Welcome to episode 13 of our video series ‘exposing the hoodwinking

Each week we bring to your attention a clause within service agreements for office equipment like printers, photocopiers & telephones. Which could cause you unexpected charges or issues.

Today we’re covering ‘minimum monthly service charge’ for photocopiers or printers bought by you’.

Somewhere in your contract may be a clause that says something like. ‘A minimum monthly charge will be applied to all service agreements.

This charge is usually between £25 & £50 a month. Although there’s been occasions where no figure has been listed & potentially the supplier can charge what they want.

Let’s be clear. This is not the same as renting a full service including the equipment. Where the supplier provides the technology within the service. Meaning no initial cash outlay for the customer.

We’re talking about where you’ve bought the equipment (photocopier or large printer) yourself & all you want is a cost per page service contract (covering consumables & maintenance).

As an example: A new entry level photocopier costs £2-3,000 & a supplier just can’t afford to rent it to you. So if you want the latest features & the cheapest print price. You will have to buy it yourself. Either through a financial lease arrangement or as a capital purchase out of your own cash flow.

If the supplier is providing all the hardware for free. You can understand the need for either a fixed monthly fee or a minimum monthly charge. As the supplier needs a way to recoup their cash outlay.

But ask yourself this. If you buy the equipment yourself (either through a lease or out of cash flow). Why would the supplier need to charge you for something that you just haven’t printed?

Think about it. The supplier is being paid for the pages you print. This covers the supply of consumables & maintenance with a fair profit margin. It’s usually worked out using a set formula.

So why would the supplier need to secure a certain amount of cash? They didn’t buy the equipment you did. They only need to supply consumables & maintenance relative to how much you print.

We’ve had people highlight this issue. They’ve been on holiday or not used the equipment they bought that much & been hit with a minimum charge ranging anywhere from £25 to £50 a month.

We understand there needs to be a fixed or minimum charge where the supplier provides the equipment in a rental model. As it takes lots of cash to operate this kind of model.

But surely not where the customer buys the equipment themselves. In this case & in our opinion. If a supplier wants to charge you for something that you just haven’t printed. Their hoodwinking you.

As always. Our advice is to thoroughly check your T&C’s before you sign. And if you spot a minimum charge clause covering your own equipment, ask your supplier to remove or change it.

And if they won’t. Don’t sign it…

Go find a trusted supplier who provide simple honest service & don’t operate minimum monthly service charges for photocopiers or printers bought by you.

Watch the full hoodwinking series at mytotalofficesolutions.co.uk/hoodwinking-exposed