but in May 2013, they repaired the battery grip under warranty and I have a receipt for that.

In July to September 2013 I went on an extensive North Atlantic trip. After a while I had serious problems with battery failure on the D800. On one occasion when I needed that extra resolution of the D800 it meant I failed to get a sharp long telephoto image of musk oxen. Eventually I worked out that the camera operated OK without the battery grip.

I didn't get around to getting the battery grip repaired for a while and the warranty had run out so I sent it to Nikon. They told me the battery grip was a fake and they could not repair it because it did not contain Nikon components. I asked Topbuy for a refund and they claimed that the serial number in Nikon's invoice did not match their records so I must have bought the battery grip from someone else. Now I only have one D800 and at that time had only ever bought one battery grip for any camera, the one I had bought from them and that they repaired under warranty. There are two alternatives here: either they recorded the wrong number on their records and they are mindblowingly incompetent, or they are lying.

Then I bought a replacement battery grip, this time a genuine one from George's. I also needed to get that repaired under warranty and Nikon told me the problem was not the battery grip, it was the batteries which were fakes. These were the batteries I bought from Topbuy.

Currently they are refusing to respond to my emails and I have started sending another one each day.

What are my alternatives? I can make a claim in the Small Claims Court and should be able to prove from my financial records that I only ever bought one D800 and that I bought the battery grip from them. Are there other alternatives that might be preferable. Are there Government bodies I should report them to?

Moral for viewers: Topbuy may sell you fake products as genuine and priced as though they were genuine. They may refuse to honour their responsibilities for a refund.
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby gstark on Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:11 pm

Hi Murray,

I would be talking with Fair Trading, and see if they're able to assist.

Where are they located? Was this a web purchase or bricks and mortar?
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby Murray Foote on Wed Jul 01, 2015 8:56 pm

OK, thanks for that Gary, I'll check out Fair Trading.

It was a web purchase. They describe themselves as "a wholly Australian Owned and Operated Online Retailer".

I thought I saw a reference that they were Sydney based but I can't find any location information now in their site. I seem to recall they used to operate out of Tullamarine Airport.

I discover they have dual Australian and Hong Kong identities:
    "Please note that products appearing on the TopBuy Website may be offered by two separate entities.
    · TopBuy Australia P/L ABN 68 169 008 191 (“TopBuy Australia”) - products offered and supplied by TopBuy Australia will be referred to hereafter as “TA Products”.
    · Top Dream Technology Co., Limited – Hong Kong Company Reg No. 1756405 (TopBuy HK) products offered and supplied by TopBuy HK will be referred to hereafter as “THK Products”"
They have warehouses in New South Wales, Victoria and China
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby Murray Foote on Wed Jul 01, 2015 11:20 pm

They are located in St Peters (Sydney).
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby gstark on Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:43 am

There's also a very long thread on whirlpool.net; dates back to 2009. There's a spokesperson from Topbuy who is active in that thread. Might be worth seeing if you can email him.

The real problem you may find is your lack of documentation; do you have any banking records? What about the warranty papers that came with the grip?

Again, talk with Fair Trading, and do ensure that TopBuy know that you're talking with them as well.
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby ozimax on Thu Jul 02, 2015 8:41 am

As mentioned, Fair Trading office might be a good start, and as Gary has hinted at, a trawl through old bank statements might bring up some details. Assuming these were bought with credit card, is it possible that they (eg NAB, ANZ or whomever) might have an extended warranty? My Qantas NAB CC always gives an extra year's warranty on any purchases.
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby Murray Foote on Fri Jul 03, 2015 1:55 pm

Thanks Gary. I've seen that thread. I was contemplating adding to it. His personal data in the Whirlpool Forum doesn't include an email address. However, he does to say to always use the personal messaging system on their site rather than emails because they get so many that emails may get ignored. So I'll try that and see what response I get.

The only documentation I'm lacking is something that includes the serial number of the battery grip because the orders are on their site. I paid $342 for the battery grip on 15/11/12 and at the same time purchased a D800 and a 24mm f3.5 PC-E. I paid $125 for the batteries on 29/11/12. The warranty papers don't mention a serial number.

However, I only purchased one D800 and since I purchased a "Nikon" battery grip with it, I would have no reason to purchase another battery grip later. If necessary I can prove I only purchased one D800 by going through my banking statements for purchases between $2,000 and $4,000 after February 2012 (when the D800 was announced).

By the way Gary, has something changed in the Forum interface? I'm not getting the option to subscribe to the thread.
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby Murray Foote on Fri Jul 03, 2015 1:59 pm

Thanks, Ozi. I'm not aware of Beyond Bank offering that but in any case a warranty is not relevant because the issue is fake products sold as genuine.
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby Matt. K on Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:59 pm

Thanks for the heads up Murray!
That's a company that none of us will ever deal with from this moment on. Go get em! :up: :up: :up:
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby gstark on Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:28 pm

Murray Foote wrote:Thanks Gary. I've seen that thread. I was contemplating adding to it. His personal data in the Whirlpool Forum doesn't include an email address. However, he does to say to always use the personal messaging system on their site rather than emails because they get so many that emails may get ignored. So I'll try that and see what response I get.


I would do all of that. In the thread, I found this ...

Whirlpool.net wrote:Pls send me an email to mike at topbuy as I need your topbuy login details to be able to do anything.


By the way Gary, has something changed in the Forum interface? I'm not getting the option to subscribe to the thread.


I don't think I've done anything recently ... but I may have. I've forgotten where I left my memory. :)
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby Matt. K on Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:37 pm

Gary
Your memory is somewhere between your instinct and your knowledge. The harder you look for it the more elusive it becomes.
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby biggerry on Mon Jul 06, 2015 2:34 pm

Murray Foote wrote:They are located in St Peters (Sydney).


that's just down the road from me :) let me know if you want me to go in and bust some heads ;) :biglaugh:
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby Murray Foote on Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:53 pm

Progress report:

I sent another request to TopBuy. This time they did not contest selling the battery grip but said they would contact their supplier for more information. I have not heard anything further 16 days after making that request and 11 days after their interim response.

Consequently I have posted details of the issue on the Whirlpool Forum and registered a complaint with NSW Fair Trading.

I also informed Topbuy of this and pointed out that "Actually, I do not see the relevance of your contacting your supplier. Nikon have certified the products are fakes so I submit that you should provide a full and immediate refund. Whatever the supplier may say has no relevance to the facts of the claim."

I await further developments.
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby Murray Foote on Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:54 am

I have now received a replacement battery and battery grip from TopBuy. They tell me this comes from Nikon Hong Kong and I have no particular reason to disbelieve them since the original order included a D800 and a 24mm PC-E which had to come from Nikon. This is a satisfactory resolution although I asked for a refund and now have to sell a battery grip (since I have purchased another).

I would like to express my thanks to NSW Fair Trading because things started to move after I engaged their assistance. Topbuy at this time abandoned their initial claim that the serial number on their records did not match the serial number on my battery grip.

The circumstances of all this are a bit of a mystery. Nikon Sydney said both the battery grip and the battery/ batteries were fakes. The battery grip was repaired under warranty by Topbuy. Perhaps it was a genuine Nikon battery grip but they repaired it with non-genuine parts and caused the later problem. That doesn't explain the fake battery but I now have a replacement battery and battery grip that I assume are genuine. I will sell the battery grip on that basis when I return from my forthcoming trip.
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Re: Topbuy.com.au - Fake Nikon Products and Refusal to Refun

Postby gstark on Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:49 am

Hi Murray,

Great news. Well done.
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