Avoid the pitfalls of buying grey products
Grey products, or grey imports, are products that are imported into the country outside the authorised distribution channels. While it is not strictly illegal, it does come with certain pitfalls or risks to your business.
Warranty and Technical Support:
Manufacturer-approved official distributors in South Africa are authorised for a reason – because they have a proven record of being experts in their field and can support the complete product life cycle. Authorised distributors like MiRO are approved by the International Organization for Standardization and have agreements in place with manufacturers specifically on the warranty of their products - these warranty periods may vary from product to product. Buying grey products from unauthorized sources may add an additional element of risk to your business, especially when a product goes faulty. Most manufacturers will void product warranties if proof of purchase from an official authorised reseller or distributor cannot be verified. “MiRO has a well-trained Return Merchandise Authorisation (RMA) team that can test faulty devices and swop out units directly to customers within hours. We always ensure that our customers get the maximum value out of our ethically sourced, genuine products” says Marco de Ru, MD of MiRO.
“At MiRO, we go the extra mile with our after-sales technical support team, however, we do have checks and balances in place to ensure that we support products that are locally sourced from legitimate distributors,” says de Ru. Should you purchase grey products, you lose access to this wealth of knowledge and support from internationally certified technicians, leaving you to scour the Internet for possible solutions. “We care about our customers and their businesses and we truly carry their best interests at heart, which we know isn’t always the cheapest, but the dependable product and service that our customers can always count on” comments de Ru. “We also see a growing concern for the usable life of products imported through the grey market, with manufacturers software locking products that have been sourced outside of the official channels for the region. The prospect of this happening to any one of our customers is highly concerning to us” says de Ru.
South African and SADC Compliance and Regulations:
MiRO’s dedicated Procurement and Product Marketing teams ensure that all relevant local regulatory approvals are obtained for imported products. This ensures that the products you purchase from MiRO have gone through extensive testing at accredited testing facilities for both the safety and performance for your peace of mind. Grey products without proper compliance and regulatory approval may lead to injury or death and can lead to serious legal implications and unwanted reputational harm to businesses. Products found not to be cleared by local authorities can also be confiscated and may result in a fine for the user. Always confirm local authority compliance with your distributor before purchasing.
Limitations on imports:
The limitations of importing grey products to South Africa is no more than three consignments per year and a value no greater than R 50 000,00. Once you exceed these values, you will need to apply for an importers code. Should this not be in place, customs can stop your consignment which leads to storage charges, penalty fees, etc. Should your devices be in storage for more than 10 days, customs may return the shipment to the country of origin, and the importer will be liable for all shipping charges. Partnering with MiRO moves this responsibility away from you and your business directly to us. With over 17 years of experience in the industry, we ensure that our products are purchased and shipped through legal and legitimate channels.
Supporting the local community:
“MiRO’s vision is clear and simple: Empowering YOU to connect communities. This means that as an ethical corporate citizen, we empower the local economy through training, technical support, sales, marketing, and large stock holding. By supporting legitimate local distributors, you help create jobs and contribute towards the South African economy. Supporting grey products takes these opportunities away from our local economy. MiRO places high value on staff, their development, and growth to ensure that you get the best customer experience when buying from us,” says de Ru. All of this is only possible through supporting local, authorised distributors.