You seem to have a fascination for gray market items. Not all of us may agree to buying from the gray market. When we spend lakhs of rupees on items that all of us have passion for, we certainly want it to work well.
Audio and video equipment are complicated electronics. The models change every year, and the electronics are getting more complicated. With LSI circuits, these units need very specialised knowledge to repair them. That is why we, in addition to spending money on the equipment, spend a sizeable sum on protecting them with clean power such as power conditioning equipment.
Many of the dealers in US and Europe sell refurbished equipment. This is because of the consumer laws and intense competition in those places. When you buy a piece of equipment in the US, for example, you can return it to the dealer for whatever reason. The dealer has no option but to take it back and give you either a new piece or a full refund. Pieces which are returned are 'refurbished'. They are also packed into brand new cartons with new packing, and you will never know they are refurbished. Most of such units arrive in Asia, as the manufacturers think we deserve no better.
I have been fooled many times even in the best shops in Singapore, KL, and many cities in Europe and the US.
Most people who sell such items in the gray market just do not have the investment needed to set up a service unit to maintain what they sell. In addition they always sell brands that are popular and they have no affiliation to any one brand. Thus it is very difficult for them to service the item they sell. Even if they are ready to make the investment, they must be authorised by the manufacturer. These are not units you can ever repair without help from the manufacturer.
When you buy a TV, a telephone connection, a mobile connection, or even a TV connection, we scream our heads off when things do not work well. Why should we do something different for a AVR or an AMP we spend 50,000 to a lakh on?
Because, many times problems come up during installation and in the initial stages. Many of the products such as Parasound or Bryston, for example, come with a 5 to ten year warranty
Secondly after the warranty is over you can get into a AMC. Most important of all, if you buy from a authorised dealer, you can always demand service even from the manufacturer, irrespective of where you bought it from. And, an authorised dealer will give you good service and help you through the installation and other tweaking processes as they are trained. I picked up a Pioneer DVD Player in Rome, and Pioneer UK, Pioneer Singapore and the service center in India all replied to my queries when I mentioned the serial number and the place and date of purchase.
The gray market sellers are just cash traders. They buy an item, add their margins, sell the stuff and disappear. They certainly will not be able to service or even help you during installation, as they do not have any knowledge.
Yesterday, for example I visited ProFx in Chennai. The Regional Manager Mr. Shankar Ram is a good friend of mine as I have been visiting the shop for over three years continuously. I have always surprised him by bringing a large set of music CDs and movie DVDs. He used to have some standard DVD with ten or 12 movies in it, and many pirated DVDs before. Yesterday, he turned the tables on me. He had an excellent set of music and movies - all original. Based upon my input he has taken the trouble of purchasing a large set of the CDs/DVDs by himself even though the company did not encourage him. Shankar knows I already own a Onkyo, but he patiently demonstrated the Denons and won an order in just an hour.
I doubt you will get this kind of long term service from any gray market dealer.
And the price difference need not be 100%. Many of the dealers will provide large discounts, and the price difference can be brought down to 30% or so over the US or European prices. I remember Prithvi of Absolute Phase saying that UK products have literally the same price in India.
My biggest fear of gray market is of getting a product that has some defects. Even if you know the person well, he himself may not be aware that he is selling a dud machine.