Friday, September 22, 2023

Samsung begins its crusade against the gray market in Mexico: will it block phones like Motorola?

In Mexico, the gray market It has become the best option to get a smartphone without breaking your wallet. It also allows access to models that have not been officially launched in the country. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that manufacturers look at it with bad eyes. Samsung is the latest company to be the target of criticism in Mexico for a practice that, if it escalated, could harm its image.

This week, owners of Samsung smartphones in Mexico, purchased through the gray market, began receiving a warning message. The text highlights the main disadvantage of acquiring a terminal in this way: It does not have a guarantee in the country.

“Samsung informs. Your phone does not comply with the regulations. By not complying, the device does not have a Samsung warranty and its operation will be affected.”

Samsung Mexico.

Now, we might think that the vast majority of people who buy cell phones on the gray market, including those from Samsung, are aware of this “inconvenience.” However, that is not the case.

Although Samsung Mexico does not mention it, surely more and more people with gray market smartphones go to technical service centers to fix some damage. But they get the surprising news that they do not have a valid guarantee in national territory. Let’s be honest, the next step that many usually do is to publicly criticize the brand.

Samsung Mexico assures that this message is to protect consumers. But at the same time, they are also protecting themselves.

For now, Samsung Mexico has only limited itself to sending the message to terminals that were not purchased from authorized distributors. User concern, however, has been growing due to what recently happened with Motorola.

Will Samsung follow Motorola’s path in Mexico?

Samsung is an expert in the folding mobile phone sector.

Last July, Motorola began blocking smartphones purchased on the gray market in Mexico. “Your Motorola device does not comply with Mexican regulations, so it has been disabled,” the message said. Next, the terminal is only used to make emergency calls, so you are practically left with a paperweight.

Motorola, unlike Samsung Mexico, went further in its motives. Not only did he mention the issue of the non-existent guarantee in the country, but he also considers that these equipment can put people at risk.

Too exaggerated? Well, Motorola has a point. Gray market smartphones do not have a certification that validates their correct operation in Mexico. Mainly, what has to do with the electrical section. The charger and voltages of imported equipment could be different from those required in our country. Now, leaving a phone unusable is an extreme measure.

“Due to the high rates of irregular devices in our country, with the consequent security risk for the user, you have received a disabling alert on your Motorola device, since it is not certified by Mexican regulatory entities and does not comply with all Standards *, approval protocols and warranty policies applicable in the country of use, and will not work correctly since it was not designed for networks in Mexico.”


The only way for your Motorola smartphone – from the gray market – not to be blocked is if you have purchased it in person abroad and then imported it for use in Mexico.

“The Motorola devices to which the disabling does not apply will be those that do not receive the disabling alert, as well as those devices acquired in person by the consumer abroad for use in Mexico from authorized or official channels that market products purchased directly from Motorola. “These devices will only receive the usage alert.”


Being aware of the wave of criticism that was approaching, Motorola offered those affected a 30% discount on the purchase of an officially distributed smartphone.

Because there are many stores and sellers that offer gray market terminals, it was necessary for them to begin to specify whether the distributed model is suitable to function without problems in Mexico.

We clarify again that, For now, Samsung Mexico has not chosen to block gray market smartphones in Mexico. But, looking at Motorola’s history, it is best to stay alert.

An interesting fact is that The gray market for mobile devices has quintupled in Mexico during the last 3 years. This shows that consumers are opting for cheaper alternatives, especially at a time when the prices of mobile devices have skyrocketed.

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