Elonex customers left without warranty cover

Having bought Elonex, Afic appears to have made a U-turn on its promise to honour service warranties

Customers of IT services company Elonex are annoyed and frustrated that the company will not be honouring service warranties now it has been taken over.

Elonex went into administration in June this year. In July, the company was bought by Newcastle-based Afic, which sells products such as stationery, printer ribbons and cartridges to large companies and government departments.

At the time, Afic's founder Yuval Ella told ZDNet UK that Afic would honour Elonex's existing warranties and service contracts.

However, according to emails forwarded to ZDNet UK by disgruntled customers, Elonex will not now be honouring those warranties.

"There will be a number of customers who wish to place fault calls under previous warranty agreements," said John Power, corporate sector manager at Elonex PLC, in an email sent to customers.

"It is important to state that the new Elonex company, as a completely different new entity from the company in administration, actually has no obligation to service these calls free of charge," Power continued.

Elonex advised previous customers that they will be offered "reasonable one-off fixed price charges for repair", and they will be advised that "a new maintenance contract for the whole scheme... would also be a route forward".

However, a consultant who supplied PCs to end users under the Home Computing initiative, Wayne Harris, said that taking on a new contract with Elonex would not be a sound decision for users.

"For an organisation or end users to take on a new contract [with Elonex] does not strike me as a winning situation for them, and is a direct contradiction of what Yuval Ella seems to have been telling organisations such as yours," said Harris.

"We will be advising our clients to contact Elonex for clarification as to why the new owner has been making promises they now do not want to keep," Harris added.

It also appears that Elonex may be cherry-picking customers that it had particularly lucrative agreements with by honouring their service contracts.

"There will be a number of customers that we agree to service for commercial reasons (and the main commercial reasons would include the continuation of a trading relationship, or the holding of an accreditation), where we can somehow create a fair 'win-win' situation for both the customer and the new Elonex," said John Power in another email to a customer.

However, Elonex indicated it may even decide to change its mind in these cases.

"Even in cases where we might agree to still do the old warranties, we would reserve the right to review the situation if a real win-win partnership did not ensue," said Power.

The disgruntled customer who received that email, Adrian Johnston, a chartered financial planner and director of Johnston Financial, was extremely unimpressed by Elonex's apparent U-turn.

"To pretend to the world that you'll honour a contract is out of order. They were just trying to look the good guy," said Johnston.

Johnston said he would not be renewing the company's service contracts with Elonex, and said he had been "left a bit frustrated" and "annoyed" that Elonex appeared to be willing to honour some warranties but not others.

However, Johnston said that as a financial consultant he recognised that Elonex could not honour all existing warranties, as the company would quickly find itself back in the position it was in before it went into administration.

Neither John Power nor Yuval Ella had responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.