The stoush between HP and its former authorised distributor, Dynamic Supplies, has spilled out of the courtroom into the channel. While the two are still tussling over $1.3 million in court, the distributor is now warning its reseller base against participating in a new HP promotion.
Dynamic Supplies wrote to customers expressing concern at what it claimed was HP’s increased use of rebate schemes which harvest sell-through and customer data from resellers.
The letter, sent to all of Dynamic’s resellers this month, singled out HP’s recently announced HP Ink Twin Pack promotion. The letter, signed by financial controller Kerry McKevitt, claimed HP required customer and supplier details in order for end users to compete for the $10,000 prize.
“The information provided by your customer can also be made available to HP’s affiliates, authorised business partners and suppliers,” McKevitt wrote.
McKevitt's letter warns that resellers should be concerned about the potential risks of releasing such data.
Vendors could use the information to bypass resellers, or make special offers to selected resellers, he claimed.
Further, vendors might also negotiate prices directly with end-user customers prior to involving a channel partner, or otherwise influence reseller behaviour and distort the distribution channel, he wrote.
The letter also suggests that HP’s harvesting of reseller data might help the vendor steer resellers away from unauthorised channels, including Dynamic Supplies itself.
The Ink Twin Pack promotion requirement for receipts or invoices as proof of purchase would prevent resellers from offering their customers “potentially better prices for genuine HP products purchased from a non-authorised Distributor, such as ourselves.”
Dynamic Supplies has made no secret of the fact that it is aggressively trading as an unauthorised HP distributor.
McKevitt told ARN last month that Dynamic hadn’t seen the expected drop-off in business after ceasing to be an authorised distributor in September.
While Dynamic had forecast a drop of about 40 per cent of its HP business, the distributor had dropped about 15 per cent before returning to previous levels, he claimed.
An HP spokesperson said the company couldn’t comment on ongoing legal matters.