Office Supplies

April 08, 2014

There are companies that will occasionally contact your business, representing themselves as your regular or new supplier. The company may specialize in copier/fax paper, toner and other office supplies and offer a great deal.

Often these companies will contact a receptionist, a temporary or new employee; and, after getting a name, it may send you merchandise and/or an invoice for placement of an order.

The unauthorized merchandise racket has become sophisticated, and the variations of the approach are constantly changing. The products are often inferior, inflated in price, may degrade the performance of or damage your office machines, and may void any warranties that exist on your office machines. 

The BBB suggests that you instruct your employees not to give out product names or model numbers of your office machines over the phone. These calls should be referred to your authorized purchasing agent. You should appoint and familiarize one person to purchase supplies and use purchase orders. Your purchasing agent should become familiar with your suppliers and the companies with which you have service contracts. 

When service repair workers show up at your office door, your employees should check with your purchasing agent to determine the if the service people have been authorized to perform the work, if there is any doubt. 

You should not sign for office supplies unless a purchase order or authorized name is given. Companies of 'office supply schemes' often use a courier to deliver the merchandise. Whereas, your regular supplier probably uses his or her own delivery service.

However, if you find yourself being invoiced for unordered office supplies, you should send a registered letter to the company. Your letter should indicate: the order was unauthorized and/or misrepresented; the goods should be picked up; removal of your company's name from their list; and a refund of money, if paid for, or to cease their invoicing. Be sure to keep a copy of the letter for your files.

If you continue to be billed for the unordered office supplies, you can send a complaint to the Better Business Bureau.