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Purchasing and Leasing Refurbished & Used Copiers: What Do I Need to Know?

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We’re all familiar with the idea of giving a new lease on life to old things: hand-me-down clothes, used cars, buying an exercise bike off Facebook Marketplace for $200 that will function as expensive laundry storage… and as is the case with this blog, office copiers.

If you’re considering purchasing or leasing a used or refurbished copier for your organization, there are a few points you’ll want to heavily consider before pulling the trigger on an equipment purchase that may not be the best decision for your office. This isn’t to say that purchasing a used copier will always lead to disaster, but that the points we’ll cover throughout this blog should be weighed before you spend any money on a refurbished copier.

There are a few situations where purchasing a used copier makes sense:

  1. If you are a new organization that does not have credit
  2. If you are a non-profit organization that needs access to more affordable equipment
  3. If you want to buy-out your remaining lease and continue using the copier as the owner

 

USED COPIERS: SECURITY

Simply put, a used or refurbished copier will always be less secure than a new copier. This is because of firmware. Firmware acts as a copier’s main defense against cyberattack. Firmware is named as such because it contains processes that are necessary to the functionality of the copier, acting as the information layer that facilitates communication between the hardware and the software on your copier.

Copiers run using code that is foreign to most operating systems, and as such, copiers are rarely able to support anti-virus software: so copier manufacturers have added the layer of cyber security into their product’s firmware.

Firmware, as described above, communicates both with the hardware and software of a copier, and as such, is limited in its ability to adapt with age. Eventually, the hardware used in the copier will change to the point that the firmware is unable to recognize the hardware, and the software will do the same. Plus, this is a problem that goes both ways — newer firmware can’t communicate with older hardware and software, and older firmware can’t integrate with newer hardware and software.

Now, this isn’t to say that firmware released in 2022 won’t work on a copier manufactured in 2023, or even 2024. However, five years down the line, in 2027, that firmware will most likely stop working.

This is a problem for used and refurbished copiers because eventually, with enough time, the machine will be unable to support the newest and most secure firmware available to the copier. When this happens, it means your copier is not longer protected from the latest cyber security threats — and as these threats are constantly evolving and growing in number, it can be a dangerous place to be in.

If you do have a used or refurbished copier, its a good idea to check to make sure you have the most up-to-date firmware possible.

 

USED COPIERS: COST

A refurbished copier will almost always have a lower initial cost than when compared to a new copier. Often, the difference in cost is substantial — sometimes coming in at around a 50% discount. This lower sticker price can lead you to believe that a refurbished copier will save you money. And for certain cases, this is true. If you receive a refurbished copier that was properly serviced and maintained in its pervious life, and you use it for one to two years, you will most likely come out saving money.

Even after using a refurbished copier for two years, you’ll begin to notice a trend: the difference in money you thought you’d save is a lot less than you’d expect. This is due to service and supply costs.

The more use a copier has seen, the more it will cost to properly service and maintain: parts wear out, supplies cost more as they age and become difficult to find, and your downtime increases as problems occur more frequently.

It’s for these reasons that used and refurbished copiers actually have a higher lifetime cost than a new copier.

 

USED COPIERS: SERVICE HISTORY

Easily the most impactful aspect of a used copier’s reliability is its service history. Think about when you are shopping for a used car, and all of the questions that come to mind: Did someone drive it without changing the oil for 10,000 miles? Did someone leave the sunroof open during a hurricane? Does the fan make a weird noise when it’s on 3?

It’s questions like these that highlight the importance of partnering with a trusted copier dealer and service provider. If you can’t trust your copier dealer to provide you with a truthful rundown on a used copier’s service history, there’s very little you can do to make sure the refurbished copier will provide benefit to your organization, or that the copier has even been refurbished in the first place.

The best and simplest way to ensure a used copier actually works is to purchase or lease the copier from an organization that has serviced the machine for its lifetime in the field. Only then can a business truly give you a wholistic view of the history of the copier, and accurately determine which parts are worn out and need to be replaced, and which repairs need to be made, before the copier can be officially declared “refurbished.”

If a used copier isn’t truly refurbished before it makes its way into your office, you’re most likely going to experience significant interruptions, downtime, and service costs (even more so than a used copier would normally).

 

USE COPIERS, DON’T LET THEM USE YOU

If you’re a small business with little to no credit, and lack liquidity, a used or refurbished copier can definitely be the right choice. Or, if you’re an office that needs a copier for a year or two, a used copier can be the way to go.

If you work in a highly secure environment, or need to minimize downtime as much as possible, or want to use the same copier for more than two years, a refurbished copier is not the option for you.

To learn more about, service, maintenance, leasing, or anything copiers, visit our blog.

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