Rogue PS3 traders

Unauthorised PlayStation 3 consoles make a mockery of efforts to legitimise the UAE's consumer electronics sector.

  • E-Mail
By  Aaron Greenwood Published  December 31, 2006

The discovery of unauthorised and overpriced PlayStation 3 (PS3) consoles on the shelves of some of the UAE’s biggest consumer electronics retailers is a troubling indictment on the country’s consumer electronics channel sector.

While the actions of a few typically bring into question the reputation of many, the decision by the majority in this case to flout channel norms and challenge one of the industry’s biggest vendors in flagrant pursuit of the almighty dollar is as breathtaking as it is arguably foolish.

Sources suggest that the powers-that-be at Sony Gulf are – not surprisingly – fuming about the current situation, and will be ready to play their own hand come March, when official PS3 stocks hit the Middle East.

The situation has even led some industry pundits to suggest that Sony’s distribution partner and UAE power retailer, Jumbo Electronics, must be more than a little excited by the prospect of filling its stores with all that surplus PS3 stock bound for the Middle East.

Regardless of the commercially insensitive nature of their actions, a number of these rogue PS3 retailers have also shown flagrant disregard for consumers’ rights.

Having recently visited a major Dubai outlet of one such retailer, I was more than a little surprised when the salesperson did his best to convince me that I would in fact be receiving a fully-operational, Middle East-spec 60GB PS3 console for my hard-earned US$1,100.

Yes, US$1,100!

The enthusiastic sales guy then went on to claim the retailer had gained exclusive access to pre-production PS3s destined for the Middle East.

Yeah right. Then again, I guess he thought that if a potential customer was willing to pay almost double the recommended retail price for a PS3 console with no warranty and limited functionality, they were probably gullible enough to believe anything.

But therein lies the dilemma. Unwitting consumers must be made aware that they are being short-changed in this situation, and it is the obligation of retailers to explain the pitfalls associated with purchasing unauthorised goods.

The approach of this particular retailer also makes a mockery of calls from within the industry for self-regulation in regards to enforcing consumer protection laws.

In a broader sense, the current scenario also raises serious questions about the commitment of these retailers to promoting a legitimate trading environment in the UAE and perversely sheds new light on their previously stated support for stamping out grey market trade.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code