To my total surprise, actually I'm in shock, I came across a Garmin GPS seller on eBay that clearly circumvents the two critical issues for dealers.

1. Garmin do not allow authorised dealers to sell brand new items on auction sites such as eBay as per their contract with Garmin.
2. Someone authorised to sell Garmin is selling on an auction site.

It so happens that this eBayer is in fact Garmin and have been selling directly to the public on eBay as of 24th Jan 2012!

A number of the items are refurbished, which in real terms means as good as brand new, no marks, scratches, dents or below Garmin's manufacturing quality. To boot they provide 12 months warranty whilst here in Australia it is only 3 months and even then Garmin Australia do not offer refurbished units to dealers to on-sell, they are only available to replace "repaireable" items.

If I were a dealer in USA this is one thing that would infuriate me. Garmin are selling a refurbished Dakota 10 for $150 freight free within USA. GPS City are selling a brand new Dakota 10 for $185 inc freight. Which would you buy? Me, the refurbished.

Is this the start for Garmin to dramatically increase it's profits at the expense of it's distribution/dealer network? I know what you are going to say, it's only refurbished units that are cheaper and the new ones are at full RRP whilst GPS City is only $249. But interestingly here in Australia the RRP is $349 as we are the poor cousins of the Garmin distribution network.

Is it smart for Garmin to do this? Hard to tell at this stage as it would be difficult to know what kind of eBayer would buy GPS at full RRP price; I would say none normally except there was one new item sold out of 158 sales. Remember though that these refurbished units are being purchased instead of new GPS through dealers, and Garmin have only just started to make a move into this territory, testing the waters no doubt.

No doubt only a tiny percentage of dealers will complain and an even smaller percentage will cancel their dealership because it would most probably mean closing their GPS shop.