How to avoid the service and repair scams.
More than 90 percent of all service repair calls received for semi automatic and automatic carton strapping machines simply require machine strap chutes and heater blades cleaned and the major part of any service charge made will be for travelling time to and from the strapping machine location. Where parts are fitted and charged for, the user should ensure that all worn or faulty parts removed from these machines are retained prior to departure of the service engineers , that new parts fitted are identified in the machine, and the condition status of replacement parts fitted checked i.e are they new or used.
These recommendations apply even more for the larger inline automated strapping systems where the user may not have detailed knowledge of strapping heads, as the mark up applied on spares for more sophisticated strapping machines is commonly in the region of 300 percent if concessionary service terms are agreed (Normally linked to strapping supply), and up to 600 percent otherwise.
Owners of strapping machines under warranty should also observe from the outset service engineers activity on the machines as there is a tendency, given the opportunity to charge for work that would otherwise qualify as non chargeable under warranty terms. Strapping machine warranties are generally limited to faults arising from use of faulty materialsm or workship used during manufacture of the machine, but service engineers are under pressure to create revenue, and there will sometimes be a temptation to mis diagnose cause of strapping machine malfunction, and 'shift it' into a chargeable category.
e.g. Strapping machine within 12 month warranty period mis-feeds strap around the arch and user is told rectification is chargeable as strap ejector mechanism needed adjustment due to incorrect operation of the machine. When questioned as to what type of incorrect operation would cause the mechanism to mis-align, information required to instruct operator such that it did not re-occur, the engineer was unable to give a meaningful explanation, and subtly change cause to alleged use of inappropriate strapping material, which incidentally had remained the same since the machine was installed approx. 11 months earlier. Again when questioned as to how a lightweight 160kgs strap could cause a substantial metal component to mis align, there was no satisfactory explanation. The invoice for approx. £250 was eventually cancelled, but only after further attempts reasons not cancel payment had been made.
It should also be noted that the status of the Company providing the strapping machine service makes no difference as to the likelihood of this scam being attempted.
Contact The Plastic Strapping Company Ltd for further advice and insider information.