Reality Check If Its Too Good to Be True It Probably Isnt True

The price is fabulous, maybe $100—$200 less than any place else you found on the Internet. The company looks legitimate and reliable, and besides, you're going to pay by credit card, just to make sure. But that bargain model might be what is called a gray market camera, which could turn out not to be any bargain.

Gray market cameras are units sold in other countries at lower prices and imported into this country privately rather than through the authorized distributor. As such, they aren't warranted by the American distributor, certain components such as the AC adapter or battery charger may not work in the United States, and the instruction manual and other materials may not be printed in English. Another common discounter ploy is to strip the camera to its bare essentials. So while you might be quoted a great price, when it arrives, you'll discover that everything you thought was supposed to ship with it—batteries, charger, memory card, software, cables, wrist strap—is optional and extra.

Then there are the shady and fly-by-night outfitters. Some vendors may sell you a camera at a fantastic price, but only if you agree to buy unnecessary, overpriced accessories, such as auxiliary lenses or a gadget bag. Others may add an undisclosed extra fee onto your credit card, charge an arm

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