Buying beauty equipment and products from overseas. Is it really such a good deal?

With the ever-increasing pressure on business from the competition and the economy, it has never been more tempting to look at alternatives to reduce your business operating costs.  In an age where a global marketplace (which now extends far beyond eBay) offers huge savings on the cost of products and equipment, the temptation to import and take advantage of the worldwide marketplace can be enticing.  However, it is important to fully understand what the implications are to you and your business before making an overseas purchase.  Importing your own goods has certainly been made easy, especially from Chinese marketplaces such as Aliexpress.


But, beware…  Under Australian law, by importing your own devices or products directly from overseas, you take on the responsibility of the manufacturer.  And that could have significant impacts on your insurance costs, liability as well as government obligations.  In addition, an international warranty is not easily enforceable and you might end up with a device that doesn’t really work or may stop within a couple of months or just simply isn’t exactly as described.  There are even occasions where the device never arrives or is seized by customs.


This isn’t to say that all products manufactured overseas are of poor quality.  There are certainly different levels of quality available and it can be extremely difficult to determine what is good versus what is not so good.  With copyright laws in some countries not as stringent as in others, it opens the door to pretty much anything being copied.  We can all relate to the fake designer handbags in Bali or Thailand, the same applies to a lot of beauty machines and consumables.  Beauty machines in various marketplaces may look the same but the quality can vary greatly.  Devices generally only have one genuine equipment manufacturer these are usually produced by ISO-certified factories and are priced accordingly.  The imitations on Chinese shopping sites are often significantly cheaper making purchasing of those items very tempting.


So, what does this mean, to you, in the real world?  It means more than most people realise.  If you import your own products, chemicals, or equipment, without the correct genuine compliance, not only could you face huge fines, but you may also discover that your business insurance policy is voided leaving you exposed to litigation if something were to go wrong.  Your insurance could be void not only because you are not a registered importer, but also because, if you directly import a product into Australia for commercial purposes then in the eyes of Australian law, you take on the responsibility of the manufacturer.  It is certainly possible to have appropriate insurance cover for this, and any reputable wholesale/importing company will have it.


Importing rather than purchasing from an Australian-compliant wholesaler is likely to increase your insurance premiums by $10,000 to $15,000 per annum.  All of a sudden, the cost-saving proposition of global shopping sites starts to look a little bit different.


A word about certificates.  Many overseas suppliers will tell you that they have all the right certificates for their products and the certificates look really good.  They are so good that you “don’t have to worry, everything is OK”. Be careful, if a machine or product can be copied, how easy do you think it is to fake a certificate?  And what does the certificate mean?  What certificates must you have? Is a certificate enough? What do you do with the certificate?


So what’s the answer?  There are quality, reputable companies in Australia who have gone through the process and expense to find good suppliers overseas so that you don’t have to.  Call them before you make your purchase.  Ask questions about the process the company has been through to find suppliers and supply the products.  until you are satisfied.


Having strict regulations in Australia may, at times, seem a bit over the top, but those regulations are there to protect us.  At the end of the day, make your decision based on the right thing for your business, based on facts.

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