Consequences of parallel import. In Russia, prices for all equipment soared

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Russian retailers have begun mass imports of equipment through new parallel imports. “Grey” gadgets suddenly turned out to be 10-20% more expensive compared to prices before February 24, 2022, although at that time the official dollar exchange rate was higher. In addition, some networks have not yet exhausted their “pre-crisis” stocks of purchases, but prices have been raised anyway.

Parallel imports are tricky

Mass deliveries of equipment imported under the terms of parallel imports began in Russia, Kommersant reported. For the opportunity to use gadgets whose manufacturers have left the Russian market, Russians will have to overpay a lot.

According to the publication, among the first to start the wide distribution of foreign equipment imported under the new rules was the Svyaznoy retailer. The difference in price is 10-20% compared to the cost of the same models before February 24, 2022. For comparison, the DNS network immediately after the crisis began and long before parallel imports raised prices for their entire range by 30%.

The retailer does not disclose the reasons why the Russians will be forced to pay extra for the use of gadgets, which four months ago were much cheaper at a significantly higher official dollar rate. Moreover, Svyaznoy, as the president of the retailer told the publication Alexey Vukolov, there are still stocks of equipment purchased before the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. According to him, they will last another two or three months.

Svyaznoy offered Russians Samsung and Apple smartphones, including the latest generation iPhone, the iPhone 13 line, released in September 2021. Also on the list are Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo game consoles. In total, we are talking about more than 100 devices.

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At the time of publication of the material, it was not known which of the Russian distributors was supplying Svyaznoy with sanctioned equipment, and through which countries it enters the territory of Russia. The manufacturer’s warranty does not cover it.

Tricky Russian import

Parallel imports are classic “gray” imports that existed in Russia even before foreign states plunged the country and its entire population into the abyss of anti-Russian sanctions. It implies the importation of certain products into the country without the permission of the copyright holder. The only difference in this case is that parallel imports are legalized by the Russian authorities.

There is a list of 200 foreign brands whose equipment is allowed for legal import. The first trial deliveries began in late May 2022.

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The authorities decided to legalize “gray” imports due to the lack of companies in Russia that produce devices that can compete on equal terms with foreign ones. For example, over the 15 years of its existence, the iPhone has not acquired Russian counterparts. The same applies to computer equipment and even game consoles – in the world there are no Russian substitutes for Microsoft Xbox or x86 processors from Intel, which refused to do business in Russia.

Warranty issue settled, but risks remain

Representatives of the retailer told the publication that foreign equipment imported under the new rules would not be left without a guarantee. In this case, it is not provided by the manufacturer, but directly by Svyaznoy itself. The company also assured that users will not find themselves in a situation in which a “gray” smartphone can be remotely blocked by a vendor. As CNews reported, this is with some degree of probability awaiting the owners of “gray” Samsung smartphones. In addition, the Korean company LG has the experience of disabling the smart functions of its TVs imported into Russia through unofficial channels. Samsung can do this too.

“All these products are intended only for the EAEU countries, so there will be no problems with device activation. All devices are subject to after-sales service,” Svyaznoy told the publication. The distributor will bear the cost of warranty service.

Only the question of the speed of warranty and post-warranty repair and maintenance remains open now. CNews wrote that less than four months after Apple left the Russian market, there was a shortage of spare parts for its smartphones in the country. There is an acute shortage of screens and batteries in authorized service centers – due to the specifics of modern smartphones, it is these components that fail most often in them.

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Users have to wait days and weeks for repairs that were previously performed on the day of contacting the service center. In some cases, they are completely refused due to the lack of necessary spare parts.

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