Many may think they are getting the deal of a lifetime when purchasing cheaper products on the grey market. The reality is that there is a strong chance that you are losing out quite significantly on quality and service, and may even risk buying counterfeit or unlicensed products.

“What we’ve seen recently is an increase fake products, unlicensed products and even products with unauthorised components being sold to people wanting to implement Cisco Solutions,” reveals Louise Taute, Comstor Director at Westcon-Comstor. “The products are sold at much lower prices than genuine products, but they don’t come with the same warranties, quality promise and services that come with genuine products.”

What are grey market products?

These are products that are not bought from an authorised distributor. The products don’t come with licenses, warranties or support services. However this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Unauthorised resellers also try to sell off old or obsolete products which are no longer supported by the vendor, in this case Cisco. Or products that have been reverse engineered, and would definitely not come with the support offered by the manufacturer itself.

Worse still, unscrupulous and unauthorised resellers may even sell off damaged, fake or stolen products. When the buyer discovers a fault and approaches the manufacturer or distributor of genuine solutions for assistance, they discover that there are no supporting warranties or guarantees attached to the products they just purchased.

“You might think you’re saving money,” continues Taute. “But it could cost you more in the long run if you have to go and purchase warranties and licenses after you bought your grey market product. Genuine Cisco products come with the support as part of the service. Any Cisco product which is purchased from a company that is not a Cisco Authorised Partner, is considered an unauthorised product.”

If you are uncertain of whether your Cisco product is indeed genuine, Cisco will perform a complimentary “health check” on the products you have, in order to determine if they are genuine and if, indeed, they are licensed.

“It really is better to be safe rather than sorry,” Taute warns. “Buying non-authorised products puts your business at risk.”