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Old Apr 27, 2009, 9:16 PM   #1
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Default grey market D90? UPDATE - all is good!

I purchased a Nikon D90 from an online store that had good reviews. It said "1 year Nikon USA warranty", so I figured it was a Nikon USA model. Well, it arrvied today. For one thing, all of the plastic parts and paperwork were opened up/not sealed. And when I went to charge the battery, I noticed that there was no plug in. There was a cord to connect the charger to a regular USA electrical outlet. I'm beyond annoyed. Luckily (if you can say that) I was kind of expecting this. I was doing more research on different sites after I bought it about reviews on this place, and I found all sorts of horrible things, so I knew it was probably wasn't going to turn out good.

From what I've heard, the customer service at this place is practically non-existant. You can't e-mail them (they won't respond), and they charge a 10% restocking fee, no matter what. Plus you have to pay to sendtheitem back. I'veread aboutpeople try to get out of it, even if it's a grey market item, and they still make you pay the 10%.

I paid $855 for the body only, so it's not like it was a HUGE amount cheaper than any other place. They are now on that website for $949 today ($899 when I checked earlier today, not sure why all the price changes). I don't want to pay $855 for an open box grey market item. And I don't want to get stuck with the 10% restocking fee.

So, here are my questions. Is it even legal for them to list an item as a USA model with a USA warranty, and then send you a non-USA model? I paid with my credit card so I could get my points. Is this something I should bring up with the credit card company? Can they put a hold on payment or something? Any other ideas? I have an e-mail in to Nikon USA with the serial number, just to confirm that it's a grey market camera. Once I hear back from them, I guess I need to figure out where to go from there.

Last edited by ride16; May 7, 2009 at 1:46 PM.
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Old Apr 28, 2009, 5:35 AM   #2
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Nikon will be able tell you if it's gray market. Concerning the charger, I'm not quite sure what you mean. There is no way to charge the battery in camera, so if you received a wall charger, you got everything you were supposed to. As far as everything being opened, that does not necessarily indicate gray market...it could indicate a refurbed or returned camera.

It is legal to sell gray market product in the US...the big problem is Nikon won't service it, even if you're willing to pay for it. It's definitely worth a few extra bucks to buy from a reputable vendor. Unfortunately, I think you're stuck with the camera, unless you want to go through the hoops to return it and lose money in the deal.
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Old Apr 28, 2009, 7:40 AM   #3
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I was afraid of that when I saw your post mentioning the vendor you ordered from (unless you ordered from a different vendor).

Their reputation has been mixed over the years. Lately, I'm seen more positive feedback on ratings sites for them. But, sometimes, vendors have been known to "pad" the ratings with glowing reviews (and I don't know if that's what has been happening here or not).

If you do a quick Google search for a given vendor, you can usually spot when buyers have problems very easily. I'd also check BBB records for a vendor (although you won't always be able to tell that way). For example, look at these BBB reports:

NY BBB Reliabiity Report for Butterfly Photo

Trenton NJ BBB Report for Butterfly Photo

Look... Pricing is very competitive with Nikon dSLR models, and when you see a price that's lower than you find at reputable vendors like http://www.bhphotovideo.com or http://www.buydig.com on new gear, there is usually going to be a catch.

Recommended Reading:

How to buy a digital camera without being robbed

Nikon can tell from the serial number if a product is intended for sale in the U.S., and they will usually refuse to service a gray market camera, even if you are willing to pay them for the service. Nikon distributors in other regions have the same policy. For example, Nikon Canada will refuse to service a camera that was not intended for sale in Canada and purchased from an authorized Nikon Canada Dealer.

See this page from Nikon USA.

http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/WhereToBuy.page

Here's a .pdf file containing the current list of Nikon USA Authorized Dealers:

http://www.nikonusa.com/fileuploads/...uthDealers.pdf

But, use caution, as some Authorized Dealers sell both types of products (both products intended for sale in the U.S., and gray market products). A reputable vendor will usually list the gray market versions as "Import".

The current listing I see from the vendor you mentioned ordering from in a previous post does indicate a Nikon USA Warranty. But, it's around $100 more than you said you paid for your camera body. So, if you went to a different listing from a price search engine, it may not have said the same thing. Did you make a copy of the page with the listing saying that?

If it is in fact a gray market camera and they're advertising it as having a 1 year Nikon USA Warranty, I'd suggest contacting your credit card company and filing a complaint with the Attorney General's office in your state, as well as the state a company is located in.

That probably won't do you a lot of good. But, if public pressure is kept up, sometimes states will take action. For example, a few years ago, NJ filed this lawsuit against a company doing business from a variety of web sites:

http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases06/pr20061130a.html

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Old Apr 28, 2009, 8:00 AM   #4
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Please let us know if it's gray market or not (Nikon USA can tell you based on the camera's serial number).

With a bit of luck, it was just an open box camera, originally intended for sale in the U.S.


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Old Apr 28, 2009, 8:28 AM   #5
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P.S.

I have not noticed any recent feedback on ratings sites indicating grey market gear was received from this vendor.

So, I wouldn't assume you got a grey market product without checking the serial number with Nikon USA.


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Old Apr 28, 2009, 8:43 AM   #6
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Thanks guys! I did just hear back from Nikon, and the camera is a USA model! I am so relieved. Why, though, did they not send a USA charger with it? To answer Rjseeney's question about the charger - it's a wall charger but it does not plug into US electrical outlets. You have to use an adaptor. Why would they sell a US camera with non-US accessories? Oh well, I was mainly just worried about the camera.

Jim - thanks for all the info! I did notice that they were not on Nikon's authorized vendor list after I had already purchased it. I also looked up reviews, but saw the same as you. It seemed that their reviews have imporved over the last 6 months, so I thought I'd give them a chance. Other than the non-mentioned open box and non-US accessories, I'm OK with the whole thing.
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Old Apr 28, 2009, 9:38 AM   #7
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Not at all clear what you are saying about the charger. As far as I'm aware this has the same charger as the Nikon D80 which I have. The charger is standard across regions, it doesn't plug directly into the plug socket. It has a figure 8 scocket on the side and Nikon provide a lead to plug into this socket with a plug suitable for your region on the other.



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Old Apr 28, 2009, 12:00 PM   #8
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The Nikon MH-18a is the charger Nikon USA ships with the D90.

The same charger is used in other regions, too (with different power cords shipped in different regions). The charger should have come with a power cord (one end plugs into the charger, and the other end plugs into an A/C outlet, with correct prongs for the U.S. on the A/C end of the cord.

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Old Apr 28, 2009, 10:53 PM   #9
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Thanks! I was told by someone who purchased one recently that the charger should plug directly into the wall, but maybe I just missunderstud her. It really just threw me off. I've owned Canons, Fugi's, and Panasonics, and they have all just plugged directlly into the wall.
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Old Apr 29, 2009, 10:00 AM   #10
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The charger has a cord that plugs into the charger, the other end plugs into the wall socket. You are just like me, new purchase panic. It sounds to me like everything is just as it should be. Just take some pictures and have some fun.
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