To raise consumer and dealer awareness, Supertron Electronics has revealed a startling fact. Apparently Seagate's external hard drives are being imported and sold by grey market dealers under the name of Supertron. These grey market dealers are supposedly trying to malign the name of Supertron by selling fake Seagate hard drives. The selling of fake hard drives is supposedly taking place from the beginning of October 2013.
The normal warranty period for Seagate's external hard drives is 3 years in India and 2 years outside India. The grey market dealers have duplicated the entire product and its packaging. However, they changed the warranty period outside India to three years. On speaking to Nirmal Kr Meharia, director, Supertron Electronics " Such a fake warranty period is attracting the customers. Since it is matching with India's warranty period which is 3 years, customers are viewing this as a lucrative option and hence buying the fake product. They are unaware of this unlawful activity and thinking the product to be original Seagate manufactured."
On being asked as to how the action was caught, Meharia replied that they witnessed a drop in sales. Initially they attributed it to the poor market conditions which happen normally. On further research, they perceived that the drop was happening only in Bengaluru and to some extent, in Chennai as well. This caught their attention and on further probing, they realized that Seagate's hard drives were being sold by an unknown dealer under Supertron's name. They even caught hold of the fake product and noticed that Supertron's name has been wrongly copied on the box of the fake external drive. Instead of Supertron Electronics private Limited market dealer had pasted the name as Supertron Electronics Limited, a name which was used earlier. This assured Supertron's belief on the illegal activities that was happening behind their back.
Meharia said that "ultimately the biggest suffererer are the end customers. They will not be getting warranty support as expected as the products are not sold by us." He even highlighted the grave implication the entire act will have on the suburban market and how Supertron's reputation is at stake. "The suburban customers are one time customers since their requirements are limited. Once they receive a negative word on the expected service/s, they will possible stop buying our product further. This will hamper our sales revenues now and even hereafter," commented Meharia.
The original Seagate external hard drive is priced around Rs 7000. On being asked as to whether the fake products are being sold at a lesser price just to attract the customers, Meharia commented that "price is not the factor here. They are probably selling the fake products at the same price. We do not even want to comment on the quality levels. Our target is to safeguard our customers interests. The grey market dealers are simply playing with our reputation in the market and we are extremely concerned about that."
Seagate's services are being provided by Accel Frontline Services. Although no such cases has yet been reported where a customer with a fake hard drive has gone to the service provider and denied the right yet if such an illegal activity continues to occur unhindered then that day will not be far.
Meharia suggested to customers that they should double check the source before making the actual purchase. This is causing an additional burden on the end users' part. He said users should check the serial number written on the product from the internet to know the authenticity. This means that users have to practice caution and undergo research before shelling out cash.
Meharia also concluded by saying that their hunt for the grey market dealers in on and that they will catch the people behind this and take legal action shortly.
The counterfeit products are reported to be sold only in Bengaluru and Chennai as of now but are expected to spread to other parts soon if the proper action is not taken to counter the success of the grey market dealers.