Reseller News

Canon questions grey market serial numbers

Canon says it has concerns about the serial numbers found on cameras purchased from parallel importers.

Craig Manson, the company’s national sales and marketing manager, says Canon was first alerted to problems when digital SLR models were sent for repair.

The cameras’ serial numbers had either been removed or forged. Manson says this is easy to check as the camera models have serial numbers on the body and embedded in the processor.

Canon established consumers had purchased the models in question from parallel importers in Auckland.

The company then purchased 12 EOS 350D SLR cameras from Auckland parallel importer outlets and found 50% had mismatched serial numbers. Manson says, “We’re going to continue our enquiries and investigations.”

It appears the cameras come from a variety of sources. Canon has advised the police, but has not yet filed a formal complaint.

Although Canon New Zealand is at pains to avoid mentioning words like counterfeit or piracy, its parent company has a history of fighting to protect itself against fakes. In 2003, more than 20,000 fake Canon cameras were seized in Europe and the company joined the European Union and the Anti-Counterfeiting Group to fight the trade in illegal copies of its products. Also in that year, Canon subsidiaries took part in some 363 separate anti-piracy raids around the world; 243 of them were in China.

Manson says the recent action is the first time Canon investigated cameras in New Zealand and, so far, it has only looked at the one model. However, he said the company had previously noticed counterfeit ink cartridges turning up in New Zealand. “It’s pretty rare, but they do turn up in strange places,” he says.