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Old February 16th, 2007, 10:39 PM   #1
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Is a USA warranty useless in Canada?

Let's say you were a Canadian Intersted in buying a very expensive camcorder from BHPHOTO. The warranty that comes with the Camcorder would be a USA warranty. Would this warranty be useless to you if you lived in Canada. The price difference in Canadian between buying from an authorized Canadian dealer (Vistek, Henry's) is several hundred more expensive than buying from an authorized american dealer (BHphoto). Forgive me if this is a stupid question.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 03:45 AM   #2
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Check the website of the camcorder you plan on buying. Usually the warranty is good only in the US, but some companies may do repairs if you ship it back to the US authorized service center. But its more hassle than doing repairs in Canada. You'll have to do paper work for Customs both ways, etc. etc. !
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Old February 17th, 2007, 04:38 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Rothwell
Let's say you were a Canadian Intersted in buying a very expensive camcorder from BHPHOTO. The warranty that comes with the Camcorder would be a USA warranty. Would this warranty be useless to you if you lived in Canada. The price difference in Canadian between buying from an authorized Canadian dealer (Vistek, Henry's) is several hundred more expensive than buying from an authorized american dealer (BHphoto). Forgive me if this is a stupid question.
I wrote to Canon asking precisely your question and for the same reason. They replied under no uncertain terms that they would not do any service under warranty for cameras purchased in the States even if the product had been purchased from an aurhorized dealer. The official explanation is that Canon USA and Canon Canada are two different companies. Personally I think that's a crock and a lame excuse - they're both wholly-owned children of the same parent company and the idea that they're two different entities is a legal fiction created for the taxman. I can just see that at the Canon HQ in Japan there's probably a cubicle with a nametag reading "Canon USA" and right next door is another cubicle where the sign reads "Canon Canada" amd that's the degree to which they're really separate. Unfortunately Canon, Nikon, etc can get away with it and there doesn't seem to be much we can do about it.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 01:34 PM   #4
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I guess thats the exact opposite of what I wanted to hear. Looks like it's gonna take an extra month of saving now just to buy from a Canadian company that is selling the same thing as BH, but instead theirs comes with a piece of paper that says "1 year canadian warranty" and costs $500 more.
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Old February 17th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #5
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i find it strange that companies like won't warranty their products just because its in another country. Canada is right next to the US, yet you cross this invisible line and suddenly sony won't back their own products anymore!! what the hell is that all about??? i knew this when buying my cam, but i take extra good care of it, which isn't a bad thing...but i fear the day i need to get a repair .. :s
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Old February 17th, 2007, 09:43 PM   #6
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I plan to take very good care of the camera I want to buy as well but some things just can't be helped, especially if the manufacturer messed something up, without that warranty you're basically screwed.
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Old February 18th, 2007, 01:08 PM   #7
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Ostensibly it's because the cost of service under the warranty is born by the importer/distributor and "XXX Canada" and "XXX USA" or wherever are separate companies, so why should one company absorb the costs for another. If they really were under completely separate ownership they might have a point but they're not - they're all owned lock, stock, and barrel by the same holding company and any profits the various country subdivisions make flows back to the parent. But somehow it never seems to have occured to them to charge back the cost of warranty service to the parent company's budget regardless of what part of the globe that service is performed in. After all that's who should be the ones ultimately to pay for it regardless of where in the world the problem crops up. What's even more infuriating is when they go the next step and refuse to service gear bought elsewhere even without maknig a warranty claim - I don't care if you charge me, just fix the bloody thing! But some manufacturers even won't do that much. As far as I'm concerned, if the company name includes the words "Nikon" or "Canon" or "Sony" or whoever in it, that's who I'm dealing with regardless of where I am or the legal technicalities on the local division's papers of incorporation. <ggrrrrrr - soapbox mode off>
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Old February 18th, 2007, 08:20 PM   #8
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Really, though. Most of the time, you can expect a well-made camcorder to make it through it's first year without needing warranty service. Why not buy it from the US and save the $500? Then, if you are so unlucky as to need a repair within the first year, at least you have that $500 to use for the repair....

Also, it's a hassle, but nothing is preventing you from shipping back to the US for warranty service if need be.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 12:43 AM   #9
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What about B&H Warranty?

I know that B&H offers extended warranties. So your problem would be the first year, and as someone said, you could always send it back to the US for repair. I mostly buy still camera stuff from them and they often sell stuff with non-USA warranties (gray market) but I haven't seen this on their video equipment. If you look at their Canon 35mm lenses you'll often see the same lens with different prices depending on which warranty it has.

Nothing to do with Video, but I consult for a Japanese computer company that has US and other subsidiaries, and the complexities of taxes and spare parts inventory ownership can get really messy. International subsidiaries are often set up specifically because of such tax and legal issues, and they really are separate legal entities incorporated in the respective countries. It isn't as simple as having two adjacent cubicles in Tokyo with signs saying X USA and X Canada. Subsidiaries usually buy stuff from the parent company for real money and then have to cover the cost of warranty service out of their sales revenue.

Having said all that, once upon a time when I worked in Japan I got HP Japan to honor an HP US warranty by making an incredible fuss and complaining, crying, pretending to be stupid, whatever it took. I think in the end they felt sorry for me. I doubt it would work between US and Canada though.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 06:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada
...
Nothing to do with Video, but I consult for a Japanese computer company that has US and other subsidiaries, and the complexities of taxes and spare parts inventory ownership can get really messy. International subsidiaries are often set up specifically because of such tax and legal issues, and they really are separate legal entities incorporated in the respective countries. It isn't as simple as having two adjacent cubicles in Tokyo with signs saying X USA and X Canada. Subsidiaries usually buy stuff from the parent company for real money and then have to cover the cost of warranty service out of their sales revenue.

...
I know they're separate legal entities but that doesn't mean they're really different companies. In the end, all the profits end up in the pockets of the same group of owners. As a customer of MacDonalds, do I need to know or should I need to care who owns the local franchise where I'm having lunch today? All I care about is it's a MacDonalds and I expect the same product with the same quality at the same level of service at every single restaurant on the planet that displays the MacDonalds signage. I'm doing business with MacDonalds the corporation. not "Joe's Investment Trust DBA MacDonald's Licensee #12345." Likewise when I buy a Nikon camera, I'm doing business with Nikon Inc, not Nikon USA or Nikon Canada, and if I have a problem I expect to be able to go to any company division displaying the Nikon name and have the problem resolved with the costs ultimately born by the parent company, just like I'd sue Big MAC HQ and not the local franchisee if I got food poisoning from one of their burgers. How they structure the ownership documents and management structure and where the division is incorporated in order to keep the local tax authorities and Custom's officials happy should not have to be any of my concern as a consumer. It's all Nikon Inc, one big happy profitable company as far as the consumer should have to care. In my opinion, the "they're all legally separate companies" is just an excuse, a legal fiction, allowing them to evade their legitimate customer service obligations.
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