Camera on Consignment
Help Me Hank: Camera on Consignment
Terri Sweeney likes to look at the world through her camera lens.
"When I was real little I got a little 1-10 camera."
She also teaches snapshot secrets to seniors in a photography seminar.
"You see them expressing themselves through their pictures."
This is one of her favorite pictures, her late sister Shauna, and it was Shauna who inspired Terri to start a new project.
"I was hoping to set up a memorial scholarship for her."
Step one -- raise some money and Terri thought what more fitting way than selling some of her old camera equipment.
"I had the whole outfit and the lens."
She packed it up and headed to the camera store to see what she could get.
"They said, ‘we don't even know if we'll sell it. We'll put it on consignment.’"
In other words, after we sell the camera, we'll give you the money.
"I thought I had made a good deal."
But months went by, no word from the sellers and Terri was getting worried.
"Towards the end of June I started calling them."
They admitted that someone had purchased her gear and was paying it off in installments."
"You know, you would like to trust people."
But many phone calls later, there was still no cash from the camera.
"I finally realized, they're yanking my chain here."
Then she ‘developed’ her own idea.
"I'll call Hank."
We checked with the Office of Consumer Affairs. Turns out there are no specific regulations for consignment shops.
Deputy Director Michael Caljouw says that means you've got to get everything in writing.
Michael Caljouw, Mass. Consumer Affairs Office
"It is the most important rule of thumb to apply to any deal."
Problem, Terri didn't have her exact terms on paper, but it was clear from her receipt that they had her camera.
So we called the store to put this deal in focus. And soon after our call, Terri she got a check for $600.
"I was very relieved."
And Terri knows that this cash has Shauna's name on it.
"This money's going to be used to keep this memorial scholarship for my sister going."
The Office of Consumer Affairs warns that consignment can be tricky if you don't nail down all the terms of the deal, including timing price and liability.
If you're fighting a consumer battle maybe I can help.