Which Manufacturers Refuse Support To Non-Authorized Dealers?

Some manufacturer protect their dealers by only providing technical support to either authorized dealers or, even more specifically, to factory certified employees of authorized dealers.

I'd like to start a list of these. Please share.


Pro Series Honeywell. Amag, and I believe Lenel unless the customer has been to training (most of the ones I can think of are Access Control). As for video, I don't know any that mandate it. I know some that strongly encourage it, (Pelco, Honeywell, most of the upper end products) but there are some clients that manage their own networks (financial and medical) so they have to have access to tech support. At the same time, those clients must pass factory certification and pay a fee.

The only ones I know for a fact that get snotty about it are Siedel, the intercom people and Bogen (upper end products). They will hang up on you.

Unisight... we have acquired some customers with their DVR and they won't talk to us since we are not a dealer or the installer...

On the Fire Alarm side, the list would be shorter of who did support the end user. Curious business. They have not changed much in 30 years.

Nuvico

Verint

How can a manufacturer support a non-authorized dealer?

Where is the value to an end user if the dealer does not have a relationship, training and support from the manufacturer?

I support all manufacturers who refuse to support a non-authorized dealer.

"How can a manufacturer support a non-authorized dealer?"

Many manufacturers do not require being a dealer to buy or install their equipment. Axis is the most notable because of their size but there are many others. For them, by definition, it would be inconsistent and problematic to let the general public buy but then refuse support.

The bigger point in all this is that many manufacturers (probably correctly) see allowing open sales and support to maximize revenue and profitability.

John,

Good morning.

We are an Axis Channel Partner. I may have misunderstood the question becuase I would not include Axis as a company that promotes supporting a non-authorized dealer. At their trainings they specifically discuss the benefits of being a Channel Partner.

Tech support has a cost just like R&D, marketing etc. A video product manaufacturer that can effectively provide technical support to anyone under the sun who has a buck to buy a widget will have to find that $$ from another line item in the budget. My question still remains as to why would a manufacturer decide it is a good business model to hemorage $$ in the tech support department? Why would a dealer want to design, install and service a product manufactuered under such a philosophy?

In the end the client will suffer when a manufacturer's business model leads to failure. Have you ever seen Tommy Boy? "I can take a crap in a box and put warranty on it. I have the time.....why don't buy a quality brake pad from me....."

Thanks for the discussions and keeping communication open for us. I would say your pro website has value and should not be provided without memebership.

Respectfully, and I do mean that, you have got to be kidding. It is well documented on this board and nearly everywhere that Axis can be purchased from nearly anywhere, anytime. There are never any disclaimers of any kind like the one I posted from Flir. When calling for tech support, they have never once asked me or anyone I know if they are certified, etc.

I don't want to blame you. You did not create the philosophy and policies. But I cannot help but laugh out loud at that remark.

When I met my Axis rep for the very first time, that was the first thing he talked about. He brought it up himself, not me, nearly apologizing for it. The Axis sales channel would appear to be whomever has a dollar, and the tech support, which by the way has always been helpful and gracious, has never, ever inquired as to where it was purchased, or about certification.

To your credit, yes, we get the "channel talk" at every opportunity. At training and certification classes there are as many end users, if not more, as there are dealers. We bid jobs where some person with a PC, 10 states away, working from his bedroom wins the bid because he can live off of two points. We are not blind. The end user buys from him because they know they will get tech support. So, frankly, where is that money coming from at Axis to support the tech support? Where will it come from in the future? Are you willing to charge the customer if he/she is not certified?

There has been some discussion lately across this industry about why the Axis market share is shrinking. There is a lot of competition from Asia to be sure. But in all fairness, and again, you are not personally responsible, Axis does nothing to build brand loyalty with dealers and integrators. That is another piece of the shrinking pie puzzle. End of Rant.

Mark, just a quick clarification question here, so don't take this as a hostility. When you ask where Axis is going to find budget for supporting clients who don't buy from certified dealers, are you saying that Axis is making less money on these deals? Somehow the guy in his bedroom is able to buy with more leverage than Fortune 500 level firms?

Or are you saying that the end user will need help and if they buy from your company instead of the bedroom guy, they will receive that support from you instead?

Would a simple solution be that they offer free support for channel approved purchases and paid support for those who buy outside of the channel? I know that I very infrequently have any need for tech support. I can count a few times ever that I need tech support from a manufacturer. I would rather not pay up front for that privilege and pay out of pocket per incident instead.

I agree the in reality Axis cameras can be purchased outside of the channel. That does not mean Axis's philosphy is to support non-dealers which is the question.

Mark,

No disprespect however why would you utilize your limited resources (cash, tech labor etc) on a client that buys from the guy in the bedroom? It is hard to say no at first then it becomes easier to "fire" a client. There are good clients who buy value however most of them were made into good clients who understand value. They either had a bad experience and learned the hard way or have a trusted security dealer. Help the rest of us train the client to buy value and bring the industry up..

The short answer is I don't spend any money or resources on them. I have learned not too.

I am not insulted by the question. I have maintained that Axis and all manufactures should do exactly that (charge for support). If I were them, I would charge the end user for support regardless of where they purchased the camera or under what plan. I would not have an "approved channel plan". Just pay as you go. ( I am one of the few who like toll roads too).

I am saying that we do support our customers yes. Free as long as the item is under warranty. We not only support the product, we show up an do it. The difference between us is you want to pay as you go, not up front. It would appear (not an indictment) that there is no percieved value in what we do (training and certification). In reading your questions with an open mind, I have to ask myself, why bother? Are my old school ways too old school for today's economy?

I know when I send my staff for training, be it sales or technical there are fees associated with that. Why are these bedroom guys, or the website sellers for that matter, getting the bids? Because they move more volume. They are stricly sales oriented. Service never enters their mind. They sell for less. They can afford to sell for less because they have no training cost to cover, no insurance, no licensing, no vehicles, none of the overhead a dealer does. They sell, Axis ships. They don't even touch the boxes. When the customer needs support, they call Axis. Seller is happy, customer is happy, Axis appears to be happy. So if that is the case, why do I bother representing that product at all? There is no incentive.

Is Axis making less money on these deals? Certainly not. But their profits, and sales are down. As profits erode, they will have to make cuts somewhere or come up with different sources of revenue. It is math, but not complicated math.

I disagree with your statements, and our company sells and markets online. We do Millions in security and telecom equipment but online just drives sales and leads and does not usually close big projects. In todays world you have use online marketing to grow and survive.

Certain costs are lower online yes, but others are the same or higher. We have several MFG certifications we paid to get trained on, are insured, provide tech support, and presales system design. I have systems in the tropics, and in the Arctic circle all working great. We didnt install them onsite, but made it simple for our customers to plug and play on their end.

We spend tens of thousands on Advertising and at least the same on software development, content development, and finding ways to make the process easier for customers.

Not sure what you point is. We obviously have different perspectives.

Hi Bill,

I agree with you that Axis does definitely promote the benefits of being a Channel Partner and there are benefits.

However, those benefits do not include exclusive access to tech support or warranty. From what we have seen, anyone can call Axis tech support and get help / products covered under warranty.

How about also when an Axis rep says they would first steer an end user to buy from CDW, and then an authorize dealer?

Guess who's getting security cameras?

So buy Axis from CDW and they'll support you if you do. Who needs an Integrator?

There is not always a reason to need an integrator however there are times when an integrator provides needed services. 24/7/365 break/fix support for clients that do not have the FTE expertise is a reason. Design/build expertise when the cleint does not have the FTE expertise is an another.

I agree Bill. Enlightening conversation. You and Josh have given me some things to think about. But no doubt, the market for integrators is shrinking. Thanks and have a good one.

Bill, I think Keefe's comment above addresses this perfectly:

Unisight... we have acquired some customers with their DVR and they won't talk to us since we are not a dealer or the installer...

Where is the value to the end user if they bring in a new integrator and the manufacturer of their existing equipment refuses to support them or their new service provider, just because that provider isn't "authorized"?

One of three things is going to happen in this instance:

  1. The end user finds a new service provider who IS authorized on their existing equipment.
  2. The new provider gets themselves certified (probably at their own expense) on the existing equipment so they can support their customer.
  3. The new provider sells the customer on a new product to replace the old equipment, which then gets sent to recycling, since the maker won't stand behind it.

In my experience, both as an integrator and support tech, and as an end user, #3 is the most likely outcome, and #1 the least likely.

#2 probably only happens if the service provider expects to run into a lot of those system that makes the cost and hassle of getting "authorized" worthwhile, or if it's a relatively new installation that still has substantial life left. If it's an older system that's probably due for replacement soon anyway, there's no point; it makes more sense to simply accelerate the replacement schedule.

From the end user perspective, if I'm using someone particular to provide ANY kind of service, it's probably because I like and trust their work... so I'm not going to dump them just because I have something made by someone who will only support it via authorized channels... and I'm certainly not going to EXPECT that provider to go get themselves certified just for me. So unless it's covered under warranty, if the provider I like can't get support for some broken equipment, I'll be more than happy to kick that manufacturer to the curb.

"if the provider I like can't get support for some broken equipment, I'll be more than happy to kick that manufacturer to the curb."

And that's why access control manufacturers can enforce this. Software House et al. know you are trapped (the time, risk, cost, complexity of switching are simply too great) and that the chances of you going anywhere else are remote regardless of what hoops they make you jump through.

Hikvision.

Not only refuses support to any products purchased through unauthorized channels but also sends those channels cease and desist letters.

Ahmed, if purchase products through authorized channels but are not an authorized dealer, i.e., an end user or other, can you still get support?

Currently, yes, in a limited capacity. End users are encouraged to go through their dealer/integrator.

I'm not so sure about that. I buy Hikvision through channels that are probably not "Authorized Dealers", but it's not like buying from Amazon or eBay. These dealers are buying from authorized distros and reselling themselves. I haven't had any issues with Hikvision using this sales channel.

What are the benefits to buying third hand rather than using an authorized channel?

Lenel. Even if the end user is certified, you still need to go through your VAR.

Reading the IPVM 4K shootout results. Got this from the FLIR website. Worth a quick read.

FLIR Professional Security products are sold exclusively through installing dealers and integrators who purchase FLIR products at authorized distributors. A list of these distributors can be viewed on the FLIR Professional Security website, www.flirsecurity.com/pro. These professional dealers and integrators provide exceptional installation as well as post sales and service support on FLIR products.

Please be advised that any claimed web distributor offering FLIR Professional Security products on the internet that is not an authorized distributor will not be in a position to honor the FLIR warranty as it will not be honored by FLIR Systems.

Unauthorized internet distributors often deceive the consumer by offering a warranty on a FLIR product that is not available to them. We urge you to use caution when purchasing FLIR Professional Security products through unauthorized internet distributors.

Software House is big on the we don't talk to you unless you have that piece of paper. Even in training class they told end users they weren't able to call into support, it was just the dealers.

Most of our upper end manufacturers do that. Some won't even talk to the end user unless we are standing on the property (closed network). We have to physically be there to facilitate the call to tech support. Before you say it, yes, I ask, how do they know where I am when I call? Why do they care where I am?

I'm curious, do people think they should get support without being certified in the product line?

Some do, yes. I know it sounds contrary to what we have all been taught for years, but yes some do.

Yes. If you strictly required every person calling in to support to be certified, it would be a logistical nightmare, especially since a lot of manufacturers make it hard to get certified (i.e., sending people on flights to a different city for multiple days to learn things they mostly already know).

As an end user I don't have any troubles getting direct support from Lenel or Softwarehouse. I am certified of course.

Do you pay a fee for that John? Curious. Some charge the end user for direct support.

Mark,

Only for Lenel.

Maxxess Systems offers a choice- you can either get the default support that is for authrorized dealers only, or for an extra fee they will support the end user directly. This is a good option if a client has been burned by an Integrator before and had trouble getting support after they fired them.

Most vendors, even larger ones do not have effective channel management or insight how to run an effective control over the market. The internet has skewed everything more towards B2C and most companies are struggling to adapt. I have seen so many bad channel ideas that hurt brands, hurt customers, and make everyone lose.

If a manufacturer has to resort to listing unauthorized dealers or sellers then their channel is broken, period. In most cases I have seen, these policies are created at the request of larger, legacy dealers who want to protect their higher margins and manufactures are afraid of losing the business.

When we first started selling B2B and security products online, we were told by many vendors that we were unauthorized, got swore at, and were told that end users could never understand the products and they shouldnt be sold direct. You would not believe the nasty calls we got from sales managers and reps.

Today 6 years later, we get invited to partner conferences, vendor events, marketing support, get listed as preffered places to purchases, and much better overall from vendors who know where the market is going. I have even been asked to give training calls to sales staff to show how to better manage a channel, pricing, and how to structure things that still allows integrator margin, while still allowing for online, retail and over omnichannel sales approaches.

We just got an email from an industrial supplier who is changing their name and whole business model from b2B only to b2b and B2c to compete now with amazon supply and others.

Specific to the question, if a manufacturer is trying to limit support to end users or resellers who want to sell the product, then they are not going to last long in the market. There are too many choices, and its too easy to access products now for this 1970's customer support doctrine.

Josh,

I am glad to hear to can support end users without a dealer agreement type relationship. I am going to look into your website and offerings. If what you say is true maybe I can offer a better value to my clients.

Thanks

nice website. Nice business model. I can go to school on that.

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