Not all office equipment warranties are equal. As nice it would be for the rest of us, printer manufacturers have never gotten together to standardize their warranty offerings the way other industries have.
As a result, each manufacturer writes its own warranty agreements. Each individual agreement covers a specific set of products against a specific set of circumstances and will usually feature different names for each set of items included.
For business owners, this can make managing the warranty agreements for a fleet of printers very complicated. In fact, many businesses don’t even bother diving into their warranty agreements at all, losing out on critical cost-saving opportunities as a result.
Selecting the best equipment for your office requires choosing the right mix of features and specifications to meet your needs. But any long-term value calculation has to consider product warranties. A great warranty can significantly reduce the total cost of ownership of a device.
What Should an Office Equipment Warranty Cover?
Buying a printer, copier, or a multifunction device (MFD) from a printer dealer is different than buying one for home use from an electronics retailer. For the most part, multifunction business devices will come with a standard one-year MFP/MFD warranty against hardware defects.
Beyond that, most printer dealers will expect you to sign on for a service contract to keep your device in good working order.
It can be helpful to think of this service contract like a vehicle warranty for a new car. Auto manufacturers guarantee their cars are free from defects but ask their customers to schedule regular maintenance (based on mileage) and only to use recommended filters, tires, oil, and other consumables to keep the machine running smoothly.
You can expect office equipment warranties to contain rules and exceptions analogous to those provided by auto manufacturers for their products. An average office equipment warranty will stipulate the following:
Most print equipment manufacturers guarantee their hardware against defects for a specific amount of time or a particular number of copies, whichever comes first. A one-year warranty is standard, but some manufacturers will go as low as thirty days.
Additionally, almost all warranties protect the manufacturer from liability if you mishandle, misuse, or alter the original product. This language can sometimes extend to merely opening the device up to diagnose problems and may even apply to purely cosmetic damage – something Apple is particularly infamous for in the retail sector.
In general, print manufacturers want you to use their specified, recommended print consumables. They may void warranties for customers who don’t use their specific consumables.
But print manufacturers tend to charge premium rates for consumables. Consumers who want to use third-party consumables need to look to the consumable providers for separate guarantees on product compatibility.
In the past, print manufacturers have used unfair advantages to try and force consumable monopolies on their customers. This came to a head in a 2017 US Supreme Court case that established consumers’ right to purchase, repair, and modify their property as they see fit.
Returning to the automobile analogy, this would be like Ford forcing its customers to only purchase gasoline from Chevron. Without meaningful competition, Chevron could charge whatever prices it wants.
Options, Upgrades, Accessories
Most print manufacturers offer additional options, upgrades, and accessories that extend the functionality of their products. Both software and hardware extensions are likely to carry their own separate office equipment warranty stipulations.
In many cases, these warranties are different from your copier warranty because the devices themselves are manufactured by third-party partners of the primary print manufacturer. Sometimes, third-party manufacturers build aftermarket devices without partnering with the original equipment manufacturer, potentially leading to compatibility problems.
This means that consumers need to look at warranty information concerning options, upgrades, and accessories provided by manufacturers. Attempting to incorporate a non-compatible third-party finishing tool could easily void an otherwise comprehensive MFP/MFD warranty.
Laser Printer Drum Units
The laser printer drum is one of the most vital parts of any laser printer, copier, or MFP/MFD. It’s responsible for pressing statically charged laser toner against the paper to create an image. These components are usually made of aluminum and continuously heated and cooled in the course of regular use.
As a result, even well-engineered laser drum units can deform. As a result, print manufacturers almost always issue a separate warranty for these components. Often, this specific warranty covers a shorter amount of time than the device’s defect warranty. Therefore, be sure to read the fine print provided by your print provider.
Comprehensive Warranties Reduce Costs
Taking advantage of office equipment warranties can reduce overall operating costs. These warranties offer more than protections against defective workmanship – they provide value against the opportunity cost of replacing faulty units or hiring technicians to fix broken equipment out of your own pocket.
Is your office equipment warranty comprehensive enough to cover your office’s needs? Contact Office Interiors, and we can get you the answer you deserve!