Beware of Toner Pirates!

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toner pirates

Just as real pirates often did, “toner pirates” portray themselves as something they’re not. Much like the infamous pirates of old, they are smooth-talking, persuasive and unscrupulous. Instead of swords and parrots, these pirates are armed with phone numbers and a script, calling businesses and tricking unsuspecting office personnel into thinking the call is from your office products dealer. Have you had toner show up at your door followed by a hefty invoice? You may have been a victim of this scam.

The Federal Trade Commission revealed recently that “toner pirates” are swindling companies out of millions of dollars with estimates around $200 million per year.  That’s a lot of booty! If your company has a phone you are a potential target.  The attack is often two pronged. First, a phone call is placed to determine what type of copier you have. They may ask your receptionist to verify the make and model of the machine as well as the name of the person who orders the supplies so they can “update their records”.

Equipped with that information a second call follows to relay the news that the price of your toner is about to go up or to offer special pricing, though you must take advantage of it that day.  Toner, which may be inferior in quality, may not work at all, and may damage your equipment, is quickly sent out. The invoice arrives later with prices anywhere from 2 to 10 times more than the market retail cost!

Quality Business Solutions offers our customers service agreements that include toner! QBS will never call asking you for the make, model or serial number of your machine to update our records or to offer you a special on toner. Should we need to contact you, our Administrative Department staff will always identify themselves by name and let you know they’re calling from QBS.

Protect yourself from pirates! Don’t let them plunder yer bank account and scuttle yer equipment! Make sure the employees tasked with answering your phones know the Quality Business Solutions name.  When in doubt, give us a call – we are here to help!

Meter Readings and FMAudit

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fm audit

We are now offering FMAudit software as a benefit with our Service Agreements. FMAudit allows us to automatically receive meter readings from the machines that are covered under your Service Agreement. This will ensure that we provide accurate and timely billing for your Service Agreement.

The FMAudit On-Site software utility would be installed onto a PC within your internal network. It listens to status messages that the printers/copiers routinely produce through the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). These are the same messages that allow your computer to know whether the machine is off-line or on-line, and tells your computer that the printer is out of paper. From the SNMP messages, FMAudit will routinely obtain the meter information, toner levels, and critical errors. It collects this data and sends it to a secured server maintained by the FMAudit software developer, ECi Software Solutions.  From there, our software interface program collects the meter readings for our billing system, ensuring accurate and timely billing by eliminating administrator input.  

How can you get FMAudit?

It would be our pleasure to configure this for you as soon as possible. It is best to install the local FMAudit On-Site program to a PC that remains on at all times. Typically, our customers elect to install the program onto one of their servers, but the program has no problem running on a standard desktop PC.

There are several ways to complete the software installation. We find it most effective to accomplish this through a Remote Assistance connection to the server or PC that will be hosting the FMAudit On-site software. However, if you are more comfortable with us installing the program personally, we would be glad to arrange for our technician to visit. Additionally, we can send a link to your network administrator and guide them through the installation.

We look forward to hearing from you soon so that we may enhance the services we provide to you. Please call our office at 410-337-3700 to arrange an appointment to complete the installation by the method you choose.

The Effect of Humidity on Printing

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static electricity

In laser printing systems, paper is not just the surface the image is put onto, it is also part of the process to make a printout. Laser printing systems use static electricity to convey the toner from image components onto the paper. The paper is actually charged with static electricity to attract the toner to it.

As we all know, controlling static electricity can be unpredictable because of all the factors that affect it. All matter has different characteristics that affect the conductivity of electricity. For example, distilled water is actually a poor conductor of electricity, whereas sea water conducts electricity quite effectively. Paper can have subtle differences that affect its ability to accept a static charge. Moisture in the paper is a major factor.

A printing system has the ability to change the amount of static electricity applied to the paper, but it needs to know factors about the paper to do so. Damp paper requires more static electricity charge be applied to it to attain the proper charge for attracting the toner. Commercial laser-based printers have humidity sensors in them to help in making adjustments to the amount of static electricity it will apply to the paper. These work only if the paper has acclimated to the surrounding air. 

For instance, if you just received a shipment of paper that was stored in a damp warehouse and put that paper immediately into the printer, the machine can only assume that the moisture content of the paper is close to that of the surrounding air. The amount of charge applied to the paper would be less than what is really required to charge the damp paper to effectively attract the toner. This can result in light images.

For more details about factors that can affect paper performance in your printing system, refer to the Operators Guide for your equipment. You will find a section about paper in the appendix.