Unauthorized Dealer / Grey Market Warranty Poll

December 8th, 2012

The results of our warranty poll! We received 27 responses covering all three Canon US repair centers.

US Model Cameras and Lenses bought from unauthorized dealers are eligible for warranty repair service. We had no reported incidents of US items from unauthorized dealers being rejected for service. Specifically, we found that the only thing that Canon required for warranty service was a receipt or bill of sale, from a dealer -- authorized or unauthorized, it did not matter. No completed warranty card was ever asked for.

Please note that this is just our data and observations as of December 2012, and the official policy of Canon Inc. may be subject to change, but for now we believe that US model items are eligible for warranty service, regardless of dealer status. We have changed the marking on these dealers as "Canon USA Warranty" in our listings.

How about import / grey market? Sadly, we didn't receive enough responses from individuals trying to get warranty service on true grey market / import items. Remember, what we call "grey market" here are the "import versions" sold by the major camera stores, or from overseas sellers. So this question is still unanswered. If you have an experience, please fill out the form below.

If you have further observations or experiences feel free to submit them using the form below, which will remain open so we can stay updated on this issue.

We'd like to answer, with real data, the following two questions:

Canon is deliberately vague in answering the above two questions -- for good reason. To support their distributor and authorized dealer network, they are reluctant to "go on the record" to state their warranty support policies. The rumors say they still service the warranty on unauthorized dealer and grey market products. We want to see how true this is.

We are polling the Canon user community. If you have ever tried to send an unauthorized dealer or grey market item for warranty service, we'd like to hear from you. Once we have a sufficient number of responses, we'll publish the results.

You can go to the next section to answer the poll, or click here to read more about unauthorized dealers and grey market.


The Warranty Poll

Please help us answer this two minute poll regarding your Canon USA warranty repair. Your info will help us determine, as a community, what Canon's current policy is on warranty repair. Please answer regarding your most recent interaction with a Canon USA warranty repair center.

What did did you send in for warranty service?

e.g. 5D Mark III, 24-70mm f/2.8L

Was it Unauthorized Dealer or Grey Market?

Authorized Dealer
Unauthorized (e.g. BigValue Inc. or GetItDigital)
Grey from an Authorized Dealer (e.g. B&H, Adorama)
Grey from an Import Dealer (e.g. Digital Rev)
I don't know (describe in comments box)

Where did you buy it?

e.g. Amazon, Newegg, etc.

Which Repair Center?

When was this?

e.g. May 2012

Did you get warranty service?

Yes, they honored the warranty
No, they rejected the warranty
I don't know

What did they ask to see?

A copy of my receipt
A copy of my warranty card

Comments, any other info about your situation

E-mail Address

Only if we need to clarify one of your answers.
We won't use it for any other purpose.


What is an "Unauthorized Dealer", and what is "Grey Market"?

A major photographic equipment maker, such as Canon Inc. or Nikon Corp., doesn't directly deal with selling their products. Instead, wholly owned subsidiaries such as Canon USA Inc. or Nikon US Inc. are each responsible for a geographic region. These responsibilities include importing the products, and most importantly, setting the price. Since these subsidiary companies also run the official repair facilities, they are also responsible for providing warranty service. Thus, they set the rules for where and when warranties are honoured.

Generally, subsidiaries such as Canon USA will only honour warranties on products that they themselves sold. So if you purchased your camera or lens in the USA, it would come with a USA Warranty. The USA subsidiary will honour the warranty, but the Asia subsidiary will not.

Canon goes one step further and declares some stores as Authorized Dealers. The requirements for being an authorized dealer are not well known, but appear to be based on selling a minimum amount of Canon product, as well as abiding by Minimum Advertised Price policies. In return, the store receives specials and deals, co-operative advertising fees. The question is, is a USA Canon warranty only available when you purchase from an Authorized Dealer?

Grey Market refers to a product that was not imported by the subsidiary. For example, instead of buying the lenses from Canon USA, the store may have bought the lenses from Canon Asia's wholesale distributor. Because of the different prices in the different regions, this may be cheaper for the store; these savings are passed on to you. Stores commonly offer a 3rd-party warranty (not original manufacturer) with Grey Market goods.

Fundamentally, all the products are the same: they all rolled off the same production line somewhere. The only difference is the warranty (and thus support) you get with the product. Grey market does not indicate used, refurbished, or otherwise "bad" goods. It's up to you how important the manufacturer's warranty is, and whether or not it is worth the extra cost.

Return to the poll.