I think I rambled on about this over there already, but I find this to be one of the most irksome things and the world and I've encountered it the most in this hobby.
Hey Fitear, I'd like to buy your $2k earphones 99.999% of the population would consider completely insane. Would you let me give you money?
^ What the hell's the logic behind that?
And what's with speaker companies being so weird and dodgy about what their stuff costs and where I can actually, you know, buy it?
Yeah it's very frustrating.
As ardgedee said, there're a lot of customer service requirements going on with customs. There are lots of chances for miscommunication, outlandish customer expectations, a multitude of design options, and the prospect of needing a refit.
However it's not too unreasonable a proposition in my opinion, especially when you're catering to a very small niche market and charging upwards of $2k from the get-go. And really, in this day and age dealing with overseas customers shouldn't be too much of a hassle, especially when you're in Japan and not the rural countrysides of a less developed Asian country or somewhere in the middle of Africa or something.
There are certainly other customs manufacturers who wont deal with overseas customers, but there are many more who choose to do so. Honestly, I've never encountered another CIEM manufacturer as reluctant as FitEar in this regard. Spiral Ear is another notorious example of not dealing with overseas business, but in their case it's for financial reasons, because apparently the local government imposes a massive tax on shipping or something, and it's just not in their best interest monetarily. FitEar on the other hand is an older and more well-established business (Spiral Ear is relatively smaller and less experienced). They actually have quite a reputation considering they spend so little on advertising, and I've seen countless posts from folks lamenting the inability to get customs from them. The demand is certainly there, and they know it. It seems like financially it's in their best interest not to ignore international demand.
I don't know, this is obviously just speculation on my part. I think in the case of FitEar however, it has less to do with customer support and logistics, and more to do with being resistant to change and being set in their ways. The addition of universals to their lineup was a step in the right direction toward changing these attitudes I think, though it took a while for them to "allow" importers to supply them. It was pretty ridiculous to have to order the TG 334 in secret when it first came out, and not disclosing the name of the importer openly despite tons of folks asking (see? The demand is there) for fear of repercussions. FitEar specifically said they didn't want their universals being sold overseas either at first, so in that case it seems to be about more than just the complexity of ordering customs. They then did the same thing again with the F111, giving exclusive rights to a Japanese vendor who didn't accept international orders. Now these earphones are finally available among import retailers.
Edited by MuppetFace - 12/5/12 at 9:06am