Minimum Usage Scams

When you decide on your new Copier deal, your chosen supplier has probably done a print audit review and suggests these figures be used as a ‘minimum agreed volume’ each period going forward.

It may be you insisted you do not want any minimum volume just pay for the copies you actually use when you have used them and of course the salesperson agreed you would.

You signed the agreement confident that you will only pay for what you use throughout the term of the agreement, everything is good for 6 months and then you notice a minimum volume is being charged each quarter, you complain and the seller highlights a clause in the agreement:

9.2 The Historic Volume shall be reviewed on a quarterly basis and in the event of a sum equal to 90% of the Monthly or quarterly Historic volume (whichever is appropriate) for the previous Two quarters exceeds the Minimum periodic volume set out at section 4 overleaf, the Minimum Periodic Volume shall be automatically increased to this sum.

Or as another seller puts it in their agreement:

8.7 The Minimum Mono Monthly Image Volume and the Minimum Colour Monthly Image Volume shall be fixed for a period of 12 months from the Commencement Date.  The Minimum Mono Monthly Image Volume and the Minimum Colour Monthly Image Volume shall be increased on or after the first anniversary of this agreement in each year if the Company determines that the customers average monthly usage of Mono and/or Colour images over the preceding 12 months has exceeded the Minimum Mono Monthly Image Volume and/or Minimum Colour Monthly Image Volume and such increase shall equal the average monthly usage over the previous 12 months, provided that in any twelve months period, such volumes are not increased more than once. The agreed Mono running cost per image and/or the Agreed Colour running cost per image shall remain unchanged from the cost per image stated in the particulars of the document under the heading ‘CHARGES’ (but subject to clause 8.5 above)

(Clause 8.5 simply states the company are entitled to increase charges by 15% per annum).

Each of the above are in micro print and the latter is on a shaded blue paper.

So, with these types of agreement, even though it was agreed you would incur no minimum volume payments, it is extremely likely that within 12 months you will inherit One.

Whether they wrap it up in few words or many, it amounts to the same thing, you’ve been scammed.

To save yourself being scammed:

Keep in mind this is a very creative and totally unregulated industry, therefor, you must be sure you take time to read and fully understand all the terms of an agreement before you sign it. If you do not have time or the inclination to do so, then send the agreement to us to review before you sign and for a nominal fee, we will tell you any pitfalls it holds.

Unsure about the contract you already have? whoever your supplier is, send a readable copy of the agreement to: we will look at it for free and tell you if it is fair to you.

To see more in the series of unfair agreement terms or for a copy of the ’13 Scurrilous Scams’ visit