Is it actually illegal to purchase a receiver from an unauthorized dealer?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Dahl, Mar 2, 2003.

  1. Dave Dahl

    Dave Dahl Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,

    I have watched with amusement the discussions over the past year or two regarding purchasing equipment via unauthorized dealers. I myself will not do it. I understand that for various reasons other will.

    The reason for this post is to find out if purchasing a unit from an unauthorized dealer is, in fact, illegal. That is illegal either from the consumers end or the dealers end of the transaction.

    If possible please don't turn this into a discussion of whether or not it is legal to deny warranty service to such units. Personally, I think the law is clear that they have every right to do so.

    As a follow up question, if such unauthorized purchases are illegal would you still do it and how do you justify breaking the law to save some bucks?


    Just stirring the pot...


    Dave
     
  2. CurtisC

    CurtisC Second Unit

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    I justify by saving up to 50%,the guy that owns my area b&m is quite rich(which is fine) already.The illegal way would be if you say, I am authorized and full factory warranty is in effect,when you/its not.I like to buy local unless its 25% or more(often),after that its charity.I prefer to give to other causes.
     
  3. CameronJ

    CameronJ Stunt Coordinator

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    No.

    To be "illegal" it would have to violate a law. Unless some messed up government has actually passed such a law...
     
  4. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    No it is not illegal for the consumer to purchase a non
    stolen item. If this item was purchased by a dealer whom
    is not authorized as a reseller it is still not illegal for
    them to resell nor is it illegal for you to buy.

    And Consumers have rights in every state reguarding
    "Fitness Of Mechantability" and "Warranty" so a company
    denying you a warranty may actually be on the wrong side
    of the law, and the courts would prove so 95% of the time.

    Lets put it this way, The consumer has more power on thier
    side, than the manufacturer does when it comes to warranty.

    That's my $0.02
     
  5. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    I disagree with Brett. If a product is sold on the gray market (i.e. from an unauthorized source) and the product has been tampered with (the origial serial number is gone) then the manufacturer is under NO obligation to honor any warranty.

    I tend to presume that the legal team of these manufacturers knows a bit more about the laws regarding warranties and honoring of warranties than the faithful breathren of HTF.

    There is a lot of legal advice that is given on this site by people who are not qualified to give legal advice. Just my .02. [​IMG]
     
  6. Michael Mathius

    Michael Mathius Supporting Actor

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    Will this ever end?[​IMG]
     
  7. DerrickW

    DerrickW Stunt Coordinator

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    This isn't really a good indication. There are always lawyers on both sides of a dispute. A case can be made for both sides for the warranty issue.

    In the meantime, buying unauthorized is legal. But you may not have warranty coverage. I use 'may' not only cause of future legal disputes, but because many manufacturers end up warrantying unauthorized items anyway. So far I've had one unauthorized amp get fried and replaced for free. But the authorized CD player that died received no warranty service.
     
  8. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    A case can be made for either side of *anything*. That doesn't make either sides case valid in the end. [​IMG]

    Michael,

    I doubt it will. These forums exist to help others AND to present opposing views. There is nothing wrong with civil disgreement.
     
  9. Brian Crist

    Brian Crist Auditioning

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    Generally, purchasing from an authorized dealer does not violate criminal laws. Depending on the terms on which the product was sold initially by the manufacturer, there may be issues of civil copyright, trademark and/or patent infringement if you buy from an unauthorized dealer. However, there is something in U.S. law known as the first sale doctrine that applies with respect to copyright law and similar doctrines exist with respect to patent and trademark law. The basic concept of the first sale doctrine being that someone who purchases a patented/copyrighted/trademarked product from the holder of such rights can sell that particular product to subsequent indviduals without those subsequent individuals needing any express grant of rights from the initial holder of the rights in the product. However, there is some dispute in the law as to the extent that manufacturers can expressly limit such first sale rights. But it is pretty clear that most consumer electronics manufacturers currently don't expressly do so. So generally, I don't believe that by buying from an unauthroized dealer an individual would be found guilty of patent/copyright or trademark infringement. (I will note that the trademark and patent issues are somewhat complicated, so please keep in my mind that the above is a bit of a simplification of the current state of the law.)

    A completely separate question exists regarding warranties. The bottom line is that manufacturers can and do disclaim implied warranties such as fitness for a particular purpose and warranties of merchantability. I believe a few states may not allow this, but a majority of states do. In the majority of states, a manufacturer has every legal right to disclaim all implied warranties and to offer you whatever express warranty it chooses to on whatever terms it decides to offer it. So if you want a warranty, buy from an authorized dealer.

    I will add that to the extent the manufacturers are using authorized dealers to "fix" prices, there could be antitrust concerns. But that is a whole other issue.

    Now I must provide the standard disclaimer. The foregoing is not meant to serve as legal advice and you should not rely on it as such. If you have a legal question or concern, you should seek out the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.


    Brian
     
  10. Brian Crist

    Brian Crist Auditioning

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    I noticed one typo above. It should say that generally buying from an unauthorized dealer does not violate criminal laws.
     
  11. Dave Dahl

    Dave Dahl Stunt Coordinator

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    Brian,

    Thanks for the input. That was an excellent post.


    -Dave
     

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