Cisco's Shared Support programme may be creating a "grey market" of support providers, according to Cisco support provider Trend Network Services.
"There seems to be a grey market for support. Basically, people that are not accredited are claiming they can do support," said Stuart Muirhead, sales and marketing manager of Trend Network Services, which is an accredited Shared Support provider.
"Customers are being hoodwinked. This is something Gold and Silver partners have complained to Cisco about."
In a statement to CRN, Cisco said that it would follow up any allegations. "The Cisco Shared Support programme employs strict eligibility controls and ongoing monitoring to better ensure quality control," the company said.
"Partners who qualify for the programme are entitled to an array of support from Cisco that helps enable them to provide quality support under their own brand. Any partner not in the programme is not entitled to this support from Cisco."
Resellers have said in the past that they expected Shared Support to increase the demand for white-label service contracts for old Cisco products, where support issues are well known and documented. Cisco resellers have baulked at the idea of paying for Shared Support upfront when they source products.
Cisco added: "The synergy between the Cisco delivery teams and Cisco Shared Support partners' delivery team are the cornerstone of the value of Shared Support.
"Resellers providing support contracts on Cisco equipment without the foundation of a Cisco support contract do so without legal access to Cisco expertise and experience, advance replacement hardware, software updates and upgrades or access to online tools.
"Cisco appreciates the work of others in identifying abuses and bringing them to our attention. Cisco will follow up on these allegations."
Keith Humphreys, managing consultant at EuroLan, said resellers were complaining about extra costs under the new scheme.
"Partners are saying costs are running to one-and-a-half to three times the cost of the old schemes," he said.
"Second, they have to buy support when they buy the product. This is tricky, because no installation goes the way you think it will; customers change their minds. This isn't a problem if you have got good asset tracking, as the big partners tend to have. If you're a mid-tier Gold partner, though, it can be complicated."
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