The Unknown and Unregulated Gray Market

Customers today are generally aware about the ubiquity of the counterfeit goods trade, unbeknown to most, however, is the gray market, a term used to describe the sale of authentic goods through unauthorised channels. These infractions constitute complex offenses and are difficult to control, which is why gray market trade remains unregulated in many parts of the world.

Typical gray market infractions include selling products that were only meant to be sold at specific shops, through other outlet points such as online platforms or at market stalls and reselling products in other geographic zones than the ones intended and authorised by the brand owner. The latter is referred to as a parallel import and is an extremely common offense.

Parallel imports are lucrative ventures for criminals as the prices of most products vary greatly depending on the country in which they are sold. A lot of products are also sold exclusively in some regions or countries, despite there being high demand for them in other markets, meaning vendors can mark up the prices of these goods and make considerable profits.

The danger, however, lies in the reasons behind a product only being intended for a certain market. Variations in safety standards as well as laws and regulations can make some products outright dangerous for markets where the brand owners have not wished to sell them.

Consumers should take caution when considering purchasing products that are abnormally underpriced as this is a tell-tale sign that it could be a gray market good.