Power Tool Grey Imports – How To Avoid Them

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If you find a Power Tool, or indeed any large value item, at an unusually good price then it can be very easy to accidentally purchase a grey import, rather than a legitimate product.

Grey imports, while usually genuine products that are made in the same factories as legit imports, don’t enter the UK and Europe by the usual channels.

These products are usually sold at bargain prices online through less well known, often foreign listed websites.

Buying a grey import from a foreign website can offer cost savings as the foreign registered sellers are unlikely to be registered for VAT, but this means you’ll likely end up paying the import duty and VAT to HMRC before they’ll release the package to you – this will usually negate the majority of any savings made.

If you are concerned a product is being sold as a grey import – check the manufacturers website and see if they are listed as a UK retailer.

Big brand DIY stores such as B&Q and Homebase will never sell grey imports and online retailers such as Amazon have recently stamped down on 3rd party sellers that abuse the system.

Another way to check is to look up the model numbers on the manufacturers website. Often manufacturers will have slightly different model numbers depending on what market they are intended for – if the model numbers don’t match – then avoid.

Check delivery times – UK stock should be delivered within a reasonable timeframe – a few days to a week at most – if the advertised delivery time is in stock but delivery is longer than this then it will likely be delivered from abroad. Again, this should be a warning sign.

As these are made for foreign markets, expect a random assortment of power plugs and chargers with the tools, and also check they are rated for UK 230V. If not you’ll need to source an alternative as you may end up damaging your power tool (at best) or causing a fire (at worst) by running at the incorrect voltage.

Don’t expect much warranty support either should you run into issues in the future. Manufacturers keep track of serial numbers and won’t honour a claim unless its raised in the country the device was intended for. You could end up with a very expensive paper weight on your hands.

At the end of the day it’s your own choice picking up a grey import. You may save a few pounds at the time of purchase but this is soon negated by possible import charges, the need to replacement power plugs and zero warranty.

Personally I wouldn’t bother – by being a savvy shopper you’ll soon find a better deal.

About Mike Jones 363 Articles
I have been a keen DIY enthusiast for over 15 years, I’m constantly tinkering in my garage, taking things apart and building things. Along the way, I seem to have acquired a bit of a tool collection, as you do. The issue I found was that the information online when it comes to finding out what you need to know when buying new tools was somewhat limited. I didn’t necessarily need to know which tool to buy, but more what was important when making that buying decision. Also, a bit like a child in a sweet shop when I see new tools and things I can do with them I find it hard to resist. I started this blog back in 2017 to try and put together some buying guides, not really reviews but more what you may want to know before going and deciding on a new tool. I’m also a keen gardener and if there is a tool or gadget that helps me in the garden I’m going to let you know. I hope these musings and buyers guides are of use to you in some way. All the best, Mike.

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