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Toner Pirates: It’s that time of year again. Don’t be fooled!

If your business has a phone, you could be a victim of toner pirates. Office supply scams typically target small businesses and non-profit groups, costing them an estimated $250 million each year.  This type of scam has been going on for decades and, unfortunately, the scam works or else it would have run its course by now.

The Set-up: The scammer calls pretending to be your regular supplier or a replacement/contracted supplier, convincing you they already know what you use and what you pay. These calls are often high pressure, using phrases such as “Beat the price increase…”, “Last remaining stock…”, “Offer expiring today….”

If an office representative asks for a specific price, a quote will be given for a single unit (e.g.: $19.99), but a 20-pack will be sent, bloating the padded bill to $399.80. And the damage doesn’t stop there. Counterfeit cartridges are poorly made and can cause problems such as:

  • Toner powder leaks
  • Blocked print heads
  • Erratic printer performance
  • Damaged or broken parts due to poor fit
  • Color aberrations and/or streaking

Many times using counterfeit cartridges will void an office equipment dealer’s maintenance agreement with the manufacturer, leaving you responsible for costly repairs.

Sample Invoice from a "Toner Pirate."

Sample Invoice from a "Toner Pirate."

You can protect your company by learning to recognize the scam.

  • Have a specific individual do your supply ordering. Do not let the receptionist or any other person answering the phones give out this individual's name.
  • Know who your Boring supply representative is and what your contract entails. For Boring customers, toner is included in all of our Service Contracts at no additional charge.
  • If you are suspicious that you may be talking to a toner pirate, get specifics. If they claim they are a current supplier, ask them what your account number or Boring Equipment ID number is. Ask them to fax you pricing details in writing or ask for references.
  • Don't pay bills unless they match your current contract. We at Boring Business Systems want to ensure that you get the most out of your copier or multi-function printer.
  • If you have any questions about your current Boring Business Systems contract or want to learn more about the advantages of being a Boring Business Systems customer, please feel free to contact us today.

Thanks to our friends at Capital Business Systems for sharing some of this information!

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