Feature: Printers, the solution sale farce

Feature: Printers, the solution sale farce

Last month, Sydney-based reseller Coefficiency pulled Lexmark printers out of two large government accounts and replaced them with Hewlett-Packard machines. The exercise was a protest against Lexmark's anti-channel tactics and may serve as an example to those who doubt a reseller's ability to steer the buying decision.

Coefficiency managing director Steven Jones says Lexmark has exhibited an increasingly direct sales mentality in recent years. The vendor has, against the terms of its own contract, neglected to log calls with Coefficiency's services centre despite the reseller having to "jump through hoops" to earn its certified service agent status. "They wouldn't even put through calls on the printers we had sold," says Jones. "When I pointed out to them that they were in breach of contract, they just changed the contract."

Vendors that attempt to convince resellers to give up box dropping in favour of "printing solutions" are facing a barrage of attacks from resellers that say this supposedly new approach is just another form of box shifting that incorporates services as well as hardware.

Kevin Cosgriff investigates in ARN's must read feature on the printing market in this week's ARN (July 3), out now.

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