Indian channels has a distinctive set of mood and operational identity varying each from region to region; while northern channel partners seems to be more aggressive and business oriented, the Western Ghats seems to be on a ‘bindaas' mood. In the east, emotions and passion continues to rule the channel mindset while in the south, unity amidst diversity is the key to channels trade.
Issues, as a result continues to vary between regions with credit issues, service cases, theft and fraud ruling the charts according to each region; however, of all the issues, the policy of Dead on Arrival (DoA) continues to remain atop having a homogenous impact on channels trade irrespective of region.
To find out the actual stand of the channel partners and their opinion, The DQ Week recently conducted an online poll where by a meagre 3% margin; the voters (channel partners) concluded that most of the vendors does not have a clear DoA policy in place. Out of the total participants in the poll, 49% unanimously agreed that vendors don't have a proper, well defined DoA policy in place while 46% agreed that they are confident and content with the DoA scenario. The rest comprising of 5% were not able to arrive at a possible conclusion.
Out of the numerous plague outbreaks which the channels have seen in the recent past, warranty issues and DoA cases have been referred to The DQ Week time and again; cases however, were of varying degrees sometimes comprising warranty over 4 pen-drives to cases involving 12 laptops.
Introspecting the poll results, The DQ Week brings to you some of the key DoA policies of major vendors who were able to stand the much debated channels allegation of DoA and warranty violations.
Gigabyte had previously declared its DOA policy in open effective from June 21 2010 in metros and from 1st July 2010 for other locations in India. The declaration has helped the vendor settle much of its issues in this realm with its channel partners.
This policy, meant only for the Channel Partners is put into effect for those who buy Gigabyte motherboards from its authorized distributors in India, featuring Avnet (India), Ingram Micro, Redington (India) and Neoteric Infomatique Ltd.
The product is deemed DOA, if the product fails during installation within 45 days of the distributor's invoice date. The DOA warranty service is currently being provided by Accel Frontline and Digicare Service Centre.
In 2009, the vendor had introduced pick and delivery service as an initiative to reach out and provide support to distant locations. Besides, the vendor has a call centre service outsourced in collaboration with Accel Frontline, which assists customers and channel partners on all support services.
Gigabyte users can call on the toll-free number, 1- 800- 425- 4945 to get their queries addressed. This number provides pre sales and post sales support, service support and technical support. Customers and partners can avail this free service anytime between 9am to 6pm. In addition, the motherboard major has also stocked adequate buffers in all its branches and RMA locations with a dedicated RMA team to address the DOA issues in its wide channel base.
With Redington (India) providing the support to its partners for Intel, purchases made through Ingram Micro India are also deemed eligible for DOA and warranty claims.
The DOA period is 30 days from the date of IMIPL invoice with replacements given from the sales stock within 7 business working days, subject to the Intel eligibility norms. However, with no communication coming in from Intel directly over the eligibility norms, the topic is not clear.
Regarding IMIPL, Redington does not provide any warranty support and for any warranty replacement issues, the is left to the vendor's mercy approaching Intel directly for getting the replacement. A toll free number, 1-800-4256835 is dedicated to the warranty issues. Besides, mailing support is also provided at email@example.com.
However, Customer induced damages (CID) are excluded from DOA claims which again is unclear with no defined list either provided by Intel or its distributors.
Asus has different DOA and warranty policies/categories for different products under the brand name. The E.L.I.T.E.2.0 warranty service for Motherboards that provides the first of its kind of Burnt and Corrosion Warranty for all Motherboard in India along with a DOA policy of 60 days for channel partners from the distributor invoice date is unique to the motherboard vertical. For all other products (LCD, Graphic Cards, Netbooks, Notebooks, PDA et.al) - the DOA period is of 7 days from the invoice date. Currently the company provide two types of warranty services which includes On Site service for LCD Monitor's and Carry-in service for all other products.
For the Carry-in warranty scheme, the end users are requested to carry in individually to service centre for the local warranty. Besides, Onsite warranty or Pickup service is also provided for respective product or models covered by ASUS at the time of the purchase.
The onsite service however, is limited to the customer location within 40 kms radius or within municipal limits whichever is nearer from Asus service provider. For more than 40 kms, ASUS call center or service provides telephonic tech support during working hours on the basis of the nature of the problem. For Asus, a Channel Partner can directly approach the Distributor for his claim for DOA according to the product type if all the required documents are verified.
However, claims for the DOA and warranty lapses have been clearly defined by the vendor. Under circumstances where the invoice is not proper, they need the RMA -return material authorization to ensure the transaction is honoured. In the second place, if the product suffers from Customer Induced Damage (CID) like physical damage or is burnt, DOA claims are rejected. Also, the DOA is not available for products that have been purchased from outside India and have the local warranty for just that country (not global) and lastly, if the DOA claim will be held invalid if system has been disassembled by end-user or non-ASUS-authorized repair centres.
For Samsung, the company offers 3 types of warranty services for its monitor range. For the 15 inch CDT monitors, the company offers a 24 months warranty from date of purchase or 27 months from month of manufacture whichever is earlier. For the 17 inch CDT and LCD-TFT range, the warranty is applicable for 36 months from date of purchase or 39 months from month of manufacture (whichever is earlier) and for the Plasma range, the timeline is 12 months from date of purchase or 15 months from the month of manufacture whichever is earlier. However, the scenario is complex here with the options of manufacturing date and purchase date covering the warranty. Dealers across the nation have for long raised questions about the dubious nature of warranty issues especially in case of idle stocks and hoardings.
However, the warranty scheme is not as simple as is specified above with numerous conditions and terms for the customers, most interesting of which is the fact that ‘The warranty does not cover demonstration/installation of the product purchased'. Another terms of warranty is the fact that the company has clearly underlined the situation of non-availability of spares where ‘In the event of any unforeseen circumstance, and spares not being available, the company's prevailing depreciation rules will be binding on the purchaser to accept as a commercial solution in lieu of repairs'.
The abovestated terms and conditions of service from Samsung have raised much concern about the vendor's intention about its service both within as well as outside the channel community. Interestingly, the company has added another clause to its warranty policy - ‘Defects caused by improper use as determined by the company personnel'; which leaves both the customer as well as the channel partner at the sole mercy of the vendor.
Moving over to AOC, the company offers 3 years onsite warranty on both CRT and LCD monitors of all sizes, much against the Samsung policy which also includes parts and labour costs. The customer or the dealer can call 1800 425 4318 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org for logging a complaint.
Thereafter, according to AOC, within a span of 4 hours a technician will call back the customer to understand the problem and offer solutions over the phone if the problem can be rectified in this way. If the problem is not resolved over phone, the technician will visit the customer site after taking appointment with the customer.
At any place where AOC has an authorized Service Centre, the technician is supposed to reach the customer site within 24 working hours whereas, at the upcountry locations, the time specified is 48 working hours, depending on the distance from the Service Centre. AOC may also opt to replace the customer's monitor with a refurbished monitor of the same or the ‘current selling model' if the situation is so. The TAT offered is 3 working days.
However, unique to AOC, the vendor provides a standby monitor in major cities if the customer's monitor needs to be taken to Service Centre for repair.
For ViewSonic, all of their products come with 7 days DOA replacement policy as per POP date with the vendor not allotting categories or sub-categories of DOA in its product range. In case of any DOA issue or claim, the channel partners have the option of logging the complaint regarding faulty product through the toll free number 1800-266-0101 or mail at email@example.com, confirming the actual cause along with purchase date. The service id is generated thereafter.
Offering onsite warranty, ViewSonic engineers visits the customer site, checks the unit and if found to be fell under the laid down parameters, and then he declares the unit as DOA. After full compliance to all the above steps, the company replaces any faulty unit with a new unit.
Unlike most other vendors, in the age of outsourcing, ViewSonic is directly providing DOA support through their pan-India network of ASP's.
Claims to DOA are rejected by ViewSonic under most likely circumstances. Under specification and workable condition which can be corrected like focus problems or geometric distortions in the display, the vendor repairs the unit free of charge under warranty. DOA cases are also rejected under the conditions of compatibility like VGA Card and onboard video compatibility issues and no refund is possible. Also, ‘acts of nature' are not covered or problems caused by the power source or electric equipments. Likewise damages accounting due to transportation of material after purchase by the end-user is not covered.
Also, it is interesting to note that ViewSonic has not changed its DOA policy since its inception with the company claiming "very well aware"ness of the terms and conditions of DOA and warranty service. Also, the company discloses its DOA and warranty policy in written form at the time of signing of trade agreements.
In 2010, The DQ Week had undertaken a national campaign with one of the key regional associations seeking DoA disclosures from some key channel players. To the disappointment, only 6 vendors braved the declaration out of a total 13 vendor asked.
This very fact highlights the notion of DoA as understood, perceived and addressed by the Indian channels.