Find Trustworthiness, Consistency, Transparency in Copier Contracts
When purchasing a copier or entering into a copier leasing contract or service and managed print agreement it is important to find a partner that is trustworthy, consistently delivers and operates with transparency. When evaluating a new partner it is hard to identify traits quickly.
It might be easier to look for warning signs that perhaps you should steer away from the company. When evaluating a company offering to sell you a copier or pressuring you to sign a copier leasing contract, or a confusing service or managed print agreement, it’s essential to be vigilant and look out for deceptive practices that some unscrupulous vendors might employ.
Here are some common deceptive copier leasing practices to watch for:
Be wary of hidden fees that are not clearly outlined in the contract. Transparency is key. Some dealer may tag on extra fees after quote. Don’t be afraid to ask. Some examples of hidden fees on the machine might include delivery fees, set up fees, networking fees, insurance fees, stair fees, removal fees, and training fees. Examples of hidden fees on a managed print agreements could include maintenance fees, service charges, or extra costs for exceeding monthly page limits. As well as delivery fees, monitoring fees, and cancellation fees. Although it is reasonable and you should expect your partner to charge for these valuable services, ensure all fees are explicitly stated in the contract.
Some contracts may have clauses that automatically renew the agreement without your consent unless you provide a written cancellation notice within a specific timeframe. The timeframe could be tricky. Always check for automatic renewal clauses and negotiate them if necessary. Don’t depend on your vendor to notify you of renewals. Even the best, most transparent vendor can not always stay on top of every account. Set up your own process for renewals.
Be cautious of vendors pushing for excessively long-term contracts. Most copiers are funded at a five-year fair market rate with options to buy out. Maintenance contracts typically renew annually. The best partners allow you to make adjustments to a maintenance agreement to make sure it is a win/win agreement. Quarterly Business Review, or at the least an Annual Account Review will make sure you copier still meets your needs and your service plan is far.
Your best businesses partners right size your fleet and have a plan to adjust to your changing needs. They do not oversell or undersell the copier you need. They carefully and honestly match your current needs and help you envision a plan for growth.
Overpriced Service Agreements:
Some companies undercut competitors on equipment, but make up the cost difference with unbreakable, overpriced service agreement. Verify that the cost of the service agreement (maintenance, toner, price per print, and repairs) is reasonable compared to the market standard. One way a company will make up the cost of a deal is excessive page count penalties.
Some contracts may severely penalize you for exceeding monthly page or usage limits. Ensure that any penalties are reasonable to you, and you have the flexibility to adjust the page count as needed. Annual escalation of prices at an unreasonable rates is also a technique companies can use to make up costs of equipment during the life of the contract.
Companies certainly have the need to increase their rates as their costs increase or with inflation, but make sure the rate increases are disclosed and are in writing. This leads into another way companies try to make up equipment costs.
Avoid long-term service contracts that do not allow for adjustments, or make it extremely costly to terminate the agreement before its expiration.
Misleading Warranty Terms:
Carefully review the warranty terms offered with the copier. Some vendors may misrepresent the coverage or duration of warranties, leading to unexpected repair costs.
Upfront Payment Scams:
Be cautious of vendors requiring large upfront payment before delivering the copier. Legitimate companies typically invoice after the equipment is installed and operational.
Unfair Buyout Clauses:
If you’re leasing the copier, scrutinize the buyout clause. Some contracts make it prohibitively expensive to purchase the copier at the end of the lease term.
Inadequate Training and Support:
Confirm that the contract includes provisions for proper training on using the copier and receiving technical support for set up and networking. Some vendors may neglect these aspects. Often complete IT support for copiers and perhaps all technology needs may be offered by the vendor.
Typically companies provide service (repair or IT help) agreements for a additional monthly fee. Complete IT support could be offered by technology company with a price/seat cost. It is very wise to have all your IT needs to be offered by one technology company. Looking for a complete vendor may really save you money.
To protect yourself from deceptive practices, it’s advisable to consult with a legal expert or contract professional before signing any copier purchasing or leasing agreement. At the least, carefully read and understand all terms and conditions in the contract, and don’t hesitate to negotiate changes if necessary. Ask questions, trust your guts.
What about hidden copier leasing contract clauses?
Lack of transparency is a red flag. If you feel the company is hiding something they probably are. Ensure that all terms, conditions, and specifications are clearly written in the contract. Beware of vague or ambiguous language that could lead to disputes later on.
The best contract terms in the world will not help you if the company does not consistently deliver on their promises. Watch for signs of reliability. Does your account representative meet deadlines. Are they responsive. If they do not know the answers do they search for them, and get back to you?! Does your vendor provide the most reliable machines and supplies? Look for the names, and people you trust.
What to look for in your Copier Leasing Contract
Building trust takes time and effort, but a trustworthy reputation is invaluable. Trustworthiness is a noun, but it is defined by verbs. It is something a company does, more than something the company is. Actions create trust and make a company trustworthy. Look for a company with the following attributes.
Integrity: The company lives by a strong moral and ethical code, operating with honesty, transparency, and fairness in all contracts.
Consistency: In the sales process is the company consistently delivering on promises and working to fulfill commitments?
Reliability: Reliability is hard to judge in a new relationship but look for signs. Vendor partners require a level of trustworthiness and reliability. Vendors do not partner with unreliable dealers. Unreliable dealers lose vendor rights. Look for a dealer that is authorized to sell and certified to repair copier names vendor names you trust.
Communication: Does your account representative take a long-term view of the relationship from the very beginning? Are they open to your feedback? Do they set up quarterly or semi-annual account reviews from the very beginning? Do you sense they are striving to build a long-term relationship?
Privacy and security: Do they value your privacy and handle your data and your customer’s data and sensitive information with care? Do they have robust privacy policies and security measures in place to protect customer information from unauthorized access or misuse?
Following these suggestions will help you enter into a print, technology, and IT management agreement with a partner you feel completely comfortable with because you are confident they are trustworthy because they are transparent and consistently deliver exceptional service time and time again.