Toner Pirates


Toner Pirate Don't fall prey to the "Toner Pirate"

As in the days of the real pirates, the "Toner Pirate" many times pretends to be someone they are not.  They will claim to be from "your normal supplier", "the warehouse that ships the toner for your supplier", and in some cases they will even use the name of the dealer where you purchased your equipment.  But don't be fooled, if you are not expecting the call or don't recognize the voice on the phone, ask for their telephone number to call them back, the click you hear is the shot across your bow.

Toner Pirates usually work in groups and may use a three call approach.  The first call is innocuous enough to an unsuspecting individual, they call "to verify the make and model" of your copier/printer, sometimes using the line of "our computers went down and we need to verify this information."  Or "the file on the copier 'up-front' accidentally got deleted and we need to input the information again."  Someone in the office not familiar with the supplies arrangement could easily provide this key information unknowingly. It will be used in the second call.  The second call will usually be "Hi, I am Stalin with [dealer name] [or alternately "the warehouse for your current supplier] and the manufacturer for your [the information gathered on the first call is inserted here] has just announced a large price increase on the toner for your copier and we wanted to give you the opportunity to stock up now before the price goes up"  The third call is to verify the order and get your agreement to it. This is but one example, they use many different ruses to gain the information they want. 

For those who have fallen prey, what they get is a big surprise.  The price can be four to five times the normal price and in some instances the amount of toner in the cartridge is half what it is supposed to be. 

As an Integrated Office Solutions customer, you know we do NOT call to sell you toner or supplies for your copier or printer.  If you or someone in your office receives a call from someone pretending to be from Integrated, try to get their phone number, mailing address or any other information possible.  Then give us a call.  We will work with you and the authorities to put a stop to their scam.  IOS is a proud member of the Business Technology Association, a dealer organization that has an active program to put an end to fraudulent supplies telemarketing.   BTA has provided some of the information contained below:

YOU CAN DEFEND YOURSELF                                                       

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Have specific individual(s) responsible for ordering supplies

• Train all employees who answer the phone

• Don't give equipment information, like make, model or serial numbers, over the phone.

• Do business with known companies or ask for references

• Issue a written purchase order with authorized signature and purchase order number

• Instruct supplier to put purchase order number on its invoice and bill of lading.

• Don't pay bills unless they match your documentation

• Merchandise must conform to bill of lading or refuse it

• Don't pay for — or return — unordered merchandise

• Report incident to appropriate authorities immediately



Guidelines for Fraudulent Telemarketers

Have you been solicited for office supplies by telephone only then to receive merchandise that was not from your original supplier?

Have you received office supplies at inflated prices or that did not meet your expectations?

Don't be embarrassed! You are not alone!

Fraudulent telemarketers are sometimes referred to as Toner Phoners or Paper Pirates. Victims of telemarketing fraud include: local, state and federal government agencies, charitable organizations, family-owned businesses, churches, schools and multi-million dollar corporations. Anyone who answers a phone is a potential victim.

Many legitimate telemarketing companies offer good products at fair prices. Unfortunately, there are many others who are not legitimate. Some fraudulent operations misrepresent the quality, quantity and price of office supplies while posing as an end-user's regular supplier.

If you receive goods that were not sent by your regular supplier, do not meet your expectations or are at an inflated price, you should:

    1. Contact the Business Technology Association (BTA):
                         BTA Member Services
                         12411 Wornall Road
                         Kansas City, MO 64145
                         Phone: (816) 941-3100
                         Fax: (816) 941-4838

    2. Contact Integrated Office Solutions
    3. Consult How to Fight Back Against Fraudulent Telemarketers [see below]

    4. Send a written, documented complaint along with a copy of the invoice to:
                         BTA Staff Attorney                                 Ms. Elena Paoli
                         Suite 2100                                             Bureau of Consumer Protection
                         222 S. Riverside Plaza                           Federal Trade Commission
                         Chicago, IL 60606                                 601 Pennsylvania Ave NW
                                                                                       Washington, DC 20580


If you have been a victim and have not yet received the shipment, you can use the sample letter below, modified to your situation, to revoke the order.

Sample Letter to Revoke Goods

This letter should be sent to the fraudulent telemarketer via certified mail. A copy should also be sent to BTA, to the Attorney General in your area, and to the Attorney General in the fraudulent telemarketer's area.

Dear __________________________:

I am the purchasing officer for (your company's name). We received (amount) of (toner or developer) from your company. Please be on notice that we are hereby revoking our acceptance of the delivery goods for the following reasons:

1. Misrepresentation of our normal supplier

2. Inferior quality of delivered goods

3. Quantity of delivered goods does not conform to the telephone conversation

4. The goods were never ordered

5. The goods were grossly overpriced

We require that you arrange to have the (toner or developer) picked up and returned to your business establishment. We will hold the shipment for pick-up within 30 days after your receipt of this letter. If the goods are not picked up within the time period, we will be forced to dispose of the goods.

Any future correspondence from your company to ours must be in writing. If you have (your company's name) on your records for any future orders, please cancel those orders as none have been made.


cc: BTA Staff Attorney
     222 S. Riverside Plaza
     Suite 2100
     Chicago, IL 60606

     Federal Trade Commission
     Attorney General's Office