By Patrick Avenell
JB Hi-Fi last week shook up the local retail camera category with its decision to sell directly imported name brand stock through its website. One of those brands it is now selling at drastically reduced prices is Japanese imaging specialist Nikon.
So pervasive is the threat of grey imports to Nikon, the manufacturer has provided a five point guide to why purchasing its products from authorised resellers instead of parallel importers.
The first point Nikon raises is that its products will always comply with Australian standards. Conversely, it says that grey imports “may not meet mandatory safety and certification codes, or may not have been handled properly, therefore they may malfunction”.
The second point is one of the biggest and most misunderstood: warranty coverage. Nikon says that if you purchase its products through its authorised resellers, full technical service is provided at a local service centre. This service is free of charge, provided the warranty period is still active and the damage being repaired meets the warranty conditions.
For grey imports, the warranty situation is much more convoluted. Nikon says grey consumers “May not be able to receive full technical support as the warranty is valid only in the country where the camera was purchased from”, and that “certain dealers selling grey items may not be able to provide technical support”, while consumers “will also have to pay to have [their] camera serviced if it was bought from another country”.
Third on Nikon’s checklist is the manual. With DSLR cameras one of the most technologically confusing products in the market, consumers need the manufacturer’s manual in order to make the most of their purchase. Nikon claims that grey imports can include a manual that is not in English and that they are often simply photocopies of the original documents.
Nikon further advises that due to imaging software constantly evolving, it provides consumers with the ability to register their purchase to receive software and firmware upgrades as they become available. Conversely, Nikon says that “owners of grey items may not be able to download online software and firmware upgrades available from the Nikon site, due to incompatible serial numbers”.
Finally, Nikon says the software CD included in a Nikon camera purchase may not be the correct version, leading to “problems involved when wanting to upgrade the software”.
For consumers who do choose to purchase a Nikon camera through a grey importer, the company has some stern advice.
“Please do not contact Nikon Australia for help with any grey market products. Please contact the reseller or importer of your grey market items for warranty and service information as well as software updates and downloads.”