Professional Photographers Don’t Get Duped buying USB Sticks

Professional Photographers if you’re buying USB memory sticks to load your client portfolios on then please be careful because we're getting a growing number of panicky phone calls from photographers who have purchased USB sticks direct from China only to find when they try to use them that they aren’t quite what they expected!

The most common problem is the supply of "masked" USB sticks - that is a USB sticks that has been sold with say 1GB of memory but in reality it only has 256MB of real memory. The hard part is spotting the problem because the sticks will be labelled as 1GB, they’ll be invoiced as 1GB and when you plug them into any PC and inspect the “properties” of the drive it will suggest it’s a 1GB.
The only way to tell if you’ve been duped and sold “masked” USB sticks is to plug one of them in and copy data a large amount of data, ideally data up to the threshold of 1GB.

On screen it will look as though everything is copying but the real test comes when you take the USB flash drive out (remembering to safely eject it first!) and then plug it back in again – if it’s a legitimate 1GB drive the data you copied will be there but if it’s a “masked” drive the data won’t be there!

The problem can’t be fixed. If you have purchased USB flash drives for your photography business and you’re experiencing these problems then you've been duped and you’re not getting what you paid for. Your only recourse is to go back the supplier you purchased them from and sort it out – not so easy if you’ve bought them from some obscure factory in China!

To protect yourself we strongly suggest that you:

  1. Buy from a reputable supplier that has been around for a while and ideally check with other photographers and see what experiences they have had – checkout 2rd party review sites like TrustPilot, see what’s being said on Twitter and other Social Networks. 5 minutes spent doing a bit of homework could save you a whole world of grief!
  2. Don’t buy on price alone – if you’re being offered an “incredible deal” on branded USB memory sticks and other suppliers are suggesting they can’t get close to the price then it might be an early indication that you’re heading for trouble.
  3. Get a warranty and make sure it’s at least 12 months (ideally 5 years). Also be clear on how the supplier will fulfil its obligations under the terms of the warranty should you have problems.
  4. Do your own checks when you take delivery of your USB memory sticks – load data onto a random sample (up to the limit of the memory you’ve paid for) and then try and read the data from another PC.

If you do discover that you’ve been duped and you need USB sticks in a hurry then at USB2U we're happy to try and help and rush out some alternatives that are guaranteed to work. It’s a shame but typically these issues are only discovered at the last minute and if replacements are needed within a day or two you may have to compromise on colours, designs and sometimes print.

USB2U Wooden USB Memory Sticks

Share story