Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Parallel importing – still the main way to get hold of the latest Apple iPads?

The availability of the latest iPad from Apple is still confounding and frustrating South African end users, with no sign of “any light at the end of the supply tunnel”, said Christopher Riley, MD of notebook and accessories retailer, The Notebook Company  (Notebook.co.za and Laptop.co.za ) – a company who has been accused of parallel importing due to its continued efforts “to provide clients with what the want”.

Riley said shortages of the latest iPads are continuing, saying that the local Apple distributor, Core, has “given no clear indication of when this impasse will be resolved”.

He said that, as a result, his company would continue to use “any legal means” available to it to get its hand on stock due to ongoing requests from its clients – despite being branded by some companies, and people, as a “grey importer”.

“Frankly, right now this is a moot point. The marketplace wants the latest iPad and we are providing it to them – albeit at a higher price than the listed Apple price due to our higher import costs. We are making it quite clear to anyone that we deal with – and provide iPads to – that we are importing it ourselves or using our import partners.

“I think computer companies are also generally worried because they have to order a certain amount of stock – sometimes more than they want to. With the continual concerns about stock availability there is also the possibility that they could be out of pocket by committing to a certain stock consignment – and paying for it –and then having to wait too long to secure the stock in order to sell.”

Monday, 4 June 2012


 Retailers – or in fact, anyone trading via electronic funds transfer – are open to high levels of risk of falling victim to fraudulent payments since banks, like Standard Bank, no longer reflect bank-to bank EFTs on the same day or real time.

According to Christopher Riley, CEO of notebook accessories and retailer, The Notebook Company (Notebook.co.za and Laptop.co.za), the fact that EFT payments at Standard Bank take longer then 24 hours to reflect, retailers are open to huge risks from fraudulent client payments. Operations are also often retarded as retailers have to ‘wait’ for transaction confirmations

Riley said it is a “massive problem” for retailers.  Banks appear to be ignoring the importance of reflecting same-day payments on the same day and “are turning a blind eye”.

No longer  is Standard Bank our Primary account

 It appears Standard Bank has  taken on this attitude.
“While Standard Bank was our main bank they showed no inclination to even listen to our concerns. The powers seemed unperturbed about the possible consequences for many of their clients. Consequently, The Notebook Company has changed its primary account to ABSA (after 22 years).

 “Frankly,” said Riley, “when queried about the 24 hour delay, Standard Bank staff simply dug their heels in, saying that Internet payments from one Standard Bank to another can take up to 24 hours to reflect. That’s just how things work.

Riley believes this is unacceptable. “We all know payments from one bank to another can take a few days - but we in retail all also understood same bank to same bank should be immediate. That is how we have been selling for over a decade. But ,” he said, “it seems Standard Bank has simply made an about turn and decided this is not how it is done.”

The implications of Standard Bank database updates not being immediate are ‘disastrous for the retailing sector’.

“This banking policy from Standard Bank is a huge problem for distributors and wholesalers – and for retailers that sell high value items.

Scamster continuesly  tries to dupe The Notebook Company

“Over time,” said Riley, “many scamster have tried to dupe us with a manufactured  stolen, or stopped cheques totaling over R1 million, which were "paid" to The Notebook Company’s  account as Internet payments.

“We know the tricks - but it does bring down our productivity and it wastes a lot of our time.    This is why we have banking accounts with all the major banks as it makes it possible for us to check that the money is irreversible before releasing.  But having to wait for 24 hours from Standardbank to Standardbank causes serious problems.