Nikon USA/Grey Market Article

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This article author only needed to check the serial number of their lens. I believe all Nikon USA lenses have a specific identifier in the serial, similar to VIN numbers on cars indicating when and where they were assembled.

https://www.photo.net/discuss/threa...mber-was-purchase-used-lens-from-ebay.363920/
He specifically mentions in the article that Nikon customer service told him that serial number means nothing. But that's not the main point of the OP. The response from Nikon customer service that the author received is the issue. The story that he relates in the article is similar to my own experience talking with them. The customer service people at the 800 number and/or on-line seem to have no knowledge at all about there products. It's rather disconcerting to spend thousands on equipment and get the kind of responses that their customer service people provide. It's a different story when you speak with someone at a service center.
 
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Hmmm
The article gives examples of European lenses with the US identifier and US lenses without it.
It seems that there are many combinations possible.
Indeed that discussion thread basically says nothing useful but does seem to support the gist of the article from Nikon Rumors. Also in the thread there is mention of assuming that you have a warranteed product if you register it on the Nikon site without any problem. A few years ago I bought a grey market camera body and successfully registered it. Never heard boo from Nikon.
 
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Indeed that discussion thread basically says nothing useful but does seem to support the gist of the article from Nikon Rumors. Also in the thread there is mention of assuming that you have a warranteed product if you register it on the Nikon site without any problem. A few years ago I bought a grey market camera body and successfully registered it. Never heard boo from Nikon.
Yes,
Gray vs US is a legal scam.
It actually goes against the pure free play of market forces theory and shows how perverted modern economies have become to serve the interest of some and restrict competition.
I am sure Nikon would disagree.
But that is an entirely different topic.
Fortunately in the EU we no longer have this, and in some industries vendors are offering worldwide warranties, I think my HP laptop came with one, as well as my printer.
What is worrying is that Nikon is not able to track its products and tag their serial number.
Poor logistics? Lack of investment in supply chain analytics?
 
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Always best to buy from a Nikon USA dealer. Wouldn't the lens have Nikon USA warranty paperwork in the box if it was a genuine Nikon USA warrantied lens? While I agree that Nikon Service should be able to identify whether or not a lens qualifies for Nikon USA warranty, the author could have done more.

There are other excellent resources. Some lenses here indicate "For USA".
http://www.photosynthesis.co.nz/nikon/serialno.html

If I recall correctly, the US has far more stringent warranty requirements than many other countries. As such, I imagine Nikon explicitly identifies which of their products qualify vs which do not. If I am right, then it really comes down to dollars and cents for Nikon. Only provide the USA level of warranty on those products that require it. Grey market are less because Nikon does not have to provide USA level warranty for them.
 
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Many years ago I was in a camera shop, one I usually didn't frequent, and spotted a box with a lens that I'd wanted for a long time, but which had recently been discontinued several months prior by Nikon. I was so excited -- at last I could buy this lens, and brand-new at that! I eagerly purchased it, brought it home, opened the box, admired the lens and stuck it on my Nikon DSLR, then casually looked through the enclosed paperwork. A warranty paper came up in my hand and I frowned in confusion. as it was different than what I'd always had with my other Nikon gear. I looked through the paperwork again for the familiar sheet with the USA warranty; what was this "worldwide" thing? Then the penny dropped: aha, this was probably a grey market lens!!! I decided that I was going to keep it anyway and just hope that nothing ever went bad with it and that I wouldn't need to send it off for repairs. Fortunately for me, there was never a problem with it, worked flawlessly right up to the day the lens left the household years later....
 

NCV

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Sometimes, the below the line comments are more intelligent than the OP. Go to the posts by Eamon Hickey, who describes the economics of the Grey Market scam very nicely.

You pay more for officially imported gear because you are also paying for the service backup they provide. The flotsam and jetsam of the grey market is just pure profit with no aftersales costs for the exporter.

Personally if I was buying a €6000 lens I would want to see and test it. The prices at my local dealer for officially imported Nikon gear is much the same as online.

The author of the article just needed to check the paperwork when the lens arrived. Amazon accept returns I believe.
 
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I'm on board with several of the comments regarding the warranty issue. It's pretty simple. Did the lens come with a USA warranty card in the box or not. And if considering a second hand lens can the seller provide the original warranty card or not? But regarding OP that's beside the point. I guess the intended point either never got across or was since lost in the shuffle. IMO it's not the issue of the warranty that was interesting in the article. It was the unwillingness and/or inability of Nikon customer service to provide a straight answer to what should be a pretty straight forward question. Is this lens, serial no.xxxxxx covered by an US warranty and/or is it serviceable by Nikon service centers in the USA? For most used equipment the latter of the two is the real issue. Frankly I'm surprised that Nikon is able to get away with forcing their authorized service centers in the USA to refuse service on equipment that was not originally intended for the US market.

Regarding the USA vs grey market issue, there is one very simple indication that a lens or camera body is not a USA version. Nikon controls pricing by their authorized retailers very tightly. If any of them are selling a new lens/camera at a price below the price advertised by Nikon USA, then it's pretty certain that it is a grey market item. That's the reason that some retailers advertise Nikon products with a bunch of other filters, memory cards, etc, thrown into the deal at the base retail price. They can't price the items below what Nikon has authorized so they try to sweeten the deal by givingmore stuff for the same price.
 
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It was the unwillingness and/or inability of Nikon customer service to provide a straight answer to what should be a pretty straight forward question.
I've noticed more and more often lately that companies' responses to customer queries don't even try to respond to the question being asked. They apparently think that if they can satisfy you in the end without attending to the question being asked, they'll happily try that method of changing the subject. I've experienced that situation twice in the last month, once from a software company and another from a freight company.
 
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Frankly I'm surprised that Nikon is able to get away with forcing their authorized service centers in the USA to refuse service on equipment that was not originally intended for the US market.
This is my concern. I purchased some of my lenses as grey market as there was a significant savings and I was willing to forego the NIkon warranty. Fortunately, I have never owned a lens that required repair.

That being said, I always assumed that if my lens required a repair that I could take it into an authorized repair center and pay for the repair out of pocket. Not being able to do that doesn’t seem reasonable to me.

Glenn
 
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I've noticed more and more often lately that companies' responses to customer queries don't even try to respond to the question being asked. They apparently think that if they can satisfy you in the end without attending to the question being asked...
That's the real question. Is it a business strategy or merely untrained/incompetent customer service personnel?
 
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Is it a business strategy or merely untrained/incompetent customer service personnel?
If we conclude that it's a business strategy, we might be giving them more credit than they deserve for being able to come up with such a clever scheme.

It might be possible that it is something in between a business strategy and incompetence; it can be a matter of corporate culture. Example: The employees ask the managers direct questions and never get an answer. The employees see that management achieved what they wanted to achieve. When put in the same situation but in reversed roles when the customers are asking the questions, the employees handle it the same way for the same reason. It's all unspoken but becomes pervasive. And everybody but the customers approve even though the customers know they are likely to get the same treatment from other companies. So, they don't take the time and energy to consider evaluating other companies. I've been in that situation as a customer countless times.

EDIT: On further thought, such corporate cultures are examples of incompetence.
 
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Growltiger

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What an amazingly complicated mess this person got into for no reason.

The serial number doesn't matter when buying a new item. All that matters is the warranty details that come in the box - they include the serial number. That is the evidence you have a warranty that is useful to you.
If you buy a grey market item then it may have no warranty information because it has been deliberately taken out and discarded. Or it may have a warranty for a particular region or country which is not yours. You can send the lens to that country and get it fixed under warranty, but this may be slow and the shipping expensive.

Different Nikon companies have different policies. In the US Nikon have always had a policy of not repairing grey imports, whether under warranty or not. In the UK Nikon will always repair any Nikon equipment, but if not under warranty in the UK you have to pay. So if you are happy to pay, you can ship it to Nikon UK for repair.
 
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