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What is the Gray Market, and Why Should You Care?

Learn the risks and how to avoid gray market items.

Every supplier and manufacturer authorized to sell on GDA Plus+ Supplies are either a manufacturer-authorized distributor or the manufacturer themselves.

Tips & Tricks to get the most out of gda plus+ suppliesSometimes, we receive questions about how GDA Plus+ Supplies is able to offer such large discounts on dental supplies—and many times, dentists wonder or are told that our products might be unsafe or gray market items. We receive questions like, “Aren’t those products old or expired?” or, “Are the products from outside the United States?”
or, “Are they safe?” It’s clear that many practices don’t know what the gray market is, or how we can be sure that each of the products you can find on are the same quality products from authorized distributors that you’re accustomed to—but for a much lower price.

So, what is the gray market, exactly? And how can you avoid purchasing inferior products?

Not to be confused with the black market, which is typically counterfeit or stolen products and completely illegal, the gray market is the "unauthorized" reselling of products. This includes different forms of unauthorized reselling.

A simple version of a gray market transaction could be a dentist selling items online. Maybe she bought an item with a BOGO special at a tradeshow and sold the free one on an online auction site. Technically speaking, she is not authorized to resell this product from the manufacturer, so this is a gray market resell.

The more common contributor to the gray market is when an authorized distributor from another country (who purchases products for a lower cost than a US-based distributor) exports those authorized products back to the United States for resale. You can easily find these on large resell and auction websites online. A seller might be authorized to sell in Brazil, for example, but once that item is brought back to the US, it becomes unauthorized for resale, and therefore a gray market item.

Risks of Gray Market Items

Gray market products usually have a void manufacturer warranty. You will have no support from the manufacturer if a product does not perform as advertised. A second risk of gray market products is potentially poor quality control. With no requirements from the manufacturer, an unauthorized reseller doesn't have to ensure any quality control of the products they store and ship. Finally, manufacturers often have different variations of their products for different countries. So, a product created for foreign market may not meet US standards for a variety of reasons, leading to legal
and safety concerns.

Avoid Gray Market Items with GDA Plus+ Supplies

You won’t find any gray market products on Every supplier and manufacturer we work with are either authorized distributors of the products offered, or they ARE the manufacturer and the products come directly from them.

At GDA Plus+ Supplies, we are able to offer discounted products to GDA members—something that national suppliers have implied could mean products are gray market. However, the primary reasons that prices are lower are due to increased efficiencies in our business model, and never due to any compromise in products available. We always seek to provide the lowest possible cost to members by always increasing efficiency, while never cutting corners.

Hundreds of GDA members are saving an average of 30%+ with GDA Plus+ Supplies—and aren’t sacrificing quality. Our customer support specialists can answer your questions and provide a custom price comparison based on your recent invoices. Or, feel free to learn more in a free informational webinar on Friday, October 27 from 12–1pm.

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