Q I recently bought a shotgun through a registered dealer. But it has since developed a fault. Some of my shooting friends have warned me that it might be a grey import and so not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.
The gun was cheaper than many of the others I looked at of the same make and model. I thought I was getting a bargain but now I’m worried about getting it repaired and that I may have to pay for the repair myself. What does the term “grey import” mean, and what can I do?
Owen Butler, Kent
A A grey import is a loose term used to describe a product that is legally imported from another country or sold through channels other than the manufacturer’s official distribution network or systems.
This can be done for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the seller concerned may not have been able to obtain an official appointment to the distribution network from the manufacturer but still wishes to sell the product in question in order to meet local demand. Also, grey imports often seek to take advantage of different pricing mechanisms that exist in different localities – hence why you were able to buy it cheaper than from your local official dealer.
It tends to be local distributors rather than the manufacturers themselves who take greater exception to grey imports because, at least in theory, the sale of grey imports can distort a local market and drive business away from the official dealers. Most well-known manufacturers will still, however, stand by their warranty regardless of where the gun has been bought as they would prefer not to have their brand reputation damaged by localised problems, especially where they are selling world wide. If all else fails, you still have your statutory rights as a consumer, which operate regardless of the warranty given. Stuart Farr