In what is believed to be a first for computer retailers, Harvey Norman has announced an agreement with lease financing company FlexiRent which will allow home users to purchase computer equipment under rental plans in the same manner business customers have enjoyed for the past two years.
As an added incentive, for two months from June 1, business and consumer customers using a FlexiRent lease to make a $1500-or-more purchase from retailing giant Harvey Norman will be given a complimentary Nintendo 64 or Sony Playstation.
Developed to cater for increasing demand from Harvey Norman's non-business customers, this rental service is now available to home users thanks to a new Consumer Lease cat-egory under the new uniform Australian Credit Code which previously barred such contracts.
FlexiRent's managing director, David Berkman, told ARN last week that after trialling the program for two months at Harvey Norman, he is hoping to roll it out to many of the 600-plus independent Australian retailers already offering lease contracts to their business customers.
A huge response
"The expansion of this service to average consumers has been demand-driven. Every time we ran an advertising campaign there would be a rush of applications from home users and we were getting pressure from retailers who had to turn away a host of potential customers," said Berkman. "Now if they fill the set criteria they too will be able to take advantage of the benefits offered by rental agreements."
Tony Gattari, Harvey Norman's general manager of computers and communication, said the introductory FlexiRent giveaway will operate in all stores nationwide, although credit laws in Western Australia still preclude the company from offering leases to individual consumers in that state.
"As far as we know, we are pioneering this concept to non-business customers in Australia. We are excited by its potential as it offers many benefits to our customers, let alone the incredible ability for them to upgrade equipment.
"Upgrading will now just be a case of adjusting the rental agreement," Gattari said.
"I think the greatest concern that most computer users have and the biggest barrier to them upgrading is if they make a $4000 purchase, it will be worth nothing in two years time. That makes them hang onto their existing systems longer than they would like to."