What Went Wrong?
Due to my inexperience with international sales, I put the CE certification paperwork required for sales in Europe on the OUTSIDE of the box of a MA-220, instead of the INSIDE. I also didn't put the little CE sticker on the actual unit. Unfortunately, this seemingly small mistake, was enough to "raise a red flag" and have the inspectors take a further look.
Once they investigated further, they found that the CE certification paperwork Hilton has been providing since 2009 does not qualify for newer, more stringent CE standards. They refused the package...sending it back to the United States after a 6+ week delay. Since then, they have given our European representative a hassle even on small parts and microphone cables as well.
What Does The European Union Want?
In a nutshell, they want me to invest in a completely new CE certification that includes new standards that will likely require thousands of dollars worth of up-front costs. Further, any change I make on a unit...even something as small as changing a resistor, would require further re-certification.
What Am I Going To Do?
I'm going to continue to research my options, and consider what to do next. I am proud to be able to provide Hilton products in Europe. That said, the volume of sales in Europe does not justify thousands of dollars worth of certification. If I am not able to recover my investment in certification in 18-24 months, I will not re-certify. The state of the business simply will not allow me to consider a longer term investment.
When Is This Going To Happen?
While I will continue to research the associated costs, I am not prepared to begin the process or invest the money required until I return from CALLERLAB in March 2015. IF things go well at CALLERLAB, and IF the costs are within my forecasted sales, and IF the testing and approval process takes less than 3 months, I would hope to be able to sell to Europe again around the time of the National Square Dance Convention at the end of June 2015. These are a LOT of IF's, and if any one of them does not work out, then there is a very good chance that Hilton has shipped it's last unit to Europe. This is why I say that all European sales are on hold "indefinitely", and this is the best answer I can give you at this time.
What About Bringing A Hilton Product To Europe On Your Own?
What you do on your own is your business, but let me be perfectly clear. Until we can legally ship to and from Europe, Hilton will NOT ship to or from Europe. If you buy a Hilton product in the United States and bring it to Europe, it is AT YOUR OWN RISK. If there is a problem or issue (whether under warranty or not) it will be YOUR responsibility to get the unit to and from the United States. Your warranty will NOT cover shipping to or from Europe until we can do it legally.
I'm very disappointed that this happened the way it did. I have nobody but myself to blame. The fact of the matter is, however, that Hilton products does NOT have the proper certification (and didn't have the proper certification when I bought the company). Unfortunately...I'm the one who got caught.
I am open to your (legal) thoughts and (legal) suggestions to work through this problem. Unfortunately I don't believe that there will be any quick solutions.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.