On 20th February a friend of mine and I walked into an electronic shop, called Audio Photo International Ltd., at 5 West 42nd Street in New York. I was after a portable DVD player and had already the Panasonic one in mind. A salesman, who had made it to me the moment I stepped into this shop, quoted me a price of $999 for the DVD-L50. He even offered a special rebate of 30% - apparently everything was a third off. I did not think long about this offer and agreed to it.
While I was waiting for him to get this purchase done, he kept producing all sorts of electronic goods, a digital video camera (he even took pictures of me), a cellular phone naming me some price that beat any other offer. It was really getting irritating and confusing. By this time, my friend was talking to another salesman about MiniDisc players. The salesman went on about Swissair pilots who were frequent customers. My patience gradually sank and I only wanted to get through the formalities of this purchase.
The first mistake I made was to sign the credit card slip before I saw the final figure. He came up with a sum of $1829 and I nearly collapsed. 'Smile! You should be happy' he tried to calm me down. He then produced some kind of receipt. The Lithium Ion battery pack and the power supply which in fact were parts of the device were added to the initial price, $999 without tax. He charged about $350 for the battery pack and another $250 for a power supply.
Outside the shop my senses must have returned not least because of my friend. I had been ripped off! Back in the shop my friend managed to get the price down by some $180 despite the salesman's previous statement that the card had already been processed.
It's not only that I paid a lot more than I would have somewhere else, but also is the device not code-free. 'This is the only place where you get this model code-free' were the salesman words. Instead of being code-free the device needs to be set to its default code 1 every now and then.
Every item had been taken out of the original wrapping and sold independently. A manual was handed out only after my third visit. Pages 25 and 26 (and consequently pages 59 and 60) were missing suggesting that the Lithium Ion battery pack was part of the device and not an accessory.