What is Gray Market?

It's not uncommon to receive a phone call here at pictureline from a customer leading with the question, "Why are pictureline's prices so high?  I could buy the Nikon D850 somewhere else for half your price?" Or, "I’ve found the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 for $800.00, can you price match?" Which then the conversation typically ends with, "that's never going to happen." Okay, that's a bit harsh, we would never actually say that, but in all reality—it's really never going to happen. This may irritate some because many could care less if the product they purchased is from the factory and covered under warranty, but our pictureline guarantee is that we will never sell you illegitimate products. Ever!

For those of you that may not be familiar with the gray market, you most likely know what the black market is. The black market is the trade of illegal and/or stolen goods while the white market is the trade of legitimate, legally purchased and distributed goods; the gray market falls somewhere in-between. These products have no factory warranty, do not offer the reassurance of customer support for the manufacturer and takes away the opportunity to receive software and firmware updates or any kind of service for the product if it should malfunction or break.

Canon, one of our reputable manufacturers, provided this educational information when it comes to their products and gray market goods.

Information on Parallel or "Gray Market" Products

Canon sells and supports Canon-brand consumer and professional products in the U.S. through Canon U.S.A., which distributes these products through its authorized dealers and distributors. Canon U.S.A. is the only authorized importer of these products in the U.S. and provides industry-leading customer service and support for them. Products distributed by Canon U.S.A. are "localized" to meet the needs of customers in the U.S. market and are engineered to comply with local safety regulations and governmental requirements. As such, these products come with different accessories, manuals, and warranties than the versions intended for sale in other global regions such as Asia. Any Canon-brand products which are imported and sold other than by this method are referred to as "parallel," or "Gray Market," products (collectively, "Gray Market Products").

Hazards and Difficulties Associated with "Gray Market" Products

Customers in the U.S. may find that Gray Market Products do not meet their expectations because they were not intended by Canon for sale in the U.S. In some cases, sellers of Gray Market Products may attempt to localize the products themselves by adding, changing or removing certain accessories from the products, which may result in the following:

  • including in product packaging illegal or counterfeit accessories, such as batteries, chargers, and ink tanks, which can cause injury and seriously damage your Canon product;
  • an incorrect power cord or adapter which was not provided, or quality checked, by Canon;
  • incorrect software or illegal copies of software which may not function;
  • poor photocopies of the original manual;
  • a fake Canon U.S. warranty, a warranty provided by a third party, or no warranty at all; and
  • a device with a serial number which cannot be registered with Canon in the U.S.

Customers should also be aware that Gray Market Products may not be eligible for:

  • coverage under a U.S. warranty;
  • U.S. promotions, including mail-in and instant rebates; and
  • technical support

To learn more about counterfeit products and view important information, click here.

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