Gray Market equipment

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Comments

  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    When I bought Stuff, mail order, from Hong Kong. I was told there was a full Nikon guarantee but I would have to return the equipment to the supplier in Hong Kong

    I was prepared to do this as there was a very big saving

    At the end of the day, buying gray market goods, seems to increase the risk of having problems getting your gear fixed if it has a fault.


    You have to decide, does the saving justify the increase risk


  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,430Moderator
    Yebbut @sevencrossing did you ever have to use that warranty? I suspect not as you would have found things to be different in reality to what they claim. I have significant experience with HK sellers - mostly bad. Others have had better luck.
    Always learning.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited December 2013
    No, my point is, Nikon equipment is pretty reliable, so the odds are, you will not have to make a warranty claim
    so if there is a substantial saving it might be worth considering taking a risk

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    While working abroad, I've bought equipment that couldn't be USA warranted. I had the camera and lenses for quite a while until they worked just fine. They were in for regular maintenance and not any repairs. They were ultimately stolen after 20 years or so, and that was a long, long time ago. They weren't AF bodies or lenses.

    Costs and risks and savings and what you can live have to be measured. Mileage always varies.

    One more salient point. There are other places to repair your gear besides Nikon repair centers that do an equally good job with the same parts and technicians and diagnostic tools with the same training - blasphemy for sure, but if it's out of warranty, it's your camera, you can shop for repairs.

    My best,

    Mike
  • kyoshinikonkyoshinikon Posts: 411Member
    You have to be careful about those mom and pop shops. One of 17-35mm's succumbed to further damage at one of those. If you know how to shop used/ebay you can get fantastic deals out there.
    “To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.” - Bresson
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    edited December 2013
    Keep seeing these new D800 ads in NR first page for $2300 or so... It is obviously gray market but for a gray market to occur, there must be a country which D800 is retailed around this price.

    Does anybody know where ? I find it hard to believe there is a market where DSLRs ( esp. Pro ones ) are sold 20% below US prices.
    Post edited by Paperman on
  • KillerbobKillerbob Posts: 732Member
    edited December 2013
    They could be bought in Denamrk, and taken outside the EU, i.e. saving the 25% VAT. That brings the price of a D800 house-only to USD2400,- And if you bought a few I am sure you could bring that price to under USD2300,-

    I picked one up, along with a bunch of gear at around that price...
    Post edited by Killerbob on
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    edited December 2013
    Europe was/has been always more expensive than USA in the past - interesting to see that change. And one always thinks Scandinavian countries are expensive.

    Switzerland is usually the cheapest in electronics for those living in Europe as they have only 8% VAT and it is not uncommon to see prices slightly below US. But +20% on pro equipment - never seen it !
    Post edited by Paperman on
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Let's not forget retail pricing vs. wholesale pricing. The wholesale price of a D800 is significantly below $2300.

    Due to Nikon's minimum retail pricing restrictions, all that's needed is a large enough difference between the minimum retail price vs. wholesale for an importer to profit by buying near wholesale in one market, then selling the item below the minimum price in another market.
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    It seems to me that Nikon is in on it. They can trace the serial numbers to who they sold it to. If they really objected, they could cut that customer off. The customer might get away with a few until Nikon catches on, but eventually Nikon would figure it out.
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    Let's not forget retail pricing vs. wholesale pricing. The wholesale price of a D800 is significantly below $2300.

    I'd say no way - I doubt Nikon will give more than 10-15% margin to retailers. $ 500 works out to be 22% ( based on $2300 wholesale )
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member

    I'd say no way - I doubt Nikon will give more than 10-15% margin to retailers. $ 500 works out to be 22% ( based on $2300 wholesale )
    Yet we've seen grey market retail prices as low as $2200 with free US shipping. That means the wholesale price of D800 must be still be significantly lower than this for the seller to import the product, offer free shipping, provide in-store-warranty, and still make a profit.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Ade (and others) you are forgetting the major market for "grey" goods are unclaimed shipments, bankruptcy auctions and import confiscations. Whenever you see items going for much, much less (and being delivered on) 99% of the time this is the case. Businesses buy up unclaimed shipments, and various confiscations and look to make "X" amount overall and usually just find the retail price and knock 20%ish off to move it off their shelves to open up cash-flow to buy another "shipment". That is why you see many of these business are based around Port Cities and major shipping hubs. I have a few of these business earmarked on ebay (One I did business with when I was working for a company) and I pick up some great deals on stuff. It is a bit of a gamble though and the one's I have bought stuff from do offer a "warranty" by some third party general insurance, but if you are willing to take a chance, and spend the time chasing things down if it doesn't work out, then what the hell.

    There is no way to really "game" the proper channel system to get huge deals on stuff. Maybe 5-10% but that is generally just currency swings along with "package" deals where they will make their money at. We have all seen the "Brooklyn" deal, even in major publications, where they offer a price, and then call you to sell you a 4hr battery, (How they are that stupid I'll never understand) and then cancel your order when you don't buy the accessories. I generally take those prices are the "wholesale" price and they just make money on accessories. Then again, I never have heard anyone actually getting what they wanted from those places. Just because it is advertised, doesn't mean it is real.
    $2200 with free US shipping. That means the wholesale price of D800 must be still be significantly lower than this for the seller to import the product, offer free shipping, provide in-store-warranty, and still make a profit.
    BTW they are at $2,999 now (here)
    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
    @TTJ:

    Not for Nikon DSLRs. E.g., for the US there is only one exclusive importer of Nikon cameras: Nikon Inc. (aka Nikon USA). So there are no such thing as "unclaimed shipments" or "import confiscations" at the port. Either those shipments go to Nikon USA or they go back to Japan. No other business could "buy up unclaimed shipments". Nikon subsidiaries across the world operate in similar fashion.

    What you describe might happen for products with multiple authorized importers. But Nikon cameras aren't imported that way. And unclaimed shipments to countries without a Nikon authorized importer would be unlikely to be claimed by a 3rd party then re-routed to the US as gray market. The tariffs alone would make that prohibitive. Even assuming the goods pass through a free-trade area, the prices would be at or above wholesale anyway.

    In general, the major source of gray goods is excess capacity. For whatever reason, in some part of the world, there's too much inventory of a certain product stuck in a distribution center, creating an imbalance. One solution is to sell off the excess inventory at discount, outside the normal distribution chain. This enables a gray market for the discounted goods.
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    It seems to me that Nikon is in on it. They can trace the serial numbers to who they sold it to. If they really objected, they could cut that customer off. The customer might get away with a few until Nikon catches on, but eventually Nikon would figure it out.
    You are correct, Sir. A certain amount of gray market activity is tolerated. Remember too that Nikon isn't one company but a number of different legal entities around the world, some of which may net profit from gray market sales.
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    edited December 2013
    In general, the major source of gray goods is excess capacity. For whatever reason, in some part of the world, there's too much inventory of a certain product stuck in a distribution center, creating an imbalance.

    Maybe sometimes but it is mostly simply benefiting from price differences in different parts of the world.

    I did some work for a "parallel importer" long time ago; they mostly moved items they collected cheap from underdeveloped countries - mostly items like Colgate/Signal toothpaste, Gillette products in large volumes. Their most lucrative business was collecting & reselling medicine & pharmaceuticals ( 20 or so very common prescription hypertension/chlosterol/diabetes drugs ) . Sourced them dirt cheap from places like Africa or ex-iron curtain countries and sold for twice/thrice the cost in developed countries ( to private hospitals mostly). It many times involved shipping to a country only to then re-export to a third with new documentation to avoid being traced. They easily made over $1million in just 1 container load of pharmas.

    Well, slipped off topic a bit .... So is there any country someone has seen a price tag below $2,300 for a D800 . Denmark is sure one to check ( though I am suspecting that it might have been the Scandinavian version of Black Friday :-) )
    Post edited by Paperman on
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    edited December 2013
    Sure, us Canadians are notorious for selling cheap pharmaceuticals back to the US. :D But goods like DSLRs are typically more expensive in underdeveloped countries. There is often a black market going the other direction. The difference is, products like toothpaste, razor blades, and pharmaceuticals (especially generic ones) are often produced in-country for cheap or imported under special terms; while goods like cameras are imported from abroad and often have luxury tax added on.

    kamerahuset in Denmark has the D800 for 16,985 kr, which is $2355 if you do the VAT refund Killerbob mentioned. Again, that's retail pricing, and gray importers can usually purchase closer to wholesale.
    Post edited by Ade on
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    One keeps thinking why Nikon would sell pro DSLRs 20% cheaper than anywhere else , in one of highest income countries of the world. :-?
  • PapermanPaperman Posts: 469Member
    By the way, 16,985 kr works as $ 2,512 with VAT deduction ( One does not deduct 25% from total but divides by 1.25 for tax free calculation ) . Still $300 cheaper than US though ...
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Oops you're absolutely right. And to think I was a math major...
  • TheLoneWolfTheLoneWolf Posts: 2Member
    edited January 2014

    Well, slipped off topic a bit .... So is there any country someone has seen a price tag below $2,300 for a D800 . Denmark is sure one to check ( though I am suspecting that it might have been the Scandinavian version of Black Friday :-) )
    i got a confirmed quote for D800 from a photographic studio in UAE for less than $2300. no warranty though....

    PS... is it true that one cannot do a firmware upgrade on grey market DSLR bodies??
    Post edited by TheLoneWolf on
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member

    Well, slipped off topic a bit .... So is there any country someone has seen a price tag below $2,300 for a D800 . Denmark is sure one to check ( though I am suspecting that it might have been the Scandinavian version of Black Friday :-) )
    i got a confirmed quote for D800 from a photographic studio in UAE for less than $2300. no warranty though....

    PS... is it true that one cannot do a firmware upgrade on grey market DSLR bodies??
    Nikon might even refuse to service it even if you are willing to pay.
  • shawninoshawnino Posts: 453Member
    I won't be an early adopter of new firmware upgrades, given that it could temporarily make third-party lenses more difficult to use as well as completely brick third-party accessories like batteries.
  • ptrmckyptrmcky Posts: 44Member
    I just bought a grey market D800e. It works perfectly and I have a 2 year warranty from the seller. They also have a UK office I can send it back to if anything goes wrong. The camera was £1600 on the gray market vs the £2350 from the cheapest UK store. I would rather keep the £750.
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