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As Drupa will see one of the greatest concentrations of used machinery dealers from around the world, Mike Steele, chairman of the British Used Printing Machinery Suppliers Association, advises on what to ask when buying used machinery

The used machinery sector (or ‘pre-owned’ as is becoming more popular) is recognised as an integral part of our industry. It has been estimated that for every new machine sold there are at least two used machines traded. It is hardly surprising therefore that the total value of used printing machinery sold worldwide exceeds that of new.

Drupa will once more see one of the greatest concentrations of used machinery dealers from around the globe. Due to the show restrictions, there will be no actual machinery on display, but dealers will have stock lists and full specifications of their machines, offering visitors an unrivalled opportunity to compare equipment, prices and services.

The majority of dealer exhibitors will be able to supply a complete range of machinery, including pre-owned printing, packaging, mailroom and converting equipment, though there are quite a number of dealers that have made one or more areas their speciality.

Unlike the new machinery manufacturers and suppliers exhibiting at the show, used machinery dealers are equally interested in buying equipment as they are in selling it. So Drupa provides an ideal opportunity to sell on redundant machinery to optimise investment programmes for expansion or to keep up with technological changes.

With their extensive international network of contacts together with expertise in shipping, finance and refurbishment, the used machinery dealers are ideally placed to make the quick buying decisions.

When buying used it is tempting for an end user to consider surfing the net for online bargains, or turning up at an auction, bidding against the experienced dealers and securing an apparently unbeatable deal. But buying the machine is just the start of it. Machinery has to be dismantled, removed and re-commissioned on the new site – all in a day’s work for the experienced dealer, fraught with problems for the unwary. And in most instances a dealer supplied machine comes with a warranty.

Buying used can make excellent business sense, but some buyers are concerned as to whether they will get a machine that is in good condition and able to do the job required. Before buying a used machine it is prudent to research the potential purchase as thoroughly as possible. Here is a checklist of questions anyone looking to buy a used machine should ask:

Who else has done business with this dealer? Are they satisfied with the service provided? Never fail to take up references if this is the first time you have dealt with the supplier.

Do I have a complete description of the machine being sold, its condition, its service history, and its serial number?

Am I am confident about the true legal ownership? Is the dealer selling as agent for the actual owner, or does the dealer own the machine himself? Are there any outstanding leasing or finance charges, or does any bank have a lien on the machine?

Does the dealer offer a warranty? If so, for how long and what does it cover?

Does the machine comply with all current applicable health and safety legislation?

Does the price include removal, delivery and installation? If being imported, who is responsible for any import duties and taxes?

Is the machine bought ‘as is’ or is it fully rebuilt, refurbished or merely cleaned? Do I understand the different implications of these terms??

What happens if I am not satisfied with the machine or the after sales service? Is there a facility for bringing in an independent arbitrator without the expense of formal legal proceedings??

Are all the contract terms clearly stated in writing?

There is no substitute for seeing the machine in use by its current owner, next best is for it to still be in situ, even if not running. But always remember that you need to see the machine running, and to judge the quality of work produced.

Mike Steele Mike Steele

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