Lenovo has warned public from buying its products via e-commerce websites such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, by stating that they are not authorised resellers. It suggested that people should head over to one of the authorised Lenovo exclusive stores around the country or visit its e-commerce website TheDoStore, which it launched last year.

Update (Jan 20):
Flipkart’s response: “We can assure our customers buying Lenovo products on Flipkart.com that they are genuine. Customers will continue to enjoy the warranty and services extended to all original Lenovo products as always.”

Amazon’s response: “We are a marketplace platform that enables Indian merchants to sell products to consumers across India. As a neutral marketplace, we do not determine prices. Sellers are also contractually obligated to list genuine products with manufacturer warranty. This applies to all brands.  Furthermore, we also extend 100% customer protection with Amazon’s A-to-Z Guarantee for all products bought on Amazon.in. It guarantees the condition of the item (defective, damaged or does not match the item described) and its timely delivery when customers purchase from sellers on our website.”

Earlier (Feb 19):
Predatory pricing?

 Flipkart was selling Lenovo A1000L tablet (the same device Ranbir Kapoor is holding in the warning message) exclusively on its website just last week.

lenovo_ecommerce

Lenovo told BGR that it took such a decision because of the policy of heavy discounting followed by these websites. It is worth noting that Flipkart has priced this tablet at Rs 6,999 and Snapdeal has the device listed for Rs, 5,800 (sold out), while Lenovo’s TheDoStore lists the product at Rs 9,159. Infibeam also has a listing for A1000 and it is priced at Rs 7,765. Overall, the price seems to vary by a large margin from on e-commerce sites and on Lenovo’s website.

A bunch of retailers from Bangalore had raised similar concerns about e-commerce companies in November last year, however it needs to be remembered that the e-commerce websites listed are marketplaces. So it’s not clear if Lenovo is against these products being sold online or against a specific retailer who has been under cutting price and selling these products online.

It’s also not clear if the company had negotiated with these e-commerce companies to set a minimum sales price apart from MRP which is mandated by the government. Lenovo apparently received several complaints from brick-and-mortar stores which is what had led to this situation.

Toshiba’s warning: Electronics manufacturer Toshiba meanwhile asked e-commerce companies to not pass on sales promotional schemes that are available only when purchased through the company’s authorised dealer network. In this case too, it is strange that the company has not distinguished between sellers and the marketplace. It is not clear if it has a problem with specific sellers or online marketplaces overall.

Not the first time: Nikon had also posted a similar warning in September last year. Flipkart and Snapdeal had responded then by saying that they list only genuine products and assured that warranty on the product will not be affected. The same should be the case with this notice too. Does that mean, this is just a small move to keep the brick and mortar sellers happy, since in our opinion, it really doesn’t matter whether an online store is an authorized partner or not as long as the warranties are honored.