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Grey Market Products Warning




Grey marketing is the sale of genuine branded products that have been diverted from authorized distribution channels or that have been imported into another country without the consent and knowledge of the brand owner.

Unauthorized imports into the European Union are also known as parallel imports and are unlawful under the European Trademarks Directive 2008/95.



Risks

Often, customers will only see grey products in the context of cheap prices when dealing with suppliers who are not authorized or approved by Hewlett Packard Enterprise to resell Hewlett Packard Enterprise products. Customers may not comprehend the risks associated with buying from this non authorized (alternate) channel. Hewlett Packard Enterprise has identified issues faced by customers and partners who have purchased grey market products.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise distributes its products through a network of authorized resellers by country within a given region in order to be able to guarantee the highest technical, commercial, ethical standards and warranty standards and requirements in its supply chain.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise does not grant permission to export or import from one country to another except by written exception to its reseller agreement and within a region such as the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA includes all European Union Countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein where cross-border trading between member countries cannot be restricted.

If the products are imported into the EEA from outside-EEA countries, this is also called "parallel imports" or "grey imports" and represents a European Trademark infringement.

Goods procured from the grey market are generally purchased from an unauthorized entity and often, the origin, or source, is not apparent, and there is a high likelihood the customer or reseller is exposing it to the following risks:

  • Missing parts
    Sellers who offer products may not be able to fulfil a complete project configuration. This means that missing parts may need to be purchased at list price and you may not get any project special pricing from Hewlett Packard Enterprise to complete the configuration.

  • Receiving Second Hand Product sold as "new"
    In some cases, re-furbished or second-hand products were found to be sold through unauthorized channels which were misrepresented as new products.
    It also happened in the past that products were delivered in bad packaging condition or that the products were used products or demo products.
    There is a risk that post-sales service and warranty service is denied.

  • Receiving Stolen Product
    In some cases, product sold on the grey market has been stolen from Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
    The customer or reseller is at risk of the goods being seized by a law enforcement organization.

  • Counterfeit Product
    Sellers offering grey market products might not be able to guarantee that it's indeed Hewlett Packard Enterprise original products or counterfeit products since false products can't be recognized optically.
    The customer bears the risk that the usage of false products may lead to a damage of the entire product configuration and that Hewlett Packard Enterprise won't offer support in case of such damage.

  • Invalid warranty
    Hewlett Packard Enterprise reserves the right, in certain instances, to refuse any warranty, support and post-sales support on grey market products.
European Trademarks Directive 2008/95: Committing Unlawful Acts
  • Product sourced outside of the EEA, imported into EEA countries without Hewlett Packard Enterprise's express permission breaches the European Trademarks Directive 2008/95
  • The European Trade Marks Directive 2008/95 grants the owner of a registered trade mark the exclusive right to import products bearing its trade marks into the European Economic Area. The trademark owner is entitled to prevent third parties from importing or reselling any of its branded products imported without its consent.
  • Any reseller who imports Hewlett Packard Enterprise products into the EEA without Hewlett Packard Enterprise's consent is exposed to a trade mark infringement action by Hewlett Packard Enterprise. This applies as well to resellers who source Hewlett Packard Enterprise products from third parties who import the products without Hewlett Packard Enterprise's consent.
Depending on the case and local laws, trademark infringements can lead to the following consequences:
  • Seizure and requisition of products
  • Cease and desist letters, injunctions
  • Criminal prosecution
  • and others
Since Hewlett Packard Enterprise is also pursuing legal/ litigation actions against grey marketers, it has happened that during criminal investigations of grey market products, also partners, resellers and end-customers were investigated by the authorities which can be hugely detrimental to the reputation of those parties.

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