FORT SMITH, Ark. - The Rheem Manufacturing Co., Heating & Cooling Division, has established an aggressive policy to eliminate online, direct-to-consumer sales of its Rheem- and Ruud-branded products.

The policy, which also includes separate trademark online usage guidelines and copyright online usage guidelines, protects Rheem and Ruud distributors, contractors, and homeowners from the vulnerabilities and potential dangers associated with unapproved Web and Internet auction sites.

It addresses the growing Rheem concern about Websites that give the false impression they are operated by, approved, sponsored or otherwise endorsed by Rheem.

Among the many provisions of the policy is one that makes it inappropriate to offer for sale or to sell any Rheem or Ruud HVAC product direct to consumers over the Internet without an in-home visit and inspection by a qualified, trained HVAC contractor.

Other key provisions include that Rheem recognizes and supports the “traditional” business model for the sale of its HVAC products to consumers, which involves approved distributors and contractors; and that all published warranties are void for any Rheem or Ruud product purchased directly over the Internet, without an in-home visit by a trained, qualified, and licensed contractor.

“Our top priority is to help our Rheem and Ruud distributors and contractors grow their business by providing innovative, high-quality products and programs, and an increasingly strong brand. Our aggressive action today ensures our customers know Rheem is committed to protecting our mutual interests and businesses,” said J.R. Jones, president, Rheem Heating and Cooling.

According to the company, the Internet policy and online usage guidelines are intended to protect such key business elements as: the integrity and value of Rheem intellectual property; the spirit and letter of Rheem and Ruud distributor agreements; and legitimate contractors from being undermined by entities conducting unscrupulous and unlawful marketing and sales practices.

In addition, the policy can help ensure homeowners receive dependable and reliable product quality as well as the full benefit of the Rheem and Ruud factory warranty.

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Publication date:04/16/2007