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Grey Imports - Buyer Beware

What Is a Grey Import?

Marine dealers and brokers are authorised to sell specific product brands in Australia.  This product must comply with Australian standards.  Product which is sold through non-authorised channels is known as a ‘grey or parallel import'.

Grey (or parallel) imports may seem very cheap on the surface.  However, like most things that seem too good to be true, imported product may be far from cheap when compliance issues need to be addressed.

You're the importer - You're responsible.

By importing a boat, PWC or engine into Australia, you are taking on a number of additional liabilities.  You become responsible, personally, for all the compliance issues associated with the product.

In the event of a failure - be it safety or related to build standards or emissions - YOU will be the one, as the importer, bearing sole liability for compliance.  In the event of an accident the skipper and/or owner of the vessel may carry very serious liability under Australian law.

CAN YOU AFFORD TO TAKE THIS RISK?

Is it Safe?

Grey Imports raise both financial and safety concerns for buyers. 

As these products are being imported without the manufacturers consent they will not be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

Grey imported products may not be subject to the same thorough safety check that authorised product are. This means you could potentially be putting your family and yourself at risk through use. 

It is important to remember that whilst the product may meet the safety requirements in its country of origin it does not mean that it will meet the minimum safety requirements here in Australia.

Is it Legal?

Products are manufactured for specific markets (or regions).  This product is manufactured to comply with standards and specifications of each market.

Product which is imported into Australia must be assessed against Australian Regulations and Standards. 

Much of the product currently being imported is NOT compliant.

Australian regulations and standards are there for a reason.  Non compliant product needs to be viewed as substandard unless measures are taken to bring it into compliance. 

If a product cannot be brought into compliance it should not be sold, imported or even used within Australia.

Is it Worth It?

Have you given careful consideration to the true costs of importing a boat, PWC or engine?  There is more to it than the price on the window.

After Sales Support.  Most Authorised Dealers and Brokers are not permitted to provide after sale support such as servicing or spare parts to grey imports.  This often means that any servicing and maintenance cannot be performed by factory trained professionals.

Resale.  Grey and parallel imports often have very low or no value at the time of resale when  compared to authorised products.

Product liability for consumer advisories such as product safety recall and warranty support.  Authorised Dealers and Brokers provide this support.  Unauthorised channels often do not.

Many insurance companies will not cover a claim if the product is found to be non-compliant against Australian standards.  You could be uninsured.

Check the total cost of bringing the product into the country - you might be suprised to find there are costs and taxes in addition to the purchase price.

What Should You Look For?

Key compliance issues you should consider when evaluating imported products manufactured for overseas markets:

For Vessels:

  • Electrical Safety Compliance. All electrical systems must comply with Australian Standards and Regulations. "Certified Safe" does not equal compliant.
  • Build specifications such as floatation standards, build standards and safety compliance - check to see that Australian Standards are being complied with. If an accident occurs the skipper and/or owner of the vessel may carry very serious liability under Australian law.

For Power Plants (inboard/outboard motors; jet skis and electronic equipment):

  • C-tick Certification under the Australian Communications Management Authority. This is a mandatory requirement for product sold in Australia.

For Trailers:

  • Australian Design Rule (ADR) Compliance. No trailer is permitted on Australian roads unless it complies with this rule.

Why buy from an Authorised Dealer?

When you purchase your new Boat, PWC or Engine you can be assured that:

  • You will receive full after sales support including warranty support, servicing and maintenance.
  • Your product will comply with the standards and specifications unique to the Australian market.
  • Your product will meet Australian Build Specifications including floatation standards, build standards and safety compliance.
  • All electrical systems will comply with Australian Standards and Regulations.
  • All product will possess C-tick Certification.
  • Your trailer will be Australian Design Rule compliant.
  • You will own a quality product, provided by a quality dealer AND be free to enjoy quality time on the water without the worry of what may go wrong with your ‘cheap' import.

Not sure if you are purchasing from an authorised dealer?  Please contact your local state Boating Industry Association which can assist with your enquiry.