PCR launches Trader Trust campaign to clamp down on rogue tech dealers

We’ve been talking about the lack of an industry watchdog for years – but now PCR is stepping up to help businesses avoid dodgy dealers and cowboy traders.

We’re calling on vendors, distributors, retailers, resellers and other channel companies to inform us of any sellers that may be selling illegal or counterfeit goods, or conning customers and partners.

We will help bring unscrupulous PC dealers or products to light, but we need your help – please email PCR editor Dominic Sacco at dsacco@nbmedia.com or online editor Laura Barnes lbarnes@nbmedia.com with any stories or data you can share with us.

While the work of trade organisations such as CompTIA should be commended, the UK PC industry still doesn’t have a watchdog or ombudsmen to police IT.

CompTIA’s CEO Todd Thibodeaux previously told PCR it’s not CompTIA’s role to police the IT industry.

“It’s shocking – this industry is one of the few where you don’t need a licence to destroy someone else’s business,” he said. “That’s why being able to look for companies who are a member of our organisation is valuable. If a company has our Trustmark, you know they’re following best practices. Chances are, if you can pass the Trustmark, you’re going to do a good job.

“[Policing the IT sector] would really have to be driven by customers themselves, not by the industry. Customers are interested in seeing Yelp ratings and reviews on sites like Angie’s List.”

Derek Jones, MD of dealer group Synaxon, has been calling for a trade watchdog for years – and recently announced Synaxon would be bringing online discovery platform TrustATec to the UK. This allows web users to search for their local IT services provider, and check their prices and services within a single portal. Plus, each dealer on board benefits from the TrustATec Trustmark.

Of course, there was the Technology Channels Association (TCA), but that merged with CompTIA back in 2010. Whatever happened to the ‘Confidence Assurance’ promise from the TCA?

Elsewhere, Which? Magazine awards various local services companies with its Trusted Trader status, and the Retail Ombudsmen has a Trustmark scheme – but both of these initiatives aren’t specific to the PC industry.

At PCR Boot Camp North late last year, our panel of distribution experts touched on the subject of rogue online traders, who may try to get away with sourcing stock, selling it on and not registering themselves properly or paying taxes.

Westcoast MD Alex Tatham said: “Pay your damn taxes – it’s immoral not to. That’s the key and that’s the same for every company. If they don’t pay their taxes, then they’re illegal as far as I’m concerned, and I’m hoping the police will catch up with them.

“We had one of the UK’s premier resellers who lost an enormous customer, because they put counterfeit products into their servers in a spare, and lost the entire customer. As a result, they’ve now legitimised their entire spares business, as opposed to going shopping around. So I’d really encourage you to buy from an authorised distributor because we get our products from the vendors.”?

Entatech sales manager Darren Perks added: “I think none of us want to actually go out there and deal with anybody who’s going to be doing anything illegal. So we’ve all got to follow due diligence processes, which are very rigorous, to ensure we aren’t dealing with any rogue or suspect companies.”

Email PCR editor Dominic Sacco at dsacco@nbmedia.com or online editor Laura Barnes lbarnes@nbmedia.com with any stories or data you can share.

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