Copier companies are very creative in finding new ways to extract money from your wallet without providing real value to customers. One of their newer scams is to begin by selling you a black and white copier, and in mid-pitch, switch you over to a color copier at “no additional charge.”

Why Would a Copier Rep Offer You a Free Color Upgrade?

If you think about the claim that they’re making, you’ll understand that it makes no sense at face value. Why would a copier rep sell a more complex machine at the same price as a black and white copier with only four moving parts?

The reason is simple: color prints are the biggest moneymaker for a copier rep. This free upgrade does not come from an altruistic place; they want to own your color prints.

Are There Times Where a Free Color Upgrade Would Benefit You?

If you fit a specific set of circumstances, then taking a free color upgrade could be the right move. Here are some of those circumstances:

  • You need to get a color printer anyway, and this deal would save you some money.
  • Your workers know how to discipline themselves on their color usage (almost no company checks this box.)
  • You know to set your default black and white prints to “use black ink only.”
  • You use a high-priced color printer for marketing purposes.

When Should You Avoid This Offer Like the Wallet Emptying Scam That It Is?

If you don’t fit the specific criteria above, avoiding a free color copier upgrade is a bad idea. However, if you meet these circumstances, you should take extra effort to stay away from this “offer”:

  • Your workers don’t exercise discipline with how much color toner they use (or your company doesn’t have a system in place to limit their color usage.)
  • If you already have a color printer that prints at $0.07 or less per print.
  • When you need a reliable copier. Since color copiers have far more moving parts to deal with than their black and white counterparts, color copiers will break down far more often.
  • If you don’t need color copies at all.

Color Prints Are Great, But Make Sure You Need Them First.

If your employees produce color prints you didn’t expect them to make at 20 pages a day, you will spend $2,500 extra on those prints over a four-year lease. If you take a color copier, make sure you need it first. Do what’s best for your company and consider the potential consequences of taking a “free” color upgrade.