Purchasing grey market equipment online – the risks
Firstly, what is a grey market?
A grey market is the trade of a commodity through distribution channels that are legal but unintended by the original manufacturer.
The risks to the buyer
The problems for the purchaser are warranty and retailer reliability. Manufacturers will issue warranties only in the intended countries of sale. So as soon as your serial number reveals your product as “grey”, the manufacturer is NOT obliged to supply any warranty service should it be required.
This is why the retailers will generally supply their own warranty. This means that your equipment may need to be returned to the seller for repair, or be sent to a local repairer whose cost is covered by a 3rd party warranty company or insurer.
The other risk to the purchaser is trying to avoid unscrupulous dealers. There are new grey markets popping up all the time and there have been many reports of money spent with no product received. So investigate your dealer carefully.
Remember this basic rule when looking at grey market products: If the deal seems too good to be true, it usually is!
(This post has been adapted from an original article on the Australian Light Photography website.)