ACCC Cautions On Parallel Imports

The view of the AADA on the issue of parallel imports is well-documented and now the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has weighed in on the discussion, highlighting the significant risk for consumers surrounding this matter.

On the ACCC website on the page titled Buying Parallel Imports, it states that while parallel imports may be of benefit in the way of ‘lower prices and providing access to items which otherwise may not be available in Australia’ shoppers need to be aware of the complexities of such a process. Specifically, the ACCC says ‘you need to be able to identify when you are buying parallel imports and be aware of your rights when purchasing these products.’

As already highlighted by the AADA, along with other associations like the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), ACCC uncovers the lack of support and assistance consumers with faulty imported products may experience:
‘It may be more difficult to obtain a remedy if something goes wrong with a parallel import’, the website states.

Further to this, the ACCC reveals many potential warranty pitfalls that consumers should take heed of. For example, ‘if the product comes with a manufacturer’s warranty – that warranty may not apply in Australia.’

The ACCC also states that ‘although your products may carry a particular or popular brand name – if it is sold to you as a parallel import, the local manufacturer is not required to help you if the product develops a fault.’

And even more worrying for consumers: ‘You may not be able to get assistance such as product/technical support or repair/spare part facilities from the local manufacturer or their representative. For example, the software of your product may not be suited for the Australian market.’

The Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Jamie Briggs MP has been a major player behind the drive to allow parallel importing for motor vehicles.

But even Mr Briggs himself has warned about things going wrong.

‘Clearly it’s a big purchase, it’s a big risk for you to take,’ Briggs said.

A risk worth taking?

AADA, along with an increasing number of voices from the auto industry, believe not.

3 comments

  1. Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 245 40 R19 98W XL can be found in different versions around the world.

    Yet in Australia the version is not advertised by either Bridgestone Australia or the parallel importer/tyre shop.

    As far as we are concerned there is only the one Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 245 40 R19 98W XL tyre.

    Bridgestone Australia import the “FZ” version which is suited to Australian roads and driving conditions. However this is not public knowledge. One can see it on the Holden original tyres. The mark on the tyre is RE050FZ. On my tyres there is also the GM TPC stamp of approval.

    Parallel importers bring in a “YZ” version. Overseas it is a “summer” tyre. They are marked RE050AYZ and do not have the GM TPC mark.

    The differences between FZ and YZ versions are significant in construction, tread pattern and tread compound.

    The FZ tyre has wide water exit grooves that you can place you finger in. The YZ has very thin grooves and you can not place you finger in the grooves. At a distance the YZ tyre can look bald yet it does have a deep groove.

    The FZ version has a compound suited to the harder roads in Australia, Bridgestone Australia suggest the YZ version may wear out faster. The section width, crown radius, tyre compounds and side wall material are all different.

    Bridgestone Australia technician advised against driving 3:1 FZ:YZ due to unknown changes to road handling with this combination. He suggested having a pair of the same version on the same axle would be ok.

    The YZ version is 20%-30% cheaper than the FZ version.

    Caveat emptor…

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