Australia’s boat owners are being warned of the potential safety and financial risks attached to “grey” (or parallel) imports.
The Outboard Engine Distributors Association (OEDA) is concerned about the increasing number of outboard engines that are being imported into Australia outside the outboard manufacturer’s authorised dealer networks – leaving buyers exposed.
“What’s happening is that people are finding great deals, usually via the internet, on engines which are being brought in from overseas,” said OEDA’s Executive Officer, Lindsay Grenfell.
“Deals that look too good to be true usually are,” Lindsay said.
OEDA’s primary concern is customer safety.
Authorised dealers conduct extensive pre-delivery programs, using specialised diagnostic equipment, to ensure all engines are properly prepared and work as they should. They also ensure engines are fitted correctly to the boat.
“We don’t want people taking their family to sea with engines which could have come from anywhere and which haven’t been properly checked. There could be any number of serious issues,” Lindsay said.
Similarly, if a manufacturer ever identified an issue with a particular model or type of engine, those owners not registered with an authorised dealer could easily miss the recall or update, leaving their engine and themselves at risk.
“The other problem is engines imported on the “grey” market are not covered by a manufacturer’s warranty which means if the engine dies or falls apart there is absolutely no comeback – no repairs, no replacements, nothing.”
The situation is a grave concern for OEDA, which represents marine outboard engine manufacturers.
“OEDA members build excellent engines, but that quality cannot be guaranteed if you buy an engine from a “grey” importer. It leaves your safety at risk and it leaves you exposed financially,” Lindsay said.
While the problem of grey or parallel imports has been around for some time, it has become more widespread following the economic downturn in the U.S which has led to a significant increase in the amount of distressed stock on the market.
“OEDA is urging anyone who’s looking to buy an engine to ask a lot of questions to make sure they are buying from an authorised dealer who will be doing everything to ensure your safety.”