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Old Apr 16, 2010, 1:14 AM   #1
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Default Foreign purchase issues?????

There is an ebay store listing NIB Sony A550's (body only) for $549.00. The sellers store is in England with the cameras coming out of Hong Kong.

Would a camera originally manufactured for the overseas market have any issues if purchased for use in the US? Computer hardware built for the Asian market can have language and formatting problems but I have no idea when it comes to cameras.

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Old Apr 16, 2010, 6:11 AM   #2
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The biggest issue is the lack of warranty support. Sony USA is the exclusive importer of Sony products, and refuses to honor the warranties of products imported via other means, commonly referred to a 'Gray Market'. Also, there's a possibility that you may need to pay a customs duty for importing it on your own. There's even a possibility that the US Customs Service will refuse the importation of your camera.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 6:32 AM   #3
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Apparently there was a pretty big price drop recently in Hong Kong on them ($1000HK drop on the A550s, and $1300HK on the A500s, from what I can see reading threads about it around the net). So, some users and vendors are taking advantage of it and buying from there. They do come with English and Chinese languages (so you can select English in the menus), as to be expected since Hong Kong has a lot of English Speaking residents (since Hong Kong was just turned back over to China in 1997, and both English and Chinese are considered to be official languages there).

But, as TCav mentioned you'll have warranty repair issues with it if something breaks or needs recalibrating (although some of the vendors offer 1 year warranties, requiring returning the camera to them).
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 10:35 AM   #4
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I did ask about a warranty and the store reply was they offered a one year warranty. Sounds fine until it has to go back to England where it cannot be repaired and I end up with a store credit when what I really wanted was a working camera.

Or worst case they tell me I am SOL and do nothing leaving me no recourse other than to declare war on the English Empire. (I do not see that one working out in my favor )

I did not think about the customs angle.

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Old Apr 16, 2010, 12:30 PM   #5
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I have some new and interesting (to me anyway) information. I talked with a helpful lady at Sony Style USA and here is what I was told.

I can purchase a full coverage three year extended plan from Sony Style USA for $127.99 which would go into effect on day one of year two of ownership.

I asked about the first year and after holding for a few minutes she came back and told me the camera would be fully covered for the first year by Sony in England and she gave me a phone number and direct e-mail for them if I should ever need to make contact for a warranty RMA. Worst case is I would end up eating the shipping to England but was told that should not be the case.

From what I can find on the US Customs site they will not interfere with delivery unless for some reason the package should be tagged as possible contraband. for example: one of their dogs decided it is not right.

One note here. The store has sold 16 cameras all to buyers in the US with no reported issues and most buyers complimenting quick delivery times.

It would then become my responsibility to declare the purchase and pay any fees that might be required and from the fee schedule I found it would work out to roughly the same amount as sales tax if I were to have bought it locally.

So all of this together would make the total $715.99 with a three year warranty. One year in England and two with Sony Style USA

What do you think?

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Old Apr 16, 2010, 4:33 PM   #6
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Do they have any A450s? Will Sony Style USA sell a full coverage three year extended plan for it?
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 5:30 PM   #7
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http://stores.ebay.com/Dzone2-Digital-Shop

Here is a link to their store. They are only showing the 550 in various forms and the 850
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 7:50 PM   #8
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I received my A550 a few days ago and have not really gotten around to using it. I paid 949 with the kit and since I am well within the 30 day return window it is really tempting to by one for 649. Just not sure...
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 9:55 PM   #9
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The only question I forgot to ask them was the input voltage of the charger and am waiting to hear back. If all is well in that regard I plan to order mine early next week. I think I have satisfactory answers to the concerns posted here. They also have the F58am flash unit for $384.00.

Steve

I have looked a bit closer and it seems the going rate for a new F58AM flash bought here in the states is $379.00 with free shipping (most places)

Last edited by Old Boat Guy; Apr 16, 2010 at 10:09 PM. Reason: additional information
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 6:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Boat Guy View Post
The only question I forgot to ask them was the input voltage of the charger and am waiting to hear back.
To best of my knowledge, all (current) Sony battery chargers take 100 V to 240 V AC.
You might just need to change the lead (power plug).
However, Sony does not recommend you use electronic transformer (travel converter).

Personally, I strongly recommend you getting the AC Adaptor/Charger (AC-VQ900AM).

Spending 4 hours for one battery's full charge (with the included charger) is definitely no fun.
With Sony AC-VQ900AM, the charge time is only 1 hour (or 2 hours for full charging).
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