2/20/2008 11:46:00 AM
Dealers and disties play blame game over cashback
With retailers continuing to fold, dealers have hit out at the rest of the industry.
Dealer body The Independent Mobile Phone Dealers Association (IMPDA), which today called for a dealer accreditation scheme and an independent monitoring body to resolve the issue of cashback, said the voluntary code of practice signed by the networks last summer was a failure.
Chair of the group, Chris Caudle, said: ‘It has been a sad fact that the networks and Ofcom have been complicit in failing to police cashback and the code of practice.’
Ofcom has acknowledged that the code introduced in August needs to be reviewed and recently met with dealers, distributors and operators.
Meanwhile, operators have said the code needs more time to become effective.
Online retailer First Contact Mobiles, which has advised its customers not to expect any cashback, blamed its predicament on ‘distribution partners’ not releasing commission.
And Mobile Outlet boss Attif Ashraf said his company was in trouble because his distribution partner, Dextra, ‘unjustly’ closed his account.
He said: ’Dextra said we weren’t complying with Ofcom guidelines. When Phonebox [which went into administration in November last year] went under they thought these guys aren’t going to be around much longer, so they kept the money. The rug was pulled from under us.’
But Dextra’s sales chief Angie Simpson (pictured) dismissed Mobile Outlet’s suggestions that the distributor contributed to its downfall.
Simpson said that in September last year the distributor approached all distance sellers to make sure they knew what was expected of them.
She said: ‘We gave [Mobile Outlet] four separate opportunities to comply with the code. We asked for financial proof that they could pay their cashback and they refused. It went on for six to eight weeks, and they didn’t comply.
‘We set down what they needed to do in black and white - at the end of the day, it was a model they couldn’t sustain.’
Simpson dismissed Mobile Outlet’s suggestions that the distributor owes them £100,000 as ‘poppycock’.