Gray market equipment may come with hidden costs and no parts

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LONDON, Ohio – Standing in a sea of John Deere green and yellow at last week’s Farm Science Review, Barry Nelson was seeing gray.
Gray market tractors.
When you’re talking about farm equipment, a “gray market” typically refers to equipment or tractors built for use in one country, but imported to a second country for use there.
Tough stance. You can buy these most of these tractors or implements legally, but in May, the U.S. International Trade Commission got tough on certain machines, telling customs officials to stop them at the border.
Specifically, the commission ruled it is illegal for importers to sell the European-versions of John Deere’s self-propelled forage harvesters and telehandlers.
Buyer beware. Buying and selling of gray market tractors and equipment is nothing new and it’s not a problem. Yet.
Nelson, manager of public relations for Deere’s Agricultural Marketing Center in Lenexa, Kan., said customers buying gray market equipment do so at their own risk and without a Deere warranty.
Because the products are not authorized for sale in the United States, the machines do not qualify for warranty under U.S. guidelines.
And because these machines are designed with specific product features for the European market, some parts and attachments are not available here.
“Every country has different safety laws,” Nelson added. Safety information or parts may be missing if you buy a gray market tractor.
Buyers lose “the whole system,” nelson said, the product support, training, parts and service.
If a dealers takes a trade-in on a gray market machine, he also loses the option of financing on that equipment through John Deere.
Industry-wide. Deere isn’t the only manufacturer facing gray market equipment problems. No manufacturer provides parts or warranty service for any gray market unit, and there is no responsibility by manufacturers for any gray market unit.

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