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best and cheapest place for grey import

dazzaman 11 631 England
15 Apr 2014 8:40AM
Im looking into getting a sony a7 body, but ive been told I can probably get an a7r for the same price as the a7 if I buy it as a grey import. Has anyone had any dealings with any of these shops. And where can I find them. Im also worried about hidden shipping charges.
Thank you.

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puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2014 9:40AM
Try Panamoz . I bought a Sekonic light meter and they were very good.
thewilliam 9 6.1k
15 Apr 2014 10:08AM
I saw a notice on the wall of one supplier

Quality, service, price: pick any two from the three!

Best is rarely cheapest.

Bear in mind that HMRC can't hope to inspect every parcel in the flood that enters the UK. When items have a low declared value, sometimes they don't even bother to levy Customs Duty and VAT. Maybe it's the majority of equipment (and drugs?) packages that arrive in the UK unimpeded and this is how the Hong Kong supplier can undertake to pay the Duty if you get caught.

One colleague wasreturning from holiday and he must have seriously upset the Customs Officer. All camera serial numbers were checked against their computer records and they discovered the lens that he'd bought abroad and not declared, a few years earlier. He was hit for Duty, VAT and a penalty so the potential problem persists long after the safe delivery of the parcel.
MikeRC Plus
13 3.6k United Kingdom
15 Apr 2014 2:37PM
Also worth remembering is that it is highly illegal to exceed the posted speed limit but many motorists are guilty of this crime and some even kill themselves and/or others.
....I know which crime I would rather be guilty of Smile
15 Apr 2014 3:52PM
Cameraworld are very good. At the moment they're giving a free battery grip with the A7r. Wish I'd bought my A7r from there now.

themak 4 1.0k Scotland
15 Apr 2014 5:43PM
I've used this lot a few times with no problems. I believe they sell 'grey' imports, but it's sent from UK, so no importing problems. Don't seem to have Sony stuff though, unfortunately.

capto Plus
6 5.2k 8 United Kingdom
15 Apr 2014 8:19PM
Buying grey which is posted in from abroad is very much a gamble. It may cost extra money if customs hold it, and it will involve a long delay. If you buy grey which is already in this country it is much simpler.
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
15 Apr 2014 11:28PM
With no VAT paid on a grey import camera body, no warranty valid in Europe, often no CE rated battery charger, no general UK legal protection (including reverse onus of proof for a fault in the first 6 months) and no overnight delivery an apples to oranges comparison (assuming you are not concerned about the morality of tax evasion if you do nor contact customs about the duty due) would seem no more than 75% of UK price.
dazzaman 11 631 England
15 Apr 2014 11:51PM
Think ill stick with jessops
Cam_D 13 59 United Kingdom
21 Apr 2014 9:11PM
Try HDEW Cameras, while they sell grey imports, THEY do the importing and sell from a B&M shop in the UK so there are no tax or duty legal implications when buying from them.

You can even request a VAT receipt from them.
aftertherain 13 4.2k 2 United Kingdom
22 Apr 2014 8:22PM
I had great service from www.portusdigital.com, like HDEW they do the importing so the price advertised is the price you pay.
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
23 Apr 2014 8:50AM
By "best" there is an implication of purchase without risk.

This is best done with a UK registered company or partnership to get the benefit of the extensive UK protection.
These companies pay VAT so generally there is no VAT tax avoidance issue, although buying "grey" source products from them does not guarantee warranty cover with Nikon/Canon/Sony etc in UK, and for DSLR bodies generally there is no UK Nikon/Canon/Sony warranty cover.

About 1 minute research for each company suggested in this thread confirms if they have a UK address and a Companies House registration number. These are obvious and simple "safety first checks" to find out whether or not you are dealing with who you think you are.
Camera World and Hdew are in this category.

Portas are "interesting".
First they point out many Hong Kong or USA based grey goods supplies have a UK phone number - which without your knowledge connects you to USA or Canada.
These overseas companies not being in the EEC are not required to provide EEC/UK buyers protection, do not pay VAT, and you can be in a deep hole if something goes wrong and you want your money back.
Portas are also interesting because they trade as Portas Digital UK which is not registered at Companies House (it would need to be "Ltd" for that). They do have an address - Google Earth in September 2011 implies it is a small upstairs room behind the NFU office.
Finding their terms and conditions on their web site seems extremely difficult - I failed.

All this gets back to 3 basic questions
1/ is my money safe?
A credit card payment for items over 100 to a UK registered company is safest because if the company goes bust, as the old Jessops did, the credit card company eventually gives you your money back.
How much financial risk you want to take is a personal decision
2/ is there a warranty service via the UK importer?
The easy way to find out is to ask is it an official import with a UK valid warranty.
What repair risk you take is a personal decision
3/ who am I dealing with and, if things go wrong, can I if necessary bring a small claims court action.
Generally if the company is not UK based you can end up throwing good money after bad.
If you do not know the company name and number or (if a sole trader or partnership) the full name and private addresses of the owner/partners you are unlikely to have even a 1 in 100 chance of getting a refund or replacement if things go wrong.

5 minutes or less on the web gives you lots of information useful in making your own judgement.

Typing in a UK (and many foreign) address and going to Google Earth Street View, as with 5 West Street Knighton, tells you a lot about the premises.
Doing a Google (or similar) for Companies House and then the link to webcheckinformation confirms whether or not a UK "limited" company.
Then look at the suppliers terms and conditions

Before spending more than 200 via an email address for a name I know nothing about these are to me common sense basic steps.
People putting greed (as in price before common sense) is the basis of a lot of web rip-offs and even outright fraud.
thewilliam 9 6.1k
23 Apr 2014 9:58AM
For the reason that Len outlines, I try to pay with a Credit rather than Debit card.

On the one occasion that a new Nikon camera body from Grays misbehaved, its replacement was being packed almost before I'd put the phone down and the replacement camera was with me the next day. This is what happens when you buy from a company at the top end of the reliability scale. And it doesn't cost an awful lot more than buying from a cheap-jack.

A few decades back, a work colleague bought a nice camera from a shop in the far east. A few weeks later, when he sent it to Nikon UK for repair, he learned that it was a fake. Little has changed!
stubaru 9 2 United Kingdom
24 Apr 2014 1:19PM
Just a point i would like to make from my own experience, i brought a Nikon D3 & a 70-200 from HDEW all went well with the purchase i saved quite a lot of money and i had no problems with the equipment. Recently due to ill health I wanted to sell these items and got a fair price from MPB for the items then they asked where the items were purchased from which i told them they then asked for a vat receipt so i contacted Hdew for this and they were extremely helpful and emailed me the receipt which i passed onto MPB who then told me they didn't agree with Hdew's business practice and refused to buy the goods off me. Similar story with LCE as well so just be aware you may find it difficult to sell the items.
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
25 Apr 2014 8:29AM

Quote: and emailed me the receipt which i passed onto MPB who then told me they didn't agree with Hdew's business practice and refused to buy the goods off me. Similar story with LCE as well so just be aware you may find it difficult to sell the items.

This is very strange - and perhaps says as much about MPB as about HDew or London Camera Exchange.
Lets analyse it.
London Camera Exchange consist of a number of Ltd liability companies with a name for a town such as London Camera Exchange Bath Limited and what seems to be a holding company London Camera Exchange Holdings Limited.
I have always understood "Holdings" buys on a group basis to get better deals, and has shares in each "town name" with local shareholders also having shares in each "town" name.
This is a set up mid way between Jessops where everything is owned by Jessops and a Spar shop franchise.
When I lived in Birmingham and Bristol I dealt with 5 LCE outlets - they have been around to my knowledge for more than 25 years. Some of the Companies House registration numbers are below 1,000,000 confirming they have been around a long time.
The current copy of Amateur Photographer has a full page LCE Bristol advert listing 1 day seminars by Pentax, Sigma, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Manfrotto, Tamron, Canon and Celestron.
I would be amazed if the London Camera Exchange "group" was anything other than 100% legitimate.
This gets back to what you report.
I do not know the precise details.
I paid 4,269 for the body and lens. For that sort of money I keep original receipts and warranty cards in case there might be an insurance claim, together with the original boxes and instructions as it helps get a better second hand sale.
If the HDew receipt showed say 2,000 for items normally costing around 4,000 at the time I can understand anybody raising eyebrows.
This puts me on a sticky wicket. I do not know if for some reason MPB suspected you were not the legitimate owner, had what they suspected was a fraudulent receipt, had a roque employee making untrue claims (not unknown in the retail trade) or if MPB use "brush off tactics" if they are currently well stocked with particular items.
Perhaps others who have dealt with MPB can comment on their MPB experience.
I have never had an issue dealing with Ffordes selling second hand. I prefer Ffordes because they are prepared to sell accessories as well as main stream bodies and lenses.

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