Paul C. Buff, Inc.™ accepts orders from and ships orders to:
Ordering and Shipping Info for International Customers:
- customers living in and having items shipped to their residence or business in the United States and U.S. territories (including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam)
- U.S. military personnel living/working internationally
- customers living in and having items shipped to their residence or business in Canada
- existing customers living in international locations (customers who have ordered from us before, either formerly or currently living in the U.S. or an international location)
- existing customers who previously ordered from PCB Europe or PCB Australia (former authorized international reseller)
As a USA manufacturer that deals only direct-to-customer, our company is simply not equipped to navigate through the maze of international regulations, taxes, duties, documentation, monetary exchange, and payment obstacles associated with global direct sales. Our primary concern is to continue to provide the highest level of customer service in the industry, and in order to facilitate this goal, we had to stop accepting orders from new international customers in 2009.
About American Sales
Previous and Current International Customers:
Paul C. Buff, Inc.™ is an American manufacturer. We are unusual in that we sell our products only factory-direct. Because of this, we are able to offer our products to American customers at prices from 40 to 60% lower than other manufacturers for comparable quality products because of eliminating the normal discounts given to distributors and dealers.
We try hard to maintain extremely customer friendly service and inexpensive, expert repair service within our facility, and provide absolute 60 day satisfaction guarantees and intensive sales assistance and technical support. Because of this, we are without question America's dominant and most respected supplier of professional photographic lighting equipment.
While we would love to extend these advantages to international customers, there are many factors that simply don't allow us to do that effectively and we must, in good conscience, recommend that international customers give strong consideration toward purchasing equipment manufactured and sold within their own continents when possible. The reasons are as follows:
Because our pricing does not allow for costs of dealer and distributor markups, we would have to raise our prices approximately 50% to allow for these costs. Since about 95% of our sales are made in North America, that would badly damage our 30+ year old company.
Next, there is the very high, ever increasing cost of air shipping. For many of our products, these costs are as much or more than the product itself, plus our costs of meeting various regulations for shipping to different countries. Then, there are various VAT, duties and import taxes imposed by various countries, which the customer must end up paying.
Add these up, and international customers can expect to pay about twice or more than the USA price, even though we pass on our shipper discounts to customers. We often hear the complaint that we are ripping off customers with shipping charges when, in fact, we make zero profit on shipping. So you end up paying double or more for the product, and we make less profit because of our added handling costs and paperwork.
But the biggest deterrent is our inability to provide adequate repair support. While we do offer generous factory warranty and inexpensive service beyond warranty periods, items for repair must be shipped to us at the customer's cost, and return shipping is also paid by the customer. We cannot possibly maintain repair centers across the world, nor is ocean shipping an option for direct sales.
So international customers face the possibility of having to pay for international air shipping again, in both directions, if something requires repair service. This leads to justifiably dissatisfied customers who may feel they were overcharged.
But there is more. We face a lot of credit card fraud in direct international sales, and it is not uncommon for customs officials in various countries to hold up or refuse shipment, or to attempt to collect VAT or import duties even on repaired shipments. Using export agents does little to solve any of this.
So, while we truly value and respect customers from all countries, it is often a lose-lose proposition for all parties. We end up losing money and our hard earned reputation while customers can end up not getting good value or service for their money and effort.
In thanks for your long-time support, we will allow customers who have ordered from us in the past to place new orders from our U.S. headquarters. As our shopping cart does not calculate shipping charges for international orders, you will have to call us
to place your order. Please be aware that UPS has restrictions on shipping some items, such as the Vagabond™ systems, to certain international locations.
Customers who previously ordered from PCB Europe or PCB Australia:
In order to continue supporting customers who ordered from our previously authorized international reseller, we will additionally allow customers who have ordered from PCB Europe or PCB Australia in the past to place new orders from our U.S. headquarters. As our shopping cart does not calculate shipping charges for international orders, you will have to call us to place your order. Please be aware that UPS has restrictions on shipping some items, such as the Vagabond™ systems, to certain international locations.
Customers who previously ordered from PCB Europe or PCB Australia will be required to provide proof of their status
as a previous customer. Acceptable forms of proof include a receipt of sale or email confirmation of order. Please contact us
New International Customers:
While we cannot ship orders outside of the U.S. and Canada for new international customers, we will allow new customers located outside of the U.S. and Canada to order from us using a freight forwarding service based in the United States. When using a freight forwarding service, equipment that has been ordered and purchased is shipped from our headquarters to the location of the freight forwarder, and the customer is then responsible for all fees and taxes/duties to have the equipment shipped to their location from the freight forwarder.
International Warranty Information:
- What is a freight forwarder? A freight forwarder is a company that organizes shipments to get products from the manufacturer to a customer. In this case, a freight forwarder can be used to ship our products from the U.S. to your international location. Freight forwarders may also be referred to as forwarding agents, personal shoppers, and shipping agents.
- New international customers will need to find and select their own freight forwarding service. We require the service to be located in the United States.
- Once the order has been received and signed for at the U.S. address of the freight forwarder, the transaction is final with us. The freight forwarder will be responsible for any export documentation needed from that point forward.
- New international customers will be required to pay via wire transfer. No other forms of payment will be accepted. In addition to the total charge for the order, you will be responsible for any wire transfer fees that may be imposed by the bank. Please contact us for details, price quotes, and ordering.
- Shipments to a freight forwarder require a signature for delivery. The customer will be responsible for this $5.00 signature requirement fee.
- Paul C. Buff, Inc.™ reserves the right to refuse sales to any new international customers in the event that fraud is suspected.
International Customers who originally placed their order from us or from PCB Europe or PCB Australia can go through us for repairs and service (whether warranty or non-warranty), though all shipping costs to and from our offices will be the obligation of the customer.
PCB Europe / PCB Australia (1st Line Digital Pty Ltd / 1st Line Europe Ltd) and Gotham Audio (Switzerland) are no longer authorized to represent Paul C. Buff, Inc.™ and sales from these companies are not recognized as authorized sales. Equipment sold by any company or entity outside of Paul C. Buff, Inc.™ may not be covered under warranty.