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Better Business Bureau: Watch Out for Complaint-ridden Local Camera Shop

The BBB has issued an alert, warning consumers away from Darn Toothy Sam, a Burnsville company which has allegedly threatened to charge customers who report their complaints.

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By many accounts, Darn Toothy Sam is more than living up to its name. Thursday, the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) issued an alert on the Burnsville company after receiving over 50 complaints.

Darn Toothy Sam offers camera repair services and also sells camera equipment online (www.darntoothysam.com). The company describes itself as a "small affordable digital camera repair business." The BBB describes Darn Toothy Sam as an F-rated company with a history of taking money without fulfilling customers' orders.

“We have a very clear pattern of a problem with this company,” said Dana Badgerow, President and CEO of the BBB. “Consumers pay the company in advance for repairs or equipment, and then wait – and wait. From there, their calls and e-mails to the company are not returned and people are left with no guidance and few options.”

Darn Toothy Sam was once a BBB-accredited business, but the agency revoked their accreditation in November of 2010 after a proliferation of consumer complaints. Over the last three years, the BBB has logged over 50 grievances against the company. Darn Toothy Sam has also been repeatedly tagged on several consumer complaint websites, such as SiteJabber and Yelp.

Most follow a common thread, the BBB says: Customers pay upfront for merchandise or repairs, and then are left empty-handed after the promised deadlines have passed.

In general, the company has failed to adequately address these complaints, the BBB reports. When confronted by the BBB, company officials have explained away the delays, offered refunds or have returned equipment (often in the same condition as when it was sent in for repairs). 

In the last few weeks, the BBB has also received reports that Darn Toothy Sam threatened irate consumers with an extra $35 fee should they complain to the agency, on the grounds that  the BBB charges them per complaint. The BBB handles complaints free of charge. 

Any consumer seeking redress is encouraged to file a complaint with the BBB at bbb.org.

Attempts to contact the company for comment have been unsuccessful thus far. Calls to Darn Toothy Sam's main line yielded only an automated message, stating that due to a high volume of calls the company is not able to respond to voicemails. The message redirected callers to an e-mail account. Burnsville Patch has sent an inquiry via e-mail and is awaiting a response.

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