By Patrick Avenell
Major appliance suppliers and retailers take note: a Hungarian website is targeting your consumers. Called Deluxe Appliances, and based in the Hungarian capital Budapest, this website is specifically targeting Australian consumers, with an .au address and payment in Australian Dollars.
Deluxe is currently offering grey units from brands such as AEG, Bosch, Electrolux and Miele, with delivery taking up to 58 days.
Interestingly, this site makes the one big advantage of buying from authorised resellers clear to its customers — the lack of any after sales service.
“Most manufacturers only offer warranty in the country or continent where you purchased your item from,” says the Deluxe Appliances website. “This way they can use their own agent in other countries and set the prices as high (or as low) as they want. In case of any faults we supply parts if required.”
Astute retailers will know that combating grey importers and encouraging sales from authorised dealers is an existing problem in several consumer electronics categories and a growing concern in major appliances.
A lot of consumers will have a natural hesitancy about buying an oven from a Hungarian website, but often they will accept the risk if the price difference is significant.
To combat this, retailers should devise a strategy for how to discuss grey imports with customers, either in person, over the telephone or via email.
Here are some starting points for such a strategy:
-Does the customer know the local office of the brand will not provide after sales service?
-How will the customer install the product? Many retailers and suppliers will install new products and remove the obsolete appliances as part of the advertised price.
-Will the appliance meet all the Australian standards for power, Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and building codes?
-Will the manual be in English?
-Is the website really trustworthy? What if the company goes bust? Will the customer have any recourse to reclaim their money?
-How reliable is the delivery timeframe? How does ‘up to 60 days’ compare with a set appointment for delivery at a much faster rate?
If you have any more tips for combating grey importing of appliances, please post them in the comment box below.