Manufacturer Support Horror Story

By Brian Karas, Published May 04, 2017, 12:00am EDT

Most manufacturers would be accommodating if an integrator asked to return product they never ordered, shipped to them by mistake. But, this company is not "most manufacturers", and has a different approach to dealing with this scenario.

A large integrator recently shared a story of almost having to pay for one of their mistakes, after they reacted by trying to be helpful instead of just demanding that they take the product back immediately.

Shipment *******

** ** ******** ********** roundtable **********, *** ********** manager *** *** ***** integrator described *** ********** ** working **** *** (*** did *** ****** *** session, *** **** *** unable ** ******* ******** to *** **********). *** manger ********* * ********** recent ******** ***** *** shipped **** ~*** ***** they ***** *******. ****** the ******* *** *** request *** *******, **** did **** *** ********* to ******* ** ***** some ** **** ** upcoming ****, *** **** called *** *** **** them **** ***** ******* to ****/******* ***** ********** instead ** **** ******* them ****, *********** ****** to **** *** ****** control ***** ***.

No **** **** **** **********

*** ********** *** **** to **** ******* **** of *** ********* ********, and ****** *** ************ * little **** **** * month ***** ********* *** shipment ** ****** **** they ***** ** ********* the ********* ********* ******* to *** ************. ** this ***** *** ************ ******** them **** **** *********** for *** ****** *****, as **** *** ****** the ************'* ****** ******, *** there **** ** ****** options *********.

Website ********* ***** ****

********* ** *** ********** manager, *** ************'* ******* stated ******** ****** *******, including * *** ***/**% refund ****** *** ***/******** product. **** **** ******** customer ******* ***** ****, they **** **** **** the ******* *** *****, and ** ****** ************** could ** *******.

Final ********** ***** **********

*** ********** ******* *** ultimately **** ** ****** the ********* ******* **** UTC *** ****** ** stick **** ****, *** only ***** ********** ******* hours ** **** ** getting *** ***** ********* to ***'* ***** **********. 

UTC ******* ********

***** *********** ********* *********** with ***'* ******** *******, citing ********* **** ***** for ***** ******* *** issues ** ******* *********** on ******* ********. **** comes ** * **** when ************* ******* **** increased ***** ******** **** race-to-the-bottom ******, *** ***** core ****** **** ****/********* support *** * *** for ****** ************* ** maintain *********** *** ********** satisfaction. ******* ********** ***** and ************ *** *********** can **** ******* ******** impact, *** **** **** more ************* *** ******* to *****-**** ********.


Comments (14)

Brian, I've been meaning to comment that you use the best/funniest article graphics!

LOL, thanks. Since joining IPVM I have become a lot more proficient with Pixelmator.

Being a Lenel dealer we have not had this issue before that I know of. At least not with them sending me a bunch of product we didn't order. I have been told there are big changes coming this year for the good and hope this is true. Support has always been the biggest issue with Lenel and mainly being long hold times for tech support and especially video support. The good part about Lenel is their access control system. You install the hardware then the software and it typically runs forever. I know because a lot of times we have customers that only upgrade due to Windows versions no longer being supported and become a huge security risk. At that point they are so far behind on their support we typically sell them a new license instead of paying the cumulative support agreement fees. Lenel has to do something about their video. We will all find out what the Milestone partnership we be about next week. I am hoping for the best and expecting the worst. Lenel has just gotten too big for their britches over the last 10 years. I was talking to someone just the other day about this and how if they don't change their strategy their are going to lose a lot of their smaller systems they have out their. I know many integrators taking over Lenel systems with either RS2 or Genetec or any of the countless others. I came across a system called Imron a while back that was pitched to a potential customer of ours. Claimed it would do everything they needed. This facility will be at 1000 readers in the next 5 years. So I visited their website and they claim they can take over any Mercury panel and on the front page is a document on how to convert a Lenel database. In a discussion I started questioning if the "Access Control" market is slowly becoming like the burg of the 90's and the IP market spiraling downward this is what I was referring to. Everyone says trunk slammers aren't going to start taking over panels like the intrusion industry of the late 90's but products like this and other will allow that. The first problem I saw on their site was an shopping cart icon at the top and their main distributor was Anixter..Really. Others said well this won't happen because you have to be certified. Well I can walk into ADI right now and by a Honeywell PRO3200 board right off the shelf. Anyways I am rooting for Lenel to get their go to strategy in the right direction.



So I visited their website and they claim they can take over any Mercury panel and on the front page is a document on how to convert a Lenel database.

On the hardware side Mercury has long had boards to take over legacy Casi systems which means any Mercury based solution could easily take over a legacy system - Avigilon, RS2, Imron, Identicard, Lenel themselves, etc.  Converting from any Mercury system to another Mercury system is part of the sales pitch for Mercury based systems.

The database might be quite a bit uglier but likely doable.

The same is now true of some Software House product.

Imron is fairly small and new so the shopping cart on their site is not surprising.

I know how the process of all that works and the different systems can take over this or that I just find it amusing they have the Lenel bit about their database on the main software page. RS2 also has theirs and it is called the "LENELENATOR". I thought I saw on a cut sheet they were a Mercury partner or made it seem like they are a Mercury partner and when you go to their website they are not listed. We are actually doing our first Casi to Lenel right now and have been working on the Softwarehouse boards in house to get that part all figured out. 

Mercury will continue to sign up as many OEM's as they can because they are in the hardware supply business. It's up to the system integrators to start protecting their customers and start considering non-Mercury options. Otherwise your installed based is an open target to all around you selling another "Mercury" flavored system. 

Completely disagree. First, you are putting your own needs in front of the customers needs. A non-proprietary system is what the vast majority of end users want so they always have vendor options so they have an out if a vendor fails them. Retaining customers should be based on service and support, not by selling a proprietary system. You aren't "protecting your customers" with this strategy, you are protecting yourself

There are plenty of Non-Mercury manufacturers that are doing just fine selling through their integrators to end users while the Mercury based ones are busy promoting "the takeover" strategy. I agree that having a common hardware is appealing but I cannot imagine that as a customer I would like to hear the sales pitch "and if we fail to service you there are others that can come in an easily take over this system". Integrator and End User support is the key and that is the basis of this message from the beginning which in this case failed!! 

Agreed, Open platform is desirable and your initial message did fail.

Can you promise me your software will be updated and supported for at least 10 years? End users in the security world practice risk mitigation. The smart end users will try to pick the ACS that will be around in 10 years. That's why they want Mercury based systems.

I know one that will...And offer a 5 year unconditional warranty covering any act of man or God on the hardware as well...Will any Mercury house offer those terms? Plus 100 percent backward compatibility on past version of hardware going back to the early 90's..Much easier discussion the integrator has with his client when they can offer a simple upgrade and not a complete rip and replace. 


Mercury is very selective about its OEM family.  I suspect that the group will remain limited.

One thing to bear in mind is that the Mercury hardware (door controllers) are just one component of an access control system.  Mercury or not, takeovers are still quite involved, unless you have a tool to convert databases.

Hang on. You do not have to pay for unordered merchandise. The integrator would have been within their rights to just keep the products, although that's probably a good way to burn a bridge. 

Note, the title of this post was changed from the original title based on feedback from the integrator involved.


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