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Five Solid Reasons Why You Should Not To Import Your Own Electronics


Everybody wants something from abroad to brag to your visitors about. You see this Hair Dryer, I bought it from Dubai. I imported my Samsung Galaxy S4 plus gear directly from Korea. This TV was sent by my son or brother or Aunt from the United States. Well if you are thinking of joining the club, let me tell you why you should not join the club. I just had to write about this because I have seen a couple of people suffer due these imported items or gifts from abroad. If your relative in the Diaspora wants to send you something, please tell them you are better off with the money. Let them send it using Western union, you will definitely buy a much better product here. The first reason is self explanatory

Never trust the postal system in Kenya
They have a reputation of loosing very expensive stuff. DHL on the other side can charge you as much as the unit you are importing costs. The only advantage DHL has is that they deliver to your doorstep and do it very quickly.

Different Systems and Configurations
Please allow me to dive into some technical stuff here. Electronic items are built for the regions they will be eventually sold. For example an Lg G4 phone sold in the US is different from the one sold in the Middle East. The one sold in Korea is also different from the one sold in Sub-Saharan Africa. In simple terms if you import a Smart Phone from abroad, there are very high chances that it will not pop up that very important MPESA Menu. Is that reason enough? Some phones do not even register any of the local networks in Kenya leave alone MPESA.

Turning my attention to TVs, the system used in Kenya to deliver you the viewer colour TV is known as PAL. If you import a TV with the NTSC system; for example directly from Korea, it will receive the local channels in Black and White! Now you will be required to import an equally expensive NTSC to PAL converter from abroad again.

Voltage incompatible with smaller power plugs
Different countries offer their citizens different power voltages. Here in Kenya for example, Kenya Power is supposed to provide us 240Volts at 50Hz, nothing more or less or nothing at all.  In the US they get 120Volts at 60Hz, this means that if you receive an appliance from the US and directly plugged it into the socket, you will burn down your house. Luckily most appliances have fuses and this is the only thing that blows. Electrical plugs from the US also have a smaller plug so it will keep you busy looking for the right extension to plug it into. Before plugging anything that does not fit, please read the label carefully.

Denied after sales services
Like I mentioned earlier, different regions have different makes of the same product manufactured.  I also hinted that products from the Middle East are different from the ones sold in Sub-Saharan Africa.  The first part of the model Number is usually exactly the same but the difference is in some of the last digits and numbers in the Model number. Let’s say for example you imported or sent someone to buy you a 42 Inch LED TV from Dubai, you watch it but after a while something happens to it. You take it to the appropriate Authorized Service Centre. They will not repair it. They will take a look at the extended Model number and return the product to you.

Warranty not covered
They will return it because the warranty the product has was registered in Dubai.  Secondly, their computer system simply cannot accept that foreign Serial Number. Now you will have to take your product to Local Fundis or send it back to Dubai to get it repaired.


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