The photo above shows the headquarters of the LUX HD450 Company on 6/9/16. Okay, lots of legitimate home businesses use mailboxes. But stick with me; I have more.
Many hands, one mailbox
Let’s google the address, “2658 Del Mar Heights Rd #368”, and see what else was going on here on Friday, 6/10/16:
- Garcinia Slim Fast (also, a Ripoff Report on this product)
- Elite Test360 (also, a Ripoff Report on this product)
- Jacked Muscle Xtreme
- Natural Medicines
- Miracle Green Coffee
Looks like this enterprise is not primarily a photographic equipment supplier. I see many references in these pages to Delux Advertising LLC, which is tied to several other companies. (Thanks to David Staub for suggesting this address search.)
Web site comedy
If you click on a LUX HD450 advertisement or a “Buy it now” link in a product review, you’ll likely land on this web page. Turn your sound down, because it’ll blast you with techno music. Nice video. Now let’s look more closely at the content (as of 6/10/16). (Per their terms of usage, I’m not permitted to include images from the site.)
- The first paragraph begins with the words “(Michael Whitfield)” as if he were the reporter. But I couldn’t find anybody by that name online who is a journalist or is involved in photography.
- Third paragraph; “It automatically filters your picture to the perfect setting, and works in every time of day including the night.” But the lens looks clear; it must be quite a subtle filter, if it’s a filter at all. Filters block part of the incoming light, so they wouldn’t be much help in the dark. And pictures don’t have settings; cameras do.
- “Christie from Dallas went backpacking last summer …” I wonder how Christie recharged her phone in the backcountry? This is fiction; that’s how. Check the disclaimers at the bottom of the page: “The story depicted on this site and the person depicted in the story are not actual news.” I’m guessing the same applies to the tweeted eulogies further down the page.
- The lens brand comparison chart has a scientific look about it. But who created it? What are its sources? As for the advice “Grab your set before the low introductory price is raised,” I found the same product sold by SMU Global on Amazon for $9.99. The printing on the rims of the lenses, such as “0.67x Wide,” matches exactly.
Most of the links on the website lead to the order form, no matter what their labels say. Home? Order form. Learn more? Order form. Once you land on the Order Form you can’t escape it by clicking your browser’s back-button. You have to close the browser tab.
But About takes you to another advertising website. The bottom of this page boasts “Made by LUXHD Cameras.” Google and LinkedIn turned up no evidence that such a company exists. If you click Home in this website, you’ll see a page with a photo of completely different lenses. They’re also labeled “LUX HD450;” and here I thought “450” was a model number. This website disables your back-button, too.
Fun with terms and conditions
In the lower right hand corner of the original website page, click a link labeled Terms And Conditions. The self-obfuscating “LUX HD450 Terms Of Sale & Use” rewards the labor of reading it with some entertainment:
- Section 3 limits the final resolution of a dispute to binding arbitration; you give up your right to go to court or join a class-action lawsuit.
- Section 4B says that the company can take money from your charge account before it accepts your order. Only when they ship your order do they accept it.
- Section 4E says you can request a refund at any time — as long as it’s within 30 days of the date you made your order (not the date you received the product).
- Section G says the company would treat a reversal of credit card charges as “theft.” And it warns that the company monitors your online activity to use as evidence against you. (I can see the NSA doing this, but not these guys.)
- Section 5, by which time you may have fallen asleep, says the website’s content is for illustrative and informational purposes only. They don’t guarantee that the product meets their own specifications, that it’s suitable for any use, that the website is correct and complete, etc. However, Section 7E requires that any information you provide must be correct and complete.
- Section 7D forbids you to re-sell products you buy on the website, even tho you’re pressured to buy three or more sets of lenses to get the $29-per-unit advertised price.
In upcoming posts, I’ll write about customer buying experiences and my own evaluation of the lenses.
If you’re already a victim, here are some thoughts about getting your money back.