A response from B&H re. non-shipment of some brands of Binoculars

Subject: A response from B&H re. non-shipment of some brands of Binoculars
From: Chris Ross <>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 2011 19:20:37 +1100
interesting discussion on prices here vs overseas. A couple of things, technically if you import from overseas you are the importer and therefore responsible for warranty. I suspect they are tightening policies because sales volumes in general are down and pressure has come from importers to head office for some relief.

Australia will generally be more expensive for a number of reasons, including market volume, higher costs locally (people in retail get paid a living wage here, in the US, generally not or at least not as well paid). The importer also provides warranty service and often needs to pay for that from their margin here, they hold stock of spares and to a greater or lesser degree maintain service divisions with trained staff. Some of it is also tradition, importers of some optical equipment used to behave like fiefdoms with royal privileges, the worst have gone by the wayside these days, for example Nikon cut off arrangements with their distributor and setup on their own as importers. The warranty arrangements vary depending on the importer, a lot of Chinese imports the suppliers just replace, no attempt at repair, other provides parts or an allowance. Bintel I know sends staff on training overseas to learn how to service some equipment they import. Recently JB HiFi started direct imports (Grey) of selected Canon items. Canon Australia was apparently quite concerned at that, issuing a press release as I recall. Ultimately it could lead to local divisions shutting down and service only being available from the factory.

Direct imports have really taken off since the $1000 limit was introduced, used to be that anything over $250 would require GST/duties. I've seen indirect evidence that some of the dodgier overseas suppliers and even some that sell in Oz but direct ship from China will understate value leaving you open to prosecution/fines. Also less than totally honest disclosure on warranty, generally it's hidden deep in FAQs or T&Cs where they will state that warranty is available from the local agent for items for example from Nikon which in Australia which will definitely not provide warranty cover on grey imports. At least it's better than Nikon USA which will not even service grey items for payment.

Also you will find Hong Kong sites or Australian based sites that ship direct from Hong Kong based that have the statement that the buyer is responsible for import charges , GST etc. buried deep in terms and conditions. Then you will have grey importers that hold stock here and are quite upfront about warranty arrangements. What's the saying; "caveat emptor?" I would suggest digging into the T&Cs and also googling for reviews before buying items from such sources. Or if you want local service, support and like to try stuff out before buying, buy from local stores.

Chris Ross

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