Most people who buy or lease a used copier also try to save money by getting generic toner. Based on 38 years experience in the copier business I can assure you that not all generics are the same. Following are a few pointers to save you service calls by not purchasing bad toner.

First of all, most people have a maintenance agreement with toner included. This usually works out well because you can assume the copier dealer is using a quality generic. Other wise they would lose money on the maintenance agreement by using an inferior toner which creates service calls. Believe me, this happens and when it does it requires replacing the developer and vacuuming out all the inferior toner. This is a very expensive proposition for the dealer.

Usually, you know this happens when you add toner and immediately notice a problem in the copy quality. It’s like a bad tank of gas. After the bad tank of gas you start to hear pinging or feel skips. Well, with a copier you may start getting a gray background on the copies.

For those of you buying toner off the internet be real careful. Sometimes the cheapest toner will lessen the copy quality or create unnecessary service calls with the average dealer charging anywhere from $85 to $120 per hour. So how do you prevent this? Try to buy locally. Usually a reputable dealer has experimented with generics and found the one that the service department likes. It will be the one that they’re using in their own maintenance agreements. Plus, if the toner would mess up your copier or printer you can demand a free service call and exchange. Most reputable copier and printer companies will do this.

As a final word of caution don’t get suckered by one of the ‘Toner Pirates’ working out of a boiler room somewhere in California. For years the FTC has been shutting them down and they simply open in a different area. They usually charge about five times retail. Why do they do that? Because they know you’ll never buy from them again once you realize you paid too much. Their line often begins like this, “we have a canceled toner order in your area and rather than take it back we’d rather sell it to you at a big discount.” Right!!!

In summary, a good generic toner can be half the price of OEM toner. Your local service providers will often be the best source for this. Yes, the price may be a little higher than the internet but your copier will be happier.

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