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Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has been awarded £1.95m, after the High Court, ruled that a former partner had fraudulently obtained discounted goods.
HPE took Matthew Archer and his company, International Computer Purchasing Limited, to court back in April. The case centred on an abuse of HPE's partner programmes and discounts. HPE alleged that the defendants fraudulently obtained over £1.5m in discounts on HPE products.
On Monday, the court ruled in HPE’s favour and ordered the Cheshire-based reseller to hand over just shy of £2m.
Grey marketing is an issue that has plagued the channel, and the wider market, since the dawn of IT.
Historically, HP has made a point of going public were resellers that were found guilty of selling grey.
In September 2004 HP started litigation against Borehamwood-based Paradise Computers for selling grey kit but the reseller then went into administration.
A year later HP sued Manchester-based etailer Expansys for buying handhelds from outside the EEA, a case that the reseller settled out of court.
Commenting on the decision against International Computer Purchasing, Marc Waters, Interim MD of UK&I for HPE, said the company was ‘satisfied’ with the verdict.
“Grey marketing is a serious problem for the industry in terms of lost sales, margin erosion, poor customer experiences and reputational damage,” Waters said. “HPE has a well-established Grey Market avoidance programme and the outcome of this case clearly demonstrates that we will not hesitate to take court action to enforce our rights if required.”
ICP’s UK website describes the company as a global provider of networking supplies ‘from individual components to complete IT systems’
The website describes Archer as a former sales management specialist.
“Matt has lived and worked in the UK since 1996 and earned a reputation as being one of the countries [sic] leading experts in IT communications.”
On the firm’s US website, the company mocks legitimate channel programmes:
“Because we purposely have no super-platinum world-leader status with multinational manufacturers, we're in a better position to hear what you're saying, and to accept your ideas and requirements.”
HPW said that anyone concerned about potential fraudulent activity should contact the company's brand protection team.