Dealer giant Computacenter has hit out at vendors for providing ungenerous and complicated warranty terms for desktop equipment and said a scheme it is to introduce will undercut them.
The company will offer a next-day, on-site maintenance agreement, called Computacenter Enhanced Warranty.
According to Martin Hellawell, head of marketing at Computacenter, the company will charge for support for one, two or three years when companies buy kit, allowing them to figure maintenance costs into leasing deals and work out depreciating capital value including support.
'We started the scheme about three weeks ago and at the end of last week it was up to speed,' said Hellawell. 'We've made massive investments in the past two years.'
He said vendors shy away from providing on-site warranties for PCs, notebooks and printers. It takes them days or even weeks to turn around warranty calls.
Computacenter's initiative is driven not only by the company itself but also by users, said Hellawell. He also claimed that this is a first for the dealer market. Computacenter's customers were fed up with poor service and the agreement will give them better service.
'As far as I know, it's unique and aggressive in terms of our competitors,' he said. The deal will let Computacenter undercut vendors - even the likes of IBM, Dell and Hewlett Packard.
The company's move is part of a broader initiative in the channel to be more responsive in terms of both services and financing. According to one source, both Computacenter and P&P are expected to introduce financial services and are in negotiation with merchant banks including Kleinwort & Benson.
The issue of warranties will take a further turn this year as an EU draft proposal comes into force. It will put the burden of proof on sellers rather than buyers and will cover installation, repair and replacement over a two-year period.
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