This story was sent to me by a friend and local photographer here in Perth. We both discussed how when making our purchases at local stores we’ve never thought to ask if the camera is grey market or not. It turns out that recently a local camera store here in Perth sold a grey market Nikon 5200 to a customer.
If you’re not familiar with what “Grey Market’ is, it’s getting the product you want cheaper than you can get it locally by buying through a local website that ship it from overseas. In Australia’s case most of our Grey Market purchases are shipped out of Hong Kong. Up until now I had only thought that these Grey Market products where the domain of online retailers. It isn’t illegal to buy Grey Market however you’ll probably run into warranty issues and you won’t be helping your local camera store that is always there to help you out when your stuck. If you want a complete technical definition of “Grey Market” check out Wikipedia.
As the story goes the customer was looking for the best price for a Nikon 5200 with an 18-55mm kit lens. He wanted to buy local to support local business so after calling around, the customer found a store in the city willing to sell it for $850. All seemed good till the customer got home.
However, when I got home, I found out it was a grey import.
The reasons that led me to believe this was a grey import was:
1) When I got home, I opened up the box and found that the charger was not an Australian one, and that they had provided a white Qantas Australian Adaptor in the box.
2) There was no warranty card in the box
3) When I turned on the camera, the language was set to Chinese by default.
4) I contacted Nikon Australia on the 05/06/2013, and they advised me that the serial number I gave for this camera was not Australian Stock.
I think this is terrible, I understand that most stores would not sell Grey market, and as far as I know they could find themselves in trouble with the local importers/distributors of the gear, in this case Nikon Australia. As mentioned above I’ve always thought that Grey Market gear was found online not in local stores. I had a quick look at it seems that I could have picked up a Grey Market kit the same as what the above customer bought for about $100 less than what was paid.
Does this mean I have to ask when I purchase my next camera “Is this Grey Market?”. Anyway I thought I would just post this as a warning for you all, no matter where you are in the world, it might be worth asking the question. If your going to buy local you may as well get the right product.
I want to point out that this is only localised event that has happened in one store (that I know of). I know for a fact that where I get my gear from “Camera Electronic“, they don’t sell Grey Market gear, and I’m sure that many of the other stores around don’t. However up until now I never even thought that a local store would be selling Grey Market gear. How many times have they done it? Have you bought local and found out it was Grey Market?
If you want to read the whole story and the store in question click here.