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Thread: Short Review of DWI: Buying grey-import lenses online

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    Short Review of DWI: Buying grey-import lenses online

    I am writing this short review of my own experience, something handy for those who have never bought online and overseas before and to quash any doubts or assumptions.

    I bought a Canon 35mm f1.4L and a Sigma 85mm f1.4, to get ready for upcoming weddings and videography overseas later on.

    ORDER PROCESS

    1) completed my order of both lenses together on the DWI website at 4PM local time here - totalling $2384.05AUD - including an extra $30 or so for insurance on the shipping.

    2) received a call from Phil at DWI the next morning to confirm my order of the right lenses and correct pricing, and informing me that it will arrive by Thursday from Hong Kong. I also have the FedEx tracking number and link to see where it is.

    3) Two days later, lenses arrived by FedEx delivery man. Testing of both lenses reveal no problems or faults ie. no back or front focusing or misaligned elements or AF problems. They are 100% perfect out of the boxes.

    4) These are grey-import lenses from Hong Kong's online store DWI - I have saved a combined total of over $700AUD from not purchasing in Australian retail prices.


    POINTS OF INTEREST

    1) a few people who have doubts about importing lenses and camera gear into Aus with the 10% customs and duty tax on all goods over $1000AUD - can rest assured that I DID NOT receive any extra taxes or charges from the total order of $2384.05AUD

    2) Canon L lenses and Sigma have international warranty so I am able to get it fixed or serviced locally here within 12 months of purchase.

    3) grey-import lenses come from the same factories that lenses retailing in Australia comes from. They are not bad apples that consumers have returned and being re-sold again to online buyers - contrary to what some ppl on AP have thought.

    4) Be advised - NOT ALL grey importer stores can get away with not having you pay the customs fee/tax upon your goods entering Australia. I have heard people and colleagues buying from B&H in the US or Adorama and not having to pay, whilst others have to pay etc.

    5) This is my 3rd big purchase from DWI and I have never had a problem with them, albeit I only buy lenses and not camera bodies. Nor have I have had delays or processing problems which would delay my purchases.

    6) This is NOT a suggestion to avoid buying locally, by all means DO! Especially camera bodies as international warranty is either voided or you need to send the camera back to the seller overseas to carry out the repair thus costing more time and money. Another point of interest is that CR Kennedy in Australia will be able to price match grey-import Sigma lenses with their stock in Melbourne as long as you can provide them with a valid link or proof.

    7) Use common sense when deciding where to buy your gear and work out the pros and cons of grey-import vs. local retail.


    Thanks for reading

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    Sigma have international warranty but grey imports will NOT be serviced by CR Kennedy the Australian importer.
    I.e. they need to be sent back to Hong Kong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    Sigma have international warranty but grey imports will NOT be serviced by CR Kennedy the Australian importer.
    I.e. they need to be sent back to Hong Kong.
    hey if anyone can add to what I have written or dispel any other myths, be my guest!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    hey if anyone can add to what I have written or dispel any other myths, be my guest!
    http://www.crkennedy.com.au/v1/index.cfm?pageID=465
    1) CR Kennedy & Company Pty Ltd does not provide any warranty or guarantee for parallel /grey imports. We will not honour any warranty or guarantee supplied by parallel importers such as www.camerasdirect.com.au, www.d-d.photographics.com.au, www.dwidigitalcameras.com.au, www.dwidigitalcameras.com.au and www.globalmediapro.com.
    and


    SIGMA AUSTRALIAN WARRANTY ON GREY IMPORTS

    C.R. Kennedy & Co P/L will only undertake warranty repairs on products sourced through us. All products imported directly from overseas and resold are not covered by our warranty. This includes purchases through eBay or through grey importers such as www.camerasdirect.com.au, www.d-d-photographics.com.au, www.DealsDirect.com.au, www.globalmediapro.com, www.photobuff.com.au and www.topbuy.com.au.

    Mark Harrison from www.camerasdirect.com.au has been directly advised by Sigma Japan that C.R. Kennedy, the only authorised Sigma agent in Australia, will not cover warranty on Sigma products bought through www.camerasdirect.com.au

    We will attempt to match, through our authorised Sigma dealer network, any legitimate advertised internet price on Sigma lenses by these grey importers.ᅠThese prices do not include traditional pre-sales and after sales service normally given by your local retail store. We suggest that you research the product thoroughly before making any purchase.
    Clears that up!

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    I think you were lucky on the GST front, I've been pinged every time
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    I've bought lenses and my 60D from a grey imorter and haven't had any problems either.

    I think the GST and duty is only payable if you are unlucky, as most of these things sent to private individuals generally go through without any GST being payable.
    i don't think there is actually any import duty on cameras and lenses, but stricly speaking, GST is payable on any private import costing over A$1,000.
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    The GST and customs charges... it seems that is a lottery
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty72 View Post
    The GST and customs charges... it seems that is a lottery
    Not if you're nutty enough to post about getting away with it in a public forum?
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoDo View Post
    Not if you're nutty enough to post about getting away with it in a public forum?
    Hey, not me. I haven't (that I recall) ever imported > AU$1000 at a time. I am just not that comfortable sending BIG $$$$ to unknown companies outside of Oz jurisdiction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty72 View Post
    Hey, not me. I haven't (that I recall) ever imported > AU$1000 at a time. I am just not that comfortable sending BIG $$$$ to unknown companies outside of Oz jurisdiction.
    It wasn't you I meant, Scotty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoDo View Post
    It wasn't you I meant, Scotty.
    If you are not comfortable with shopping online overseas then by all means buy locally, its good to have choices in this country. I do not think I am exploiting any legal or ethical loophole buy saving money and buying overseas, so even if I do get charged for any extra fees, I would still pay it knowing I still saved a lot compared to buying locally.

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    Just out of interest...... how much of that $700 saved would have been eaten away if Customs Duty and GST had have been applied ?????????
    CC always welcome and appreciated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    If you are not comfortable with shopping online overseas then by all means buy locally, its good to have choices in this country. I do not think I am exploiting any legal or ethical loophole buy saving money and buying overseas, so even if I do get charged for any extra fees, I would still pay it knowing I still saved a lot compared to buying locally.
    Fair enough, Jackie. For those who KNOW they have dodged the bullet of GST to post publicly that they have done so is only asking for some ATO official to knock on their door with a please explain. That's all. I prefer to support local business, but sometimes that isn't possible. Then I'll look online and overseas, knowing full well that it's "Buyer Beware" in that case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAP View Post
    how much of that $700 saved would have been eaten away if Customs Duty and GST had have been applied??
    $238.40

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAP View Post
    Just out of interest...... how much of that $700 saved would have been eaten away if Customs Duty and GST had have been applied ?????????
    roughly 10% give or take a few dollars from the total of $2384.05AUD. But the package was for 2 completely different items so they would probably have calculated it individually for each lenses instead of both together.

    As the Sigma was only $799AUD it is exempt from customs and duties. The Canon was $1468AUD so roughly 10% from that

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    Not quite that simple.

    You're up for closer to 15%.

    http://www.customs.gov.au/site/page5549.asp

    Scotty

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    On amounts exceeding the 900 dollar limit. Hence the actual is (2348 - 900)*10% + plus fees Any way you add it up you still save substantially.
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    Ive been happy with the service that DWI have given so far
    Mainly, I've bought things with them that are priced on their site as <1000
    I have heard a few people who have had their goods checked by customs even when <$1000 though
    The one purchase from them that cost >2000 (70-200 F2.8) I got lucky but it was pretty dodge the way they gift wrapped it and put a 450 dollar tag on the item!
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    2) Canon L lenses and Sigma have international warranty so I am able to get it fixed or serviced locally here within 12 months of purchase.


    JM Tran - I have to definitely correct you here. You are ill informed on the point #2 and your post, which I'm sure is intended as helpful, is highly misleading with relation to that point.

    From Canon's perspective, I can assure you that Canon will not cover a warranty on grey lenses - irrespective of the "international warranty"

    I can also state that I also experienced a similar thing with Nikon 15 years ago, with a body bought in the UK.

    Canon's policy is very clear. They specifically state that they will not cover an "international warranty" on a grey import. You will also run into problems if you're a member of CPS, they will not cover a grey lens or body.

    On the issue of import tax - good luck to you. Yes it is a lottery, but get caught with the seller putting a lower value in an effort to get it in under the $1,000, and you can then be penalised ; so with the GST, the delivery, and the additional tax, it can cost a great deal more.

    I dont disagree that there is a huge saving in some cases, and I dont want to sound like I'm supporting either side, but I think its rash to offer a "point of interest" which is simply incorrect.

    And Kym has already quoted CR Kennedy (Sigma in Australia) position, again stating that they dont cover a warranty on imported Sigma lenses.
    Last edited by Longshots; 04-08-2011 at 10:19pm.
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