The risks of grey importing a product from a different country

For months we expect a new version Sierra compatible.

I’m tired and bored of the constant crashes and freezee of my MCX8000 in stand-alone mode. My hope is that the new software and the new firmware will fix the problem. Almost 1 YEAR that I await the solution! ( I contacted for the first time via e-mail Denon EU on April 30, 2016)

Denon EU suggested I send my console serviced. The problem is that I bought MCX8000 in Germany and I live in Italy and guarantee NOT valid in all European states. So I can not fix it in Italy under warranty. I am also convinced that it is a software issue and not hardware … I own a console unusable. I sold my solid and stable Pioneer XDJ-RX for Denon and I regretted it bitterly. I am forced to rent a console every time I do a DJ set …

For me, the only solution for my console and throw it in the waste If I return MCX8000 and I pay the difference, can you give me the SC5000?

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What was your reason for buying from a different country?

In Italy it was not yet available. Distributed with huge delay…

For its instability I have never been able to use in a live DJ set. The protective films in the display and jogs are still attached

Usually, the warranty is still valid once you send the unit back to the country from which you bought it. Yes, that sending and return cost would be at your cost, but the actual warranty work would then be covered by the warranty (you know, with the usual warranty caveats eg no water damage, no obvious user damage etc - which obviously doesn’t seem to be the case here).

This is the risk with grey importing either for taking advantage of apparent cost savings or earlier delivery dates for almost any item. I broke my UK camcorder in Florida a few years ago and bought a replacement that same day in Florida. Now I’m back in the UK, but my warranty is in Florida.

I bought in Europe, NOT in USA Other companies make no discrimination in the EU community countries for warranty…

The problem remains that my console is faulty. I reported the problems to one year and only last week I was advised to send it for warranty …

Some do, some don’t.

If you’ve been asked to send it in, then it’s surely worth considering looking up the parcel prices for getting the unit back to the German dealer that you bought it from, so that the warranty can be used.

Technical support is not efficient if it took one year to suggest to send the console in technical assistance. Who will reimburse me the money for a year of Pioneer equipment rental?!

Besides the economic damage already suffered, I’ll have to send (at my expense) in Germany the console

Even if it was suggested on day 1 that you send the unit for a warranty look, then the issue which you created by importing it in from another country would still be a hurdle which you created, just one that you could have reached earlier.

I suggest that you take it up with the service department directly.

Clearly in this day and age of internet shops, buying (and selling) locally is becoming less and less logical. For a company to “enforce” a buy local policy is becoming hard to maintain imho.

Especially with the EU being an open market with an official policy of FREE traffic of people, products and services. This means I can, without any limitation, buy in any EU country to have good shipped to me. The modern company will acknowledge that the market place has changed.

I know (having worked at distributors for many years) that many time the right to distribute comes with the duty to handle warranty issues. If someone sends you a unit that they didn’t buy from you, clearly you will incur costs for a unit you never made any money on.

Yet this is the old model, where manufacturers still had some form of control over the market. Nowadays that model is shot I believe. Every distributor should be obliged to take warranty for products regardless of where they were bought. And then the manufacturer should reimburse the distributor for their cost (either along fixed price or flexible pricing guidelines). That way it does not matter where the customer bought their unit.

This would clearly mean that the distributor discount/margin would go down to pay for overall warranty.

It’s up to the distributor and his dealer channel to bind customers, be it by price, by reputation, by stock levels, by technical support and/or by great online presence. Customers will buy wherever they want. The internet facilitates that. If I buy outside the EU, I will have long delivery times (up to 6 weeks or more), have to pay import taxes and VAT (often serious money) and generally have more problems communicating with the seller if he is half-way around the world.

I too have bought a camera (Nikon) once in New York at the start of my holiday. Bought it at an official Nikon outlet. When I got home there was a problem with the mirror reflex mechanism. It took me about 8 calls to get it repaired in Holland. This made no sense to me then and it would make even less sense to me now.

Disruptive business models will save the day, sticking (against better judgement or because of wearing blinders) to the “old ways” will not help a company forward in this world of very rapid change.

On-topic: No matter how you spin it, waiting 1 year for a customer-response is not good service. The hurdle would still be there but the customer could have tackled it 1 year sooner. It being “grey” import (another relic from the olden days) should not be the customers problem.

An example of shitty service: Working as a company director one of my suppliers gave me an engraved fountain pen for a christmas present. After a little over 2 years the cap started just falling off. Not good with fountain pens, they can really ruin your shirt pockets (experience talking). I went to a shop and got told that a) since I had not receipt (it was a gift after all) it was out of warranty automatically, also there would be costs involved. The cost would be so high, the sales-person told me, that it was easier to buy a new pen. Since mine was engraved with my name on it and there was no new one that matched the color exactly (I could have just swapped the new cap for the old one otherwise), I would have to get a new one and have it engraved again. Needless to say, too much hassle, I tossed a 125,00 euro fountain pen into the trash can outside the store.

And here is an example of “golden” service: I was given a golden Cross pencil (refillable) while DJ-ing in Baghdad (don’t ask - long story). So I had no purchase receipt or anything. After a couple of years (well over 10) the cap started to slip off too easily, causing me to fear losing it. I went to the nearest shop that sold Cross pens and explained my situation, fully expecting a long discussion on my rights and such and facing a big repair bill as things were clearly a) not bought locally and b) way out of warranty. To my suprise none of that happened. The sales-person took a nice sturdy box from behind the counter, put my pencil in it, asked me for my contact details, told me it would be 7,50 euro for shipping and handling and they would call me when it was ready. I still have no clue where they sent it, could be anywhere in the world, but no need for me to know. Less than 2 weeks later I get a call to pick up the pencil. It has been buffed to a high gloss shine, the refilled it with new leads and put on a new eraser. Oh, and the cap was on tight as new. With it was a note thanking me for being a Cross customer and hoping I would enjoy this product for many years to come.

The point here, if I am gonna buy a new high-end pencil, fountain pen or something, which company will I go to and will I not mind spending a little more?

It’s easy to be a great company if you are willing to provide your customer with the best possible service.

An old employer of mine in the hospitality business once told me “The customer is always right, even when he is wrong. So don’t argue, apologize and fix it. It’s the least hassle and the easiest way out of any nasty situation”.

And I apologize for the wall of text. I have the best intentions for Denon at heart, I love the company and it’s products and have for many, many years. Nothing I’d like to see better than Denon taking it’s rightful place in the industry. Great (technical) products are a major part of that equation. Fixing what is wrong in a customer-friendly and prompt manner is another.


“Grey” importing is even more of a hassle here in North America where we have nothing even close to the free movement enjoyed in the EU. Many companies still break the continent into different markets, and not only will they not cross-honour warranties, they go out of their way to insert roadblocks in the buying process to try and force you to use a domestic dealer.

Denon still does this - as a Canadian, if I try and buy from an American online store the transaction gets blocked and the store will say they aren’t allowed to ship that product to Canada. When I bought my MC6000mk1 back in 2010 I picked up one of the first units to arrive in the US, but had to actually go pick it up myself in person. Shipping it to me was not an option. If I had waited for a Canadian dealer, I would have had to wait an extra EIGHT months for my gear and paid a few hundred dollars more for the privilege. When I talked about my plans I had Denon reps message me warning me not to do it - making it sound as if I was somehow breaking the law. It was all pretty silly.

I was a little disappointed to see these roadblocks remain under the new leadership. Canadian dealers are estimating delivery months after the US for the new Prime gear, and when attempting to shop at US dealers Denon products are blocked. Of course I found a workaround to this issue years ago and set myself up with a US business address - so now I can be a domestic customer in both countries. But it is a hassle that makes no sense for businesses to put their customers through.

I want to clarify that I have purchased from an official retail distributor (pa-world) in Europe. So this Is NOT a “grey import”!

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I gathered as much. But … as these things go, many manufacturers consider gear bought from any source outside a country where they have distributors/dealers in place to be “grey” import.

As I said in my wall of text, an outdated business model, but there it is.

I feel your pain Todd. I was in IT-distribution back in the mid-80s or so. Common practice at the time. Still amazes me to see it in action today.

Sometimes I feel like companies in general (a good example being the CD/music business) spending lots of time, (lawyer and lobbying) money and effort into protecting existing business models when more and more people start finding ways around it, rather than accepting it for what it is, early warning systems of oncoming change in customer expectations and demands.

It’s often non-related companies that jump into the gaps. Apple, not exactly a music-company, jumped into the gap with iTunes, as did Spotify, making it easy to listen/buy music in a practical online manner. No longer did you need to buy an entire album if you only liked one track. You just bought the one track!

And all the time the industry keeps fighting home-copying and such. I am not saying they shouldn’t fight commercial pirating, because they should. But fighting to keep Joe Public from “illegally” copying tracks he can listen to on Spotify for (nearly) free seems like Don Quichote fighting windmills. To this day I don’t think there is a true industry-driven or inspired platform for online track purchasing.

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[quote=“vigorsolair, post:11, topic:3146, full:true”]I want to clarify that I have purchased from an official retail distributor (pa-world) in Europe.So this Is NOT a “grey import”! [/quote]

No one was implying otherwise. That is what a grey import is - a legally bought product from an authorized source, but from a different jurisdiction. In your case Italy - Germany. In my case Canada - United States.

Sounds like you’ve given up already anyway… So why are you here having a whinge?

Surely you must of known the issues surrounding products purchased from other countrys and if not then you only have yourself to blame frankly, good news is Italy is not actually that far from Germany.

Is Denon supposed to say ‘How high sir?’ Everytime Apple puts out an update or you say jump… Christ theres more than one OS out there ffs. Now ■■■■ off to the pawn shop and get your RX back… No ones buying that plastic crap anymore anyway.

That is a grey-import. That is exactly what a grey import is. A grey import is when you directly import (in your case GER>ITL) your purchase and it has not gone through your local/national distributor.

I honestly think it’s unfair of you to expect your local (Italian) distributor to support you when you have not supported them with the purchase in the first place.

I’m really sorry for you that you have problems with your unit, but this is one of the perils of grey-importing.

I respectfully disagree. I think in a global market that sees less and less boundaries, warranty for a brand should be carried out by a manufacturer, regardless of where/how the product was bought. At the end of the day the factory sells their gear to be sold to end-user. What is in between is up to the people in between. The days of manufacturers dictating how and where customers are “allowed” to buy their gear are long gone.

Let’s face it, the manufacturers name is on the gear. And if it’s not functioning properly it needs to be addressed. If you buy a car, drive to another country on holiday, would you appreciate stopping at a foreign dealer because you have problems, only to be told “well you bought it abroad, we are not gonna service it for you”?

As stated in a previous reply, I do agree that you cannot expect the Italian distributor to pay for the warranty follow-up for gear not sold through them. Hence my call for new and disruptive business models to counter that movement, like distributors reimbursing local distributors for actual warranty work, rather than incorporating the warranty work into their distributor discounts.

Another thing is the fact that manufacturers on the one hand claim to want to protect and serve their distributors, but when the biggest online shops knock at their door to buy in such bulk that even national distributors can’t match, they give them higher discounts than their distributors, leaving local dealers in a position that they just can’t match the price. Guess what, customers will got to the online shops for the lowest price!

The whole “holding customers ransom with warranty” thing really, really (again in my most humble but informed opinion) is no longer of this world. The market is no longer the same as it was 10-15 years ago. Manufacturing used to be a “push” business, "we’ll produce x-amount and we will just have to see that we sell them. I believe that the successful manufacturers of the future will be able to cater to a “pull” market by being flexible and opting for new and disruptive business models with the customer as it’s “shining light”.

I also stated that for us in EU, buying from the US is not a nice thing, import and VAT and longggggg delivery times take the fun out of saving a few bucks that way, with the risk of actually paying more. But especially in Europe where the actual market has no country borders anymore, talking about grey import is testimony to not understanding it’s market.

Sorry if I repeat myself or keep coming back to this one. But I feel strongly about it, having a background in distribution and in my daytime job helping companies become more flexible, more client-oriented and ready for today’s marketplace.

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Clearly a missed opportunity in building a strong and long term relationship with a customer. Who cares where the product has been bought? It’s a Denon product and Denon’s name is beeing associated with issues like this in the end.

Ask the Rane guys about after sales service. They might have a lesson or two for you.

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Sadly, this does actually happen. Car companies are some of the worst for refusing to cross-honour warranties. They will normally cave after you fight with them for some time - but it takes legal threats and such nonsense to make it happen. And you normally end up paying and then fighting for reimbursement when you get home.

It’s silly, and it needs to stop. Like you said, companies need to think of their customers first, not their distributors.

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vigorsolair already has a solution available to them, so I don’t know why this thread has continued on.

vigorsolair, you bought the unit from Germany and that is where the warranty will be honored. The Denon CS rep you spoke of told you to send it in… so send it back to Germany to get it looked at/fixed. Coming on the forum posting your displeasure with the option you were given will not fix the issue at hand. Sending it back to Germany is (imo) the best option right now (the other is for you top pay for a local Italian dealer/service center to look at/fix it).