Grey Market

Started Apr 3, 2012 | Discussions
Logan Nolag
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Grey Market
Apr 3, 2012

What exactly is grey market?

Nikon makes the lenses.

Nikon sends the lenses out to their regional distributors (Nikon USA etc.)

The regional distributors send lenses out to retailers.

So where do grey market lenses come from? Do US stores buy them from overseas retailers?

Dennis DH
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to Logan Nolag, Apr 3, 2012

Grey market lens are lens that have been brought into the country through some one other than Nikon USA. Nikon USA is the only one who can bring into the USA Nikon products. Items brought into the country through other channels are grey market and they do NOT carry any Nikon warranty. If fact Nikon will refuse to service grey product even if you will pay for said service. Other repair shops will work on grey market product, but with Nikon now not selling any parts to independent shop getting repair on grey market is going to come to a complete stop, so when the item needs work you might as well throw it in the garbage. Is it worth saving a few dollars up front, only you can decide, my self I would touch a grey market item.

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Ian
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to Logan Nolag, Apr 3, 2012

In World terms, the USA is possibly the cheapest place in the world to buy photo goods.

But sometimes currency means that someone somewhere can buy lenses cheaper than from Nikon USA, they are not covered by Nikon Inc warranty, in theory.

Bear in mind that the USA has the lowest world prices it is possible that the lenses maybe be bankcrupt stock or are old style lenses.
Beware

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camera jar
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to Logan Nolag, Apr 3, 2012

Logan Nolag wrote:

What exactly is grey market?

Nikon makes the lenses.

Nikon sends the lenses out to their regional distributors (Nikon USA etc.)

The regional distributors send lenses out to retailers.

So where do grey market lenses come from? Do US stores buy them from overseas retailers?

To build up on what the last two posters have written, I will give you an example of my last grey market purchase fro B&H:

I purchased a new 24mm Nikkor 1.4g lens for ~$1850. This lens was obtained new by B&H from the Nikon Europe Market. In case of any warranty issues, B&H will directly handle the warranty issues for one full year.

I bought this version of this lens because the USA Version was not available for purchase when I needed the lens.

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Logan Nolag
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to camera jar, Apr 4, 2012

Ok I understand that but what I don't understand is HOW does B&H or other retailers buy products from other distributers.

It seems like Nikon USA does not like Grey Market but if the retailers get the items from other distributers doesn't that mean that those distributers are the ones creating the Grey Market. I would understand the lack of support if the Grey Market items came from other retailers but since they come from other Nikon distributers the lack of support does not make sense.

It seems like Nikon USA (If they really want to stop Grey Market) would be better served negotiating with the other distributers or Nikon Japan. It seems like all the different Nikon national distributers are run as separate companies.

ALSO it seems like Nikon USA's policy of not servicing Grey Market items makes buying used a frightening proposition. Nikon USA refuses to service grey market items and it seems like ALL the used retailers do not differentiate between Grey Market and USA items.

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Guidenet
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to Logan Nolag, Apr 4, 2012

They contact someone in Europe and make a purchase. If the product is hard to get, there's still some profit there. Sometimes it might be a distributor in Hong Kong. It's not always Europe. The distributor may not be the original Nikon distributor but one that specializes in moving merchandise around.

Nikon does honor Grey Market gear. Nikon USA does not. You can return your broken item to the repair center located where the product came from. You can also invoke your international warranty and return it to Japan.

Look at the serial number. These days the Letters US appears in front of the serial numbers of official Nikon USA product. This was not always true and did make it hard to find out on used gear. Today, I look for that US.

Many used dealers do differentiate. They will say US version with box and cards.

The problem arises when you're visiting a foreign country and want to buy a product. You have to be careful because it might be considered Grey Market later. I've been told you can keep the receipt and they will honor the International Warranty in the US that way and will service it afterwards. I don't know though. I stick strictly to US product.

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Sante Patate
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to Guidenet, Apr 4, 2012

The term of art for "grey market" is "parallel import". In the US parallel import is 100% legal, which is why US prices are low. The legal basis for this is "extinction by first sale": once the OEM sells the camera - or pair of jeans or mineral water or whatever - they cannot use trademark or patent law to restrict use. Nikon cannot, eg, stop you filing off the Nikon logo and painting "Canon" on the camera instead. Nor can they stop you shipping the camera to New York (eg) and re-selling it.

Europe only recognises extinction by first sale if the first sale took place within Europe, so parallel import is legal only within the EU, except that Germany recognises extinction by first sale wherever the sale took place, which is why if you look on European Amazon sites a lot of parallel import gear comes from Germany.

Obviously, professional photographers travel internationally. What are they supposed to do if their gear fails? In practice, Nikon USA will honor warranties and service out-of-warranty gear, especially for NPS members, if you look and/or sound foreign and the gear is foreign and the person at Nikon USA thinks you look and/or sound like what they imagine people from there look/sound like.

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Luke Kaven
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to Logan Nolag, Apr 6, 2012

Logan Nolag wrote:

Ok I understand that but what I don't understand is HOW does B&H or other retailers buy products from other distributers.

It seems like Nikon USA does not like Grey Market but if the retailers get the items from other distributers doesn't that mean that those distributers are the ones creating the Grey Market. I would understand the lack of support if the Grey Market items came from other retailers but since they come from other Nikon distributers the lack of support does not make sense.

It seems like Nikon USA (If they really want to stop Grey Market) would be better served negotiating with the other distributers or Nikon Japan. It seems like all the different Nikon national distributers are run as separate companies.

ALSO it seems like Nikon USA's policy of not servicing Grey Market items makes buying used a frightening proposition. Nikon USA refuses to service grey market items and it seems like ALL the used retailers do not differentiate between Grey Market and USA items.

B&H can have relationships with Nikon retailers in other countries who buy wholesale and will turn around sell to B&H at a slight markup. B&H in turn is responsible for the importation.

I think B&H can do this openly for a few reasons:

1) They sell to non US nationals a lot, who have no need to pay for a US warranty.

2) They can argue that it helps them to keep more of the Nikon range of lenses in stock. I bought a gray market 135/2DC because there weren't any US models available anywhere.

3) B&H buys Nikon equipment by the tens of millions of dollars. They have more than $10M in preorders for the D800, perhaps twice that. They can have their way much of the time.

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Ian
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to Sante Patate, Apr 7, 2012

Guys, the issue is not with Nikon Corp, it has absolutely nothing to do with them, in fact it annoys them.

But the issue is down to Currency fluctuation. As I have said before the USA is the cheapest place to buy photo goods. The US market has been in trouble for many years and Japan would dearly like to increase prices in the US to those of Europe, not the other way around.

Currency issue are why you get Grey goods, I know of a case where goods were sent out and a month later were bought back by someone cheaper than he originally sold them for.This was down to Tarif barriers that used to exist..

At one time the £1 was equal to $1 so for us in the UK when the rate was $2 it was great, but your prces with Taxes are ot that much cheaper, in fact we are more expensive than you.

As the EEC is very small in area there is pricing parity as the area is so small. But prices are almost the same in the EEC as the US..

If you are happy buy it, lenses anyone can repair, bodies are a lot more difficult, take care

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Ian
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to Luke Kaven, Apr 7, 2012

Warranties on UK sourced product includes warranty of Nikon Europe / UK etc.
We do not pay extra for Warranties in the EU.

Grey goods, the dealer stands the warranty

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Ian
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Re: Grey Market/ Luke Kaven
In reply to Luke Kaven, Apr 18, 2012

They do not buy the Grey Stock from other Nikon Corp companies, I have had experience of this situation, but can not say any more.

They are buying from a retailer/shop in which ever country and it could be old stock, it could be bankrupt stock, but they DO NOT buy from other Nikon owned companies.

Nikon Corp do not like it as I am sure other countries are unhappy as it is hem who get the problems when or if the item goes faulty and the customer comes back to Nikon Corp demanding that the items repaired Free. Why should they.

More often than not there are no Warranty cards in the boxes, which in the UK means that Nikon UK may well say " no card no free repair"

Nikon Corp will be very annoyed with B&H, but as far as B&H are concerned some how from some where thay have bought some cheep stock and made extra $ selling it a bit cheaper..

If Nikon USA buy a piece of equipment in 20 minutes they can find out from which country it was shipped to by Nikon Jpn

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Leonard Shepherd
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to Logan Nolag, Apr 18, 2012

Nikon warranty cards imply Nikon do not control distribution or repairs in Greece or Italy, and in some other parts of the world..

Sometimes retailers get extra discounts for bulk orders. If they cannot sell enough to get the discount they might talk to some-one like B&H.
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John M Roberts
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to Dennis DH, Apr 18, 2012

Dennis DH wrote:

If fact Nikon will refuse to service grey product even if you will pay for said service.

That I believe could be true.

Other repair shops will work on grey market product, but with Nikon now not selling any parts to independent shop getting repair on grey market is going to come to a complete stop, so when the item needs work you might as well throw it in the garbage.

I am curious where have you gathered your information from that Nikon will not be selling parts to independent shops. That means you and I can't order replacement parts as well? I find it incredibly hard to believe all that used Nikon equipment needing repair in the USA will have to be tossed to the dump. If it were not pass business hours I would have call Nikon before writing this.

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Arree
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Re: Grey Market
In reply to John M Roberts, Apr 18, 2012

Maby in the US, but in Thailland I had my grey market D300 serviced and repaired by Nikon Niks, in fact they told me it was grey market themselves.
I bought my camera at Pantip in BKK, with the yellowcard and gold-box...

John M Roberts wrote:

Dennis DH wrote:

If fact Nikon will refuse to service grey product even if you will pay for said service.

That I believe could be true.

I am curious where have you gathered your information from that Nikon will not be selling parts to independent shops. That means you and I can't order replacement parts as well? I find it incredibly hard to believe all that used Nikon equipment needing repair in the USA will have to be tossed to the dump. If it were not pass business hours I would have call Nikon before writing this.

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John M Roberts
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Re: Dennis DH
In reply to Dennis DH, Apr 18, 2012

I just got off the phone with Nikon USA. I asked them if I bought a used piece of Nikon equipment in the USA but did not know if it was grey market or not originally but needed it repaired at my expense, would Nikon repair it. Guess what, they said "of course."

I called B&H and during the one year warranty they have photographic items repaired in the US. The person I spoke had read something about the parts issue and said he'd get back to me tomorrow after speaking with his manager.

I again called Nikon USA and this representative said if Nikon see's that the serial # is grey, even at my expense they will not repair it and send it back. So two different answers, but I believe the first didn't actually know.

Far from throwing your grey or used equipment in the dump, you could send it to Japan for repair but what waste of time and expense. So to refuse to work on grey, I can some what stomach. To deny independent shops which most certainly would mean you or I couldn't order parts as well, for how could they tell the difference, this would be disgraceful.

I hope this isn't what they are now doing but if so, thanks Dennis for the heads up.

John R

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chooflaki
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Re: Dennis DH
In reply to John M Roberts, Apr 18, 2012

If Nikon can't stop the grey market for products then I doubt they can stop the grey market for spare parts. With many grey products out there the will a corresponding demand for spares and perhaps make the grey spare parts market more lucrative. Any repair shop worth their salt will be able to source spare with ease from elsewhere.

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bikinchris
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Fact correction
In reply to Dennis DH, Apr 18, 2012

Dennis DH wrote:

Grey market lens are lens that have been brought into the country through some one other than Nikon USA. Nikon USA is the only one who can bring into the USA Nikon products. Items brought into the country through other channels are grey market and they do NOT carry any Nikon warranty.

That's not true. It does not have the 5 year Nikon USA warranty, but it does have a Nikon warranty. You just have to send it to Japan to get it repaired. There is only 1 year of international warranty. Shipping to Japan is not cheap and not covered under warranty.

If fact Nikon will refuse to service grey product even if you will pay for said service. Other repair shops will work on grey market product, but with Nikon now not selling any parts to independent shop getting repair on grey market is going to come to a complete stop, so when the item needs work you might as well throw it in the garbage. Is it worth saving a few dollars up front, only you can decide, my self I would touch a grey market item.

Not all independent shops will be cut off for parts. There are several great repair facilities in the USA who are authorized repair facilities. Some of them are former Nikon USA people. APS in Chicago comes to mind.

I suspect the 'next step' will be for Nikon USA to tell the authorized repair shops to stop repairing grey market, though. It seems like a logical step to me.

This doesn't mean I would buy grey market.

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bikinchris
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Buying camera gear in foreign countries
In reply to Guidenet, Apr 18, 2012

Many posters have confirmed that gear bought overseas for your own use will be repaired by Nikon USA. In other words, if you want to buy a camera in Hong Kong and bring it through customs and get it back to the USA and if you then pay duty fees and use taxes in your own state, then you can do that. Keep your receipt with your name on it if you want to get it repaired at Nikon. However, if you sell that gear, the buyer might have problems.

Bringing something in yourself that you bought overseas is not grey market. It just costs you more if you do it legally! It also protects professional photographers traveling overseas who need to get gear to finish a job.

Guidenet wrote:

They contact someone in Europe and make a purchase. If the product is hard to get, there's still some profit there. Sometimes it might be a distributor in Hong Kong. It's not always Europe. The distributor may not be the original Nikon distributor but one that specializes in moving merchandise around.

Nikon does honor Grey Market gear. Nikon USA does not. You can return your broken item to the repair center located where the product came from. You can also invoke your international warranty and return it to Japan.

Look at the serial number. These days the Letters US appears in front of the serial numbers of official Nikon USA product. This was not always true and did make it hard to find out on used gear. Today, I look for that US.

Many used dealers do differentiate. They will say US version with box and cards.

The problem arises when you're visiting a foreign country and want to buy a product. You have to be careful because it might be considered Grey Market later. I've been told you can keep the receipt and they will honor the International Warranty in the US that way and will service it afterwards. I don't know though. I stick strictly to US product.

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Cheers, Craig

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Good cyclists are:
Visible, Predictable, Alert, Assertive and Courteous

They also use the five layers of protection available.
Layer 1: Control your bike (Don't fall or collide with others)
Layer 2: Follow the rules (Don't be the cause of traffic crashes)
Layer 3: Use Lane position (Discourage other drivers mistakes)
Layer 4: Hazard Avoidance (Avoid other drivers mistakes and road hazards)
Layer 5: Utilize passive protection (Use protection when all else fails)

Chris, Broussard, LA

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Ian
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Re: Grey Market Leonard Shepherd
In reply to Leonard Shepherd, Apr 20, 2012

Leonard Shepherd.

Sadly Nikon Corp (Japan) set the prices, they will not deal believe me, they dictate what stock each company takes and the dictate he price.
They do not negotiate prices, they tell you.
B&H do not get bulk deals from Nikon USA, it does not work that way.
Read my e-mails please.

I have been in the trade for many years and know what goes on and it is world wide

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John M Roberts
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Re: Defend Nikon's USA position on this
In reply to bikinchris, Apr 20, 2012

bikinchris wrote:

I suspect the 'next step' will be for Nikon USA to tell the authorized repair shops to stop repairing grey market, though. It seems like a logical step to me.

Has grey had that big of an impact on Nikon USA? What's with all this control? If I'm willing to pay them to fix my out of warranty Nikon made item, what the frick is all this hard ass positioning? It's still a Nikon product. Lets buy a car or what ever and when it needs repair have the OM refuse to sell parts out to independents. They are not making themselves very popular with me in this regard.

John R

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