How to Avoid the “Unlimited Pages” Scam

Your company has given you the task of purchasing a copier for them. On your quest to get the best deal for your company, you come across many possible contracts, with each copier rep giving you their version of the truth. At this point, you wish this process would be more straightforward.

All of a sudden, you find a simple contract with everything bundled up in a straightforward quote. There are no mentions of overages anywhere in this contract.

You convince your boss that this will be the best deal for your company because you will know how much the copier will cost every month. You won’t need to deal with any surprise fees. Your boss signs the lease, and you feel good about this decision because you understand what you’re paying every month.

Unfortunately, in this scenario, you would’ve fallen for one of the most common scams in the copier industry.

How Copier Reps Use “Simple Quotes” to Rip You Off

You will want to know these three things to understand why this deal is terrible for your company:

  1. The idea of getting unlimited pages to print is a fallacy. If you historically printed 1,000 pages a month, then suddenly you start printing upwards of 20,000 prints a month, the copier company would raise your rates instantly. Someone has to pay for the extra toner you’re suddenly using.
  2. Copier companies write their contracts to limit financial exposure. Allowing you to print unlimited pages would open the company to unlimited liability, and they wouldn’t be in business for much longer. All companies write contracts in a way where you take on all of the unknowns.
  3. Copier reps make their money on commissions, meaning the larger the contract they sign you up for, the more money they make.

When a copier rep gives you a simple quote for “unlimited pages,” they hide the fact that they are putting you on a much more expensive plan than you need. Because of this simple quote, you can’t see how they’re scamming you.

What Are the Real Numbers Behind This Scam?

Here are a copier company’s average costs associated with using a black and white copier.

Cost to Copier CompanyCost to Average Customer
Service$0.003 – $0.005/print$0.004 – $0.007/print
TOTAL$0.01 – $0.012/print$0.014 – $0.017/print

Let’s look at these numbers and say you’re printing 5,600 pages on average. The copier rep can say that they can do the maintenance, supplies, and support for up to 7,500 pages, so you never have to worry about paying overage fees.

If you agreed to this plan, you would be paying for an additional 1,900 pages you won’t use, which becomes 100% profit for the copier company, as no toner was used for these pages. This extra profit comes out to $1,200 for the life of your contract.

What’s worse, these extra prints don’t roll over into next month. If you don’t use them that month, you lose them.

What Is the Best Way to Avoid This Scam?

The simplest way to avoid this scam is to get your simple quote itemized. This itemization lets you see every last trick the copier rep is using, and you can steer clear of all of these commission-padding tricks.

However, this itemized quote might not do you much good if you don’t know your historical print average. If you don’t know your monthly average, learn this number before you talk to a copier rep.

Once you figure out your monthly average, get a plan that covers 80% of that average. You will pay for some overages, but you will save money in the long run as you will be on a cheaper monthly plan, and you know you will use every print you purchased under this monthly plan.

Don’t let an unscrupulous copier rep scam you out of your money. Follow the steps above, and you won’t have to pay extra for prints you never use. These steps will save you thousands on your contract.