Well, I'm still waiting....
The UAE rep initially said they wouldn't deal with it because I didn't buy it from them, but yesterday they emailed me for further info so I sent photos of the broken hinge (see attachment);
the Service Supervisor at Bogen Imaging USA said it was covered by the warranty but they can only ship within the USA, the UK service centre told me on the phone that I'd probably have to order the spare part myself from Italy (80 quid not including tax, shipping etc).
AND.... I just got an email from an Italian gentleman (Vitec Group Imaging Support) - asking about the UAE rep's response. Contact from Gitzo?
So maybe all is not lost. I won't have the tripod for my trip to the south of Oman next week, nothing will happen during the Eid break in this country, ... maybe in time for Christmas?
I'll keep you posted.
Grey Market 101
Gitzo was absorbed by Manfroto awhile back. who is part of an English company called Vitek. The American distributor is Bogan Imaging. As with most multi-nationals, each area has it's distributor who is a distinct entity and operates mostly independently from the home office.. The parent company does control certain aspects of the distributor's operations, but not all. It is the distributor who covers the warranty and customer service for the products sold by them.
As an example...NikonUSA(probably the most draconian in enforcing their policies), will not even perform paid repairs, let alone warranty repairs, on equipment not imported by them. They even take the step of stamping US with the serial number. None of the other equipment manufacturers will do warranty repairs on grey market products. When they receive equipment for warranty repair, the first thing they do is check the serial number and if it shows as being grey market will just kick it back.
If you purchase grey market, you are gambling and must be willing to shoulder the consequences. The distributor bears the expense of handling repairs and customer service, not the home office. Why should the distributor suffer the expense of covering your problem when someone else profited from your purchase? Would you operate that way?
This is not meant to chastise anyone, but to allow people to make informed decisions. What with internet sales and easy access to purchasing from anywhere on the globe, one should be aware of what they may be getting into. Sometimes cheap aint cheap.
I spent about seven years in camera retail and twenty or so in repair, so have plenty of personal experience dealing with customers and their broken equipment. Most of this stuff is cranked out by the millions , so there is abt to be defective units occasionally and I find it bizar how readily folks are to condemn a product or company based on a single experience. Plus I have seen equipment subjected to every kind of mistreatment. To give you an idea, a fellow tech posted a recent experience on our boards.
Customer brought in a DSLR with bent pins howling about horrible design and crappy quality control. He babied his stuff and could never have caused the damage. When he picked the camera up he promptly, right in front of the tech, proceeded to cram the card in sideways. He then became indignent when informed he would have to pay for the second repair. How unfair! He just had it fixed!
When dealing with service needs, the first entity contacted should be the place you purchased it from. Second should be the distributor or their service center, as listed on the warranty card or their web site. Beyond that your pretty much on your own.
PS - Grey Market is considered any product purchased outside of a distributor's region. And selling such is considered illagal for the most part, tho rarely enforced. Some manu's do offer international warranties.