LUX HD450 phone lens; I’m calling it a scam

 

danger-theft

After dragging my clunky DSLR around on a vacation trip on which I used my iPhone 6 instead, I thought “Why doesn’t Apple forget about their goofy watches and make a serious camera instead?”  Then, on Facebook, I saw an ad for a set of lenses that clamp onto your “device” to turn it into a serious camera.

The ad linked to the manufacturer’s web page, which included an intriguing video.  But as I scrolled down, the first red flag went up; they want $29 for three lenses?

being a cautious pessimist, I wanted to see some reviews.  Googling “Lux HD450 review,” I found a lot of them.  Strangely, they were all on web sites I’ve never heard of.  They were without exception wildly enthusiastic, yet vague.  They all repeated the manufacturers’ claims, and none of them mentioned any tests or formal evaluations.  One of them used the same images as appeared in the manufacturer’s web page.  Another was in broken English.  theReviewNerd.com claimed that the lens gives your device X-ray vision, enabling it to photograph women naked thru their clothes.  Credulous people who want to harass women and who didn’t pass physics in high school might believe that one.

The same post quoted raves from three print publications, including linked images of their covers –Time, Digital Photographer and Digital SLR Photography.  These magazines are understandably close with their archives.  However, I determined that the Time cover image doesn’t correspond to any real Time cover published in August 2015.  Also, the post claimed that the quoted rave is from Time’s August 2015 issue–but Time is a weekly magazine.  Clicking on the cover image, I got “Error 400 / Campaign data was not completing when handling click or visit.”  Am I reading in Nigerian now?

I moved on to Amazon, which posts user reviews of products it carries.  But Amazon doesn’t carry the LUX HD450.  (It does carry the identical product for $9.99.)  I checked some other sites I trust; Digital Photography Review, CNet and PC Magazine had no information about this super-lens.  Neither did Snopes.  Too bad; a good debunk would at least be entertaining.

Why so many rave reviews for such a dubious product?  Payola. The bottom of the original web page advises, “THIS PAGE COULD RECEIVE COMPENSATION FOR CLICKS ON OR PURCHASE OF PRODUCTS FEATURED ON THIS SITE.”

If you try to order it, do you get anything at all?  Or do they just hack your credit card?  If anybody has had experience, good or bad, with the Lux HD450, please reply!  Thank you.

 

If you’re a victim

I am very sorry to learn it. Here’s the best advice I’ve been able to come up with for victims of phone lens scams.


Related posts

Don’t Get Ripped Off;” A thorough take-down of these crummy lenses and their predatory marketer.


6/17/16 Call To Action: Originally I wrote “What seems to be going on here is click-farming.”  But the replies I’ve received testify to fraud and theft.  If you have a blog or a website, please make a link to these posts.  This will “google-bomb” HD450; then when people search on it, our critical information will appear higher up in the results than the fake reviews.  Also, please blog about it yourselves.  If you do, please send me the URL and I’ll put the link in my blog.  Also, we need an Instagram activist!  Thanks.


6/9/16 Update: Following my creation of a skeptics page, The LUX HD450 Fan Club Facebook page was taken down.  But pages advertising the lenses remain on Facebook.


5/26/16 Update: After Lee Duer (see replies) and I tried to post comments on the LUX HD450 “Fan Club” Facebook page only to see them deleted, I set up a Facebook page for HD50 skeptics.  Hope to see you there!

That fan club page lists an Instagram page as its website.  If someone who’s active in Instagram would set up a similar skeptics page there, it would be a public service.

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49 thoughts on “LUX HD450 phone lens; I’m calling it a scam

  1. Todd M

    I saw one of their adds pop up on Instagram. Piqued my curiosity. Did some digging to find some reviews and found exactly what you found; a bunch of vague overenthusiastic post on a bunch of “planted” web sites. This company won’t be seeing a dime of mine. Thank you for posting this.

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  2. Dirk Mielke

    I found, or rather, I did not find, any reviews on this LUX HD 450 outside of the many “planted reviews” that came up on my search.
    I would say caveat emptor is most definitely called for with a product such as this.
    Too bad I have forgotten this many times recently and that my buying binge of crap was halted by reading your post. Thank you.

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  3. Shawnee T.

    WHEW! Big Thanks & Kudos for halting a near sucker mistake. Yep! I was excited to make it a Baby Shower gift! RIGHT? Glad I was comparing price options with Amazon as well. This caught my attention absolutely! Thank you all for review comments. Back to baby shower shopping! You’re all AWESOME! ☆☆☆☆☆ Pretty sure not long.. As seen on TV- Bonus get 2 for $19.99 pay separate shipping & handling! LOL● too funny

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  4. -Lisa Pepperdine

    Well, I fell for it. Sent the money. Was charged a $75 Warranty fee which they don’t tell you about till it’s too late. My card was charged at two locations. Said I would be getting an email receipt with information within a few minutes. Still haven’t heard from them via email. No answer calling customer service for two days. Finally got a real person who said he would see I got an email right away. Nope. I’m beginning to doubt there actually is a product.

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    1. pablovilas13 Post author

      Ow! That’s an expensive lesson. Quickly, contact your card company (Visa, …) and dispute the charge. There’s a good chance they’ll back it out. The vendor may enter into a dispute resolution process with you, but I’m betting they wouldn’t dare.

      $75 warranty on a $29 product? Egad.

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  5. -Lisa Pepperdine

    I’m not giving up on this yet. I am getting through to customer service and am on hold right now as they get me a UPS tracking number. OK, just got hung up on. Calling back. On hold, waiting for a sales representative. Different person. Says her notes say an email with the tracking number is being emailed. Stay tuned.

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    1. -Lisa Pepperdine

      Well, one month later and no lens. They no longer answer my calls. I never received any tracking number. This is a SCAM, Please do not order these lenses. I’m trying to find a fraud agency to report it for what it’s worth. I hate people like this.

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    2. -Lisa Pepperdine

      OK, I have to retract my out and out mistrust of this product. I received my lenses today. Apparently I ordered three sets of them. Maybe I can sell them back. I am going to shoot some pictures today and will report back on how I feel they compare to my Canon as well as an $18 set of similar lenses purchased on Amazon. I hope this may help others in their choices.

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      1. Lee Duer

        Lisa, the ad states $29 but it also states that you have to order THREE in order to get that price. So you’re $87 invested at this point unless you got the warranty and any other ” specials” you may have taken advantage of. I’m certainly anxious to see how it does for you. Pardon me for asking but do you have experience with high end photo equipment? I have to ask because it’s important to know your experience level with the high end stuff so a comparison can be made with the new trio of lenses. Lisa, I feel funny asking you that and it’s not meant to be a off putting challenge to you. I’m certainly skeptical of their equipment since they refused my challenge by erasing my post to them. They’re the ones who are attempting to blow away a $5,000 investment that many of have made ( and more ) on quality optics through reputable established companies like Canon and Nikon. I’ve often tried to pin them down by having them document specs and performance documentation but those requests have remained un answered.

        Good Luck, Lisa

        Lee

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      2. pablovilas13 Post author

        I’m surprised that Lisa received the lenses. Maybe she’d be willing to sell a set to you or me? I think that two audiences may express satisfaction (/dissatisfaction) in a product like this. One audience is casual snapshotters who just want to record birthday parties and trips to the beach and share their pics. For this audience, a big, complicated DSLR would be as useful as a tricorder; but a little zoom/macro thingie on their phone could be fun. The other audience is serious and professional photographers. They’re going to measure the lenses against their sophisticated equipment and requirements, and I think you know how that’s going to go. Strangely, the latter is the audience the HD450 purports to be targeting with their technobabble. I have a foot in both camps; so I’m going to be very interested in Lisa’s take on this product, regardless of her background. For a deceptive, unresponsive vendor to deliver a satisfactory product seems unlikely, but it’s not impossible.

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  6. eprewitt

    I just purchased this product but found I was billed for five of the items when I know I purchased only one. In addition, I was charged $72 for a warranty, that they called an upgrade. I called the company to cancel the purchase and then my credit card company to make them aware. I just received two emails indicating that I was being fully refunded. Stay tuned.

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  7. Jackie

    Than you for your wonderful review of this product. I too thought of getting one. The product showed up on my Facebook feed, so I looked at it. $29 and free shipping with lots of pictures shown…but have to buy 3 lenses, with 2 added for free, ugh… One lens is listed for $56.. Might have considered buying one, but they only want credit cards, no Pay Pal, plus the Facebook site posting, called tech gadgets looks quite new, only two pictures and no other posts. So I decided to go to the web and found your review. A big THANK YOU….Looks like I will be saving myself lots of money and no headache…….

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  8. Lee Duer

    I’m a wildlife photographer and after reading their “spin” on Face Book I disputed their outrageous claims and presented them I challenge. I use a Nikon 300D with a Nikon 300mm ED, AF, f2.8 lens that cost a little more than their $56. I challenged them to compare my equipment with their equipment placed on my iPhone 6+.

    They deleted my post. ( I didn’t know they could do that! )

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    1. pablovilas13 Post author

      I’d love to see that challenge; if you could get their lenses you could present A/B comparisons without their cooperation.

      Sounds like we need a new Facebook group, “LUX HD450 Skeptics.” They can’t delete posts from someone else’s page. It’s becoming clear that they’re using social media to promote a scam. I hate the thought of more victims getting sucked in when there’s a community that could warn them away. OTOH we haven’t heard from anybody who has obtained their product (if there is one). Without that testimony, it would be hard to build a case beyond incompetent business practices and deceptive pricing.

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      1. Judy Buck-Glenn

        Maybe you can start the group! I also hate the idea of people being suckered. And I really did have to hunt to find a legitimate review! Cynically speaking, based on this year’s elections so far, I can only imagine how easy it is to fool the average person. 🙂

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      2. pablovilas13 Post author

        I posted a link to this blog on Facebook’s “Fan Club of HD450;” it was deleted immediately. I think I will make a page for skeptics there.

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  9. David Staub

    Good post. I came to the same conclusion before I found your post. I also note that if you click on the terms and conditions on the seller’s website you will notice that the address given under “19. Contact Information” is the same as certain other questionable products. Save your money.

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  10. Efi

    I also thought it sounded too good to be true. I didn’t like that they don’t use PayPal. All their “reviews” are really not reviews but advertisements. Lots of red flags. The way they list their prices is also open for misinterpretation. I’m going to wait and see.

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  11. Philip McCabe

    It’s false advertising. I ordered one lens set and expected to pay $56.00. Then, I was asked if I wanted to upgrade to the “Professional Quality” lens set. Sounded good and the ad said the upgrade cost $28.00 but was being offered at 75% off. I assumed that my total would be $63.00. $56 + $7. WRONG. I was charged $72 for the upgrade AND $56 for the non upgraded which, presumably I wouldn’t need if I had the Professional. I called to complain and was put on hold for twenty minutes. When someone finally answered he talked in circles about their ad and then offered to cut me a deal. $54.00 for the upgrade. I ended realizing this outfit is shady and cancelled entire order.

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  12. Dwight Snider

    Thank you! Thank you! I experienced the same thing. Nothing on Amazon or Cnet. Phony review sites. It was disappointing, but not unexpected to find this miracle lens was BS. By the way, my heavy, clunky 1st generation Nikon DSC (D1-X) produces 3X5 enlargements with no visible pixels. That’s 3 feet by 5 feet! Thanks again for saving me $$$.

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  13. Carlos P

    Ooh I was just about to click the “Yes Send my Lux HD450” bar when…someone (or something) whispered “Google it for reviews” 🙂 Haha glad I found your page. Yep, like what the others said: “Thanks for saving my money”.

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  14. Ashton

    As the expression goes…If it sounds too good to be true…I’m glad I didn’t take the bait and stumbled across your site in my research. Thanks

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  15. Benita

    Thank you for validating my suspicions….I am so glad I looked for reviews and found your information before purchasing!

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  16. Barbara Suter

    Thank you for posting this and for all who replied.
    Looks like I have fallen for this scam. I thought I was ordering one set till I got to check out, found you had to buy 3 or 5 to get the $29 price, so I chose buy 2 get one free, then it said I could update to the professional quality so I did and that turned out to be $25 a piece or $75 . When I got the receipt for my order I noticed I had made an error on my address so I called customer service and had no problem getting thru and they were eager to correct my address change. ( a little too eager) I got an email notice titled Lux HD450 Shipment Notification #14969454 Confirmation
    my shipment had been made and there was a long “tracking” # . On closer look it said scheduled to ship in 5-7 days.

    The status of your your order has been updated. Your order is scheduled to ship within 5-7 Days.
    Please contact customer service at 1-866-342-2144 for further details
    Tracking Number: 92748999983702513021240798

    It has now been 9 days and do not have lens. (I wanted them for granddaughters graduation which is today) Tried to follow tracking # but no way to do that. My credit card has been billed. Wish I had researched this more. If they don’t come today anyone know what my next step should be.???

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    1. pablovilas13 Post author

      I suggest you borrow a point-and-shoot pocket camera for the commencement ceremony. They’re simple to use in auto mode.

      Then decide whether you want to go thru with your purchase. If yes, wait for it; I’d give them another week. If no, or the week is up, contact your credit card issuer and cancel the charges. Then inform the vendor you’re cancelling your order. That way, if they stop talking to you, you’ll still likely get your money back.

      I think “professional upgrade” is a scam; there is no way for a clip-on lens to improve “professional” characteristics such as shutter speed and imager size. Good luck, and congratulations!

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  17. Shad O'Hayes

    Hey Pablo, thanks for creating this page. It helped me to alert my bank, and though the charge is in the processing stage, as soon as it clears, the B of A is going after them, hopefully with snarling Bulldogs.

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  18. Kelly Ward

    Thank you so much for your post! I was desperate to purchase this for my daughter’s birthday. I so wanted to be the cool mom. You saved me the anguish of having to forfeit a promise.

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    1. pablovilas13 Post author

      You’re welcome! That was a close one; I have two daughters and I know just what you mean. I’ve obtained a set of these lenses; they’re toy quality at best. I’m working on a review of them.

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  19. Lisa

    I almost bought into this. I got excited when I read the link on Facebook. I always compare prices and read the fine print and check reviews. I came across these posts and decided it’s best to leave this one alone! Thank you!

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  20. Rory St. Clair

    This company will use your credit card after you tell them not too. They have hit may card a 2nd time fter I blew the whistle on them the first time and had my bank, Chase, return my funds to me. 5 days later after I had phoned and emailed them that I do NOT want their products as well as my reason why, they billed me again for nearly ten times the original amount they had said their item would cost me.Do business with them at your own peril. Congrats to you for being smarter than I, for you have taken the time to investigate them.

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      1. pablovilas13 Post author

        I’ve been thinking about Rory’s complaint, and about my own experience having my credit card hacked (not by HD450). While you’re looking for a government agency to complain to, they can go on sucking money out of your card. And they could sell the number on the black market too. Call the card issuer, and ask for their Fraud Department. They’ll back out the HD450 charges, whether or not they can recover the funds. Have them block the card and issue you a different one. I’m sorry to tell you that this is going to be a huge hassle, especially if you have scheduled payments set up on the card–you’ll have to change them all to the new card yourself. Then tell them you know who’s making the fraudulent charges. The card issuer will have both the motivation and the muscle to deal with the HD450 outfit.

        I sure hope every HD450 customer is not going to have to go thru this. But do what you have to do to protect yourself!

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  21. Gayland Roberts

    Oh, that I would have found this site before ordering. I received the product; in fact, I received five of them. The box on each says it is 3 in 1 with three lens, fishnet, macro, and wide angle. There isn’t a wide angle lens in any of them. So far, playing with the other lens I can’t see that there is any improvement over the use if my iphone camera without the lens. I have been duped; and, it is embarrassing as I normally am pretty skeptical.

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    1. pablovilas13 Post author

      I’m sorry to hear it. You may want to try to return them. If you do you must be quick, you only have 30 days from the date you ordered them. In my set the macro and wide-angle lenses came screwed together; they looked like one lens.

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