Several resellers have called on Ingram Micro to lift its communications game after the distributor unexpectedly introduced a 6.5 per cent fuel surcharge on freight.
The levy was added to all reseller invoices as a separate line item from June 1. In a letter to resellers Ingram attributed the extra charge to rising freight costs. But it failed to address the notices to business leaders.
Ordyss general manager, Michael Cooke, became aware of the extra fee earlier this month after one of his customer service representatives noticed it on the bottom of a confirmation order.
"We have certainly asked for an explanation," he said. "There was no initial warning. As a dealer principle, we would have hoped for that."
Managing director of Queensland-based reseller, AfterDark Technology, Peter Davies, was disappointed to have found out after the event.
He discovered the extra cost after a discrepancy between a purchasing order and the resulting invoice.
"It's indicative of the poor customer relations Ingram has towards its resellers," he said.
In a statement posted to its TechLink website, Ingram admitted its initial method of recording the surcharge had triggered reseller concerns.
"We have been made aware that the way we have been processing and advising of the surcharge has been causing some problems; previously, there was no visibility of the surcharge amount until invoicing," it said.
Adding to this, Ingram managing director, Guy Freeland, said it had first chosen to show the levy as a separate line item in the interests of transparency.
"Resellers were finding this additional line item was difficult to process using their internal systems," he said. "As a result, we have rolled it into the freight charge itself."
Although Ingram had initially mailed letters to all of its resellers, Freeland said these had not always made it to key buyers or dealer principles, which had resulted in confusion.
"It has taken a while to hit the right desk," he said. "We will know better next time."
Ingram said the new automatic freight charge process at the time of purchase would allow resellers to pass the additional cost to end users. But Ordyss' Cooke said it would be hard to add further costs to a deal.
"It's just something else we will have to absorb," he said.