What can partners do if they spot or suspect counterfeit Cisco products or gray market activity?
Contact Brand Protection. That’s what our team is for. We have an online, very short intake form. We have actually about 100 cases a week that my team gets from around the world of cases like that, of our customers contacting us. But I’d say about 50 percent of the instances is our partners contacting us, and that ranges from [scenarios like], ‘Hey, I got a flyer from the Middle East that says that this is legit gear, and they can overnight it to me in the U.S., and this is the price point,’ to other issues where something is just not right. We’re here to investigate and unravel. What my team does is we look at all the sales transactions and we have records and a very sophisticated database of monitoring activity over the years, where we can connect the dots and go, ‘OK, that’s the big fish out there that is then polluting the whole channel. Let’s focus on that and clean it up.’
Stick to the Cisco authorized channel. There are temptations out there. Be aware, be careful, especially in these times. There are many fraudsters out there that are trying to cheat you out of legitimate business. And if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t take that temptation because ultimately, it’s [the partner’s] reputation. You may think that you will get away with one deal, but ultimately, it’s very disruptive to a reseller, so don’t put your reputation at risk. And if you have any concerns, any issues, please work with us. We’re here to support legitimate channel partners day in and day out.