Customers are being caught out by grey-marketed MFPs that have been re-badged as other manufacturers' products – but which don't carry the real manufacturer's warranty, services or even consumables.
Kyocera Mita is warning users to be aware that its popular FS-1116 and FS-1118 MFPs are coming on to the market with other manufacturers' branding. Customers who buy these machines will find that they are not supported by the proper warranty or serviced by trained Kyocera technicians. They may also be supplied with third-party –
and possibly sub-standard – consumables.
"This is beyond a grey-market issue," says Jody Harrington, commercial operations senior manager at Kyocera Mita South Africa. "We are very concerned about this practice. In our view, it is fraudulent. Beyond that, it delivers an unsupported product to the customer, who is the real victim.
"When you buy Kyocera equipment from our approved dealers, you have the full support of our industry-leading warranty, our highly trained technicians and the best quality consumables that extend the life of the machine and reduce the cost of ownership.
"If you buy a machine that has been re-branded to look like another manufacturer's product, you don't have our support – and whatever support you get from the supplier is going to be limited and questionable."
Harrington advises users to check the serial number label on the back of the machine. "The LCD display or the software driver on our machines clearly shows that it is made by Kyocera Mita – but finding that out when you turn it on after you have paid for it is a bit late.
"Watch out for equipment that is not supplied with supporting software or is sold by a 'subsidiary' or 'partner' of the actual company you are buying from. Ask to have the machine demonstrated in action before you buy. Ask about the warranty and get it in writing – read that document very carefully."
Harrington adds that this type of grey marketing could damage the reputation of the industry as a whole.
"The office equipment industry has gone to great lengths to meet international standards and provide customers with high-quality products and services. Such activities undo all the effort that we, as an industry, have put into looking after our customers."