Thoughts on grey market dealers?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by metalmonkey47, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. Hey guys been reading a bit, getting ready to buy a Sigma 35mm ART and saw a few grey market importers (more specifically Kacha and E-infinity) offering it at a nice discount. Obviously being grey market you have zero warranty, which to me isn't a huge issue.

    Just curious if anyone here has any feedback on these vendors. Been reading on google but it seems inconclusive and a lot of the discussions seem to be pretty dated.
  2. I'd try Greentoe for NIB USA or buy used here or on FM before I'd
    consider grey on the Global Vision line. I currently have 5 and sold
    the 50 f1.4/18-35 f1.8 due to lack of use. Pretty much got what I
    paid for them...since they were NOT grey. The 35 is amazing. ;)

    Oh, you might consider a refurb from the Sigma Outlet...I stole my
    150-600 Sport from them just 6 months after it's release. :eek:
  3. Thanks for the lead! I actually didn't realize Sigma had an outlet where they offered used/refurb lenses. Sadly no 35mm ART currently. I'll be watching it for deals though!
  4. There are also "legitimate" grey market dealers like B&H, who disclose what they are selling clearly but also have a long track record. I would certainly be leery of ones without well known good reputations; you can try (though they seem to not get much feedback lately) and asking about specific vendors, but by and large I think people doing this for a long time have found that "if it's significantly cheaper than B&H or Adorama it's probably a scam of some sort". That doesn't mean those are the only legitimate dealers, and emphasis on "significantly", but it's a rule that seems to have held up over many years.
  5. Thanks for the feedback. I don't think I'd call B&H grey market, at least not from what I can tell. They're on Sigma's list of authorized retailers and list for the usual $899 retail price. Ironically enough, I found Sigma has a an Amazon account where they sell their own lenses in an international version for significantly cheaper than US retail.
  6. You may be right about Sigma, in a brief look I did not see any on B&H labeled imports.

    I'd be very surprised if Sigma was actually selling their own lenses on Amazon in violation of their own terms. They like most vendors are pretty aggressive at trying to discourage that activity; to participate actively in it would completely offend their authorized dealers. See their own statement:

    Important Information regarding Gray Market Sigma Products | Sigma Corporation of America

    That would make me wonder if the actual vendor is even Sigma. Maybe. Just seems very odd. I did a brief search without finding any, not doubting it looks like that and you see it, but am suggesting give it a real hard look before assuming that it isn't a fake. It would be like Nikon Europe trying to compete to sell in the USA with Nikon USA.
  7. When Adorama have Imports (Grey Market) stock for sale they state it up front.
    Here's their 'General Information' page.

    General Information |

    Under 'Product Information' click on 'What are imported items?'

    Just because a dealer is 'Authorized' does not mean they are limited to selling ONLY
    authorized products. But only 'Authorized' products will have a USA warranty from the
    USA distributor (Nikon USA, Sigma USA, Tamron USA, etc).

    When buying, even from an authorized dealer, watch for terms such as Imported,
    International, Grey Market, etc. and check to see what the dealers policy is and if
    they offer any sort of warranty service.

    BTW, when buying from/through Amazon it's important to be sure if you are buying
    directly from Amazon or from a third party selling through Amazon. Amazon is both
    a dealer and a 'broker' for other dealers who sell THROUGH them. Also, Amazon sells
    both 'Authorized' and 'Imported' items so reading everything carefully is important.
  8. And just to be further confusing there is also "fulfilled by amazon" which is a bit of a middle ground, as you tend to get their shipping and (maybe) return terms, but it's still product supplied by the 3rd party. So if I'm worried about counterfeits (e.g. memory cards) I only buy from Amazon directly (or B&H), but if I am not, I look for fulfilled by amazon also, as I know I'll get my 2 day shipping correctly (or good customer service on it).

    The significant part of the above though was the idea that the manufacturer was the one selling through Amazon and selling grey market themselves. That's downright weird.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Sigma is the manufacturer (located in Japan) and will sell to anyone that wants to buy their product.

    Sigma USA is a 'Distributor' that buys product from Sigma (Japan) and then re-distributes it
    to USA retailers/dealers.

    Amazon (et al) can buy from Sigma (Japan) for much cheaper then buying from Sigma USA because
    Sigma USA charges retailers/dealers a premium which covers their profit, shipping and warranty cost.

    The confusion is that Sigma (Japan) is selling through Amazon. I think you will find that it simply says
    "Sigma" up at the top which only means it's a Sigma 'Branded' product. Whom it is sold by (Amazon or
    another dealer) is stated lower down.

    "Ships from and sold by PhoenixPhoto."
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
  10. Yes, but then the seller is Amazon, and not Sigma.
  11. I added to the last post...
  12. Indeed, that makes sense. I like Amazon, but it does have pitfalls in how things are labeled if you do not read carefully.

    Incidentally nothing I'm saying is really knocking grey market, I've happily bought stuff, selectively, that was grey from B&H. The issue is that the photo industry is like the Florida of mail order -- filled with scam artists that make used car dealers look honest. Many running the same scams for decades, just skirting the law. It just merits caution when something looks very cheap.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. I agree with everything you said... ;)

    I love Amazon and buy from them frequently but I've spent many years doing it
    and learning the systems ins/outs...
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017