Re: A moral obligation
I'll raise you my experience with Jessops. I bought a Canon dSLR in 2008 (I think). Even bought the extras from them (memory card, bag etc) as they'd spent an hour or more letting me try different makes/models then put together a package price for the lot. Total cost was about £1300 including their 3 year extended warranty. I went for their deal after going to get a coffee to think about it (and making sure I wasn't being completely stiffed against the online prices). I even went back to the same store variously to get photos printed.
Fast forward 3 years and the kit lens failed about a month after the extended warranty ended. It was a known fault with a weak flexible cable inside. I contacted them in the hope they could still help and perhaps offer a reduced price repair as it was so close to the end of my warranty. No. They refused to deal with me unless I first sent it off for their paid for fault finding service (£50) and I was then expected to pay a further £100 to complete the repair or get my faulty lens back, lose the £50 and take my chance complaining to them to get a reduced price repair.
At first Canon also weren't that interested until I contacted the head of Canon Europe. Very quickly the lens was repaired for free, along with any other faults on my camera, and they, coughs, encouraged Jessops to refund my repair fee. Jessops declined but did give me a £200 gift card instead.
By the time I bought my next Camera Jessops had gone bust (again) and were under new owners. Regardless I wouldn't have bought from them again anyway after that experience. My next camera (£5000) was bought from a specialist online photographic retailer who were excellent.
I completely agree with commentards above - if you try before you buy in a high street shop at least give them the chance to compete with the online price and factor in that they've spent time helping with your purchasing decision in a way an online retailer wouldn't. I did it when I bought a new set of speakers in 2001 - the local trader (who let me clutter up their demo room for an hour one Saturday) even delivered them to my house at a time convenient to me for free. The speakers are still serving me well today!