Oct 26 2012

What if I am buying from a reseller?

Category: Acquisition ProcessBuyAccessible Team @ 10:12 am

If you are buying an EIT product from the a reseller or distributor, most of the time they will tell you that they have no Section 508 information on the accessibility of that product and probably will not even know what Section 508 is. Remember, resellers are not responsible for Section 508 conformance of the products they sell.

So, how do you get Section 508 conformance information to help you do your market research and make an informed decision?

You will need to contact the equipment manufacturer directly for Section 508 information. You can ask them for their VPAT or they may have accessibility information on their website. You can also use the Vendor Accessibility Resource Center (VARC) which is an alphabetic directory of company URL links to product or service accessibility information.

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2 Responses to “What if I am buying from a reseller?”

  1. Jim Tobias says:

    This advice may be incorrect in some cases. Much of ICT, and all of some ICT products, is sold through re-sellers; they themselves should become more aware of Section 508 and accessibility in general. What’s wrong with having *them* get in touch with the OEM? I advise my OEM clients to reach out to their distributors for this reason. If distributors can’t communicate accurately and completely about accessibility, a sale may be jeopardized.

    Moreover, re-selling often involves some degree of customization, system integration, or implementation choices, and these can affect the accessibility of the product as used by the purchasing agency, often in subtle ways. The OEM’s VPAT may no longer be accurate.

    • admin says:

      It would be great for re-sellers to have more information on accessibility, but in our experience they often do not and as a result sometimes respond inappropriately. Since the government buyer is ultimately responsible to buy accessible products, the best place for them to find accurate accessibility information is from the manufacturer or a trusted third party conformance tester. Agencies should sure that the information they receive from resellers comes from the manufacturer or a trusted third party.

      You are certainly right about systems integrators being responsible for determining conformance with Section 508 requirements. These vendors are generally more technologically sophisticated than pure re-sellers. In this case, the agency must make sure that systems integrator provides accessibility information.

      In the end, no matter where the agency gets accessibility information, it is responsible for making sure it is reliable and valid.

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