Epson distributors that have achieved “Genuine Gold Seal” status are required to source parts locally, a practice Epson said guarantees its parts are not knock-offs.
Digiland admitted it had sourced cartridges from Malaysia to service customers in Western Australia. However, Digiland is “unauthorised” to supply products from Epson Australia to the WA market, so it imported “legitimate Epson product from authorised distributors overseas into WA,” claimed George Skaf, general manager, commodities at Digiland.
Skaf declined to name which distributors Digiland had dealt with in Malaysia, but claimed: “It was definitely legitimate product.”
Digiland has since withdrawn cartridges worth between $20,000 and $30,000 from customers in WA, who will now be forced to source from another supplier.
Skaf admitted that from a “freight point of view” it was also easier to source from Malaysia. Last year, Digiland requested distribution rights in WA but was rejected. Digiland won't be selling Epson printers or cartridges in WA in the future, Skaf said.
Epson has since launched an advertising campaign announcing that it had removed Digiland's gold status. “This is a clear breach of the terms and spirit of the program agreement, Epson said.
Mike Pleasants, marketing and communications director at Epson, said to gain gold status, distributors must purchase product from Epson Australia and not third party sources. “It's the only way we can guarantee that they are genuine. It was very clear. Part of the whole gold seal status [program] is to ensure that the channel gets genuine product and they only way we can guarantee that is if it comes from us,” he said.