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Buying a Copier Online Is Risky. Here Are 5 Reasons Why.

Posted by Kirk Studebaker // VP of Sales | Jan 23, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Everyone likes a good deal, especially in a world where a better deal can most always be found online within a few seconds. 

Buying online is attractive – it’s easy and can give buyers the impression that they've made an informed purchasing decision and got a good deal.

You CAN buy office equipment online.

SHOULD you buy office equipment (copiers, printers, etc.) online?

The answer is it depends. If you're a small office with limited print, copy, and scan needs – an online box store, eBay, Craigslist, or even Facebook could get you the equipment you need. 

I rarely so never. I will say that for most other office environments, buying a copier on eBay is almost certainly a bad idea.

Here are five reasons why. 

There Is No Setup or Installation  What happens when it doesn’t work.  Plug and Pray.

There is something to be said about a buying experience that is smooth and easy. 

If you buy a copier online, the buying experience pretty much ends when you submit payment and the machine is dropped on your doorstep - no setup, no installation, and no training. (Keep your fingers crossed that someone has posted some YouTube videos on your copier make and model you just bought.)

Setup for a copier is more complicated than plugging it into the network and flipping on the power.

Our customers come to us for a reason - for solutions. We don’t expect our customers to know everything about our products, that’s our job (and we love it!). 

It’s no secret that there are so many variables (that can easily go wrong) when it comes to office equipment - hard drives, print drivers, network installation, to name a few. We pride ourselves in making setup and installation easy for our customers. We have one service employee for every 70 customers, one of the industry's lowest ratios, and a dedicated installation team committed to making sure your equipment is up and running they way you want it when it arrives.

Security Might Be Questionable  If it's used this is true.

In most cases, the machines that are for sale online are end-of-lease returns, or sometimes refurbished units from a wholesaler. 

Can you be sure that the copier you are buying has been inspected inside and out, had regular preventative maintenance, or had the latest firmware and security updates to protect your information?

If not, that’s going to be on you. Leaving security to chance is risky, especially when many units that are resold are just given a quick wipe down and sent right back out the door they came in.

Or you could just connect that copier to your network and pray that there's no ransomware virus hiding inside of it, ready to pounce on your information. 

You Get What You Pay For

Let’s start by talking about the elephant in the room - office equipment is expensive, eBay is cheap.

But have you ever thought about WHY someone would try to sell a copier on eBay? They likely spent a lot of money on the device and feel like there might be a way to recoup that investment. 

You're buying their solution (and maybe their problem if the machine is old). If they own it and are trying to resell it, it’s probably a small chunk of change for them to just get rid of it. Have you tried to get rid of an old television or computer lately? In some cases you actually have to pay someone to take it and you still have to bring it to them! (check out Best Buy’s corporate recycling policy)

Dated technology is a pain in the derriere to get rid of. Instead, seek out a partner who can give you options for when your lease is up and take care of the device for you. Coordinated offers lots of flexible buying and leasing options complete with service and supply agreements, and processes in place for your copier’s end of life, such as upgrades and hard drive erasure.

You Don’t Really Know Who You Are Buying From

With approximately 168 million active users on eBay, your chances of finding lots of options not only with regards to product, but also price, are good right? But can you really trust someone that you have never met to sell you something that is so vital to your business operations?

Maybe, but we’d like to think you’d prefer to know a little bit more about your salesperson, and have them know a little bit about you and your business.

After all, how can you be sure the device will fit your needs? All businesses should look for a copier dealer that listens, understands your unique business challenges, and provides a solution for those challenges.

Another advantage of buying from a local copier dealer is that many (like us) have longstanding relationships with the manufacturers. That allows us to get the best training as well as provide the best support possible for the equipment we sell and lease.   

It’s Hard to Return

Ever wondered how exactly you would return a bad product from eBay? Not very easily.

Since our inception, our business philosophy has been based on a unique principle, "Take Care and Be Fair." We believe in proving the best service possible, to always do the right thing, and to treat our customers honorably.

"Customers First. Always,” is more than a slogan, it’s a commitment to you. If something is not right, you can be sure we will fix it. If you do decide to gamble with an online purchase, be sure you know the merchant’s return policy (if there even is one).

Why Buy Face-to-Face?

There’s a reason the copier industry sells the way it does.

Office equipment sales, just like the automobile industry, are more successful when there is a relationship. A sales person can certainly sell you something right off their demo room floor, but does it actually suit your office’s needs? There are so many variables in determining the right fit for a buyer that it is very difficult to create an online experience.

Car dealerships have tried. Even so, many people end up buying a totally different vehicle once they come in for a test drive. If you insist on buying office equipment online, be skeptical, and do your research. Just because something has a great price doesn’t mean it’s going to work the way you want. 

Just like cars have all kinds of added features and accessories, so do copiers. Things like duty cycles, paper types, hard drive and paper tray capacities, scanning, faxing, and finishing options can all greatly affect your office productivity if you don’t have what you need.

Compare prices, check the technical specifications and mileage (aka the meter reading), check the cost for future parts the equipment may need (drums, toner refills, etc.), and know your rights if you do decide to return it. 

Do you even NEED to buy a copier (or printer)? One possible solution to your print and copy needs is to buy the prints and copies, not the printers and copiers. 

When you buy a printer, that printer is YOUR problem. When you enter into a managed print services relationship, the printer is OUR problem.

Interested in learning more about managed print services and how to buy prints instead of the hardware headache? Get in touch with one of our MPS experts.

If you do get caught in a bad deal, I guess there is some solace in knowing there’s the option of using that hunk of junk to reenact that classic scene from Office Space. 

Still want to buy a printer or copier? We can help with that too!

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Topics: Security, Printers and Copiers

Written by Kirk Studebaker // VP of Sales

Kirk has been in the Office Technology sector for 20 years working in the dealer world focused on supporting sales teams. Having worked for Manufacturers and dealers as well as his own entrepreneurial ventures, Kirk is dedicated to the development of people in the sales profession.

Outside of work Kirk has a wife and two children and enjoys being outside whether hunting or horseback riding.