We’ve received numerous emails of late from Investigators asking about various pen cameras listed on Ebay. Given the enticing low price point provided in the majority of these advertisements it’s no wonder people are curious about these products. Ebay is on our BLACKLIST of sellers for all professionals to avoid. Take a look and give the page a read to understand the major issues one faces while dealing with such (Chinese) vendors.
Ebay is no different, in fact it is one of THE WORST offenders. The site brokers exchanges between individuals in the west and individuals in China, but there is absolutely no recourse once the broken spy pen arrives at your door step. Once the seller receives a few negative ratings, they simply create a new account, and return to pumping the dollar-store spycams. These guys are professionals when it comes to unloading cheap plastic spy gadgets, it’s a hustle to them, not a company they wish to grow and cherish with repeat clientele.
Make no mistake, these spy camera pens cost less than $1 each to manufacture in bulk, and anything above that price point is a blatent rip off. Why? Because they simply do not work. You are paying for a chunky, plastic writing utensil. Why not go to the dollar-store and buy a pack of 10.
For the Professional Investigator who relies on spy pens to deliver product to their clients, in high-quality video each and every time, these are the antithesis of the real devices, such as our top reviewed SecuritySystems pen cam. When you, your company and the client all have thousands of dollars at stake and dozens of man hours worth of surveillance, do you really want to put your faith in a device like this. If you do, rest assured, you will be burned, and it will cost you hundreds of times the cost of the spy gadget to begin with.
Because these spy cams are in fact so inexpensive, we’ve ordered from a variety of vendors to give other Private Investigators an idea of what is in-store for them. We will preface by saying an unbelivable number of them arrived DOA. Opening a few up we noted internal components missing and broken off. The DVR chip in one was actually split in two, with one half sitting at the bottom of the pen.
Note: Although we ordered and tested numerous pen cameras from various sellers, we never once risked carrying these in field with us as they were all clearly junk or, dysfunctional or broken. These are not items professionals wish to gamble with.
Take a look below to give you an idea of what type of manuals are included with these devices. Chinese ONLY is a common occurance, with horribly translated english a virtual guarntee.(Click images to enlarge)
Unless you speak Mandarin or Cantonese, chances are these instructions will be of no use to you. But fear not, from our experience the pen cameras will not function regardless of operating manuals.
This is a VERY serious concern. Although our office uses primarily Mac OS for video editing, some of the guys on the road rely on Windows based laptops. While testing some of these spy pens and upon connecting them to the USB port, we immediately were alerted to a virus warning (a worm in this case). This was from a pen sold by a seller named USAspygadgets24. It’s obvious the implications this can have. Not worth the risk.
This one drives us nuts. Most of the Ebay listings steal each others images, or use stock photos. Time and again the spy pen camera we received looks COMPLETELY different than the device in the picture. This is not a business to these individuals, it is a pump and dump. Which brings us to our final warning:
The warranty in the vast majority of listings is a sham and simply a marketing tactic to relive the fears of would be purchasers. We tried to contact numerous sellers to dispute or return our product and received no response. We promptly left negative feedback, but the money was in their hands, and the junk pen in ours.
Stay far away from these cheap knockoffs, no warranty, Chinese instructions, DOA, mis-representation of product, the list goes on. Buyer Beware.