Buying Digital Camera SLR Lenses from Hong Kong
I discovered this problem when a friend of mine purchased a Sigma digital SLR camera lense from Hong Kong for over £300. I helped with the emails and thought I would share the experience with everyone else to they know what can happen!
After searching eBay he found the lense he wanted was cheapest from Hong Kong so he bought it and had it delivered direct from Hong Kong to his home address. The lense arrived and everything was OK - it was an official Sigma lense in the case and it worked perfectly. Soon after it developed a fault - it was over a month later so he was unable to raise a paypal claim so he contacted the seller ask on how to arrange a warranty replacement. The seller said to contact Sigma UK and give them the serial number and they will replace the lense under warranty. When sigma were contacted they said unless he could prove the lense had been imported correctly and Duty and VAT had been paid they would seize the lense as an illegal import. The seller was contacted and he sent a copy of an invoice which was not what Sigma wanted.
Basically as the lense had been sent as "a gift" with the Hong Kong green customs declaration on the package it had by-passed customs and no duty and VAT had been paid. If duty and VAT had been paid it would have been the same price as the UK sellers of the lenses on ebay...
Since it was an illegal import and no duty or VAT had been paid the warrenty with Sigma was invalid. So the only option was to send the lense back to Hong Kong international tracked at a cost of £25 to Royal Mail.
The seller said they would replace the lense once it had been checked by "their engineer" this was over a month ago and still no news of a replacement despite chasing the seller. Hopefully a replacement will appear but all this hassle and extra cost could have been avoided if the lense was just purchased within the UK.
In a nutshell if you want a UK warranty you should be buying from the UK otherwise you could end up having to send your item back to Hong Kong at a great cost and may never see it again...
Im not particually getting at Hong Kong sellers - I buy items from Hong Kong myself - but the sellers should make it clear in their auctions that you have NO UK WARRANTY if you buy from them like this, despite what they say.
Update Feb 2010: The seller said they never received the lense back (no surprise) and therefore wont be able to supply a replacement. My friend has lost the £300 he paid for it and the lense itself. He did claim from the post office insurance but the limit on parcels is only £35.
2nd Update!! After continued emailing to the seller they said they DID receive it back but said the damage to the lense was caused by the lense being dropped so was no covered under their warranty. Then they said they would repair it for £200!!! Needless to say my friend didnt get it repaired....