Computacenter’s head of purchasing Ivan Verdier sent a letter on 12 June informing a number of suppliers that payment terms would be extended to net 60 days.
The change took effect at the start of July, meaning invoices received by Computacenter during that month were paid at the end of September.
The letter stated: “The revised payment terms will be one of the major decision factors in future purchasing decisions as we try to improve and simplify our supply chain operations.”
CRN understands that rival DSGi also contacted suppliers this summer to inform them of planned alterations to payment terms. The company issued the following statement: “It is not our policy to comment on our commercial relationships with our business partners.”
As a result the Forum of Private Business (FPB) is set to include Computacenter in its Hall of Shame. It will join a number of companies, including Boots, BHS and TJ Hughes, which have made similar changes to suppliers’ payment terms.
Chief executive Phil Orford said: “The FPB condemns Computacenter for imposing this unilateral change in its suppliers’ payment terms. Late payment and enforced changes to terms and conditions are both major problems for small businesses.”
One anonymous supplier told CRN: “This is inappropriate behaviour given the size of Computacenter and the relative size of the companies that have been forced to accept this.”
Computacenter chief executive Mike Norris was unavailable for comment as CRN went to press.
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