Gray Market equipment

2

Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,450Moderator
    Right, so, you'd have to buy it before the seller would give you the serial number, do the check and then get refunded if it was a problem. Well, it'd work I suppose, but it is messy - but better than not checking.
    Always learning.
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    Grey all the way for me. It has saved me thousands, and in one case, kind of cost me hundreds (bought a 55-300 while traveling in S. America and the AF motor died--I suppose if I was living down there, it would be white-market and I could try to gt it covered under warranty).

    Of course there's a possibility your gear will malfunction within what would have been the warranty period and you'll have to pay for service out of pocket. Life's a gamble. I maintain:

    1) The amount I save lets me self-insure my gear as a whole collection (that is, I'll have to pay out-of-pocket sometimes, but my savings will cover it--not every piece will break)
    and
    2) The anecdotal evidence I've read on this forum and elsewhere suggests that in several cases Nikon has tried to deny warranty coverage, claiming the user mistreated the gear (principally by dropping it). I hope that doesn't happen often, but I consider that my time is too valuable and that life is too short for me to ever play that game if I can avoid it.

    If I happen to be able to buy the piece white-market with full warranty at very nearly the same price, of course, I will. If I can save 5%+ on grey market, I will.

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @spraynpray: No you do not buy it at first. I would send a message to the seller asking for the item serial number. Once I have that info then I move forward should it be a US item :)
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,450Moderator
    Hmmm, people get cagey about being asked for serial numbers, but it is worth a try.
    Always learning.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,498Member
    If I am buying a used lens on eBay, I always inquire before the item closes to confirm if it was USA warranty or grey market. Also go that extra step of checking serial numbers on the box and lens against a published list.

    I have only bought a grey market lens once, in the early 70's when my Dad was serving in Thailand and be bought me my first macro lens. It was about $55 and they were selling for $135 in NYC. When I went to sell it years later had no issues selling it for over $100 and I told the buyer it was purchased outside the US.

    I am old enough to remember when grey market lens and bodies were 20% less than the USA imported item. I have noticed over the years that the price has narrowed and some times it's only $10 or $15 less. In fact I was looking at several lens last week and two of them had the same price for grey or USA import. Today the price difference is so small I would rather pay the delta and buy the USA import item. Ten or 20 years ago that was not always the case and you could save big dollars.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2013
    @spraynpray: A reputable seller would...should not hesitate or have an issue in providing a potential buyer such information. If he or she does not want to, then you just WALK AWAY.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    Just make sure you ALWAYS see a receipt from a reputable reseller, BEFORE you buy anything. That way you also are relatively sure not to be buying "hot" items...

    And boy, for once it is an advantage to live in Europe:)
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    If I'm not mistaken, in the USA Nikon has banned preferred stores selling Grey market products except for old stock (and I'm sure with some other exceptions). Some sellers use the term "grey" to mean they imported it in not from Nikon. If the warranty is FROM NIKON it is an authorized Nikon seller. If it is from the seller or a third party, then the item probably had a hell of a trip, and ended up in some unclaimed shipment that someone bought. (This is actually quite normal.)

    There is a whole bunch of fear about service from Nikon USA that is just not true. Nikon will service any Nikon product no matter where it is bought. The only question is whether you have to pay for it or not. In the past when authorized re-sellers would bring in grey market items, these would have 1 year warranty and had to be serviced in Japan or another international shop instead of the 2 or 5 year warranty for USA verified products. To receive warranty work from the USA, the item must be purchased from an authorized re-seller in the US and provide receipt of purchase. This is what they post and I have never heard of anyone ever getting denied service if this is provided. I have heard Nikon will service it without all of that, but seems to be spotty at best and is probably just is what work needs to be done, and how backlogged they are.

    I have bought grey market, refurbished, and used items with the understanding that I will probably have to pay for any work done. I have been proven correct in that assumption as well. If you can return it for a full refund then I would go for it. Just test the hell out of it when you get it.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    If I'm not mistaken, in the USA Nikon has banned preferred stores selling Grey market products except for old stock (and I'm sure with some other exceptions).
    In practice any such provisions are not enforceable in the US without running afoul of 'restraint of trade' issues due to provisions of the Lanham Act. In Canada and many other countries, grey market imports are generally protected by law under a legal doctrine called the "exhaustion of rights".

    Therefore, companies like Adorama continue to sell grey market versions of "new stock" Nikon products such as the 50mm/1.4G, 85mm/1.4G, 105mm/2.8G, etc.
    There is a whole bunch of fear about service from Nikon USA that is just not true. Nikon will service any Nikon product no matter where it is bought. The only question is whether you have to pay for it or not.
    That's not correct. Nikon USA will not service grey market product whether under warranty or for fee.

    From Nikon USA's website:

    "Nikon Inc. USA cannot provide any technical support or warranty service on Gray Market items. Additionally Nikon Inc. USA cannot perform any fee-based repair work on Gray Market items. Please do not contact Nikon Inc. USA for help with any Gray Market products."

    https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/331
  • ChasCSChasCS Posts: 309Member
    Ouch!! That sounds very definite and firm.
    I wouldn't waste my time, attempting to win, by saving a few bucks, why do it?

    I know, for the feeling of getting something for a "bargain".
    D800, AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, B+W Clear MRC 77mm, AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, Sigma DG UV 77mm,
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    FE, NIKKOR 2-20mm f/1.8, OPTEX UV 52mm, Vivitar Zoom 285, Kodacolor VR 1000 CF 135-24 EXP DX 35mm, rePlay XD1080

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,450Moderator
    edited December 2013
    That certainly is the way I would handle it if it were my policy to decide. It now makes sense that the ex-hire 60mm macro I bought that had no serial number was quoted at what I could buy a perfect used one for and that they only gave me THAT price after I had told them I bought it from Calumet and they'd verified that fact.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited December 2013
    Ade once more you are peddling garbage and hope no one actually looks up what you write or how completely unbelievable what you read in a book or on a web page doesn't work out in the real world.

    Lanham_Act deals with Trademark law. That has absolutely nothing to do with selling "grey" market goods.
    If you understand how agreed contracts actually work in the USA, Nikon can retain the right to cease doing business if someone breaks the contract. If a company agrees to it, then that is the way it is and Nikon can pull their business at will. They sure as hell can't claim a grievance using violation of a trademark law. What other countries have in place I can not speak to as laws are quite varied.

    With Nikon's pricing policy they put in place, authorized resalers really are limited in what price differences they can offer which keeps most grey market items relatively close (usually within 5% to 15% on the really cheap small items.) Adorama has very few grey market and appear to be old stock. B&H actually has newer items now but that is new. Nikon put the hard line when they updated their pricing policy but I have seen them backing off a bit in other parts of the world as retailers are drop shipping from HK more and more.
    There is a whole bunch of fear about service from Nikon USA that is just not true. Nikon will service any Nikon product no matter where it is bought. The only question is whether you have to pay for it or not.
    That's not correct. Nikon USA will not service grey market product whether under warranty or for fee.
    I have 3 grey market lenses - 50mm 1.4D, 35mm 1.8G, and a 85mm 1.8D - all have been in for service (all way outside of warranty time even if it was a USA item) and they never even asked, nor declined to take my money for CLAs or in the case of the 85, full aperture blade replacement. The 85 has been in multiple times. They did make clear to me that I would have to pay and could not claim warranty repair, but they made no mention about grey market, which they could tell by the serial numbers.

    With them stopping to sell parts and only selling them to "authorized" service centers (which last I checked, it includes them and just a couple of others in the USA), someone has to service them.

    If you think about it for more than 30 seconds, there is no reason for them NOT to accept service repairs for pay. Companies are usually not in the practice to turn down making money.


    Nikon's pricing policy to ensure all prices are in line.

    Adorama Grey market description
    B&H Photo's Description
    Nikon USA to stop selling camera parts to independent repair shops
    Interesting article about Nikon grey market sales in Australia.
    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Ade once more you are peddling garbage and hope no one actually looks up what you write or how completely unbelievable what you read in a book or on a web page doesn't work out in the real world.

    Lanham_Act deals with Trademark law. That has absolutely nothing to do with selling "grey" market goods.

    If you understand how agreed contracts actually work in the USA, Nikon can retain the right to cease doing business if someone breaks the contract.
    Such contracts are likely not enforceable due to restraint of trade provisions. The next step would be for Nikon / Nikon USA (as the US trademark holder) to enforce purchasing through its own channels via Section 42 of the Lanham Act, but in reality other provisions of the Lanham Act makes this route impractical.
    If you think about it for more than 30 seconds, there is no reason for them NOT to accept service repairs for pay. Companies are usually not in the practice to turn down making money.
    In general, an exclusive distributor loses more money from competing with gray market imports than any money they can gain by repairing them. So it's in the distributors interest to discourage sale of gray market goods by refusing to fix them, by refusing to sell parts required to fix them, etc.

    Nikon USA's official policy is that they will NOT service gray market products, as quoted above. How strict they are in enforcing this policy is an open question. You can Google many examples Nikon accepting or refusing to repair gray market products. So if you buy grey market products, it's going to be a gamble.

    Thom Hogan wrote about Nikon's policy some years ago. The situation today remains the same:

    http://www.bythom.com/warranty.htm
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    Keep in mind warranty service and service are two different things. There are repair shops that can fix a camera for a fee. How long will the camera or part be in warranty?

    As MsMoto said, B&H and Adorama sell gray market cameras with warranties here in the US (to the chagrin of Nikon USA), and perhaps there are similar EU marketers, too, but failing that, there are repair shops that can fix cameras - not an ideal setup, what are your expectations? Are you buying something that you plan to have to take to repairs?

    For piece of mind, and if that is what you really want, you might just stick with your country's mainstream Nikon importer.

    My best,

    Mike
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2013
    One of my friends that had his 14-24 2.8 not working properly took it to Nikon here in LA upon my recommendation. He had purchased it in UK. They Nikon service center made the necessary adjustment and he paid for the service performed. I think most of the service center will take care of the work in order to keep the customer happy.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    And if the 14-24mm was still within normal warranty, Nikon probably would have done the work FOC. That is if he had a receipt from a Nikon distributor in the UK. When companies refer to Grey Market they mean items which has been parallel imported, circumventing the national distributor. If you lived in the UK and had purchased equipment, and you moved to the US, and it needed service, most companies (Nikon included) will help you out.
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    @Killerbob: If you're in Greenland, and you have a white-market piece of equipment that needs to be repared under warranty, who pays the shipping each way? I can't imagine what it would cost to ship your 80-400 to Denmark proper or some such, even one way, and I don't really want to!
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    @shawnino; Luckily I travel to Denmark regularly, and had my 80-400mm adjusted FOC in Denmark. We do not have a Nikon dealer here in Nuuk, but if we did, I am sure they would have serviced it as well - even if the lens was bought in Germany...
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    edited December 2013
    One of my friends that had his 14-24 2.8 not working properly took it to Nikon here in LA upon my recommendation. He had purchased it in UK.
    Products purchased abroad are not usually considered "grey market". Nikon USA will generally repair items purchased abroad, and even offer warranty service when applicable.
    Post edited by Ade on
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2013
    Products purchased abroad are not usually considered "grey market". Nikon USA will generally service items purchased abroad, and even offer warranty service when applicable.
    It is my understanding that Nikon USA Service Centers will "perform warranty work" on items sold within the USA only....grey market or not. They will usually ask for some for of proof...invoice/bill of sale. They will also look within their data base to insure that the serial number matches the item that was designated for sale in the USA. Item purchased via an authorized dealership is the best hedge in getting work done on ones equipment needing service...under warranty. Having said that, those that choose to buy items via a privet seller should ask if the owner will provide some form of "bill of sale" or "invoice" from where they purchased the item from. I must admit, that I myself have not always been able to get such documentation, but my interpersonal skills have come in handy when my items needed service. It helps to be a good sales person.

    My recommendation to those that know for a fact that their product is "grey market" and thus need to get some work done and want to hedge agains Nikon USA service center from denying you service is: forget the term "grey market." Use your creativity in doing/saying what needs to be said in order to get the service needed to be accomplished.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,428Member
    edited December 2013
    I wonder how Nikon USA balances that with honoring the 1 year international warranty?

    I ask because I was at the Nikon Canada depot here in Vancouver when an American NPS member came in. They took his lens in for repair, but only because the lens was under the 1 year international warranty.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2013
    Being an NPS member has all sorts of perks...service and warranty work are among the top benefits...from my understanding of the membership.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • JuergenJuergen Posts: 315Member


    And boy, for once it is an advantage to live in Europe:)
    Hi Killerbob,
    what makes you feel like that :-)
    I just saw the ad on the main page about the AF-S 800 for 17.900 US$. Now here in Europe one could get it for 23.123 US$. We are talking about a price difference of 5.223, US$. For the saving, I might just buy myself another D4 to go with the lens. And save another 2.100 US$, because the D4 here cost 8.150 US$. With that savings, I might get myself a RRS Tripod with panning head…….and…and…and… :-)

    What I am trying to say is, the temptation of buying goods and sacrificing the warranty, rises with the price of the goods and the amount one is saving.

    D4, D800E, Nikon 1 J2, 600 f/4, trinity, PC-E 45, PC-E 24, 105, 50 f/1,8g, 85 f/1,4, Sigma 150-500
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    edited December 2013
    It depends a lot on where you're living. In Denmark there is 25% VAT, in Switzerland only 8.5%. In Greenland it is 0%:) Here that AF-S 800 is USD16.250,00...
    Post edited by Killerbob on
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Products purchased abroad are not usually considered "grey market". Nikon USA will generally service items purchased abroad, and even offer warranty service when applicable.
    It is my understanding that Nikon USA Service Centers will "perform warranty work" on items sold within the USA only....grey market or not.
    Hi Golf, that's not correct (as in your friend's case, we're now talking about lenses specifically).

    @MikeGunter touched upon the difference between warranty service and for-fee service. So let's take a look into Nikon's warranty service policy, and then add the grey market component.

    - In Nikon has two kinds of warranties: 1) a localized warranty covering a specific territory (e.g., US, Canada, Europe, Asia, etc.); and 2) a worldwide international warranty. Both warranties apply only to the original owner (non-transferable).

    - Nikon digital imaging products, including DSLRs, are sold with localized warranties. E.g., your Nikon USA D4 came with a USA-only warranty. A Nikon UK D800 sold in the UK will have a warranty honored only in Europe.

    - If you take your D4 to Europe, and it breaks down, its warranty will not be honored. But you may generally still obtain service for a fee. The converse is also true for a UK traveler needing Nikon service in the USA. Nikon USA may service a D800 purchased in the UK, for a fee. Some limitations may apply.

    - Nikon lenses, speedlights and film cameras are sold with a worldwide warranty, and optionally, a localized extension. For example, a 14-24/2.8 in the UK comes with a 1-year worldwide warranty. A 14-24/2.8 distributed by Nikon USA comes with a 1-year worldwide warranty plus a 4-year USA-only warranty.

    - It follows that Nikon USA will fix a Nikon UK lens, and even honor its international warranty if still applicable.

    - As a matter of policy, Nikon service centers may refuse to work on gray market items. Grey market cameras and lenses are those imported from abroad for commercial resale by other than the official distributor.

    - So if you're vacationing in Singapore and purchased a 14-24/2.8 there, Nikon USA will honor its international warranty, and offer out-of-warranty service for a fee. But if Acme, Inc of Maine had imported the same 14-24/2.8 from Singapore, and sold it to you in the US, then this is considered a grey market lens and Nikon USA may completely refuse service, warranty or not.

    - Unfortunately, the onus is on you to prove that your non-local Nikon gear was purchased abroad vs. gray market, such as by producing the original sales receipt from an authorized Nikon dealer abroad.
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