We’ve been referred (by an existing client) to a potential new client for printing & scanning technology, because of our Simple Honest Service approach. Which is fantastic.

Although, we’ve hit a roadblock.

The potential new client doesn’t need the latest technology and is happy with good quality refurbished equipment, as it will save them £1,000’s.

They’ve already been in discussions with another potential supplier, who is also offering refurbished equipment on a small monthly rental with a slightly lower cost per printed page than ourselves.

We don’t charge rentals and install our printing & scanning technology for free. Simply charging a fair and reasonable price for each page you print. Which we also guarantee never to increase.

In this case the other supplier is slightly undercutting our cost per printed page price, although they are charging a monthly rental on top.

At first glance they seem a little cheaper than us.

After doing some research we’ve managed to get hold of their terms and conditions, which uncovered some worrying agreement clauses, as follows:

  1. Their standard agreement is for five years.
  2. You can only terminate the contract 90 days before the official 60-month end date & if you miss it, you must wait another 12 months
  3. If you exceed the recommended monthly print volumes, they can increase your cost per printed page price to what they deem acceptable.
  4. If you cancel due to poor service you’ll get a bill for 65% of the total remaining agreement value. Based on your historical average monthly usage.
  5. Any extra work not covered by the agreement will be charged at an excessive £65 per hour.
  6. Service upgrades, patches, and installation are not included & will charged at £65 per hour.
  7. As well as a monthly rental you will be charged a quarterly minimum billing amount of £50.
  8. There is an automatic price increase (set by the supplier) each year.
  9. They also have the right to increase your prices at any time with just 30 days written notice.
  10. Network interface devices (fax cards & scanners etc) are not covered in the service contract.
  11. Out of warranty equipment is subject to a £9.95 a month network peripheral charge.
  12. If you don’t pay the network peripheral charge, they’ll charge £65 an hour for onsite visits.

In comparison, here’s our Simple Honest Service approach:

  1. We have annual & rolling monthly agreements
  2. Our notice period is 30-days
  3. We guarantee never to increase your price for exceeding monthly print volumes, although we will offer advice on different technology, it the current 1 is not right for you.
  4. If you cancel due to poor service, it’s our fault & you only need to give 30-day notice.
  5. Extra work outside of the agreement is charged at a fair and reasonable £40 per hour.
  6. Service upgrades, patches, and the initial installation are all included free of charge.
  7. We do not charge rental and there is no minimum charge for reasonable print volumes.
  8. We guarantee your price will never increase for the whole time you are on our agreement.
  9. Everything (including fax cards & scanners) is covered by our service contract.
  10. There are no network peripheral charges.

For us, there seems to be a fair bit of hoodwinking going on by this supplier & tons of potential hidden charges which will impact on the future cash flow of the potential new client.

Our dilemma…

We don’t want to come across as slating the competition, as it’s bad business practise and not something we’d ever recommend or do. Although, we also feel obliged to warn the potential new client.