The Internet offers deals on just about everything you are looking for. You can find name-brand clothes and handbags, prescription medicines, watches, video games, computer equipment, textbooks, and much more at very low prices. Think about the poor student, who is struggling to make ends meet, who buys books online, or the price-conscious shopper, who finds deals on computers, iPads or Gucci handbags. Low prices are quite tempting. The problem is some of these items are sold at below retail prices without a manufacturer’s consent. As if that wasn’t bad enough, neither did the overseas manufacturer authorize having the products sold in the United States, which could definitely cause some problems. For instance, if the product is defective, one might have to send it back to the manufacturer in the country of origin. This could be quite costly and time consuming. The manufacturer may not offer a refund either. All of these are things to consider before buying. Products sold over the Internet in this manner are referred to as “gray market goods” or “parallel imports.” While it isn’t illegal to sell them, these products “haven’t been imported legally either.”
I learned years ago, after spending some time in England, that my clock, radio, curling iron, and other electrical products I brought would not work unless I purchased an adaptor. That’s what can happen when purchasing a product that is manufactured in a foreign country. A converter may be needed or the product may not work at all. If the product is a medical prescription or automobile, when considering industry and/or FDA standards, that can incite more problems. That’s why it is so important to do your home work before making a blind purchase online.
Don’t assume that a product made overseas is going to work because it’s made by a familiar household name. There may be more to the story than the seller is letting on. If a product isn’t made according to US standards, a buyer may wind up throwing away or spending more money as opposed to actually saving any. For tips on what to ask before making an online purchase, check out the “Buyer’s Checklist” under Gray Market Goods – New York BBB – Better Business Bureau.