Editor’s Note: Our objective here is to indicate that it’s not clear whether brands will honor warranties or not. There’s ambiguous wordplay, with some brands merely asking consumers to check warranty entitlements, others saying “Representations, benefits and other entitlements” (what does this mean anyway?) will not be honored. Only in a few cases have brands explicitly said that warranties will not be honored if products are bought online.
Earlier: Retail brands have been unhappy for quite some time about the allegedly disproportionate discounts offered by e-commerce platforms like Flipkart, Amazon India, Snapdeal, Myntra, and Jabong among others. Last week’s Flipkart Big Billion Day sale and Amazon’s ongoing Diwali Dhamaka Week have intensified the brands’ voicing of displeasure, apparently because of pressure from their offline retailer partners.
Here’s what top retail brands have said about online offers and warranties on products being offered online:
1. Lenovo: In February, Lenovo issued a customer advisory that read:
“E-commerce companies like Snapdeal and Amazon.in are not authorized Lenovo resellers. We encourage you to check your warranty entitlements when you buy from these websites.”
2. Dell: According to Dell it’s only authorized online partner is compuindia.com. At various points over the past year, Dell has issued advisories to customers against buying its products from specific e-commerce portals. In April this year, Dell had warned shoppers against buying from Snapdeal
Now their ire seems to fixed on Amazon India (possibly because of the Diwali Dhamaka Week).
What it says:
“www.amazon.in is Not a Dell Approved Reseller. Dell Offers, Schemes etc are explicitly not applicable for products sold on www.amazon.in. Representations, benefits and other entitlements offered exclusively by www.amazon.in will not be honored by Dell under any circumstances and Dell shall not be liable in any manner with respect to requests being declined. Exclusive offers, entitlements and other benefits for Dell products available on purchases made on Dell Authorized Reseller”
This notice is still up, here.
“e-commerce websites like Flipkart (Flipkart Internet Private Ltd, WS Retail Service Pvt. Ltd), Snapdeal (Jasper Infotech Private Limited) are not our authorized partner/dealer in India for Nikon products, we advise you to check the warranty entitlements while buying from online portals.”
The same message continues to be displayed on the ‘Where to Buy‘ page on Nikon’s website.
4. Sony: Sony’s website states that, what is clearly ‘fine print’
“Please Note: Any Sony product purchased from an unauthorized Sony reseller may not be eligible for any of the benefits above, including manufacturer’s 1 year limited warranty.”
Sony’s authorized online sellers:
Sony India doesn’t seem to be pleased with the huge discounts offered by e-commerce platforms either. Sony India’s head of sales Sunil Nayyar told TOI: “The hygiene has to be maintained in terms of pricing. We will hold discussions with the online retailers to look at the way forward and ensure that the pricing is realistic.”
5. HP: HP India’s Online Store prominently displays a Customer Advisory as a pop-up on its homepage. It reads: “The following online stores namely Snapdeal, Amazon India and eBay India are not authorised resellers of HP Laptops, Tablets, etc.”
Clicking on the pop-up leads to more detailed advisory.
6. Asus: In a notification issued on March 19, 2014 (which the company said would come into effect from March 31), Asus India had stated that it
“does not assure the genuineness of ASUS branded products and also does not assure the validity of warranty on those products being sold by any sellers through e-commerce websites like Snapdeal.com, eBay.in, Amazon.in, etc. ASUS India appeals to all consumers to buy its products only from ASUS authorized partners or retailers and to ensure they buy Genuine, Brand New (Non-Refurbished) products with Valid Warranty.
Hardware BBQ has a screenshot of the advisory here.
Strangely, ASUS’ website now features Zenfone, with a banner that says ‘Available on Flipkart’.
7. Gionee: Chinese smartphone maker Gionee had also asked its customers to not buy from e-commerce portals in June this year, The Times of India reported. The company advised customers to check all service and warranty related info, in case they do buy from these sites, and a company spokesperson told the publication that it:
“has decided not to honour the warranty for phones purchased from certain websites or sellers as they’re selling Gionee’s phones without a formal agreement with the company.”
However, it didn’t name these websites.
8. Canon: In February 2014, Canon India was considering offering higher warranty periods for customers who bought its products from offline stores. At the time, Canon India executive VP Alok Bharadwaj had said, “We are not doing direct business with online sites where price disruptions are the core proposition.”
Now, the list of authorized online sellers on Canon India’s website has includes eBay.in, Flipkart and ImageStore.
8. LG: In an advisory dated October 6, 2014 LG India informed customers that it:
“has not authorized any e-commerce company/web portal to sell “LG product(s)” – TV & Audio Products, Home Appliances, Air Conditioners and Mobiles in India for and/or on behalf of the company. The company does not take responsibility for the genuineness of an LG product(s) sold through any of the e-commerce companies/web portals in India, and thus, the company retains the right of not extending additional services/warranties to such LG product(s). LG product(s) can also be booked online directly at the company’s website (www.lgbrandstore.com/in) which is the authorized website for online purchase of all LG product(s) in India.”
This advisory was spotted by Nithin Jawali at a physical electronics store.
9. Toshiba: issued customer advisories against buying their products from e-commerce portals. Toshiba hadn’t put any message to this effect on its website, but several reports mentioned that Toshiba had warned customers against buying its products from online portals as they weren’t authorized sellers. (Check here and here).
10. Apple: Apple hasn’t yet spoken in favour or against the contentions several brands brands have expressed regarding e-commerce marketplaces. However, on it’s website Apple provides customers a list of authorized online resellers.
Statements from 2013
1. Quick Heal: IT security solutions provider Quick Heal had sent legal notices to five e-tailers – eBay India, Tradus, Shopcruz.in, Snapdeal and Flipkart – for unauthorized display and sale of its products, in March last year. Except Flipkart, the other four accepted Quick Heal’s contention. Flipkart stopped selling but refused to stop displaying Quick Heal products. Finally, in August a court order forced Flipkart to comply., or so the company claims.
2. Netgear: Last year networking equipment manufacturer, Netgear had mentioned in a mail to a channel partner that it wouldn’t provide warranty for products purchased from e-commerce sites. The typo-friendly poorly worded statement, published by Trak.in:
“NETGEAR West Region will not be responsible for any warranty support, if you have purchased material from any online website. we are tracking every bill and serial nos. if that will found online purchase we will not give any warranty support to that customer”
View the screenshot on Trak.in here
Note: In case we missed anyone, let us know at email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
(with inputs from Nikhil Pahwa)