Buena Park, Calif. — Yamaha terminated an unspecified number of dealers who transshipped Yamaha product to Internet retailers in violation of their dealer agreements and tried to cover it up by having the products’ serial numbers altered.
“Until now, transshippers have covered their tracks by replacing the manufacturers’ real product serial numbers with inaccurate ones that were difficult to trace,” said spokesman Tom Graham. The transshippers were caught through a “new highly accurate procedure to trace products from the factory all the way to where they are sold, through legitimate dealers or otherwise,” the company said.
“Now, even if phony serial numbers are used on Yamaha products, we know with absolute certainty to which dealer those products were originally shipped,” Graham explained.
Yamaha caught the transshippers by purchasing Yamaha products from online retailers starting last fall, said Graham, who called the terminations just the first round of terminations as the company continues to buy products online. The products are sold online at below MAP, he noted. In the case of one $1,199-MAP product that’s dealer-priced at about $720, the online price was $940.
The vast majority of sites suspected of transshipped Yamaha equipment are headquartered in the New York-New Jersey area, he noted.
The serial numbers may have been altered by the authorized dealer, the online merchant or by a third party, he noted.
Also to deter and catch transshippers, Yamaha since last fall has been offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the identification and prosecution of individuals who open cartons and factory serial numbers on Yamaha audio products. The reward program will continue at least through the spring.
“Altering a product’s factory serial number is so serious because it defrauds consumers and voids the product warranty to which they are entitled,” said Graham.