Hi All, I need to share this with all of you, If you see deals that seems to to good to be true, please stay away.
Four of the major Distributers in the country got robbed in the last two weeks and their warehouses were emptied of all their stock. Adverts are all ready doing the rounds like the one below. My cost as distributors on a system like this is way over R100k.
You’re right, I should be more clear about that. Nothing wrong with using a VOIP number (My home number is a VOIP line), but given that I am already suspicious of the low price, the explicit “landline” label next to a number that looks to be from a VOIP range doesn’t help
I don’t know what is going to happen. This is thankfully not an R&D matter, I think the sales channel will deal with it.
The trouble with bricking a device, is that it also has a tarnishing effect on your brand name. An unsuspecting customer – and sure, we can debate how unsuspecting they really were or ought to have been – is angry at the manufacturer FIRST, and then maybe much later at his installer or “reseller” (who is now long gone).
But conversely, if you do nothing, that encourages the criminals. Don’t steal brand X, they brick, rather steal brand Y. That has a negative effect too.
“Bricking” is also something that takes a little work. You can easily deny a GX device access to VRM, but really bricking a Multi requires flashing bad firmware to it, and unless you completely trash the bootloader on the chip, or replace it so it refuses to downgrade, you can’t stop anyone with a USB mk3 from reflashing older firmware on it and simply leaving it off the internet.
A better strategy may indeed be to let them work, and then trace them, and use that to find the reseller and ultimately the thief.
A database for checking if a device was stolen sounds like a good idea though. I’ll mention it to the sales guy.
I guess this is where I am getting at, it might end up being a race to the bottom, the criminals will only end up stealing the stuff they know won’t brick.
I agree, catching the reseller / installer would be a much better long term solution, you could always indicate to the user on VRM that one / all of their products are considered stolen, at least end users will immediately know and hopefully report this to their supplier / installer and ultimately the police.
Hmmm I think it is quite dystopian. Imagine the scenario where an uninformed person purchases a stolen device. People in general don’t know what things should cost and jump on a good deal. We are quite lucky at being in this position of having more info.
Now that person is both without an inverter, and without money. The manufacturer certainly will not refund them and the thief definitely won’t.
Much better to try and catch the thief. Even manufacturers having the ability to remotely brick all backup power of a country… is highly irresponsible. One day, a hacker will figure out the backdoor and hold an entire country at ransom. Or even just a disgruntled employee.
If you are in possession of stolen goods SAPS will come and collect it anyway (Without compensation) and you might even end up being charged for simply being in possession of stolen goods.
Trust me I went through this ordeal recently after buying a inverter that was stolen from a warehouse that housed Victron kit, luckily I was made whole by the reseller.
Most end users (Including myself) would be perfectly happy if there was something (Be that a remote brick event - extreme) or simply a warning on VRM that I am in possession of stolen goods to do something with that information, currently there is no mechanism to inform end users.
I have sent a few people there to check in the past if the item is still indeed under warranty, maybe reported stolen or whatnot.
Victron sends an email to the dealer/installer instantly to contact the person enquiring. And Victron follows up that contact was made a few days later.
So if the dealer/supplier was robbed, they will inform the buyer on the spot of the issue, and maybe even obtain the contact details of the “seller”.
Where it falls flat is if a private customer was robbed. Ideally, all stolen serial numbers should be reported to Victron via a website or whatnot. That would further assist the process already in place.