Commercial copier leases have an unfortunate tendency to surprise customers over time. For many customers, the unwanted surprise doesn’t come until they’re unhappy with their copy vendor and decide to make a change, finally digging through all that fine print in the process.
Too many copier leases are designed to benefit the vendor, not the client.
Bundling is the first common copier lease issue we’ll be discussing in our series, “What You Don’t Know About Your Copier Lease,” and in many ways, it’s the most important. Big Box copy vendors use the practice of bundling to confuse and coerce, and we don’t like it one bit. But, hey, we’re different here at USA Copiers.
So, what is bundling?
Bundling is a practice wherein the copy salesperson asks the customer for a ballpark idea of how much they print and copy per month. The (probably unknowing) customer guesses that they print on average about 5,000 black-and-white copies and 3,000 color pages per month. The copier vendor then writes a lease for the customer that “bundles” into the lease 6,000 B/W pages and 4,000 color pages and calls them “included.” Well, this way the customer doesn’t have to worry about overages, and they’ve assuredly got all the copies they could need, right? They’re bundled in! Not so fast.
Here’s how the math looks:
$249/mo – Monthly lease for the copier
$60/mo – 6,000 B/W impressions ($.01 each)
$280 - 4,000 Color impressions ($.07 each)
= $589 Total Monthly Payment
Why is this kind of arrangement actually not in the best interest of the customer?
Well, what if the customer prints less than the included bundled amount of copies included in their contract? The advantage goes to the vendor, of course. The copy company is guaranteed the profits on those 6,000 B/W and 4,000 color impressions no matter how many the customer uses.
But why doesn’t the customer notice this the first month they get their bill?
Traditional copy billing is designed to confuse, as well. On the initial lease, the customer only sees one dollar amount…in this example, that number is $589. Once the lease is signed, most customers simply put it in a file and never look at it again until the either lease ends or they experience problems with the copier and want to switch vendors. As the months roll on, the accounting department – who, remember, probably didn’t sign or see the copier lease in the first place! – just pays the bill for $589 as they would any other vendor invoice.
The customer’s company is unknowingly “overpaying” by hundreds of dollars each month for impressions they probably don’t even use, and the line-itemed prices are never even written down. The initial conversation with the copy company representative is long forgotten and in many cases, the customer who signed will eventually leave the company or move to another department.
And so the cycle continues.
But why do copy companies do this? Is it really in their best interest to confuse and upcharge their own customers?
Reason 1: Bundling ensures that the copier vendor has a predicable cash flow of revenue from the customer. It also guarantees them a certain amount of money for the entire lease term!
Reason 2: Bundling holds the customer hostage to the lease; because the copy impressions are “included,” they’re part of the lease and must, then, be part of a buyout if the customer wants to switch copy companies.
You deserve better than a muddled, bundled lease.
We want to help you decode your confusing agreement. Set up some time to meet with our team, and we are more than happy to advise you on your current situation (at zero cost to you!)