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Grey Market Camera/Lenses

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dx379, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. dx379


    Jul 9, 2008
    Tulsa, OK

    I recently purchased some camera equipment from a store that I now believe is a reseller selling grey market goods. Going by their feedback on ebay I was confident they were legit, but after having some problems with them and then checking out reselleratings I am now pretty concerned I made a newb mistake.

    They have been dishonest about several things and are very shady. The camera works great and I have no problems with it. Their auction says that everything comes with a 1-year Nikon USA warranty which would make me think it is legit - but I was wondering how I can verify this camera is covered?

    Any ideas or advice? Should I call Nikon and ask them to run the serial number, or is there something specific to the serial number that would answer my questions?

  2. Check the first digit of the camera serial number. A camera bound for the US market will start with a 3.

  3. ol geezer

    ol geezer

    Sep 29, 2007
    Plano, TX
    Go on Nikon's web site and try to register the camera. If registeration is accepted, you are OK.
  4. dx379


    Jul 9, 2008
    Tulsa, OK
    Thank you guys for your responses. Although unfortunately I think I already know the answer I will give it a shot.

    I paid with 2 different cards so I am probably going to be in for quite a battle to get my money back. This is really upsetting as I had been looking forward to getting this camera for such a long time.

    I asked the guy 3 times on the phone if this was a "grey" market camera and each time he said no. I reminded him that the auction said it was warrantied by Nikon USA for the first year and he said yes that was correct. I have printed out the auction just in case.

    The funny part was, he kept insisting I leave him positive feeback on the auction immediately, even though they lied to me and then made a feeble attempt to make things better. Rather than refund me my money for the POS flash they sent me, they agreed to sell me a different one (still $50 more than I can get it for elsewhere...)

    Overall a bad experience that I hope can be remedied...

  5. dx379


    Jul 9, 2008
    Tulsa, OK
  6. rgordin


    Jun 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    Even if the serial number looks like it might be a USA product, at this point, you should call Nikon if you are even thinking of keeping it. NIkon USA may want a copy of the receipt before they do any warranty work (BTW, Nikon USA will not work on grey market products under any circumstances). If you acquired the product from a non-Nikon dealer, you may be out-a-luck for warranty work regardless of the serial number.

    Also, did you receive a Nikon USA registration/warranty card? If so, that's good. If not, that's . . .
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2008
  7. This is why I never use EBAY or paypal. Ya I know that for the millions of items everyday, most are satisfied transactions, But you hear so often of all the scams, ripoffs, out right fraud, hassles of getting issues rectified that I dont waste my time shopping on EBAY. To me it is not worth the hassle. A few months ago I bought a D300 through a local dealer who was price matching an internet deal. Was to be a new D300 body. Arrived...took one picture and checked EXIF data. No less than 16,565 pictures had been taken with that body "Brand New Right Out Of The Box" You bet I was in that store at 08:00 the next morning. Gave me another body with out question asap. I dont know if they tried to pawn off a body they knew had lots of use or whether they them selves were scammed by a previous customer - I am taking them at face value that they didnt know as they are a highly respected dealer in town and do not have a reputation for shaddy deals.
    Anyway my point is if this, It this had been an EBAY transaction (or long distance internet deal) it would have been a nightmare to deal with and get sorted out. To save a few bucks is not worth the anguish of a problem. My peace of mind is worth a few bucks to me.
  8. Contact Nikon USA. Tell them that you've purchased a camera from a dealer who claims it is covered by a 1 year Nikon USA warranty, but you don't find him on their list of authorized retailers. Now you're concerned that the dealer may be selling gray market goods.

    That will get their attention, because they regard gray market gear as unfair competition, since it gets a free ride on the coattails of Nikon USA's expensive marketing programs.

    They'll be riled up, so give them a link to the completed auction, and the serial number of your camera, and ask them if you're in trouble. They'll sort it out for you.

    Btw, my guess is that your camera is not gray market. Nikon USA monitors dealer offerings very closely, and would prosecute any gray market dealer who made false claim about warranty coverage.
  9. dx379


    Jul 9, 2008
    Tulsa, OK
    Well, thankfully my assumptions were incorrect. I verified today through Nikon that the camera is not a "Grey Market" and will be covered under their warranty. Makes me feel a lot better to know I didn't just spend a bunch of hard earned money with some crooks.

    While I am still not happy with their practices, it does appear that I have a legitimate camera:smile:

  10. tbaybucs

    tbaybucs Guest

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2010
  11. I tried to check them out at http://www.resellerratings.com/, but nobody has rated them yet. However, when I clicked the link to check out their website, my computer reacted with this warning:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Yikes! I guessed they were a scam based on the absurd price offering, but apparently it is a phising site as well.
  12. tbaybucs

    tbaybucs Guest

    well....i think i need to switch av's or maybe it is just firefox ?? sorry about that
  13. clbd39


    Aug 12, 2009
    prior to buying any camera piece said to be "nikon" i get the serial number with an ACTUAL picture of it... and then check it out..
  14. general


    Apr 30, 2005
    Serial Numbers

    The use of serial numbers to determine whether it is a US model or not is not a reliable way to make that determination. Despite what you may have been told, all US models do NOT start with 3. I have six DSLRs: one starts with a 2; three start with a 3, and two start with a 5. All are US models and registered with Nikon.
  15. soupcxan


    Jan 1, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Not true. People have reported that Nikon will sometimes repair grey market gear if you pay out of pocket. It's certainly not guaranteed, but the policy isn't as strict as all the diehard USA-only internet fanbois make it out to be.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 22, 2010
  16. Max Power

    Max Power

    Jan 11, 2009
    St Paul, MN
    Of course, hindsight is the only perfect science, but it is always best to research these issues before you buy rather than after.
  17. RDW1


    Jan 16, 2009
    I'm sure this is how Nikon Inc. (USA) would choose to interpret the situation, but since it's a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nikon Corp (the Japanese parent company) I find this a bit hard to swallow! Nikon is just competing with itself here, and the 'gray market' only exists because of the artificial barriers it has created to free trade in its products. The system of punishing gray market customers (by refusing service) exists purely to maximise profits in countries where consumers can or will pay higher prices. As Thom Hogan puts it:

    'Nikon's stated corporate vision is "Meeting needs. Exceeding expectations."...the current practice at Nikon for warranty and repair work is "Confusing users. Erecting barriers."'


    Nikon is a great company in many ways, of course, but I think its warranty policy is one of its least admirable qualities. Of course, many of its competitors do exactly the same thing. Isn't it funny how large coporations reap the benefits of the global market (outsourcing manufacturing and technical support), but see it as somehow 'unfair' when individual consumers try to take advantage of the same system?

    Sorry, rant over.
  18. Max Power

    Max Power

    Jan 11, 2009
    St Paul, MN
    Well, I suppose consumers can reap the benefits of the global market by sending their camera for service in the country it was purchased. I have always wondered how difficult it would be to buy canadian items and have them serviced there vs here in the states.
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