Toner Pirates - How to avoid them
One of the more common scams to target business owners are the colloquially named “Toner Pirates”. These people represent companies that call unsuspecting businesses and attempt to sell printer toner or ink cartridges over the phone using high pressure tactics. Usually Toner Pirates claim to be calling from your “supplier” and mention special prices that you must take advantage of that day or that prices will be going up and you must buy now. They may even know the models of equipment your company uses. The problem is that most Toner Pirates are selling overpriced and/or low-quality products.
Identify toner pirates
While toner schemes are constantly evolving, there are some common tells you can look for.
- The caller uses high-pressure sales tactics to force you into an immediate decision.
- The person on the phone says that this is a special offer that expires today.
- They insist on in-person or cash payments.
- When you ask what organization the caller is with, they provide a company name similar to your service provider or that of a government agency.
- They pretend that you’ve done business in the past, even if you don’t know them.
- The person on the phone refuses to give you any business references.
- The seller can’t provide an exact address or office location.
Avoid becoming a victim
Now that you know how to identify them, how can you avoid becoming their victim? Here are a few tips that will help.
- Designate one person to be in charge of all supply orders and standardize your ordering process.
- Train your staff on how to respond to telemarketers and where to direct all purchasing decisions.
- Know who your point of contact is at your service company. If this isn’t the person calling, it’s probably a scam. To be sure, call your vendor contact and ask.
- Have a conversation with your dealer about the details of your agreement. Toner is often included in your maintenance agreement and thus there is no need to buy from an outside source.
- Clarify how your current supply vendor will contact you. Metro Sales, for example, will never call and “sell” you toner. Instead, we’ll call asking if you need any more toner delivered.
- Ask for specifics like company name, address, phone number, account number or maintenance agreement number.
- Never give out equipment models and numbers over the phone. This will avoid the next call mentioning the brand and model of your equipment and making it sound like they actually have done business with your company.
The best way to deal with anyone who calls offering high-pressure sales on toner and ink is to know who your current supplier is and mention them to the caller. Usually they will hang up, but if they persist, simply let them know you will call your supplier back to confirm the offer. If you don’t have a supplier, simply ask the caller to identify their company name, location, and a call back number. The key is to simply realize that the high-pressure sales tactics usually indicate a scam. Need Printer or Copier Supplies