Plantronics has urged partners to join its authorised partner programme if they want to sell its products and avoid grey market issues, as it opens up about recent legal action.
In recent months, the headset vendor has settled out of court with a number of firms for selling non-EU kit with counterfeit packaging components in the UK, most recently with Manchester telecoms VAR Incom last week.
Throughout its campaign, the company has said its aim is to ensure customers and its channel partners are protected.
Paul Dunne (pictured), the firm's UK and Ireland boss, told CRN that the grey market clean-up is an ongoing process.
"Our motivation is to protect our business and as part of this programme we have looked into importers, we have looked into resellers and we have gone as broadly as we possibly can to try to address this issue," he said.
Incom spoke out about the Plantronics legal action, claiming the vendor was heavy-handed in its approach. But, speaking more widely about the issue, and not specifically about Incom, Dunne said its authorised partners have been extremely pleased by its efforts.
"The feedback we're getting from the channel is extremely positive. We're taking action and we're not ignoring this practice and we are supporting their businesses," he said.
"I've had several meetings with senior folks over the last few months, as part of quarterly business reviews, and universally we are getting the thumbs up from our channel.
Dunne said that if partners want to be completely certain about the source of the Plantronics kit they sell, they must work through its authorised channel. He added that the company gets about one request to join the programme every week, and insisted that even small partners, or those selling Plantronics as a one-off, are eligible to join.
Resellers that want to join the programme apply online and enter in certain infomation, such as the sorts of markets they wish to address, before receiving a phone call from the Plantronics team, which can authorise the partner into the programme within a week.
"We are extremely open to any organisation that wants to join our partner programme," Dunne added. "It has three tiers, so even organisations which perhaps might decide they want to sell Plantronics as part of one specific project, have a place in the programme for that sort of [deal]," he said.
"Whether you're a VAR or an integrator, our programme is open.
"I think we've been explicitly clear for years about who our authorised channels are in the UK. I think if you're a partner, then arguably you don't have to do your due diligence if you buy the product within the authorised channel. I know we've been crystal clear about what the authorised channel is – remain in that and you've got nothing to worry about."
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