Toner Pirates: How to Make Them ‘Walk the Plank’

Toner pirates: the scourge of the copier and printer industryOn a weekly and sometimes daily basis, my staff receives calls about what we in the copier and printer industry call “toner pirates.”

What are toner pirates? They are business scam artists who call legitimate businesses like yours and attempt to trick you into buying copier and printer toner supplies from them. Sometimes they will try to mislead you into thinking you’re dealing with your local copier company, or they will call several times, attempting to gather bits of information each time.

Typically, toner pirates will target people who normally don’t order supplies or who aren’t familiar with the office equipment. The scammers will offer discount toner, cheap copier paper and other copier and printer supplies at a great price. Of course, you probably will never receive the supplies, and, if you do, they are exorbitantly priced and of inferior quality.

Here are some steps to take that can help you avoid toner pirates:

  • Train your staff, especially those who are new or may answer outside calls. Make them aware of this scam.
  • Be wary of callers who claim to be from your copier supplier but use high-pressure sales tactics or offer “last chance” deals.
  • Designate one person to handle office supply purchases. Then, train employees to respond, “I am not authorized to order anything. You’ll have to speak to the person in charge of ordering supplies and get a purchase order.”
  • Ask for the caller’s contact information. Then call your regular supplier to verify the story.
  • Be on the lookout for bogus invoices, which some scammers will send, even if no one in your office placed an order.
  • In writing, dispute bills from suppliers that have misrepresented themselves or their goods. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into paying.
  • Report suspected toner pirates to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by calling 1.877.FTCHELP (1-877-382-4357), or by filling out an online complaint form at

One final word of advice: don’t use poor quality toner or supplies in your copier or printer. It may damage your equipment and/or negate managed print or maintenance service agreements.

Free Copier Printer Technology Show with Canton Cougars

Every year we love to introduce businesses in Ohio’s Stark and Summit Counties to the latest technology in Konica Minolta color copiers, laser printers, multifunction copier printers and more. This year, we’ve decided to take our office equipment technology show on the road and visit the home of the Canton Cougars, the area’s Ultimate Indoor Football League team.

We invite you to join us on March 21 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center beginning at 1:30 p.m. We’ll be offering two breakout sessions:

  1. Creative Color for Business, a workshop where you can learn to create your own fliers, postcards and banners on a copier.
  2. Scanning and Document Management, a session that can help you master scanning to file, browsing, editing and processing documents using a multifunction printer.

Other great event features include:

  • Free food and beverages available throughout the technology trade show.
  • Meet and greet with the players of the Canton Cougars and have your picture taken with the Cougar Kitties Dance Team.

You’re also invited to stay and watch the Canton Cougars take on Michigan rivals, the Saginaw Sting. It’s going to be a great event and a great opportunity to network. Stop by and introduce yourself. I’ll be there throughout the day.

For free tickets to the Graphic Enterprises Technology Show and Canton Cougars’ game, call our office at 1-800-553-6616.