A war of words has erupted between a Somerset reseller and printer vendor Tally over the manufacturer's attempts to sell direct to the dealer's customers.
Orchard Computer Services branded Tally "duplicitous" and "underhand" after discovering the vendor had approached its customers and offered to renew their maintenance contracts, which are the reseller's main source of revenue.
Ian Terry, managing director at Orchard, told Computer Reseller News that all his Tally customers had received letters - including a service contract price list - offering to renew their maintenance contracts.
Tally said the letters were mistakenly sent out because of a Y2K bug, but Terry said the vendor got the information about his customers during site maintenance visits.
Terry was upset about Tally's actions. "Firstly, it approached my customers without my knowledge," he said, "and secondly, I don't know what the benefits are of being a Tally reseller if it sells services direct."
He claimed the issue will have a financial impact on his business. "I'm now restricted in what I can charge for maintenance because my customers have seen Tally's prices. Even though I offer a better service, I won't be able to charge for it," Terry said.
Robin Edwardes, managing director at Tally, confirmed that letters were sent out in error. But he insisted that Tally's resellers were aware it sold its services directly, and said dealers were encouraged to resell Tally's services.
He claimed he had been "very surprised" by Orchard's complaint, the first one in his four years at Tally.
"We do work with resellers, but in some cases we promote our own services. If you're fully trained up by Tally, we look at it in a different way, but if you are not, we prefer to provide our own services, especially when it comes to high-end printers," Edwardes said.
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