Distinctive offers solution to RMA dilemma

LAS VEGAS, Nev. —Ex-Green Beret John Fisher, dressed in military fatigues at Comdex Fall, is guaranteeing to all system builders and VARs that his new service will reduce RMA (returned merchandise authorization) ratios by 50 per cent.

Fisher, who is also the chief operating officer of

Distinctive Technologies of Broomfield, Colo., released PC Pinpoint, a Web and server-based service that tests PC components and automatically identifies and fixes common problems.

A recent Disk/Trend research report found that 60 to 70 per cent of all PC hard drives are returned to the manufacturer in good working condition.

RMAs have continued to plague Canadian system builders, especially box builders in the West. They lose whatever margin they make by paying shipping costs to retrieve products sold to eastern customers, said Tyler Bourns, president of Regina-based system builder PC Place.

Besides Fisher’s guarantee, PC Pinpoint can act as a system builder’s or reseller’s own Web site. “”They think they are calling on the system builder who sold them the box, but we’ve built the Web site with that company’s brand.””

PC Pinpoint also has self-help tutorials that provides users with instructions to fix the problem on their own. If the problem cannot be solved by the customer, one of 65 Distinctive Technologies service staffers can be contacted either by e-mail or through a Web chat.

Fisher wants to take this service to Canada and ink 10 Canadian system builders who sell 100 PCs or more per month every month for 2003. Currently, the company has signed up 12 system builders in the U.S.

There are three ways system builders or resellers can partner with Distinctive Technologies: selling PC Pinpoint as a service contract for a percentage, buy PC Pinpoint for every box and build the cost into the white box, or they can buy in bulk and resell it for as much as they want.

Fisher added that the most common PC problems are hard drives, video cards, sound card systems, virus checkers, and users who accidentally delete important system files.

With PC Pinpoint, system builders can get a report on the best components and software from their own users. With this kind of information, Fisher said that system builders or resellers will be able to provide their customers with products that consistently work.

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