I recently had a bad experience with DigitalRev.com and I want to relay it to other shoppers as a cautionary tale.
My experience with DigitalRev.com began when I started looking for a new lens. During my we search I came across the DigitalRev website. I saw that their price for the lens that I was looking for was a little less than other online retailers. The difference was not that much, only $20, but that combined with the free shipping made the deal seem worthwhile. So I placed the order. Little did I know that this was for a gray market lens which is only covered by DigitalRev’s “one year warranty”, and on top of that I would have to pay any importation duty that customs levied against the lens. Shortly after I placed the order I came to learn that DigitalRev is located in HongKong, and that they sell grey market gear, and the gear they sell does not have a “local warranty” from the manufacturer. A call to Nikon regarding this issue was very enlightening. Not only does grey market gear not have any US manufacturer’s warranty, but because it’s a great market gear Nikon is not willing to service the equipment on an out-of-warranty basis. Nikon will not touch the equipment, even if I pay for the repair. I called my credit card company and explained the situation, and their agent agreed that DigitalRev’s practices are confusing and misleading. The agent I spoke with suggested that I do not accept receipt of the lens. I contacted the shipping company (FedEx) and told them that I was rejecting the package. I also contacted DigitalRev.com and explain to them why was not accepting receipt of the package. I also explained that it was very misleading of them to not clearly state who would be responsible for any import duties that would be levied. My point of contact at DigitalRev assured me that they pay any import duties levied against the gear they ship into the US. This was a lie. A number of days after the package was rejected I received a bill from FedEx for the importation duty. I called FedEx to see why the importation duty was charged to me, and what my options were. I assume that because I had rejected the package and it left the country I would not have to pay duty, but that was not the case. I asked why the duty was charged to me and if there was any way to charge it to DigitalRev. FedEx explained to me that the reason why the duty was charged to me is because that’s the way DigitalRev filled out the paperwork. DigitalRev fills out the customs declaration so the CUSTOMER will have to pay any importation duty. So contrary to the lie my point of contact at DigitalRev told me, DigitalRev does not pay any import duty that is assessed by customs, but rather they fill out the paperwork so that any duty will be charged to you, their customer.
If you visit their website you will notice that DigitalRev makes every effort to obscure the fact that they are located in Hong Kong. They don’t have a .hk domain, and that they are located in Hong Kong it is not prominently displayed on their website. There is an American flag prominently displayed on the website with the words “local warranty” under it. As we all know there are two types of photographic equipment, that which has a local warranty from the manufacturer, and that which is “gray market” which is imported from another region. Gray market sales are usually frowned on by the manufacturer because it bypasses their authorized dealers which they want to support. And as such to discourage the trade in grey market equipment the manufacturer does not warranty gray market equipment, and according to Nikon nor will they repair the equipment even if you pay for out-of-warranty repairs. DigitalRev’s display of the American flag with the text “local warranty” is an obvious attempt to mislead shoppers into thinking that they are not buying gray market equipment. If you look hard enough on their site you can find out that DigitalRev is located in Hong Kong, and that their “local warranty” is really just a “warranty” that they provide, and it’s by no means a manufacturer’s warranty. What they say is that you will have the option to send the lens to a local repair facility in the US (NOT a manufacturer’s warranty service center because the manufacturer won’t touch it) for an estimate, which you then send to DigitalRev, and if DigitalRev feels like it they will cover the cost of the repair, or you can send the lens back to DigitalRev, all the way back to Hong Kong, and have it serviced that way.
So let’s sum it up, on a $400 lens I could’ve saved $20, but then I was charged $16 duty so my savings would have been $4. So I’d save $4 on a $400 lens, and in return for that four dollars I would give up a five year manufacturer’s warranty, and the ability to have the when serviced by the manufacturers in country service centers. Remember, that by purchasing through digital Riverview not only give up the manufacturer’s warranty but even the ability to have the manufacturer repair the lens if you offer to pay. Nikon’s USA service centers will not touch of gray market lens. It’s clearly not worth giving up a five year manufacturer’s warranty to save the little bit of money that you can buy shopping with DigitalRev, and on top of that being liable for any importation duty that may be assessed to the gear when it comes through customs. If you search the web you can find comments from people who purchase things through DigitalRev.com and ended up having to pay importation duty which negates any savings they might’ve realized from shopping with DigitalRev.com. Some people even purchased brand-new gear from DigitalRev.com but when they received it they saw that DigitalRev.com lied on the customs forms and claimed the equipment was repaired/refurbished equipment. And the so called “warranty” provided by DigitalRev, as crummy as it is, is only of value if DigitalRev decides to honor it. And if DigitalRev ceases to exist, so does your joke of a “warranty”.
It’s obvious that DigitalRev.com operates on the edge of the law as well as ethics.
I would highly recommend somebody consider all these issues before they purchase anything from DigitalRev.com. to me it’s not worth the few dollars you might save to give up the manufacturers warranty, and the ability to have the equipment serviced at a factory authorized service center, and to risk having to pay import duties as well.