when i was in the process of buying my 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens i did a hell of a lot of research as you should do with the purvchase of any lens/camera (in my case anything i buy; camera, lens, bag, microfibre cleaning cloth [lol
], etc) of where the best place to buy it - here or overseas. i chose australia for mainly peace of mind and WARRANTY! pretty long story cut short i chose ted's (melbourne city) over michael's (rip off) and camerahouse and those other shifty-looking places. the sales guy was helpful - i got a 'deal' for buying my L lens and a hoya filter (special order since they dont stock that particular filter), saved about $200 overall. was it worth it? perhaps not.
it leads me to suspect they get some sort of commission to a degree...? i asked if i could get like a 'bonus' item for free, you know like a filter case or something. they gave me a pack of 100 sheets of tissue paper. TISSUE PAPER(!) for a $3300+ L lens and a $195 filter. i mean WTF, seriously!! and they dont have a 'wesar n' tear' warranty, camera house do for like $650+ extra. the ted's sales guy (dunno if i should say his name) said that BOTH michael's and camera house (and obviously the other shifty-looking camera places in the city) have and thus sell grey import/market items. which did partially 'help(?)' me to make up my mind with the decision to buy from ted's.
my zoom was a little stiff (it was as smooth as it should be) so i went back to ted's (the sales guy that i bought the lens&filter from wasnt there) a few days before my 30 day refund policy expired to get it checked out but the a*^hole who grabbed my lens (which was mounted to my camera) turned it a TINY bit and said it was fine. he said it was exactly how it should be and that he had a 70-200 2.8 IS II lens and that's how the zooming ring should feel - a little more stiff than the focussing ring, which mine was. i KNOW both rings should feel as smooth as each other (if you know what i mean). i knew he was wrong but i had to go, i was late for work, so i just packed my things and rushed out. then a few weeks later i went to my local ted's and pretended i was interested in buying the 70-200mm 2.8 IS II only on the agenda to test out the zoom and see if it should be stiffer than the focussing ring. i was right. anyways now i'm stuck with a damn expensive L lens with a stiff zooming ring.
i want to buy from amazon/adorama/B&H - i bought some gear from B&H coz it had the 'cheapest' shipping + handling fees outta those 3 outlets and OMG! i had a 3 week delay which i ended up scratching my L lens and the paint chipped off - long story that one and it pissed me off every single f'ing day!!!
i want to buy from overseas as it's cheaper in that respect but the shipping fees are quite ridiculous! absolutely through the roof not to mention GST and VAT taxes, etc. AND the warranty, if you buy from amazon (for example) there's no international warranty is there? grey import stuff also worries me as well and if there's a mishap with the lens less than 3yrs after you buy it then what happens? you cant exactly repair it. and there are NO lens repair stores (in melbourne) that i know of. i dont wanna spend a few thousand dollars buying a quality L lens overseas only to have it malfunction/break or whatever within 3yrs of buying it and no being able to do a thing about fixing it and with no insurance as well. sorry for rambling but can you see the big delima i have when buying a new lens, specifically and especially buying a L lens?