Third Lexmark price hike angers resellers

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Third Lexmark price hike angers resellers

Paul Kunert
For the third time in a year, printer manufacturer Lexmark has increased prices on a range of consumables, blaming the falling value of the euro against the dollar.

The latest move follows similar measures taken by rival Hewlett-Packard, which last week increased the price of its toner products by more than 5% - representing a 28% increase in 13 months.

Although only one product in the range will increase by 14%, Bob Curtin, director of customer solutions at Lexmark, was unaware how many other products would be affected "south" of that figure, except to say that the minimum increase was 4%.

He added that all the products affected by the previous two price rises had been left untouched.

Dismissing suggestions that the increase was a knee-jerk reaction to HP's price elevation, Curtin insisted its products were still competitive.

"I do not believe it will impact sales; we sell printers and consumables that offer value to the customer and the channel," he argued.

But as well as currency changes prompting the increase, he cited market conditions such as the cost of manufacturing and competition, and argued that as a global player, price harmonisation was important.

One Lexmark reseller remained sceptical about the changes and suggested that "every time HP increases prices, Lexmark seems to as well".

Another reseller argued the move was very unsettling for the market and suggested the only winner was the vendor, adding: "Customers think we are trying to push margins up."

But another reseller defended Lexmark saying the rises were nowhere near as big as HP's and it had been given prior warning to explain the situation to customers.

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