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5 Reasons Why You Want To Avoid Buying Phones From The Grey Market

Here are the reasons why you want to buy at official stores instead

While you can certainly get phones that haven’t been officially released here in the Philippines (like the ASUS ROG Phone II) via grey market sellers, there’s plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t. Here’s 5 of the reasons why you should avoid buying phones from the grey market:

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should avoid buying phones from the grey market:

1. LTE bands aren’t always compatible

The first issue that you may run to is the incompatibility of LTE bands. This is more prevalent on smartphones that have been bought in China or India because phones for those markets have different LTE bands compared to the Philippines.

While that doesn’t mean your phone won’t get a cellular signal (it will), it means that the phones bought from these countries will suffer from a weak signal, especially in places where Smart and Globe utilizes the 700MHz band.

2. China ROM is a problem that can’t just be solved by installing Google Play

You probably already heard of the term “China ROM” when browsing for smartphones in the Facebook Marketplace. That basically means that a phone doesn’t have Google Play installed, and instead has software that’s intended for China.

Take the Tencent version of ASUS’ ROG Phone II. Since the phone wasn’t intended for Western audiences, the phone does not have Google Play installed and doesn’t have the code that allows Google Play services to work.

What’s The Difference Between The ROG Phone II VS The Tencent Version?

Unless you’re completely able to root and flash a global ROM onto your device, your phone won’t work exactly like the same model with a global ROM even if you find a way to install Google Play on it. We found this out the hard way when we got Honor’s Magic 2 – while we did manage to install Google Play on it, there were still some nagging issues that plagued it like missed notifications and data sometimes not syncing up.

3. No brand after-sales support

This is another big one – while many grey market sellers will give you their personal guarantee or warranty for defective units, the truth is that you’re not getting any kind of warranty support from the brand locally if something goes wrong with your phone.

We’ve heard so many horror stories of people having issues with their phones and having difficulty getting them repaired locally since many brands outright refuse to service grey market phones.

While not everyone will have an issue with their phones when they buy it, you’re still gambling that nothing goes wrong with yours if you buy through grey market channels.

4. Better payment options including Home Credit

If you’re the type that can only afford installment options for a phone, you’d be better off just buying it in legit stores. Most stores nowadays have both cash and credit options, and a lot of them already offer Home Credit as an installment option if you really need it.

5. All items are legit, and you won’t get scammed

We’ve seen the same story over and over again – people getting scammed by supposedly legit online sellers, getting rocks in their packages after they part with their hard-earned money. That’s obviously not a problem with official channels, since you know you’re getting the real deal and won’t get scammed in the process.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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  1. 5 Reasons Why Buy Phones From The Grey Market

    1. Up to Date
    They have it on or even before the launch date.

    2. Cheaper
    It’s just cheaper

    3. Availability
    Get items that are not officially sold(or not yet) in the country

    4. Accessories
    Most sellers give freebies on top of your purchase so you don’t have to buy em separately. i.e. tempered glass, case, etc.

    5. Warranty & Support
    Most reputable online sellers offer up to a year of warranty. They also offer repairs which is sometimes really rare specially for new devices. Faster support as well because they manage their own customer.

    1. It’s cheaper because many grey market sellers get stocks that were not properly declared via customs (AKA smuggled), with many not having the correct NTC type certification.

      If you’re really for nation building then you’d want to support businesses that pay the proper taxes for goods they bring in overseas.

    2. @jaycee mariano
      1. Launch dates are needed. It means that the brand already comply with the country’s trade laws before they release the products.

      2. Cheaper doesn’t mean it’s good, they might be selling you the defective ones. There are so many ways to package a defective unit just like the good ones and having ntc sticker is your assurance that it was tested before being released.

      3.Not officially sold in a country because of different reasons which the consumers don’t need to know.

      4. Simple marketing gimmicks. If you fall for simple, cheap add-ons then you are a sucker.

      5. Broken promises repeated by unofficial sellers.

      Don’t support tax evaders. You are betraying your own country by giving money to grey chinese products.

  2. I know someone selling phone with Lower prices and he excels in selling because of being legit seller. Also repairs item even not bought to him or not in the the warranty anymore. I think it depends from who you buy and either you’ll choose the China rom or not since it’s always indicated in the items.

  3. Better to get it at the official stores, nothing can beat that. Sure, resellers can get the items faster from china, but its china rom, which has a lot of bloat since it was intended for use in china.

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