Resellers wary of separate distribution handling fees

Resellers wary of separate distribution handling fees

Several resellers have sympathised with distributors experiencing increased freight and fuel charges but warn them against complicating invoices with surcharges or handling fees.

Over recent weeks, several large US distributors including Ingram Micro, Avnet and Tech Data have begun introducing handling fees and fuel charges or lifting free freight minimums in a bid to cope with rising logistics costs.

As of this month, Ingram Micro in the US has restricted free freight and introduced handling fees. Last week, rival US distributors, Avnet and Tech Data, also announced an end to free freight – Tech Data through a $US2 handling fee on all orders shipped; Avnet via a fuel surcharge.

Locally, several distributors including Ingram Micro, Synnex and Cellnet confirmed they are reviewing their freight policies and suggest extra charges or price rises are a possibility.

“We cannot wear these increases – the margins in distribution are so low, they need to be passed on to the reseller and from there, the customer,” Cellnet managing director, Stephen Harrison, said.

Avnet country manager, Gavin Lawless, said it would not introduce a surcharge similar to the US but the company was constantly reviewing its freight costs.

Dicker Data, meanwhile, is considering a late payment fee to encourage resellers to pay on time.

“We’ve no plans to increase charges, but it’s a fluid situation,” itX general manager, Greg Newham, said. “If costs start to blowout, then we could follow suit – any increased cost of business has to be paid somewhere down the line, but at the moment we’re absorbing those costs.”

Several resellers talking to ARN currently pay for distributors to freight goods and noted significant cost increases in recent years. But most were against the idea of distributors introducing separate handling charges or fuel levies on goods, arguing it added unnecessary complexity to a sale.

Managing director of Sydney-based integrator Total Computer Technology, Robert Brown, said anything that impacted the bottom line was negative to businesses.

He said he would consider an alternative distributor if TCT got slugged with an additional freight-related fee.

Ultimately it was the total cost of product that mattered, Brown said.

“We look at the price overall; if one distributor is $10 cheaper on a product but charges $20 for freight, then we’d go elsewhere,” he said.

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