What Are Toner Pirates?
To those unfamiliar with them, toner pirates might sound like a joke. “Toner Pirates?” you might think. “What, are they like that Monty Python skit about the old office workers who rebel against their corporate overlords?”
It’d be nice if that were the case (look the skit up if you haven’t seen it—it’s really funny). Sadly, it’s not.
Toner pirates are con artists. They’ll call a business claiming to be a rep from a local copier company. They may pressure you to buy toner supplies before their price supposedly increases. They could also say that they’re offering toner supplies at a reduced price. In any case, once you order the supplies, you’ll pay far more for them or get far less than you expected.
How to Spot Toner Pirates
Once you know what to look for, toner pirates are easy to spot:
- They use high-pressure sales tactics like claiming that their “offer” expires today
- They don’t offer any references or let you talk to anyone you may know in the company
- They don’t give you a way to contact them
- They don’t offer you any financing options
- They charge some kind of extra fee for sending the supplies to you
How to Deal with Toner Pirates
To protect yourself from toner pirates, follow these simple guidelines:
- If you think a toner pirate has contacted you, report it to the Better Business Bureau
- Educate your employees on what to watch out for
- Put someone trained and reliable in charge of ordering supplies
- Don’t give serial numbers or other equipment information over the phone
- Write out a purchase order and tell the supplier to put the order number on its invoice and bill of lading. If the bill doesn’t match your information, don’t pay it.
- Don’t accept or pay for supplies you didn’t order
- Get solid, trustworthy references
- Work with established, dependable copier companies
If you have any questions about toner pirates or avoiding scams, contact Systel.