HP Partners failing to pass on savings to customers
HP Partners failing to pass on savings to customers

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is having a problem with channel partners who are failing to pass on offers to customers leaving SMEs substantially out of pocket.

The situation appears to have been going on for some time and at first glance makes no sense at all. At the centre of this issue is an HP deal which has been running for 3 months. It’s your standard Buy One Get One free (BOGOF) deal with a slight twist:

  • The products involved are all limited to a small number of common server configurations
  • The HP partner gets to sell both servers
  • The servers must be on the same invoice and ordered the same day
  • Customers can claim for servers and for HP 3 year support
  • HPE sends out a cheque to the customer after receiving a copy of the invoice and validating the sale with the partner

Looking at the conditions, there is no reason for HP Partners to not play fair. They are not being asked to bear the cost of the deal and they also get to keep their revenue from the sale of the server. As such, you’d expect them to be falling over themselves to inform SMEs of this deal. From our own research that is not the case with all bar one of the HPE Partners failing to disclose the deal to customers even when they talk to them and the customer says this is the first of several servers they are looking to replace.

The background

In the interest of full disclosure we became aware of this when Synonym Ltd, the company that owns Enterprise Times purchased a HP BL160 from ServersDirectUK. After a less than helpful experience with the online ordering tool, they received a telephone call from the Servers Direct sales team to confirm the order and also retake the credit card details due to a “problem with the website.”

During the call it was made clear that there were several servers to be replaced and this was just the first. At no point were they offered the HPE BOGOF deal or even made aware of it. They only discovered it a few days later when looking at other HP Partners web sites. Checking the deal it was clear that the server ordered met the requirements which raised the question as to why no mention was made in several phone calls and emails to ServersDirectUK.

According to the HPE BOGOF deal the savings can be quite considerable although they were capped at a limited number of servers per customer. In the image below we show the range of servers, product codes, savings and the saving on HP 3 year package support.

HPE September-November BOGOF deal
HPE September-November BOGOF deal

How we went about validating the allegation

When we were told about this we set about visiting the websites of a number of HP Partners and then making calls to their sales teams. We specifically asked about the model we were looking for, if the model was in stock and mentioned that we were looking later on to replace other servers.

Only ONE Partner provided any information on the BOGOF deal and they did this both on the website as you looked at the server by directing you to the deal and on the subsequent phone call to the sales team. By searching the ServersDirectUK site there was a mention of the deal but it was not linked to the order process and at no point did the sales team mention it in a call.

Among the HPE partners we talked to we discovered the following:

  • ServersPlus – http://www.serversplus.com/servers/rack_servers/hp_rack_servers/769503-b21 – No information at all
  • Insight UK – http://www.uk.insight.com/en-gb/productinfo/servers/0004144887 – Click on the cash back and you then have to go to a different page where it is the second item. (http://www.uk.insight.com/en-gb/productinfo/servers/0004144887#product-promotions-tab)
  • ServersDirectUK -http://www.serversdirect.co.uk/Hewlett_Packard_HP_Proliant_DL160_Gen_9_E5-2603v3_1.6GHz_6_Core_1x8GB_NHP_L_783361-425/version.asp?PID=2095 – no details here but if you spend time browsing the site you can find the November deals page and then have to trawl through it to find the BOGOF deal
  • ServerTek – http://www.servertek.co.uk/hp-proliant-dl160-gen9-e5-2603-v3-1-6ghz-8gb-r-b140i-4lff-550w-g9-server.html – no mention at all
  • eBuyer – http://www.ebuyer.com/664655-hp-proliant-dl160-gen9-entry-xeon-e5-2603v3-1-6-ghz-8gb-1u-rack-769503-b21 – no mention of the deal at all
  • Misco – http://www.misco.co.uk/product/SC1601730/HP-ProLiant-DL160-Gen9-Server-rack-mountable-1U-2-way-1-x-Xeon-E5-2609V3-1-9-GHz-RAM-8?fromProductList=Search+result – no mention of the deal at all

We went back to ServersDirectUK emailing the sales representative who sold the machine to Synonym Ltd and also tried to contact James Rigg, Sales and Customer Services Director at Buy It Direct, the parent company of ServersDirectUK.

The switchboard were unable to contact us with any of the directors or give us their email addresses. When we tried to contact their PR team we were put through to a voice mail on a premium rate line asking us to email them our marketing proposal. We then took the decision that if we couldn’t contact Rigg via the company we would email him through LinkedIn. Disappointingly there has been no response despite allowing several days to come back to us.

<Next: what did HP say and could they have spotted this happening?>


  1. I know i am a bit late, but it would seem we now have the back end of these servers in RSA, with support being terrible, if not A JOKE, and after 2 months, still having issues with a HPE Proliant DL160 Gen9, Intel Xeon E5-2603v3, 8GB RAM, 4 LFF HDD, 550W PSU. Ours did however come with 2 x 1TB SATA HDD’s (HP BRANDED) but they were not the same spec as per parts catilogue. HP tried to pass blame, first to us for adding extra none HP HDDs that came from the previous HP ML150 G3 that crashed, after SCSI BUS FAULTS had already occured (Yes SCSI on a SATA only B140i SERVER) on the server before my other HDDs were inserted. They then attempted to blame the HP Certified Supplier, about the drives being different parts, and now they blame OUR SOFTWARE, we purchase a HPE Server to run our SOFTWARE, not make SOFTWARE to run a SERVER???

    We even added the extended 3 year NBD warranty, and technicians have come 5 times so far, and replaced:
    2 x Motherboards
    2 x HDD’s
    1 x Backplane
    To be done:
    1 x Fresh reinstall, on our time, with HPE just doing the RAID and first steps (which the Provisioning had done before, so they telling us that does not work correctly.)
    1 x PSU, which after board replacement 1 started making noises that were not normal electrical noises from a PSU.

    Who can we go to with this information, we dont want this rubbish, the downtime is destroying the company and the time i myself have to spend on this, AFTER PAYING HPE for EXTENDED WARRANTIES, is destroying my business as well. HPE Support dont seem worried at all, and still try pass blame.


  2. As per my previous comment, which was still new then, this issue proceeded to get worse, with HPE taking this server to test, but not offering the client a replacement or even a loan server, and only after i had complained and then purchased a refurbished server for the client to loan until the new server was working (since obviously we are the reseller, and look bad usually are even seen as worse than the manufacturer since these items are sold on our recommendations).

    Longer addition made short, so HPE collected the DL160 Gen9, and on their reformat and all, there were still issues, they then offered an identical HPE DL180 Gen9 server, not on the BOGOF list of servers, and also which at the start, we had wanted a DL180 Gen9 server, but were told there was no stock available, the new catch, only 1 HDD not 2 as per our previous model, as well as a wait for the new server. Since we had purchased the loan refurbished server, which was working perfectly from the day installed to the day they moved to their new server, even with old HDD’s (server came with 3 x 72GB 150000RPM SAS and 3 x 300GB 10000RPM SAS drives, all being old and having high hours, i setup 2 x RAID 1 with hot spare, the faster 72GB drives for OS and the 300GB for user data) which had some errors on, one even showing some SCSI Bus Faults but not increasing numbers, and is EXPECTED for a SAS so SCSI HDD, the server was fast and worked more than expected for what was needed, in fact the client offered to purchase it back from us, but since HPE had taken the NEW Server + wait time for the NEW REPLACEMENT server, we had already offered it to another client who was having hardware issues as well.

    So, what do you all think happened with the new replacement HPE DL180 Gen9 Server, with a different model HPE Smart Array Controller, being a HPE H240 Smart Array Controller (12GB SAS, but 6GB SATA so the SATA for both is the same controller), and not the HPE B140i Dynamic Array Controller (6GB SATA Only and all cache is on the SYSTEM RAM not CONTROLLER RAM as none is included), well the HPE technician, reinstalled our copy of Windows Server 2012 R2, and straight after this new fresh install on fresh brand new HPE HW, with his own install media not the same as my media, he started encountering SCSI BUS FAULTS as well, also only with SATA HDD’s installed, yet this was then not a SATA only server, as the controller now supported SAS.

    Due to the EXACT same HARDWARE ERRORS, on a server which did not have that HARDWARE as well as could not even SUPPORT it, then replicating themselves, on a brand new server, with not even the same range of Array Controller, since the B140i is Dynamic, and the H240 is Smart, HPE then had to install a P440 (i an not even sure if it was a P440 or a P440ar model, which may also be intersting since the one would be an on-board replacement controller, so if a P440, extra PCIe card controller was installed, instead of a P440ar On-board controller, would the P440ar, ALSO HAVE ERRORS????)

    When they finally returned the new replacement HPE DL180 Gen9, we also noticed they had doubled up on everything, so 4 HDD’s instead of the original 2 HDD’s but all SATA, then they added a new identical CPU, which included RAM of the same amount as the original CPU so 16GB, which means this was not doubled, but the client will in future need to buy 2 x RAM DIMMs for an upgrade, to keep RAM per CPU identical, which is a small issue that we cant really complain about. They had originally also, not restarted the extended + original warranty, but since i complained more, since original was still branded HP, as well as the loss of the 6 MONTHS that the whole case had taken although a NBD + Extended NBD agreement was purchased, HPE has now said they have changed this, although i still see the original NBD + original DL160 Gen9 on the support login page, as if i am not added to the new agreements.

    And to add new insult to injury, this not for HPE itself, but for the HP brand, with a new HP Laserjet Pro M426fdn being sold and supplied to another client, which was sold in November, and due to holidays and the holiday season, although on paper it was 2 months since day is was invoiced at my supplier to the day i called HP support, the actual usage time was just over 1 month, and this would mean they should look at a RMA for out of box failure, as the scanner not only could not take more than 3 pages, without the second page getting stuck and crumpling into itself almost so bad the original scanned invoices we were attempting to scan, almost were not worth keeping, and then it would start on the 3rd page, and only fail as it started crumpling up. I had tried a FW update in December as well, which added much worse scanning quality where we could almost not read the invoice details as well as most colour was almost all removed compared to the scans before the FW update.

    The HP techician who was sent to see this problem (since this printer too, had a 1 year NBD warranty attached to it, included in the purchase) which had slightly improved after the FW update (crumpling issue not quality as it was worse after new FW), i can agree to that, but still was there maybe on 5th or 6th page now, well he informed me that you cant revert the FW, and then downloaded the identical FW update and installed it before he replaced the ADF. After replacing the ADF, i became aware of the issue, that was also there before, but i had missed, where all boarders not around our paper, (invoices are printed on 2-part US STD Fanfold paper, so with the holes for the dot matrix paper tractor is wider than A4 but shorter) so where the white backing should be covering, AND ONLY ON NON-ADF scan’s, which we had never tested as we needed batch scan’s while still setting up, but which would have been needed for faxing as well as scan to email, well, all the TOP and RIGHT borders before ADF replacement had a black line, as if the backing let light escape, and then after ADF replacement, the TOP only had a now larger black line, which seems to fall on deaf ears with the technician and HP support, yet i am sure we all know, if we scan say a book, with the top cover still open even a fraction, there will be black printed / scanned wherever the light escapes from the scan. Its almost GENERAL KNOWLEDGE even.

    For this new issue, HP then sent a REPLACEMENT PRINTER, which when received, in a different box not a HP branded product box, and after being unpacked, i instantly noticed a side cover not even installed correctly as well as it being DIRTY, then i noticed a sticker stating REFURBISHED and a sticker by the power stating TESTED. We cant accept possibly a 2 years + printer, for something brand new, i dont care how tested it is, if it was on a rebuy offer, 2 years use is a long time, why replace junk with junk.

    On that, i will now see tomorrow, what happens, as i am meeting a technician there again, i have stated to HP that if there is no NEW printer, working there tomorrow, we want a full refund with damages, so who knows what is going to happen. Will update when i know.


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