The TDSIT Blog

Digital Copier Service Agreements Demystified

Posted by Tim Stanley on Thu, Aug 09, 2012 @ 02:09 PM


The exercise of buying or leasing a new Multi-Function Printer (MFP) and service contract for your office can be eerily similar to that of buying or leasing a new car. You buy from the salesman but the real relationship will be with the mechanic. In the case of office equipment, you deal with a sales person up front, and then the service department for the next few years. In the office equipment business service contracts can be a tricky matter, with ever-evolving yearly renewals; renewals which often involve contract changes unbeknownst to the customer. Since an evolving, product life-long service contract can be a scary proposition, it is critical that you have a thorough understanding of exactly what you are getting into.

When reviewing a service contract--prior to purchase--there are a few key points that you should have clarified. To demystify the process we have broken down the key points to review and questions to ask before purchasing or leasing a new system:

Toll Free Technical Support
With the sophistication of today's MFPs many of the minor issues that result can be fixed over the phone without having to wait for a technician to be dispatched, so 24-hour toll-free tech support can be very beneficial to maintaining machine up-time.

Retrofits and Software Upgrades
Since coverage varies contract to contract ask whether your service agreement requires an additional surcharge be paid for machine retrofits and software upgrades or whether they are included. In some cases retrofits may be referred to as a system overhaul and may be accompanied by an unanticipated invoice.  

Remote Diagnostic Capability
Ask whether the MFP can be accessed, monitored and managed remotely when it comes to status and software upgrades.

Service Credits
Onsite service technicians may have to run numerous test copies or prints in order to check the functionality and performance of the machine after a repair has been completed. So be sure to ask whether the cost of these “test” copies or prints will be credited to your account in order to offset the cost of running them. Test copies or prints, especially on color systems, can be expensive over the life of the equipment if a credit is not applied.

Parts & Supplies
Ask whether only genuine manufacturer parts and supplies will be used throughout the life of the contract when repairing your MFP. This is critical because warranties and guarantees can be voided by the manufacturer if aftermarket or third-party parts and supplies are used. 

Inquire how long the machine and system will be under warranty, and most importantly, who decides(and how is it decided) when a faulty or problematic system needs to be replaced.

When discussing your digital copier service contract, before you lease or purchase, be sure to involve all parties who will be responsible for it and cover all the points above. Ensure when discussing the service to inquire specifically about what is included and what isn't, ask to speak with a technician when reviewing the terms and conditions since these are the 'mechanics' that your established relationship will be with. 

Make sure you ask the right questions to get exactly what you are looking for because post-purchase changes may be difficult, or could require additional, and often expensive, upgrade costs. For more information you may want to review our Free Buyer Checklist.

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Tags: MPS, Remote printing, printer warranty, OEM, service agreement, cloud printing, MFP, digital copier, Remote diagnostics