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1013 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA, 98104
United States


The mission of Seattle Presbytery is to participate, in word and deed, in God’s transforming work through the Gospel of Jesus Christ: †by strengthening the witness and mission of our congregations and members and by building strong partnerships with each other and the larger Christian community.

Events (Archive)

About Copier Contracts

Seattle Presbytery

by Kevin Nollette, Associate EP

Many churches enter into contracts for copy machine, phone and internet services, and other office equipment. Sometimes, the first time the contract is read is at the point that a problem arises.  Obviously, this is too late, but this is often the time I receive a call for help.
So, here are some principles in order to approach these contracts.
1. Session should take specific action to determine who has the authority and under what circumstances to enter into contracts.  Any substantial contract should require specific Session approval.
2. Read the contract.  If you have any questions consult with an attorney.  The expense of this consultation could be minor considering the expense of these contracts.
3. Remember, everything is negotiable.  Every company has standard contracts, but they are written for the benefit of the company.  Consider what ways you may want to protect the church. 

Some particular issues to which you may pay attention:
1. What is the length of the contract?
2. What is the escalation clause of the contract?  How does this compare to the current rate of inflation?  Remember these are negotiable.
3. The provisions for terminating the contract, whether early or upon completion.  What are the costs upon termination?  Do you need to pay for shipping costs to return the machine? Are there lease termination fees?  Other challenging terms?
4. Does this contract cover maintenance expenses?  What repairs are not included in the maintenance agreement?  What about changing technologies, and drivers as other connected equipment changes?
5. Are you being pressured to make an immediate decision? For example “this is a limited time offer.”  If so, when the company really want your business they will extend the deadline.
6. If there is no room for negotiation, look for another vendor. 
Lastly, if you are having trouble with a vendor or contract, seek out assistance.  Ask to speak to a supervisor.  Have another person review the contract.  When necessary, seek legal counsel.
Feel free to consult with me if I can be of assistance.