The global borderless trading and e-Commerce reality is presenting a significant challenge to the bona-fide Australian entertainment technology supply and service industry. However, it can also negatively impact consumers who acquire systems, devices and services that are not covered by warranty, are not effectively serviced or supported, are non-compliant with Australian law, and are devoid of product and public liability insurance protection.
Article by Frank Hinton, President – ACETA
In addition, the purchase of technology outside of the known, established and territorially accredited domestic supply chain, increases the risk of acquiring knock-off and/or forged products, a reality that has been with us for some time and one that is not going away any time soon, we are talking here about Intellectual Property theft.
It is a fact, there are many consumer product sectors that are innately safe and do not require warranty, service, support, or lawful compliant certification, however entertainment technology is not one of them. Most entertainment technology is best experienced prior to purchase, and once acquired needs the protection of a formal warranty, underpinned by local and effective service and support networks. In addition, it needs to be compliant in Australian law relative to EMC and safety, a purchaser should also be protected by public and product liability insurance cover. So, what is the reality of purchasing from an off-shore entity or even a local on-line presence that poses as an Australian site, promising the world? Possibilities are they may not be subject to, or conform with Australian law, and not willing or able to deliver the requisite level of service and support, in all probability they won’t have warranty cover.
Now to double jeopardy, if systems, devices and services are purchased off shore and not through an accredited local supply chain the purchaser is deemed to be the importer, the agent, the responsible entity for the products EMC and safety compliance status as defined in Australian law. Secondly, should the acquisition harm or kill an individual(s), damage or destroy property, the purchaser will be held accountable, and do they have public and property liability cover in the order of twenty million dollars to adequately defend their purchase and position?
The downside of global borderless trading presented in the preceding paragraph is the reality for numerous individuals and organisations whose experiences are constantly reported to ACETA. Whilst it will undermine industry sustainability and employment levels it will also compromise the well-being of many consumers, and for what? It would seem convenience, but most likely a real or perceived cost saving. We need to remember, the bona-fide local manufacturer, manufacturer’s representative and service provider, bear significant costs to maintain compliance and ethical trading standards, including an appropriate service and support overhead, difficult to redeem given international pricing pressures, but necessary nonetheless. The off-shore supplier or on-line site usually doesn’t bear these service, support and security overheads as they don’t provide them.
To prevail in the face of global borderless trading, the committed members of the Australian entertainment technology supply chain will need to maintain a fair and moderate pricing policy, without jeopardising corporate sustainability. In addition, we will need to monitor and constantly strive to improve our service and support capability, but most importantly, ensure we are genuinely client focussed. In addressing these challenges to the benefit of both the supply chain and their clients, ACETA have undertaken several initiatives.
In the next month, ACETA will launch a comprehensive industry Members Guide, a publication that will present the entire membership, organisations who have committed to compliant trading and ethical behaviour, by virtue of their acceptance of the Industry Guidelines as defined in the ACETA Constitution, and acceptance by their industry peers. The Members Guide will be available and distributed to entertainment technology acquirers who seek reliable sources of supply. For international producers, it will assist in locating suitable trading partners, for those seeking a career in the entertainment technology industry, it will help identify potential employer candidates. As recently announced, ACETA will be convening the inaugural Industry Convention in May 2018. Amongst a substantial list of relevant subject matter, the challenges of global borderless trading will be addressed formally and informally in both forums and discussions groups, led by individuals invested and expert in the area of global borderless trading and associated issues such as e-Commerce.
The role of ACETA is to help guide our industry to a better and more sustainable place, one where standards are improved and we realise genuine development and increased employment opportunities. We also are committed to realising optimum consumer satisfaction be they individuals or organisations, this requires a unified approach, broader understandings and programs that offer our constituents personal, corporate and industry development opportunity, a prime example being the establishment of an annual industry convention.