The folks at LUX HD450, or perhaps at Shadowhawk, seem to be running the underworld equivalent of a franchise.
I’m imagining a shadowy character convening hungry-looking con-artists at a Las Vegas motel; “We’ll give ya a shipping container of Chinese lenses and a website. End of the month, you give us $___,___,___ if you value your kneecaps!” The look-alike websites feature a Photoshopped Digital SLR Photography magazine cover, which makes them easy to find.
HDFX360, based in San Francisco, looks even sketchier than its siblings. (Remember; red link = bad.) It’s September 11, 2016. Let’s test the effect on this slime of the focused sunshine of the Scam-O-Meter!
- “Tests on Smartphones Shown to Outperform DSLR’s!” Anyone who knows photography understands that this claim can’t be true. It’d be like transforming hamburger into prime rib by covering it with steak sauce. I’ve tested the lenses, and they aren’t even as good as my iPhone 6’s built-in lens.
- “The product is German designed and we know German’s and their optics.” I sense LUX HD450’s fictitious Lead Technologist Simon Greig of Stuttgart lurking off-stage.
- “Shoots all the focal lengths.” Good; we wouldn’t want any of them to get away.
- “100% auto focus and the auto stabilization compatible.” Claiming a feature that your phone already has is another kind of ridiculous.
- “Moreover, dust and water are kept away with the lenses.” Yes, but how awkward to slip your phone into your pocket with a big clamp on it.
- “It also has a fastening clip included in the whole package.” I do like their style. -1
Post Office box: HDFX360 doesn’t offer a physical address of any kind. -1
- Tame review-site ReleaseWire points to “1058 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103.” Looks like an abandoned building.
- You can’t sue them, or join a class action that’s suing them.
- They don’t guarantee that their product is fit for any use (not even “quiet enjoyment”); nor that anything they say is true.
- After wading thru a page of verbiage, I see no mention of a return or refund policy. -1
Ads, spam, robocalls:
- They’ll use your personal information, plus what they can wring out of your browser, to beam ads at you, robocall you and text you at your expense.
- Are you registered on the National Do-Not-Call list? No problem; they’ll call you anyway.
- They’ll sell your data to other companies that will do the same.
- If they sell their company, your data is part of the deal. -1
Lying and deception:
Other than the faked magazine cover, it’s hard to say whether these guys are lying or just don’t know any better. 0
- You have to drill thru three web pages to see the price list.
- A countdown timer suggests that you don’t have time to comparison shop.
- On the order form, a quantity of five sets of lenses is pre-filled.
Phony reviews: I see vague, wildly enthusiastic reviews with payola links to HDFX360, like the one by ReleaseWire. -1
Crummy product: True. -1
Overpriced: HDFX360 expects $69 for one set of lenses. You can buy the same mediocre lenses on Amazon under a different brand name for $7. -1
Unauthorized charges: I found no reports of this. +1
Scam-O-Meter score; -7
Buy nothing from this outfit. But their website is particularly fun to mock.
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.