Instant UpRight cancels dealers

Alloy scaffold tower manufacturer Instant UpRight has announced that it has cancelled its distribution agreements with Zip-Up Svenska in Sweden and Instant Norge in Norway.

In a press release issued today, Instant Upright claims that both distributors have purchased compatible tower components and products from Instant Latvija, of Riga, Latvia. It claims that Instant Latvija is an unauthorised manufacturer of products like its own. It says that it is considering taking legal action against the Latvian company.

Instant UpRight also claims that its Norwegian and Swedish distributors were passing off the scaffold components purchased from Instant Latvija as original or genuine Instant products, complete with the company’s registered trademarks and logos. It has also stated that, from now on, it will be selling its products directly to customers in both Sweden and Norway, claiming that this will result in more competitive prices.

Instant UpRight is also offering to ‘reconcile’ any products that may have been purchased from the two dealers during 2023, by confirming whether they are genuine Instant UpRight components or not. The company says it will replace any unauthorised products, leaving customers to obtain compensation from the two distributors.

We have contacted Zip-Up Svenska for a comment on the claims. A spokesman stated that it was unaware of Instant UpRight’s claims and that no one from the manufacturer had made any attempt to contact it, either verbally or in writing. They added that it had been hard to obtain product from the manufacturer in recent months after its plant in Latvia had ceased production.

We understand from both sides that the shutdown was caused by non or late payment of rent for the factory building and possibly the staff, who are employed by a third party.

Vertikal Comment

This announcement by Instant UpRight is highly unusual and suggests there is more to the situation than the contents of the announcement and a letter sent to customers by the manufacturer. Zip Up Svenska has been an UpRight scaffold distributor for more than 40 years and purchased the Instant company store – Instant Sweden in the 1990s, while Instant Norge was established by UpRight in the 1970s and rebranded as Instant Norge in 1989. It was then sold to Leif Stavdal and Anders Huitfeldt in the mid-1990s. Sweden has consistently been one of the manufacturer’s largest markets.

Instant UpRight started a manufacturing operation in China, some years ago, and more recently shifted the production of its plant in Ireland to China, but long lead times led to the establishment of the Latvian operation, using the machinery from Ireland and sub-contracted labour. The company was substantially behind with its rent and payments to the Latvian labour contractor which it is claimed, was the reason for the initial shutdown. Instant UpRight says it has now paid all of the back rent and that it was all a misunderstanding.
At the same time, the company is preparing to restart production in Latvia.

Why the two parties have not attempted to resolve this issue in private by simply talking, is a mystery. Each party appears to blame the other and the situation could easily escalate into a battle that only the lawyers will benefit from, along perhaps, with Alufase, a Spanish manufacturer that produces fully compatible products that already supplies some ex Instant distributors with what some would claim is a compatible product.

Hopefully, the two sides in this dispute can settle this matter amicably before it gets any uglier.