Toshiba has sent out letters to distribution partners warning of a growing grey market in its notebooks.
In the letter Bruce Lakin, general manager of Toshiba's Information Systems division, warned: "It is recommended that this activity is not considered by your organisation," stating that there are commercial risks for the importer and end users in regards to certification and warranty.
The letter was prompted by several recent cases where grey market notebooks were brought to Toshiba's service centre for repair. "We know they haven't been sold through us because we do serial number tracking," Lakin said.
He said Toshiba has seen an increase in the number of units bought in the US for sale through retail in Australia. Toshiba's evidence suggests remanufactured notebooks have been imported and represented as new in Australia, and some models are restricted to domestic US warranties.
"Some of those units being brought in have components that are not certified in Australia for Austel reasons, some of them come with integrated modems and different power adapters," he said.
The majority of grey market notebooks, he said, are going through "small dealers with shop fronts".
Toshiba is aware of two instances where dealers were faxing out price lists quoting near equivalent product to Toshiba Australia's which was 15 to 20 per cent less in street price.