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Traps with multi-function office equipment 27 Mar 2013

Firstly, decide what you really want from the product. If you need a quality scanner, a multi-function device might have more “bells and whistles” than you actually need.

If it’s a photocopier/printer you’re after, consider not only the purchase price, but also the cost of consumables such as ink and toner. And do you need a colour printer if most of your copies are in black-and-white?

Beware cheap printers. Manufacturers make their money from the consumables. A client bought a colour inkjet product for $100 but it had only small cartridges and at least one of the four colours had to be replaced every month at $26 per cartridge. He bought a monochrome laser printer/copier and found the per-copy price was much cheaper.

If you use a cartridge and toner recycling service, check with the supplier to see if they can refill for the printer you want.

Over the life of the printer, drums also need replacing so take that into account when working out your total per-copy cost.

Some suppliers push maintenance contracts. Don’t accept them without reading them first. They’re often loaded in favour of the vendor. For example, the vendor might reserve the right to change the cost of maintenance whenever it wishes. Some clauses allow both parties to cancel the maintenance contract at a month’s notice. If the vendor were to do this you’d be left high and dry.

Often people rush to buy a new machine because theirs has stopped. If this happens to you, take your time getting a replacement. Get your photocopying done by a local printer in the meantime, if need be. Spend some time making comparisons of the offers available to you. Per-copy costs vary enormously as do speed, warm-up time and copy quality. Before you commit, make sure you are getting exactly what you need.

Installation is not a DIY job

Unless you are very technology savvy, insist the vendor installs the machine, even if it’s going to cost you more.

The client who bought the scanner paid $100 for installation. The skilled technician ended up spending three hours working out the scanner’s compatibility with the client’s computers. How long would this job have taken our unskilled client?

 

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