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HP channel demands better service

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DQW Bureau
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Service issues related to HP are once again coming up with many channel

partners voicing their displeasure with the system HP has in place, particularly

the attitude of the designated service providers. The issue gained such serious

proportions that time and again in association meetings and the IT Panchayats

conducted regularly by The DQ Week, partners would complain about the vendors'

new service partners. But partners claim that, this is as far that their

complaints go and no further concrete steps are taken to resolve the issue.

Speaking about the situation in Delhi, Sunil Gupta of Nehru Place-based Alsun

Systems said, “To have a simple toner replaced we are asked to send lots of

supporting documents and a letter from the customer. The procedure is very

tedious. We have to send our office boy with the papers to stand in queue and if

there is a single mistake on the papers the service guys do not entertain

changes on a call. So our office boy has to come back to office, get the change

made and then rush back and stand in queue. There should be a facility whereby

we can send the details via fax or e-mail. This system has made it next to

impossible to get a replacement.”

We have been informed of the situation and are committed to

resolve this on priority

Sameer Mathur



Head-Solution Partners Organization, HP India

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Citing an example, Gupta shared that one of their customers had bought a

printer which was dead on arrival (DoA), its toner was faulty. Gupta gave the

customer a replacement and took the DoA piece. But when he went to the service

center they refused to entertain him till he got a letter from the customer. “I

am the customer in this case so a replacement should be made on my request.”

Gupta added that the staff at RT Outsourcing was not at all cooperative and

gave the feeling that they want to reject more and more cases. “If RT is not

cooperating with us who do we escalate the matter to? It becomes an ego issues

if we argue with them. Already the margins in this segment are so low. How do we

survive with such issue?” questioned a dejected Gupta.

Agreeing that the replacement procedure was a nightmare for resellers of HP,

was N Ramesh of Bengaluru-based Pentagon Info System. About 25-30 percent of

Pentagon's business comes from HP. Sometime back the partner had faced issues

with regard to replacement of an HP server during a project for Delhi Airport.

Though the issue was finally sorted out Ramesh felt there was a lot of

unnecessary hassle involved. He stated, “HP is good till it works. Getting hold

of someone to service and certify a DoA is a difficult task. Unless you know

people who can pull their weight it is difficult for a reseller. Though there is

a procedure for addressing DoA cases, called on-site warranty, you really have

to run around in circles.”

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Ramesh pointed out that even though there were four-five service providers of

HP in Bengaluru it was difficult to get any of them to work. “Basically the

attitude of the service providers is wrong. I believe that the problem lies in

the fact that HP has outsourced their post-sales service. It should ideally be

owned by the principal who would for sure address these issues in a more

effective manner,” opined Ramesh.

In Jammu partners are experiencing a similar situation. “We have con­veyed

this problem to the local HP representatives but so far we have only got

reassurances and no action has been taken. In East, RT Outsourcing and Redington

are the service providers. We are facing issues especially with RT Outsourcing

as they keep stalling replacements,” expressed Sanjay Langer of Jammu-based AGM

Sales Corp. Langer shared that he is still awaiting replacement of a faulty

notebook purchased two years back.

Abhishek Poddar of Bhubaneswar-based SA Infosys felt that these negative

sentiments towards HP were being felt by partners at large across East.

Currently 20 percent of Poddar's business comes from HP but after burning his

fingers he has decided to reduce HP business. “We do everything for the vendor

and get nothing in return. Working on margins as low as 0.5 percent we cannot

afford to do business this way. I have brought our issues to the notice of the

top management in HP but there has been no response to my mail,” lamented Poddar.

He added that apart from service issues, HP was also holding back-end payments

that were over a year old. “HP will only lose marketshare if it continues this

way,” said Poddar.

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Throwing light on the scene in Kolkata, Vinay Dugar of Supreme Technologies

said, “The service has gone pathetic. They are trying to make the service

chargeable to customers.”

In Jalandhar the situation seems to be no better. Just recently RT

Outsourcing was appointed by HP to provide sales and support in the region, in

place of Computer Touch. “We are getting numerous customers who are complaining

about the service time. The basic time to log a call and get any product

repaired is about 15-20 days which is too long. I don't understand the reason

for this policy change,” said Rajiv Khanna of Computer Touch. He added that RT

does not provide them with the status of the product and customers were really

suffering. “I was a private franchisee and would always deliver because I would

worry that if I didn't there would be a penalty from HP. But RT is enjoying a

monopoly in Punjab. They know customers have no choice but to depend on them,”

pointed out Khanna.

Naresh Lalwani of Cybernet IT, Pune chipped in saying that there was an issue

with customers having to make several trips to the service center, and spare

parts were also a problem at the center. According to Ashwani Kumar of Shimla-based

Ace Infotech Systems the engineers of the designated service provider in the

region were not competent to deal with the cases. “We have escalated the matter

to HP, but to no avail. The services provided are just not up to the mark,” said

Kumar.

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When contacted, Ashu Batta, Director of Chandigarh-based H&H Technologies,

HP's service provider in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh lamented, “We provide

post warranty on HP hardware. It is a challenge, not only in HP, but across the

region. Spare parts are not readily available. But there are also payment issues

from partners. We have advised partners numerous times to take annual

maintenance contracts from their customers so that they can be clear on payment

terms, but they are not heeding this advise.”

Batta mentioned that in any case they were facing problems in the Himachal

region. Recently two laptops that had come for servicing were stolen from their

office. “We ended up having to pay for these stolen laptops. Now we are planning

on installing CCTV cameras as the number of thefts in the region are going up,”

shared Batta.

But according to Vinod Mulchandani of Mumbai-based Aar Vee Computers, the

procedure to have products replaced is very simple and all the hue and cry about

service issues was much ado about nothing. “We are a distributor of HP. We have

told our resellers that if they find any faulty products they can get it

replaced by us as we are empowered to replace products. We in turn will take it

up with Ingram Micro and have it replaced,” noted Mulchandani. He stressed that

no brand exists with zero service problems and that it was only because HP sold

in such high volumes that the number of cases was more than other vendors.

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“These issues of DoA and services had come up in our association (TAIT) meet

as well with many members saying they were facing issues. I had then taken the

initiative and told all the members to send their complaints and mark a copy to

me and I will ensure the work gets done. However, at that point only two mails

came,” he added.

Despite repeated attempts by The DQ Week at getting a statement from RT

Outsourcing about the partner complaints, the service provider chose not to

respond on the issue.

When approached, Sameer Mathur, Head-Solution Partners Organization HP India

said, “We have been informed of the situation and are committed to resolve this

on priority. As an industry leader HP adheres to the most stringent levels of

quality checks for customer service. Customers are our top priority and we keep

customer satisfaction at the core of all business transactions.”

“Having the largest channel partner network across the country, HP services

its customers through a group of over 3,500 channel partners comprising premium

business partners, business partners and registered resellers which are handled

most effectively through well defined processes and policies,” added Mathur.

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