eBay is the wild west of the civilized shopping internet, and as such, one must needs pay more attention to the fineprint of listings, because pretty much everyone can sell on eBay, and the level of professionalism among eBay sellers runs the whole gamut. Even among the featured eBay Deals.
One semi-disturbing trend is that some un-authorized sellers are using tricky language (accidentally or intentionally) when describing the warranty situation. For example, when one reads “1yr US warranty”, they may equate it with a manufacturer’s warranty. But that’s not necessarily so. In some cases, what a seller may be saying is that the seller is physically in the US and they are providing an equivalent warranty to the manufacturer warranty, and the people providing the warranty are residing in the US. But the camera is an import model. Sometimes this is explained further down in the listings, sometimes it is not.
For example, here is an annotated screenshot of a listing of this nature, explaining it:
Needless to say, the whole authorized dealer status situation is a complicated topic. This post is only intended to help consumers protect themselves from confusing verbiage, it is not intended to be an exhaustive analysis of the situation.
eBay could help the situation if they insist that sellers describe this clearly in the listing title and not bury it in fineprint. For example, if a camera is an import model, write “Imported” or “Grey Market” or something self-explanatory in the product title of the listing.
If you are not sure about the authorized dealer status of a seller, look it up on the manufacturers website, or call the manufacturer’s customer support, or search photography forums or use search engines. The higher the price of an item, the bigger the potential risk.