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Beware of Toner Pirates

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No One Loves a Toner Pirate

Everyone loves a Pirate when they think Captain Jack Sparrow is going to swoop down and take them on the adventure of a lifetime.  But just when you grab your sword and flintlock pistol to become the hero, you realize you are nothing but the goat who nearly sunk the entire ship.  We don’t want that to be you, so for the sake of the free seas, stick with us on this tale of adventure.  Toner Pirates want nothing more than to take your hard-earned money and they don’t care if they destroy your reputation at work to get it.  They are Pirates after all, and despite what the movies may tell you, the Pirates are not the good guys.  With whispers of cheap toner and unprecedented quality, they swing in from the ropes on the unsuspecting and leave nothing behind in their ruin.  A scourge that must be stopped and we are here to help.

What’s in a Name?

Toner Pirates, it is right there in the name.  Anytime a person calls you and merely utters the words toner or ink, we want you to man the battle stations and prepare to be boarded.  As bizarre as it might sound, Toner Pirates have bilked millions out of unsuspecting businesses and it usually starts with a simple phone call about ink.  We at All Copy Products have been troubled to learn that these dastardly Pirates have been using our name in their pursuit of your hard-earned treasure and we want to fight side by side with you to combat them.

Before we get into the types of scams these swashbuckling swindlers attempt to pull off, we just want to heighten your vigilance around these simple key words.  If anyone calls you to talk about your toner orders, offers you special deals on ink, or merely request additional information about your printer equipment, the alarm bells should be going off.  When you hear the word Toner, we want you to instantly think Pirate.  And when you think Pirate, don’t think Captain Jack and a smiling face.  Rather, think empty pockets, sad faces and a less-than-happy boss.

The Scheme

These Pirates prey on the complexities of modern business and they can target everyone from the small mom and pop shop to the large corporation.  However, it always ends the same way.  You pay money for useless products and then they scurry off on the horizon before you even realize you have been looted.  While the scheme can be as unique as the Pirate attempting to pull it off, there are common themes and as such, there are common tactics you can use to fight back.  It’s up to you and HR if you want to wear an eye patch while you do it.

1. Phishing

Toner Pirates will often make various probing calls within an organization to gather as much credible information as possible, which would increase their chances of pulling off the heist.  They will call claiming to be your supplier such as ourselves, ugh, makes us shiver, and then state they need to update records or that the computers are down and they need to verify your printer equipment.  Using this information, they will then call another unsuspecting employee back and use the information to sound credible for the actual heist.  Remember, these are Pirates and they have no shame!  However, if your vigilance is heightened, then you will be ready to fight off their attempts.  When you hear the words printer, toner, or ink, start asking questions.  Hey, even if it is a real employee from our organization, you give them the full inquisition if you need to and if that employee doesn’t like it, well, you send them my way.  We know what Pirates are attempting to do to our customers and we are trained to be empathetic about this piracy.  However, real Pirates hate the scrutiny and don’t be surprised if they just hang up when you keep asking questions.  Our employees are committed to your satisfaction and we won’t be running anywhere when you question us.

2. Special Deals

Armed with the right information, these Pirates may attempt to call and offer you special deals that simply must be taken advantage of today.  Well, like all businesses, yours runs on a bottom line.  So why not be the hero who saved the company a ton on printer ink?  Except you order it only to find out that these special deals are actually 4 to 5 times higher than the norm.  Pirates, remember, are bad people.  Even according the Jack Sparrow himself, never trust a Pirate.  And then when you actually get around to using the ink, you realize they are half full cartridges of the wrong ink which has subsequently ruined your companies’ equipment.  Did you expect anything less from Pirates?

The easiest solution to this problem is to have one person in your organization in charge of purchasing orders.  We pride ourselves on developing great relationships with our clients and there is nothing like the trust gained between our two organizations.  When one person is in charge of purchasing, they tend to know the people, processes, and products involved because at All Copy Products, we assign you your own supply representative.  As such, they can easily spot the scam whereas a receptionist may not.  After all, when you know what you are looking for, Pirates are really not that hard to spot.  Peg legs, eye patches, and a seeming inability to withstand questioning.  If you really want to kick these pirates in the Jolly Roger, just tell them you will call back on their main number.  Then call your supply rep here at All Copy Products; they have direct lines that you always have access to, not whatever number they insist you use.

3. The Full Pirate

I call this one the full Pirate because it is perhaps the most dastardly of all the schemes.  Perhaps through phishing phone calls, the Pirates with but a little information will just send you the substandard products whether you like it or not.  The receptionist signs for it and an invoice is sent before you realize what you have gotten yourself into.  You indicate you want to return the products for which the Pirates will claim there is restocking fee.  If you refuse to pay, they threaten you with a lawsuit.  They might even attempt to bully you stating they have you recorded on the phone approving the purchase.  Piracy at its finest, ladies and gentlemen, as Blackbeard himself would be proud.

This is, again, where having a single entity in charge of purchasing would help, but armed with a little information, this can be the easiest to fight.  Put simply, you don’t have to pay for products you didn’t order.  And no reputable supplier, ourselves included, would insist you do so.  In fact you are not even obligated to send it back if you never ordered it.  Don’t accept it, don’t pay for it, and don’t return it.  As they say on the high seas, gear adrift is a gift.  We value our long-term relationship over a single order and that relationship is built on trust.  If anyone in our name sends you something you didn’t ask for, just call us directly.  Don’t use the numbers they give you, use the numbers you find here or on our website.

In Conclusion

To our valued customers, we appreciate the special relationship of trust we have built and we want to support you in any way possible against these Pirates of the Ink Seas.   It is a scam so bizarre and yet so simple it sneaks up on organizations every day in this country.  If we have done our job in this letter, it is to increase your vigilance around the key words when a phone call comes in.  However, it is not just limited to toner and ink supplies.  Be on guard for any office supply discussion that seems suspicious. Pirates will always take what they can get and leave you in ruin in return.  Together we can fight these scurvy scum and send the Toner Pirates straight to the bottom of Davy Jones’ locker.

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