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Old July 28th, 2002, 03:11 AM   #1
rokahn99
 
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Grey market with 4yr extended warranty

I heard all the bad news about grey mkt, mostly to do with warranties. But proponents of authorized dealers also said that labor (which they admitted is the most expensive part of repairs) is only covered for 90days by the original Sony warranty and that their repair service often stinks.

B&H sells the bare PD150 w/o case for $4000 + 37ship
Mfr Catalog # DSRPD150 B&H Catalog # SODSRPD150
They sell a 2yr extended warranty for $130 from MACK, an independent warranty and repair service.
Mfr Catalog # 1023 B&H Catalog # MAEWDVC22
They don't offer more than 2yrs of extended warranty.
Total $4167

DigitalNetShop.com sells the same camera for $2149 plus $63 ship albeit, probably greymarket.
http://www.digitalnetshop.com/viewitem.php?IndexID=278
They offer a 4yr Mack extended warranty for $349 (catalog #MK4YRPV4)
Total $2561 (39% lower and 2 extra years on warranty)

If one avoids the Sony warranty and uses the Mack warranty to avoid labor charges after the first 90days, purchasing the camera from Digital Net Shop seems by far the better deal.

Am I missing something?
Anyone have any experience with camcorder repairs through Mack?
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Old July 28th, 2002, 07:53 AM   #2
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MY guess is that the digitalnetshop price is bogus...as I checked several of their prices and they are all "to good to be true". A very common tactic of low-ball retailers is to try to sell you a variety of overpriced accessories and warrantees...if you refuse to buy them...all of a sudden the camera goes out of stock. (you will often pay more for the camera in the end if you go with this type of retailer)

Check pricegrabber.com for comparison prices, and user ratings of a variety of merchants (they are all $1000 or more above the price digitalnetshop is quoting so I know something is screwy here).

I checked b&H...their price is $3499 and the warrantee is 1 yr parts AND labor. You should also check with dvinfo.net's sponsors...zotzdigital.com and zgc.com as they have great prices and are among the most reputable dealers anywhere.

Barry
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Old July 28th, 2002, 07:55 AM   #3
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Grey market is what it is. Cameras intended for overseas markets that are imported into the US outside the normal distribution channel (in your case Not Sony USA). It is often rumored that these cameras are not built to the same specs as official US cameras, but I don't believe that to be the case. They may however, have no manual or a non English manual, the battery charger will be made for 220v and not 110v current. I do not recommend power the camera or charging the batteries for extended period with voltage convertors. I have seen a few fried cameras and many melted batteries from converters failing. Many extended warranties do not cover batteries and accessories. Read the fine print very carefully. No surprises.

Be certain that the camera is NTSC, our North American broadcast system, and not PAL. There are more than a few PAL cameras bought by mistake and now for sale on ebay. The internal menu (in the view finder) my not be in English. In some cameras this can be reset, in some it can't. You do speak Japanese, right?

Some Mfg. even refuse to service grey market products in the US, even for a fee. Who will your provide service on your extended warranty? Do you send it to Mack? Do they send it to Sony? Do they send it to Daryl & Daryl We Fix Toasters and Camcorders? Read the fine print. No surprises.

What value is peace of mind? A local dealer can give you added support. Some provide loaners if the camera is in the shop or discount rentals. If the camcorder has an initial failure in the first few days a local dealer may do an exchange. What is Digital Net Shops return policy?

Grey market offers a great value to people who don't want the hand holding and extra support a local dealer can offer. Be aware there may be some inconveniences with a grey market product. For some, these inconveniences are very traumatic, for others the are just a small bump on the road of life. Good luck and post back on what you end up doing, I'll be curious.

Jeff
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Old July 28th, 2002, 03:01 PM   #4
rokahn99
 
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My understanding is that Mack repairs these cameras themselves. I would like to know how well they perform these repairs which is why I'm polling for opinions on DVInfo.

However, even if you pay list price for a camcorder from B&H, you're still going to buy the Mack extended warranty because, as noted in other posts, the Sony 90 day labor warranty is insufficient. This means that after 90 days, you have the same repair standards (however good Mack is) whether you pay $4000 or $2149 for this camcorder. I don't think I'd have more peace of mind after 90 days if I purchased the much-more-expensive camcorder through B&H

The PD150 has an operating voltage: 100 to 240V 50/ 60 Hz.
The Digital Net Store is selling an NTSC camera.
I don't know about the menu system language but most Japanese electronics has user-switchable language these days.

Sony has a vested interest in steering consumers away from the less expensive grey market imports. It required a few landmark court cases for importers to establish their right to import such commodities and mfgrs will attempt to make such imports as difficult as possible as it makes it more difficult for them to segment the market. Because of pressure from mfgrs, most legitimate dealers are unable to carry the grey market merchandise because Sony will (legally or not) limit their quota of attractive, high-margin, limited-availability merchandise if they dabble in grey market. This is why one has to go to second and third-tier dealers to obtain grey market.

I am attempting to discern whether Sony has put meaningful barriers in the way of grey market (voltage, language, format, warranty, etc) or whether most prosumers are avoiding grey market because Sony and their dealers have convinced them without basis that the grey market is unreputable.
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Old July 28th, 2002, 05:46 PM   #5
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No one in this discussion has asked Mack directly if they will repair a gray market camera. The Mack warranty is just a cellophane enclosed card that you fill out and mail to Mack. Mack has not idea what camera is sold with their card until you mail the card in. So I'd ask Mack directly before buying.

And, as noted before, many repair shops will not touch gray market cameras.

Gray market cameras are worth much less if you decide to sell.

BTW, many times, accessories are not the same for cameras sold elsewhere.

General observation:

There is more time and bandwidth wasted on this subject than any other (except maybe, "what tape should I use and can I change brands?"). While this is a valid question, the end result is always the same.

Here is what I predict will happen if you pursue the low-ball price:

1. The camera will cost more than the low-ball price
or
2. The camera will not be available long after you have sent them the $ or given them the credit card number.
Then you will:
posted a question about what should be done when numbers 1 & 2 above occur.

Recommendation:
Forget the low ball price unless you can walk into the store and walk out with the camera for exactly that price.

These retailers are preying on those who always want a 'deal.' $2149 is below the price that Sony charges the dealer for the PD-150. No matter how high a quantity they sell.
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Old July 28th, 2002, 07:07 PM   #6
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<< Sony has a vested interest in steering consumers away from the less expensive grey market imports >>

Actually, you yourself have a vested interest in purchasing from an authorized Sony dealer here in the U.S. You're only shooting yourself in the foot, figuratively, by falling for the "lowest price" gimmick offered by these grey-market outfits. I guarantee that by the time the dust settles, you'll have spent more money in the end than if you'd just gone with a reputable dealer who doesn't play these games in the first place, such as B&H.

Since I don't yet have a sponsor who is a Sony dealer, I'll have to strongly urge you to purchase through B&H if you want a good price with an honest, reputable dealer who will stand behind what they sell. Also, consider the words of Mike Rhemus, Barry Goyette and Jeff Donald to be the most sound advice you could possibly get.

Once I can secure a good Sony dealer for us, then we won't even have to have this conversation, but it's always good to go over the dangers of grey-market dealers every once in awhile.
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Old July 29th, 2002, 09:20 PM   #7
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To add my 2,

No you cannot buy a new gray mkt pd150 for 2200. That's a phoney "come-on" price that disreputable web dealers like Digitalnetshop (& others, such as Broadway Photo, A&M, Royal, etc) post to get you on the phone and into their shell game.

The decision to buy gray market Sony goods comes down to price and no warranty, and if dealing w/an Honest vendor, usually nothing else. A Sony is a Sony. Unlike Panasonic, their cameras can generally be user-selected as to in-camera menu language. Even reliable B&H sells certain gray mkt versions of cameras, if you request them. (I don't know if they sell grey Sony, though)

Yes you do always want to buy from a reputable dealer. B&H is far from the only shop on the net that fits that description, and there are other Sony Authorized Dealers, too. Some cameras can come w/something wrong, and you won't want to be stuck w/it, or be waiting for your even your new Sony US purchase to be returned from the factory months later, either.

Caveat Emptor, people.
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Old July 30th, 2002, 09:32 AM   #8
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yeah our company is one of those 'sony authorized resellers' either. do'nt know how in US, but we have to keep some 3-5% of our budget for guarantee repair. sony gives us only spare parts for free, we pay for any transport and labour costs. so we are not very willing to help people who bought camera or whatsoever from some tax-free shop and wants guarantee repairing. it's good to know beforehands how seller's guarantee works. there is some worldwide 24h guarantee from sony, but as far as i know, it's for additional cost (called prime-support). that 3-5% does'nt mean that sony equipment fails often, just these labour and transport costs (especially that first one) can be hell of expensive
rgrds, Margus
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Old July 30th, 2002, 12:22 PM   #9
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XL1 - Grey Market

Hello All,

Sorry this is a bit off topic, but has anyone ever bought a grey market Canon XL1? Good idea? Bad idea? Regardless of your camera what was your experience with grey market cameras? I am looking to buy an XL1 and am wary of used equipment, but I have also heard some grey market horror stories! I am looking for a little guidance, please feel free to email me privately at PhillyFilm@yahoo.com or post here. Thank you all so much for your help!
SL
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Old July 30th, 2002, 09:13 PM   #10
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OOPS

OOPs,

I meant to move the last contribution to this thread over to the XL1 forum and moved the entire thread. Sort of typical of my day.

Anyway I don't have permission to move it back sorry.
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Old July 30th, 2002, 09:16 PM   #11
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I can only imagine that you didn't read this tread before you posted your question. The answer, except for, "Did anyone buy a Gray-Market XL1," was, I believe, well answered ahead of time.

Gray-Market buyers are the legitimate prey of unscrupulous resellers. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL)
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Old August 3rd, 2002, 12:19 AM   #12
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I purchased my camera and got suckered into the 4yr warranty, but It was an XL1s, and I don't believe it was grey market (it was $3787 all told, but I know there was some naughty voodoo going on). Is that Mack repair place worth a damn?
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Old August 3rd, 2002, 01:32 AM   #13
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I certainly hope so. I bought one for my PD-150

B&H think they are ok so I'm not worried.
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Old August 3rd, 2002, 02:02 AM   #14
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Ah, yes my friend, but I did not go to B&H.
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Old August 3rd, 2002, 07:02 AM   #15
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Mack has a pretty fair reputation in the camera (35mm) business. I've been told they are slow, but most people don't realize that the camera repair industry has always been slow. They expect cameras to be like cars, in by 9 back at 5, and it just doesn't work that way. Six to eight weeks is the norm from most companies.

Jeff
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