Hi, my name is Glenn Morgan and I work as an IT Manager for Unique Copiers Ltd.  We pride ourselves at Unique Copiers on being open and honest to our customers at all levels of negotiating a contract and when your Photocopiers/Printer is under a services agreement with ourselves at UCL.  This unfortunately does not apply to a lot of our competitors.  We would like to raise awareness of such bad practices in our industry to ensure that when selecting your supplier for a Photocopier/Printer that you make the right choice.

The Telegraph

Council forced to pay nearly £350,000 to cancel contract for photocopiers

A debt-ridden council was forced to pay out almost £350,000 to cancel an agreement to provide photocopiers to two schools after they closed.

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By John-Paul Ford Rojas8:00AM BST 24 Sep 2011

Medway council in Kent had to make the payment when Ridge Meadow Primary School and Medway Community College in Chatham were closed.

Sam Craven, a Labour councillor, said: “It’s a ridiculous amount. The whole procedure wasn’t justified and it was done shoddily because they didn’t read the figures properly.”

It is the latest fiasco to hit the Tory-run local authority after The Daily Telegraph revealed last month how it has assigned £250,000 for its website to be redesigned, despite facing debts of £6million.

Mrs Craven said the schools were closed last year by the council because they were not financially viable, but that the consultation had failed to take into account the costs associated with closure, including the photocopying contracts.

She said other costs including security at the sites as well as staff pensions and redundancies were also ignored when calculations were being made.

“They have just said, ‘We have had to accept it, it’s just one of those things’. Well it’s not. This is a cost, where we are having to spend people’s money.”

Medway council said it was “legally bound” to pay the £87,794 for the primary school and £255,000 for the secondary school – which had more than 1,000 pupils – because of the early cancellation of the contracts, leaving a total bill to council taxpayers of £342,794.

A spokesman said NCS, the supplier, would not offer any discount for an early settlement of the contract. He added: “We didn’t arrange this. We are left with having to honour these sorts of debt when a school closes.” The deals for hire and maintenance of photocopiers at the two schools were arranged by governors before they knew they were to close.

The council spokesman said: “The photocopier contracts were arranged by the school governing bodies, but unfortunately, even though the council played no part in these, we still had to honour these debts when the schools closed.

“One was a very large secondary school, which had a lease lasting five years and this accounted for nearly £280,000 of the bill. The other was for a primary school, which had signed a six-year agreement for its photocopiers.

“It is unfortunate that the council was left with this bill, but we had no option but to meet these costs as the firms the schools hired all their photocopiers from would not offer any discount for an early settlement, which is something we obviously tried to get.”

The spokesman for Glasgow-based NCS added that it was “standard procedure” to stick to lease agreements.

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