Retailers in Maharashtra have written to Samsung over undelivered commitments of providing over-the-counter offers to buyers of the premium Samsung Galaxy S23 series. They added that they have not been given the stocks to fulfil the offers, and in some cases, had to deliver on the promises by spending out of their own pockets.
“This situation has left customers feeling deeply dissatisfied and has resulted in chaos at retail outlets. Customers are expressing their frustrations by quarrelling with retailers and threatening to file police complaints,” the All India Mobile Retailers Association wrote in a recent letter to Samsung.
ET has reviewed a copy of the letter.
“The said distributor could not deliver offers related to Galaxy S23 to some consumers in Maharashtra. We can confirm that we will start delivering the offers to eligible Galaxy S23 customers next week,” a Samsung India spokesperson said.
The Galaxy S23 series is Samsung’s most premium offering outside of its foldable smartphones and contributed 25% to its revenue in the first quarter of 2023, as per research firm Counterpoint Research, adding that the S23 series led to a growth of 247% in the ultra-premium segment for Samsung.Market trackers fear the retailer issues have the potential to slow down the momentum the brand has garnered, if not resolved soon before the crucial festive season kicks in from August.Samsung, which regained its top ranking in terms of shipment volumes in the last two quarters, appointed two new distributors — Bengaluru-based ABM Group and Kolkata-based Karuna Marketing in the middle of April, replacing long-standing distributor SSK, part of the Syska Group, in Maharashtra.
“As part of business review, we recently decided to stop working with one of our distributors,” the Samsung India spokesperson confirmed.
People familiar with the matter said that SSK was let go as it did not meet certain financial obligations, which hurt Samsung’s business.
“We received a mail from Samsung on Tuesday for deputing someone for a meeting to arrange for taking back the remaining stocks and clear other pending claims in the full and final settlement. The meeting will decide who will give what to whom,” a SSK Group spokesperson said in response to ET’s queries. “We have settled everything till we were in the system till mid-March.”
The Samsung spokesperson said that the company has a robust system to ensure settlement with its partners. “…we can confirm that we have no dues to pay to the said distributor. We hope the said distributor pays all dues to the retailers”.
Retailers complained that the change was implemented without adequate communication to them, leading to “irregular billing and substantial financial losses.”
AIMRA said more than Rs 80 crore worth of pending claims of 7000-8000 dealers of Samsung smartphones remain undelivered.
“If settling the claims through SSK proves to be unfeasible, we strongly demand as a responsible leadership brand to redirect the pending claims of retailers to the new distributor and ensure immediate settlement,” Maharashtra retailers demanded.