Who Will Clean the DoA Mess?
and warranty replacements are issues that dealers and partners across the country have now accepted as part and parcel of the IT business. Either they take them into their stride and go on or they completely move out of the IT business altogether. Most of them complain that the reason this has become a problem area is because vendors are not defining clear policies on either of the above issue. To add to it, distributors insist that they can act only in accordance to vendor policies, which means that the partners are left in the lurch as far as finding amicable solutions are concerned. There are associations who often take up cudgel on behalf of their member partners, but in the face of complete non-cooperation from the vendor side, it's not much that they can do.
DoA and warranty related problems have been troubling partners now for years. The problems here are multiple—for one, most vendors do not have any clearly enunciated policies or frameworks on this aspect; and obviously as a reason of that there is no clarity in communication about these policies to the partners; and in case of principals where some sort of policies or framework are in place, there seems to be particular lack of intent and in some cases brazen indifference and nonchalance to honor the words of these policies.
This state of affairs is not just abysmal, but shocking to say the least and smacks of an entirely callous attitude from leading vendors and the way they conduct their businesses here in India. So what should be done to alleviate the situation and make vendors see reason behind adopting well defined policies and making them clear to the channel partners as well as honoring them in both words and spirit. For one, the distributors have an important role to play here, which many feel, right now they are not fulfilling to the extent possible or desired. Most partners accuse the distributors of not undertaking replacement of DoA goods and not helping them enough to deliver on customer requirements quickly as far as DoA cases were concerned.
Distributors, on their part, feel that most dealers are not aware of the correct vendor policies as far as DoA and warranty replacements are concerned, and therefore find fault with the distributors. Though they agree that there are no clear-cut policies on DoA and warranty from the vendor's side, but still aver that it is the responsibility of the partner to find out and know the vendor policies. Since distributors also have targets and stocks to deal with, they feel they cannot keep track of all DoA and warranty concerns. Distributors believe they only serve as a bridge between the channel and vendors and cannot be blamed for everything.
While this mutual blame game would not lead to any concrete results, it's time that some strong actions are taken. For one, vendors need to be more accountable and should put right policies in place. And to ensure that this does not remain only a lip service, even drastic options like 'stop payment' envisaged by certain partners should not be ruled out if it proves to be the best option to get solutions for DoA and warranty concerns. Perhaps this would make vendors and even distributors treat the channel as customers and work to find amicable solutions. And distributors, perhaps instead of totally washing their hands off the matter, should rather sit with the association and vendors, and clarify all doubts as regards DoA and warranty. But the biggest mindset change has to come from vendors; and they should take this seriously, before it seriously jeopardizes their businesses in the Indian marketplace.