Nowadays, products can be purchased from almost anywhere, and because of this, the prices can differ significantly from one site to the next. It is ingrained in all of us to shop around, to sniff out the best deal and make the most of our hard-earned cash. So why do some sites offer our watches at prices lower than ours?
The reason is that thanks to the internet, we can view markets that are not intended for us. This market, to non-resident consumers, is commonly known as 'The Grey Market'. It's not that our watches are any cheaper on these sites, it's that different countries charge different levels of tax. We sell our watches all over the world, and if you live in one of the regions that sell our watches without tax, then those websites are a great place to buy! If however, you do not live in these regions, then you are putting your purchase at risk should you buy from them as your delivery will be destroyed by customs if the tax and duties are not paid when asked. It is not illegal for these websites to sell into Europe, but they clearly state that their prices do not include tax and duties and that these charges are the responsibility of the buyer, you. Below are screenshots from the five biggest Chinese websites where you may have seen our watches.
You may even have purchased things in the past and had no issues with customs charges, and think that you'll continue to take your chances. Firstly, tax only applies if the sent item is over the value of £36. As our watches are priced over this threshold, they are liable for these charges. Secondly, some items are not charged tax if they have incorrect order values on the customs labels - this practice is however illegal and it is you who is responsible (even though you did not write this value on yourself).
Even if a purchase were to get through customs without being charged appropriately, then this is not always the end of the story. We had a European customer get in touch with us recently who had purchased their Z Series from a Chinese website. Due to heavy impact, they had damaged their watch and wanted to know if it was covered by their warranty. The watch was less than 12 months old, so we were happy to help a valued customer who was now without something that they loved! We asked them to send their damaged timepiece to us, and we would issue them a brand new replacement. When their package reached UK customs, they were asked to supply a proforma invoice for the original purchase to check on the status of the charges that may be due. Unknown to us, these fees had not been paid so they are now in the process of settling what is owed before it can be released and sent on. This shows that even if your watch were to slip through customs once, the chances of it being picked up a second time are relatively high.
We are proud and excited to have every one of our customers who have taken the time to find out about CIGA Design and purchase something that gets them excited about timekeeping. We will happily do what we can to help our customers if they find their watch needing a bit of TLC, but we can only do that effectively if their purchase has been correctly sourced.
Our website is the only official place to buy your next CIGA Design watch with 12 months warranty and a 14 day money-back guarantee (not that you'll need it).