Grey-market products are increasingly making their way into the South African market – but buyers are warned that these products may not offer the same levels of quality and service as the genuine article.
Buyers might even risk buying counterfeit or unlicensed products, says Louise Taute, Comstor director at Westcon-Comstor.
“”What we’ve seen recently is an increase fake products, unlicensed products and even products with unauthorised components being sold to people wanting to implement Cisco Solutions,” she says.
“These products are sold at much lower prices than genuine products, but they don’t come with the same warranties, quality promise and services that come with genuine products.”
Grey market products are products that are not bought from an authorised distributor. But Taute warns that they probably don’t come with licenses, warranties or support services. However this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Unauthorised resellers also try to sell off old or obsolete products which are no longer supported by the vendor, in this case Cisco, she adds. They could also be products that have been reverse engineered, and would not come with the support offered by the manufacturer itself.
Unauthorised resellers may even sell off damaged, fake or stolen products, Taute adds. When the buyer discovers a fault and approaches the manufacturer or distributor of genuine solutions for assistance, they discover that there are no supporting warranties or guarantees attached to the products they just purchased.
“You might think you’re saving money,” Taute says. “But it could cost you more in the long run if you have to go and purchase warranties and licenses after you bought your grey market product.
“Genuine Cisco products come with the support as part of the service. Any Cisco product which is purchased from a company that is not a Cisco Authorised Partner, is considered an unauthorised product.”
For buyers who are uncertain of whether their Cisco product is genuine, Cisco will perform a complimentary “health check” to determine if they are genuine and if they are licensed.