Asus India’s notebook division sent a letter to many of its customers, channel partners and dealers, ‘notifying’ that its branded notebooks which will be sold via e-commerce websites, specifically naming websites such as Snapdeal, Ebay India, Amazon India and Flipkart.
Asus India also says that they do not ‘assure’ the genuineness of Asus branded products, and therefore they do not assure warranty support on those products sold via e-commerce websites. So that means even if your Asus notebook which you purchased via these e-commerce sites was from an authorized channels, your product warranty will not be honoured.
Asus is not the first one who addressed against e-commerce websites, directly/ indirectly pinpointing towards the usual suspects, but probably the first notebook brand to have a strong stance to provide warranty support that are sold via these e-commerce stores. Certain other companies, including notebook brands, have taken a similar step. However, having a blanket ban isn’t really a solution.
To be fair, many people question the credibility of products being sold via 1-2 e-commerce websites. Sometime ago, I’ve shared a picture of a duplicate Coolermaster thermal paste that was apparently being sold via Snapdeal, to which a sales and marketing manager in my facebook page noticed it and most likely dealt with the dealer accordingly.
But then, there are few retail stores that sell ‘grey market’ items which does not come with a bill and no warranty, usually ‘smuggled’ from unauthorized sources. There have been times when duplicate/mislabeled graphic cards are being sold, and the store’s existence is well known with many sales managers irrespective of the brand and distribution companies. In most cases, this happens with electronic appliances and gadgets, even LCD panels.
Majority of these sellers (e-commerce or not) are supplied via the authorised distributors and issue genuine bill. Therefore, the individual who buys from either of the source should get warranty support. Stating that e-commerce sites are not authorized sellers, but making an official announcement that its branded notebooks sold via these e-commerce websites maybe fake and will not get warranty support may not be in the favour of the brand. Some e-commerce websites have a strict policy that ensures the products which are sold are via official distributors. One may also wonder if this applies to customers who have purchased Asus notebooks before the email was circulated.
One particular brand was upfront about why they have issued a disclaimer. They have said that dealers who sell its products via such sites did insist on lower quotes via its distributors so that they can reflect the lower quote in retail price and therefore enjoy higher sales. Since the retailers feel that their business is threatened by e-commerce websites, they had to entertain the retailers over e-commerce websites. One may speculate if that’s the real reason behind Asus’ notification- and/or if they’ll admit it if its the truth. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder if brands also have a tough time handling after-sales issues about products sold via e-commerce websites, maybe even a particular website selling grey market items? But again, with certain retail stores do that. You don’t see a blanket ban over retailers in such situations, do you?
Truth be told, this only highlights e-commerce websites where multiple dealers can sell products- and not single dealer selling multiple products. Interestingly, major retailer’s website ‘Croma’ most likely is not in the list of ‘not supported e-commerce websites’. Retail store owned e-commerce like how ITDepot, Prime ABGB/Only SSD, etc. are as good as their actual store and their logistics along with online support/query/after sales, and probably not included as well.