6 Tips on Avoiding Being Scammed By Mail Machine Supplies Pirates
By Paul Johnson, President Complete Mailing Solutions
Everyone loves to reduce business expenses but often what seems to be a good deal turns out to be a nightmare. We get customer calls regularly that they have received supplies that don’t work in equipment and arrived with a high-priced invoice and an 800 # with voicemail. Scammers are everywhere and mail machine supplies are no exception.
Here are 6 tips to avoid being scammed by companies that are offering seemingly significant savings on postage machine supplies. A reputable company will not have any problem meeting these minimum standards.
- Verify the quality of the product you’re paying for. We’ve been contacted by customers who were offered “new”, less expensive ink cartridges only to find out they were either a refilled cartridge or a non-OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cartridge. Refilled and non-OEM cartridges typically do not perform as well, can cause damage through leaking ink and could void your warranty and maintenance agreement. The most common complaint we get is that they impression looks “pink” and may not be accepted by the USPS. They typically have shorter life expectancy. Using OEM ink cartridges saves money in the long run by eliminating damage to your mail machine.
- Verify complete company/contact information. The salesperson should be willing to provide their name, company name, address, phone, web address before you make any commitment. Get a phone # and tell the caller you will call them right back. Most scammers will be reluctant for you to do this and will tell you they will call you back in a few minutes. This is a red flag!
Other things to look for:
- Only a PO Box is provided rather than a street address
- You cannot validate their website
- Bad reviews on sites such as Yelp
- The company is not a current/approved vendor
All of these should be areas of concern.
- Ask questions. It is vital to understand how sales are handled and what will happen if you are not satisfied or there is a problem:
- Who do you contact if there is a problem?
- What is the return policy and how can merchandise be returned if there is an issue (e.g., damaged or incorrect products)? There should be a minimum of 30 days to return your supplies. Typically, shipping expenses are the responsibility of the purchaser. Beware if you are provided with a PO Box to return your supplies.
- How long are supplies warrantied? You should expect 30 to 60 days.
- Will returns be reimbursed in cash, credit or replacement product only? Be careful of being trapped into a “product only” reimbursement policy. If the performance or quality is poor, having it replaced and dealing with on-going issues is just throwing money down the drain.
Know what you are getting into, before you have no recourse!
- Contact known, trusted resources. Contact your original mail machine manufacturer or local authorized dealer to see if they are aware of the company contacting you. Quite often they are aware of the scams that are being perpetrated and can provide helpful information that will keep you out of trouble. This one step can make all the difference in saving you significant time and money that you thought you would be saving.
- Don’t disclose too much information upfront. Disclosing what make/model of equipment you have may have unforeseen consequences. Sometimes providing this information can be enough to generate an order you didn’t intend. We’ve seen supplies show up referencing a name as a verbal purchase order for supplies, even though the person said “no thanks”. Do your due diligence before you supply this information.
- Question the need to “buy now”. Disreputable companies will attempt to pressure you into making a purchase immediately. Blindly making a pressured purchase will often result on greater expense down the road when you find out the product wasn’t as advertised or is of inferior quality.
Being on the alert for potential scams and being armed with the right questions and information will save you both time and money in the long run.