Does trying to look environmentally friendly mean you should lie to your potential customers?
We have noted that in both the MFP business and in the postage meter business certain suppliers are promoting their 'Green" product as good solutions for clients.
Seems sensible, right? Everyone wants to protect the environment and also most purchasers like to save a bit of money if everything seems right. So where's the foul?
Well in at least two instances 'Green' really means USED! That's right the wonderful environmentally packaged 'Green' product being promoted to potential customers is really USED or refurbished product.
Now don't get me wrong. I have nothing against properly refurbished product. My wife drives a used car. Mine was a demo model. But when we bought it we knew it was used and we also knew what the mileage was on it. In Ontario, where I live, it is illegal to turn back the speedometer on a car.
How about a postage meter or an MFP? No such legislation that I know of!
So is this right?
"The re manufacturing process includes:
• Resetting the copy counter to zero"
"Each machine is unpacked and sent through final setup. Each machine is tried and tested, with the results meticulously scrutinized for any necessary adjustment. Only when each green machine's performance matches our rigid standard is it shipped to the customer's location and installed."
These quotes are taken directly from one vendor's website where they define steps in their refurbishing process and the creation of their 'Green' products.
Another vendor has its own special wording about parts "your contract will include fine print with all kinds of stuff about using 'recovered' and 'reprocessed' parts". Their language includes a definition of newly manufactured product...something you would think is pretty straight forward.
"Newly manufactured is first time equipment that has been assembled from new, reprocessed, and or recovered parts...more of its costs for parts will come from new parts than Remanufactured or Factory Produced New Model equipment."
These parts can make up to 25% or more of the device.
So what is wrong with recycling and reusing parts and equipment? Nothing!
What is wrong is when you hide the fact that a client is getting a refurbished machine, or when a machine that is sold as new includes a large portion of used or refurbished parts. Hiding these details under the term 'Green' or environmentally friendly is misinforming the potential customer. Burying it in the back of your website is just as sleazy. This kind of wordspeak cheapens our industry and makes customers feel like they are being taken.
If the process of selling and reusing refurbished product is valuable and of worth to the customer then be honest and declare it as such. This way the customer can decide whether it is a good decision and worth the price proposed. It let's customers make an informed decision.
Oh and by the way...shouldn't you know the mileage on the refurb before you buy? Would you buy a used car with a speedometer that read "000000"?
What do you think? Is this a fair way to offer refurbed product to the market? Have you been 'Greened' and didn't know it?
Photo Credit: P L Chadwick [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons