Recently, I’ve seen a few cases of people publicly shaming online stores for ‘scamming’ them.
While the stores have miles to go before they can even begin to compete with the quality of service offered by the likes of Amazon and others, the stores aren’t at fault in these particular cases.
Here’s what happens. In the hunt for savings, people look for the store with the cheapest price. However, in the case of electronics and other items, the lower prices are only possible because the items are grey market imports. Stores buy them from cheaper markets and import them via baggage claim and other schemes.
Does that mean you get the lowest price possible? Yes. However, the negative consequences are warranty issues. Either these items have check warranty or none at all. An acceptable risk if it’s a cheap fitness tracker. But it’s a huge deal if it’s a 60 inch LED TV.
What we have to understand as consumers is that there is a responsibility on our end to do our due diligence. It’s part of the buying process. Usually, if warranty isn’t mentioned, assume there is none. If there’s still any doubt, call and ask. Stores aren’t obligated to provide service, repairs or refunds if your grey market import item stops working so do your research before making a purchase.
It also bears mentioning that this behavior isn’t limited to online stores. Many offline stores also offer grey market items with no warranty.
So yes, online stores need to communicate in a more effective and transparent manner but at the same time, consumers need to be diligent and make sure that warranties and after sales support are included in the items they buy as well.
If you’re getting an item for cheap, be aware of what you are sacrificing for it lest you regret it later. .