Why buy local – a rant

24May17

Yes it is not often i have a rant on here, but today i think it is warranted

I have had several conversations lately with potential customers who are looking for equipment and have said but why buy from you and pay x amount of dollars more when i can buy it from an offshore based online retailer?

Well there are a couple of reasons, firstly  the NZ govt will charge GST on any item purchased online from offshore, and if a certain (and pretty low) threshold is hit, they will also add on Customs and Import processing fees, which makes many items, now within single digit percentages of the price of buying here in NZ

Sure the lure of saving money is always good, BUT when it comes to photographic/electronic equipment, saving a few bucks is not always a good thing, especially when something goes wrong and it needs to be fixed under warranty.

In the event of something going wrong with your Parallel imported photographic product even under warranty, you have 2 choices, why 2 choices i hear, well most photographic items now come with what is known as a regional warranty..  These warranties offer warranty protection in the country where the item was purchased from, not outside that country.

1st choice is to spend your own money and courier the item back to the country you purchased it from to get it repaired under warranty then spend your own money to get it back to you repaired, which will cost you around $200 there and back if going to the USA depending on weight, AND you could be without the item for several weeks…

2nd Choice is to send it to the NZ service centers, and pay to have it serviced as most Authorised Service Centers will not perform warranty repairs on items that are parallel imported due to most brands now having region specific warranties. This means you will pay the standard service rates for those brands, which here in NZ can range from $70 per hour incl Tax to $115 per hour PLUS tax which is 15% and most offer turnaround times of approx 10 working days but if you do chose this option, check before sending to make sure the wait times are not longer.

Sure you might save a few bucks to start, but IF something goes wrong, then your choices become rather limited and could prove to be expensive no matter what way you go.

The other reason to shop local,  person to person service, advice and the ability to go back to them and get aftercare service and even tips and tricks to use the gear, here at Southern Cameras,  with every DSLR* or Mirrorless camera we sell, we offer FREE sensor cleans and Firmware upgrades while you own the camera as a standard part of our aftercare, plus you can come in, and get some tips and tricks for using the camera too. (heck I recently attended an airshow out of town and stood at the fenceline with a customer showing him a couple of tricks to get better results out of the camera he had recently purchased from us.)

Also looking big picture, if you buy online from offshore, then the only $$$ to stay in NZ are the $$ that go to the govt ie GST and Customs fees…  The local price for properly sourced items goes up as the camera companies make it more expensive to buy in NZ as there is less coming in via the official channels which makes the prices go up as it costs more per unit to ship, making in store even less competitive because more expensive prices for non parallel imported product make it more attractive to go off shore.. more off shore sales means less in store in NZ, stores close, all that in store after sales care and advice is lost, and it becomes harder to get things serviced in NZ as things close and service centers get moved offshore as well, making servicing gear harder and away for longer.

My advice,  Buy local, support your local stores, sure not every store has 100% of every range in stock and right there to go, but more often than not, from the factory warehouses here in NZ are 1-2 days to get them plus you get friendly, helpful advice  from staff who are generally as passionate about photography as you.  Plus you help the economy too buy letting those precious $$$ circulate around NZ and not go straight offshore!!

*please note that Sony SLT-A series DSLR cameras cannot be cleaned by us instore and will need to be sent to Sony or another photographic tech center for cleaning due to the fixed mirror SLT design

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