Be Aware of “Parallel Imports”

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Be Aware of “Parallel Imports”

When you buy a digital camera that's been imported by the manufacturer's US subsidiary or authorized US distributor, part of the price you pay is for the US warranty.

Sometimes, large-volume retailers purchase the same digital cameras through other sources. When they purchase these “parallel imports,” the price they pay is significantly lower – because only products imported through the manufacturer's subsidiary or authorized US distributor carry the US warranty. But the lower cost of parallel imports allows these retailers to offer substantial “discounts.”

The truth is that the discounts on these so-called “gray market” cameras come at a potential cost to the consumer. The “savings” are really the price of the camera's warranty coverage.

If that cheap digital camera is defective or fails, it won't qualify for warranty repair or replacement. The bottom line is that a parallel import might make sense for lower-priced digital cameras, but it's a gamble if you're spending several hundred dollars or more.



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Patricia Walters-Fischer