Warranty Works has struck a deal with liquidator of failed PC distributor Edge, Armstrong Wiley and Co., to "bail out" channel - players who feared they would be gypped by dishonoured warranty agreements after Edge's demise.
The warranty rescue plan, brokered in July and signed last Wednesday, will cover all Edge-branded PCs and notebooks -- not peripherals, according to Warranty Works chairman, George Boschma.
While Boschma said the exact number of outstanding warranty claims was "unknown", he estimated Warranty Works would process 600,000 claims based on the number of machines Edge had moved in Australia.
"Our major challenge is we're going to be swamped by resellers and direct Edge clients," he said. The warranty service provider will begin "reviewing" and servicing reseller and end-user claims mid-week.
"It's a way of protecting the creditors and end-users, ensuring the consumer their PC won't remain defunct," Boschmer said of the plan.
"We're looking to reach the market and let (resellers and customers) know what we're doing via Website promotion and a leaflet campaign," he said. Edge's reseller network includes some 1000 channel partners including Dick Smith, Harvey Norman and Tandy, according to Boschma.
He speculated customers would be feeling somewhat deceived as it "was not clear to them at point of sale" that warranty companies would withdraw their services to Edge upon the distributor's collapse, which happened in May this year.
Boschma conceded Warranty Works faced a range of risks in offering the warranty deal. "The risk we're taking on board is not knowing if Edge's quality control would have deteriorated towards its end," he said.
The supply of PC parts could also prove short in the early stages of the bailout plan.
"While we have extensive channel access to parts, the difficulty is that Edge's spare parts were auctioned to CRA (Edge's secured supplier)," he said. "We will have to call upon Fujitsu [replacement] for drives and monitors.
OEM [assembler]s will come out the strongest as they are capable of handling warranty issues themselves," he said.
Edge customers can contact Warranty Works' Edge Warranty hotline on 1300 139 887 for more information.