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It can be very complicated to manage your mailing equipment agreements because there are so many different charges and often time avoidable fees can arise. This gets multiplied if you are responsible for multiple locations. We have helped accounts paying tens of thousands of dollars in avoidable fees because they did not understand how they were being billed. In this article we will give you the tools to understand these fees and to make sure you are only paying for the services required.

Here are some examples of fees that you may be paying unknowingly. This is not the vendors trying to trick you, since these terms are spelled out in their standard terms and conditions. The issue is who really reads through those terms carefully. Also, there is typically a disconnect between the person who signs the agreement and the department that pays the bills. The good news is that these fees are avoidable!
 
 
Tips to Avoid Fees:
Know what is included in your agreements - It is very important to know what is included in your lease, purchase and rental agreements and to understand your terms. Is the meter rental, maintenance agreement, rate change protection as well as meter resets and postage advances included in your lease or are they charged separately? If the equipment is owned or rented, are postage resets and advances included or are they a separate charge?

Gain online visibility to your accounts - Most vendors will give you a way to log in and see your different expenses for equipment and postage. Many will even allow you to pay bills online. This is a very effective way to have consolidated visibility to your spend.

Pay Bills On Time - This may sound obvious, but the terms that these bills need to be paid may not match up with your internal accounts payable cycle. This is the main reason that fees accrue and it is important to know the "Net" terms and conditions. Many of the charges in the table above are because bills were not paid on time.
Get Rid of Vendor Provided Equipment Insurance - All leases require proof of insurance or they will assign a type of plan that covers fire, theft, damage, etc. This protection will automatically be assigned until you send proof that you have insurance for your office and equipment.
Prefund Postage over Advancing Funds - There are so many fees that can arise by advancing funds, that a simple way to avoid them is to send money in ahead of time. For smaller and mid-size mailers, I typically recommend that you always have a month's postage funds sitting in idle. For larger mailers, there are ACH models to have funds deposited directly from your bank account in a same day or next day mode. Also, if you have multiple meters, consolidate them onto centralized billing accounts to simplify funding and payments.

Check End of Lease Options - Make sure you understand your options at the end of the lease. Some agreements have evergreen clauses that can automatically renew for a period of time if you do not instruct the vendor by a specific date prior to the end of lease.

I have spent the majority of my career helping large customers manage their mailing equipment to make sure they are getting the highest service from their vendors at the lowest costs and avoiding these types of charges. It does not have to be difficult to avoid these fees, but it does take understanding the details of what you are paying, the terms of your agreements and when items need to be paid. Hopefully the information above will help you eliminate avoidable fees for the future.
 

Adam Lewenberg, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest Mail Audit and Recover firm in the United States. Their mission is to help entities with large numbers of locations reduce mail related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. Over the last year, they have helped their clients save an average of 63% and over $3 million on equipment, fees and lost postage. He can be reached at (617)372-6853 or adam.lewenberg@postaladvocate.com.

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