How do scam shops survive?

I have been looking for a decent digital camcorder to replace my old crap and today I sat down and ran a few searches through a series of price comparison engines. I was mainly trying out the alternative group since they are the most fun to play with. You either find new features every time you come back (JellyFish), or get some unusual, unexpected results (theFind).

So here I am searching for Sony DCR-SR100 and stumble upon a very attractive offer from a company called Infinity Cameras. The price looks very low, so low that I can’t believe my eyes. I quickly look up the website rating and here is what I see: the company has a 6 month rank of 0 out of 10. Yes, that is ZERO! Every single review is marked “Very Dissatisfied”. Here is a few recent gems:

After ordering a camera it took them 13 days to inform me it was backordered and then the price was raised over $100. I had to contact them before they even let me know I wouldn’t be receiving my order and I am positive it was not backordered at the time I ordered because I placed my order minutes after they updated their site. Very unprofessional and dishonest.

I agree with the prior posters. To say that this company’s business practices are underhanded, is an understatement. They sent me the wrong order, I returned it….and they still kept a 10% restocking fee. On a $2500 order, this is significant money. They will not return phone calls. DO NOT ORDER FROM THIS COMPANY!

How do scam shops like this survive in our time of open source, collaboration, and social networking? Some of them are even making a front page story on Digg. Isn’t it ridiculous?

At times like this I think the Texas based startup PriceFight that attempts to integrate product and merchant reviews into search results has a very good chance to be successful. After all bargain hunting is not just about finding the lowest price!

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