A current Compaq promotion, where customers receive a free iPAQ with the purchase of an Evo N160 series notebook, has left resellers demanding an explanation after the notebook's buy price from distributors appeared to jump by more than $500.
A reseller in contact with ARN cried foul when he began placing orders with distributors Tech Pacific and Ingram Micro, based on their reseller price for the Evo N160, only to have the orders disallowed and the price increased.
The buy price on Tech Pacific's Tech Link Extranet on November 27 was $2699 (ex GST) when the "buy one get an iPAQ free" promotion started. The reseller advertised the promotion to its customers based on this price and placed orders for the bundled deal. It then found the price had increased to $3213 (ex GST) by December 4, and that its orders had not been honoured. With its customers coming to collect their notebook and free iPAQ, the reseller was left holding the can, forced to either increase his originally advertised price or shoulder the cost.
However, Richard Sumich, Compaq's partner marketing manager, told ARN it could have resulted from the pricing of a previous promotion where a number of products were discounted in a 10-day price blitz from November 13-23. He said distributors could have had Evo N160 notebooks left over from that promotion and that resellers were quoting that price and expecting to receive a free iPAQ. The bundled promotion only applies to the standard notebook pricing, and a Tech Pacific spokesperson confirmed this was the case.
The explanation drew fire from the reseller, who wished to remain nameless, claiming distributors had not made the distinction between the pricing of each promotion, and that Compaq had flooded distributors with the 10-day price blitz product knowing full well it would not apply to the free iPAQ promotion.
Sumich acknowledged it "may be something we need to work on" but said Compaq makes every effort to provide resellers and customers with accurate up-to-date pricing.
Regardless of the alleged price increase, resellers in contact with ARN agreed that the free iPAQ promotion was a "great deal" in the lead-up to Christmas. A Compaq spokesperson said the manufacturer had doubled sales of the Evo N160 notebook within a week of announcing the promotion.
Express Data and Dicker Data also distribute the bundled promotion, which runs until December 28.