IT upgrade lets Seagate spot shades of grey

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Storage component specialist Seagate has reaffirmed its commitment to crack down on distributors, OEM and SIs that resell its products to channels outside of contractual agreements.

According to Henk Van den Berg, director Northern & Central Europe at Seagate Technology, the firm has had robust policies in place to tackle to problem for many years but has “recently improved our IT ability to track and manage regional warranties,” which he says now gives the frim better methods for tracking products sold outside of territory or in breach of contractual terms.

However, Van den Berg stresses this will not affect end users, maintaining “we will always honour our warranties” to unsuspecting end users of grey product.

However, for resellers, if a breach is detected, Segate can hold back rebates or evoke the fines stipulated within the breach clauses of its supplier contracts.

The channel boss believes that protecting the investment that both it and the channel put into promoting the brand and sales is undermined by grey activities. This ranges from selling across geographic territories, OEMs selling stock destined for integration, forward selling practices and SIs that benefit from discounts that sell into the open market.

Although keen to talk about its ability to track and trace, Van den Berg is reticent to disclose exactly how many companies have fallen foul of its big stick. “The people on the other end of use withholding rebates… they know very well how thorough we are. The companies in question know what they are doing and that we will take action,” he adds.

In the UK, Seagate works through four distributors Avnet, Hammer, Ingram Micro and VIP Computers, serving a community of several thousand partners.

According to Jonathan Lewis, product management EMEA storage at Ingram Micro Europe: “Ingram Micro warmly welcomes the implementation of regional warranty on Seagate products. This will be a contributing factor in the fight against grey market activities and will help to promote the sale of products via authorised channels only.”


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