Canon's Definition of Gray Market

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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
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Many people wonder what is meant by Gray Market.

Its simply a product that was not imported by Canon USA, but purchased overseas, usually from China, but anywhere the seller gets the lowest price. There is no US Warranty Card (No Big Deal), power cords may have been replaced with cheap ones that fit US outlets, and a copy of the US manual may replace the one that was originally in the box. Sometimes a copy of the software CD/DVD is also included. Back in the 1960's when I bought my FT QL, Buyers were purchasing directly from Hong Kong. Customs would often size a Gray Market Camera, so the Canon or Nikon or Pentax or Olympus logo was either removed or painted out. It the logo was glued on, it was sent along with the instruction manuals and paperwork in a separate mailing to the buyer. This worked and saved the buyer money, but Canon /Nikon/Pentax/Olympus would not repair it.

Eventually, the US Congress made it clear that Customs had no business sizing gray market products.



Canon still takes a dim view of gray market sales, they cost Canon USA $$$ because they have (so far) been repairing and supporting them. This means they pay to fix cameras that they did not receive payment for (Payment went to China.) BEWARE - NIKON USA will not repair Gray Market Cameras or Lenses, not even if you are willing to pay.

http://usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/gray_market


"Information on Parallel or "Gray Market" Products

Canon sells and supports Canon-brand consumer and professional products in the U.S. through Canon U.S.A., which distributes these products through its authorized dealers and distributors. Canon U.S.A. is the only authorized importer of these products in the U.S., and provides industry-leading customer service and support for them. Products distributed by Canon U.S.A. are "localized" to meet the needs of customers in the U.S. market and are engineered to comply with local safety regulations and governmental requirements. As such, these products come with different accessories, manuals, and warranties than the versions intended for sale in other global regions such as Asia. Any Canon-brand products which are imported and sold other than by this method are referred to as "parallel," or "Gray Market," products (collectively, "Gray Market Products").

Hazards and Difficulties Associated with "Gray Market" Products

Customers in the U.S. may find that Gray Market Products do not meet their expectations because they were not intended by Canon for sale in the U.S. In some cases, sellers of Gray Market Products may attempt to localize the products themselves by adding, changing or removing certain accessories from the products, which may result in the following:
including in product packaging illegal or counterfeit accessories, such as batteries, chargers, and ink tanks, which can cause injury and seriously damage your Canon product;
an incorrect power cord or adapter which was not provided, or quality checked, by Canon;
incorrect software or illegal copies of software which may not function;
poor photocopies of the original manual;
a fake Canon U.S. warranty, a warranty provided by a third party, or no warranty at all; and
a device with a serial number which cannot be registered with Canon in the U.S.


Customers should also be aware that Gray Market Products may not be eligible for:
coverage under a U.S. warranty;
U.S. promotions, including mail-in and instant rebates; and
technical support


If you are in doubt about a seller, or whether the products it sells are intended for the U.S., please visit http://usa.canon.com/authorized dealers for a list of Canon U.S.A.'s Authorized Dealers. New and genuine Canon products intended for sale in the U.S. can only be purchased from Canon Authorized Dealers in the U.S. or from Canon U.S.A. directly. "
 

archiea

EOS 80D
Jan 17, 2013
161
9
Being a happy-go-lucky Eos-m3 user, I;m sure they understand that the "grey market" w1s the only means to get this camera in the US. I wonder what their position is on that considering we are customers that went the extra mile to get their product as opposed to trying to get a deal on an existing USA product.
 

dolina

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Dec 27, 2011
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I believe this depends on a case to case basis. If the item is fairly unique or the customer is somewhat important they do make exceptions.

These exceptions largely falls upon the discretion of company whether it be Canon /Nikon/Pentax/Olympus/etc
 

Ryan85

EOS RP
Nov 16, 2014
343
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Doesn't Canon USA honor all North American sells from authorized Canon dealers? Like ones in Canada.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
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Ryan85 said:
Doesn't Canon USA honor all North American sells from authorized Canon dealers? Like ones in Canada.
Call them! Others have, and they tell you that they do not warranty Canadian versions eh!

In practice, I have not heard of anyone being refused.
 

RGF

How you relate to the issue, is the issue.
Jul 13, 2012
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Mt Spokane Photography said:
Ryan85 said:
Doesn't Canon USA honor all North American sells from authorized Canon dealers? Like ones in Canada.
Call them! Others have, and they tell you that they do not warranty Canadian versions eh!

In practice, I have not heard of anyone being refused.
I have purchased several lens from Canada. All have US warranty cards.
 

RGF

How you relate to the issue, is the issue.
Jul 13, 2012
2,816
35
Wonder if a tourist came to the US, had a problem with a new camera or lens. Would canon fix it under warranty?

Similar questions, if you bought a camera while travel (say your camera/lens was lost), would Canon honor the foreign warranty since you purchased the item aboard?
 

rfdesigner

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 12, 2014
876
0
New Forest, UK
sites.google.com
And to think, Canon/Nikon etc could shut down the grey market overnight simply by introducing a flat price worldwide.

But they try and charge customers in "rich" countries substantially more.. I don't have lots of sympathy.. but I do have far more for time for Canon as they still provide support for grey market and parts, unlike Nikon.. one more reason to stick with Canon.
 

zim

EOR R
Oct 18, 2011
1,863
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Once out of warranty does Canon make any distinction as to original source?
 

Hector1970

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 22, 2012
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"Eventually, the US Congress made it clear that Customs had no business sizing gray market products."

Just to check Seizing or Sizing?

I can never figure this one out. If I go to Hong Kong and buy a camera why shouldn't Canon (Europe in my case) abide by it's warranty. If buy on line from Hong Kong why is that any different. Canon are getting their base amount of money anyway (whatever the wholesale price is). Somewhere they sold it to someone who sold it on. They seem quite happy to sell it to the first supplier even though they know there's a good chance it will end up in the US or Europe because of price and tax imbalances.
It would be different if the camera was not really a "Canon" and just looked like one - I wouldn't expect them to honour a warranty.
 

lw

EOS RP
Oct 9, 2013
265
0
Hector1970 said:
"Eventually, the US Congress made it clear that Customs had no business sizing gray market products."

Just to check Seizing or Sizing?

I can never figure this one out. If I go to Hong Kong and buy a camera why shouldn't Canon (Europe in my case) abide by it's warranty. If buy on line from Hong Kong why is that any different. Canon are getting their base amount of money anyway (whatever the wholesale price is). Somewhere they sold it to someone who sold it on. They seem quite happy to sell it to the first supplier even though they know there's a good chance it will end up in the US or Europe because of price and tax imbalances.
It would be different if the camera was not really a "Canon" and just looked like one - I wouldn't expect them to honour a warranty.
I guess because their current accounting has no means of cross-billing another territory for support.

Support costs - at least Warranty support - is paid for from the sale of the products.
If there was no local sale - then how is local support funded?
So you would have a situation where Hong Kong would get the profits of a sale, but Canon UK for example would bear the cost of any repairs.

Yes it may not matter to Canon Global's bottom line where products are bought or where they are repaired.
But the way they are organized on a territory and country basis means you would end up with some running at a loss because they incur the greatest support burden relative to their lower sales whilst other make all the profits because they take all the sales profit but never repair anything. Which has numerous tax and accounting impacts. Not to mention how you might incentivize you staff who find themselves getting less and less sales bonuses.
So it's not as simple as Canon UK simply sending Hong Kong the bill.

But the fact is, we are in a global economy and it is easier than ever to purchase products from the cheapest source wherever they may be. Global companies like Canon are going have to deal with it - and it shouldn't be via a restriction in trade.
 

tomscott

Photographer & Graphic Designer
I buy all my gear "grey market" because here in the UK the import tax and electronics tax is ridiculous meaning the product is often 1/3 or more expensive then the US equivalent.

Also all my gear has come in UK packaging with UK instructions, plugs etc. The only items that haven't have been from the US, but as all the cables can just be switched out it doesn't matter and with lenses even less so.

A 5DMKIII in the UK is £2249 in the US its $2499. With currency conversions $2499 is £1594 £655 difference.
That equates to 30% more expensive. Its a no brainer. £655 is another lens its crazy, yes you get tax back in the UK as a working pro but the rate is only 20% so your still paying £200 more, and its a yearly thing thats offset so the upfront cost is more. When buying grey market there is no tax value to add either so it doesn't matter what state your in so that $2499 is flat rate. Those are B&H prices too, digital rev for example has a 5DMKIII at £1639 and SLR Hut has it at £1399. SLR hut is an american importer and that equates to $2149 $350 dollar saving.

The dollar is strong to the yen atm so it makes more sense to import US rather than from Hong Kong. Ive bought everything from DR but bought a 7DMKII for £800 yesterday from SLR HUT thats over £400 cheaper… it will be here in 3 days… crazy.

Ive had no problem at all sending my gear to CPS UK for repairs and cleaning don't bat an eyelid. So for me it makes no sense to spend the extra money on UK stock makes no difference what so ever.

Here in the UK CPS uses canon authorised repair centres rather than it being canon itself. Its all BS if you ask me, squeeze some more money out of people.

As you only get a 1 year warranty which is disgusting seen as tho the price is so high it doesn't matter anyway you will be paying for repairs. If it came with a 3 or 5 year warranty which seems normal to me… then the extra price hike would be worth it. But most retailers in the UK will charge £350+ for gear worth up to £2500 seen as tho most of my gear is over £1500 that price is just ridiculous.

Even as a working pro the likelihood of a product having a problem is so slim. Infact I've never had a problem under the 1 year mark. Canons products are so well built you should be getting a 3 year warranty with it as standard just like pretty much any other product.
 

Hector1970

EOS 6D MK II
Mar 22, 2012
1,129
318
tomscott said:
As you only get a 1 year warranty which is disgusting seen as tho the price is so high it doesn't matter anyway you will be paying for repairs. If it came with a 3 or 5 year warranty which seems normal to me… then the extra price hike would be worth it. But most retailers in the UK will charge £350+ for gear worth up to £2500 seen as tho most of my gear is over £1500 that price is just ridiculous.

Even as a working pro the likelihood of a product having a problem is so slim. Infact I've never had a problem under the 1 year mark. Canons products are so well built you should be getting a 3 year warranty with it as standard just like pretty much any other product.
I agree with the one year warranty. Canon gear is so well built its hard to figure out why they don't offer a 3 year warranty on such expensive items. It really encourages people to buy on the grey market. I'm in Ireland prices in shops are even higher than the UK (The UK has some really big retailers to make some competition). 12 Months warranty only means it's worth the risk of buying on the grey market.
 

tomscott

Photographer & Graphic Designer
Well thats it. You get a standard world wide 1 year warranty with all the grey market established businesses too.

I had a problem with my 70-200mm MKII got in touch they rang a CPS certified repair company in Lincoln I think, was sent away free postage sorted the problem and came back perfect. That was with Digital Rev. TBH it was more difficult to get it sorted as at the time DR only had a customer service in HK so was some early morning phone calls but it all got sorted out relatively quickly.

To put it another way I bought a Tamron 150-600mm from Park cameras in the UK as Tamrons tend to be less reliable than Canon I paid the extra for the 6 year UK guarantee that comes with UK stock. I received a very early lens which didn't even have the first firmware update let alone the other 3! It also came in an unsealed box. So I sent it back, fortunately I determined it wasn't for me anyway and they were very understanding. I doubt you would get the understanding card from a grey market company, so you have to ensure its what you want.

Its horses for courses just because your buying from a "reputable" dealer doesn't mean you get a quality up to date product. Park were extremely good to deal with mind you and sorted it all out and I got a refund fairly quickly although i had to pay the postage to send back which was £30. I originally wanted another copy of my 70-200mm and to send it back to HK fully insured DHL the way it came… Was going to cost me £350… so glad digital rev now have a base in the UK to deal with all customer issues.

So I don't even think twice about it. The less the cameras and gear cost the more money I make and more I can spend, vicious cycle.
 

rfdesigner

EOS 6D MK II
Sep 12, 2014
876
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New Forest, UK
sites.google.com
tomscott said:
Well thats it. You get a standard world wide 1 year warranty with all the grey market established businesses too.
Not necessarily true. It is possible to buy a 5DIII for ~£1450 here in the UK and get a 3 year warranty.. HDEW, (though lenses do seem to be 1 yr warranty)

Similar pricing disparity used to happen in the car market where people in the UK would have to pay as much as 50% more for the same models as those in Europe. Once the EU standardised things people could buy any country specific model from any retailer throughout Europe.. effectively ending the right had drive premium, I do wonder what will happen if we leave the EU.
 

unfocused

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Jul 20, 2010
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Not wanting to derail the conversation too much, but...

There was another thread that got shut down, discussing worker allegations of poor treatment at one of the two major photo dealers in New York.

I suggested that we all need to own up to our own part in these kinds of situations. The constant search to save a few dollars, which I am as guilty of as anyone, does have consequences.

It is hypocritical to merrily purchase products that circumvent the proper import channels on one hand and then on the other excoriate retailers who are forced to cut expenses to the bone in order to try to compete with these importers. Or, for that matter, to buy from these out-of-state retailers in order to evade local taxes and then wonder why our lcoal roads can't be repaired.

I don't know why Canon USA provides warranty repairs to products that are grey-market. It is costing them money and jobs. I appreciate their generosity and assume they have determined it makes good business sense to do so, but Nikon is certainly within their rights to decide otherwise.

As I say, I am as guilty as anyone. I am merely reminding us all that our actions do have consequences and in the United States at least, those consequences have lead to loss of jobs and a loss of opportunities, especially for our young people.
 

distant.star

EOR R
Jan 19, 2011
1,813
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USA
wetracy.smugmug.com
unfocused said:
Not wanting to derail the conversation too much, but...

There was another thread that got shut down, discussing worker allegations of poor treatment at one of the two major photo dealers in New York.
Be careful. You're talking about personal responsibility within communities, and that can be construed as political. Next thing someone will say something about a Persian carpet store and this thread goes in the toilet.

I still haven't figured out why the thread you mention got shut down. It was either because one of the "moderator" people thinks he really works for the U.S. "Homeland Security" gang or whether it had more to do with the business connection between that retailer and this site.

Someone started a subsequent thread to continue that original discussion; that has now disappeared. Coming to this site always invokes for me thoughts of GDR and Stasi.
 

zim

EOR R
Oct 18, 2011
1,863
53
tomscott said:
I buy all my gear "grey market" because here in the UK the import tax and electronics tax is ridiculous meaning the product is often 1/3 or more expensive then the US equivalent.

Also all my gear has come in UK packaging with UK instructions, plugs etc. The only items that haven't have been from the US, but as all the cables can just be switched out it doesn't matter and with lenses even less so.

A 5DMKIII in the UK is £2249 in the US its $2499. With currency conversions $2499 is £1594 £655 difference.
That equates to 30% more expensive. Its a no brainer. £655 is another lens its crazy, yes you get tax back in the UK as a working pro but the rate is only 20% so your still paying £200 more, and its a yearly thing thats offset so the upfront cost is more. When buying grey market there is no tax value to add either so it doesn't matter what state your in so that $2499 is flat rate. Those are B&H prices too, digital rev for example has a 5DMKIII at £1639 and SLR Hut has it at £1399. SLR hut is an american importer and that equates to $2149 $350 dollar saving.

The dollar is strong to the yen atm so it makes more sense to import US rather than from Hong Kong. Ive bought everything from DR but bought a 7DMKII for £800 yesterday from SLR HUT thats over £400 cheaper… it will be here in 3 days… crazy.

Ive had no problem at all sending my gear to CPS UK for repairs and cleaning don't bat an eyelid. So for me it makes no sense to spend the extra money on UK stock makes no difference what so ever.

Here in the UK CPS uses canon authorised repair centres rather than it being canon itself. Its all BS if you ask me, squeeze some more money out of people.

As you only get a 1 year warranty which is disgusting seen as tho the price is so high it doesn't matter anyway you will be paying for repairs. If it came with a 3 or 5 year warranty which seems normal to me… then the extra price hike would be worth it. But most retailers in the UK will charge £350+ for gear worth up to £2500 seen as tho most of my gear is over £1500 that price is just ridiculous.

Even as a working pro the likelihood of a product having a problem is so slim. Infact I've never had a problem under the 1 year mark. Canons products are so well built you should be getting a 3 year warranty with it as standard just like pretty much any other product.
Couldn't agree more and there is another factor I take into account, as an amateur I'm never at the front of the buying curve, at least one normally two years behind. Canon is pretty solid as it is so anything major like adding black tape :) is pretty much sorted out. Over and above that I use HDEW and get 3 years warranty on bodies, 1 on lenses.
 
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