Alpha reseller up in arms over API delays

Not a happy soul...unhappy...

Updated A letter sent from an API reseller to the company complaining about problems with products has now been resolved. API contacted The Register late today, and said that the issues with the reseller have now been resolved.

According to Miles Chesney, marketing director at API Europe, the UP1000 is now available in the channel and the reseller who sent this letter has now received a satisfactory reply from his company.

Dear fellow Alpha value added resellers: Back in the end of October we were planning for the SuperComputing99 show, and I was trying to work with Jim Solinas to get some boards, CPUs and products to present at our booth at this show. Originally we had planned to a small UP1000 cluster, but the boards which we were earlier promised failed to be available, so that fell through. We hoped at least to show a UP2000, so on November 20th Jim Solinas offered us a board, with 2 CPUs, in a 3U rack case that API firm wanted to promote. Jim and I discussed this, he told me there was a bit of a "special" for this, so I proceeded to order a UP2000 planar and 2 of the 667MHz, 4MB cache slotB modules. Jim told us this would be pre-installed into the 3U rack chassis, and we agreed to this. We proceeded to fax a written PO detailing this to Jim, and we followed up with a cheque for payment for this and other items. We received the goods in early November, along with an invoice detailing what we had ordered and pre-paid for. The invoice precisely matched our PO. After SC99 we wanted to build a running system based on this board and 2 CPUs, and to our dismay we found we had received only 2MB cache modules instead of the 4MB ones we ordered and paid for. I called API tech support and they were about to issue an RMA for these CPUs to be replaced. I spoke with Jim to give him a heads-up on the problem, and he told me "Oh, this was a show special, and we were only doing the 2MB modules for the special". I looked at my notes, and our purchase order, which specifically listed 4MB cache modules, but decided that although I wasn't very happy I had better things to do than waste my time arguing.. At that point I was totally disgusted, as all commitments, deals and otherwise from API in the last 2 months had gone turned out to be vapour, and I simply did not want to even think about more problems. I decided to write this off as more bad communications and dis-information and we sold the product to one of our customers. Today we got a call, and the machine we built around this board had failed. So, we got the product back, and discovered that one of the SlotB modules had failed. We looked at the PO and the Invoice from API for this, as we needed the numbers to request an RMA. To my shock I saw that I had not been mistaken in my belief. Not only did I order 4MB modules, but we have been invoiced for 4MB modules. This is the invoice which we paid on, and which the goods were shipped on. We expect to API to resolve this issue resolved immediately, ship us the 4MB modules we paid for, and to cover our costs of shipping back the defective modules and sending us the replacements. Any comments and thoughts are invited and welcome. I know it is not just me, because the comments I hear from the other resellers and distributors seem to reflect issues on nearly a daily basis. Just today I called the distributor I now buy Alpha product form and he told me that he had been promised the product that he has back-ordered for next week delivery. In another conversation with Jim Solinas I was told that in his opinion the UP1000 boards are still not released from manufacturing, and the 750/8 SlotB modules are not yet available. Just this week another API contact I sometimes communicate with expressed surprise that we still could not get these, and said:'"I'll check the backlog with Jim Solinas in the morning. Are you saying that you have 750 MHz modules on order which haven't shipped? How many and when were they ordered?" In early November this same contact also said: "How many do you have on order? I asked about this just the other day and was told that the only backlog for 750 MHz was from another customer." So, who does one believe any more? I think it is time that API started treating its customers with at least a basic level of respect and co-operation. We are only here because of our involvement with Alpha products from a time long before API existed, and I find it astonishing that API seems to regard us with such total disdain.

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