Should you buy a copier (MFD) off of eBay?

January 11, 2010

There have been a number of times over my 20 years in this industry where I have come across someone who bought (or was going to buy) a copier (MFD) off of eBay or the Internet. Usually they tell me that they are being offered a great deal. They got an unbelievable price that they feel like they couldn’t pass it up. Honestly we all want to get a good price for what we buy. BUT, if all you consider is the purchase price you may not have considered what the true cost will be. So let’s consider honestly what the total cost will be.

For starters, what is it going to cost you to ship it to your office?  A dealership has relationships with professional moving companies that specialize in moving high tech equipment. If your equipment gets shipped by someone who has no idea of how to do it correctly there may be significant damage in route. I have seen it happen. One company gave a new meaning to the term “drop shipping”! If it is damaged who is responsible? Is it insured? By Who? Who do you call if it shows up damaged? These are all things that a dealership ensures are done correctly and your Account Manager resolves any of these issues so you don’t have to waste your valuable time and energy. How much is that worth to you? While this may be a soft cost, the headaches will be very real to you.

But let’s say that the Copier\MFD that you purchased off of eBay arrives without any noticeable damage. Now that you have it in your office who is going to set it up? You will need to call for Service from a local Dealer and pay to have it set up (this would be included if you bought it from the dealer). So a Service technician comes out and you pay to have it set up. Because you didn’t buy it from this dealer you have little to no leverage to negotiate price.

Much of the equipment offered on the internet is used. So, If you want to put your eBay Copier under a service agreement with this same Dealership that service technician will inspect the Copier\MFD and write up a list of what parts that this bargain copier\MFD will need to bring it up to spec BEFORE they will put it under a service contract. I have seen this run into several thousand dollars in parts and labor. This is the biggest single expense that you should consider and yet because you can’t inspect it before you buy it this cost is an unknown. Some customers have gotten really burned.

But let’s say that you get it to your office and you get it set up as a copier by a service technician, but you would like to set it up as a network printer, and a network scanner (scan to email or windows shared folder) or maybe you want to integrate it into a Document Management System that you have. So that you you can really get the most out of your multi functional device (MFD). You will need a Systems Engineer from that same dealership to come out and set all of this functionality up for you. And this again will cost you. This would be a service that would be included in the sale if you had purchased it from your local dealership.

But let’s say you paid out of pocket for each one of these services for your bargain ebay copier\MFD and now you or your staff need a little training on how to use this equipment. Who is going to train you? Your local dealership’s Sales person? No! You don’t have an Account Manager \ Sales Person because you bought it from eBay. Will the person you bought it from in Missouri or California come out to train you, not likely. So what happens now? You either figure it out yourself or you and your staff don’t really get to know how to use all the functionality of this Copier\MFD. I have been to customers that had equipment for years and yet they never knew that they could do PC faxing or some other function. Another soft cost.

When you add it all up you could possibly save a little money but not near as much as it would first appear. And if anything goes wrong there will be no one to turn to, to get help. It is at best a roll of the dice, and at worst a nightmare. It may turn out that your eBay bargain may not be much of a bargain after all.

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh



  1. Look what I found on ebay……..


  2. Ha Ha Ha, bit of toner left in the machine ah!

    this artical is a typical example of why it makes it so fustrating for us account managers, everyone knows how to save money “dont they?”

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