A few days ago Samsung announced that it was issuing a recall to the best phablet they’ve ever made, the Note 7. Beset by reports of exploding batteries while being charged, the Korean firm took an unprecedented step of issuing a massive global recall for the brand new device, days before global rival Apple is set to announce their new iPhone 7.
And while the Korean company is working overtime to find out how exactly the global recall will work, customers who purchased the devices with Samsung PH and its authorized partners are definitely getting replacement units once the recall starts. That’s not a guarantee for people who bought the phones through grey market importers though.
The grey market (also called parallel imports) is a constant source of annoyance for brands. That’s because most grey market phones and devices are usually priced lower than the official SRP that brands dictate. As such, there’s a fair amount of sales lost to grey market importers because Pinoys are price sensitive buyers first and foremost – we tend to put a premium on price above every other consideration.
But there are downsides to this. Grey market units don’t have the same warranty muscle as officially bought units. Service centers of brands usually don’t honor the warranty claims of phones bought outside of the official channels which means you’ll be paying full price to repair any kind of factory defect, and some flatly refuse to work on them once they run the serial number and discover that the phone wasn’t bought from official channels.
And while most people are willing to roll the dice with warranty issues, even top tier phones from the best of the best have bad batches now and again. That’s not to say sellers that offer grey market units don’t have warranties – they do – it’s just that you’ll have to settle for store warranty, and that’s a dicey proposition, especially for smaller sellers.
Make no mistake, Samsung Philippines hasn’t announced yet if they’ll also honor Galaxy Note 7 phones bought outside of their official channels in this monumental recall, but even if they do, you can bet that those units will be placed at the very back of the line once Samsung starts processing claims. To be fair, each seller is unique – Widget City, for example, assured us that units bought from them will be replaced as soon as Samsung Global starts the rollout for the recall. The same goes for Kimstore.
Think of warranties like insurance – it’s better to have them and not need them, rather than to need them and not have them.