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How to Avoid Unexpected Copier Service Plan Fees

January 23, 2015 Leave a comment

With business expenses going up every day it’s hard to create and keep a consistent budget in today’s world.

Most businesses are  paying for a copier lease and maintenance costs and the last thing you need is to have unexpected charges from your copier vendor.

But for many companies that’s exactly what’s happening.

I recently received an email from a blog reader located here in Baltimore, Maryland asking for my advice.

She leased a new copier several months ago and recently an alert message popped up on the copier screen letting her know that one of her toner cartridges needed to be replaced.

Imagine her surprise when she called her copier company and was told that she had to pay for the toner cartridge which was a few hundred dollars.

This shocked and angered her because she was already paying for a service plan on the copier which supposedly included the toner. So why was she being asked to pay for this toner?

When she asked why she was told that she was using too much toner. This seemed very confusing. If she has a service plan which includes 5,000 prints/copies per month how can she be using too much toner when you make those 5,000 prints/copies.

Here’s how it works.

When a copier manufacturer makes a toner cartridge they fill it with an amount of toner that is enough to cover a specific amount of prints or copies.

That number of pages, sometimes called a yield, is based on a specific percentage of page coverage.

For example you may see toner sold online saying “32,000 yield at 5%”.

What their saying is that this cartridge will produce (or yield) 32,000 pages when each page is 5% covered with toner from that cartridge.

When a user makes copies/prints that average more than a 5% coverage on the page they will get less than 32,000 pages from that cartridge.

When they run out of toner they call their copier company and are told they have to pay for more toner because they are using more than 5% toner coverage per page.

Although the contract states you will get x amount of copies/prints included with the service plan, that x amount of copies is based on a 5% page coverage.

If your average page coverage happens to be more than 5% you’re  going to be asked to pay for more toner.

This is a tricky situation because in order for the copier/toner manufacturer to say a toner gets X amount of pages they must base that on a certain % of page coverage.

Otherwise they have no way to state how many pages you’ll get from a toner cartridge.

If they were to base the yield on 100% page coverage you would only get 1,600 pages on what is otherwise called a 32,000 page yield cartridge at 5%.

32,000 pages at 5% coverage or 1,600 pages at 100% coverage. Same cartridge with the same amount of toner. The only difference is what the page coverage percentage is.

If you want to avoid this happening you can adjust the toner density on the copier. There should be a setting on your copier called “quality/density” or something similar.

It basically just tells the copier or printer to lay down less color toner when printing or copying a color image.

At my company we don’t make the customers buy extra toner unless they are really going crazy with color usage.

If this does happen to you ask to speak to a manager at the copier company and ask them if they can make an exception just this one time since you weren’t aware how this worked.

This scenario should never happen to an average business. It usually only happens when a business is printing a lot of pages with heavy color and graphics like brochures and marketing material.

If you don’t print with a lot of color usage and your still being asked by the copier company to pay for more toner you should be suspicious.

If you happen to be in a type of business where you do a lot of heavy color printing the bottom line is that your options probably come down to laying less color down on your pages or paying for the extra toner.

I hope this is helpful. Thanks for stopping by today and remember to have fun.

If you are thinking about purchasing a new copier, printer, scanner, fax machine, postage meter, stuffing/folding machine or binding equipment feel free to give me a call for a competitive quote.

I also offer many different software packages, including custom developed solutions, to assist you with your document management needs.

My company is located in Baltimore, Maryland however I offer sales and service to the entire USA.

You’ll get no sales games or tricks with me. Just an honest opinion on your needs and a very competitive quote.

Feel free to call me or fill out the simple form below. My number is 443-570-0414. Thanks!

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