Online retailer IT Madness has stopped reselling Kyocera after the printing vendor accused the company of misleading customers over extended warranties – a claim the reseller flatly denies.
Sam Robinson, director of IT Madness, was forced to defend the company’s webstore against what he called a “false accusation” of breaching Australian Consumer Law.
In a letter sent by Kyocera’s legal team and seen by CRN, the printing vendor accused IT Madness of passing off services from third-party provider Brightside Warranties as manufacturer-provided warranties from Kyocera. Kyocera said this would be a contravention of the ACL by “falsely representing or making misleading representation”.
Kyocera gave the reseller one month to make relevant changes to its website and said it was entitled to commence legal action for injunctive relief and damages.
IT Madness boss Robinson hit back at the legal rebuke, telling CRN that Kyocera was “barking up the wrong tree”.
“We have never sought to pass off a third-party warranty as Kyocera.”
The IT Madness webstore featured the ECO-060 one-year extended warranty for Kyocera printing equipment, which Robinson said had been pulled down via a data feed from its distributor.
"Everyone does this. They come out of the distributors' feed," said Robinson, who added it was "very strange they sent that nasty legal letter".
He told CRN that Kyocera had now been removed from the website.
A Google search for ECO-060 warranties returns listings from many Australian resellers and distributors.
Robinson said Kyocera “should contact the appropriate distribution partner to remove these items from their data feed and they will then be removed from channel web portals, rather than falsely accusing resellers of copyright infringement”.
CRN asked Kyocera if the legal letter could be the result of a mix-up.
"No, it was not a mistake," said Shiara Mutukisna, general counsel and company secretary, by email. "Prior to sending the letter, we conducted an investigation of IT Madness' website following a customer enquiry and found that the extended warranty being offered on the site at the time was from a third party and was not a Kyocera extended warranty.
"We were provided with a copy of an email sent by IT Madness to the customer confirming that the warranty offered on the Kyocera product was from a company called Brightside Warranties."
Robinson said IT Madness did resell third-party warranties from Brightside, but that these were listed as separate items on its website and that his company had explained this to Kyocera.